Monday, April 30, 2012
Saturday, April 28, 2012
Friday, April 27, 2012
Thursday, April 26, 2012
Wednesday, April 25, 2012
Tuesday, April 24, 2012
Monday, April 23, 2012
Sunday, April 22, 2012
Saturday, April 21, 2012
Friday, April 20, 2012
Photo from The Webstirs website.
Sorry, no Slumgullion today. I’m off to play the grand piano.
Just a quick note about the two International Pop Overthrow showcases at Redline Tap tomorrow. Check out the festival’s website for details on all the bands. I particularly recommend The Pop Dollys, The Shake Ups, and The Abbeys for the daytime showcase, and Swinger, Phil Angotti, and The Webstirs for the night time showcase. But I'm sure each of the acts will put on a good show.
And don’t forget, there’s a great IPO showcase tonight at Redline Tap.
Happy vinyl hunting for Record Store Day tomorrow.
Thursday, April 19, 2012
Photo from Mimi Betinis Facebook page.
Sorry to make this so short, but as the band Shoes said in one of their numerous energetic and melodic songs: Hate To Run. I’ve two freelance gigs today, so here’s quick word on tomorrow night’s International Pop Overthrow - Chicago showcase at Redline Tap. I’ve mentioned here before that if I had the time and money, I would catch every night of this musical festival when it comes to town. It’s just a great way to discover new bands and check in with old favorites. The Friday, April 20th lineup is a great choice for longtime IPO fans and newcomers.
Aaron Fox & The Reliables, Go Time, The Valley Downs and Mimi Betinis of Pezband all have great track records. I’m not as familiar with Fun With Atoms, The Break, and The Velvet Cadillacs, but as I just mentioned, part of the fun is discovering new music. I can’t give any details today, but IPO founder David Bash has a great website, with links to all of tomorrow’s bands. So be sure to check it out.
Wednesday, April 18, 2012
Photo from The Iveys Facebook page.
Every year, around the middle of April, power pop fans begin to have visions of multiple band showcases dance in their heads. That’s when International Pop Overthrow arrives for its annual 10-day visit. Technically, it’s correct to call it a traveling music festival since founder/CEO David Bash brings IPO to 16 cities, although each location has its own roster of talent. Some acts, like Dave Rave or Jeremy, play much of the circuit, including stops in Liverpool and London.
The style of music can vary a bit as well. Some cities lean more toward indie rock, but Bash knows power pop is his bread and butter in the Midwest capital of Chicago. My preview of this year’s International Pop Overthrow is now available at the online version of the Illinois Entertainer. For Broken Hearted Toy, I’ll try to concentrate more on the band lineups, as well as a few reviews. That’s easier said than done, but I’m hoping to do at least a short post for each night of the fest.
So, here’s a look at the bands performing at opening night tomorrow at Red Line Tap. Unless otherwise noted, they’re from Chicago.
Idealist is comprised of two women and assorted guys, and their CD, Fibs, Lies & Lullabies mixes melodic pop with some slower tunes. Lead vocalist Sammi Foti has an engaging voice similar to British singer, Lilly Allen.
The three guys and one woman in Bumble Monkey draw influences from 1960s pop, hard rock, and new wave. The catchy songs on their CD, Three Happiness, feature a male lead singer, with female back-up vocals.
Texas-based The Iveys feature two women, and one guy playing songs with a touch of Country & Western. They recently released a new CD titled Days & Nights.
The Kuhls are two sisters, Renee and Grace, from Kansas City who play acoustic rock. They claim Bonnie Raitt as influence.
Multi-instrumentalist Tommi Zender is a singer-songwriter who has worked with a number of artists, such as Ralph’s World, Bon Mots, Ellen Rosner, Phil Angotti, Dag Juhlin. His CDs have included Words Got In The Way and Will Work For Harmony.
I couldn’t find much on John Mead & The Coyotes, but they have fun taking a rockabilly approach to the Modern English hit , “I Melt With You” in a clip on YouTube.
Tuesday, April 17, 2012
Rock fans in the Chicago area will have two opportunities to celebrate their adventurous spirit this Saturday. April 21st is Record Store Day, and there will also be a pair of International Pop Overthrow showcases at Red Line Tap. If your only interest in Record Store Day is rising at the crack of dawn to snap up specially released 45s like Paul McCartney’s “Another Day,” Small Faces’ “Itchycoo Park,” and The Clash’s “London Calling”; or 10” LPs like The Knack’s Live In Los Angeles and Pete Townshend’s Quadrophenia Demos Part 2, then there’s no conflict. IPO’s daytime showcase doesn’t kick off until 1:00 PM.
Planning a schedule around both events gets trickier for those of us who savor the various in-store performances and guest appearances that have become an integral part of Record Store Day. IPO will be in town through April 28th, but the line up is different for each showcase. Fans of singer-guitarist Mike Cohen won’t want to miss IPO’s early showcase since both of his bands, The Pop Dollys and The Abbeys, are on the bill.
Even if you take International Pop Overthrow out of the equation, navigating all the fun being served up at record stores around town could take the skills of Ferdinand Magellan. Here’s a sampling of some of the more promising options.
Brad Elvis from The Handcuffs, Steve Dawson from Dolly Varden, singer-guitarist Phil Angotti, and keyboards player Alton Smith will be performing songs from The Monkees’ LP, Pisces, Aquarius, Capricorn & Jones Ltd at Laurie’s Planet Of Sound in Lincoln Square at 2:00 PM. Other bands are scheduled throughout the day.
Later at Laurie’s, WXRT radio personality Terri Hemmert will be working behind the counter as a “guest record clerk,” starting around 4:00PM. There’s no truth to the rumor that she’ll be giving gold stars to anyone who buys a Beatles album.
Reckless Records on Milwaukee Avenue has a full lineup of bands scheduled, starting at 2:00 PM with a “stripped down synth version” of Radar Eyes, and running through a 5:15 performance by Circles, which includes ex-members of The Ponys. Artist Steve Krakow will be drawing rock ‘ roll caricatures from noon to 5:00 PM. The Reckless Records Broadway location will present live bands at 2:00, 3:00, 4:00 PM, and 5:30 PM, and the downtown store will have bands at 1:30 PM, 3:30 PM, and 4:30 PM.
Monday, April 16, 2012
Comic book cover from The Ultimate 7 website.
C2E2 may be shorthand for Chicago Comic & Entertainment Expo, but one of the C’s could just as easily stand for Creativity. As the annual event unfolded in Chicago this past weekend, there were promotions for new movies like Dark Shadows and The Raven, special presentations by DC and Marvel Comics, celebrities signing autographs, and countless people dressed as their favorite super heroes and villains. Other patrons, armed with cameras, seemed to delight in getting shots of unlikely character combinations like Batman alongside a Star Wars Stormtrooper.
A fan waiting in line to get an autograph from Anthony Daniels, the actor who played CP30 in Star Wars, fondly recalled last year’s C2E2, when he got an Amy Pond look-alike to pose with a guy dressed as the 10th Doctor from Doctor Who. Even though the two characters, played by Karen Gillan and David Tennant respectively, never crossed paths in the actual show, the fan said he was happy to get a pic of his favorite companion and the best actor to have played The Doctor. He paused a moment, and added, “Well, maybe Tom Baker was the best Doctor.”
The conversation had started when a family in line behind the fan asked about Doctor Who/Torchwood star John Barrowman, who was signing autographs at Table Six. The actor looked like he was having a blast, and a friend of mine posted on Facebook that Barrowman had the audience in stitches at a Q & A session earlier in the day. Other stars who dropped by over the weekend included John Cusack, promoting The Raven; Maggie Q from Nikita; Val Kilmer from Top Gun; and Nerdist website founder Chris Hardwick. Gail Simone (Wonder Woman); David Finch (The Dark Knight) and Frank Cho (Avengers VS X-Men) were among the famous visitors form the comic world.
Cruising through Artist Alley, where over three hundred up-and-comers were eager to talk about their latest projects, was a fun and eye-opening experience. Some had illustrated and/or written graphic novels in printed or online formats, while others made their art available via sketch books, posters, or portraits. Ashleigh Michelle Popplewell (gotta love that name) sold cool looking sketch cards of characters from TV and movies, while Black Action Tees & Prints offered vibrant t shirts with African American super heroes and urban contemporary bands like Cypress Hill.
It was easy to get caught up in Robert Wawrzyniak’s spirited description of the sensual Colonel Jennifer Rocket, who battles the Evil OverLord in The Ultimate 7. His graphic novel series is an imaginative take on how dinosaurs came to be replaced by humans. Onrie Kompan was standing in the aisle in front of his table, ready to greet people, hand them a business card, and explain why his YI SOON SHIN project is destined for greatness. He’s a polished salesman but genuinely friendly as he offers a deal on his graphic novels.
Going from table to table, I feel guilty about not buying anything after letting these artists go through their entire sales pitch. I’m genuinely interested in hearing their tales, and besides, it seems like it would be rude to just zip by. Although I do that as well - - some of the stuff is either annoyingly cute, overly violent, or the artist was straining too hard to be unique. I bought a Doctor Who bookmark showing the 9th, 10th, and 11th Doctors, and some Tom Baker stickers from Ashleigh Michelle Popplewell, to go with some Doctor Who/famous masterpiece mash-up posters I got at the Jesse Rubenfeld Illustrations booth.
You never know what could emerge from the creative hotbed of Artist Alley. Maybe in a couple years, someone dressed as the warrior and defender YI SOON SHIN will be posing alongside Superman and Princess Leia.