Friday, March 27, 2015


Record Store Day and The 13th Annual CHIRP Record Fair And Other Delights are coming up next month, but in the meantime, vinyl fanatics can mingle with local vendors and collectors at Beat Swap Meet this Sunday afternoon at The Empty Bottle. Admission is $5 or you can bring some canned goods for a local food pantry. The event promises a wide ranges of musical formats, including some rare (and more expensive) releases. Beat Swap Meet will run from noon until 6:00 PM, and is for all ages as long as those under 21 are accompanied by an adult.

You better sit down, kids. The full schedule for Paulpalooza was announced earlier this week, and in addition to Mr. McCartney, the massive lineup includes Florence + The Machine, Tame Impala, Django Django, and Delta Spirit. As usual, Lollapalooza sold out before it was known which acts would be appearing, so it’s likely a lot of McCartney fans were left at the starting gate. Of course, any parents who gave their kids money for tickets could now just claim those tickets as their own.

In other ex-Beatle-related news, Paul McCartney will give a speech as part of Ringo Starr’s induction into the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame on April 18th in Cleveland. The ceremony will be broadcast on HBO on May 30th.

The young but authentically psychedelic foursome Secret Colours will be bending minds at the Cobra Lounge in Chicago tonight. The Kickback, Born Cages, and American Wolf are also on the bill. Music starts at 8:00 PM.

If you follow musicians on Facebook, you’ve probably noticed a lot of them have pets. So it’s no surprise that a lineup of bands will be performing tonight at the A Cause for Paws benefit at the Underground Lounge at 952 W, Newport in Chicago. Alder Kings, Skull Fogger, Magatha Trysty, and Polarizer will be rocking to help the West Suburban Humane Society. The music starts at 7:00 PM. Magatha Trysty, by the way, promises to have a new album out some time this year.

Echoes Of Chicago is celebrating the city’s 178th birthday tomorrow night, March 28th, by bringing over 50 artists, three bands, and a marketplace to the 3rd floor of the Block Thirty Seven - Shops On State space at 108 N. State Street.

The Red Line Tap will present a two-hour variety show this Sunday, starting at 4:00 PM. Standup comedian Elizabeth Gomez will kick things off, followed by dance troupe The Revelettes; and the alternative rock bands The Darkroom Men, Gunnelpumpers, and Whitewolfsonicprincess.

Squeeze has announced that it will embark on its first UK tour in three years. The performances start on September 25th and run through October 24th. Tickets go on sale March 27th.

Those of us who remember watching The Monkees TV show on a school night can relive part of that experience by watching New Candy Store Prophets perform the band’s Pisces, Aquarius, Capricorn and Jones album in its entirety at Martyrs’ on Lincoln Avenue this coming Monday, March 30th.

Archie Powell and The Exports, the Chicago-based power pop band that tapped into a darker, speed metal place on its latest release Back in Black, are doing a free show at Empty Bottle this coming Monday night. 

The Smithereens return to The Arcada Theatre in St. Charles next Friday, April 3rd. Their last performance there was in October 2014 as part of a very fun 1980s showcase that also included The Romantics, Marshall Crenshaw, and Tommy Tutone. The format dictated that each act do a short set, but this time around, hopefully St. Charles will experience The Smithereens in all their power pop glory. 

Speaking of power pop icons, Paul Collins recently noted on Facebook that he’s honored that part of his European tour will include sharing a bill with John O’Neill of the legendary Irish punk group The Undertones, next Friday at the Sandinos Cafe - Bar in Ireland. O’Neill will be performing with artist Locky Morris as the duo Red Flare.

Four Doctors, no waiting. Doctor Who has been back on the air for 10 years now. Congratulations to Christopher Eccleston, David Tennant, Matt Smith, and Peter Capaldi for bringing the time-traveling alien from the planet Galifrey back to life and helping him thrive on our modern airwaves. Also, a round of applause for all the performers who have made The Doctor’s companions so much fun. The Doctor Who Facebook page has put together a montage of some of the show’s most shared clips during that time.


Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Who’s Who And Who’s New In The Hoodoo Gurus

To use the title of one of their numerous garage rock gems, May 23rd will be “Bittersweet” for the Hoodoo Gurus. That’s when the long-time Australian band will reprise the Be My Guru: The Evolution Revolution reunion concert they pulled off in their homeland last November. This time out, it will be part of Sydney’s annual Vivid Festival, within an alternative universe of psychedelic swirling lights and projected images. According to the Vivid website “Be My Guru: The Evolution Revolution will finally climax with all of the band’s current and past members on stage together, performing a mammoth tribal version of the band’s first single, ‘Leilani.’” But it will be the final show for drummer Mark Kingsmill, who has been onboard for 30 years. According to a post on the Hoodoo Gurus Facebook page, Kingsmill has been such an integral part of their sound, they considered breaking up. Eventually, they did find a replacement; naming Nik Rieth, formerly with The Celibate Rifles, as their new drummer.

Since a trip to Sydney is not currently feasible for me, and The Hoodoo Gurus haven’t visited the States for some time now, I’ll just have to cherish my memories of seeing their dynamic live shows at Metro and The Abbey Pub in Chicago. To help celebrate the Hoodoo Gurus’ heritage, here’s a review I did of their Purity Of Essence CD for the Illinois Entertainer back in 2010.

Back in the 1980’s, the imaginative garage rock of Australia’s Hoodoo Gurus evoked images of wild frat parties, but the recently released Purity Of Essence feels more like hanging out at the corner bar with an highly opinionated drunk. Lead vocalist and chief songwriter Dave Faulkner has been coming across as bitter and frustrated for some time now, as if the entire world has it in for him. Somehow, this results in a lot of fun on Purity Of Essence, which like its eight predecessors, is packed with irresistible melodies and rampaging guitars.

“Somebody Take Me Home,” a southern flavored rock song, finds Faulkner seeking salvation at his favorite watering hole, and on “Let Me In,” the pick-up lines turn progressively ugly as he notes, “If you’re looking for perfection, I aint the one.” “What’s In It For Me?” is a rollicking slam at panhandlers that evokes The Rolling Stones, while the first single, “Crackin’ Up” sets a defiant attitude to a supercharged arrangement. Faulkner’s best satire come on “I Hope You’re Happy,” a faux gospel number that skewers plastic surgery and trendy spirituality, and the funky “Only In America,” which takes another swipe at organized religion, as well as the treatment of migrant workers. There are a few misfires on this 16-song set, but for the most part, Purity Of Essence is a pure joy. 


Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Ex Hex - Rips

Ex Hex has been building a loyal following and collecting rave reviews since releasing its aptly named debut CD Rips last October. The Washington D.C. trio is comprised of alt rock veterans vocalist-guitarist Mary Timony (formerly with Wild Flag), drummer Laura Harris, and bassist Betsy Wright. Their high-energy songs hark back to the dawn of punk and new wave with hard-edged but irresistibly fun arrangements. 

“When you count on nothing, nothing comes along,” Timony warns on”Beast,” a high-speed romp that could have fit in perfectly on a Ramones LP. “How You Got That Girl,” which echoes The Cars’ “My Best Friend’s Girl” is a sobering look at a love/hate relationship. “You Fell Apart” throws several barbs in the direction of a creepy guy, and there’s also relationship trouble on the garage rock gem “Don’t Wanna Lose.” Ex Hex continues its authentic punk approach on “Waterfall,”  “New Kid,” and “War Paint,” while on the less manic “Waste Your Time,” Timony sings, “I just want to dance now.”


Friday, March 20, 2015


Photo from the Lloyd Cole and The Commotions Facebook page.

Lloyd Cole, who gave the world noir classics like “Perfect Skin” and “Rattlesnakes,” will be performing at the Old Town School of Folk Music tonight. Cole also recorded the exquisite classic pop tune “Jennifer, She Said.” 

The Everly Hillbillies, a Phil and Don inspired side project from Mike Cohen and Jeff Janulis of the esteemed power pop band The Abbeys, has a gig tonight at the Salt Creek Pizza Pub in Elk Grove Village.

Mooner, an indie rock band whose “Making Americans” single and Unpronounceable Name EP drew favorable reviews here on BHT, will be part of a free evening of rock dubbed SUXS Fest 2015 at Cole’s Bar tonight on Milwaukee Avenue. Band member Lee Ketch promises Mooner will be debuting some new material. Singer-songwriter Dann Morr, Post Child, and Arts and Letters are also on the bill. 

Singer-guitarist Gerry O’Keefe has a return engagement at Tannins Wine Bar in Elmhurst tonight.

Amazing Heeby Jeebies, a rollicking and fun rockabilly band, fronted by the charismatic Ary Paloma Jeebie, will be performing tomorrow night in the Green Room at Abbey Pub on Chicago’s northwest side.

There will be no cover charge for the two sets of honky-tonk originals and cover tunes by Decoy Prayer Meeting this Sunday night at Simon’s Tavern on Clark Street. The music starts at 8:30 PM.

The Public House Theatre at 3914 N. Clark is hosting a Sing With Bilbo! charity event for Chicago Loot Drop  this Sunday night. There will be a special screening of the 1977 Rankin-Bass animated film The Hobbit, and plenty of ale from the Arcade Brewery. Chicago Loot Drop’s mission is to bring together Chicago’s “gaming and nerd communities” to socialize and do good deeds, like providing toys and games for children at the University of Chicago’s Medicine’s Comer Children’s Hospital. The fun starts at 7:30 PM.

I’ve mentioned this before on BHT, but it’s worth a shout out every now and then. Powerpop fans can find old favorites and discover new gems by listening to The Secret Weapon on the online station Woody Radio. The songs (by Cheap Trick, The Dollyrots, Love Nut, The Replacements, and Salvation Army on a recent afternoon) spring from iPod of “Boris,” a well-known connoisseur of the genre, and are introduced by the fun and hip DJ Gidet. 

Dot Dash,  a Washington, DC band whose songs consistently exude a genuine punk aesthetic, just released its fourth effort. Earthquakes and Tidal Waves was produced by Mitch Easter of Let’s Active fame, and is available on the Beautiful Music website. 

The multi-faceted Dan Pavelich (musician/journalist/label honcho) has a new compilation coming out called Lost Hits Of The ‘80s. The fun concept behind this project is to have assorted musicians join together under fictitious band names and record new songs that tap into the fun and adventurous ambience of the 1980s. Pavelich is seeking support for Lost Hits Of The ‘80s on the Indiegogo funding site. 

Squeeze fans will want to check the band’s official Facebook page this coming Monday, March 23rd. A “very exciting announcement” has been promised by the band.

The young but authentically psychedelic foursome Secret Colours will be bending minds at the Cobra Lounge in Chicago next Friday night, March 27th. The Kickback, Born Cages, and American Wolf are also on the bill. Music starts at 8:00 PM.

There will be a Jack Bruce Tribute Concert in London in October, according to a post on the WXRT radio station’s website. Ginger Baker, Joss Stone, Phil Manzanera, Ian Anderson, Vernon Reid, Mark King, Liam Nailey, Fiona Bevan, and Jack Bruce’s Big Band have already agreed to take part, and more participants are expected to sign on in the coming months.

In addition to several Facebook posts from fans about what a nice guy David Tennant was while signing autographs at the Wizard World Raleigh Comic Con (no surprise), there was another fun Doctor -related item on social media recently. The Official Doctor Who page had a link to the Anglophenia website  concerning a film made by fan who works under the name nereusmedia  showing how the sci-fi series would look if it had been filmed in 1899. As for Tennant, here’s hoping he’ll come to Chicago for C2E2 and/or Wizard World Chicago Comic Con.

Those of us who remember watching The Monkees TV show on a school night can relive part of that experience by watching New Candy Store Prophets perform the band’s Pisces, Aquarius, Capricorn and Jones album in its entirety at Martyrs’ on Lincoln Avenue on Monday, March 30th.

Echoes Of Chicago is celebrating the city’s 178th birthday next Saturday, March 28th by bringing over 50 artists, three bands, and a marketplace to the 3rd floor of the Block Thirty Seven - Shops On State space at 108 N. State Street.

A lineup of Chicago bands, including Alder Kings, Skull Fogger, Magatha Trysty, and Polarizer, will join forces for the A Cause for Paws benefit for the West Suburban Humane Society next Friday at the Underground Lounge at 952 W, Newport in Chicago. The music startsat 7:00 PM.

I’ve been helping out with the proofreading and copyediting of this year’s CIMMfest (Chicago Movies and Music Festival) official program. I don’t want to steal their thunder before the program gets distributed, so let me just say CIMMfest will be presenting a global selection of exciting flicks; concerts; flick/concert combos; and special presentations at venues around the city from Thursday, April 16th through Sunday, April 19th. That’s going to be a hot weekend in town, with CIMMfest, International Pop Overthrow, and Record Store Day all taking place. I’d also like to commend the determination, dedication, and creativity of the CIMMfest staff members I’ve been working with these past few week. They’re amazing.


Tuesday, March 17, 2015

It’s Time To Fund What’s Lost

Last Friday’s Slumgullion had a mention of the WFMU digital fundraising album Even More Superhits of the Seventiesin which current power pop and cutting-edge acts like Mitch Easter, Green, and Marshall Crenshaw cover top-selling songs from that particular era. Today’s post moves up a decade, to the Lost Hits Of The 80’s album put out by musician/journalist/comic artist/indie label founder Dan Pavelich. He’s seeking support for this project on the Indiegogo funding site.

Pavelich has released compilations in the past—often with a holiday theme—but this time out, he’s aiming for a sort of faux nostalgia. With the exception of a cover of The Romantics’ “Talking In Your Sleep,” these are all new songs that tap into the fun and adventurous ambience of the 1980s. Or as the Indiegogo pitch states, “Chock-full of icy-cool synthesizers and shotgun snare drums, these twelve songs are guaranteed to conjure up images of time-traveling DeLoreans, Pong and checkered Vans.”

The lineup includes Lisa Mychols, Andrea Perry, Vince Nededog, and members of  The Well Wishers, The Waking Hours, The Bradburys, The Click Beetles, Too Much Saturn, The Good, 89 Mojo, October Elsewhere, and Down The Line; performing under some very 80s-sounding pseudonyms. With 13 days left, Lost Hits Of The 80’s has raised $165 of its $500 goal. Donations can be as little as $1, but for a $15 pledge, you’ll get a copy of the CD, and for $30, you’ll get the CD, a cassette, 80s-related goodies, and a digital download of The Click Beetles Wake Up To Music.


Monday, March 16, 2015

The Power Cords - Stray Comets

Even those of us who are only now discovering The Power Cords can believe their website when it claims Stray Comets continues the band’s “evolution from the straight-ahead power pop of their debut Modern Day Noise.” This third effort from the Los Angeles-based quartet features a variety of approaches from songwriters guitarist-vocalist Jeff Rosenfeld and basist-vocalist Ezra Siegel, who compose separately and are both proficient. Rosenfeld and Siegel also takes turns on lead vocals, which results in some intricate interplay and harmonies.

The single-named guitarist MASA!! adds fuel to the more energetic tracks like “Panic,” with its ironic take on the perils of relationships, and the ecologically minded “Megafauna.” The Power Cords also connect on slower material like The Beatles-inspired “Surface Of The Moon” and the acoustic “Cleaner” by crafting engaging melodies and arrangements. “Luxetine Dreams” recalls The Shins with its shimmering guitars, while “Dead Bolt” is propelled by drummer Patrick Nagy. “Stuck Here Again” is both punchy and playful, as the band adds a harder edge to a show tune ambience.


Friday, March 13, 2015

A Feast For Your Smiling Eyes

Photo from WXRT’s Facebook page.

Slumgullion was posted earlier today. This is a bonus Friday post.

Here’s hoping everyone stays safe and happy during the various St. Patrick’s Day celebrations starting tomorrow and running through Tuesday. Chicago has its official parade tomorrow, and the South Side version takes place on Sunday. WXRT’s afternoon drive-time air personality Jason Thomas is hosting an after parade party on the south side from 1:00 to 3:00 PM on Sunday at the Horse Thief Hollow bar at 10426 S. Western. The radio station will feature Irish rock and roll on the air all day Tuesday, and will host the XRT Miller Lite Sham Rock and Roll Live Broadcast with the Freddy Jones Band at Mystic Celt on Southport from 7:00 to 9:00 PM Tuesday night.

There will be a full day’s worth of festivities in my hometown of Palatine tomorrow, including a parade, and live entertainment at Durty Nellie’s that includes Scottish bagpipes, the Trinity Irish Dancers and five rock bands. There’s no cover charge at the bar/restaurant up until 3:00 PM.

The Abbey Pub on Chicago’s northwest side has a series of St. Patrick’s Day related events coming up. Laurence Nugent, Frank Quinn, Fitz and The Celts, Kevin Flynn and The Avondale Ramblers, Bag Pipers (I’m assuming that’s a band), and Fonn Morr will be on hand tomorrow, March 14th, and there will be a traditional Irish jam session on Sunday. Laurence Nugent and Frank Quinn return for the festivities on the actual St. Patrick’s Day; joining Mulligan Stew, The Great Whiskey Project, and the O’Hare Irish Dancers.

Martyrs’ on Lincoln Avenue will have a St. Patrick’s Day Bash tomorrow, with Tin Lynott and Paddy Melt. On Tuesday, March 17th, the club will present Muck Bros.

St. Patrick’s Day is a good time to lift a toast to all the bands that have sprung from the Emerald Isle. Acts like U2, Rory Gallagher, Van Morrison, Them, Snow Patrol, The Frames, Damien Rice, The Undertones, Little Green Cars, Stiff Little Fingers, Hothouse Flowers, The Urges, Horslips, Thin Lizzy, The Boomtown Rats, The Pogues, The Cranberries, Dexy’s Midnight Runners, Sinead O’Connor, My Bloody Valentine, and probably a lot of others I’m forgetting.

If you’re looking for more traditional Celtic music, I would recommend a mix of Irish and American acts, including Cherish The Ladies, Rising Gael, Aoife Clancy, Navan, Baal Tinne, The Chieftans, James Galway and Robbie O’Connell.

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