Monday, July 13, 2020

Andy Stone - Every Single Day

Andy Stone’s followup to his 2017 effort This Giant Awoke finds the Providence, Rhode Island singer-songwriter once again exploring relationships from various angles. Listening to Every Single Day, it’s easy to believe Stone is also a novelist, because he crafts believable scenes filled with heartfelt lyrics. Nothing gets too literary though, because he sets each of the 11 tracks a melodic arrangement.

The stark piano ballad “I Never Should Have Said It” gives us a guy who who tried to convince himself he was in love, only to cause pain when it turned out to be untrue. The energetic “Why” depicts a doomed relationship where neither person can pull the trigger on ending it, and the melodic “Isn’t It Funny?” suggests we all worry too much about what other people think of us. On the more romantic side, “The Man Who Could Love Only You” evokes a slow dance hit from the early 1960s, while the clever “You Are A Problem” grooves to a 1980s synth beat.

“Gonna Be Different” is a catchy and celebratory track with Stone proclaiming “I knew there was a fair tale ending from the start.” For power pop fans, “I’m Gonna Love You” is likely to be the standout track, with its high energy arrangement and a whirlwind of guitar action in the middle. Every Single Day can be purchased from Andy Stone’s Facebook page.

Saturday, July 11, 2020

Saturday Slumgullion

The Stereogum music blog is raising funds to help meet its expenses via an Indiegogo campaign. The project involves 44 recording artists donating previously unreleased cover versions of songs from 2000 to 2009. Participating artists include Death Cab For Cutie, Bethany Cosentino from Best Coast; Dirty Projectors; Sharon Van Etten; White Reaper; The New Pornographers; The National; Ty Segall; and Wye Oak. The perks for those who donate include a download of the 44 tracks for $20; the download and a t-shirt for $50; a Zoom Party, t-shirt, and download for $100; and a #1s, party, download, and a t-shirt for $1,000.

Let’s get together and feel all right. According to an item in the Arts and Entertainment section of yesterday’s Chicago Tribune, Bob Marley’s children Stephen and Cedella Marley, along with his grandson Skip Marley, recently recorded his iconic tune “One Love.” Their version is being released on July 17 and will benefit UNICEF’s Reimagine campaign to help kids affected by Covid-19. Special guest musicians are involved with the song, which will also be featured on a video.

Keep a CIVL tongue in your head. Goose Island Beer Company’s limited edition of CIVL Pale Ale became available this past Wednesday and 100% of the proceeds will go to the Chicago Independent Venue League. The brew is available at the Goose Island’s Fulton Street Brewery at 1800 W. Fulton Street. According the CIVL Facebook page, its goal is to “advocate on behalf of Chicago’s independent performance venues.” It’s a refreshing way to support those businesses and the musicians who perform at them.

Singer-guitarist Michael Steven Cohen will be performing vintage love songs from the 1930s through the 1950s from 2:00 to 4:00 p.m. at the Beer Garden at Montrose Saloon tomorrow (Sunday, July 12). Cohen is probably best known for his original power pop tunes with The Abbeys and Pop Dollies, but he’s also adept at what he calls “Big Band Stuff On A Little Guitar.” There’s no cover charge; attendees are encouraged to hit the tip jar. Montrose Saloon has a full schedule of performances in its Beer Garden coming up, so fans of live music should check it out.

The interview Ralph Covert conducted with Brad Elvis this past Thursday is now available on each of their Facebook pages. It’s part of Covert’s Staycation With Friends series, and a great opportunity to hear two of Chicago’s better musicians looking back on their careers. Covert is famous for Ralph’s World and founding The Bad Examples, but as we learn in the interview, he’s also written plays and books. Brad Elvis can proudly look back at a history that includes at least four top notch bands, even if most of them fell victim to record label negligence. That includes Screams, The Elvis Brothers, Big Hello, and his present-day outfit The Handcuffs. He’s also been drumming for The Romantics for a number of years. Throughout all of it, Brad Elvis kept a diary, so it’s no surprise he’s currently working on a book. Which reminds me of Bobby Elliott, who kept a diary throughout his (still active) days with The Hollies, and recently released an autobiography.

The Chicago Reader has now switched to a biweekly format and can still be downloaded for free on the long-running publication’s website. The Early Warnings page of the July 9 issue has listings for upcoming livestreams by Beach Bunny (July 15); Guided By Voices (July 17); Jazz Record Art Collective featuring Mardra Thomas and Reggie Thomas (July 16); Jazz Record Art Collective featuring Geof Bradfield and Ryan Cohan (July 23); and Angel Olsen and Hand Habits (July 14). The Chicago Reader is seeking donations to help with expenses, and is also available in print format by subscription.

The July issue of the Illinois Entertainer, with musician/actress Jehnny Beth on the cover and features on Mike Peters from The Alarm, and House Of Lords, is available on the publication’s website. The New Releases column mentions some of this month’s most promising albums, including Paul Weller’s On Sunset and Willie Nelson’s First Rose Of Spring (July 3); Rufus Wainwright’s Unfollow The Rules and The Jawhawks’ XOXO (July 10); Gang Of Four’s Anti Hero and The Pretenders’ Hate For Sale (July 17) and Steve Howe’s Love Is (July 24). The Spins column offers reviews of Bob Dylan’s Rough And Rowdy Ways; Michael McDermott’s What In The World. . .;  More Trouble, an expanded version of Marvin Gaye’s Trouble Man soundtrack, and a Frank Zappa and The Mothers box set.

Friday, July 3, 2020


The Go-Go’s will release the single “Club Zero,” their first recording in 20 years, on July 31. It’s from director Alison Ellwood’s documentary The Go-Go’s, which will have its premiere on Showtime the following day. A promotional clip on the band’s social media sites features Charlotte Caffey describing “Club Zero” as “a powerful, punky, anthemic song” and Belinda Carlisle adding “it’s very much of the times but infused with The Go’Go’s sense of humor.”

DJ James Deia will be spinning records on the patio at FitzGerald’s in Berwyn tomorrow night from 9:00 to 11:00 p.m. for his “Robbed And Ridiculed” - An All Vinyl Tribute To The Traveling Wilburys. Admission is free.

Graham Nash recently performed an acoustic version of “Be Yourself” from his 1971 solo debut Songs For Beginners as part of the Pearl Works Presents series on YouTube. The company makes inlays for guitars.

Montrose Saloon has two sets of live music scheduled for its beer garden tomorrow. Handsome Man’s Gentleman’s Club performs at 3:00 p.m. and Erin Edmister and Killian Sweeney perform at 6:00 p.m.

The Chicago monthly publication New City has come out with its annual Music 45: Who Keeps Chicago In Tune issue. Those honored include Sunshine Boys, Steve Dawson, Topeka Reid, Mucca Pazza, Ohmme, The Newbury Consort, Sons Of The Never Wrong, Krewella, Patricia Barber, Jon Langford, Beach Bunny, Sir The Baptist, Twin Peaks, and coming in at number one, Jamila Woods.

A graphic novel celebrating the 50th anniversary of The Doors’ Morrison Hotel album is now available for pre-order on the band’s official website. It’s due out on October 13 in in a 144-page soft cover version for $19.99, and a deluxe hardcover in a slipcase limited edition for $99.99. The Doors website describes it as an anthology “written by Leah Moore, in collaboration with the surviving members of the legendary rock band and drawn by artists from around the comic book world.”

It doesn’t seem that long ago that Durty Nellie’s in Palatine clawed its way back from a devastating fire to begin operating as a restaurant/live music venue again. Then COVID-19 struck, forcing Durty Nellie’s to cancel its St. Patrick’s bash for the second straight year, and shutting down concerts and indoor dining. But its owners have launched another comeback, as evidenced by this weekend’s 4th Of July Social Distancing Parking Lot Party. Plus, Durty Nellie’s is now just Nellie’s, and there are new offerings on the menu. The 4th Of July event runs from 4:30 through 10:00 p.m. today, and returns tomorrow from 2:30 to 10:00 p.m. Tomorrow’s acts are Jasmine and Perona; Lara Bell; Serendipity Acoustic; and Pino Farina.

Paul Collins, who was a member of The Nerves with Peter Case and Jack Lee before leading The Paul Collins Beat, has a book coming out on the Chicago-based HoZac Records and Books. I Don’t Fit In was co-written with Chuck Nolan, and named after a track on the 1979 self-titled debut from The Paul Collins Beat. It’s now available for pre-order.

I love when fun things come in the mail. Especially when I get them by helping a worthy cause. Today, I received a poster and sticker for sending money to support the upcoming documentary Out Of Time - The Material Issue Story. The film won’t be out until 2021, but its producers have been posting some enticing previews on Facebook and Instagram. The most recent is a previously unreleased demo of the Material Issue song “Fourth Of July.” It’s a haunting recording of the late Jim Ellison singing and strumming an acoustic guitar.

Friday, June 26, 2020


The Chicago-based Sunshine Boys were one of the highlights of Hot Stove Cool Music.

Cool To Be Kind. I watched the entire Hot Stove Cool Music virtual concert last night, only taking a short break to feed the cats. Which apparently caused me to miss Nick Lowe’s performance, because I didn’t see him. It was the 20th Anniversary of Hot Stove Cool Music, but the first time it hasn’t been staged in a venue before a live audience. The format enabled big names to join in the fundraising, including Lowe, Common, James Taylor, Steven Tyler, and Robyn Hitchcock. Band Of Their Own and Ted Leo were also among the many highlights, and I was particularly proud to see local acts Sunshine Boys and The 45 sounding so impressive.

100% of the proceeds from last night will benefit Paul and Theo Epstein’s Foundation To Be Named Later and Peter Gammons’ Scholarships for urban young people. The virtual auction runs through July 3, so there’s still time to bid on some amazing sports and popular music related memorabilia. According to an email sent out today by The Foundation To be Named Later, they will be re-airing this year’s event in the near future on Facebook.

Radio Hall Of Fame inductee Terri Hemmert will host Pride In The Name of Life on WXRT this Sunday from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. The event, which will celebrate diversity, equality and the LGBT+ community, follows immediately after Hemmert’s weekly Breakfast With Beatles program.

The following livestream events were listed on the Early Warnings page in this week’s edition of the Chicago Reader: Andrew Bird on June 28 at; Dollyrots on June 28 at; Larkin Poe on June 27 at livestream at; Ramsey Lewis on June 27 at; Roots Picnic Virtual Experience on June 27 at; and Voices: A Benefit Concert for Chicago Artists featuring Taylor Mallory and more.

Tickets are now on sale for Riot Fest 2021, featuring My Chemical Romance, Smashing Pumpkins, Run The Jewels, Pixies, Circle Jerks, L7, and more. The event will run September 16 through September 19 next year.

I’m going to renew my subscription to the Chicago Reader since I’m still working from home and don’t want to miss my weekly copy. The 26 issues option looks like it might bring me through the end of 2020. Please consider supporting our local publications.

Is that the wacky neighbors playing new wave cover versions again? Chicago-based musician Mike Cohen (The Abbeys, Pop Dollys, The Everly Hillbillies) often finds fun things to post on Facebook, and I particularly like a YouTube video he just shared of Glenn Tilbrook, his wife, and sons doing a shelter-in-place cover of The Human League’s “Don’t You Want Me Baby.” I’d buy a recording of this in a minute. The people in my neighborhood just blow off fireworks.

Chicago Tribune theatre critic Chris Jones offered a heartfelt tribute to the recently closed Mercury Theater in today’s Arts and Entertainment section. I thoroughly enjoyed a production of Spamalot there last year, but was unaware of how many critically acclaimed productions the company had done. Best wishes to everyone involved for their future endeavors.

Posts have appeared on Broken Hearted Toy less frequent lately, partly because I’ve been preparing for the annual Writing Workshop Of Chicago. It’s a virtual event for 2020, but I’ll be able to SKYPE with four literary agents tomorrow about my YA Paranormal Rock and Roll Romance novel. I finished it a while back but have revised close to 130 pages. It’s hard work, but I like the results I’m seeing.

Thursday, June 25, 2020

Take Me Out To The Website - Hot Stove Cool Music Goes Virtual Tonight

Tonight brings the 20th Anniversary of Hot Stove Cool Music but don’t try to find the Chicago version anywhere in Wrigleyville. The annual event organized by Chicago Cubs president Theo Epstein and journalist Peter Gammons will be virtual concert that kicks off at 8:00 p.m. EST. 100% of the proceeds will benefit Paul and Theo Epstein’s Foundation To Be Named Later and Peter Gammons Scholarships for urban young people. Check out the Hot Stove Cool Music Facebook page for details on admission and how to make a donation.

The online format has enabled some big names to participate, such as Common, James Taylor, Steven Tyler, Nick Lowe, and Robyn Hitchcock. There will also be a number of baseball stars involved. Mike O’Malley will serve as emcee and guests include Bernie Williams, Kay Hanley, Len Kasper, Tanya Donelly, Chicago Children’s Choir, and Will Dailey. The all-women/all-star Band Of Their Own will be on hand, and other special guests are likely to show up.

I attended the Hot Stove Cool Music event in Chicago last summer, and it was fantastic. Unfortunately I couldn’t stay for all the performances due to having to catch and a train back to Palatine. This year, transportation won’t be a problem.

Friday, June 19, 2020


The Hoodoo Gurus, Australia’s legendary garage rock/power pop band, has postponed all the concerts on its 2020 U.S. concert tour to next year. That includes the one at City Winery Chicago, which is now September 22, 2021. In the mean time, a Deluxe Edition of their 2004 Mach Schau album, which includes two rare B-Sides, and all the songs from the American and Australian versions, is now available on various streaming sites.

The Fest For Beatles Fans, which has already announced the cancelation of its 2020 event at Hyatt Regency O’Hare Chicago, continues the weekly All Together Now virtual concert series tonight on Facebook. New York-based singer-guitarist Kelly Sabatino kicks things off at 7:00 p.m. EDT, and Drew Hill from The Fest favorites Liverpool takes over at 8:00 p.m. EDT with his daughters Dora and Casey. Next Friday, it will be The Wag, at a time yet to be determined.

Chicago-based singer-songwriter Phil Angotti performed as part of the All Together Now virtual concert series last week, and he announced today on Facebook that he has a new album coming out on Big Blast Records. There’s no release date yet for The Best Of Phil Angotti - Top Tunes and Real Grooves, but we do know it will have two new singles. The photo shows a 1960s style LP, but it’s not clear if this will a vinyl-only release.

Michelle Obama and The Roots will co-host the 13th Annual Roots Picnic Virtual Experience when it’s shown on YouTube June 27. The actual picnic was scheduled for much earlier this month but was canceled due to the coronavirus. Guests for the online version will include Janelle Monae, Tracee Ellis Ross, Kerry Washington, Tom Hanks, and Lin-Manual Miranda. The acts performing include H.E.R., LIL Baby, Roddy Ricch, and SZA.

Alison Mosshart, half of The Kills with Jamie Hince, as well as a member of Jack White’s quartet The Dead Weather, has a solo spoken word album named Sound Wheel coming out August 7. It's part of her upcoming Car Ma book of art, short stories, photographs, and poetry.

Tickets are now on sale for Todd Rundgren at House Of Blues on January 26 and 27; and The Carole King and James Taylor Story with Phoebe Katis and Dan Clews at City Winery Chicago on June 22, 2021.

WXRT continues its Live From The Archives concert series tonight with a 1993 performance by Smashing Pumpkins a at Metro. The band had just released its Siamese Dream album around the time of the concert.

Steve Dawson and Diane Chrisiansen, co-founders of the alt-rock/Americana band Dolly Varden and a couple that could easily have its own TV show, will be doing a streaming performance this Monday, June 22, at 8:00 p.m. The Venue in Aurora. Fans can watch via The Venue’s Facebook page.

The Chicago version of the annual Hot Stove Cool Music concerts organized by Chicago Cubs president Theo Epstein and journalist Peter Gammons will be a virtual event that takes place on June 25. 100% of the proceeds benefit Paul and Theo Epstein’s Foundation To Be Named Later and its “non-profit partners working on the frontline s with the youth and families in disadvantaged neighborhoods . . . and Peter Gammons Scholarships for urban young people.”

The Hot Stove Cool Music Facebook page promises 75-minute mix of baseball and music with emcee Mike O’Malley and guests Peter Gammons, Bernie Williams, Kay Hanley, Len Kasper, Tanya Donelly, and Will Dailey. Other special guests will be named later. Tickets for the virtual event range from $25 to a VIP Package for $350.

This Sunday, June 21 is Pam Appreciation Day, the annual celebration of my wonderful wife Pam and all the things she does to make our life together so happy and fun. She set up this blog for me just about 11 years ago and Broken Hearted Toy could not have existed without her help. Whenever PAD falls on a Saturday or Sunday, it becomes PAW—Pam Appreciation Weekend. I always encourage everyone to use this occasion to celebrate your own significant others, and now, I’m extending that to any friend, relative, or hero you’d like to honor with gratitude and appreciation. Welcome to Partner Appreciation Weekend! Make it a good one.

Friday, June 12, 2020


If you’ve noticed people drinking champagne that tastes just like Coca Cola today it’s because this is the 50th Anniversary of The Kinks releasing their provocative and irresistibly catchy hit single “Lola.” To commemorate the occasion, the band has been posting various renditions of their own as well as ones by Crowded House and Madness on social media. Here’s a toast to Ray Davies, one of the most clever of all rock and roll songwriters.

After having to cancel its 2020 festival scheduled for July 30 – August 2 in Grant Park, Lollapalooza is moving forward with a virtual event on that same weekend. It’s going to feature live performances from around Chicago as well as never-seen-before Chicago and international footage from the Lollapalooza archives. The full schedule will be announced next month, and Lollapalooza also vows to retain its focus on community and civic engagement. In the meantime, the Perry’s Power Hour resumes tomorrow night on YouTube with a video of the band Big Gigantic performing at Lollapalooza in 2016. The weekly series benefits Crew Nation, a global relief fund for live music crews.

Tickets are now on sale for the following livestream events: Jimmy Buffett on June 20 at; Do Division Virtual Street Fest on June 26 and 27, various bands each night; Feed Chicago Virtual Summer Fest featuring Omar Sanchez Omi, Twin Peaks, Dennis DeYoung and others on June 18 to benefit the Greater Chicago Food Depository (donation required); and Millennium Park At Home Presents Blues Night on July 31, August 1, and August 2 at youtube.comChicagoDCASE.

Actual concerts now on sale include Every Shiny Thing: A Tribute To Jonie Mitchell at Maurer Hall, Old Town School Of Folk Music on January 24, 2021; The First Time Live Lit and Music Series at Martyrs’ on August 12; and Without U2 and Dead Letter Office at Martyrs’ on September 25.

The above listings are from the Early Warnings page in this week’s edition of The Chicago Reader, which had a very limited distribution but is available online via the weekly free paper’s website.

Switch Hittter. The Chicago version of the annual Hot Stove Cool Music concerts organized by Chicago Cubs president Theo Epstein and journalist Peter Gammons will be a virtual event that takes place on June 25. (As far as I can tell, the Boston version scheduled for April 3 was postponed.) 100% of the proceeds benefit Paul and Theo Epstein’s Foundation To Be Named Later and its “non-profit partners working on the frontlines with the youth and families in disadvantaged neighborhoods . . . and Peter Gammons Scholarships for urban young people.” The Hot Stove Cool Music Facebook page promises a 75-minute mix of baseball and music with emcee Mike O’Malley and guests Peter Gammons, Bernie Williams, Kay Hanley, Len Kasper, Tanya Donelly, and Will Dailey. Other special guests will be named later. Tickets for the virtual event range from $25 to a VIP Package for $350.

The Fest For Beatles Fans announced via email today that its Chicago event scheduled for August 7 – 9 at the Hyatt Regency O’Hare has been cancelled. The Fest will continue to offer its weekly virtual concert series All Together Now on Fridays via its Facebook page. Earlier tonight, there were sets by Phil Angotti and Scott Erickson. Next Friday, All Together Now will offer sets by New York-based singer-guitarist Kelly Sabatino and Drew Hill from the Beatles tribute band Liverpool, with Dora and Casey. Also, there are lots of Beatles-related items for sale on the The Fest For Beatles Fans webpage for those who love the vendor tables at the actual Fest.

It’s not everyday I receive a tea towel from England, so I was one happy Anglophile this afternoon when the postman dropped off the one I ordered from the Salford Lads Club. It’s beige with the names of The Hollies, The Smiths, The Fall, Happy Mondays, Joy Division, The Charlatans, Inspiral Carpets, and The Ting Tings printed on it. I spotted actor Christopher Eccleston, who’s known for portraying John Lennon in a biopic as well as The Doctor on Doctor Who, posing with one on Instagram a while back, and ordered my own at the Salford Lads Club website. The club provides opportunities for local young people in sports and the arts.

The 10th Anniversary Salford Music Festival was held online at the end of May, with Graham Nash, John Cooper Clarke, and Peter Hook And Light among the acts performing.

This Sunday will be Jeff Kelley’s birthday. A number of years ago, Jeff, who used to work with my wife Pam, asked if I wanted to contribute short films about my rock and roll memorabilia to his weekly internet show Sunday Morning Coffee With Jeff. I accepted his offer, with the additional touch of making up an outlandish story about each piece. With a huge boost from Pam’s filming and editing skills, my Manchester Gallery series morphed into a comic soap opera that ran through 20 two-minute episodes. We also created clips featuring an inept roving reporter, a cranky old man, and an avid Hollies fan. Later, Jeff and his coworker David Metzger invited me to perform in the zombie films they create each year for Elgin’s annual Halloween Festival Nightmare on Chicago Street. Jeff discontinued his internet show, but still does a podcast on a regular basis. So, here’s an early birthday toast to Jeff, and a hearty thank you for all the fun opportunities.
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