Thursday, May 28, 2015

Slumgullion


The Manchester band Temples, of “Shelter Song” fame, are the headline act at Do-Division Fest  this Sunday night. Several indie rock acts will be on hand as the festival runs from Friday, May 29th to Sunday, May 31st.

Outdoor art show season has arrived, and there’s a good one taking place this weekend at Michigan Avenue and Lake Street. The Millennium Art Festival isn’t the biggest of Chicago’s annual art events, but it always has an intriguing and eclectic selection of work. Admission is free.

Alan Parsons has a gig at The Arcada in St. Charles Friday, May 29th. On the following  night, Peter Noone’s Herman’s Hermits will be performing at the same venue. Both shows are very close to being sold out.

The Blisters, The Evening Attraction, and The Forest Fires will help The Throne Room at 2831 N. Broadway celebrate its 1 Year Anniversary Friday, May 29th. Show time is 9:00 PM.

Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds will likely be playing songs from their new Chasing Yesterday CD at their concert Saturday, May 29th, at the Riviera Theatre in Uptown. They have a show the next night at the Pabst Theatre in Milwaukee. 

Playwrights Beth Graham and Daniela Vlaskalic will be at Signal Ensemble Theatre this Saturday night for a “talkback and meet and greet” following the staging of their Jeff Recommended work The Drowning Girls.

Christie’s Dairy Delights in Palatine will celebrate its 1 Year Anniversary with a DJ and special deals this Saturday, May 30th, from 6 to 10 PM. 

Also in Palatine, Music On Stage will be presenting Damn Yankees at Cutting Hall from May 30th through June 14th.

Saturday, May 30th will be the last day for the Vintage Music Poster Show at Curly Tale Fine Art Gallery  at 16 W. Erie. The exhibit includes a framed ticket from a Cream concert, a Janis Joplin poster for her appearance at the Auditorium Theatre, and a Beatles poster from Japan. Admission is free.

The 2nd Annual Chicago Nightlife Awards, co-hosted by MTV’s Jesse Camp and Jeremy Scheuch from Do312, will take place this coming Tuesday, June 2nd at Concord Music Hall. Categories include Band of the Year, Best Live Music Venue, Best Festival, Best DJ, Blogger Of The Year, Photographer of the Year, and Nightclub of the Year.

Whitewolfsonicprincess, an alt rock band led by Carla Hayden and James Moeller from the Black Forest theatre group; The Rut, an alt rock band offshoot of the Famous In The Future sketch comedy group, and Citizen’s Relief, an off-kilter theatre duo will be part of a variety show that also includes the alt rock band Gunnelpumpers, comedian Elizabeth Gomez, and The Revelettes Go-Go Dancers this Sunday afternoon, May 31st at Red Line Tap. Black Forest, Famous In The Future (whom I used to perform with) and Citizen’s Relief are veterans of the annual Abbie Hoffman Died For Our Sins Festival.

Mary-Arrchie Theatre has announced that this year’s Abbie Hoffman Died For Our Sins Festival will run the weekend of August 14 – 16. Artistic Director Rich Cotovsky will once again channel Hoffman’s spirit throughout the event, and somewhere around 60 acts, performing drama, comedy, performance art, and music, will be involved. It’s going to be a weekend of tough choices because that’s also when Fest For Beatles Fans - Chicago and the Chicago Air And Water Show take place.  

Continuing the Mary-Arrchie theme, Carlo Lorenzo Garcia, a longtime director and actor with the company, has been writing and performing in a new Internet comedy series called Under Covers that’s a spoof of hardboiled detective shows. Cotovsky was a recent guest star.

Let them read CAKE. The Chicago Alternative Comics Expo will be held June 6th and 7th at The Center On Halsted. It’s being billed as a “Celebration and Marketplace Of Independent Comics. Special guests include Eleanor Davis, Gilbert Hernandez, Jaime Hernandez, Keiler Roberts, Zak Sally, Dash Shaw, Jillian Tamaki, and Lale Westvind. Admission is free.

Graham Parker And The Rumour have a 4:00 PM gig at City Winery Chicago on Sunday, June 7th, and an evening show on Monday, June 8th.

Death and Memphis, a guitar driven punk/rock and roll quartet that includes guitarist Steve Gerlach of Bad Examples, Tomorrow The Moon, and Sons of the Silent Age, has an EP release party coming up next Friday, June 5th at Liar’s Club in Chicago.

Another Kind Of Love: A Punk Rock Play, InFusion’s staging of Crystal Skillman’s study of a doomed female rock star, continues it run at Chopin Theatre through June 14th. Admission is $28.

It’s been a while since I’ve visited a piano bar, so I can’t really say what sort of music patrons should expect in such a venue. But I liked the variety Stan Karcz was offering at the Seasons 52 restaurant in Schaumburg this past Monday night. There were songs by Squeeze and Green Day along with the standards by Frank Sinatra and Tony Bennett. His playlist includes Gotye, Ray Charles, Patsy Cline, Blondie, Sam Cooke, and 4 Non Blondes. Karcz will be back at Seasons 52 in Schaumburg Monday, June 1st and Friday, June 5th. You can find his full schedule, as well as info about his original music, on his website.

That CD The Neverly Brothers have been promising is now available. The trio has developed a loyal following across the Chicago area with a show that traces the history of rock from its earliest days through the mid-1960s. A Magical History Tour, which captures that experience, will be available separately as Volume 1 and Volume 2 or as a set. As of now, the CDs are only being sold at The Neverly Brothers’ concerts.

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Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Motobunny - Motobunny


Motobunny is a new group comprised of members from two veteran and highly regarded garage rock acts that often toured together but had never joined forces before this self-titled debut. Vocalist Christa Collins and bassist-vocalist Rik Collins come from The Woolly Bandits while vocalist-keyboards player Nicole Laurenne, guitarist Michael Johnny Walker, and drummer Jay Lien are members of The Love Me Nots. Together they’ve forged a dozen high-energy songs that tap into garage and glam rock, with Christa Collins and Nicole Laurenne consistently working in tandem on vocals.

“Let’s Go Out,” with its ultra catchy mix of keyboards and guitar, could serve as a response to “This Beat Goes On/”Switching To Glide” by The Kings as Nicole Laurenne and Christa Collins extol the joys of a night on the town and toss in just a snippet of rap singing. The title track is a rapid-fire tale of a woman careening about on a motorcycle, while “Apocalypse Twist” makes the end of the world seem fun with an arrangement that sounds like The B-52’s, only more muscular. The vocal interplay on “Red Rover” is particularly impressive, and sassy on the Halloween fun of “My Boyfriend Is A Ghost” and “Spider And Fly.”

Rik Collins, who performed with The Seeds, provides some snakey bass playing on “Drown” and propels the hard-hitting opening track “The Other Side.” Walker provides plenty of guitar firepower throughout, and complements Lien’s drumming for a funky approach on the anthem “Shake Me.” It’s a safe bet that anyone encountering these musicians for the first time will want to explore what else they’ve recorded.

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Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Night Dials - “I’ve Done More Things”/“I’ll Sleep When I Die”


This very first release from Night Dials is a double A Side single that showcases the London based quintet’s obsession with recreating the bare-bones recording techniques favored by English bands in the early 1960s. From there, they add a more modern edge, particularly with energetic guitar playing. The songs are credited to a gentleman named Ilan Hartogh, but other than that, you won’t find much information about the members of The Night Dials on their own site or their record label’s

The stronger track, “I’ve Done More Things,” concerns a guy boasting superiority over his girlfriend’s new beau, even as he comes to realize his own relationship with her is doomed. The catchy arrangement, with its infectious drumbeat and emotive vocals, makes this song sound like it could gave sprung from an early LP by The Kinks. The melodic “I’ll Sleep When I Die” starts out ornate and simple with echoing vocals before morphing into a guitar-driven garage rock tune that would have been perfect to dance to in a 1960s swinging discotheque.

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Monday, May 25, 2015

The Unswept - The Unswept Today!


Photo from The Unswept Facebook page.

For the past few years, The Unswept’s official bio described how cousins Charlie and Ryan O’Brien first performed with a band in Sheffield, England before moving to the Chicago neighborhood of Logan Square in 2013. Since making their debut as a duo at International Pop Overthrow - Chicago that year, they’ve added Liz, who supposedly is another O’Brien cousin from the old neighborhood across the pond, on bass along with a drummer. A quick scan of the band’s website will have you wondering just how much of this back story actually happened, but it’s all done with an appealing sense of humor. Charlie and Ryan’s wit and charm has been evident throughout live performances, a 2014 self-titled debut, and the recently released The Unswept Today!

As the band’s chief songwriters, Charlie and Ryan continue to mix self-effacing lyrics with three-part harmonies and catchy arrangements that hark back to the earliest days of the British Invasion. On “Super Sad,” the talky vocals are at odds with the ringing guitars and irresistible melody, but the song still works as a satire of people intent on wallowing in self pity. “Please, Please Look My Way” is from the point of view of a guy crushing on a woman who works at the local department store, and on the acoustic-based “Mellow Doubt,” a lad fears he’ll never be good enough for the woman he loves. Even the peppy “(You Can) Do The Math,” which overflows with clever compliments for the beloved, tries to downplay the success of a romantic relationship. “Get Away” offers another intriguing juxtaposition, as the band uses some mind-bending psychedelia as the backdrop for a guy kicking his girlfriend out of their apartment.

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Thursday, May 21, 2015

Slumgullion


Photo from Veruca Salt's Facebook page.

Slumgullion comes out early again this week due to another action-packed Friday that will leave me no time to sit down at the computer and compose a typically massive and eclectic blog post. So here’s one now.

WXRT has been playing “The Gospel Of St. Me” by the recently reunited Veruca Salt. The guitar-driven song, with its gritty Rolling Stones feel, is from the upcoming album Ghost Notes. A summer tour is also in the works.

Burnside And Hooker, the six-piece band led by vocalist Rachel Bonacquisti, has a Release Party for its new All The Way To The Devil album at The Double Door on Friday, May 22nd. 

After another successful stay in Liverpool, David Bash now brings International Pop Overthrow to Stockholm this weekend at the Pet Sounds Bar. The Lannie Flowers Band, Dave Rave, and The Jeremy Band are (of course) on the schedule, along with hometown acts like Rooni, Top Sound, The Plastic Pals, and The Vanjas.

The Rolling Clones will be belting out Mick and Keith tunes Friday, May 22nd, at 27 Live in Evanston. Avant garde/indie rock band Whitewolfsonicprincess is the opening act.

Whitewolfsonicprincess will be part of a lineup that include Gunnelpumpers, The Rut, Citizen’s Relief, comedian Elizabeth Gomez, and The Revelettes Go-Go Dancers next Sunday afternoon, May 31st at Red Line Tap next.

Theatre Nebula’s staging of Godspell at Cutting Hall in my home town of Palatine wraps up this Sunday night, May 24th. 

The Church will share a double bill with The Psychedelic Furs on 20 of the dates for its summer tour in America. That includes New York, Philadelphia, Louisville, Kansas City (MO), Portland, Las Vegas, and San Diego. The Church has a solo show at The Old Town School Of Folk Music in Chicago on August 29th.

Sunken Ships, The Penthouse Sweets, and Milk At Midnight will comprise a triple bill of bands with unusual names at The Hideouot on Saturday, May 23rd.

Rain - A Tribute To The Beatles wraps up its week-long run at the Bank Of America Theatre this Sunday.

AIM: Angotti Illarde McDonough Rock And Roll Oldies Show, featuring Phil Angotti, Anthony Illarde, and Casey McDonough, takes place at Simon’s on Chicago’s north side this Sunday night at 9:00 PM. I’ve seen Angotti pay tribute to a number of 1960s acts, so I’m sure these “2 sets of top-of-the-head, skin-of-the-teeth oldies” will be a blast. There is no cover charge.

This coming Tuesday, Angotti continues his Tuesday night May residency at The Hideout with a show called For Pete’s Sake - The Songs Of Pete Ham and Pete Townshend

The Second Disc website recently reported that the Sundazed label is about to release the first three Lovin’ Spoonful album in mono on CD and 180-gram vinyl.

Singer-guitarist Kevin Lee, a Chicago music scene veteran who has released a number of albums over the years, recently posted on Facebook that he has written enough new material for a pair of albums. Each release will have its own vibe. He’ll start recording soon.

There’s only one week left for fans of 1960s and ‘70s rock to check out the Vintage Music Poster Show at Curly Tale Fine Art Gallery at 16 W. Erie. The exhibit, which includes a framed ticket from a Cream concert, a Janis Joplin poster for her appearance at the Auditorium Theatre, and a Beatles poster from Japan, closes May 30th. Admission is free. 

In other rock and roll related exhibit news, the Paul Natkin: Superstars exhibit runs through June 14th at the Ed Paschke Art Center on Chicago’s northwest side. Admission is free.

The Manchester band Temples, who racked up a lot of airplay with the psychedelic gem “Shelter Song” from their 2014 release Sun Structures, are the headline act for the Do-Division Fest  next Sunday. I can’t say that I’m familiar with all the acts at this event, but they’re definitely not the same ones booked for every other outdoor bash in the Chicago area. Which is a great reason to support Do-Division Fest.

The Romeros: They’re not just for the final night of International Pop Overthrow - Chicago anymore. IPO - Chicago veterans The Romeros, led by Mike Vanderbilt, will perform next Thursday, May 28th at Orland Days in Orland Park. I’d like to see this kind of unorthodox booking for Palatine’s outdoor concert series, but I know it will never happen.

Noel Gallagher’s High-Flying Birds will likely be playing songs from their new Chasing Yesterday CD at their concert next Saturday, May 29th, at the Riviera Theatre in Uptown. They have a show the next night at the Pabst Theatre in Milwaukee.

Alan Parsons has a gig at The Arcada in St. Charles next Friday, May 29th. On the following  night, Peter Noone’s Herman’s Hermits will be performing at The Arcada.

The Blisters, The Evening Attraction, and The Forest Fires will help The Throne Room celebrate its 1 Year Anniversary next Friday, May 29th. Show time is 9:00 PM.

Christie’s Dairy Delights in Palatine will celebrate its 1 Year Anniversary with a DJ and special deals next Saturday, May 30th, from 6 to 10 PM.

There will be a Help Rebuild Nepal Benefit Concert with Lynne Jordan, Wayne Baker Brooks, The Empty Pockets, and Rick King’s Royal Hustle at City Winery on June 16th. Tickets are $25.

Hey, I’m On A T-Shirt! Lucy Van Pelt from Peanuts once theorized that an individual cannot be considered famous unless he’s been on a bubblegum card. On Monty Python’s Flying Circus, a man was thrilled when his small village of Wainscotting was mentioned on television. Well, I feel honored that Chicago’s psychedelic band The Luck Of Eden Hall has included Broken Hearted Toy in a list of supporters on the back of its 2015 UK Tour t-shirt. I’m there along with Fruits de Mer Records; Goldmine Magazine; WXRT Local Anesthetic, and Vintage Vinyl Records, and other blogs and stores. The $25 t-shirts are available in color or black and white on The Luck Of Eden Hall’s Bandcamp page.   

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There’s Good Rockin’ On This Night


A hearty Broken Hearted Toy welcome to Jeff Beck, whose current tour brings him to the Chicago Theatre tonight. My longtime friend and Jeff Beck’s most ardent fan Maryel will be there, along with quite a few other people with excellent taste in guitar players. Beck moves on to the Riverside Theatre in Milwaukee tomorrow, and he’ll be at the State Theater Minneapolis on Saturday.

Those who don’t have the opportunity to see Beck in person can pick up his brand new CD LIVE +, which is now available from Best Buy online and Amazon. Recorded during his 2014 tour, it includes performances of classics like “Going Down,” “Morning Dew,” “Superstition,” and “A Day In The Life,” along with a few brand new songs. You can also get a sampling of Beck’s firepower by watching the video of “Hammerhead” on his official website.

Elsewhere in Chicago tonight:

Ellis Clark And The Big Parade with special guest vocalist Ary Jeebie will headline a five-band showcase at House Of Blues in downtown Chicago. Hannah Frank Group, Skipping Rocks, The Mainstays, and Coyote Union are the other bands performing at this ages 17+ show. The first band goes on at 7:30 PM; Ellis Clark And The Big Parade perform at 10 PM.

Secret Colours, Soft Speaker, The Van Goghs, and Bad Bad Meow will be performing at Martyrs in a show benefiting Supplies For Dreams, a nonprofit organization that helps Chicago Public Schools.

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Monday, May 18, 2015

Feral Conservatives - The Feeling Noise Becomes


The Virginia-based Feral Conservatives have been recording their distinctive music in bits and pieces over the past three years, while also building a loyal following with live performances. Their most recent release, the cassette EP The Feeling Noise Becomes, showcases how accomplished Rashie Rosenfarb has become at incorporating her folk style vocals and mandolin playing into the cutting-edge arrangements she forges with drummer Matt Francis and bassist Dan Avant. The four tracks are also available for download on the group’s Bandcamp page.  

On Misfire,” aggressive rock instrumentation creeps in around Rosenfarb’s beautiful singing and picks up steam as the song progresses. That pristine vs. power tension is even more impressive on “Class Reunion,” which features some classic guitar feedback, intricately layered vocals and a strong melody. Feral Conservatives opt for a more straight-forward folk approach on “Lies” backed a steady drum beat, while the catchy “Last Legs” has an appealing hint of R.E.M.

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