Monday, December 2, 2019

Leftover Slumgullion

Lonnie Flowers has a new album coming out this Friday.

Last Friday’s Slumgullion was delayed due to holiday events, starting with my morning trek to Reckless Records in downtown Chicago for Black Friday Record Store Day and ending with Thanksgiving dinner with my siblings and in-laws. My side of the family has celebrated Thanksgiving on the Friday afterward for decades now. It makes it easier for everyone who hang around longer.

The employees at the downtown Reckless Records were once efficient and friendly in handling customers’ lists and ringing up our vinyl treasures. They didn’t have the boxed set of U.K. Singles by The Pretenders or the Peter Holsapple Combo Christmas single I wanted, but those issues were beyond their control. I was able to buy the other releases on my list—the “Three” 12-inch single by U2, “Cruel To Be Kind” by Nick Lowe; “Holiday-ish” by The Regrettes; “Arthur” by The Kinks; and “Gimme Some Truth” by Cheap Trick.

Tickets are now on sale for Marcia Ball and Sonny Landreth at FitzGerald’s on February 16; Robbie Fulks at SPACE on April 18; Donnie Vie and Jay Goeppner at FitzGerald’s on January 4; and Wailers at SPACE on February 21.

Lannie Flowers, a widely recognized master of power pop, has a new album titled Home coming out this Friday. Katrina And The Waves have a new album on the way as well.

As her recently released tribute album to The Police picks up steam, Juliana Hatfield is extending her 2020 tour. It still kicks off at SPACE in Evanston, IL and includes stops in Dallas, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Portland, Seattle, Milwaukee, and Brooklyn. Juliana Hatfield Sings The Police is a fun album brimming with raw energy that’s definitely worth picking up. It’s available through American Laundromat Records.

Chicago-based indie rock band Fort Frances has a show coming up next Thursday at Schubas on Southport Avenue. The Waco Brothers will be at that same venue on December 27.

Kelly Hogan and Andrew Sa, Phil Angotti, Paul Cebar, The Amazing Heebies, Dave Drazin, and Nora O’Connor will be among the twelve locals acts covering famous country music and rock and roll stars this coming Saturday, December 7 at FitzGerald’s in Berwyn. The celebration marks the official release of the 2020 edition of Chris and Heather’s Country Calendar. As in years past, the calendar will feature really cool illustrations of musicians. Admission to the Country Calendar Show is $25, the music starts at 8:00 p.m.

Critical acclaimed artist Erika Iris will be featuring some of her unique portraits of celebrities and rock stars—she uses cassette tape and videotape—at the Cheap Kiss Records sponsored Vinyl Records Warehouse Sale this Saturday from 8:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. Record collectors will find a massive selection of just about every imaginable genre at the sale, which will be located at 604 Albion Avenue in Schaumburg.

The Toy Con Charity Toy Show
 will be held this Sunday, December 8 at the Bridgeview Community Center in Bridgeview, IL . There will be over 60 dealers selling action figures, dolls, comics, and collectibles, and all proceeds go to the Pediatric Oncology Treasure Chest Foundation. Toy donations will be accepted.

Thursday, November 28, 2019

Rock And Roll Holiday Gift Guide

This boxed set from The Pretenders is available as part of Black Friday Record Store Day.

Happy Thanksgiving to everyone who reads my blog. Even if you’re not located in the U.S., it’s never a bad idea to take a few moments to consider the things you’re grateful for.

It’s also that time of year when indie newspapers and major publications offer holiday gift guides. Their choices are usually demographically inclined toward their readership, but you will discover items you won’t encounter in your local department store. With that goal in mind, here’s the somewhat annual (I’ve missed a few years) Broken Hearted Toy Rock And Roll Holiday Gift Guide.

You might notice I’ve tried to repair certain format issues affecting BHT, applying my non-existent tech knowledge as best as I can. I apologize for it still not being up to snuff, but hopefully, it’s not as obnoxious as it had become in recent weeks.

For the vinyl lovers in your life, choose from the limited-edition releases coming to record stores tomorrow only for Black Friday Record Store Day. It’s not as massive as the April version, but there are lots of choices in every imaginable genre. Keep in mind, the earlier you get there, the better the selection. Also, most record stores prefer you hand them a list that includes the title, artist name, and format (seven-inch single, 10-inch EP, LP, double LP, boxed set, etc.) for each record you’re hoping to buy.

The Beatles’ Abbey Road album is now available in various 50th Anniversary editions that include alternative takes and other bonus stuff, depending on how much you want to spend.

Don’t forget to support your local bands. There are a lot of options for live entertainment this weekend and if you discover a new favorite, be sure to check their website to see if they have music you can download or order through the mail. Buying one of the band’s t-shirts is another option.

The Chicago Museum of Broadcast Communications on State Street has another winning exhibit with Stay Tuned - Rock On TV. It originated at the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame and features the 1933 style Ford that ZZ Top used in a series of popular videos in the 1980s. Treat a friend for the holiday, and you’ll also encounter videos and memorabilia from The Hollies, The Animals, Joan Jett, Cyndi Lauper, Outkast, and several other artists who performed on TV shows from American Bandstand to Saturday Night Live.

The Royal Mint has added Wallace and Gromit to its collection of cartoon characters it has chosen to be honored. The human/canine duo, created by the clever and very British artists at Aardman Studios, are featured on coins that will soon be available to order for from the Royal Mint’s website. Also new this year, is a trio of coins depicting The Snowman from the Academy Award nominated short animation. Prices for each of these range from £10.00 for an uncirculated coin to £980.00 for a limited edition gold proof coin.

Rock and roll books are always a great choice, and since they’re often visually oriented, you’ll want to give the real thing and not a Kindle version. Here are a few recommendations;

For David Bowie fans, Insight Comics offers a 160-page hardcover graphic novel titled Bowie - Stardust, Rayguns and Moonage Daydreams that’s now available for preorder on Amazon. Steve Horton and Michael Allred are the writers, Laura Allred is the illustrator, and the foreword is written by Neil Gaiman. The book is due out January 7.

Another good choice along those lines is Bowie: An Illustrated Life, which combines Maria Hesse’s art with copy by Fran Ruiz. The book is told from Bowie’s point of view and covers ups and downs of his entire career.

Power pop fans will surely love reading Go All The Way: A Literary Appreciation Of Power Pop from start to finish. The book features a number of writers waxing nostalgic about their favorite albums from the genre, as well as quotes from artists such as Debbi Peterson from The Bangles, Kim Shattuck from The Muffs, and Gary Klebe from Shoes. It’s available on Amazon.

Also, be sure to check out Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, as well as websites of your favorite artists for exclusive music, apparel, and other items. Record label websites like Bloodshot, Yep Roc, Mega Dodo, American Laundromat, Kool Kat Musik; and Fruits de Mer are always worth shopping, and The Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame website has lots of inductee and exhibit memorabilia. Pledge Music, Go Fund Me, and other crowd funding sites are a good way to support your favorite artists and pick up autographed items. And you never know what rare treasures you’ll discover on eBay.

Tuesday, November 26, 2019

Oh, You’re A Holiday

An older poster of The Safes, with that cool illustration.

To paraphrase the Bee Gees, there’s something I think worthwhile if a four-day weekend makes you smile. Especially one that kicks off the Christmas season. Some people will be out partying four nights in a row. Here are a few suggestions for where to celebrate over the Thanksgiving weekend.

Starting on a more serious note, this Saturday night’s three-band showcase at Martyrs’ will be a fundraiser for teenage musician Rylan Wilder. Wilder’s band Monarchy Over Monday was scheduled to perform at the Lincoln Avenue venue that night, but he was wounded when he was caught the crossfire of a shootout between the police and a robbery suspect a week ago. Wilder was working in the Upbeat Music and Arts store on Irving Park Road at the time of the incident. Proceeds from this Saturday’s show will go towards helping him cover his medical bills. Those interested in helping out but unable to make it to Martyrs’ can contribute directly at the Help Rylan Play Music Again GoFundMe page, which has already raised over $51,000.

Chicago-based alt-rock band The Safes are combining their 16th annual Black Wednesday bash with a record release party at Beat Kitchen on Belmont tomorrow night. Band member Frankie O’Malley describes the new effort Winning Combination as a “crazy album,” and they’ve been touring the country since mid-September in support of it. Shindig, the U.K. magazine every fan of 1960s and 1960s-influenced rock should be reading, gave it four stars, and other reviews have been positive. The ornate 1960s Brit pop approach on Winning Combination marks a new approach for The Safes, and it’s highly effective. The Safes also have some cool t-shirts, particularly one with an illustration of the band members. Maybe they’ll have some on sale at Beat Kitchen. The Differents, The Sonnets, and The Marcatos are also performing at Beat Kitchen tomorrow night. The music starts at 7:30 p.m.

Damn right, I’ve got the drumstick. Sopro Music’s Annual Thanksgiving Blues Revue Concert has been held in numerous venues over the years, and the 37th version takes place at the Cheers Nightclub in Midlothian this Saturday night. Long-time Sopro favorites such as The Chicago Horns—a first-rate jazz quartet—and acclaimed jazz-blues vocalist Deb Seitz will be on hand. Other musicians participating include vocalist-guitarist Joey Drada, bassist John Falstrom, drummer Scott Bonshire, and guitarist-vocalist Frank Anastos. Along with all that blues, there will be prize giveaways.

Beggars Banquet, a tribute band that’s been performing Rolling Stones music for close to 15 years, has a gig at Martyrs’ on Lincoln Avenue tomorrow night. In addition to playing all those great Rolling Stones hits, members of Beggars Banquet dress the part, appearing in full costume.

Val’s Halla Records in Oak Park will close at the end of this month, ending a 47-year run that attracted legions of loyal followers. Fans can honor the store’s legacy, as well as its late owner Val Camilletti, at a Black Friday bash being hosted there by the Ellis Clark/Ary Paloma Jeebie led band Big Hair Trouble. The Amazing Heebie Jeebies, Phil Angotti, Mark Panick, Gerald McClendon and The Soulkeepers, Phoenix, Frankie B, Hannah Frank, and John Kimsey will also be performing.

Chicago-based alt-rock/avant-garde band whitewolfsonicprincess will be performing at Montrose Saloon this Friday night. In addition to being musicians, vocalist Carla Hayden and guitarist-vocalist James Moeller are also the founding members of the Black Forest theatre group, and it’s fascinating to see and hear how they incorporate elements of that experience into their music. Flapunco, led by singer-photographer Lisa Zane, and International Pop Overthrow veterans Rollo Time are also on the bill. The music starts at 9:00 p.m.

Friday, November 22, 2019

Slumgullion

Here’s a Broken Hearted Toy welcome to Elvis Costello and The Imposters, who are in town for a gig at the Chicago Theatre tonight.

Depending on what time you see this, you might still be able to catch The Bishop’s Daredevil Stunt Club, LovePunch, and Dirty Blond performing songs from Twice Removed by Sloan and Blue by Weezer at Montrose Saloon. It’s the 25th anniversary for both of those LPs.

Tickets went on sale today for Black Crowes at the Hollywood Casino Amphitheatre on August 15; Cornerstones Of Rock with The Buckinghams, Ides Of March, New Colony Six, Cryan’ Shames, and Shadows Of Knight at The Arcada on November 30; The Sea and Cake at The Empty Bottle on February 29; and Vulgar Boatmen and Sunshine Boys at Schubas on January 11.

The Chicago-based U2 tribute band Without U2 joins forces with New York’s Dead Letter Office R.E.M. tribute band tomorrow night at Martyrs’ on Lincoln Avenue. The show starts at 9:00 p.m.

Shindig, the U.K. magazine that celebrates 1960s era rock and roll, has a special edition coming out just in time for holiday gift giving. A recent social media post promises, “Rare, In-Depth Adventures from the Shindig Archives” regarding Donovan, The Hollies, The Rolling Stones, Sweet, Mott The Hoople, The Monkees, The Kinks, and other acts. It’s available from the Silverback Publishing website. 

The Court Theatre’s production of Oedipus Rex continues its run through December 8.

Bobby Elliott, who started drumming for The Hollies back in the early 1960s and still performs with them, has an autobiography titled It Ain’t Heavy It’s My Story – My Life And The Hollies’ coming out via Omnibus Press on April 2, 2020.

The Simon & Garfunkel Story continues its run through December 8 at the Broadway Playhouse. The show combines film and photos with a live band to present the folk rock duo’s rise to becoming one of America’s most popular acts. Broadway Playhouse is located at 175 E. Chestnut Street, at Water Tower Place.

Fathom Events continues its series of limited-run screenings of concert films at movie theatres with INXS: Live Baby Live on December 9.

Reason number 4,786 why I want to visit England again: The Camden area of London now has a Music Walk Of Fame inspired by the Hollywood Walk Of Fame in the USA. This one will be devoted entirely to music; highlighting acts that either emerged from Camden or staged a performance there at an early point in their careers. Pete Townshend and Roger Daltry of The Who unveiled the first commemorative stone, which honors their band’s accomplishments. According to NME online, Amy Winehouse and Madness will be next in line for The Music Walk Of Fame.

I just received my copy of Julianna Hatfield’s tribute album to The Police, and it’s every bit as fun as I hoped it would be. She takes a raw approach on her versions, and apart from getting tangled up in “Roxanne,” she consistently succeeds. In addition to the autographed CD, sticker, and button, there was a postcard advertising an upcoming covers album by Tanya Donelly and The Parkington Sisters. Like Hatfield’s effort, it will be available from American Laundromat Records in signed copies, colored vinyl, and special bundles. Donelly and the Parkington sisters will cover songs by The Go-Go’s, Wings, Split Enz, Echo and The Bunnymen, The Pretenders, and other notable acts. The album will be available for pre-order starting in January.

The world premiere of The First Deep Breath by Lee Edward Colston II continues its run at the Victory Gardens Theatre on Lincoln Avenue through December 22. Steve H. Broadnax III directs the intense family drama,

Steve Dawson and Diane Christiansen, who front the alt rock/country band Dolly Varden and have numerous solo projects, are scheduled for a gig the Hey Nonny venue in Arlington Heights on January 17. Singer-guitarist Chris Rawlins Cialdella will be their special guest.

The entertainment world has lost two iconic photographers in the past week; first with Robert Freeman (see last Friday’s Slumgullion) and the more recent passing of Terry O’Neill. Like Freeman, O’Neill may be best remembered for a Beatles pic, this one taken outside the EMI Studios on Abbey Road for The Daily Sketch newspaper. As related by obituary writer Harrison Smith in the Washington Post, O’Neill’s editor then asked him to photograph some of The Beatles’ contemporaries. When O’Neill came back with a photo of The Rolling Stones, the editor thought they looked like “prehistoric monsters” so a photo of The Dave Clark Five was added to show rock and roll had a nice side as well as a rough one.

SHE (Sisters Helping Elevate The Arts) is presenting The Holidays, a new play written and directed by Katrina V. Miller, from December 8 through December 22 at The Frontier on Chicago’s north side. Miller’s goal is to help bring awareness to help end Alzheimer’s disease, and a portion of the opening night performance will benefit Alz.org. The Frontier is located at 1106 W. Thorndale Avenue, tickets are available via the SHE website.

Thursday, November 21, 2019

When Black Friday Comes

You don’t have to be nestled all snug in your bed to have visions of limited-edition Black Friday Record Store Day releases. The colder weather and an already established tradition of consumers stampeding toward department stores usually makes Black Friday RSD less popular than the April version, but it’s still advisable to get out there early. For most stores, you won’t have any way of knowing how much these records cost ahead of time, so be prepared for a bit of sticker shock.

The list of high-caliber artists involved this year once again sweeps across all genres, including records by Louis Armstrong; Bad Company; Chuck Berry; Beck; James Brown; Jeff Buckley; Jackson Browne; Cheap Trick; Alex Chilton; Eric Clapton; Patsy Cline; Alice Cooper; Devo; Miles Davis; Thomas Dolby; The Doors; Aretha Franklin; Jimi Hendrix; The Kinks; Madonna; The Marshall Tucker Band; Paul McCartney; The Monkees; Willie Nelson; Katy Perry; The Pretenders; Elvis Presley; Lou Reed; The Regrettes; Rodrigo Y Gabriela; The Runaways; Todd Rundgren; Buffy Saint Marie; Joe Satriani; Frank Sinatra; Steppenwolf; Benmont Tench; They Might Be Giants; U2; and a number of various artists compilations. See the full list on the official RSD site.

Number one on my wish list is Three by U2. This 12-inch record is a reincarnation of the three-song EP the Irish band released back in 1979, with “Out Of Control,” “Stories For Boys,” and “Boy-Girl.” Aside from that, all my other choices involve seven-inch vinyl. Such as the U.K. Singles 1979 – 1981 boxed set from The Pretenders. It includes “Stop Your Sobbing,” “Kid,” “Brass In Pocket,” and five other seven-inch records. Next up is Cheap Trick’s cover of the John Lennon song “Gimme Some Truth,” with a B-Side live version of Wizzard’s “I Wish It Could Be Christmas Everyday” featuring one of Cheap Trick’s all-time heroes Roy Wood. Also in the holiday vein is The Peter Holsapple Combo’s “Christmas Must Be Tonight”and The Regrettes’ "Holiday-ish.” Rounding out my list are The Kinks’ “Arthur” single; and Nick Lowe with Wilco performing “Cruel To Be Kind.” My selections are likely to expand by the time I walk up to the counter at the Reckless Records downtown location.

Best of luck in nabbing the exclusive releases on your wish list. Afterwards, you can celebrate your successful hunt over a hot beverage (in my case, a chai tea latte) at a nearby Starbucks, Argo, or Dunkin Donuts.

Tuesday, November 19, 2019

Incoming

Chicago area fans will have an opportunity to catch one of punk’s first and most influential acts when Elvis Costello and The Imposters bring their Just Trust tour to the Chicago Theatre this Friday night.

Sounding just like “Buddy Holly.” Three local bands have a 25th anniversary celebration planned for a pair of beloved power pop albums coming up this Friday night at Montrose Saloon. The Bishop’s Daredevil Stunt Club, who have released some impressive albums themselves, along with grunge/riot grrl quartet LovePunch and the coed power pop quintet Dirty Blond, will be performing songs from Twice Removed by Sloan and Blue by Weezer. The music starts at 8:30 and it will probably a perfect night for wearing a sweater. Montrose Saloon is located at 2933 W. Montrose Avenue.

Congratulations to Sir Paul McCartney on being chosen as the headline act at the 50th Annual Glastonbury Festival coming up in England on June 27, 2020. Diana Ross has also signed on to perform, and several other acts will be announced soon. Loyal fans of the festival can now purchase the Glastonbury 50 book by Micael Eavis and Emily Eavis via Rough Trade, Waterstones, WHSmith, and Book Depository.

It’ll be Automatic Baby all over again. The Chicago-based U2 tribute band Without U2 joins forces with New York’s Dead Letter Office R.E.M. tribute band this Saturday at Martyrs’ on Lincoln Avenue. That’s a lot of awesome music for one evening. The show starts at 9:00 p.m.

The Hey Nonny venue in Arlington Heights has booked another first rate act from the Chicago music scene. Steve Dawson and Diane Christiansen of Dolly Varden are scheduled for a gig on January 17. Singer-guitarist Chris Rawlins Cialdella will be their special guest.

Last Thursday at the Reckless Records on Madison, I bought a copy of a booklet titled Fireside Fury On Fullerton Stories - Chicago’s D.I.Y. Punk Venue - A Retrospective. It features contributions from members of the bands The Methadones, Boris The Sprinkler, The Bollweevils, No Empathy, and Oblivion. Their memories of performing at Fireside Bowl in the 1990s are fascinating, and the booklet is only $3.00.

Monday, November 18, 2019

It Ain’t Heavy, And It Will Fit In Your Library

According to a post on the official website for The Hollies, drummer Bobby Elliott has penned an autobiography titled It Ain’t Heavy, It’s My Story – My Life And The Hollies’ that will be released by Omnibus Press on April 2, 2020. Elliott wasn’t with the band from the very start, but his arrival came close enough that we can call him a founding member. He still tours extensively and records the occasional album with the group, along with fellow original member, guitarist Tony Hicks.

Like The Hollies themselves, Elliott tends to not get the credit he deserves from the general public. But his innovative style (which incorporates elements of jazz) has drawn praise from fellow musicians and he’s usually included when music magazines compile a list of the best rock and roll drummers. Back in 2010, The Hollies received a long overdue induction into the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame.

It Ain’t Heavy won’t be the first time Elliott has reflected on his life with The Hollies. Back in 2010, he put together an amazing tour book titled The Hollies Through The Ages that featured loads of photos of the band in its early days. A limited number of copies were available on the official website. It’s not likely Elliott will come to the States on a book tour—none of the current Hollies have been here since 2002—but hopefully there will be autographed copies available through their website.
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