Saturday, October 31, 2020

From The Haunted Vault: David Bowie - “Cat People (Putting Out The Fire”)

One last Halloween song post from all the way back in 2009. I did 31 scary posts that October, and have added some new ones over the years. Check out the month of October for each year in the BHT Archives.

Few songs have made a more eerie entrance than “Cat People (Putting Out Fire),” the theme from director Paul Schrader’s 1982 horror film, Cat People. After a slow drum beat and a swirl of synthesizers, David Bowie emerges, singing, “See these eyes so green/I can stare for a thousand years.” His voice is so dark and deep you have no trouble believing him, and when he adds, “I’ve been putting out fire with gasoline,” you know there’s danger afoot.

Set to a guitar-driven arrangement crafted by veteran film composer Giorgio Moroder (Flashdance, Midnight Express) Bowie’s lyrics evoke the doomed characters from the movie. Irena and her brother Paul, played by Natassia Kinski and Malcolm McDowell respectively, are descendants of humans who mated with leopards. This causes them to turn into panthers whenever they have sex with people, and they can’t return to their human forms without killing somebody.

Bowie has created several of his own fascinating characters through his music over the years, and he’s just as adept in conveying Irena and Paul’s tortured emotions. “Still this pulsing night/A plague I call a heartbeat/Just be still with me/Ya wouldn’t believe what I’ve been through.” The movie Cat People successfully tapped into the superstitions we’ve had about felines for centuries. Even today, it’s a good idea to make sure black house cats are kept indoors on Halloween to prevent deranged people from hurting them. And steer clear of panthers as well.

Friday, October 30, 2020

Witch’s Cauldron

Damn right, I’m going with a vintage photo

Fans of The Bee Gees fall into two categories: Those of us who liked them much better before they went disco, and those who didn’t even know The Bee Gees existed before they went disco. We’ll have to see if the makers of the upcoming HBO documentary The Bee Gees - How Can You Mend A Broken Heart documentary concentrate on one of those eras more than the other. I’m hoping it’s the former. A synopsis on the HBO website describes the film as, “an intimate exploration of the Gibb story, featuring revealing interviews with oldest brother Barry and archival interviews with late twin brothers Robin and Maurice.” A number of current music stars are also interviewed, including Eric Clapton, Noel Gallagher, and Chris Martin. How Can You Mend A Broken Heart debuts on December 12.

Halloween night will find Tim Curry, Barry Bostwick, and Nell Campbell returning to their cinematic haunts in a livestream version of Rocky Horror Picture Show. Jason Alexander of Seinfeld will join them, along with with Connie Britton, Wilmer Valderrama, Lance Bass, Rosario Dawson, Jason George, Seth Green, and David Arquette. Several other performers are slated to join in the fun, including punk duo The Dresden Dolls. It’s a fundraising event for the Democratic Party.

I’m not sure about other cities, but it’s long been a Halloween tradition for Chicago area venues to feature local bands paying tribute to famous music acts. The pandemic has no doubt drastically reduced that number, but the rockabilly/garage rock band Amazing Heeby Jeebies will be performing as The Cramps tomorrow night in the beer garden at Montrose Saloon. If you’ve seen Amazing Heeby Jeebies live or heard their Bad Feeling album, I’m sure you’d agree they’re a good choice for honoring The Cramps. Covid-preventing face masks, social distancing, and costumes are required, capacity is limited. The fun starts at 6:00 pm.

She’s a kick-ass lead vocalist and an accomplished painter. The Chrissie Hynde Painting Calendar is now available on her official website. You’ll also find t-shirts, posters, and other cool memorabilia from her solo career as well as with The Pretenders.


Congratulations to Henry Diltz, who’s receiving the International Photography Hall Of Fame Lifetime Achievement Award tonight. If you follow Diltz on Instagram, you’ll see amazing photos of rock stars, particularly those on the west coast in the late 1960s. He created iconic album covers for Crosby, Stills and Nash and The Doors, but some of his most fascinating shots were taken at parties or from when he would follow a band around and improvise. I’m particularly fond of his Hollies work.

The October issue of Record Collector is currently available, with a cover story titled The 200 Rarest Records Today!, along with features on the 1960s Brit TV programme Ready Steady Go!, Peter Green, and Mike Scott. Coming in at number one on the rare records list is a 10-inch acetate of “That’ll Be The Day”/In Spite Of All The Danger” from The Quarrymen. The other 199 entries are evenly divided between David Bowie and Pink Floyd. Not really, but it seems that way. There are records by The Beatles, The Sex Pistols, Queen, Jimi Hendrix, T. Rex, Madonna, Bruce Springsteen, and a number of artists I’ve never heard of.

I hope everyone has a safe and fun Halloween. As I’ve mentioned a few times this week, there are a number of Halloween songs scattered throughout my 10-plus years of over 2,000 posts here on Broken Hearted Toy. If you’ve got some time to search through Octobers in the BHT archives, you’ll find a variety of songs from chilling to fun. Here’s one I did back in 2013 about a song from Chicago-based singer songwriter Phil Angotti’s Life And Rhymes CD.

I See Spaceships” might be the only rock song that simultaneously evokes The Byrds and The Who while spinning a tale of intergalactic visitors who love to party. Amazingly, this whirlwind of vintage rock from Phil Angotti’s recent Life And Rhymes CD was conjured by just three musicians: Angotti on guitars; Casey McDonough on bass; and Brad Elvis on drums. If you’re looking to create a Halloween playlist, you might want to sandwich this Roger McGuinn/Keith Moon homage between the lighthearted “Mr. Spaceman” by The Byrds and the more ominous “They Are Among Us” by The Redwalls.

“I’ll tell you my story but you won’t believe me,” Angotti predicts as the song kicks off. He goes on to describe how the little green men who crash-landed their saucer in his garden are now driving his car, and staying up late to party. Angotti, a 1960s fanatic, specifies that these Martians are listening to LPs (as opposed to iPods) and watching movies. They’re also often intoxicated, which might explain why their calls for help to their planet have gone unanswered. Maybe they keep dialing the wrong number. With all the rowdy behavior going on, it’s tempting to think Angotti’s homeowner is near-sighted and is really watching the neighborhood teenagers.

Whoever they are, this guy isn’t about to do a Clint Eastwood and tell them to get off his lawn. “I hope that they stay here, at least until Sunday,” Angotti sings. “I See Spaceships” has a rousing instrumental coda, along with a snippet of Orson Welles from his notorious War Of The Worlds radio broadcast layered on top.

Wednesday, October 28, 2020

From The Haunted Vault: Bohemia - “Hydrogenic”

I’ve posted a few Halloween songs each October over the years, so there’s quite a collection for anyone who cares to scroll through my archives. 

The 2007 documentary You Weren’t There: A History Of Chicago Punk showcased a music scene that was tragically overlooked by the rest of the country back in the early 1980s. Bohemia’s high energy assault, led by vocalist/keyboards player Carla Evonne, prompted a Chicago Sun-Times critic to proclaim Bohemia was every bit as good as X from Los Angeles. Following the 1980 release of a self-titled, three-song 10 inch EP in 1980, Bohemia struck again a year later with their impressive debut LP, Deviations. The album’s title reflected an obsession with offbeat and disturbing subject matter on songs like “Plastic Doll,” “Standard Deviations,” “Empty Room,” and “Dr. Werner.”

“Hydrogenic” was dark in a fun, highly melodic way. A punk rock masterpiece that offers a girl-meets-mutant love story with an underlying jab at nuclear energy, “Hydrogenic” kicks off with the single-named bassist Zirbel’s fueling an extended instrumental intro. Carla Evonne sets the romantic tale in motion, singing, “Since I met you baby/I haven’t been the same/You hit me like an H-bomb and now I hardly know my name.”

Her lover’s appearance has been drastically changed by exposure to massive doses of radiation. “Momma says you’re different/With your long green hair/You got webs between your fingers/But I don’t even care.” Carla Evonne celebrates her unique beau with lines such as “I can see you glowing in the dark/In my life you really caused a spark,” and the song features an overjoyed chorus of, “Ooh, our love is new/Our love is new . . . nuclear.”

On a personal level, Bohemia was the inspiration for a novel I wrote and am looking to get published.

Tuesday, October 27, 2020

Halloween Songs: “The Mummy” and “Loup Garou”

I try to profile at least a couple Halloween-related songs each October. You can find more by searching the Broken Hearted Toy archives for October in previous years.

You’d expect a band named Amazing Heeby Jeebies to throw a few chills your way, and the Chicago-based quintet comes through on its 2018 Bad Feeling album. Led by vocalist Ary Jeeby and propelled by guitarists Bob Hyatt and Tom “Boss X” Klein, Amazing Heeby Jeebies combine garage rock and rockabilly while spinning tales of werewolves, mummies, and cannibals. They don’t always aim for the dark side, but when they do, listeners are more likely to dance than cringe.

“The Mummy” is filled with quick rhymes like “King Tut’s got nothing on this guy/When he left, Cleopatra cried,” and depicts its Egyptian hero as a recording artist and television personality. Bassist Earl “Wolfdaddy” Carter and drummer Jerry King join Ary Jeebie, Hyatt, and Klein in crafting hard-edged but catchy music that evokes a 1960s discotheque. “Loup Garou” is another guitar-fueled party song, kicking off with the line, “I felt a little strange when I saw the moon.” It’s delivered from a bewildered, first person point of view of someone vaguely remembering, “I ate something or someone last night.”   

Saturday, October 24, 2020

Saturday Slumgullion

Heart guitarist-vocalist Nancy Wilson’s new single, a cover of  Bruce Springsteen’s “The Rising,” came out yesterday and it’s available to stream or buy on various sites. Its a preview of a solo album she plans to release in early 2021 on her own Carry On Music label. 

I dropped by the Reckless Records in downtown Chicago this morning and was able to buy all three of my top choices for RSD Drop 3. I was so thrilled I’ve spent the entire day bar-hopping to celebrate. Not really, but I am happy to add Out To Get You! Live 1977 by Cheap Trick; Metamorphosis by The Rolling Stones; and A Quick Live One by The Who to my limited-edition vinyl collection. The Cheap Trick double LP came with an MP3 download card, which is always a great bonus. I wish all the Record Store Day releases had those.

On a non-RSD note, I also picked up the new Made Of Rain CD by The Psychedelic Furs at Reckless Records. Always be sure to support your local record store.

Chicago’s critically acclaimed venue The Hideout continues its popular series of livestream events with a record release show by Mooner next Thursday, October 29 at 8:00 pm. Dogs At Large will also on the bill. Mooner will be showcasing The Alternate Universe Of Love, and their first single from it, “Happily” is the subject of  funny video on You Tube. Tickets can be purchased online for $15. 

Other upcoming livestream events at The Hideout include Josh Caterer on October 28; LP’s Happy Hour and Cosmic Country Showcase on October 30; Walter Salas-Humara on November 6; and BandWith’s 5th Annual Funky Brunch 5K and Watch Party on November 7.

Beach Bunny has a Live From The Lot outdoor, stay-in-your car concert coming up next Friday, October 30 in the West Lot at the Schaumburg Boomers Stadium. Bad Bad Hats will also be on the bill. The Stadium is located at 1999 Springinsguth Road, gates open at 6:00 pm.

As reported on the Yahoo Entertainment and Consequence Of Sound websites, Tegan and Sara’s popular memoir High School is being developed into a television series. It will be set in the 1990s.

Congratulations are in order for Henry Diltz. He’ll receive the International Photography Hall Of Fame Lifetime Achievement Award on October 30. Graham Nash, who was first photographed by Diltz as a member of The Hollies and quite a few times later as part of Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young, will offer a special introduction. Diltz created some of rock and roll’s iconic album cover images, including the Crosby, Stills and Nash debut and Morrison Hotel for The Doors. His limited-edition, 344-page California Dreaming from Genesis Publications Ltd. is by far the most expensive book in my library.

Syd Barrett fans will want to check out a new book titled Barrett - The Definitive Visual Companion, which is now available for pre-order from Rocket 88 Publishing. According to the website, this will be the only official Syd Barrett book and will offer previously unseen and rare images, as well as art and photographs by the musician himself.

Bravo recently announced it will air a spin-off of its long-running Top Chef series called Top Chef Amateurs starting in 2021. Each episode will pit two nonprofessional cooks against each other as they recreate a challenge that was first used on the original series. Top Chef judge Gail Simmons will serve as host, and previous competitors, including Eric Adjepong. Richard Blais, Kwame Onwuachi, Melissa King, and my nephew/godson/Season 15 Top Chef winner Joe Flamm will also be featured. 

Thursday, October 22, 2020

From The Haunted Vault: “Jacksie”

Back in 2009, the year I started Broken Hearted Toy, I embarked on a month-long quest to post a different Halloween-appropriate song for each day of October. Some were fun, some were scary, and they came from different genres. I was unemployed and had a lot more time on my hands.

I’ve posted a few Halloween songs each October over the years, so there’s quite a collection for anyone who cares to scroll through my archives. My very first Halloween post was a song by Over The Rhine. Led by vocalist/guitarist Karin Bergquist and bassist/keyboards player Linford Detweiler, the Cincinnati-based band is still very active in 2020 and often comes to Chicago to perform. I did an interview with them for the Illinois Entertainer several years ago, and they were every bit as cool as their music would lead one to believe. They’ve garnered critical acclaim for weaving elements of folk, country, and indie rock behind thought-provoking lyrics.

“Jacksie,” the haunting opening track from Over The Rhine’s 1992 Patience CD, was inspired by the book, A Grief Observed by C.S. Lewis. It deals with the loss of a loved one. Still, a casual listener could be forgiven for thinking this is a classic ghost story, especially with lyrics like, “They laid her in the ground./She still comes around./A love that never dies takes you by surprise.” Bergquist’s ethereal vocals, set to a slow, enticing arrangement, sends chills up your spine, especially the way her “la la la la la la la” echoes like you’re traveling through a dark forest.

One More Drop Before The Holiday Season

RSD Drop 3
arrives on Saturday, October 24, but it wont’ be the final Record Store Day event for 2020. The official site recently announced it will indeed hold the traditional Black Friday Record Store Day. I’ll have more on that in November, but for now, let’s concentrate on this Saturday’s RSD Drop 3 releases.

The official Record Store Day site shows the RSD Drop 3 and Black Friday RSD lists, so make sure you’re looking at the right one when putting your wish list together. There are limited-edition vinyl releases from every imaginable genre—jazz, blues, hard rock, prog rock, techno, punk, country, and hip hop—covering several decades of recorded music. Some feature previously unreleased material.

Check with your favorite record store to see if they’re participating. RSD regulars have proven to be pretty level-headed over the years, so it’s likely we’ll all be following social distancing and mask-wearing rules. Plus, based on the turnout for the first two drops this year, there won’t be any long lines outside stores. But it’ll be even more important to have a written or printed list to hand to store employees since they won’t want to touch or look at your phone.

As for my own list, I’ll be aiming for: Various Artists - Austin Powers Man Of Mystery Soundtrack Double LP; Cheap Trick - Out To Get You! Live Double LP; The Rolling Stones - Metamorphosis LP; The Specials - Dubs 10-inch; and The Who - Quick Live One, which was recorded at the Monterey International Pop Festival.

There are a lot more RSD Drop 3 releases I’d love to buy, but I only have so much money and shelf space. Once again, the Reckless Records in downtown Chicago will be my destination. They were friendly and efficient for the first two 2020 RSD Drops and in previous years.

Wednesday, October 21, 2020

415 and Hugh Hart - New Releases From San Francisco And Chicago

San Francisco’s rebellious new wave label 415 Records is coming back, thanks to the newly formed Rhino Records offshoot Liberation Hall. As explained by Conqueroo Publicity founder Cary Baker in a recent press release, 415 started in the late 1970s with local bands such as SVT, The Uptones, and Pop-O-Pies. From a Chicago perspective, I remember 415 best for its 1981 release of Romeo Void’s Never Say Never EP. It was the coolest thing I could play in the Mom and Pop record store I worked at in the Ford City Shopping Mall, and it was in heavy rotation at WXRT and at every club I went to back then.

The first of the reignited 415 releases has already arrived in the form of an expanded version of a various artists compilation that originally came out in 1978. Still Disturbing The Peace a.k.a. The Past Is Present features songs by Pearl Harbor and The Explosions; Red Rockers; The Offs; The Imposters; Renegades; and New Math. Upcoming releases include the long out-of-print No Regrets by SVT; Get Outta My Way by the ska band The Uptones; and San Francisco: Mostly Live by punk outfit The Readymades. Baker noted that the re-issued 415 albums will be from before the label signed a distribution deal with Columbia Records.

Long-time followers of Chicago’s alternative rock scene recognize Hugh Hart as being the driving force behind the bands Huge Hart, Wedge, and The OD’d. He’s also had a successful career in journalism that includes writing for the New York Times and the Los Angeles Times. Previous songs like “Idolizer” and “They Just Keep Coming On” artfully combined Hart’s two passions in the form of catchy tunes with topical lyrics.

The recently released “Bye Bye Donny” finds him taking a more vigorous lyrical approach while keeping things danceable. Hart released an earlier version of this song a few years back but has updated his series of quick rhymes with references to Black Lives Matter, immigration, and the pandemic. With help from J.D. Dragus on guitar, the fun but bitter “Bye Bye Donny” is reminiscent of Devo.

Tuesday, October 20, 2020


Congratulations to Broadway producer Vivek J. Tiwary on Jagged Little Pill being nominated for a Tony Award as Best Musical. The Alanis Morisette inspired production also received nominations for Diablo Cody in the Best Book of a Musical category and Elizabeth Stanley for Best Lead Actress in a Musical. I’m more familiar with Tiwary as being the writer of the really cool The Fifth Beatle graphic novel about Brian Epstein. I had a chance to talk to him when I bought a copy at Fest For Beatles Fans - Chicago a while back, and was impressed with his enthusiasm for adapting his book into a full-length film.

This is Chicago Acts Together Week, a celebration of our local venues and performers, as well as a call to support them. The official website has suggestions for what people can do each day to help, including making donations to local theaters and sharing favorite memories on social media. 

The Chicago Tribune picked up an article by Elizabeth A. Harris from The New York Times today expressing the need for people to support independent book stores, especially during the pandemic. There was good news about some bookstores, such as Third Place Books in Seattle and Source Booksellers in Detroit still doing fairly well. But be sure to support your local book store.

The one where a new Chicago-based duo names itself after a star from Friends. Kelly and Rick, AKA Jennifer Love Anniston, are performing hits from the 1990s in their debut performance at Montrose Saloon tonight even as I’m writing this. It’s a safe bet “I’ll Be There For You” by The Rembrandts will be one of the songs they play.

The What4 band (Phil Angotti, Scott Ligon, Casey McDonough, John  Perrin, and Tony Kidonkis) will be celebrating the 50th anniversary of The Beatles’ Let It Be by performing the entire album on the patio at FitzGerald’s in Berwyn tomorrow night (October 21) starting at 7:00 pm.

I caught an impressive (and I think rare) solo performance by Dag Juhlin at Hey Nonny in Arlington Heights a week ago. He played a number of songs from the two albums he’s recorded as a member of Sunshine Boys, and it was fascinating to hear them in stripped-down but still powerful renditions. Juhlin’s wry sense of humor was evident during his comments between songs and also provided insight into his long career in Chicago rock. 

Saturday, October 17, 2020

Saturday Slumgullion

Australian power pop fans have a reason to rejoice now that the Hoodoo Gurus are performing live again. They’ll be at Max Watt’s House Of Music in Sydney November 5 and 6, with The Buoys as their opening act. The rest of us around the globe will have to settle for a new single—they’ve been busy lately—titled “Get Out Of Dodge.” The guitar-driven single, which the band dedicates to “to all the non-conformists out there,” features their friend Vicki Peterson from The Bangles and John Cowsill from The Cowsills as special guests. Its available on the groups Bandcamp page, along with “Hung Out To Dry.”

Chicago Drive-In has a multi-act, socially distanced live show going on today at the Seat Geek Stadium in Bridgeview. Long-time Chicago punk band PEGBOY will celebrate its 30th anniversary at the event, and will be joined by fellow hometown acts Local H and The Bollweevils, as well as Jake Burns from the Irish punk band Stiff Little Fingers. The show starts at 5:00 p.m, and $89.99 General Admission/per car tickets are available at Infinity Ticket Solutions

NIVA (National Independent Venue Association) has its multi-act live weekend concert event Save Our Stages currently streaming on YouTube Music. Several well-known acts will be performing at clubs around the country through tomorrow. There’s no admission fee but viewers can donate money to help entertainment venues stay afloat during this difficult time while waiting for Congress to provide much-needed funds. Artists involved include Jason Mraz; Rise Against; Foo Fighters; The Roots; Portugal The Man; Major Lazer; Black Pumas; Nathaniel Rateliff; Reba McIntire; and The Revivalists.

The Saturday Night In Virtual Gala starts at 7:00 pm tonight with Channel 5 Chicago’s Patrick Fazio serving as Emcee. Guests include WXRT radio personality Lin Brehmer, Olympic medalist Apolo Ohno; Special Olympics athlete David Harlan; and comedian Jordan Klepper. There will be a concert at 7:00 pm featuring The Bono Bros Band, which includes members of Freddy Jones Band, Mr. Blotto, and Tributosaurus. Proceeds from Saturday Night In will help Special Olympics Illinois. 

Tickets are now on sale for Beach Bunny at the Schaumburg Boomers Stadium on October 30; Chicago Soul Spectacular Presents Bird At 100! - A Tribute To Charlie Parker and Dizzy Gillespie at Chicago City Winery on October 31; and Joanna Connor at SPACE on October 30. These listings are taken from the Early Warnings page in the current edition of the Chicago Reader. The page also has information about upcoming livestream events by David Byrne: Billie Eilish; Emmylou Harris; Lilly Hiatt; and Jayhawks. The Chicago Reader can be picked up for free from various places in downtown Chicago and around the north side. You can also find it online, or subscribe so that issues are mailed directly to your residence.

The last of this year’s three RSD Drops takes place next Saturday, October 24. I had thought the Drops trilogy replaced both the April and November Record Store Day events because of the pandemic, but as Fonzie once reluctantly admitted on Happy Days, “I was wrrrrrrrrrrrong.” The official RSD site recently posted the list of limited-edition vinyl that will be available as part of Black Friday Record Store Day on November 27. If you’re going vinyl shopping next Saturday, October 24, make sure you’re looking at the right list. Otherwise, you might show up a month early for the record you want. Check with your favorite record store to see if they’re participating.

Los Straitjackets just released a cover of “Bus Stop,” the 1966 hit single by The Hollies, on its Bandcamp page. The Nashville-based guitar-driven instrumental quartet also has a seven-inch single titled “Beatles V. Stones” coming out as part of the Black Friday Record Store Day. It features them performing “I Feel Fine” and “Time Is On My Side.” Long-time fans know Los Straitjackets also recorded some fun collaborations with veteran Brit musician Nick Lowe.

The Friends Experience: The One In Chicago continues its run at The Shops At North Lincoln Avenue through January 3, 2021. For a $35 admission price, fans of the NBC hit series will be be able to wander through two floors of recreated sets, as well as check out costumes, original scripts and a gift store. Strict social distancing, temperature checks, and other protective measures will be in place.

Writer/director Aaron Sorkin’s The Trial Of The Chicago 7 began running on Netflix yesterday. The cast includes Eddie Redmayne, Jeremy Strong, Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, Sacha Baron Cohen, Mark Rylance, Michael Keaton, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, and Frank Langella. 

Tuesday, October 13, 2020

Sunshine Boys - Work And Love

Note: Sunshine Boys lead vocalist-guitarist Dag Juhlin has a solo gig at the Hey Nonny venue in Arlington Heights at 7:30 PM tonight.

Considering the momentum Sunshine Boys built with their 2018 debut Blue Music, it’s good to see them quickly return with another album. The Chicago-based trio once again employs a well-crafted pop music sensibility on Work And Love, whether evoking sentimental memories, issuing a call to action, or telling us to hang in there. The three musicians have been around—Dag Juhlin with The Slugs and Poi Dog Pondering; Jackie Schimmel with Big Hello; and Freda Love Smith with The Blake Babies. Juhlin does all the lead singing, while Schimmel and Smith create lush backup vocals that occasionally recall the 1960s.

“Infinity Girl” is a guitar-driven celebration of youth and female empowerment, with lines such as, “We’re weighted down by clowns from old days/She’s built a bonfire of our old ways.” Sunshine Boys take aim at the endless hype of our political scene with the hard-edged “The Serpent In Spring,” noting “Here’s the distraction/There is the lie.” The rallying cry of “Don’t Keep It Inside” is tempered with optimism as Juhlin notes, “The good that you can see/Is the good that you can be.”

Poetic imagery emerges throughout Work And Love, particularly on the mid-tempo “Every Step” and the self-depricating but tender love song “A Ghost, At Best.” Those tracks, along with “Right Where You Need It,” feature guest musicians Susan Voelz and Anna Steinhoff on violin and cello respectively. The shimmering “Summertime Kids” works on one level as a nostalgic Beach Boys type reflection, but also laments the loss of independence as we grow older.

Saturday, October 10, 2020

Saturday Slumgullion

Yes Virginia, there will be a Black Friday RSD in 2020. The official Record Store Day website has announced it will be offer an additional event this year after the October 24 RSD Drop. I had assumed the three RSD Drops had replaced both the usual April and November versions, but there’s now a Black Friday version with more tempting limited-edition vinyl in virtually every genre.

The list includes The Bangles; Mick Fleetwood and Friends/Fleetwood Mac; George Harrison; Fountains Of Wayne; Aimee Mann; David Gilmour; The Rolling Stones; Elliott Smith; and U2. Black Friday RSD will also offer some holiday-related records, including ones from Chuck Berry; Juliana Hatfield; Dave Brubeck; Milton DeLugg and The Little Eskimos/The Fleshtones; and Vince Guaraldi.

Mekons founding member and critically acclaimed artist Jon Langford will be at Hey Nonny in Arlington Heights for his (Solo) Art Songs show from 6:00 p.m. to 8:15 p.m tomorrow (October 11). He’ll return with Bethany Thomas and John Szymanski on October 16, and with The Waco Brothers (Stripped Down And Socially Distant) on October 17. The venue will be celebrating its second anniversary on October 17.

Dag Juhlin from Sunshine Boys, Sonic 45, Poi Dog Pondering, The Slugs, and EXPO ’76, has a solo gig coming up at Hey Nonny this Tuesday, October 13.

I dropped by Martyrs on Lincoln Avenue yesterday afternoon to catch a few hours of the Phil Angotti And Friends John Lennon 80th Birthday Bash. Actually, the outdoor space where Angotti and his special guests were performing was shared by Martyrs’ and the nearby Mrs. Murphy And Sons Irish Bistro. The weather was perfect as servers from both venues made their way through the crowd with drinks and food. I’m not sure if Angotti met his goal of performing 80 Beatles or Lennon solo songs since I left early, but the music I did hear was a blast. 

On the way to the John Lennon bash, I was happy to find a copy of New City magazine’s October issue. The Chicago-based monthly is offering its annual FILM 50 issue, which this year placed writer-director Kris Rey at number one. This edition also features Monica Kass Rogers’ photos and essay titled The Alley Project and Craig Bechtel’s profile on veteran punk band Pegboy.

The October edition of the Illinois Entertainer is available online with a cover story on Mastodon, a feature story on WXRT morning DJ Richard Milne; and album reviews of Paul McCartney, The Rolling Stones, Deep Purple, and John Wesley Harding. 

I mentioned Cheap Trick’s outstanding cover of David Bowie’s “Rebel Rebel” a while back, and now there’s an eye-popping live performance/animation video to go with it. It’s become one of my all-time favorite rock videos, and brings back memories of when I watched MTV a regular basis. 

The final edition of Thompson’s three-part series Richard Thompson’s Live From London - A Lifestream Concert Series, takes tomorrow, October 11 and will be a Total Request Live Event. It’s being presented by the Chicago area venues The Old Town School and SPACE, and Tickets can be purchased on the website for The Old Town School of Folk Music, which is a co-presenter, along with SPACE in Evanston.

In Manchester, England the Headstock Festival, which runs this weekend, has joined forces with Akse P19 for a mural honoring Joy Division founding member Ian Curtis. It’s part of an effort to raise awareness for World Mental Health Day, which also takes place today.

Writer/director Aaron Sorkin’s The Trial Of The Chicago 7 comes to Netflix on October 16 and it’s already snagged positive reviews from Richard Roeper in the Chicago Sun-Times and Michael Phillips in the Chicago Tribune. The cast includes Eddie Redmayne, Jeremy Strong, Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, Sacha Baron Cohen, Mark Rylance, Michael Keaton, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, and Frank Langella.

Ba ba ba ba ba ba ba ba, ba, I wanna carbon date it. The following headline in a recent edition of the Chicago Sun-Times caught my attention: Field Museum’s new dinosaur curator known as ‘punk rock’ paleontologist As noted by writer Adam Mahoney, 36 year-old Jingmai O’Connor once named a fossilized bird after vocalist Greg Graffin from Bad Religion. Congratulations to California native Ms. O’Connor, and a hearty welcome to Chicago.

Saturday, October 3, 2020

Saturday Slumgullion

Rockabilly/garage rock band Amazing Heeby Jeebies will be performing at 7:30 p.m. tomorrow (Sunday, October 4) at Montrose Saloon on Chicago’s north side. If you’re already working on a Halloween playlist, you’ll find fun, twangy, and spooky numbers such as “Cannibal Beasts,” “The Mummy,” and “Loup Garou" on the Amazing Heeby Jeebies’ Bad Feelings album. The high-energy and often satiric power pop band Van Go will be performing at Montrose Saloon on October 23. These events will be outdoors in a socially-distanced setting.

After watching The Bad Examples perform at Hey Nonny in Arlington Heights, I can report that the band and the venue are in peak form. Hey Nonny has outdoor seating available, while the indoor seating is safely spaced. Patrons wore masks when entering or moving about, while the staff was masked at all times. I caught the second of two gigs The Bad Examples did last night, and it was filled with better-known power pop gems such as “Reaching For Shadows,” “Not Dead Yet,” and “Pictures Of A Masquerade.” as well as deep cuts. The brand new songs “Water And Smoke,” “The Church Of Rock And Roll Guitar,” and “Twice In A Lifetime” from an upcoming album indicate lead vocalist/chief songwriter Ralph Covert hasn’t lost his touch for crafting irresistibly catchy pop songs.

Dag Juhlin, whose decades-long career includes performing with Sunshine Boys, The 45, The Slugs, Poi Dog Pondering and Expo ’76, has a solo gig coming up at Hey Nonny on October 13. And on October 17, the club will celebrate its second anniversary in style as musician/artist Jon Langford will be performing music and exhibiting his paintings. 

According to a recent piece by Associate Press writer David Bauder, the 40th Annual John Lennon Tribute Concert in New York will be online only when it’s held on Lennon’s birthday next Friday, October 9. Some of the video performances, such as ones by Roseanne Cash, Jackson Browne, Patti Smith, Natalie Merchant, and Taj Mahal, will come from previous years. The event will be free to stream from 7:00 p.m. to midnight EST at, but producer Joe Raiola and organizers are asking viewers to contribute to the cancer-fighting foundations Theatre Within and Gilda’s Club.

As previously mentioned on BHT, The Fest For Beatles Fans will present Our Virtual 80th Birthday Salute To John Lennon event via Zoom from 5:00 to 11:00 p.m. EST on October 9. Tickets are $20 and available through eventbrite. A number of musicians and special guests—mostly veterans of The Fest live events—will be involved.

Here in Chicago, Phil Angotti and Friends will be celebrating John Lennon’s birthday on October 9 at Martyrs on the Lincoln Avenue. The socially distanced live concert kicks off at 3:00 p.m.

As mentioned by reporter Selena Fragassi in this past Wednesday’s Chicago Sun-Times, a new pop-up exhibition titled The Friends Experience: The One In Chicago opened this past Thursday at The Shops At North Lincoln Avenue and will run through January 3, 2021. For a $35 admission price, fans of the NBC hit series will be be able to wander through two floors of recreated sets, as well as check out costumes, original scripts and a gift store. I’m not sure if it will possible to take a selfie with a turkey stuck on your head. Strict social distancing, temperature checks, and other protective measures will be in place.

Heart guitarist-vocalist Nancy Wilson has announced she “will be releasing my ever solo album in early 2021 on my own new label, Carry On Music.” As a preview, she’ll offer a cover of Bruce Springsteen’s “The Rising” on October 23. Technically, I think Wilson’s 1999 album Live At McCabe’s Guitar Shop would count as a solo album. I was recently listening to her terrific cover of Simon and Garfunkel’s “Kathy’s Song” on an acoustic playlist I created on iTunes.

Congratulations to the Chicago Reader, which is celebrating its 50th Anniversary this month. The current edition, which arrived in my mailbox today, features the now bi-weekly publication’s Fall Arts Preview. Publisher Tracy Baim notes in a page three message that the Reader is believed to be the first free weekly in America, and proclaims, “we are excited about the future.” Still, more paid subscriptions would help. Best wishes to the Chicago Reader for continued success. I’ve been picking up a copy for a number of those 50 years.  

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