Monday, November 30, 2015

Ex Norwegian - Pure Gold

Singer-guitarist Roger Houdaille formed Ex Norwegian in 2008 and the band has established a loyal following through various incarnations between Miami and New York over the years. Its song "It's A Game," originally done by String Driven Thing (but a bigger hit for The Bay City Rollers), was recently released as part of a split single with the European band Permanent Clear Light on Fruits de Mer. That's a badge of honor for those of us who are well-acquainted with the vinyl-only UK label's high standards for garage, psychedelic, and prog music.

Having endured various band breakups and even some recent health issues, it's all the more impressive that Houdaille was able to record the consistently top notch Pure Gold with his current Ex Norwegian lineup of vocalist Michelle Grand, guitarist Lucas Queiroz, bassist Guiseppe Rodriguez, and drummer Fernando Perdomo. The new album is available for pre-order on Bandcamp and will be released on December 11 in special autographed and deluxe bonus disc CD-R editions. All proceeds will go toward helping pay Houdaille's medical bills.

Ex Norwegian taps into power pop, psychedelic, and indie rock on this melodic collection of originals and deep covers of songs by Paul McCartney, Melanie, The Shirts, and others. The previously mentioned first single "It's A Game" maintains the quirky charm of the original while establishing the essential role Houdaille and Grand's harmonies will play on Pure Gold. Their vocal interplay is more adventurous on "Cyclone" and "On The Sidelines," energetic songs that call to mind bands like Trona, Game Theory, and Let's Active. "Keep Under Cover" is light and whimsical while the title track features some slinky bass playing from Rodriguez. "Shadow Ships," fueled by guitarists Houdaille and Queiroz, exudes the power of catching Ex Norwegian in a local club.

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Friday, November 27, 2015

Slumgullion

Here's hoping everyone had a festive Thanksgiving and productive day of Black Friday shopping, vinyl or otherwise.

Two of the better-known and most fun bands from Chicago's 1970s/80s cutting-edge club scene will be at the Tuts Reunion and Holiday Party tonight at Mayne Stage. Heavy Manners play irresistible ska songs like "Taking The Queen To Tea," "Flamin' First," and "Blue Beat," while Tutu And The Pirates, who once embraced the description 'sub urban insult rock,' revel in unsettling subject matter like mass murder and cannibalism. MC Tony Dale will also be on hand. The music starts at 9:00 PM.

A hearty Broken Hearted Toy welcome to Squeeze, which will be at Park West in Chicago tonight and tomorrow for acoustic performances featuring founding members Glenn Tilbrook and Chris Difford. The songs on Cradle To The Grave, the band's first full album of new material in 17 years, showcase the witty lyrics, catchy melodies, and harmony vocals fans have come to expect.

This is a rare opportunity to see Squeeze in an intimate setting, and the shows are part of WXRT's Holiday Concert For The Kids series. If you plan on going, be sure to bring a new or like new book or toy that can be passed along to a child in Chicago area hospitals during the holiday season.

Singer-songwriter (and author-model car maker) Dean Milano will be performing tonight at the Port Edward seafood restaurant in Algonquin. Milano has a classic folk vocal style, and he frequently adds a satiric edge to his original material.

LI-ON GREVIER, a collective of musicians from north of the border, has a new single called "My World Is Empty (Theme)" available for free download on Soundcloud. It's an ethereal, catchy acoustic-based number with layered vocals from the Toronto-based group, whose self-titled full-length debut came out in 2013. 

This is the last weekend to see the Music On Stage production of the musical Thoroughly Modern Millie at Cutting Hall in Palatine.

Yesterday's Holiday Shopping Guide here on BHT offered a few suggestions on where to find unique gifts for all the rock and roll fans on your list. Another great resource is The Second Disc website, which provides essential information on new boxed sets and special releases. For example, the new Chorus five-disc boxed set from the coed English shoegazer band Lush. Due out on December 4, Chorus will include all of Lush's officially recorded efforts, plus B-Sides, unreleased tracks, and other rarities.

Sopro will presents its 33rd Annual Thanksgiving All Star Blues Revue on tomorrow, November 28 at Sullivan's Pub and Eatery in Midlothian. The lineup once again features The Chicago Horns, along with Sopro regulars like guitarist-vocalist Joey Drada; keyboards player Greg Wolfman; and vocalist Deb Seitz. This year's edition will have a memorial to harmonica player Jody Noa that will include harmonica players Doug Lee, Ken Gibbons, and Ted Aliotta. The festival begins at 9:00 PM.

Whitewolfsonicprincess has invited over 10 musical acts to join in the fun of its annual Toys For Tots benefit next Saturday at Red Line Tap on Chicago's north side. Performers include The Telepaths; Winston Gerbil; Ten Gallon Hats/5 Gallon Heads; The Myths Of Suburbia; Lady Stardust; The Revellettes go-go dancers; The Dark Room Men; Jeff Brown and The New Black; and The Rut. There's also a slot on the schedule that reads The Raffle with Famous In The Future, but it's not clear if that's an actual raffle or if The Raffle is another musical offshoot of the Famous In The Future comedy group, like The Rut and Lady Stardust. Meanwhile, Whitewolfsonicprinces has been busy working on its third album.

If you missed Cliff Johnson of Off Broadway and Pezband fame performing with The Raine at The Minstrel Paloza show at Durty Nellies, you'll get another shot to see this inspired matchup on December 18 at 27 Live in Chicago.

A few weeks back, I mentioned a power pop double bill of Van Go and The Valley Downs at The Gallery Cabaret, but failed to fully digest the information that was sent to me about it. The gig was one of the last we'll see by Van Go, who unfortunately are winding down their playing days. I've praised Van Go a number of times here on BHT for their live shows and CDs. They play a hard-edged brand of power pop with acerbic lyrics, and will be missed on the Chicago scene. At least we'll be able to see some of the members in other bands they're involved in, such as The Right Tidys. I also should have mentioned that The Valley Downs, another BHT favorite, have a brand new song called "The Prettiest Girl In Salem." 

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Thursday, November 26, 2015

The Fifth Annual Holiday Shopping Guide

Happy Thanksgiving!

The holiday season is now officially underway, so here are some rock and roll-related ideas for yourself or those special people on your gift list.

A new and exciting version of The Beatles' 1 album just came out, in which each chart-topping hit is matched with a short promotional film created by The Beatles around the same time. The 27 tracks will be in new stereo and surround-sound mixes. There's a deluxe version that comes with over 200 minutes of Beatles promotional clips and a 124-page, illustrated hardcover book.

Graham Nash is about to release This Path Tonight, his first solo effort in 14 years. The 10-song CD is available for pre-order as part of an exclusive Amazon package deal that also includes a DVD that appears to have been filmed during Nash's last solo tour. 
 
In addition to selling instruments and accessories, The Music Room in Palatine has some fun stocking stuffers. There's a variety of guitar ornaments, as well as a set of four coasters that look like vinyl records. Each coaster depicts a different rock era; the early days in Memphis, the California scene, the British Invasion, and Woodstock.
   
If you don't mind getting up cloudy and early tomorrow morning, Black Friday Record Store Day offers a wealth of limited-edition vinyl treasures across every imaginable genre for avid collectors. Talk about a unique gift. This year, the list includes vinyl from The B-52's; Charlie Parker/Dizzy Gillespie/Bud Powell/Max Roach; Phil Collins; Beck; Jeff Beck; Earth, Wind and Fire; Big Star; David Bowie; Ben Harper; John Lee Hooker; The Isley Brothers; Janis Joplin with Big Brother and The Holding Company; Les Paul and Mary Ford; Jerry Lee Lewis; The Kinks; and The Zombies. Supplies are limited and a lot of these records sell out quickly. See the official Record Store Day website for details. 
 
WXRT's Live From The Archives Volume 17, the latest in a series of CDs that feature exclusive concert performances that have aired on the FM station, will be available on Friday, December 4 at Target stores in the Chicago area. This year’s edition is supported by Blue Cross Blue Shield of Illinois, with proceeds benefiting The City Project and the Logan Square Neighborhood AssociationThe songs include "Take Me To Church" by Hozier and "Ex's and Oh's" by Elle King, along with lesser-known but engaging tracks like Bob Mould's "If I Can't Change Your Mind," Wilco's "Box Full Of Letters," and Veruca Salt's "Seether. I still think WXRT should offer some sort of cool container for those of us who have collected the entire set.
 
The Fest For Beatles Fans annual holiday catalog has 32 pages of Fab Four inspired memorabilia, that includes cufflinks, bottle openers, lamps, socks, dice, dart boards, jigsaw puzzles, plush dolls, lunch boxes, pajamas, and umbrellas. If you’re not on the mailing list for the catalog, you can check out the Fest For Beatles Fans official website.
 
A number of new rock and roll biographies and autobiographies have been released recently, including Don't All Thank Me At Once - The Lost Pop Genius Of Scott Miller, Brett Milano's book about the Game Theory and The Loud Family singer-guitarist. For those interested in finding out all about Tom Petty, there's Petty: The Biography by Warren Zanes. Elvis Costello penned Unfaithful Music and Disappearing Ink; Patti Smith gave us M Train; and Chrissie Hynde looked back at her career with Reckless: My Life As A Pretender.
 
You can purchase t-shirts, buttons, magnets, holiday songs, tour books, or other special items by checking out the websites of your favorite recording artists.
 
Concert tickets are always a nice surprise as a holiday gift, but don’t neglect the local clubs. Here in Chicago, we have an especially active music community that encompasses rock, jazz, blues, hip hop, house, soul, country, and classical. Just about every group has a website where you can buy its music in various formats. Support your local bands. The same goes for Chicago’s theatre scene, which ranges from Broadway-bound productions to the in-your-face work of storefront venues.

This holiday season, give thoughtfully, and give creatively.

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Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Friday, I'll Have Vinyl On My Mind

First, a quick reminder about two shows going on in Chicago tonight. EXPO '76 is having a Thanksgiving Eve Party at FitzGerald's in Berwyn; and The Safes, The Differents, The Red Plastic Buddha, and The Regals are at Live Wire on Milwaukee Avenue in Chicago. See my November 19 post for more details.

The Black Friday version of Record Store Day may not have caught on as well as its older sibling in April, but Val's Halla Records in Oak Park, IL is once again going all out to commemorate day-after-Thanksgiving record hunting. This year, CAUDOG recording artist and Chicago music scene veteran Ellis Clark will be hosting a free event at the store from 10:00 AM to 4:00 PM with his band The Big Parade and special guest vocalist Ary Jeebie from the "garagabilly deluxe" band Amazing Heebie Jeebies.

In addition to his solo career, Clark has performed with Epicycle, Social Act, and The Handcuffs. He's also done a number of tribute shows around town. Other guests scheduled for the Val's Halla bash include John Kimsey Twisted Roots Ensemble; Greg Combs; Aerhereal; The Country Doctors; Tom Linsk; Josh Lava; and The Hannah Frank Band. In addition to all that music, there will be light refreshments. Val's Halla Records will open at 9:00 AM this Friday. Other stores in the Chicago area will be taking part in Black Friday Record Store Day, so you might want to check in with your favorite one to see if there's anything special going on.

As for Black Friday Record Store Day itself, there is once again an amazing variety of genres involved, including classic and mainstream rock, punk, country, jazz, soul, classical, blues, heavy metal, rap, soundtracks, holiday, and techno. Here's a look at some of the records that caught my eye.

The B-52's - Live! 8-24-79 LP on gold vinyl; Beck - "Dreams" 12-inch single on 180g blue vinyl; Jeff Beck - Performing This Week at Ronnie Scott's Deluxe Limited Edition triple LP;  Big Star "Jesus Christ" 10-inch EP on color vinyl with download card; David Bowie - Earthling LP on 180 gram audiophile translucent green vinyl with tri-fold cover; Buzzcocks - Another Music In A Different Kitchen LP on translucent orange vinyl; Johnny Cash - Man In Black Live In Denmark 1971 double LP.

Garbage - 20th Anniversary double LP reissue of the band's first record, on pink vinyl; Houndmouth - "Sedona" seven-inch picture disc, with a live cover of "Runaround Sue" on the B-side; The Kinks - Dedicated Kinks and Kwyet Kinks EPs on seven-inch vinyl; Spoon - cover of The Cramps' "TV Set" and reworked version of "Let Me Be Mine" on 10-inch black vinyl; Various Artists - High Fidelity Soundtrack 15th Anniversary double LP on orange vinyl; The Zombies - The BBC Sessions with previously unreleased interviews and songs, on double LP.

See the Record Store Day website for the full Black Friday list. And, good hunting!

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Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Nash News

After seeing a recent Graham Nash Facebook post heralding a major announcement, I thought it might be the eBay listing that gave fans a chance to bid on being part of his May 20, 2016 BBC Radio 4: Mastertapes VIP Experience. (See last Thursday's post for details.) As it turns out, the teaser was more likely referring to This Path Tonight (Nash's first solo effort in 14 years) and his U.S. tour to support it. The 10-song CD is available for pre-order as part of an exclusive Amazon package deal that also includes a DVD that appears to have been filmed during Nash's last solo tour. 

When Nash performed "Golden Days" and "Myself At Last" from This Path Tonight during a superb show at The Arcada in St. Charles last July, he promised the songs would be on an upcoming album he was working on with Shane Fontayne. The veteran musician/producer was the only other performer onstage with Nash during that tour. The 20 songs on the DVD include "Bus Stop" and "King Midas In Reverse," which Nash originally did with The Hollies; "I Used To Be A King" and "Simple Man" from his solo work; and "Marrakesh Express," "Wasted On The Way," and "Our House" from Crosby, Stills and Nash.

Nash's next solo tour starts on January 27 in Ponte Vedra, FL, and has stops in Atlanta, Nashville, Philadelphia, New York, Vienna, VA, and Austin. Chicago isn't on the list yet, but there's a gap between February 25 and May 5, so there might be additional dates. I'm not sure if he'll feel he already covered the Chicago area with his St. Charles gig last time out, but those two locations are not very close to each other. It would be nice to catch a Nash show at City Winery Chicago.

Graham Nash fans will also be grateful to hear that he contributed commentary and a chapter to the film and book I Hope You Dance. It airs as a special on the Hallmark Movies and Mysteries Channel this Thanksgiving night at 9:00 PM EST.

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Friday, November 20, 2015

Slumgullion

WXRT's ONXRT: Live From The Archives Volume 17 will be available starting December 4 at Target stores in the Chicago area. As with past volumes in this series, all the tracks were recorded at local venues and aired at some point on the progressive rock station. Regular XRT listeners will be (overly?) familiar with the selection, particularly "Take Me To Church" by Hozier and "Ex's and Oh's" by Elle King. For my tastes, the highlights are Bob Mould's "If I Can't Change Your Mind," Wilco's "Box Full Of Letters," and Veruca Salt's "Seether." It would have been fun to have a few vintage selections, but with the exception of Mould's 2008 track, all the songs were pulled from performances in the past two years. ONXRT Volume 17 is supported by Blue Cross Blue Shield and proceeds will benefit The City Project and the Logan Square Neighborhood Association.

They'll be painting the town red and yellow (to match the lighted trees) from 5:00 to 9:00 PM tonight in Palatine as part of the annual Holidays On The Town event. A number of stores and venues in the downtown area (including Durty Nellie's and Tap House Grill) will be have special offers, sales, and festive hors d'oeuvres.

Also in Palatine, Music On Stage will be presenting the musical Thoroughly Modern Millie at Cutting Hall

Over 100 indie presses will be represented during the Chicago Book Expo tomorrow at Columbia College. The event, which started in 2011, runs from 11:00 AM to 5:00 PM at 1104 S. Wabash in Chicago. Special programs are scheduled for other locations in the city; see the official website for the full schedule. According to a piece by Jeremy Mikuula in the Chicago Tribune, the Chicago Book Expo aims to spotlight Chicago writers and publishers.

On a related note, sisters Rebecca and Kimberly George have started an IndieGoGo campaign to help open their new independent bookstore Volumes Bookcafe in the Wicker Park neighborhood. So far, they've raised $4,200 of their $20,000 goal.

Chicago filmmaker Michael Smith's feature-length film Cool Apocalypse will receive its Chicago premiere at The Gene Siskel Film Center tomorrow night at 8:00 PM. There will be another screening on Monday, November 23 at 8:15 PM.

Death And Memphis, The Mizzerables, This Obsession, and Horrible will be playing at Quenchers Saloon tomorrow night as part of the Break: Hunger Food Drive and Fundraiser in partnership with the Lakeview Pantry.

Echo Fest 6, which looks to be a very psychedelic happening, takes place tomorrow at The Loving Touch in Ferndale, Michigan from 6:00 PM until the early hours of Sunday. Fourteen bands, including Chicago's The Red Plastic Buddha, will be performing on two stages.

Damn right, I got the drumstick. I meant to include this in yesterday's preview of Thanksgiving weekend shows in the Chicago area. Sopro will presents its 33rd Annual Thanksgiving All Star Blues Revue on Saturday, November 28 at Sullivan's Irish Pub and Eatery in Midlothian. The lineup once again features The Chicago Horns, along with Sopro regulars like guitarist-vocalist Joey Drada; keyboards player Greg Wolfman; and vocalist Deb Seitz. This year's edition will have a memorial to harmonica player Jody Noa that will include harmonica players Doug Lee, Ken Gibbons, and Ted Aliotta. The festival begins at 9:00 PM.

Just to recap, here are the Thanksgiving weekend items mentioned in yesterday's post: EXPO '76 will be at FitzGerald's in Berwyn on Wednesday night; The Safes, The Differents, The Red Plastic Buddha, and The Regals will at Live Wire on Chicago Wednesday night; Squeeze, featuring founding members Glenn Tilbrook and Chris Difford will give acoustic performances at Park West next Friday and Saturday; and Dean Milano will be performing on Friday at the Port Edward seafood restaurant in Algonquin. Also, Record Store Day Black Friday will held at record stores around the country.

Taking the Queen to some post-Thanksgiving fun. Two of the better-known bands from Chicago's 1970s/80s cutting-edge club scene will be part of the Tuts Reunion and Holiday Party next Friday.  Heavy Manners with Kate "Too Cool" Fagan, known for irresistible ska songs like "Taking The Queen To Tea," and sub urban insult punks Tutu And The Pirates will be joining MC Tony Dale at Mayne Stage on Chicago's far north side. I still have a tattered copy of the December 1978 Metro Entertainment Calendar with my cover story on Tutu And The Pirates.

Artist/art critic (and my editor when I wrote for Chicago Art Machine) Robin Dluzen will be the curator for the Skimption exhibition that runs from December 4 through January 31 at the Ukrainian Institute Of Modern Art in Chicago. According to the press release, artists Diana Gabriel, Emily Hermant, Luis Sahagun, Catherine Schwalbe, and Rusty Shackleford "defy all the usual qualifiers: 'painter,' 'sculptor,' 'fiber artist,' [and] 'ceramicist.'" The opening reception on December 4 starts at 6:00 PM; the Ukrainian Institute Of Modern Art is located at 2320 W. Chicago Avenue.

Metric's upcoming I Can See The End tour kicks off with a gig on February 12 at The House Of Blues in Chicago. Tickets went on sale today. Joywave will be the opening act. Metric's latest release Pagans In Vegas is available on CD, double LP vinyl, and in digital format.

Flight Of The Conchords fans are bound to enjoy What We Do In The Shadows, the vampire mockumentary written and directed by Conchords member Jemaine Clement and fellow New Zealand comedian Taika Waititi. The contrast between droll dialogue and over-the-top carnage is consistently funny, but there's also a coherent narrative and some tender moments. The film is now available on DVD.

A triple bill of Razorhouse, The Handcuffs, and I Lost Control will take place on December 11 at Martyrs' on Chicago's north side. Admission is $8; showtime is 9:00 PM.

Chris Isaak's 13th album First Comes The Night is now available on Amazon. The material ranges from the ballads "Please Don't Call" and "Rerverie" to the old time rock-a-billy "Going Down In Flames," and the Elvis Presley-inspired "Love The Way You Kiss Me."    

There's still time to vote for Cheap Trick to be inducted into the Rock And Roll Hall of Fame. It's fun and easy to do, and not one of the nominees has said anything really ignorant. 

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Thursday, November 19, 2015

Ooh You're A Holiday

Celebrate an American holiday weekend with a quintessential English band.

Thanksgiving is one week from today, which means there will be four nights to explore Chicago's vibrant club scene without having to get up early for work or classes the next morning. Here are few options.

EXPO '76 is throwing a Thanksgiving Eve Party next Wednesday night at FitzGerald's in Berwyn. The cover band is comprised of four musicians with vast experience in other groups, like The Slugs, Poi Dog Pondering, The Service, etc. They're often joined on their eclectic selection of cover tunes by the Total Pro Horns. EXPO '76 has also been booked to welcome in the new year at FitzGerald's.

Also on Thanksgiving Eve, there will be a four-band showcase at Live Wire on Milwaukee Avenue in Chicago featuring The Safes, The Differents, The Red Plastic Buddha, and The Regals. I haven't had a chance to hear The Safes' latest effort , but their 2014 effort Record Heat served up an impressive collection of punk/garage rock songs with an occasional hint of power pop and country. The Red Plastic Buddha's third and most adventurous album Songs For Mara had a number of psychedelic classics, such as "Stuck On Zero" and "Cosmonaut." The Differents play easy-going and catchy pop tunes, while The Regals pursue a more hard-edged punk sound.

The day after Thanksgiving is Black Friday Record Store Day. Even those of us who have never risen before the crack of dawn to stand outside a Target or Sears, will brave the elements in order to snag some of the one-day only vinyl treasures on this holiday edition of Record Store Day. Some of the more notable offerings next Friday will come from The B-52's; Beck; Big Star; David Bowie; Garbage; Houndmouth; The Kinks; The Sonics; Spoon; Lush; and The Zombies. See the RSD website for the full list.

Squeeze will be at Park West in Chicago November 27 and 28 for acoustic performances featuring founding members Glenn Tilbrook and Chris Difford. The songs on Cradle To The Grave, the band's first full album of new material in 17 years, showcase the witty lyrics, catchy melodies, and harmony vocals fans have come to expect. This is a rare opportunity to see Squeeze in an intimate setting, and the shows are part of WXRT's Holiday Concert For The Kids series. If you plan on going, be sure to bring a new or like new book or toy that can be passed along to a child in Chicago area hospitals during the holiday season.

Singer-songwriter (and author-model car maker) Dean Milano will be performing on November 27 at the Port Edward seafood restaurant in Algonquin. Milano has a classic folk vocal style, and he frequently adds a satiric edge to his original material. 

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Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Three Hour Tour - Action And Heroes

The first release from power pop band Three Hour Tour since 2010's Looking For Tomorrow finds vocalist-guitarist Darren Cooper once again doing just about everything, with help from three highly regarded Illinois-based musicians. Adam Schmitt co-produced Action And Heroes with Cooper, and plays keyboards; drummer Brad Elvis appears on nine tracks; and John L. Richardson drums on the other two. Cooper continues his penchant for setting cryptic lyrics to fetching melodies; bouncing from songs about relationships to ones exploring social issues.

The satirical title track skewers the marketing behind modern heroes and trends ("We could use a little vision in this life"), while on the hard-hitting "March Of The Fakers," Cooper notes, "We long to know but we're never told the truth." Brad Elvis channels his own hero Keith Moon on the energetic "Afterlife," and Cooper adds some hard rock guitar toward the end of the otherwise 1960s flavored "No Guarantee." The slower "Somewhere" has a hint of glam, and there's a nod to Revolver era Beatles on "Alameda." The best track here is "Nowhere Bound," a wistful look back at a relationship that employs an irresistible melody along with an appealing blend of electric and acoustic guitars.

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Monday, November 16, 2015

Brinsley Schwarz - Live Favourites

Brinsley Schwarz was like an Anglo version of Big Star in that it’s often credited with sparking the evolution of cutting-edge rock in the 1970s, and yet never achieved widespread success. Founding member guitarist-vocalist Brinsley Schwarz and keyboards player Bob Andrews would bring much of what they perfected with this group to their work in Graham Parker’s critically backing band The Rumour. Bassist-vocalist Nick Lowe and guitarist-vocalist Ian Gomm would move on to successful solo careers.

The 13-track Live Favourites comes from a show recorded at The Top Rank Club in Cardiff, UK back in 1974, with Schwarz, Andrews, Lowe, and Gomm, along with Pick Withers (later in Dire Straits) filling in for regular drummer Billy Rankin. Recently released on the English indie label Mega Dodo as a limited-edition 180 gram black vinyl edition, Live Favourites serves as an entertaining introduction to a band that reportedly felt more comfortable whipping up a party on stage than recording in the studio.

“Happy Doing What We’re Doing” perfectly describes the Brinsley Schwarz approach, with Lowe’s slinky bass and Andrews’ festive organ playing leading the way. It’s a simple but fun song about the joy of playing music, much like Todd Rundgren’s “Bang On The Drum All Day.” The soulful "Hooked On Love” and “Surrender To The Rhythm” might have been exactly what Parker had in mind when he was putting together The Rumour, while “Country Girl” taps into Country and Western music.


The band charges through Lowe’s "What's So Funny About Peace, Love And Understanding?" with harmony vocals and keyboards that differentiate it from Elvis Costello's better-known version. “It’s Been So Long” feels more like the original Elvis, while “You’re So Fine” and a cover of the standard “Trying To Live My Life Without You” have a good-time rock and roll feel. The aptly named “Honky Tonk” is a bluesy tune about playing in music joints, while “Hip City” bounces along with horns and energetic guitar playing.

I was recently informed by John at Mega Dodo that the label has sold all of its copies of Live Favourites. He suggested people check out Ian Gomm's website. It does look like Mr. Gomm is offering a CD recording of a 1974 Brinsley Schwarz performance at The Top Rank Club. Maybe he has some vinyl copies as well.

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Friday, November 13, 2015

Slumgullion

Popgun! graphic from The Jangle Band Facebook page.

They'll be setting up a Moral Kiosk tonight at Metro on Clark Street as tribute band Tributosaurus performs Murmur+ R.E.M.'s greatest hits. The 18 and older show, which is part of Metro's 33 1/3 Anniversary celebration, starts at 8:00 PM.  

Local indie rock band Whitewolfsonicpricess is hosting a multi-act event called The Rock 'N' Roll Circus this Sunday at The Red Line Tap. Additional performers include the theatrical duo Citizen's Relief; performance artist KC Chronis; The Rut (a musical offshoot of the Famous In The Future comedy group); and The Telepaths, a garage rock band that includes James Moeller from Whitewolfsonicprincess and journalist and Famous In The Future cast member Pat Uber-Critic McDonald. Admission is $5.00 and the eclectic-ity starts at 4:00 PM. When I reviewed that last showcase Whitewolfsonicprincess staged at The Red Line Tap, I compared it to the freewheeling Abbie Hoffman Died For Our Sins festival that Mary-Arrchie hosts each year.

Actually, there will be only one more Abbie Fest since the Mary-Arrchie Theatre is calling 2015/16 its final season after 30 years of offering cutting-edge theatre on Chicago's north side. Mary-Arrchie is currently staging Henrik Ibsen's Ghosts through December 20. The play is directed by Neo-Futurists founding director Greg Allen. 

Tickets went on sale today for Guster's January 29 show at the Vic Theatre. Other upcoming shows include Rhett Miller at City Winery on December 12 and Savages at Metro on April 7, 2016. 

The Dandy Warhols will be at Thalia Hall in Chicago's Pilsen neighborhood next Thursday, November 19, with The Shivas as their opening act. On November 27 and 28, Houndmouth will be at Thalia Hall. 

Chicago filmmaker Michael Smith's feature-length film Cool Apocalypse will receive its Chicago premiere at The Gene Siskel Film Center next Saturday, November 21at 8:00 PM. There will be another screening on Monday, November 23 at 8:15 PM. Smith also wrote the movie, which centers on twenty-somethings on Chicago's north side embarking on romantic adventures. From the description, it looks like a bit of paranormal activity may be involved as well.

Practice, practice, practice. Congratulations to Liverpool Legends on getting to Carnegie Hall. The Beatles tribute band has a March 5, 2016 date at the esteemed New York performance venue.

Gregory Curvey, who performs with the Chicago-based psyche band The Luck Of Eden Hall, has begun work on the soundtrack for the upcoming Traveling Without Moving from Dreaming Tree Films. The flick is about teenagers who search for their parents in another world, utilizing their science project. The Luck Of Eden Hall previously created the theme song for the Chicago WTTW TV show Moochie Kalala Detectives Club.

David Tennant and Billie Piper, who resolved potential disasters around the galaxy as The Doctor and Rose Tyler on Doctor Who, will be at Wizard World Comic Con in St. Louis, MO in early April and at Wizard World Comic Con in Madison, WI about a week later. Tennant portrayed the 10th version of The Doctor. Matt Smith, who followed him as the 11th Doctor, will be joining Karen Gillan and Jenna Coleman, (who portrayed his companions Amy Pond and Clara Oswald, respectively) at Wizard World Comic Con in New Orleans in January, and at Wizard World Comic Con in Portland in February. So far, there has been no mention of any of the above coming to Wizard World Comic Con in Chicago next August, but there's still time.

I've finally had a chance to check Peter Capaldi as the 12th version of The Doctor on Doctor Who, thanks to a DVD box set from the Palatine Public Library. Capaldi is definitely a change of pace from the younger Smith and Tennant, but he brings his own humor and dark-edged charisma to one of the most famous roles in sci-fi television. The way his Doctor spars with Coleman's Clara, and his awkward reactions to human emotions suggests an older Sheldon Cooper from The Big Bang Theory. As far as I know, there hasn't been a Doctor Who-related cameo on The Big Bang Theory, but it sure would be fun to see Tennant, Piper, Smith, Gillan, Coleman, or Capaldi drop in on Sheldon and Leonard.

SPACE in Evanston has announced upcoming shows for A Night Of Warren Zevon Songs performed by the tribute band Androgynous Mustache (January 21); Nicholas Tremulis and his Orchestra with Jay O'Rourke (January 29); Corky Siegel's Chamber Blues (February 6); Shawn Colvin (February 19 and 20); and Heather Nova on April 12.

Atlanta-based power pop trio The Head's new five-song EP Millipedes becomes available today on Spotify, iTunes, and other digital and retail outlets. There's a release party tonight at Lilypad in Cambridge, MA.

Phil Angotti and Tony Richards will be performing classic pop songs and original material next Thursday, November 19 at Davenport's Cabaret on Milwaukee Avenue in Chicago's Wicker Park neighborhood.

If you're looking for something to do on New Year's Eve and don't mind traveling to Australia, musician Joe Algeri has a four-band event called Popgun! scheduled at the Bassendean Hotel. The Jangle Band, one of Algeri's groups (he's also a member of The Britannicas); DM3; High Horse; and Surf Mist will be on hand to welcome in 2016. In the meantime, Algeri has created an Awards event via his Egomaniac Music company, and nominated himself for just about every category.

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