Friday, April 23, 2010

Slumgullion # 11

Picture from Todd Wright's Facebook page.

Ten weeks from now it will be time to get Todd Wright a birthday card. I only know this because of the singer-songwriter’s 40x40 project, which he has been promoting on Facebook and other websites. An acquaintance of his clued me in about Wright’s ambitious plan a while back, and I’ve been noting his progress in the Elevated Observations column on my blog.

Wright wants to raise funds to support Juvenile Diabetes research by releasing a free track download each Wednesday for 40 straight weeks, to coincide with this 40th birthday. With this week’s song, “Let Me Down Easy,” Wright is three quarters of the way through. If you go to his website at to download the song, consider making a donation of $10, $25, $50, or $100 to the American Diabetes Association. The songs are also available for $5.99 as a digital download with a bonus track and PDFs of the CD art, and for $11.99 as an actual CD with a bonus track and PDFs of the CD art. Buyers will be entered to win an iPod loaded with all of Wright’s 40x40 project songs. Keep up the good work, Todd, you’re in the home stretch now.

It’s the second day of International Pop Overthrow’s ninth visit to Chicago. Tonight’s IPO showcase at The Abbey kicks off with the co-ed indie rock of Chicago’s cleverly named Magatha Trysty, followed by veteran power pop musician and Michigan native Jeremy. The rest of tonight’s acts are local. Gidgets Ga Ga aren’t related to Lady; they’re a power pop band who play energetic songs like “Beki” and “Offer You Can’t Refuse.” The Laureates likewise go the irresistible power pop route, while The Blissters (not the same band as The Blisters, which includes Jeff Tweedy’s kid) opt for a more punk style of music augmented by keyboards.

Penthouse Sweets are energetic and fun; they did a bang-up job of portraying The Sex Pistols at The Abbey’s Halloween bash last October, and they’re sure to be cutting loose tonight. Million Yen’s gift for well-crafted power pop is evident throughout its 2001 CD, Blue Television Windows. Chicago alternative veterans Ellis Clark & Epicycle will surely provide a wild finale for IPO Day Two. Clark, who performs with The Handcuffs, as well as Epicycle, has been promising surprises, and there’s a good chance drummer Brad Elvis of The Handcuffs will be joining in.

Note: There is an all ages IPO show tomorrow afternoon at The Abbey, as well as a nighttime IPO show at The Spot on Broadway. See the website for the schedules.

Chicago rockers Dot Dot Dot have been promoting their new self-titled CD on a national tour that has included Georgia, Florida, Alabama, Indiana, and Wisconsin. They’re be back in Illinois for a show on April 30th at The Roadhouse in Elgin.

On a sad note, I received an e-mail yesterday from Illinois Entertainer editor Steve Forstneger forwarding a message from the High Rise PR agency that Devon Clifford, the drummer for the neo-1980s band You Say Party! We Say Die! suffered a fatal brain hemorrhage from congenital defects while performing last Friday. I had recently reviewed the band’s latest CD, XXXX for the Illinois Entertainer, praising its impossibly catchy guitar and keyboard arrangements. I extend my sympathy to You Say Party! We Say Die! as well as his family and friends.

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