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On the Fast Track 

Racer Mason wows the bigwigs.

The superb local trip-hop ensemble Racer Mason lived up to its name by blowing past the competition at a demo-listening contest last week at the Beachland Ballroom. Put on by the Chicago chapter of the National Association of Recording Arts and Sciences, the event drew over 100 local submissions, with Christian hip-hoppers Iron Triangle and slick pop rockers Mile One named runners-up. For their efforts, Racer Mason won studio time, gift certificates, and -- last and least -- a mention in this column.

Sadly, the Burning Dawn, an excellent death/grind ensemble, has flamed out after two years. "It's just too bad we had to hate each other," the band's website reads. In other deaths: Progressive nü-metal upstart Tadpol has announced its imminent demise. The group is scheduling a farewell show in December.

Cleveland punk legends Rocket From the Tombs will be reuniting for the first time in eons at Disastodrome!, a three-day festival put together by Tombs/Pere Ubu frontman David Thomas. The event will kick off February 21 at the Freud Playhouse on the UCLA campus in L.A. Start saving those frequent-flyer miles.

Also planning a reunion show of sorts is the long-running classic rock cover band City Heat, who will celebrate its 18th year with a gig at Doc & Louie's in North Olmsted on November 15. All of the group's dozen-plus members over the years will be present. Says founding member Tony Cuda: "It isn't often you can hear songs by Yes, Led Zeppelin, Joe Cocker, Three Dog Night . . . all in one night." Thank the Lord for small favors.

Wanna be added to the soundtrack for Dead Planet, a new horror film set to be shot in Cleveland? Cleveland Rock Net and Head2Head Productions are holding a battle of the bands at the Revolution in December. Six groups will compete for the right to open a benefit show for the film at Peabody's the following month. The winner will also be included on the movie soundtrack, which will feature such local heavy hitters as Girth, Biastfear, and High Point. If your band is interested, send a CD and press kit to Cleveland Rock Net, 26910 Schady Road, Olmsted Township, OH 44138.

Local diva-in-waiting Conya Doss was recently named "Independent Artist of the Week" on LiquidSoulRadio.com. Log on to the site for a feature on Conya and shots of her sporting the flyest coif since Pam Grier's razorblade-laden 'do in Coffy.

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