Friday, November 29, 2013


Even if the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame tells them no, The Zombies will always have Phil Angotti’s tribute.

The alt rock/avant garde band whitewolfsonicprincess (a musical offshoot of Black Forest Theater) is headlining its annual Toys For Tots Rock Party tomorrow night at Red Line Tap. Also on the bill are Joe And Jana; Will Phalen And The Dirty Dollars; The Telepaths; and David  Bon. The Revelettes go-go dancers will perform two separate sets. Admission is an unwrapped toy, but stuffed toys and toy guns will not be accepted. Admission without a toy is $5.

Two weeks from tonight, power pop masters The Bad Examples, with singer-guitarist Ralph Covert, will perform at The Red Line Tap. Their opening act, garage rock trio The Viaducts will be having an X-Mas Party that same evening.

Damn Right I Got The Drumstick. SOPRO will present its 31st Annual Thanksgiving Chicago All Star Blues revue tomorrow night at Sullivan’s Irish Pub and Eatery in Midlothian. Long-time participants, the critically acclaimed jazz quartet The Chicago Horns will once again be on hand, along with guitarists Joey Drada, Frank Anastos, and Billy King; bassist John Falstrom; drummer Scott Bonshire; keyboards player Greg Wolfman; harmonica player Doug Lee; and vocalists Peaches Staten and France Marie. In addition to the music, there will be prize giveaways.

As noted by writer John Grochowski in the Agenda section of today’s Chicago Sun-Times, there will be a Doctor Who themed convention titled Chicago TARDIS this weekend at the Westin Lombard Yorktown Center. Featured guests include three actors who took on role of The Doctor: Peter Davison, Colin Baker, and Paul McGann. There’s also an impressive lineup of performers who played well-known companions throughout the run of the series, including Freema Agyeman (Martha Jones); Frazer Hines (JamieMcCrimmon) Louise Jameson (Leela); Sarah Sutton (Nyssa); and Nicola Bryant (Peri Brown). Cosplayers are welcome, and there will be a dealers room. Three-day general admission is $100; single day for Friday or Sunday is $50; single day tickets for Saturday are sold out.

I joined the Record Store Day Black Friday hunt earlier today and it was definitely less of a challenge than the regular RSD that takes place each April. I arrived at the Reckless Records location on Madison in downtown Chicago about 20 minutes before it opened, and found a small group of people lined up outside. The staff took their customary quick and professional RSD approach, so I was able to get what I came for—U2’s 10-inch “Ordinary Love” single and The Rolling Stones’ six-song “got LIVE if you want it!” 45— and was on my way in minutes. The drawbacks of Black Friday RSD are the smaller selection and no freebies. But it was still a worthwhile trip

Last Friday night, EXPO ‘76 played a few highly entertaining sets at Mac’s On Slade in Palatine. The band consistently finds new ways to make cover versions entertaining, such as its shaken-not-stirred mix of Bobby Hebb’s soul classic “Sunny” with the James Bond Theme. My only complaint about Mac’s is that it’s a small venue that gets crowded very quickly. If you have a band and would love to pack people into Mac’s On Slade, here’s your chance. The club, in conjunction with the Palatine Park District, is asking music acts to fill out a registration form and submit CD/DVD with website links. Entry forms can be found at the Palatine Park District website.

The Three O’Clock not only have a Paisley Underground Reunion Concert coming up on the West Coast with The Bangles, Dream Syndicate, and Rain Parade, they also have a limited edition album titled Aquarius Andromeda coming out January 14th. It’s a collection of unreleased demos and rarities.

We should know in the next few weeks which bands will become the 2014 Inductees to the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame. If The Zombies are selected, people may look back to a tribute show staged by Chicago’s own singer-guitarist Phil Angotti as the turning point. Angotti will be joined by Casey McDonough, Dick Schmidt, Kriss Bataille, and John Aselin as he performs The Zombies’ Oddessy and Oracle album at Martyrs’ this Monday night. He also plans to perform some of the ahead-of-its-time British Invasion band’s top hits as well. The show starts at 8:00 PM. 

King of Soul: Acoustic Otis Redding, a tribute to the acclaimed soul performer, will be held at City Winery on December 9th. Vocalist Gerald McClendon will be joined by guitarist Carlo Basile from Las Guitarras De Espana, violinist Chihsuan Yang, and other area musicians. Admission prices range from $18 to $22.

The Punk Singer, director Sini Anderson’s 80-minute documentary about punk vocalist Kathleen Hanna of the bands Bikini Kill and Le Tigre, will be screening at the Music Box Theatre December 13th through the 19th.

Also at the Music Box, a Royal Shakespeare Company filmed production of Richard II starring David Tennant from Doctor Who, will be shown December 7th at noon and on December 18th at 7:15 PM. 

But I Think It Was The Mulled Wine. Corky Siegel of the Siegel- Schwall Band and veteran folk singer Megon McDonough will be joining forces for a Holiday Party at the Metropolis Performing Arts Centre 

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Third Annual Holiday Shopping Guide

One of America’s Thanksgiving traditions, along with family dinners, football, and expressing gratitude, is the arrival of treasure chest-sized editions of the daily newspapers, filled with retail flyers. Of course, now it’s possible to do all your Black Friday shopping online, but some old-school bargain hunters prefer the hand-to-hand combat of snagging those amazing deals in overcrowded shopping malls. In keeping with the holiday tradition, here are a few Broken Hearted Toy gift ideas.

If you’re an avid vinyl collector, you know the drill when it comes to the annual Record Store Day in April, but the new November version will put you directly in the path of the Black Friday stampede. You’ll have to arrive early at your favorite independent record store tomorrow in order to snag treasures like Cheap Trick’s The Classic Albums 1977-79. This limited edition, custom-designed boxed set includes Cheap Trick; In Color; Heaven Tonight; Live At Budokan; and Dream Police. Other special Black Friday Record Store Day releases this year include the eight-song LP, The Doors Curated By Record Store Day; the Nick Lowe Quality Street 12” picture disc; the Harry Nilsson Rarities Collection LP; The Rolling Stones 7”, six-song version of Got Live If You Want It; and U2’s brand new 10” “Ordinary Love” single. Check the official Record Store Day website for the entire list.

With all the publicity Doctor Who has been getting for its 50th Anniversary The Day Of The Doctor special, there’s been some debate as to what would the best way for people previously unfamiliar with the British sci-fi TV series to get up to speed. I would highly recommend the BBC’s three-part DVD series, The Doctors Revisited. The first installment, 1–4, spotlighting William Hartnell, Patrick Troughton, Jon Pertwee, and Tom Baker, offers extensive information about the origins of Doctor Who, while the third, 9–11 covers the show’s rebirth in 2005, with Christopher Eccleston, David Tennant, and Matt Smith. In between, there’s a  5–8 edition that delves into the way Peter Davison, Colin Baker, Sylvester McCoy, and Paul McGann interpreted the role of The Doctor. As for The Doctor Who: The 50th Anniversary Special: The Day Of The Doctor, it will be available on Amazon December 10th.

WXRT has unveiled the track listing for Live From The Archives Volume 15the latest in a series of CDs that feature exclusive concert performances that have aired on the FM station. This year, sales will help fund Oxfam America, an organization that works to end poverty and promote social change; and Cure Violence, which is dedicated to reducing violence around the world. The artists on Vol. 15 include Cheap Trick, Phoenix, Passion Pit, Shemekia Copeland, Jimmy Cliff, Blondie, Mayer Hawthorne, World Party, The Lumineers, and Serena Ryder. The CD will be available at Target stores  on December 3rd.

Music is always a good choice for gifts, so feel free to browse the reviews I’ve done over the past few years for some worthy options. Also, check out your favorite bands online and what new stuff they have to offer.

Take a look at this year’s Fest For Beatles Fans catalog, and probably the first thing you’ll want as a gift is an airline ticket to New York to see the Fest For Beatles Fans - New York’s 50th Anniversary Celebration of The Beatles’ First Visit To America. Special guests at this event include Peter Asher of Peter And Gordon; Donovan; Chad & Jeremy; Billy J. Kramer; and The Smithereens. If you can’t afford the trip to New York, the catalog has hundreds of Beatles-related items for sale, such as CDs, DVDs, t-shirts, posters, books, belts, wallets, pajamas, sunglasses, hats, puzzles, and iPad and laptop musicskins. If you’re not on the mailing list for the catalog, you can check out the Fest For Beatles Fans official website.

Kickstarter enables musicians, artists, and filmmakers to solicit funds for projects that might not otherwise see the light of day. Most of the participants offer one-of-kind perks in exchange for donations. The larger the amount you pledge, the more cool the gift will be if the project meets its goal. A great way to get involved in the creative process, and get something in return.

The Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame has all kinds of gift items, and now there’s a new, exclusive line of Inductee t-shirts. The eclectic selsection includes The Who, Elvis Presley, Heart, Muddy Waters, Blondie, Dion, The Crickets, Earth, Wind And Fire, and John Lennon. The attractive art work includes the RRHOF logo and the year the artist was inducted. I couldn’t find anything on the website to indicate that more Inductees will be honored with t-shirts in the future, but hopefully that’s the case. Only time will tell.

Also, check out the websites of your favorite bands for t-shirts, buttons, magnets, holiday songs, or other special items. For example, you can order a Cheap Trick bar stool for just $124.99 at the band’s online store. 

Have fun doing whatever form of shopping you prefer, and have a Happy Thanksgiving!

Monday, November 25, 2013

Another Eclectic Collection From The XRT Vault

WXRT provided a preview of Live From The Archives Vol. 15 last Thursday as part of its weekly New Releases feature. This latest edition in the ongoing series once again draws from the extensive collection of live recordings the progressive rock station has amassed over decades of in-studio appearances and the concerts it has sponsored at Chicago venues. The CD goes on sale for $13.99 at local Target stores on December 3rd.

Aside from getting exclusive live recordings, another reason to pick this up is that some of the proceeds go to charitable causes. This year’s recipients are Oxfam America, an organization that works to end poverty and promote social change; and Cure Violence, which is dedicated to reducing violence around the world.

As usual with Live From The Archives, the selection reflects the station’s eclectic taste in music; touching on neo-soul, current alt rock, arena rock, vintage new wave, reggae, and the blues. Which also means the average buyer isn’t likely to be thrilled with everything on the disc. But with well-known artists like Cheap Trick, Phoenix, Passion Pit, Shemekia Copeland, Jimmy Cliff, Blondie, Mayer Hawthorne, World Party, The Lumineers, and Serena Ryder on board, Live is once again a good gift choice for any music fan.

It looks like WXRT has passed on a suggestion I made here on BHT at the dawn of 2013 that they create some sort of customized cabinet or case for those of us who have collected all 15 of the volumes. Something with the station’s illuminated call letters and/or iconic diamond logo. I’m hoping to post a review of Live From The Archives Vol. 15 soon after I buy my copy on December 3rd.

Friday, November 22, 2013


Photo from the EXPO ‘76 Facebook page.

A merchants’ association in Palatine is celebrating the long-awaited return of EXPO ‘76 tonight with activities throughout the downtown area. Just a few hours before the eclectic cover band takes the stage at 9:00 PM at Mac’s On Slade, various stores will be offering complimentary hors d’ oeuvres and wine samples, along with a raffle to win a pork pie hat worn by one of the EXPO ‘76 musicians. Some residents believe a mysterious statue of a man blowing a horn while riding a horse was erected months back to honor the Total Pro Horns; musicians who often back EXPO ‘76 at live performances.

Actually, I may have confused two separate events taking place in Palatine tonight; the annual Holidays On The Town festival, and the EXPO ‘76 gig at Mac’s On Slade. And I made up the bit about the pork pie hat raffle.

Meanwhile, in the heart of Chicago, there’s an impressive four-band lineup at Martyrs’ on Lincoln Avenue that includes I Lost Control, The Handcuffs, Hard Kiss, and The Blissters. The music starts at 9:00 PM. 

Singer-songwriter Phil Angotti will be joined by musicians Casey McDonough, Scott Ligon, and Tony Kidonakis for what they’re calling a Beatle Freakout tomorrow night at FitzGerald’s in Berwyn. They’ll be celebrating the 50th Anniversary of With The Beatles by performing tracks from the LP.

The Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame has announced that it will introduce an exclusive new line of inductee t-shirts at its museum store in Cleveland on Black Friday next week. The shirts will be available online December 6th. So far, I can’t tell if the t-shirts will be just a few selected artists (the photo shows models wearing Jimi Hendrix, Elvis Presley, and Muddy Waters versions) or if a whole bunch will be created. So far, my wish list includes The Hollies, Crosby, Stills And Nash, Heart, The Beatles . . . We’ll see what happens.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

There’s A Place . . . The Second Annual Woman Power Holiday Show

Photo from Liza Day’s Facebook page.

The current issue of Streetwise, a weekly publication that helps homeless people get back on their feet again, features its Chicago Annual Non-Profit Guide. Along with worthy organizations like Gilda’s Club Chicago; the Better Boys Foundation; and the Jane Addams Resource Corporation, there’s a profile on Deborah’s Place. Its mission is to provide support, services, and opportunities for homeless women. Streetwise lists two upcoming events coming in 2014; a Chili Cook-Off on January 25th and a Benefit Dinner on May 15.

But there’s also a way to support Deborah’s Place before this year is over, and it’s taking place at Schuba’s on December 8th. The Second Annual Woman Power Holiday Show will feature Liza Day,  a singer-songwriter who mixes elements of pop, folk, rock, and soul in her work. She recently released Nashville Sessions, which is available on iTunes and on her BandCamp page. The eclectic Diana And The Dishes, lead by pianist-vocalist Diana Lawrence, are also on the bill. They’ll likely be performing tunes from their spirited new CD, Take A Picture. Lady Laura is a former member of the group I Fight Dragons, and has embarked on a solo career. On her debut effort, Jezebel, she spins autobiographical tales, backed only by her own piano playing. 

Advance tickets for The Second Annual Woman Power Holiday Show are $10; $15 at the door. The show starts at 8:00 PM on Sunday, December 8th.

Monday, November 18, 2013

EP Review: The Perms - The Aberdeen EP

Fresh from a series of European gigs, The Perms have just released the follow-up their fifth full-length effort, Sofia Nights (see December 7, 2011 post in Archives). All four songs on the Canadian trio’s The Aberdeen EP have a hard edge to them while retaining strong melodies and the harmony vocals of guitarist-vocalist Chad Smith and bassist-vocalist Shane Smith. Drummer John Huver helps the Smith brothers inject some variety within these arrangements.

“Walk Away” is the closest The Perms come to hard rock, and features Chad Smith cutting loose with some energetic playing. “The Parent Thing,” which once again taps into the bands knack for social satire, kicks off with short bursts of energy before breaking into a full, melodic romp with a touch of The Ramones. The title track and “It’s Mania” both sport a big sound built on layers of vocals and energetic playing.

Friday, November 15, 2013


Ivory Daggers art from the Ivory Daggers Facebook page.

The 13th Annual International Pop Overthrow - New York  runs through this weekend at the Bar Matchless club. Some of the acts include Corin Ashley, The Recordettes, Zombies Of The Stratosphere, Dave Rave, Lannie Flowers, Vegas With Randolph, and Starbelly. On Sunday afternoon, there’s a special Girls Afternoon Out! showcase with Bibi Farber, Madison Cano, Ivory Daggers, Party Lights, and Changing Modes. Psychedelic masters The Anderson Council wrap things up with a 10:30 set on Sunday night.

As noted by writer Lori Rackl in yesterday’s From The Blogs column in the Chicago Sun-Times, there will be a Dr. Who Trivia Contest at Municipal Bar + Dining tomorrow at 5:30 PM. Don’t Blink: A Doctor Who Quiz will be hosted by Geeks Who Drink. Contestants will be divided into teams of no more than six players, and there will be cash prizes. Theres a $5 fee for participating. Municipal Bar + Dining is located at 216 W. Ohio Street in the River North area. 

Tickets are now on sale for David Crosby’s February 8th and 9th shows at City Winery in Chicago.

Six Poets, Six Voices will give local writers an opportunity to present their work at the Grassroots Clothing And General Store in Barrington on Thursday, November 21st. The six poets are Tamara Tabel, Wendy Anderson, Terry Loncaric, Maria-Viktoria Abricka, Michelle Brinckerhoff, and J. Horton Palmer. Admission is free. 

Drummer Brad Elvis currently performs with The Handcuffs but has a quite a history on the local music scene. He recently shared a link on Facebook regarding veteran rock photographer Della Perroe’s Live From The Crossroads: A Snapshot of Champaign-Urbana’s Local Music Scene exhibition. In addition to a shot of Brad Elvis rising above his drum kit back in his days with The Elvis Brothers, Perrone snapped photos of Adrian Belew, Dee Dee Ramone, U2, and numerous local bands. Live From The Crossroads: A Snapshot of Champaign-Urbana’s Local Music Scene is currently on display at the Sousa Archive in The Harding Band Building on the University Of Illinois campus in Champaign-Urbana. Admission is free.

Speaking of The Handcuffs, they’ll be on a quadruple bill, along with I Lost Control, The Blissters, and Hard Kiss at Martyrs’ next Friday, November 22nd. The music starts at 9:00 PM.

Congratulations to UK animator Simon Tofield on the fifth anniversary of creating the first Simon’s Cat video. Anyone who has a cat knows Tofield’s clips are funny and painfully true.

Some dreams could come true if I had a plane ticket to California. Hows this for a Broken Hearted Toy dream double bill? Debbie Peterson of The Bangles will be opening for Terry Sylvester, former guitarist-harmony vocalist of The Hollies at McCabe’s in Santa Monica on Sunday, November 24th. Peterson is best known as a drummer, but also plays guitar and sang lead on some of The Bangles hits. Shell be joined by John Wicks of The Records. Admission is $20. If by any chance, Sylvester, Peterson, and Wicks perform a song together, will someone please post it on YouTube?

Childrens author Allan Woodrow will be signing copies of his books next Friday at 6:00 PM at the Barnes and Noble in Deer Park. In addition to his fun and imaginative prose, he’s promising there will be games and giveaways and activities. I had the pleasure of meeting Mr. Woodrow at my writers groups recent book reading, and he really knows how to engage the crowd.

In other news related to my writers group, Cherie Colyer’s YA/paranormal novel, Hold Tight, has reached the #42 spot on Amazon in Mysteries and Thrillers. I’m a little over halfway through the book, which is a sequel to Colyer’s previously published Embrace. Hold Tight ups the suspense, with the young heroine Madison seeming to be in grave danger throughout much of the tale.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

EP Review: The Safes - Thanks To You

The Safes have covered a lot of ground since forming in 2003. In addition to releasing a number of CDs and EPs, the trio has landed songs on TV, ranging from reality shows on MTV and VH1 to Roadtrip Nation on PBS. The Safes continue to embrace variety on their new Thanks To You EP; exploring a different musical direction on each of the three tracks.

The EP takes its name from “Live Life Like You Wanna Live,” a celebratory number brimming with a sort of T-Rex playfulness. “It’s all brand new, and thanks to you,” the song notes, as drummer-guitarist-vocalist Frankie O’Malley, bassist-vocalist Michael O’Malley, and drummer-guitarist-vocalist Patrick O’Malley lay down a fun, easy-going vibe. “Good Is Gold” has a more swaggering sound that incorporates hard rock guitar, while the catchy and bare-bones garage rock approach The Safes take on “Game Changer” kicks off with androgynous vocals set to a steady drum beat.
The Safes will be performing at the 10th Annual Black Wednesday show with The Differents, The Phenoms, and Jet W. Lee at the Empty Bottle in Chicago on November 27th.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Home Is Where The Art Is

Although artist H.C. Porter is based in Vicksburg, Mississippi, people in Chicago had a chance to discover her eye-popping portraits of her state’s best-known blues musicians at the Old Town Art Fair this past June. It happened to be a perfect time for her visit since the Chicago Blues Festival was taking place that same weekend. Porter was presenting a sort of sneak preview of Blues @ Home, an ambitious exhibition that will ultimately include 30 paintings, combined with an oral history.

A recent post on Porter’s Facebook page noted that she has new limited edition giclee prints for sale.  Blues @ Home will be a traveling exhibition that opens next Spring at the University Of Mississippi’s University Museum. Award-winning songwriter/producer Tena Clark, another Mississippi native, has signed on to provide a musical setting that will augment Porter’s quest to honor the state’s essential role in the blues. It would be great if H.C. Porter would bring her complete Blues @ Home exhibition back to Chicago. Maybe to coincide with next year’s Blues Festival.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Digital Release Review: Various Artists - Capitalised: Tall Tales And Low Lives Of Edinburgh

The Scottish capital city of Edinburgh strikes an intriguing balance between the historical and the hip. It’s the home of the magnificent Edinburgh Castle and the fun and fascinating Camera Obscura Museum, but also has Rose Street, which overflows with record stores and other trendy establishments. You’ll find bands playing on street corners, and of course, there’s the world-famous Festival Fringe every August.

Judging from Capitalised: Tall Tales And Low Lives Of Edinburgh, a various artists compilation recently released by Dog’s Got A Bone Records, the city’s music scene is pretty diverse as well. The 10 tracks include shoegazer music, harder rock, indie rock, and acoustic rock. It’s now available on the indie label’s BandCamp page with a pay-what -you-want option.  

You have to love a song with a title like, “One Mistake From The Gutter, A Thousand Decisions From The Stars,” especially when singer-guitarist Epsilon One gives it a melodic arrangement reminiscent of Love And Rockets. Scott Watson of The Jackals gives a hard-edged and compelling acoustic take on his band’s “Dancin’ Round The Nails (Wooden Box Blue)”, while The Valkarys “(Love’s) A Losing Game” could have come from one of Johnny Cash’s American Recordings albums. The shimmering “Enomena” by The Durty Wurks is the best of three shoegazer tracks, and “Jiggery Pokery” by The Rhemedies gives Capitalised a welcome shot of glam/garage rock. 

Monday, November 11, 2013

Some Time In New York City

Before moving on to Fest For Beatles Fans - New York, I’d like to thank music producer Will Avery for his thoughtful response to my mentioning him in last Friday’s Slumgullion column. His Baby Gonna Holla CD, a collection of funk and classical children’s songs, is due out early next year. Avery, who recently did a successful three-hour show in Taiwan, not only took the time to thank me for the plug, he included a link to a song called “Wait On You” by a trio from The Netherlands called Slumgullion. It’s a mostly instrumental song that mixes hip-hop with old-fashioned dance hall music. Each member has letters from the word Slumgullion on his forehead. I don’t know if I’d go that far to promote my blog, but now my weekly column can have its own theme song. Thanks Will.

This past Sunday, on her Breakfast With The Beatles show in Chicago, WXRT air personality Terri Hemmert described the festivities Mark and Carol Lapidos of Fest For Beatles Fans are planning to commemorate the 50th Anniversary of The Beatles’ first footsteps on American soil. The multi-faceted event will run February 7th through 9th. Although the very first Fest was held in New York in 1974, the official site notes this will be the first time that Fest For Beatles Fans has been held in New York City in 30 years. And it will taking place on the “EXACT 50th Anniversary of The Beatles’ Arrival in America.”

Guests include The Smithereens, who’ll be recreating the Beatles’ February 11th 1964 concert at the Washington, D.C. Coliseum. Anyone who owns Meet The Smithereens or B-Sides The Beatles, or has seen the New Jersey-based band cover The Beatles in concert knows their appearance at Fest For Beatles Fans - New York is going to be special. Peter Asher, who does a funny and informative show with videos and a live band; Donovan, who rode a Broken Hearted Toy endorsement into the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame in 2012; and Chad & Jeremy, who gave a smashing performance at the 2013 Fest For Beatles Fans - Chicago, are also on the bill.

Producer-comedian Martin Lewis will serve as Master of Ceremonies, along with Ken Dashow, who does a Breakfast With The Beatles show on Q104.3 in New York. Chicago fans are familiar with Lewis, who co-hosts the Fest with Hemmert at the Hyatt Regency O’Hare. Other New York guests who have been to Chicago include singer Billy J. Kramer, Beatles Fans Club secretary Freda Kelly, musician/producer Mark Hudson, and the Beatles  cover band, Liverpool. Special activities for the 50th Anniversary include a recreation of The Cavern Club,  a JFK Salute The Moment the ride from the airport, and a trip to the Ed Sullivan Theatre.

Hemmert noted that she's going to Fest For Beatles Fans - New York, but lots of us in Chicago can’t help but wonder how much of these festivities and special guests will be on hand when Fest For Beatles Fans comes to Chicago in the weekend of August 15th through 17th. 

Friday, November 8, 2013


Brad Elvis must have felt a touch of deja vu when his band The Handcuffs performed as part of a triple bill tonight with The Impalas and Paul And Gloria at the Cowboy Monkee club in Champaign. Brad logged a lot of time on the Champaign club scene back when he was with The Elvis Brothers. The music starts tonight at 9:00, with a $5 cover charge. That’s about what you would have paid to see a band back in the 1980s. 

Pezband, fronted by singer-guitarist Mimi Betinis, will be performing high energy, classic power pop tomorrow night at Wire in Berwyn. The group has a CD of previously unreleased material on the way.

The Rock For The Kids 25th Annual Rock And Roll Auction takes place tomorrow night at Park West in Chicago, with WXRT air personalities Lin Brehmer and Marty Lennartz once again serving as hosts. The list of items available to bid on includes an Abbey Road LP autographed by Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr; guitars signed by Wilco, B.B. King, and The Rolling Stones; and autographed posters of Lou Reed and Pearl Jam.. Doors open at 6:30 PM. Those unable to attend but still interested in being part of the auction can participate online. See the Rock For Kids Facebook page for details.

Also going on tomorrow night is the School Of Rock Scholarship Fund Benefit Concert. It takes place at the World Of Beer venue in Evanston from 3:00 to 7:00 PM. Veteran Chicago bassist Gordon Patriarca, who serves as one of the school’s Music Directors, will be performing as part of Staff Infection (Teachers of School Of Rock Band). Four other groups are scheduled to perform, and a number of items will be available for auction. Admission is $5 for students, $10 for adults.

You can expect to hear songs by artists like Faron Young, The Everly Brothers, Hank Wiliams, and Gram Parsons when Decoy Prayer Meeting, a covers band that leans toward rockabilly and roots rock, performs this Sunday night at Simon’s Tavern on Clark Street in Chicago. There’s no cover, and the music starts at 9:00PM.

I posted a favorable review of Cystal Jacqueline’s new Sun Arise CD back on October 10th. Now her label, Mega Dodo is using Kickstarter to help fund the release of Sun Arise on yellow vinyl. The project runs through November 21st, and Mega Dodo has already reached £1,369 of its £1,500 goal. The label is offering some interesting perks for contributors, including a digital version with bonus tracks not found on the LP or CD. 

Closer to home, singer-guitarist Matt Feddermann is hoping his Kickstarter campaign can raise enough funds for him to record a CD, Life In Whiskey Junction. Feddermann owned and operated the Phase Recording Studios in Highland Park from 2004 through 2012. 

Music producer Will Avery is set to release Baby Gonna Holla, a CD with 22 classical, funk and R&B songs for kids. His upbeat compositions, like “ABC Jobs” and four versions of “Bamalama Phonics” use quick and clever lines to teach the alphabet and letter sounds. Avery also has some fun videos on his Yesnack website.

The Safes have a new EP called Thanks To You coming out, and they’ll be part of the 10th Anniversary Black Wednesday show at the Empty Bottle on November 27th. The Differents, The Phenoms, and Jet W. Lee will also be performing that night.

Congratulations to Mojo on its 20th Anniversary. The UK mag, which strikes an entertaining balance of current, cutting-edge acts and classic artists from previous eras, is celebrating with a special issue that lists its readers choices for the 20 most important albums released throughout its two-decade existence, as well as interviews with Visionary Musicians like Jimmy Page, Ringo Starr, David Crosby, Ray Davies, and several others. Kate Bush designed the cover, and the issue comes with a 20-track CD. 

There will be a Premiere Screening for the digital release of Wild Chicago at the Historic Patio Theater on Irving Park Road next Sunday, November 17th at 3:00 PM. 

The Buzzcocks have just announced new dates for their current tour. So far, I don’t see any for the US.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Vintage Publication Spotlight - Freak Out, USA

The latest entry in an ongoing series devoted to magazines of the past.

There’s no year mentioned on the front cover of this February No. 2 issue of Freak Out, USA magazine. But study it for a moment, and see if you can guess. I’m betting you came up with 1967. Something about the colorful montage of band photos and funky type just screams The Summer Of Love. It was put out on a quarterly basis by the Warren Publishing Company, with James Warren serving as Editor and Publisher. Rochelle Larken was Contributing Editor, and Art Direction was credited to Brill And Waldstein, which sounds like it could have been a graphic design studio, a law firm, or a comedy duo.

Aside from the front and back cover, every page was black and white on a newspaper type stock. This issue offered profiles on The Beatles, The Doors, Country Joe And The Fish, Spanky And Our Gang, The Bee Gees, and a few other groups. There’s no mention of The Young Rascals on the cover, but they’re the lead story. This issue of Freak Out, USA would be great for a Chicagoan to bring to The Rascals: Once Upon A Dream, the Little Steven Van Zandt-penned concert/play currently showing at the Cadillac Palace in the downtown Theatre District. In the Freak Out, USA interview, Eddie Brigati, Felix Cavaliere, Gene Cornish, and Dino Danelli discussed what they look for in a girl.

The headline for The Beatles story asked, “Has Fortune Turned On The Fab Four?” and examined the band’s response to the death of Brian Epstein. Another article was titled “The Bee Gees Are Bad Guys!” This was back when the group had five members. The magazine described The Doors as “One of the best and strongest of the new sound groups.” There was a column called “Freaky Things that had brief news items about Twiggy, Peanut Butter Conspiracy, The Royal Guardsmen, The Critters, The Lovin Spoonful, Procol Harum, and Engelbert Humperdinck.

A Bonus Freak Out page featured “Great Wallet Pix Of Groovy Guys,” including Van Morrison and Donovan. There were no ads in this issue, other than a back cover order form for Freak Out Rock Band Color Posters. They were $1 each.  

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Digital Single Review: Magatha Trysty - “Raygun”

It’ll take some effort for Chicago-based band Magatha Trysty to top its 2012 full-length debut, Your Clothes Will Wear Themselves. The follow-up is due early next year, and judging from “Raygun,” a new single that’s now available on iTunes, Magatha Trysty has another winner on its hands. The song offers more of the inventive vocal interplay singer-guitarist Chris David and his wife, singer-keyboards player Catherine Louise perfected on Clothes, and moves to a catchy, energetic arrangement. 

“Raygun” is akin to songs like “Art Zero” from Magatha Trysty’s debut in that its meaning isn’t entirely clear, even while reading the lyrics on the band’s website. “Shrugged off the teenage ennui,” David sings at one point. “Just not sure how to replace it.” Catherine Louise joins him on the chorus, as the duo creates a frenetic new wave vibe via give-and-take vocals. 

One of the more elaborate passages finds Catherine Louise weaving her line, “No guts to use it, blow the dust off the raygun” around Davids repeated chant of “The hardest part of giving up is disappearing.” There’s a hint of R.E.M. in the melodic guitar strumming and cryptic lyrics. “Raygun” is an ambitious choice for a single, clocking in at over five minutes, but Magatha Trysty knows how to keep it interesting.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

CD Review: Richard X. Heyman - X

Note: This review originally appeared in the Illinois Entertainer.

Checking in with his 10th solo release, (the X title refers to the roman numeral as well as his middle name) Richard X. Heyman once again takes a DIY recording approach. By now, he's perfected the technique of layering his vocals, and he plays all the instruments. Far from having a bare-bones sound, the 15-song X is a lush collection of melodic ballads and rock tunes.

Heyman veers from dealing with personal relationships (romances and friendships) to more ominous observations on modern society. “We tried to follow the route but it led us to nowhere,” Heyman sings amidst the careening guitars and numerous metaphors on “Compass.” The slinky blues romp “House Of Cards” also finds him warning of dire circumstances, while the melancholy arrangement of the achingly beautiful “Counting Up The Days” underscores a need to move on. By far, the best moments on the CD come when Heyman crafts his patented power pop sound via ringing guitars on “Hangman Smiles,” “Somebody Has Finally Found Me,” and “When Denny Dropped Out Of The Scene.”

Monday, November 4, 2013

CD Reviews: Clara May/Ryan Powers And The Secret Weapons

Note: These reviews originally appeared in the Around Hear section of the Illinois Entertainer.

The six-man group Clara May sounds best on American Desi when lead singer Tom Silva’s husky and compelling vocals are set to energetic arrangements. The hard-hitting “Badlands” is a knockout, while “Kanyakumari” and “KL Days” are lighter but still engaging. Silva channels David Bowie on the title track and just about everything else here, but Clara May could be even better if they took things less seriously, and rocked out more. Still, this is a band with a lot of character. 

If Ryan Powers And The Secret Weapons don’t launch a few hit singles from The Goodnight Goodbye Hour, there’s something wrong with modern radio. A few of these 10 pop/rock tracks are a bit over-commercial, but “Mr. Sunshine,” which blends a light pop arrangement with 1960s prom music, is a gem. Three band members join Powers on Hollies-style harmonies throughout this release, and the melodies—particularly on “Be My Baby”—are irresistible.

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Saturday Slumgullion

Poster of Paisley Underground Reunion from Michael Quercio’s Facebook page.

Director Casey Puccini, an alumni of the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, will be at the Gene Siskel Film Center for the Chicago premiere of his feature-length film, Children Without Parents.  Unfortunately, due to Slumgullion being delayed this week, it’s too late to see the 7:30 PM showing tonight. But Children Without Parents will also screen at the Gene Siskel Film Center on Monday, November 4th at 7:45 PM. The cast includes Jeff Award winner Sasha Gioppo, Kevin Stangler, and Bryn Packard, a gifted actor I had the honor of working with for a few years when he was a cast member of the Famous In The Future comedy group. Director Casey Puccini will be in person at both Gene Siskel Film Center screenings.

Speaking of School of the Art Institute of Chicago graduates, my niece Allison Flamm has a new website called Chi Gal Art, where she’ll be displaying her work. She also offers commentary on other artists, and includes links to some interesting sites.

The Cheetles will be playing two sets of Beatles covers at Martyrs on this Monday night. Founded by James Coffey, the band includes veterans of the Chicago music scene, including Skid Marks, Larry Beers, Donnie Briggs, Mike Medina, Dann Morr, and Tom Slater. Show time is 8:00PM. 

Reunited power pop masters Pezband are back from a tour of Japan and will be at the brand new Wire club in Berwyn on November 9th. 

Long time Illinois Entertainer contributor Bruce Pilato had a chance to talk with Graham Nash about his new autobiography, Wild Tales, at a New York hotel lounge recently. The interview, which appears in the November issue, includes Nash’s insight on what might have kept The Beatles together, and also reveals some interesting things about Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young that even some ardent fans might not have known. Sadly, there’s still no word on Nash bringing his solo concert or book signing tour to Chicago.

The Red Line Tap, which local free paper New City names as Best Amateur-Band Regional Touring Nightspot in its current Best Of Chicago issue, continues to book some impressive shows. The Chicago Pop Revue was recently held there, and upcoming shows include a double bill of The Bad Examples and The Viaducts on December 13th.

On November 30th, alt rockers whitewolfsonicprincess hosts their annual Toys For Tots Extravaganza at Red Line Tap. The performers include Joe Lapsley & Jana; The Rut (Desiree Burcum and Frank Carr in a musical offspring of the Famous In The Future comedy group); The Telepaths; The Revelettes go-go dancers; Gunnelpumpers, and Will Phalen and the Dirty Dollars. I just saw Phalen impersonating Beck at Halloweekend at Martyrs’, and he’s definitely a talented rocker.

New City’s Best Of Chicago issue also gave shout outs to my former editor at Palatine Countryside, Robert Loerzel, as Best Chicago Twitterer For News, and the Mary-Arrchie’s Abbie Hoffman Died For Our Sins Theatre Festival as Best Twenty-Four Hour Performing-Arts Event.

The Return Of The Paisley Underground, featuring The Three O’Clock, The Bangles, Dream Syndicate, and The Rain Parade has two gigs coming up: A concert in San Francisco on December 5th at The Fillmore, and the Education Through Music benefit at the Fonda Theatre in Los Angeles on December 6th. It will be the first time these acts have performed together in 27 years.

The highly influential power pop band The Flamin Groovies have just announced a fall tour in support of a new EP that’s due out early next year. It includes dates in Toronto, Detroit, Cleveland, Washington, D.C., Boston, Brooklyn, and Oakland. More gigs should be announced in the near future.

Sound Opinions radio show co-host Jim DeRogatis posted a review on the WBEZ  blog site of Under The Covers Vol. 3, the latest collection of decade-centric copy tunes by Matthew Sweet & Susanna Hoffs. They take on the 1980s this time, and it seems like Rogatis thinks its their best retro collaboration yet.

In other collaboration news, Norah Jones and Billie Joe Armstrong are doing Foreverly, an album of Everly Brothers covers together.

It’s no surprise that psychedelic rockers The Luck Of Eden Hall have filmed an imaginative and artsy video for “Sassafras Overcoat.”  The song will be on their next full-length release, Victoria Moon.

Magatha Trysty’s new single, “Raygun,” (you might have seen the cool looking flyers for it in Reckless Records) from a forthcoming CD sounds like the Chicago-based coed band is continuing in the catchy, well-crafted indie rock vein of its 2012 release, Your Clothes Will Wear You. I’m hoping to have more to say about  “Raygun” in the near future. Magatha Trysty will give a preview of some new songs when it hosts Double Door Holiday Rockathon!! on December 17th at the Double Door, with guests 10,000 Light Years and The Elements Of Style.

French trio The Plastiscines have postponed their concert tour to concentrate on finishing their next CD.

The Britannicas, an international band comprised of Aussie Joe Algeri, Yank Herb Eimerman, and Swede Magnus Karlsson, are known for their 1960s-inspired pop, and for covering The Byrds. They jump up a few decades on a new ringing version of “This Charming Man” by The Smiths. It’s available for free download on Algeri’s Bandcamp page.

Even though I’ve eagerly joined the hunt on Record Store Day held each April, I’ve yet to participate in the November Black Friday edition. That might change this year, after I heard WXRT DJ Terri Hemmert mention U2’s “Ordinary Love”/”Breathe” 10” vinyl record. You can find some of the other early Christmas presents that will be available (if you get up early enough on the day after Thanksgiving) on the Record Store Day website.

Related Posts with Thumbnails