Thursday, April 30, 2015

It Was Romance - It Was Romance

The first version of It Was Romance was simply singer-songwriter/standup comic Lane Moore recording stark reflections on relationships, using an odd assortment of instruments. Fans might have worried that Moore’s emotional power would be diluted once she started working with other musicians, but the new band’s self-titled debut proves to be anything but watered down. The seven songs find Moore exploring a variety of approaches with guitarist Alejandro Triana, drummer Angel Lozada, and bassist Jeff Connors, while still delivering intensely personal material with her distinctive voice.

Moore’s conversational and slurred vocals on “But Not Forgotten” could be a late-night, alcohol-flavored phone call to an estranged lover, as she admits she should have done more to keep their relationship going. There’s an ambiguous vibe here, as though the main thing separating these two is not having enough time for each other. A lack of commitment also fuels Moore’s frustration on “It’s Like You’re Not Even Trying,” a raw song that starts simply and slowly until the full band creates a driving arrangement. The shimmering epic “Hooking Up With Girls” is built on atmospheric keyboards and a steady beat led by Lozada.

A cover of the Tusk era Fleetwood Mac song “Storms” features a convincing Stevie Nicks impersonation as Moore channels the singer’s conflicted emotions toward a forbidden relationship.
The energetic first single “Philadelphia” and “Come Home,”with its revved-up, guitar-driven coda, both tap into new wave, and prove Moore definitely made the right decision is forming a full band. It Was Romance will be released next Tuesday.

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

The Catholic Girls - Kiss Me One More Time

Back in 1982, The Catholic Girls created a power pop gem with the catchy “Boys Can Cry” from their self-titled debut album. They’ve been back together for a while now, and the recently released Kiss Me One More Time shows lead vocalist-rhythm guitarist and main songwriter Gail Petersen hasn’t lost her touch for crafting love songs with indelible melodies. It’s surprising though that some of the material on Kiss Me One More Time is so serious for a band that seems like it would be more fun.

On “Shame On You,” Petersen uses apocalyptic imagery to chastise a guy who jilted her, while on “Only Guilty,” she mixes the Salem witch trials with forbidden love. “Where’s The Logic,” which the CD jacket notes is a tribute to the late Leonard Nimoy, also deals in tragedy. All three of these songs, as well as the title track, succeed because of their energetic and melodic arrangements. Kiss Me One More Time only gets bogged on a pair of lengthy ballads.

On the lighter side, “Down At The Shore” adroitly taps into 1960s surf music for a tale of a woman who tosses aside a failed relationship and hits the beach looking for a new love. “Breaking All The Rules” celebrates the empowerment that playing rock can give young women with lines like, “Girls get electric; Girls rock and roll/It saves my life and saves my soul.” The song ends with some spirited, Ramones-style shouts of “Hey Ho!” A live version of the bawdy “Young Boys” brings some welcome hijinx, and there’s also a live acoustic take on the still classic “Boys Can Cry.” 

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Kurt Baker Combo - Muy Mola Live!

Portland singer-guitarist Kurt Baker is a household name on the power pop scene, from his days with The Leftovers, as a solo artist, and with his side project The New Trocaderos. The recently released Muy Mola Live! (available from Kool Kat Musik) was recorded on a Monday night at Salty Peet’s Rock Shack in Kenosha, Wisconsin and offers an energetic mix of originals and well-chosen cover versions. Although other reviewers have beat me to the punch on this, there’s just no way to avoid describing Muy Mola Live! a party.

Actually, “Partied Out” is one of a dozen high-speed songs served up by The Kurt Baker Combo on this release. With its revved-up guitars and infectious melody, it qualifies as textbook power pop, as does the celebratory concert opener “Weekend Girls.” The frenetic “Aorta Baby” borders on punk, while “Everybody Knows” and “Don’t Look Back” have more of a 1960s Top 40 vibe. The Kurt Baker Combo dips back into that decade for faithful, if a little more guitar-driven, covers of The Searchers’ “Love Potion #9” and The Beatles’ “Cry For A Carajillo.” Baker engages the crowd throughout the performance with comments like, “You know, we’re having a blast!” and “Everybody knows how to have fun!” Judging from Muy Mola Live!, the crowd in Kenosha was definitely having fun that night.

Monday, April 27, 2015

So, Where Was I?

In a post here on April 16th, I announced April Anticipation—11 action-packed days in which CIMMfest, International Pop Overthrow, Lake FX Chicago, Record Store Day, and C2E2 would arrive in Chicago. I had hoped to offer previews of all those events, but was only able to cover International Pop Overthrow and Record Store Day. Oh well, I guess there’s always next year.

Graham Nash will be coming to town in a little over a week for a pair of gigs with David Crosby and Stephen Stills at the Chicago Theatre. Not too long after that, Nash will embark on a solo tour that will bring him to the Arcada Theatre in St. Charles on July 28th. Other dates include Cleveland, Seattle, Spokane, Kansas City, and Wichita.

Congratulations to David Bash and Red Line Tap on another successful run of International Pop Overthrow - Chicago. Justin Fielding, the Boston-based filmmaker who’s currently working on a documentary titled The Power Pop Movie, dropped by Red Line Tap for some of the showcases. While he was in town, Fielding also notched interviews with some of our best musicians, including Cliff Johnson, Mimi Betinis, Brad Elvis, Chloe F. Orwell, Chip Z’nuff, Bun E. Carlos, Ted Ansani, and Shoes. Here’s a suggestion I’m throwing out there: When Fielding has finished The Power Pop Movie, he should put together some screening/concert events in various cities with some of the acts that are featured in his documentary.

1-2-3, there goes Mr. Lee. Loyal WXRT listeners have long regarded the Chicago station’s air personalities as close friends. Especially the DJs who have been on the air since the days when vinyl records and turntables were the chief means of pumping out all that progressive rock. So it came as a shock when Chicago Tribune media columnist and blogger Robert Feder reported that afternoon DJ Frank E. Lee would be retiring on May 8th.

Like most of the XRT air staff, Lee eschewed the stereotypical DJ patter and came across as a real person. His easy-going approach and sense of humor enabled Lee to become the station’s go-to guy to fill in for other air personalities when they needed some time off. Hopefully, WXRT will hold some sort of public event in honor of Frank E. Lee’s years of service.

The Society Of Midland Authors will mark its 100th Anniversary with a full schedule of speakers this coming Saturday at the University Center at 525 S. State Street. Journalists Rick Kogan and June Sawyers; children’s authors  Blue Balliett and Ilene Cooper; and Uptown Poetry Slam founder Marc Kelly Smith are among those who will be appearing.   

Burnside And Hooker performed a short acoustic set and mingled with members of the media at a private CD Release Party at Uncommon Ground/Greenstar Brewery this past Saturday night. The six-piece band’s All The Way To The Devil album comes out May 19th, and there will be a Release Party at The Double Door on May 22nd. “The Graveyard,” the first single from the new album, is a prime example of how Burnside And Hooker are taking a harder-edged, more experimental approach than they did on their more Country and Western oriented 2013 debut. Led by vocalist Rachel Bonacquisti, their set at Uncommon Ground incorporated elements of the blues, classical, and jazz, while remaining unpredictable at every turn. 

Fans of 1960s and ‘70s rock will get a kick out of the Vintage Music Poster Show at Curly Tale Fine Art Gallery  at 16 W. Erie. The exhibit includes a framed illustrated ticket from a Cream concert, a Janis Joplin poster for her appearance at the Auditorium Theatre, and a Beatles poster from Japan. Admission is free, the exhibit runs through May 30th.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

IPO - Chicago Saturday Night Preview

Photo from the Lannie Flowers website.

International Pop Overthrow wraps up another 10-day visit to Chicago this Saturday evening, but don’t worry because the grand finale is in good hands. Five of the six bands on the final showcase are IPO - Chicago veterans, and the other act—Sam Vicari—is an impressive newcomer. As always, it’s best to check the official IPO website for a thumbnail description of each of the acts involved. All bands are from the Chicago area unless otherwise noted.

8:00 PM Collectors Vocalist-rhythm guitarist Michael Mazza heads a quartet that mixes indie rock and power pop, as it returns to IPO - Chicago for its seventh year. The band’s main influences include Badfinger, R.E.M., Cheap Trick, and The Buzzcocks. They’ll be showcasing songs from their latest album Travelogue.

8:45 PM Your Gracious Host  Grand Blanc, Michigan-based singer-guitarist-drummer Tom Curless has released five albums under the Your Gracious Host moniker after first hitting the Chicago music scene with the band Autoliner. He’ll be joined by fellow musician/friend Tom Leach for this IPO performance. The Writers Of Our Destiny, a new song cycle from Curless that’s based on a short story, is set to be released in the near future. 

9:30 PM The Velvet Cadillacs This power pop quintet mixed elements of The Ramones, Cheap Trick, and Johnny Cash on its Pretty Little Boxes EP. They’re veterans of IPO - Chicago.

10:15 PM Sam Vicari  The indie rock/power pop singer-guitarist’s live performances around town have been netting positive reviews. His third album Giving Up, with catchy songs like “Little Stone” and “All And Everyday,” is now available from Sip City Records.

11:00 PM Lannie Flowers Band There was a wealth of talent once again at this year’s IPO - Chicago, but this gentleman from Texas and his band have to be viewed as the festival’s big gun. They make a number of stops on the IPO circuit, bringing joy to power pop purists along the way. Vocalist-guitarist Lannie Flowers creates catchy songs that are reminiscent of The dB’s and Elvis Costello, as well as the mid-1960s Top 40. His Live In NYC album gives a clear indication of the energy Lannie Flowers brings to every performance.

11:45 PM The Romeros After performing a solo gig this past Tuesday, singer-guitarist Mike Vanderbilt returns to the Red Line Tap with his band The Romeros as the final act of IPO - Chicago for the second year in a row. These guys describe the original music on their CDs as “Garage/Power Pop/Pop Punk/ Rock and Roll,” and justify that description with songs like “Bottle Rocket.” 

IPO - Chicago Saturday Afternoon Preview

As is its custom, International Pop Overthrow  presents two separate showcases on the Saturdays and Sunday of its visit here. Tomorrow afternoon will be your penultimate opportunity to take in this eclectic celebration of independent music. The six bands will be a mix of IPO veterans and newcomers. As always, it’s best to check the official IPO website, which has a link and a thumbnail description for each of the acts involved. All of the bands in this showcase are from the Chicago area.

2:00 PM Todd from Hop On Pop Todd Leiter-Weintraub hails from Hop On Pop, a quirky band that released As Drawn By Ethan, Age 2 on Spade Kitty Records in 2004. Leiter-Weintraub released Chicken On A Bicycle in 2010, and his unbridled approach to music allows him to dabble in everything from techno pop to Country And Western.

2:45 PM Freetoed This indie rock quartet, led by vocalist-guitarist Adam Muran, has logged several IPO - Chicago appearances. Influences include Wilco, Ryan Adams, and The Avett Brothers.

3:30 PM The Pralines Vocalist Pamela Richardson has performed at IPO-Los Angeles and has been at just about every IPO-Chicago as a solo artist and/or with The Pralines. The band’s latest CD, A Beautiful View, displays Richardson’s knack for heartfelt lyrics and strong melodies. The Pralines’ engaging folk rock can range from the French language ballad “Il Commence À Pleuvoir” to more energetic fare like “Better Now.”

4:15 PM The Unswept Charlie and Ryan O’Brien, a pair of cousins who moved here from England a few years ago, always exude wit and charm along with a knack for catchy, 1960s-influenced pop. In the past, they’ve performed as a duo as well as backed by a full band. Both variations are splendid, but whatever form they take, they’ll have a bunch of fun songs to perform from their new album titled The Unswept Today.

5:00 PM Suspicious Fires The indie rock rock band has been logging a lot of time on Chicago’s club scene lately and will be playing songs from its upcoming Songs In A Tin House album this Saturday afternoon.

5:45 Cartridge B-Sides These indie rock guys are eager to perform again after taking a bit of time off. Cartridge B-Sides will likely be working in some of its newest songs during its IPO - Chicago set.

IPO - Chicago Friday Preview

Photo from the Yoko And The Oh No's Facebook page.

International Pop Overthrow is winding down its annual visit to our area, with only three showcases left at The Red Line Tap after tonight. I posted an IPO Thursday preview yeaterday, so here’s a look at FRIDAY’S schedule. There will be six bands and since it’s the start of the weekend, the music runs an hour later than on the weekdays. As always, it’s best to check the official IPO website for a thumbnail description of each of the acts involved. All bands are from the Chicago area unless otherwise noted.

8:00 PM The Vinyl Skyway Michael Hayes and Andy Santospago first joined forces in Massachusetts back in 2003, and continue to craft easy-going pop songs with tight harmonies even though they now live in different states. Their 2011 album Return Of The Dead Surfer was recently re-released in a deluxe edition.

8:45 PM Sean Michael IPO - Chicago regulars should remember Sean Michael from his work with the Brit pop infused band The Queue. He’s been experimenting with harder edges and synth beats since embarking on his solo career. His debut Heart On Fire will be out soon.  

9:30 PM Too Much Saturn A five-piece band that specializes in tight harmonies and a distinctively Midwestern power pop. Their latest release is titled Moving Forward Sideways.

10:15 PM Waiflike Long-time IPO-Chicago participants mix melodic, hard-edged rock and roll with dark humor, as evidenced on their debut CD Fifty Pence Piece Of Mind.

11:00 PM Van Go The quintet has released four CDs filled with lead vocalist-guitarist Dave Sippel’s hard-hitting power pop songs. He’s particularly adept at combining biting lyrics and sarcasm with strong melodies on “Invisible Girls” and “Your Three Minutes Are Up.” Van Go also does a rousing cover of Elvis Costello’s “Girls Talk.”

11:45 PM Yoko and the Oh No’s Can’t say much for the name, but this coed trio’s music definitely has appeal. “Your Discretion” and “Nobody Wants To Know” have a revved up, guitar-driven sound with a touch of rockabilly. This should be a fun way to cap off the second to last night of IPO - Chicago 2015.   

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

IPO - Chicago Thursday Night Preview

This post concerns THURSDAY night’s International Pop Overthrow lineup at The Red Line Tap. Tonight’s lineup was posted earlier on this blog. As always, it’s best to check the official IPO website for a thumbnail description of each of the acts involved. Here’s tonight’s schedule. All acts are from Chicago unless otherwise noted.

8:00 PM Mike Mentz A singer-songwriter whose easy-going songs often draw inspiration from his travels. His Nashville Nights EP is available on his website.

8:45 PM Larry O. Dean In addition to being a veteran of pop bands like Post Office and The Injured Parties, Dean is an accomplished folk artist whose tunes reflect his wry sense of humor.  

9:30 PM The Shifties You can expect music that’s a bit off the beaten path from a band that describes its approach as rock garage boutique pop. Their latest quirky release is the six-song EP Patty.

10:15 PM Honeywagen These Kansas City power pop veterans swapped out a few musicians behind founding members Mike Penner and Scott Christiansen, but continue to serve up catchy power pop with an emphasis on guitars and harmonies. They’ll have their latest album Jamboree and three previous efforts to draw from at the show tomorrow night. 

11:00 PM Their Ocean Keith Kreuser and Jason Hunt create dream pop infused with a longing for summer, and bill themselves as a “cross between Hall and Oates and Arcade Fire.” Their recent Sunstroke EP follow the 2014 album Skies Light Up.

Jessica Pratt - On Your Own Love Again

On her first release since her self-titled debut in 2011, Jessica Pratt works primarily with her acoustic guitar while spinning tales of complicated relationships. There’s a joke on her label Drag City’s website about “Seeing the world through a Pratt’s eyes,” but the L.A.-based singer-guitarist definitely has a unique point of view. She weaves mystery and melancholy throughout On Your Own Love Again, but draws listeners in with gorgeous melodies and pleasantly off-kilter vocals.

At times, Pratt’s lyrics defy grammar, like when she sings, “He’s the kind of guy, you don’t know why he does” on the cryptic “Greycedes.” Elsewhere, she’s both imaginative and to the point. On “Back, Baby,” a song about refusing to rekindle a romance with someone who betrayed her, Pratt notes, “Saw a header in the paper that your love is just a myth I devised.” “Moon Dude” is more flirtatious, while on the poetic “Jacquelyn In The Background,” it’s unclear if the friend being celebrated is real or a work of art.

It would be easy to appreciate On Your Own Love Again simply for the consistently engaging arrangements, but those who delve into the beguiling imagery of its lyrics will be further rewarded. Jessica Pratt is coming to Chicago for a gig at The Hideout on May 6th, and she’ll perform at Pitchfork on July 17th. 

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

IPO - Wednesday Night Preview

Photo from the Rocketboat Facebook page.

Firmly back in preview mode now, with a post about TOMORROW night’s International Pop Overthrow lineup at The Red Line Tap. As always, it’s best to check the official IPO website for a thumbnail description of each of the acts involved. Here’s the Wednesday night schedule.

8:00 PM Drew Neeley and The Heroes IPO veteran singer-guitarist Drew Neeley performs his original pop/folk/punk tunes, backed by a new band that includes three guys who also sing. Its a safe bet Neeley will be joining them for some harmony vocals on songs from his upcoming This Could Be You album.

8:45 PM Telstar The Anthony Calderisi-led band returns to IPO-Chicago to perform muscular, guitar-driven power pop songs like “Waiting” and “Tonight.”

9:30 PM Certain Stars Milwaukee natives Certain Stars have been playing their Big Star-influenced power pop music since 2004. In addition to performing at IPO on a regular basis, they’ve logged time at the annual Alex Chilton Birthday Bash here in Chicago. Their latest full-length album, The Great Destroyer, is available on the Cuba Libre label.

10:15 PM Rocketboat Based in Hammond, Indiana, Rocketboat consistently creates clever video clips for the catchy and fun songs on its self-titled debut. It seems likely that spirit will carry over into a live performance.

11:00 PM The Viaducts This band’s debut CD was titled Mission To Destroy, but don’t expect to hear heavy metal during its show. Lead vocalist-guitarist Jimmy Rane draws from Buddy Holly on catchy songs like “Your Smiling Face (Walkin’ By In Blue Jeans),” while “Drive-Thru Girl” feels a bit more like The Ramones. His guitar playing is especially impressive live, and his lyrics often carry an emotional punch.

IPO - Chicago Tuesday Night Preview

Photo from The Fox And The Hounds website.

There will be quite a variety of rock, and definitely splashes of humor at The Red Line Tap tonight as International Pop Overthrow continues its 2015 run. As always, it’s best to check the official IPO website for a thumbnail description of each of the acts involved. Here’s tonight’s all-Chicago, eclectic lineup.

8:00 PM Mike Vanderbilt And The Suburban Garage Sound In addition to performing at International Pop Overthrow several times over the years with The Romeros, this singer-guitarist does a solo gig billed as Mike Vanderbilt And The Suburban Garage Sound. He’ll be making all those sounds himself, drawing inspiration from The Replacements, The Old 97s, and Cheap Trick; and possibly covering “Hooked On A Feeling” again. The charismatic Mr. Vanderbilt will be fronting The Romeros on Saturday evening as the last act of this years IPO - Chicago.

8:45 PM No Love For Linus And you thought Charlie Brown had it bad. Actually, this five-piece indie band draws influences from the classic rock of The Beatles and Led Zeppelin, as well as alt bands like Third Eye Blind and Counting Crows. Its Someday EP will likely be for sale tonight.  

9:30 PM Top Shelf Lickers This unruly quartet mixes hard rock and punk elements, with an added dose of dark humor. Their Head First album received a thumbs up from me in the Illinois Entertainer, and they have a brand new release on white vinyl.

10:15 PM Homer Marrs and The Excellent Adventure This quirky rock trio has been getting notice for lampooning our self-obsessed culture, especially with its catchy tune and professionally produced video for  “It’s Amazing.”

11:00 PM The Fox and The Hounds Led by vocalist Kendel Lester, this coed quintet bills itself as Chicago’s only “Burlesque Rock N’ Roll Band” and often invites guest vocalists to join the party onstage. There’s a definite theatrical flair to its approach that’s particularly evident on its long-form video for the torch song “Desert Spring Rose.”

Monday, April 20, 2015

Monday Night IPO - Chicago Showcase

Okay, so these International Pop Overthrow posts are becoming more like a roll call than actual previews. By the time anyone is able to read this, tonight’s showcase will pretty much be over. But I’m determined to give each of the participating acts a shout out, even if it is belated. IPO CEO/Founder David Bash and his girlfiend/fellow talent scout Rina Bardfiled do an amazing job scouting new music, and IPO has its own extensive list of all the performers who will be part of the 2015 circuit. Check it out and you’re bound to discover some new favorites. Here’s the lineup that's taking place at The Red Line Tap tonight. Acts are from the Chicago area unless otherwise noted.

8:00 PM Joe Caravella (of The Reign) Vocalist/multi-instrumentalist Joe Caravella from the New York-based band The Reign will likely be playing some of the melodic and guitar-driven rock songs from its latest release The Long Wait.

8:45 PM The Red Wigglers This six-piece rock combo describes itself as “Indie rock with horns!” and is lead by vocalist Megan Tormey.

9:30 PM The Artist Formally Known As Vince The shelf life may have expired for a name like The Artist Formally Known As Vince, (and it is Formally on the website and Facebook not Formerly) but any band that claims “Glitter, pretty things, and late nights” as its interests is guaranteed to be fun. Plus, they draw upon Cheap Trick and T Rex, and their high-energy live shows are filled with dynamic male-female vocal interplay.

10:15 PM Andy Bopp This veteran singer-guitarist created classic power pop music with the Baltimore-based band Love Nut, and in addition to his current solo career, he also performs as part of the duo The Modern Ruins

11:00 PM Chronic Edge  A hard rock quartet that adroitly mixes synths beats and strings into melodic songs like “Kalifornia” and “Krazzy.” Chronic Edge will likely have copies of it Krazzy EP for sale at Redline Tap.

Sunday, April 19, 2015

A Double Dose For IPO Sunday

International Pop Overthrow - Chicago has two full band schedules at the Red Line Tap today, including a showcase later tonight that brings together two of the city’s most mind-bending psychedelic acts, The Red Plastic Buddha and The Luck Of Eden Hall, along with The Pickpockets, Broadfield Marchers, and The Evening Attraction. I probably won’t get to post a preview of tonight’s show before it starts, so you might want to explore the the complete list of this year’s IPO - Chicago performers, on the official website.

This afternoon’s showcase is also well worth checking out, with its ambitious mix of genres among five local acts and a revered New Yorker/world traveler. 

2:00 Mike McKenna A singer-songwriter who performs Americana music.

2:25 Kerosene Stars Indie rock band formed by vocalist-bassist Scott Schaafsma that plays tuneful songs that tap into Country and Western. Their second album, a self-titled eight-song effort, was released last year.

3:30 Logan Squares Band This quartet returns to IPO - Chicago with a repertoire guitar-driven songs its 14-song CD and That is That.

4:15 The Right Tidys Vocalist Erica Loftus lead these IPO - Chicago veterans through catchy originals like “Set The Hook” and “Rippin’ Me Off.” Dhyana Brummel’s keyboards playing enables The Right Tidys to tap into new wave, power pop, or garage rock. Bassist player Lou Galassini will return next Friday when he performs with his other band Van Go.

5:00 Ultrahazard One of this year’s more adventurous booking for IPO - Chicago, the coed quintet offers a mix of punk and ska music on high energy songs. like “Olive Eyes.” Their digital EP is available on their Bandcamp page. 

5:45 Dave Rave This singer-guitarist definitely holds the record for logging the most IPO appearances; having traveled to every city on the festival’s circuit. He’s originally from New York, is a renowned session musician, and was a member of Teenage Head.

Saturday, April 18, 2015

IPO: Ginger Records Showcase

I’m currently caught somewhere between writing about entertainment events and actually going out to see them. So this post, delayed because of my earlier Record Store Day carousing, can hardly be called a preview. But if you’re in the area of Red Line Tap on Chicago’s north side tonight, you might still have a chance of catching this lineup of acts from the Ginger Records label. And even if you don’t make it out to International Pop Overthrow tonight, keep these acts in mind for future reference.

Justin Fielding, the Boston-based filmmaker whos currently working on a documentary called The Power Pop Movie, was at International Pop Overthrow - Chicago for the afternoon showcase today, and had a chat with guitar virtuoso Jeremy. I can’t say how much filming he did today or if he’s still hanging out with IPO Founder/CEO David Bash, but if he is, be sure to give him a hearty Chicago welcome.

By the way, the official IPO site has an exhaustive list of all the artists who are performing at this year’s event. Here’s tonight’s schedule.

8:00 PM Doug Bobenhouse  A founding member of the eccentric and critically acclaimed pop band The Sun Sawed In 1/2, Bobenhouse is currently pursuing a solo career as well as performing with the band Dad’s Magazine, which is also on tonight’s bill. 

8:45 Rob Schultz Band A singer-songwriter who tends towards a liberal point of view but never lets his politically charged lyrics overwhelm the catchy arrangements of his music. On his CD Tragedy And Comedy, his approach ranged from  humorous to hard-hitting. His band is influenced by The Kinks, Elvis Costello, Marshall Crenshaw, and The Who.

9:30 Weekend Vinyl  This power pop group is led by vocalist-guitarist Mike Mclaughlin, who fronted the amazingly catchy IPO veterans Swinger. Weekend Vinyl’s debut release Easy Chair, which is filled with appealing arrangements and ringing guitars, is now available on iTunes.

10:15 Gooey This five-piece band describes its power pop music as “meow meow rock!” Gooey performs a blend of originals like the catchy “Watch Out” along with cover versions, and has released a 16-track CD titled Hold On Tight.

11:00 The Webstirs These guys are masters of the quirky pop song, and are also well-known for harmony vocals. A remastered edition of their earlier CD Smirk (with clever new packaging that mirrors The Beach Boys’ Smile LP) offered power pop gems like “Old Enough” and “It’s Over Now.” 

11:45 Dad’s Magazine This is sort of a local indie all-star group, with members who come from The Sun Sawed In 1/2, The Webstirs, and Swinger. Over the past few years, Dad’s Magazine has become an IPO - Chicago mainstay.

Friday, April 17, 2015

IPO Saturday Afternoon Preview

You can almost hear those harmonies from The Abbeys coming through the photo.

There will be a wide range of ages represented on the stage at Red Line Tap tomorrow afternoon as International Pop Overthrow Founder/CEO David Bash continues his tradition of inviting fledgling bands to perform as part of his weekend afternoon showcases. In addition to the teen bands scheduled, there are four longtime IPO favorites on board.

1:15 PM Homeschool Dropouts These six young women from Downers Grove delve into classic rock by The Beatles, AC/DC, and Fleetwood Mac.  

2:00 Euphoria A coed teen band with six members whose taste in music ranges from Led Zeppelin to Weezer. 

2:45 Jeremy Band This single-named, Portage, Michigan-based singer-guitarist comes close to rivaling Dave Rave’s amazing IPO attendance record, having played the festival in several cities over the years. Jeremy draws inspiration from the 1960s and has released several CDs on his own Jam label. He can always be counted on for some powerful and extensive jamming during his live performances.

3:30 Clear Confusion This young quartet first came together at the Rock Academy of Dupage and is active on the local Battle of the Bands scene. Its set list tends toward current alt rock, with covers of The Foo Fighters’ “These Days” and The Black Keys’ “Gold On The Ceiling.”

4:15 The Cubes This quartet puts an emphasis on guitar-driven arrangements while taking the occasional journey into psychedelic or spaghetti western music. They like to think of their approach as a little twisted.

5:00 The Abbeys The lineup has changed over the years, but this power pop band’s nucleus of singers-guitarists Mike Cohen and Jeff Janulis has performed at every single International Pop Overthrow since the festival has been coming to Chicago. Cohen and Janulis have spent years creating Everly Brothers type harmonies within infectious arrangements, so it’s no surprise they also have a band called The Everly Hillbillies.

5:45 The Hurtin’ Kind This is a roots rock/power pop quartet led by Matt Rhodes on vocals and guitar. Guitarist John Leonard amd bassist Bill Kavanagh provide backup vocals, and Jerry King plays drums. Songs like “Settle” and “Soft Landing” combine high energy and strong melodies.

How ‘Bout Some Live Music To Go With That Rare Vinyl?

Unless you’re one of the first people standing outside your favorite record store at the break of dawn tomorrow, it’s not likely you’ll be able to get everything on your Record Store Day wish list. Even if all those vinyl rarities were still in stock, most of us would still have to make some tough choices due to budget constraints. Luckily, Record Store Day has some built-in consolation prizes in the form of free promo items, snacks, and even better—in-store performances. Here’s a sampling of some of the live music events going on in the Chicago area as part of Record Store Day tomorrow. All are in the city unless otherwise noted. Note: There is a much more extensive list in the Agenda section of today’s Chicago Sun-Times.

Emporium Arcade Bar 1366 N. Milwaukee Avenue (Across the street from the Reckless Records Milwaukee Avenue location.)
12:30 throughout the day. Revolution Brewing is sponsoring a Record Store Day themed event featuring live music from Ribbon Head, Roach Wave, and Meatwave

Laurie’s Planet Of Sound 4639 N. Lincoln Avenue  (Opens at 9:00 AM)
12:30 Polkaholics
1:00 PM DJ Tim Miller
2:00 PM Phil Angotti, Casey McDonough, and Tommi Zender perform Simon and Garfunkel’s  Parsley, Sage Rosemary and Thyme album. 
3:00 PM WXRT air personality Terri Hemmert
3:30 PM The Handcuffs
4:00 PM DJ Miss Alex White
5:00 PM The Baby Magic
5:00 - 8:00 PM DJ Peroxide
6:00 PM Staring Problem
7:00 PM Synth City

Purple Dog Records 329 Center Street - Naperville (Opens at noon)
The vintage record store will be sponsoring an all-day event with free live music at the nearby Orazio Pub.

Reckless Records 3126 N. Broadway (Opens 10:00 AM)
2:00 PM Lasers and Fast and Shit
3:00 PM Local H
4:00 PM NE-HI

Reckless Records 1379 Milwaukee Avenue. Note the new location. (Opens 10:00 AM)
3:00 PM Sea and Cake
3:30 - 5:00 PM Robert Trujillo (Metallica) signing. He’s promoting the documentary Jaco, which is about bassist Jaco Pastorius. The film will be shown at CIMMfest later that night at the Logan Theatre.
5:30 DJ Clent

Reckless Records  26 E. Madison (Opens 10:00 AM)
2:00 PM Tim Kinsella

Reggie’s Rock Club 2109 S. State Street in Chicago 
12:00 PM - 2:30 PM WXRT hosts a celebration of its Live From The Archive Vol. 16 compilation on vinyl. Live performance by the band Great Moments In Vinyl.

Val’s Halla 239 Harrison Oak Park (Opens at 9:00 AM, serving coffee and doughnuts)
Raffles and live music throughout the day by Lloyd Brodnax from Funkadesi and Paul Von Mertens from Poi Dog Pondering.

Vintage Vinyl  925 Davis Street in Evanston (Opens at 11:00 AM)
11:00 AM Ellis Clark and The Big Parade with special guest vocalist Ary Paloma Jeebie from The Amazing Heeby Jeebies.
12:00 PM The Luck Of Eden Hall, who will also be raffling off some colored vinyl and a new turntable. They’ll also be performing later that night at 9:00 PM at Moe’s Tavern as part of a CIMMfest showcase. 

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