Zoë Jakes of Beats Antique
Though Riot Fest is the most exciting show looming on the horizon at the moment, there's plenty of fine noise in the clubs this weekend before that punk-rock smorgasbord gets underway in the middle of next week.
Continuing the round-up of curious tidbits of local news and hot on the heels of yesterday's Pete Wentz post, we have the headline of another Chicago semi-celeb musician branching out with a different high-profile detour: Mat Devine, leader of veteran glam-pop band Kill Hannah, has landed a role in "SPIDER-MAN Turn Off the Dark," the big-budget Broadway rocktacular based on the Marvel comic, directed by Hollywood heavyweight Julie Taymor, and scored by (insert breathless exclamation here!) Bono and the Edge. According to Wikipedia (so take it with a grain of salt), he's playing the role of Vladimir Kravinoff/Grim Hunter. Er, right, sure"¦ I can see that.
The curious tidbits of news of local interest have been piling up in my inbox, and we're long overdue to take a quick look at some of them. So let's dive in!
Pete's the prettier one on the left
Of course I will grant that Ashlee Simpson's significant other and the proud papa of Bronx Mowgli is endlessly annoying with his Twitter-fueled solipsism and fondness for shameless corporate expansionism (the clothing line, the bar, the label, etc.), but what can I say? The music of that erstwhile child of the North Shore suburbs and former Fall Out Boy Pete Wentz remains a guilty pleasure, and I'll argue that in his own way, he has long been as effective at subverting the pop mainstream as, say, Lady Gaga. Plus his punky dance-pop always is catchy as hell.
In any event, Wentz has announced the formation of a new electro-pop band called Black Cards, and he's streaming a weirdly endearing, 1920s-inflected club banger called "Club Called Heaven (featuring Chiddy Bang)" on the group's new Web site. The singer apparently is one Bebe Rexha, who has former band mate Patrick Stump beat in a few ways (if not necessarily in terms of vocal prowess), while other collaborators include drummer Spencer Peterson of Saves the Day and Hidden in Plain View and guitarist Nate Patterson of the Receiving End of Sirens.
The band sets out on a European tour in late October, but no word as yet on a triumphal homecoming. Blogged the now 31-year-old Fall Out Man [many sics]:
"Here is a song for the kids down on the corner," Mac McCaughan sings in that famously trembling and tenuous tenor in "My Gap Feels Weird," one of the most instantly lovable tracks on the eagerly awaited new album from Chapel Hill, North Carolina's veteran indie-rock institution Superchunk. "With a look that tells you you don't even know them/ And you never will."
The most exciting artist performing in town this weekend isn't even headlining, but if the annual conference of Public Radio Program Directors wasn't taking me out of town -- there ain't no party like a public radio programmers party and the public radio programmers party don't stop -- no way I'd miss it.
Or the theme music does, anyway -- I never cared much about the original TV series, which was hugely popular from 1968 all the way through 1980, no thanks to Jack Lord's wooden acting. And I'm even less interested in the recently debuted New Millennial update of the show. (The sharpest TV critic I know watched it and pronounced it exceedingly "meh," and she rarely is wrong, except maybe about her fondness for "Glee.")
That intro music, though -- wow!
Given the lavish praise heaped upon the self-titled debut by Grinderman in 2007 -- it was my choice for the best album of that year, and its intensity has diminished not a whit since -- let's get this out of the way right up top: The second album from Nick Cave's extra-Bad Seeds side project with violinist and guitarist Warren Ellis, bassist Martyn Casey, and drummer Jim Slavunos is not quite as great as the undeniable garage-blues eruption of that explosive introduction.