Saturday, May 20, 2017

Saturday Slumgullion

This past Wednesday, I felt like fate was sticking its tongue out at me when I walked from the Metra Ogilvie Station to the end of Navy Pier to check out The Rolling Stones Exhibitionism show and discovered it wasn’t open. There’s a new, somewhat haphazard schedule in place, so be sure you check the website before heading out for your Stones fix.

Slumgullion was delayed this week due to my hanging out at the Elbo Room last night for the first WNUR Power Pop Shoppe Showcase. Even though I was only able to stay for two of the three acts scheduled, it’s still safe to declare the event a major success. The Power Pop Shoppe is a weekly radio program on the Evanston-based FM station, and I’m hoping DJ Gil stages more live showcases in the future.

Last night’s opening band, Sunshine Boys, is destined to rise as a major force from the Chicago music scene. Composed of lead vocalist-guitarist Dag Juhlin (The Slugs, Poi Dog Pondering); drummer Freda Love Smith (Blake Babies, Antenna); and bassist-backup vocalist Jacqueline Schimmel (Big Hello), the trio made an immediate impact with hard-hitting, socially relevant and melodic songs. When Juhlin noted that Sunshine Boys had immediate plans to record a single, I couldn’t help wishing it would be an entire album.

It was also a treat to see The Bishop’s Daredevil Stunt Club live after having enjoyed their studio recordings for some time now. The band’s latest effort, Don’t Buy This Record is available for a free download on its BandCamp page. I wasn’t able to stay for The Phil Angotti Band, but it’s inconceivable Angotti and friends would have put on a bad show. Angotti has a brand new solo album out titled Such Stories.

Phil Angotti will be a guest on Richard Milne’s Local Anesthetic program this Sunday night on WXRT.

Tickets are now on sale for Brian Wilson Presents Pet Sounds: The Final Performances at the Rosemont Theatre on October 6. Wilson will be joined by Beach Boys members Al Jardine and Blondie Chaplin. Other upcoming shows include The Kooks at The Vic on October 11; Rhett Miller at City Winery on July 9, and the FitzGerald’s American Music Festival, which runs from June 30 to July 3 at the Berwyn club.

Great Moments In Vinyl, a collection of local musicians that performs memorable albums at the Martyrs’ club on Lincoln Avenue, will delve into R.E.M.’s Document and grammatically incorrect Lifes Rich Pageant next Wednesday, October 24.

Local musician John Moulten has been added to the lineup for Cover Palooza!, an evening of Chicago area bands that usually perform originals but will switch to cover versions for one magical evening on June 3 at the Gallery Cabaret. Van Go, 92, Red Wigglers, Deadly Bungalows, and Right Tidy’s are the other acts involved.

Nowhere Else Festival, a celebration of art music, film, and farming  takes place Saturday and Sunday, May 27 and 28, about 45 miles east of Cincinnati, Ohio. Over The Rhine, a beloved alt rock/roots band that often performs in Chicago, are among the bands performing, along with Band of Sweethearts, Birds Of Chicago, Carrie Rodriguez, Carrie Newcomer, and Red Dirt Boys. A screening of the film Doctor Strange will be hosted by its director Scott Derrickson.

The Unswept, a Chicago-based band led by cousins who grew up in England, has a jangling new single titled “You Ain’t On My Mind” available for $1 on its Bandcamp page. The group has logged a number of shows at International Pop Overthrow - Chicago.

In related news, International Pop Overthrow - Liverpool runs through next Tuesday, May 23 at the Cavern Club, with many bands yet to perform.

There’s a 9:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. celebration on Chicago’s Riverwalk today. According to a Chicago Sun-Times piece by Miriam DiNunzio, the event will feature “walking tours, live music, a life-size fish puppet parade [and] fishing demonstrations.” I’ve never heard of a life-size fish puppet parade, and it’s hard to imagine how well it could be seen from even a few feet away.

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Thursday, May 18, 2017

Shoppe Til You Pop

Photo from The Bishop's Daredevil Stunt Club Facebook page.

The Power Pop Shoppe has chosen three worthy acts for its showcase tomorrow night at The Elbo Room on Lincoln Avenue. A weekly program on WNUR 89.3 FM, The Power Pop Shoppe is hosted by DJ Gil, whose mission is to present a global selection of melodic rock that includes a healthy dose of Chicago area talent. That approach will no doubt transfer well to the stage, with performances by The Phil Angotti Band, The Bishop’s Daredevil Stunt Club, and Sunshine Boys.

Phil Angotti is a veteran of the Chicago club scene, and was also one of the performers (with his band The Idea) at the very first International Pop Overthrow in Los Angeles. He’s known for doing tribute shows to The Beatles, Simon and Garfunkel, The Bee Gees, The Zombies, etc., and he’s an accomplished singer-songwriter as well. He’ll most likely be showcasing songs from his new acoustic album Such Stories at The Elbo Room.

The Bishop’s Daredevil Stunt Club adroitly combines catchy arrangements with offbeat subject matter, and the brand new Don’t Buy This Record finds the quintet at the top of its game. As I noted in a review posted on Broken Hearted Toy earlier, Don’t Buy This Record follows in the tradition of fellow Midwestern acts Wilco and The Webstirs, but also explores 1980s style synth rock. The adventurous vocal interplay of guitarist Bill Giricz, bassist Dan Passarelli, and guitarist Paulette Bertrand is another highlight.

The name Sunshine Boys might not be familiar to even long-time followers of the Chicago music scene, but the three musicians in this new trio have built solid reputations with previous acts. Freda Love Smith was a founding member of Blake Babies; Jacqueline Schimmel played with Big Hello; and Dag Juhlin formed The Slugs and is a member of Poi Dog Pondering. A clip of a song called “Only A Million Miles” on the Sunshine Boys Facebook page suggests they favor a guitar-driven, energetic approach.

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Friday, May 12, 2017

Slumgullion

Depending on what time you’re reading this, you might still have time to catch singer-guitarist Phil Angotti performing songs from his latest album Such Stories tonight at a CD release show at the G Man Tavern on Clark Street. The event is being hosted by CAUDog Records and Avenue N Guitars, and Angotti will be joined by Rachel Drew and Tommi Zender, with special guests Joe George and Tony Richards.

If you miss Angotti’s show at tonight, you can catch him next Friday, May 19 at The Elbo Room on Lincoln Avenue, along with power pop marvels The Bishop’s Daredevil Stunt Club and Sunshine Boys. They’re part of the WNUR Power Pop Shoppe showcase.

Tickets went on sale today for Over The Rhine at SPACE in Evanston on August 26 and 27, and Paul Weller at House Of Blues on October 9.

There will be a Renegade Craft Fair Pop-up tomorrow and Sunday on Halsted, between 18th St. and Canalport.

My superstar chef nephew Joe Flamm and his Spiaggia co-worker Tony Mantuano will be part of Craft And Cuisine event at The Park At Wrigley tomorrow afternoon. Other participants include Stephanie Izard of Girl And The Goat fame; Matthias Merges from Yusho; Paul Kahan from Big Star; Chris Teixeira and Samantha Turner from West Town Bakery. There will be over 40 beer and wine tastings.

John San Juan, who is a founding member of The Hushdrops and just released a solo album, will be opening for Ian Hunter at Park West tomorrow night.

The recently reunited Baltimore-based power pop band Splitsville will headline a four-act showcase tomorrow night at the LiveWire Lounge on Milwaukee Avenue. Chicago bands Hyperplane, Collectors, and The Handcuffs are also on the bill.

Tickets are now on sale that amazing August 11 triple bill of Dwight Twilley, Pezband, and Shoes at The Arcada Theatre in St. Charles.

Neil deGrasse Tyson, a guy who’s so smart he got to host Cosmos and do cameos on The Big Bang Theory, will be at the Chicago Theatre this coming Tuesday night to talk about his book Astrophysics for People in a Hurry.

Writer Steve Johnson had an interesting feature story in yesterday’s edition of the Chicago Tribune about the American Writers Museum, which officially opens at 180 N. Michigan Avenue this Tuesday. Johnson notes, “the museum manages to feel ambitious, far-reaching and wise in its appreciation of writers and writing.”

Texas Guitar Shows is bringing what’s being billed as the Midwest’s Largest Guitar Show to the Odeum Expo Center in Villa Park next Saturday and Sunday. Adult admission is $20; children 11 and under can attend for free if accompanied by an adult.

Micky Dolenz will be performing at City Winery Chicago on June 13 and 14.

There’s a triple bill of Roxy Swain, Toy Robots, and Cheryl Lynn Tomblin coming up on June 16 at Wire in Berwyn. Material Reissue and Cliff Johnson with The Raine will be performing at that same venue on June 24.

There’s still time to check out the Omaze fundraising site for a chance to have breakfast in London with seven of the actors who have portrayed the lead character in the legendary Doctor Who British sci-fi series. Donations start at $10 and can be done via Paypal or credit card. The campaign is part of the annual Red Nose Day to help save children from poverty around the world, and involves Peter Capaldi, Matt Smith, David Tennant, Peter Davison, Paul McGann, Sylvester McCoy, and Colin Baker. Donations must be received by May 31; the winner will be announced around June 9.

Omaze, has also partnered with Ringo Starr and The David Lynch Foundation for a charity event involving his birthday on July 7. The Beatles’ drummer and other VIP guests will be gathering in Los Angeles for brunch, and fans have an opportunity to join in the fun. Donations start at $10 and can be done via Paypal or credit card.

There are two weeks left to see the critically acclaimed production of Jesus Christ Superstar at the Paramount Theatre in Aurora.

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Thursday, May 11, 2017

The Hollies - Shake With The Hollies

Shake With The Hollies was a 2017 Record Store Day release only in the UK, but Facebook sites like Allan Clarke Appreciation Society and Hollies Appreciation Facebook Area (both are closed groups) brought it to the attention of people around the world. I bought one on eBay for a reasonable price, and there may still be copies available via that route. Like a lot of Record Store Day limited-edition vinyl, it offers alternative versions and/or previously unreleased material.

As noted on the LP’s back cover, the five 1963 tracks were captured by “an enthusiastic fan who placed a microphone in front of the radio speaker!” The sound quality drifts in and out on a 1965 recording of “Just One Look” from Shindig, but otherwise the dated technology on Shake With The Hollies shouldn’t keep avid Hollies fans from enjoying these unearthed treasures. Particularly the rousing renditions of Chuck Berry’s “Roll Over Beethoven” and “Reelin’ And Rockin’,” which have never been released before.

The opening track “I Can’t Let Go” was recorded in 1966 and features Eric Haydock grabbing the spotlight with some spirited bass playing. There’s also an early version of “Don’t Even Think About Changin’” from that same radio session. The song would later appear on The Hollies’ first of three consecutive masterpieces, For Certain Because. (Evolution and Butterfly were the other two.) All 16 songs exude a raw, fun energy, and the brief interviews with Graham Nash, Allan Clarke, and Tony Hicks add to allure of Shake With The Hollies.

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Tuesday, May 9, 2017

The New Pornographers - Whiteout Conditions

Whiteout Conditions, the seventh full-length album from The New Pornographers, and the first on their own Collected Works label, is likely to expand their devoted following. A.C. Newman and Neko Case have done well as solo artists, but there’s a certain magic in the way these eight Vancouver-based musicians create impossibly catchy and eccentric music. Having five members who can sing results in terrific harmonies and adventurous vocal arrangements.

As in the past, The New Pornographers’ lyrics have a logic all their own. The haunting “We’ve Been Here Before” and “Second Sleep,” as well as the pulsating “Avalanche Alley” could have sprung from the pages of a fantasy novel. “High Ticket Attractions,” which bears a resemblance to The Dandy Warhols’ “Bohemian Like You,” sports numerous quick and clever rhymes that reference everything from the Magna Carta to the ancient Mayans.

The lilting yet ominous “This Is The World Of The Theatre” mixes guitars and keyboards, while the title track and the futuristic “Clockwise” explore a more aggressive 1980s alternative rock. The tribal beat and male-female vocal dynamic on “Darling Shade” evokes The B-52’s at their best. “Play Money,” which uses an infectious arrangement and biting lyrics to lampoon a cash-hungry music industry, might explain why The New Pornographers have decided to go their own way.

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Monday, May 8, 2017

Music News and Other Events

Tickets are now on sale for the Nowhere Else Festival being staged May 27 and 28 about 45 miles east of Cincinnati, Ohio. Billed as Two Full Days Of Music, Art, Earth, Sky, Nowhere Else will have a painting workshop/demonstration, a nonfiction writing workshop, readings, a lecture on regenerative farming, live music, and a screening of Doctor Strange hosted by its director Scott Derrickson. Scheduled acts include Over The Rhine, who perform in Chicago on a semi-regular basis, Band of Sweethearts, and Red Dirt Boys.

One of the first bands I interviewed for the Illinois Entertainer back in the late 1980s was Social Act. Lead singer-bassist Ellis Clark had already built a following as a member of Epicycle, and would go on to work with The Handcuffs and other acts, along with pursuing a solo career. So it’s great to see that he’s bringing Social Act back again. According to a recent post on Clark’s Facebook page, the band recently shot a video at a church in the Humboldt Park neighborhood.

Another Chicago music scene veteran, Mimi Betinis, recently posted on Facebook that we could see the release of a 1972 recording from the original lineup of Pezband some time this summer.

John San Juan, who is a founding member of The Hushdrops and just released a solo album, will be opening for Ian Hunter at Park West this Saturday, May 13.

Local H, the Chicago-based duo of vocalist-guitarist Scott Lucas and drummer Ryan Harding, has a gig this Friday night at Durty Nellie’s in Palatine. Opening act Stoop Goodnoise kicks off the evening at 9:00 p.m.

My superstar chef nephew Joe Flamm and his Spiaggia co-worker Tony Mantuano will be part of Craft And Cuisine event at The Park At Wrigley this Saturday. Other participants include Stephanie Izard of Girl And The Goat fame; Matthias Merges from Yusho; Paul Kahan from Big Star; Chris Teixeira and Samantha Turner from West Town Bakery. There will be over 40 beer and wine tastings.

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Friday, May 5, 2017

Slumgullion

It’s great to see Cheap Trick isn’t resting on its laurels after the dual triumphs of being inducted into The Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame and having its Bang, Zoom, Crazy . . . Hello album land at number one on the Broken Hearted Toy Favorite Releases Of 2016 list. The group already has another album ready to release on June 16, and fans can pre-order We’re All Alright! in various configurations from the PledgeMusic website.  

Tickets go on sale this coming Tuesday, May 9 for an August 11 triple bill of Dwight Twilley, Pezband, and Shoes at The Arcada Theatre in St. Charles. Also going on sale this Tuesday at The Arcada are Rickie Lee Jones on August 19 and Al Stewart performing his Year Of The Cat album, backed by The Empty Pockets.

Just don’t order the Eggs Terminate. The Omaze fundraising site is giving Doctor Who fans an opportunity to have breakfast in London with seven of the actors who have portrayed the lead character in the legendary British sci-fi series. Donations start at $10 and can be done via Paypal or credit card. The campaign is part of the annual Red Nose Day to help save children from poverty around the world, and involves Peter Capaldi, Matt Smith, David Tennant, Peter Davison, Paul McGann, Sylvester McCoy, and Colin Baker. Donations must be received by May 31; the winner will be announced around June 9.

Peace and love and pass the omelets. Omaze has also partnered with Ringo Starr and The David Lynch Foundation for a charity event involving his birthday on July 7. The Beatles’ drummer and other VIP guests will be gathering in Los Angeles for brunch, and one fan will have an opportunity to join in the fun. Donations start at $10 and can be done via Paypal or credit card.

Susanna Hoffs has recorded a simple and elegant acoustic guitar/strings version of “Take Me With U” as a tribute to Prince that can be heard on Spotify. All proceeds will go to the Mending Kids charity organization.

The recently reunited Baltimore-based power pop band Splitsville will headline a four-act showcase at the LiveWire Lounge on Milwaukee Avenue in Chicago next Saturday, May 13. Chicago bands Hyperplane, Collectors, and The Handcuffs are also on the bill.

The iconic hippie musical Hair opens on May 18 at the Metropolis Performing Arts Centre in Arlington Heights and runs through July 1.

Denny Laine, a former member of The Moody Blues and Wings, will be performing the complete Band On The Run album Monday night, May 8, at City Winery Chicago. The Blasters will be at that same venue on May 12, and Micky Dolenz has gigs there on June 13 and 14.

Cover Palooza, an evening of Chicago area bands known for performing original material covering some of their favorite artists, will take place on June 3 at the Gallery Cabaret. Van Go, 92  (92 Degrees?), Red Wigglers, Deadly Bungalows, and Right Tidys are scheduled to appear.

The Thin Cherries, a new Chicago-based band founded by Steven Delisi from the punk/avant-garde band Phenomenal Cat and Mark Lofgren from psychedelic scene veterans The Luck Of Eden Hall, have a gig coming up next Thursday, May 11 at The Burlington on Chicago’s north side. The Thin Cherries’ self-titled debut is available as a limited-edition CD, and can be downloaded from their Bandcamp page.

Power pop/glam rock artist Ty Segall will be at Metro next Sunday, May 14.

Tickets went on sale today for Guided By Voices at Beat Kitchen on July 28, The Cranberries at Riviera on September 28, and for Rachael Yamagata and Joshua Radin at House Of Blues on July 29.

International Pop Overthrow wrapped up its 2017 Chicago visit last Saturday with two showcases at The Red Line Tap. I caught most of the afternoon set, finally getting a chance to see The Red Plastic Buddha perform live. I have two albums I like quite a bit by this psychedelic band, and their live show did not disappoint. I also caught solid sets by Michael Steven Cohen from The Abbeys; Freetoed; The Pickpockets; and The Vinyl Skyway. I wasn’t able to stay for The Jeremy Band, but I’ve been impressed with his shows in the past. Next up for International Pop Overthrow and CFO/Founder David Bash is a May 16 through 23 run at The Cavern Club in Liverpool that will feature dozens of acts.

Black Pearl - A Tribute To Josephine Baker, the latest production from the critically acclaimed Black Ensemble Theatre, opens tomorrow and will run through June 25.

Tickets for a number of acts at this year’s Ravinia Festival go on sale Tuesday, May 9; including The Beach Boys and Temptations; Blondie and Garbage; Sheryl Crow; The Moody Blues; Stevie Nicks; Smokey Robinson; and Stephen Stills and Judy Collins.

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Derrick Anderson - A World Of My Own

For those of us who’ve seen Derrick Anderson perform with The Bangles or fill in on occasion with The Smithereens, it’s not surprising to find members of those bands helping out on his solo debut. But they’re just part of an army of all-star guests that includes Matthew Sweet; Steve Barton from Translator; Tommy Keene; Bob, John, and Susan Cowsill; Darian Sahanaja and Probyn Gregory from The Wondermints; and Kim Shattuck from The Muffs. It’s a safe bet they all enjoyed recording A World Of My Own because it’s an engaging collection of songs that taps into power pop, the 1960s, and a bit of 1970s rock.

It’s possible to detect influences from the participating musicians, particularly The Smithereens on the guitar-driven romance of “Waiting For You.” But A World Of My Own most often resembles the band Anderson performed with years ago, The Andersons, and he’s got members helping him out here. Derrick Anderson’s solo debut is focused on power pop, but he adds funky horns and keyboards to “You Don’t Have To Hurt No More,” and opts for garage rock on “Checking Out” and “Stop Messin’ About.”

“A Mother’s Love” and “When I Was Your Man” could have been hit singles in the 1960s, and the irresistible “Phyllis And Sharon” has a satirical bite. Anderson’s lyrics are well-crafted and convincing throughout A World Of My Own. “Send Me Down A Sign” deals with finding one’s place in life, and on “Happiness,” a guy is waiting for his lover to return. Anderson switches to a slow, authentic 1970s approach on “Something New.” The bonus track cover of “Norwegian Wood” takes some getting used to, but this hard-edged reworking of The Beatles’ classic goes in the win column as well.

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Tuesday, May 2, 2017

John San Juan - Smashed

Photo from John San Juan’s Facebook page.

John San Juan is a founding member of The Hushdrops, a Chicago-based trio known for artfully blending prog rock elements into power pop songs. He takes a more introspective approach on his solo debut Smashed, backed by fellow club veterans Anthony Illarde, Carolyn Engelmann, Jason Walker, and Rachel Drew. San Juan has crafted a series of exquisite melodies for this effort, and he weaves harder-edged instrumentation through some of the arrangements.

That more adventurous approach is evident on “Move It,” where the band breaks into an extended psychedelic jam session. “My Version Of Your Dream,” a good example of San Juan’s knack for clever wordplay, and “Look What You Made Me Sing” also have a more energetic feel. San Juan closes out what he has dubbed Act One of Smashed by drifting through various tempo shifts on “Why Aren’t You Dancing.”

“My Little Red Tape,” “Back For Less,” and “The Little Things” concern troubled relationships but have a deceptively breezy 1960s feel that’s augmented by layered vocals and keyboards. The acoustic setting for “I’m Going To Count To Three” and “Someone’s Birthday” helps to showcase San Juan’s engaging vocals. The fantasy world of “There’s A Place” proves to be a pleasant destination, and Smashed closes with the simple but elegant “You.”

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Friday, April 28, 2017

Slumgullion

A hearty welcome to Aimee Mann, who is back in town for a show tomorrow night at Park West. She’ll no doubt be performing songs from Mental Illness, an acoustic album and her first solo effort in five years. Music critic Greg Kot has an extensive interview with Mann in today’s edition of the Chicago Tribune.

Yes, we’re going to a party, party. Paul McCartney will be celebrating my birthday on July 25 with a concert in the Chicago area. Not on my gazebo like I had hoped, but at the Hollywood Casino Amphitheatre in Tinley Park. Tickets go on sale tomorrow at 10:00 a.m.

Other concert tickets that went on sale this week include The Church at City Winery Chicago on July 3 and 4; the Alejandro Escovedo Band at SPACE on June 11, Rasputina at Subterranean on August 10; and Riot Fest on September 15 through 17.

International Pop Overthrow wraps up its 2017 visit to Chicago tomorrow with an afternoon showcase and then one later in the evening. Michael Steven Cohen from The Abbeys has a solo show at 2:00 p.m., followed by Freetoed, The Pickpockets, The Vinyl Skyway, The Red Plastic Buddha, and The Jeremy Band. The Queue kicks off at the evening showcase at 8:00 p.m., followed by Too Much Saturn, Steve Ramone and The Pensioners, Private Instigators, and The Romeros. Note: there’s a TBA in the middle of the schedule, so there’s no telling who’ll show up there. Closing out IPO - Chicago has become a tradition for The Romeros, who bring a busload of faith, er, fans to the gig.

The 33rd Chicago Latino Film Festival continues its run through next Thursday, May 4.

Penthouse Sweets will be playing songs from their new album House Of The Penthouse Sweets when they perform tomorrow night at the LiveWire Club on Milwaukee Avenue with The Safes and Means Of Production.

There must be something about the combination of Graham Nash and The Old Town School Of Folk Music that Chicagoans find appealing. Nash quickly sold out shows there for July 29 and 30, and now has added a third gig at the venue.

Alt rock band whitewolfsonicprincess hosts the latest in its series of Rock And Roll Circus events at The Red Line Tap this Sunday from 5:00 to 7:30 p.m. Vocalist Carla Hayden and guitarist-vocalist James Moeller performed at Mary-Arrchie Theatre’s Abbie Hoffman Died For Our Sins festival for several years with their Black Forest Theatre group. They’re aiming for that same freewheeling Abbie Fest vibe this Sunday. KC Chronis, The Remember Knots, and The Rolling Clones are also on the bill.

Frank Carr, a founding member of the Famous In The Future comedy group (along with David Drazin, Lake Sirmon, and myself—full disclosure) is also hoping to keep the Abbie Hoffman Died For Our Sins spirit alive. He’s the driving force behind YippieFest, which is penciled in for the weekend of August 18–20 at Prop Thtr. Carr was the only individual other than Mary-Arrchie Artistic Director Rich Cotovsky to have performed at every Abbie Fest.

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The Webstirs Rock IPO Tonight

Photo from The Webstirs’ Facebook page.

One of the benefits of going to International Pop Overthrow in any of the cities it visits is discovering new acts. There are also bands that over the years have become favorites. Unfortunately, this post is much later than it was intended to be, but if you live on the north side, you still have time to catch one of IPO - Chicago’s best acts at 11:00 p.m. tonight at The Red Line Tap.

The Webstirs' impeccable power pop instincts result in songs with clever lyrics about oddball characters and unusual situations. Their 2015 album Now You’ve Really Done It carried on that tradition with catchy and wry songs like “Saving The World” and “Farther When You Fall.” It came in at number four on the 2015 Broken Hearted Toy Favorite Releases list.

Rob Schulz, a singer-guitarist with a knack for positioning liberal sentiments within power pop arrangements, performs in the 9:30 p.m. slot, and his band will be followed by Weekend Vinyl, a power pop outfit that offers catchy songs filled with appealing arrangements and ringing guitars. Dad’s Magazine, the final act tonight, is sort of a local indie all-star group, with members who come from The Sun Sawed In 1/2, The Webstirs, and Swinger.

International Pop Overthrow has a afternoon showcase and an evening showcase at The Red Line Tap tomorrow, the final day of its 2017 visit to Chicago. See the official website for the full schedule and links to the acts involved.

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Thursday, April 27, 2017

Festivals On The Way

As noted by Jesi Roti in the Chicago Tribune earlier this week, two headline acts have been named for this year’s Taste Of Chicago. Ben Harper, whose trademark ability to blend elements of various genres into fetching indie rock songs like “Diamonds On The Inside” has brought him critical acclaim, and the quickly rising Chicago indie rock band Twin Peaks will be performing. The entire lineup will be announced on Tuesday, May 2. This week’s edition of Red Eye has the Chicago free paper’s annual massive listing of upcoming outdoor concerts, festivals, and art fairs. I always circle the events I want to go to, and then save the the schedule as an essential guide for the upcoming months.

One new festival that wasn’t included on the Red Eye list is the Kaleidoscope Eye Festival at the LiveWire lounge on September 8 and 9. For a hint of of what it will be like, drop by the Red Line Tap this Saturday. The Red Plastic Buddha is performing at 5:00 p.m. Saturday afternoon as part of International Pop Overthrow

The band has been on the front lines of Chicago’s psychedelic rock scene for years, and lead vocalist-bassist Tim Ferguson is one of the organizers of Kaleidoscope Eye, along with Gregory Curvey (that's his art at the top of this post) from the band The Luck Of Eden Hall, and photographer-journalist Lee Klawans. The Red Plastic Buddha’s last album, Songs For Mara, was an adventurous effort that came in at number four on the Broken Hearted Toy Favorite Releases of 2014.

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Wednesday, April 26, 2017

IPO’s Thursday Schedule

After tonight, there will still be three more days and four multi-act showcases to catch at The Red Line Tap as International Pop Overthrow continues its 2017 Chicago run. Thursday night’s lineup offers some familiar faces and sounds for local music fans. The Aaron Williams Band released its first album in 2008, and continues to play a mix of indie rock and pop. They’ll kick things off tomorrow night at 8:00 p.m. Boolean Knife specializes in postmodern rock and records for the Aquariphone record label.

The Spindles are a power pop act that includes guitarist-vocalist Jeff Janulis from The Abbeys. Their shows offer a mix of original tunes and cover versions that stretch back over the years. Expect harmonies from Janulis and bassist-vocalist Jerald Cross. The Spindles record for the Rubber Road label. The Red Wigglers seven-piece coed band has plenty of experience playing the Chicago area, and augments its indie rock sound with trombone, trumpet, and sax.

The Treeshakers will wrap things up with an 11:00 p.m. set. This quartet draws inspiration from fellow Chicago power pop bands Pezband, Cheap Trick, Shoes, and Material Issue, as well as British Invasion acts like The Beatles, The Hollies, The Yardbirds, and The Kinks. International Pop Overthrow continues Friday night with a six-band showcase, and there will be an afternoon and evening showcase on Saturday. See the official website for the full schedule and links to most of the acts performing.

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Monday, April 24, 2017

Record Store Day Reflections

Adam Dausch Facebook photo of Phil Angotti delivering a batch of Kinks songs.

As someone who doesn’t drive, I’ve come to regard the Reckless Records on Madison as my go-to place for Record Store Day shopping. After an hour-long train ride (in the midst of sign-wielding protesters on their way to the science march, costumed superheroes off to the Chicago Comic and Entertainment Expo, and Cubs fans) I arrived at the downtown Reckless Records 90 minutes before it was due to open.

Eventually, I came away with everything on my 10th Annual Record Store Day wish list except The Shelters’ “Really Wanted You” seven-inch single. My acquisitions: Epic Archives Vol. One double LP by Cheap Trick; “Want You Back” and “A Rose For Emily” singles by The Zombies; “All Day And All Of The Night” EP by The Kinks; “Strawberry Fields” single by The Beatles; the Tegan and Sara/The Regrettes “Back In Your Head” single; “Rocket Science” single by The Chills; and the Demos cassette by Paul McCartney and Elvis Costello.

Reckless Records once again ran a smooth operation, including a guy sent outside to prep the people in line and hand out free stuff. He’s been there on previous RSD occasions and is friendly and helpful. Unlike the Reckless locations on Broadway and Milwaukee Avenue, the downtown store isn’t big enough for in-store performances, but I’ve had good luck there getting the releases I want.

If Fezziwig from Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol were to throw a Record Store Day party, it would look a lot what the owners of Laurie’s Planet Of Sound on Lincoln Avenue stage each year. Without the old school dancing, of course, but there’s live music, refreshments, and plenty of merriment. This year’s eclectic lineup of in-store performances began with Ted Wulfers, whose “The Cubs Won It All In 2016” single managed an Eddie Vedder style indie rock grit and garnered airplay in the Chicago area right after the World Series. Phil Angotti’s heartfelt solo rendition of the entire The Kinks Are The Village Green Preservation Society would make any reasonable music fan want to buy the album, and he got some help from Sweet Figurines lead vocalist Kevin McComb on “Picture Book.”

Angotti’s set of wry Brit rock observations was followed by the homespun appeal of Sanctified Grumblers, who played a mix of standard and originals on washboard, tuba, steel guitar, and other Americana instruments. The Romeros, who’ll continue their long-standing tradition of closing out International Pop Overthrow - Chicago on Saturday, April 29, dropped by Laurie’s on Record Store Day to deliver some amped-up renditions of George Michael and Wham songs. I had to leave before Sweet Figurines went on, but I caught their rousing David Bowie tribute at Laurie’s Record Store Day event last year, and I’m assuming this year’s followed suit. Dust Bunnies wrapped up the party at 5:00 p.m.

In addition to the live music, it’s always fun to see the local musicians who drop by the Laurie’s Planet Of Sound RSD bash. This year, Eric Chial from Bon Mots and Penthouse Sweets was there, as were Holly Senchak Dausch and Adam Dausch from Metropolly, and Chloe F. Orwell from The Handcuffs. Romeros frontman Mike Vanderbilt was hanging out hours before his band’s show started, and I’m sure other musicians came and went as the festivities continued.

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International Pop Overthrow Continues In Chicago

International Pop Overthrow rolls into the work week after kicking off its 2017 visit to Chicago with what appears to have been a successful weekend. Tonight’s five-band showcase at the Red Line Tap brings the fun and catchy England-to-America transplants The Unswept back for a performance at 10:15 p.m. If the band is selling any of its CDs, be sure to pick one up. Sam Vicari opens the show at 8:00 p.m., followed by Leisure McCorkle. Packy Lundholm performs at 9:30 p.m., and Reaction, a band that formed in the 1980s and recently reunited, is tonight’s headliner.

Tomorrow brings Cabin Essence, Mark Watson, Christopher Joseph Elam, and Blind Trust to the stage. Young Distractions, a trio that claims The Replacements, Husker Du, and The Ramones as influences, are tomorrow’s closer. On Wednesday, IPO vet and globe-trotting rock star Dave Rave performs, along with The Romeros frontman Mike Vanderbilt with his The Suburban Garage Sound. Collectors, another trustworthy IPO outfit, plays at 9:30 p.m., and the Tony Calderisi Band opens at 8:00 p.m. See the official International Pop Overthrow website for the full Chicago schedule through next Saturday night, along with links to most of the performers involved.

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Friday, April 21, 2017

Slumgullion

To paraphrase The Electric Prunes: Get me to the fest on time. (Yes, they had other great songs besides “I Had To Much To Dream Last Night.) Within the next few weeks, Chicago will experience C2E2 (Chicago Comic and Entertainment Expo); the CIMMfest (Chicago International Movies and Music Festival) Spring Fling ThingInternational Pop Overthrow and Record Store Day, with its accompanying live shows. Plus The Rolling Stones Exhibitionism is out on Navy Pier through the end of July.

Riot Fest’s First Wave Lineup Announcement came out a few days ago. Nine Inch Nails, Queens Of The Stone Age, and Jawbreaker are the headline acts for September 15, 16, and 17 respectively, and other scheduled acts include The Cribs; The Buzzcocks; The Orwells; Paramore; Ministry; The Regrettes; Bad Brains; Dinosaur Jr.; Peaches; M.I.A.; The Mighty Mighty Bosstones; and Wu Tang Clan.

The Second Disc website has been working overtime with Record Store Day posts, but also recently reported on the upcoming release of two vintage EPs by The Paul Collins Beat. Long Long Gone and To Beat Or Not To Beat are coming out on Lollipop Records on April 28.

Graham Nash’s July 30 show at The Old Town School of Folk Music sold out immediately when it went on sale a few weeks back, so earlier this week, he added a concert there on July 29. That one has now sold out as well.

Ann Wilson from Heart has a solo tour coming underway, and her sister/bandmate Nancy has some things on her plate as well. Nancy has teamed up with vocalist Liv Warfield form Prince’s New Power Generations to form Roadcase Royale. The band’s first single, the women-empowering “Get Loud,” is now available on several digital outlets and the video can be seen on YouTube.

The 33rd Chicago Latino Film Festival opened yesterday and runs through May 4.

Kevin Lee And The Kings will be performing at the Breaking The Silence - A Benefit For Autism Awareness this Sunday, August 23, at Durty Nellie’s in Palatine. The event runs from noon to 8:00 p.m., and special VIP Floor Tables (as opposed to in the balcony) are still available for $200.

The 11th Annual Screen Test Student Fest takes place tonight and tomorrow at the Prairie Center For The Arts in Schaumburg. Presented by 3 Monkeys and Aardvark Studios and Tribeca Flashpoint College, the event will include 31 short films by students in grades five through eight, as well as by high school students around the world.

The Zombies, who are in the midst of a 50th Anniversary Odessey and Oracle Tour, have created a new animated video for the song “Care Of Cell 44,” which comes from that initially overlooked but now legendary album.

The Bishop’s Daredevil Stunt Club, Phil Angotti, and Sunshine Boys will be featured in a WNUR Power Pop Shoppe showcase being staged at The Elbo Room on Lincoln Avenue on May 19.

Penthouse Sweets will be playing songs from their new album In The House Of The Penthouse Sweets when they perform at the LiveWire Club on Milwaukee Avenue with The Safes and Means Of Production next Saturday, April 29.

Sopro Music’s 30th Annual Easter Parade Blues Revue takes place tomorrow night at Sullivan’s Night Club and Restaurant in Midlothian. Performers include The Chicago Horns, Debbie Seitz, Joey Drada, Doug Lee, and Billy King. There music starts at 9:00 p.m.

The Griffin Theatre’s production In To America, featuring stories of immigrants to America throughout the country’s history, wraps up its run at The Den Theatre this Sunday.

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RSD - Come For The Vinyl, Stay For The Jams


As the 10th Annual Record Store Day unfolds tomorrow, some stores will be augmenting the vinyl-hunting experience with live performances by local bands. In the Chicago area, Laurie’s Planet Of Sound on Lincoln Avenue; Val’s Halla in Oak Park; Vintage Vinyl in Evanston; and the Reckless Records on Broadway and Milwaukee Avenue have entertainment scheduled. It’s worthing to see if your favorite record store has anything planned.

But first, a few Record Store Day Tips:

Check the official RSD website for the full list of limited-edition releases and create a handwritten or printed list. Based on my experience in Chicago, record store employees don’t want you to hand them your smartphone—they want an actual list. They also don’t have time for any customer dithering at the counter.

Get there early. These records are limited editions, and they’re likely to sell out quickly.

Dress appropriately for the weather. You might be waiting outside in line for an extended time.

And now, here are some of the live RSD shows going on tomorrow.

Reckless Records - 1379 N. Milwaukee Avenue

2:00 p.m. Magas

3:00 p.m. OHMME

4:30 p.m. Smoking Popes

Reckless Records - 3125 N. Broadway

2:00 p.m. CARPENTERSville

3:00 p.m. Tal Sounds

4:00 p.m. Poison Arrows

Laurie’s Planet Of Sound - 4639 N. Lincoln Avenue

12:00 p.m. Ted Wulfers (performing songs from his album The Cubs Won It All in 2016

12:40 p.m. Phil Angotti and Friends perform The Kinks Are The Village Green Preservation Society

2:00 p.m. Sanctified Grumblers

3:00 p.m. The Romeros perform the music of George Michael

4:00 p.m. Sweet Figurines perform the music of David Bowie

5:00 p.m. Dust Bunnies

Vintage Vinyl - 925 Davis Street, Evanston

12:00 p.m. Acoustic set by The Luck Of Eden Hall

Val’s Halla - 239 Harrison Street Oak Park

11:00 a.m. Mike Nutt & Charlie Bredrup from Fletcher Rockwell

12:00 p.m. Bill Kavanagh & Friends

1:00 p.m. Dead Freddies perform songs by David Bowie

2:00 p.m. Ellis Clark & Ary Jeebie

3:00 p.m. The InBetween Days

4:00 p.m. Phil Angotti

5:00 p.m. Rachel Drew

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Thursday, April 20, 2017

IPO - Chicago's Opening Weekend

International Pop Overthrow returns to Chicago tomorrow night to kick off nine consecutive days of power pop and indie rock showcases at the Red Line Tap. CFO/Founder David Bash has expanded his approach over the years to embrace several shades of those two genres, but his passion for presenting music with strong melodies remains the same. Friday night’s lineup features Jason Batchko; Gerald Dowd; The Diff; The Joy Poppers; Paul Coady and The Edsel Brothers; and Ravi/Lola.

The afternoon showcase on Saturday offers Black Jack; Mike Pecucci; Larry O. Dean; Coke Belda; and Rich Miller from Waiflike. The heart of Saturday night’s showcase is particularly impressive, with sets by Steve Dawson from Dolly Varden; Phil Angotti; and Ellis Clark and The Big Parade featuring Ary Jeebie. Along The Drive opens the evening at 8:00 p.m., followed by Aethereal. Rollo Time finishes up with a set at 11:45.

Sunday afternoon’s highlight is the Milwaukee-based power pop group Trolley, and the coed band The Artist Formally Known As Vince is always a lot of fun. Judah Michael; The Last Afternoons; and Co-Stanza are also part of the this showcase. Sunday night’s showcase closes with the The Bishop’s Daredevil Stunt Club, whose recently released Don’t Buy This Record is power pop delight. Douglas and Tucker kick things off Sunday night at 8:00 p.m.; followed by Lovejoy; Certain Stars; and Drew Neeley and The Heroes.

The entire IPO - Chicago 2017 schedule can be found on the official International Pop Overthrow website, with links to almost all the acts involved. Even if you can’t get to the Red Line Tap, check out those band links for Chicago, as well as the other cities on the IPO tour. It’s a great way to discover new local and international talent.

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Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Mothboxer - The Secret Art Of Saying Nothing

Mothboxer is one of those English pop bands like Squeeze or XTC with enough class to merit placing HMS—Her Majesty’s Songs—before its name. The Secret Art Of Saying Nothing is Mothboxer’s first release since Sand And The Rain was so well received back in 2014, and even the title exudes a wry sense of humor. It sports a heavier sound than in the past but not a bit of the style this band has exuded since its 2010 debut has been lost in the transformation.

“Don’t Forget To Breathe” is one of the tracks that packs a punch, with clever lyrics delivered via harmony vocals. “Rest My Mind” has energetic guitar playing woven throughout and “Get It Right,” a song about taking the time to enjoy life, moves to a steady beat. On the lighter side, the acoustic and philosophical “Within And Without” is more successful than the dramatic and less engaging “Look At The Sun.”

While the band’s mission to delve further into power pop is certainly evident, there are also enticing elements of prog rock involved here. “Right Time To Say Goodnight” evokes open spaces and the epic “Half Light,” with its instrumental passages, feels like vintage Pink Floyd. A lilting arrangement and ethereal harmonies turn “I Don’t Mind” into a thing of beauty; bringing yet another facet to this well-crafted collection.

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Monday, April 17, 2017

Mission Control - Exhibitionism, IPO Chicago, C2E2, CIMMfest, and RSD

Last Monday, I was strapped into a rocket ship ready to travel through space via the Mission To Mars ride at the EPCOT Center in Disney World. Now I’m back from vacation and getting a similar rush of adrenalin about the next two weeks in Chicago. Maybe with less simulated g-force. With so many entertainment events taking place in such a short time, a person would need a rocket to experience all of them.

The Rolling Stones Exhibitionism show opened this past Saturday on Navy Pier and runs through July 30. International Pop Overthrow Chicago kicks off at Red Line Tap on Thursday and runs through April 29. The Chicago Comic and Entertainment Expo (C2E2) runs Friday through Sunday at McCormick Place, and a new variation of the Chicago International Movies and Music Festival (CIMMfest) will be at various venues around the north side this weekend. Record Store Day, with its one-day only vinyl releases and accompanying in-store performances takes place on Saturday.

Judging from the advance press in the Chicago Tribune and Chicago Sun-Times, Exhibitionism is every bit as cool as one might expect from a massive display of Rolling Stones memorabilia. It features guitars, posters, film, fashion, personal notes, an art gallery and a recreation of the kitchen in the first London apartment shared by the band members. Exhibitionism has previously been staged by the Aussie-based iEC Exhibitions! in London and New York.

International Pop Overthrow returns for nine days of multi-band showcases (two each on Saturday, April 22; Sunday April 23; and Saturday April 29) and Founder/CFO David Bash has once again lined up some stellar power pop and indie rock acts. Steve Dawson; Phil Angotti; Ellis Clark And The Big Parade featuring Ary Jeebie; Trolley; The Bishop’s Daredevil Stunt Club; The Unswept; The Webstirs; Pop Dollys; and The Red Plastic Buddha; and The Romeros are among the top acts, and you’re bound to discover a new favorite along the way. The IPO website has links to all the acts involved.

Even though the annual Chicago International Movies and Music Festival—a global selection of films; concerts; film/concert combos; and special presentations at venues around the city—has been moved to the fall, the very first CIMMfest Spring Fling Thing  takes place this coming Friday, Saturday, and Sunday in the Logan Square neighborhood.

The Chicago Comic and Entertainment Expo returns to the South Building of McCormick Place this weekend with the promise of Bringing Comics, Cosplay, and Pop Culture To Chicago. It’s always a fun event to check out for the high tech promotions and exhibits, celebrity guests, and loads of people in sci-fi, superhero, ultra villain, monster, and sexy costumes. Rows of vendors offers comics, t-shirts, games, action figures, and all sorts of imaginative memorabilia. Local artists and writers get their shot at selling stuff too.

The 10th Annual Record Store Day offers another massive selection of genre-spanning, multi-generational, limited-edition releases. This year’s crop includes rare vinyl from Against Me!; Air; Andre 3000; The Beatles; Big Star; David Bowie; R.L. Burnside; The Carts; Johnny Cash; Cheap Trick; The Cure; The Doors; Steve Earle And The Dukes; Fleetwood Mac; Dexter Gordon Buddy Guy; Hawkwind; Jane’s Addiction; Elton John; Robert Johnson; The Kinks; Thelonious Monk; Pink Floyd, Iggy Pop; and several other artists. Check out the official site for the complete list. Also, watch for in-store performances. The Luck Of Eden Hall will be performing at Vintage Vinyl in Evanston; and there are full-day lineups of live music scheduled for Laurie’s Planet Of Sound on Lincoln Avenue and Val’s Halla in Oak Park. Reckless Records, Reggies usually schedule live live shows, so be sure to check out your favorite record store to see if anything’s scheduled.

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Friday, April 14, 2017

Slumgullion

A hearty welcome to The Zombies, who are wrapping up a two-day visit to Thalia Hall in Chicago tonight, as part of their Odyssey and Oracle 50th Anniversary Tour. I wasn’t able to make it out this time, but I did catch a very good Zombies show at The Arcada in St. Charles last year. The Zombies will have two seven-inch singles—“I Want You Back 1965 and 2015” and “A Rose For Emily”/“This Will Be Our Year”—available next Saturday as part of the 10th Annual Record Store Day.

Tickets went on sale today for Evan Dando at Lincoln Hall on June 20, the Graham Parker Duo at City Winery on July 12, and Michele Shocked’s June 27, July 27, and August 25 gigs at City Winery.

Gee, but it’s great to be back home. Usually when I only manage two posts in a week it’s due to a heavy work load. But this time, it’s because I made like Dada and went to Disneyland. My wife Pam and I also checked out both Universal parks while in Orlando, FL and had a great time. There’s a record store called Rock ‘N’ Roll Heaven in Orlando that’s definitely worth a visit for its extensive selection of vinyl, CDs, vintage magazines, t-shirts and assorted memorabilia. The staff is fun, very cool, and willing to help avid fans of The Hollies, and other artists.

This is also the place to pick up a copy of Orlando Weekly, the city’s performing arts/political views (very much like the Chicago Reader) free paper. The Orlando Hard Rock Café has upcoming gigs by Steve Winwood and Lilly Wood on May 6, and a double bill of Blondie and Garbage on August 9. Orlando’s International Fringe Theatre Festival runs May 16 – 29, and judging from the 130–page full-color brochure, it’s a pretty elaborate event.

Speaking of Blondie, the iconic new wave band invited some intriguing guests to help record its latest album Pollinator, according to a story in Mojo magazine. Writer Pat Gilbert notes that Johnny Marr helped write the song “Monster,” and other guests included Sia, Charlie SCX, and Nick Valensi from The Strokes.

Lead vocalist-guitarist Katrina Leskanich of Katrina And The Waves is currently touring and has a new 18-track album titled The Very Best Of Katrina coming out that will feature live versions of the band’s hits and various exclusives. Check out the Katrina of The Waves Facebook page for more details.

The 33rd Chicago Latino Film Festival kicks of next Thursday, April 20 and runs through May 4.

Kevin Lee And The Kings will be performing at the Breaking The Silence - A Benefit For Autism Awareness next Sunday, August 23, at Durty Nellie’s in Palatine. The event runs from noon to 8:00 p.m., and special VIP Floor Tables (as opposed to in the balcony) are still available for $200.

The 11th Annual Screen Test Student Fest takes place next Friday and Saturday at the Prairie Center For The Arts in Schaumburg. Presented by 3 Monkeys and Aardvark Studios and Tribeca Flashpoint College, the event will include 31 short films by students in grades five through eight, as well as by high school students from around the world.

Soprp Music’s 30th Annual Easter Parade Blues Revue takes place next Saturday, April 22 at Sullivan’s Night Club and Restaurant in Midlothian. Performers include The Chicago Horns, Debbie Seitz, Joey Drada, Doug Lee, and Billy King. There music starts at 9:00 p.m.

The Griffin Theatre’s production In To America, featuring stories of immigrants to America throughout the country’s history, continues at The Den Theatre through next Sunday, April 23.

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Thursday, April 13, 2017

RSD - Singles Going Steady

Seven-inch singles with picture sleeves are long-time favorites among vinyl aficionados so it’s not surprising to find another bumper crop among this year’s Record Store Day releases. Generally, they’re the lowest-priced RSD items, so it’s possible to pick up at least a handful of 45s. The limited-edition, one-day availability adds to their allure. Here are a few of the more interesting choices. Be sure to check the official Record Store Day website for a full description of each of these offerings.

The Beatles “Strawberry Fields”/“Penny Lane”

Blondie “ Long Time”/“The Breaks” The first is from their upcoming album Polinator, the second side is an RSD exclusive.

The Chills “Rocket Science”/“Lost In Space” Two songs that follow on the heels of the band’s politically charged and impossibly melodic Silver Bullets album.

The Kinks
“All Day And All Of The Night”/“Long Tall Sally”/I’m A Lover Not A Fighter” French EP, originally released in 1964.

The Shelters
“Really Wanted You”/“So Get Out” Two vintage cover from this amazing L.A. band; the first originally done by Emmitt Rhodes and the second by The Surfaris.

Tegan And Sara/The Regrettes “Back In Your Head” Another entry from the Side By Side series, in which two bands perform different versions of the same song. This time, it’s the popular indie rock duo and the quickly rising L.A. punk band.

Peter Schilling - “Major Tom” picture disc of his one and only major hit.

The Zombies “I Want You Back” 1965 and 2015 The original version and a much newer one recorded decades later.

The Zombies “A Rose For Emily”/“This Will Be Our Year” Two songs from the iconic British band’s 1967 Odessey And Oracle album. The first is the original version, but the second in a recently discovered version with a different arrangement.

Record Store Day is April 22.

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Friday, April 7, 2017

Slumgullion

CHIRP Radio and Vintage Garage will be sharing space tomorrow when the 15th Annual CHIRP Record Fair And Other Delights takes place tomorrow at the Local 130 Plumbers Union Hall at 1340 W. Washington in Chicago. Vintage Garage will set up shop on the first floor, with 25 vendors offering vintage decor and fashion items. CHIRP will fill the the second floor with vinyl, CDs, videos, and other music memorabilia for sale. It’s also a great place to see local musicians wandering the aisles, looking for rarities. Admission from 10:AM to 6:00 PM is $7; early admission from 8:00 to 10:00 AM costs $25, with readmission allowed all day.

Lovin’ Spoonful founding member and solo artist John Sebastian will be at SPACE in Evanston this Sunday night.

Richard Thompson has two shows at The Old Town School of Folk Music this Sunday; an all request show at 4:00 p.m. and his regular show at 8:00 p.

An Evening With Graham Nash at The Old Town School Of Folk Music on July 30 sold out immediately this morning. Here’s hoping he adds another show because I wasn’t able to get a ticket. In other Nash news, his Facebook page states that he’s now open to patching things up estranged pal David Crosby. The current political climate in the USA is said to be a factor in his change of heart.

Other concerts that went on sale today include NRBQ at The Hideout on May 26 and 27; Feist at The Vic on June 14; Air at the Auditorium Theatre on June 20; Drive-By Truckers at Pritzker Pavilion in Millennium Park on June 20; and The Alarm at City Winery on August 28.

Imelda May has a gig at Park West on June 30, and according to writer Tom Lanham’s article in the issue No. 141 of Magnet magazine, the Irish singer explores some new territory on her upcoming album Life, Love, Flesh, Blood.

Tellin’ Tales Theatre wraps up its latest production, Metamorphosisthis this weekend at the Prop Thtr on Chicago’s north side. James Sweeney from Live Lit will be joining in, along with regular members Tekki Lomnicki, Steve Glickman, and Judi Lee Goshen.

The Griffin Theatre’s In To America, a new production that features stories of immigrant to America throughout the country’s history, continues at The Den Theatre through April 23. Tickets are $36
Los Angeles-based band The Shelters, whose self-titled debut was one of the very best albums of 2016, will be at Beat Kitchen next Wednesday, April12.

The Zombies bring their Odyssey and Oracle 50th Anniversary Tour to Thalia Hall on Thursday and Friday.

The Kaleidoscope Eye psychedelic festival coming to the LiveWire Lounge in Chicago this September now has an official Facebook page. Check it out for updates, and also to provide feedback to organizers Tim Ferguson of The Red Plastic Buddha, Gregory Curvey The Luck Of Eden Hall, and Lee Klawans.

Exhibitionism, the massive, multi-media The Rolling Stones exhibit comes to Navy Pier next Saturday, April 15and will run through through July 30.

The Penthouse Sweets, a band who’s made some memorable appearances at The Abbey Pub and other venues around Chicago since 2002, have a new album titled In The House Of The Penthouse Sweets coming out at the end of this month. Band member Lou Hallwas helped out Material Reissue on keyboards during a recent concert at Metro.

In other local releases news, new albums are coming John San Juan from the psychedelic band The Hushdrops; Christopher David from Magatha Trysty, and singer-guitarist Phil Angotti.

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Monday, April 3, 2017

The Smithereens Return To The Chicago Area

Photo by Cat Lynn from The Smithereens Facebook page.

The Smithereens’ concert this past Saturday night at the Schaumburg Prairie Center For The Arts was noticeably different from their show at City Winery Chicago last September. Back in 2016, the New Jersey-based band was marking the 30th anniversary of its stellar debut effort Especially For You. With that celebration finished and the dawn of a new year, The Smithereens have set out with a different playlist. The result was another energetic and well-crafted performance of catchy power pop songs, along with a few covers of The Beatles and The Who.

At one point, lead vocalist Pat DiNizio thanked the audience members for allowing his band to delve deeper into its catalogue. I’ve been to several Smithereens shows over the years, but I don’t recall seeing them do “One Look At You,” “If I Never Get Back Home,” “The War For Mind,” or “Life Is So Beautiful.” Even the choice of Beatles covers—“Please Please Me” and “It’s Only Love”—were different this time out. In addition to being a first-rate vocalist, DiNizio always serves up a number of bitingly funny comments and anecdotes.

Elsewhere, the songs that have become milestones in The Smithereens’ live shows were just as vital as ever. Even though Especialy For You wasn’t front and center, DiNizio, guitarist Jim Babjak, drummer Dennis Diken, and bassist Severo Jornncion tapped into it for rousing versions of “Behind The Wall Of Sleep,” “Only A Memory,” and “Blood And Roses.” There was also the touching noir of “In A Lonely Place,” originally a duet for DiNizio and Suzanne Vega. “House We Used To Live In,” with its exuberant call-and-response vocals from all four band members, segued into the instrumental “Sparks” from The Who’s rock opera Tommy. The Smithereens returned to The Who for “Behind Blue Eyes” as well as Free’s “All Right Now,” for a rousing finale that had everyone in the theater up on their feet. 

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Friday, March 31, 2017

Slumgullion

New Jersey boys The Smithereens are frequent and always welcome visitors to the Chicago area, and they’ll be at The Schaumburg Prairie Center for the Arts  tomorrow night. When I saw them at City Winery Chicago last September (see September 26, 2016 in the BHT archive for my review), they were celebrating the 30th Anniversary of their full-length debut Especially For You. It’s a landmark album, but every Smithereens record has its share of power pop gems. Look for them to do some covers of The Beatles and The Who as well.

The Adrian Belew Power Trio will be at Old Town School Of Folk Music tomorrow night.

Richard Thompson has two shows at The Old Town School of Folk Music next Sunday; an all request show at 4:00 p.m. and his regular show at 8:00 p.m.

If you saw Greg Kot’s Turn It Up column on The Regrettes in the On The Town section of today’s Chicago Tribune and wondered if such a young and relatively unknown band is worth that much attention, the answer is yes. Lead vocalist-guitarist Lydia Night’s observations on navigating life as a teenager ring true and are often bitterly funny. Plus, she and her mates mix authentic punk with the 1960s girl group sound and come up with irresistible melodies on their full-length debut Feel Your Feelings Fool! The Regrettes will be at Schubas this Sunday, with Brooklyn-based indie rock band Active Bird Community as their opening act.

Nancy Wilson from Heart will be on hand when The Rock And Roll Fantasy Camp celebrates its 21st Anniversary in Hollywood, CA. on July 29 – July 2. Other guests include Steven Adler from Guns N’ Roses, Greg Bissonette from the David Lee Roth Band, Ashley Dzerigian from Filter, and Joe Vitale.

Ann Wilson from Heart has a solo concert coming up at House Of Blues in Chicago on June 16. Tickets went on sale earlier today.

Tickets also went on sale today for the Phoenix and Lemon Twigs concert at the Aragon Ballroom on June 5.

Tellin’ Tales Theatre kicks off its latest production, Metamorphosis tonight at the Prop Theatre on Chicago’s north side. James Sweeney from Live Lit will be joining in, along with members Tekki Lomnicki, Steve Glickman, and Judi Lee Goshen. Metamorphosis runs this weekend and next weekend.

Power pop fans know him as a founding member of the band Green, and now singer-guitarist Jeff Lescher has a solo effort coming out. A post on Lescher’s Solo Album Facebook page states he has 28 songs that need a home. Hopefully, we’ll be hearing those songs in the near future.

Tributosaurus will become Pink Floyd next Wednesday, April 5 at Martyrs in Chicago. The first set will feature Pink Floyd’s rock classics, and for the second set, Tributosaurus will perform the entire Dark Side Of The Moon album in order. Two days later, they’ll go all Pink Floyd again at Wire in Berwyn.

The Griffin Theatre’s In To America, a new production that features stories of immigrants coming to America throughout the country’s history, continues at The Den Theatre through April 23.

Dave Davies from The Kinks will be coming to The Arcada in St. Charles next Saturday, April 8. I saw Mr. Davies with his first-rate backing band at Taste Of Lincoln Avenue a few years back and it was an amazing show that included his solo stuff as well as Kinks material.

The annual CHIRP Record Fair And Other Delights takes place next Saturday at the Chicago Journeyman Plumbers Union Hall on Washington, just west of downtown. Admission is $7. By the way, this should have been part of my April, Rock She Will post the other day. It’s always a lot of fun and you can find records, CDs, videos, posters, and other music-related treasures.

John Sebastian, who was a founding member of The Lovin’ Spoonful before embarking on a successful solo career, will be at SPACE in Evanston next Sunday, on April 9.

The Second Disc website recently reported that the Brinsley Schwarz album All Over Now is being released on the U.K. label Mega Dodo four decades after it was recorded. The band lineup is Nick Lowe, Ian Gomm, Brinsley Schwarz, Bob Andrews, and Billy Rankin; the tracks include “Cruel To Be Kind.”

Also, according to The Second Disc, there’s a new Bee Gees tribute album coming out, titled To Love Somebody: The Songs Of The Bee Gees 1966 – 1970. Al Green, Nina Simone, Percy Sledge, Lulu, Sandie Shaw, and The Staple Singers are among the artists who’ll be participating. It’s available on Amazon.

We still play the blues in Chicago, and by 2019, we’ll finally have a downtown museum honoring the music and role the our city played in its development. Chicago Blues Experience already has a Facebook page, announcing “A world-class cultural attraction for the City of Chicago,” and has garnered press in Crain’s Chicago Business and the Chicago Tribune.

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Thursday, March 30, 2017

It’s A Small World After All

I frequently worry that the postings here on Broken Hearted Toy are too Chicago-centric to interest anyone outside the immediate area. So here’s some far-reaching entertainment business news.

Joe Algeri, the hardest-working singer-songwriter/multi-instrumentalist in Australia has just released a new song by The Outryders. (He’s also a member of The Britannicas, The Jangle Band, and The JAC.) “Live For Today”/“Piangi Con Me” finds Algeri and Paul Colombini performing a catchy and very fun blend of the original version by The Grassroots and a later one by the Italian band The Rokes.The song also features Britannicas bassist Herb Eimerman, and is available for free download on Algeri’s Bandcamp page.

UK-based Genesis Publications had an exhibit at the AIPAD-hosted Photography Show in New York today to celebrate the 100 limited-edition music books it’s published since 1974. Photos on display at the Genesis booth included ones relating to John Lennon, Ringo Starr, Bob Dylan, Yoko Ono, and Paul Weller. Noted photographer Mick Rock was on hand to sign bookplates from Transformer, a Genesis book devoted to Lou Reed.

The French band Phoenix will be traveling the globe performing “Lisztomania,” “1901,” and other selections from their oervre for the first time in two years. The tour will bring them to London, Tokyo, Paris, Jakarta, Manila, Rome, Berlin, Lisbon, Hollywood, Chicago and other major cities.

Fruits de Mer, the UK indie label that puts all its releases on slabs of vinyl (frequently coloured), has some new efforts on the way. The bands Sendelica and Superfjord combine forces on the seven-inch single “Zappa,” which features “Peaches En Regalia” on one side and “Don’t Eat The Yellow Snow” on the other. Astralasia’s new double album Oceania has over an hour of new and original electronic/chill music. The album has a gatefold sleeve and includes a perforated seven-inch blotter. I’m not sure what a perforated seven-inch blotter is; I’m just quoting the press release.

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Wednesday, March 29, 2017

April, Rock She Will

April is traditionally a big month here at Broken Hearted Toy because it brings International Pop Overthrow, Record Store Day, CIMMfest, and usually C2E2 to Chicago. 2017 has those four anchor events, along with the Rolling Stones’ Exhibitionism exhibit, and a bunch of live shows. Here’s a quick list of what to expect. Hopefully, I’ll be going into more detail on each of these in future posts. More events will probably be added to the list as the month goes by.

April 1 The Smithereens at thePrairie Center Arts in Schaumburg.

April 1 Adrian Belew Power Trio at Old Town School Of Folk Music

April 2 The Regrettes at Schubas.

April 5 Tributosaurus becomes Pink Floyd at Martyrs on Lincoln Avenue.

April 8 Dave Davies of The Kinks at The Arcada in St. Charles.

April 12 The Shelters at Beat Kitchen

April 13 and 14 - The Zombies Odyssey and Oracle 50th Anniversary Tour at Thalia Hall

April 15 through July 30 Exhibitionism - The Rolling Stones at Navy Pier.

April 19 The New Pornographers at Metro

April 21 through 23 C2E2 (Chicago Comic and Entertainment Expo) at McCormick Place.

April 21 through 23 CIMMfest at various venues.

April 21 through April 29  International Pop Overthrow runs at the Red Line Tap on Chicago’s north side.

April 22 Record Store Day

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Tuesday, March 28, 2017

RSD - Seeing Double

Last Thursday’s post here on Broken Hearted Toy mentioned four of the most tempting box sets or multiple-LP offerings coming on April 22 as part of Record Store Day 2017. For those with the cash, there are definitely some genuine treasures on the way. Now it’s time to move on to the (hopefully) more modestly priced 2-LP sets.

The Cars Live at the Agora, 1978 was recorded in Cleveland at the height of the band’s popularity. Songs include “Just I Needed,” “My Best Friend’s Girl,” “You’re All I’ve Got Tonight,” and “Moving In Stereo.” The Cars played an essential role in putting new wave on the map and should have been inducted into The Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame.

Cheap Trick has been inducted into the RRHOF, and The Epic Archive Vol. One will likely provide more evidence of why they’ve earned that right. The official RSD site describes this as “eighteen rarities” on yellow vinyl but doesn’t mention any specific tracks. There will be single mixes, and non-LP tracks, along with annotation by Bun E. Carlos, rare photos from band photographer Bob Alford, and liner notes by Ken Sharp. Sharp is the noted rock critic/musician who recently published Vol. 4 of his Power Pop Heroes book series.

The Cure - Greatest Hits offers two picture discs of songs selected and remastered by lead vocalist Robert Smith. Songs include “Boys Don’t Cry,” “Love Cats,” “Friday I’m In Love,” “Let’s Go Yo Bed,” “Why Can’t I Be You” and “Love Song.”

The Cure Greatest Hits Acoustic is also on two picture discs and has acoustic versions of the hit songs on the regular Greatest Hits album. It doesn’t say when these were recorded but the concept could be “Just Like Heaven” for the group’s devoted following.

Various Artists - Nuggets: Come To The Sunshine: Soft Pop Nuggets was originally released in 2004 on the Rhino Handmade label, and now it’s on orange/yellow marble vinyl. The acts involved include Harpers Bizarre, The Association, The Monkees, The Vogues, and Dino, Desi, and Billy. Hard to imagine this being as much fun as the harder-edged Nuggets fare, but probably still a worthwhile trip.

Where The Pyramid Meets The Eye - A Tribute To Roky Erikson recruits R.E.M., The Lyres, ZZ Top, The Mighty Lemon Drops, Julian Cope, Poi Dog Pondering, The Judybats, Lou Ann Barton, Richard Lloyd, John Wesley Harding, T Bone Burnett and others to pay homage to the leader of the 13th Floor Elevators and one of psychedelic rock’s most adventurous pioneers. Originally released by Sire in 1990, this version has three songs that were previously only available on a cassette version.

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Friday, March 24, 2017

Slumgullion

The Shelters will be at Beat Kitchen in April and at Lollapalooza in August.

The full lineup of 170 music acts for this year’s Lollapalooza was announced earlier this week. The event takes place August 3 – 6 in Grant Park. Chance the Rapper, who’s been in the news lately for his efforts to stop gun violence in Chicago, is one of the headline acts, along with Lorde, The Killers, and Arcade Fire. The Shelters (whose self-titled album came in at number two on the Broken Hearted Toy Favorite Releases of 2016 list), Cage The Elephant, Liam Gallagher, Spoon, Tegan and Sara, Warpaint, and The Shins will also be performing. Tickets for Lollapalooza are already sold out.

Tickets went on sale today for Juliana Hatfield at Lincoln Hall on May 1; The Shelters at Beat Kitchen on April12; Robyn Hitchcock at The Old Town School Of Folk Music on June 17; and Alison Moyet at Park West on September 19.

The Factory Theater, a major force in Chicago for decades, has a new play called Born Ready opening tonight at its space on the far north side. Stacie Barra’s play about an aging actress and a young dancer who join forces as a comedy duo is directed by W. Bullion and stars Eleanor Katz and and Clara Byczkowski.

Wild Honey’s benefit for The Autism Think Tank takes place tomorrow night, March 25 at the Alex Theatre in Glendale California. Jackson Browne, Peter Case, Victoria Williams, Syd Straw, David Baerwald, Continental Drifters, Plainsong, and Cait O’Riordan are among the musicians who’ll be performing The Band’s Music From Big Pink album. Founding Band member Garth Hudson will also be on hand.

Singer-guitarist James Moeller will be getting a workout tomorrow night at Phyllis Musical Inn when whitewolfsonicprincess, the mysterious alt rock band he leads with vocalist Carla Hayden, shares the stage with his more garage rock oriented outfit The Telepaths. Music starts at 10:00 p.m.

The Refugee Theatre’s production of the High Fidelity Musical wraps up tomorrow night.

The Experience Hendrix all-star tribute to the legendary guitarist comes to the Chicago Theatre tomorrow night, March 25. Performers include Billy Cox, Buddy Guy, Zakk Wylde, Johnny Lang, Kenny Wayne Shepherd, Dweezil Zappa, and others.

The Smithereens will be back in the Chicago area next Saturday, April 1 when they play the Prairie Arts Center in Schaumburg. The Smithereens’ ESP3PECIALLY F0R YOU 30th Anniversary of their debut album Especially For You, came in at number three on my Favorite Releases Of 2016 list.

The Heroes And Villains Fan Fest returns to the Donald E. Stephens Convention Center tomorrow and Sunday, March 25 and 26, with special guests from several popular TV shows. Two-day passes for general admission are $90, Saturday only is $55, and Sunday is $45. Various forms of VIP packages are also available.

The 20th Annual Chicago European Union Film Festival is currently taking place at the Gene Siskel Film Center, and by the time it’s finished on March 30, 62 films from 28 countries will have been screened

The Regrettes, the Los Angeles-based quartet whose full length debut Feel Your Feelings Fool is an irresistible blend of punk and the 1960s girl group sound, will be at Schubas next Sunday night. Brooklyn-based indie rock band Active Bird Community, which released its latest album Stick Around earlier this year, will be the opening act.

Little Steven and The Disciples Of Soul will be summering in Europe this year, with concerts scheduled in Ireland, Sweden, Netherlands, Finland, Italy, Slovenia, Spain, and Norway. Musician/actor/radio host Steven Van Zandt first recorded with The Disciples Of Soul in 1982 with the release of the Men Without Women album. Musically, of course, Van Zandt is best known for his work with Bruce Springsteen

The ambitious psychedelic rock fest Tim Ferguson, Gregory Curvey, and Lee Klawans are going to stage at the LiveWire Lounge in Chicago this September has been officially dubbed Kaleidoscope Eye. The bands involved are The Red Plastic Buddha, The Luck Of Eden Hall, Sisters of Your Sunshine Vapor, Friends of Dennis Wilson, Warhorses, Heaven’s Gateway Drugs, Magic Castles, The Orange Drop, White Shape, Constantine, Aethereal, Junkee Girl, Diagonal, and Lucille Furs.

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