No doubt about it
After becoming a sort of overnight sensation pop phenomenon, and squeezing the commercial life out of their Tragic Kingdom album, No Doubt all but disappeared. Their contribution to the ultra-hip soundtrack to the ultra-hip movie Go reminded us of what they could do, but it was almost a year later when their studio disc Return Of Saturn ( Trauma/ Interscope ) came out. Worth the wait, Return Of Saturn finds lead singer and co-songwriter Gwen Stefani coming out of a crisis long enough to belt and wail and coo. "Ex-Girlfriend" and "Staring Problem" are steeped in the band's trademark "skalternative" sound, but No Doubt sounds like Missing Persons—found on "Six Feet Under" and the Jerry Harrison-produced "New." Above all, they have wisely expanded their sound ( which may disappoint fans of their old style ) , as is evident on tracks such as "Simple Kind Of Life" ( the album's, and the band's, best song ) "Bathwater," and "Magic's In The Makeup." Stay tuned for the lovely, uncredited, instrumental bonus track. No doubt you won't know what hit you.
Going North ( Side One Dummy ) by 22 Jacks is propelled by the same spirit that infused many late-'90s post-ska and post-punk discs. Lead vocalist Joe Sib comes close to sounding too much like early Elvis ( Costello! ) , but the persuasive pop melodies of tracks such as "Somewhere In Between," "On My Way," "The Eleventh Hour," the horn-y "Too Much Time," "Medicated," and "Highway," give these songs a competitive edge over the dirge-like metal yawns of current radio gods Creed.
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The Slackers remain true to their ska roots on Live At Ernesto's! ( Epitaph ) , which was recorded in a small town in Holland. Consisting of songs from their previous discs Redlight ( such as "Married Girl," "I Still Love You," and "Soldier" ) and The Question ( "Feed My Girl," "Face In My Crowd," and "Keep Him Away" ) , as well as others, the Slackers come off as spirited live performers. The brass section, essential to any ska band, featuring David Hillyard on tenor sax, also shines on this live disc.
Once in a while, a major label will take a break from rummaging in their vast vaults and churning out the hundredth variation of a greatest hits package by an artist that hasn't had a hit in 20 years and actually release something worthwhile. Take Battle Hymns For Children Singing ( Razor & Tie/BMG ) by Haysi Fantayzee, for example. Their wacky, portentous and post-apocalyptic "Shiny Shiny," was the biggest domestic "hit" they had and it was all over the radio when I was in college in Boston during the '80s. Too late to be new wave or new romantic, Haysi rode in on Culture Club and Bow Wow Wow's fancy, but tattered coattails, their hair in plaits crowned by silly hats. The reissue, on disc, of their only album brings with it a couple of bonus tracks and five remixes. The '80s nostalgia craze has officially begun.
Roxy Music's roots are in the '70s, but their best work was done during the '80s. Their final studio album, 1982's gorgeous Avalon ( Virgin ) has been reissued ( "Re-made, Re-modeled, Re-mastered" the stickers on the covers boast, making reference to a Roxy Music song ) along with the rest of their impressive catalog. Avalon has long ranked high on my list of all-time favorites and is a disc that is perfect background music while having sex.
Bryan Ferry's vocals, a Roxy Music trademark, are especially wonderful on the two cover tunes ( Neil Young's "Like A Hurricane" and John Lennon's "Jealous Guy" ) from their live Heart Still Beating ( Virgin ) . The live disc was released in 1990, long after the band had dissolved and Ferry switched his attention to his own successful solo career, but incorporated tracks from a post-Avalon live EP that was issued during the '80s.
Among the other Roxy Music reissues of note are 1975's Siren ( Virgin ) with Jerry Hall on the cover and songs such as "Love Is The Drug" and "Both Ends Burning" and 1979's Manifesto ( Virgin ) with the amazing tracks "Dance Away," "Trash," "Angel Eyes," and "Ain't That So." Flesh + Blood ( Virgin ) , from 1980 is, in my opinion, the only other album that approaches the brilliance of Avalon. Simply stunning originals such as "Oh Yeah," "Same Old Scene," and "Over You," were augmented by inventive and unforgettable covers of Wilson Pickett's "In The Midnight Hour" and The Byrds' "Eight Miles High." If you are unfamiliar with this influential and original band, these reissues are the perfect opportunity to familiarize yourself with Roxy Music.
The '70s and '80s were also a productive time for legendary singer/songwriter James Taylor. After having spent most of the '70s recording for Warner Brothers, Taylor left the label and signed with Columbia Records. To celebrate Taylor's recent induction into both the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame and the Songwriters' Hall of Fame, Columbia ( on which he released his most recent album 1997's Hourglass ) has reissued Taylor's first five albums for the label. Beginning with 1977's JT ( Columbia ) , the best ( and bestselling ) of the five discs, and continuing through 1988's Never Die Young ( Columbia ) , these albums illustrate what it was that made Taylor such a popular performer. His distinctive vocals and his catchy folk-pop tunes have earned him a place of honor in many people's record collections.
In addition to Taylor's chart-topping cover version of "Handy Man," JT also contains Taylor originals such as "Looking For Love On Broadway," the jaunty "Your Smiling Face," and the beautiful "Terra Nova," which he co-wrote with his then wife Carly Simon ( who also sings harmony on the song ) . Two years later Flag ( Columbia ) was released, an album that looked more new wave than it sounded, although Taylor's cover of Lennon and McCartney's "Day Tripper" had a decidedly hip feel and sound to it. Other standouts include his cover of Carole King's "Up On The Roof," a remake of his own "Rainy Day Man," and "Millworker" ( which was featured in the stage musical Working ) .
By the time 1981's Dad Loves His Work ( Columbia ) was released, Taylor and Simon's marriage was over, and the album's hit single "Her Town Too" ( with the lines "people got used to seeing them both together/but now he's gone and life goes on" ) was his musical statement. Four years went by before the release of That's Why I'm Here ( Columbia ) which was a return to form for Taylor, and included his cover of "Everyday" ( which became a hit single ) , the lovely title track, and the wonderful "Only One," which featured Joni Mitchell and openly gay singer David Lasley on backing vocals.
If you don't want to go as far back as the '70s or '80s for your reissues, consider 1990's Roots And Wings ( Narada World ) by Sheila Chandra.
Following the reissue, last year, of Chandra's 1984 album Quiet, this latest reissue delves even farther into the singer/songwriter's exotic musical world. The first three songs ( "One," "Shanti, Shanti, Shanti," and the title track ) have a traditional appeal and function as an introduction. However, by the time the listener gets to "The Struggle," Chandra realizes they are ready for something more unusual, and she fills the bill with this percussive track. The "original madras mix" of the title track and "The Struggle/The Dream," are just waiting for the right remixer to achieve their full dance-floor potential.
Where it's @
compiled by Gregg Shapiro
@ Aragon - 312/559-1212 ( TM ) : No Doubt 7.8
@ Arie Crown - 312/791-6000: Dennis Miller 8.19
@ Auditorium Theater - 312/559-1212 ( TM ) : Savage Garden 8.18
@ Beat Kitchen - 773/281-4444: The Slugs 7.28
@ Chicago Theater - 312/559-1212 ( TM ) : Brian Wilson 7.22 / Lyle Lovett 8.10 / Gipsy Kings 8.31 & 9.1
@ Double Door - 773/489-3160: Kina 7.7 / Bebel Gilberto 7.11 / Andrew Bird w/Nora O'Connor 7.14 / *BIG FISH LITTLE FISH* CD Release with Antje, Dolly Varden, Ellen Rosner, Kelly Kessler, Karen Anderson, Anne O'Meara Heaton, Cathy Braaten, Ripley Caine, Patty Ortega, Summer Chance, Alice Peacock and much more 7.15 / Tara MacLean 7.21 / Dandy Warhols 7.26 / Grandaddy 7.27
@ Empty Bottle - 773/276-3600: Town & Country 7.7 / Evil Beaver 7.13 / Chamber Strings, Waxwings, and The National Trust ( 9 p.m. ) 7.23 / Gaza Strippers 7.29 / The Lonesome Organist 8.5 / The Kimball Roeser Effect 8.11 / Bobby Conn 8.12 / Fareed Haque 8.16 / The Vandermark Five 8.26
@ Fermilab - 630/840-2787: Odetta 8.19
@ FitzGerald's - 708/788-6670: Tish Hinojosa 7.7 / Jimmy Sutton's Four Charms 7.14 / Terrance Simien & the Mallet Playboys 7.21 / Austin Lounge Lizards 7.27 / Split Lip Rayfield and Cowlilly 7.28 / Kathy O'Hara, Diana Laffey & Mary Furlong 8.3 / Lunasa 8.16 / Rosie Flores & Sonny Burgess 8.24
@ Gentry of Chicago ( Halsted ) - Rudy De La Mor 7.5 - 9, 7.12 - 16, 7.19 - 23, 7.26 - 30
@ Gentry of Chicago ( State ) - 312/836-0933: Open Mic w/Beckie Menzie ( every Sunday )
@ Hideout - 773/227-4433: Nora O'Connor 7.14
@ Hot House - 312/362-9707: Mambo Express 7.29 / Susana Baca 7.5 / Tomas Mapfumo 7.15 / 2nd Annual World Music Festival 9.19 - 30
@ House Of Blues - 312/923-2000: The Riptones and Brian Setzer Orchestra 7.5 & 6 / Kool & The Gang 7.10 & 11 / The Spitkickers Tour ( Common, De La Soul, Biz Markie and others ) 7.13 & 14 / Les Nubians 7.15 / The Fixx 7.16 / Neve 7.18 / Credence Clearwater Revisited 7.19 / Joan Armatrading 7.20 / Mikel Erenxun 7.22 / Wynnona 7.23 / Billy Idol 7.24 & 25 / Third World with Andrew Tosh 7.26 / The Pat McGee Band and The Samples 7.28 & 29
@ Joe's - 312/337-3486: The Knack 7.14 / Run DMC 7.19
@ Lincoln Park Zoo - 312/742-2283: "Jammin' At The Zoo" - Steve Earle & The Dukes 7.28
@ Metro - 773/549-0203: "Respect Is Burning" 7.8 / Woolworthy 7.11 / The Toasters 7.15 /
WLUW CD Release Show with Evil Beaver and others 7.21 / The Queers 7.30 / My Life With The Thrill Kill Kult 8.4 / Saw Doctors 8.23
@ Mountain Moving Coffeehouse for Womyn & Children - 312/409-0276, women & children only: Alix Dobkin 7.15
@ Navy Pier's Skyline Stage - 312/902-1500 ( TM ) : Natalie Merchant 7.24
@ New World Music Center -708/614-1616: Britney Spears 7.7 / Roger Waters 7.8 / B-52s, Go-Gos, Psychedelic Furs 7.11 / Green Day, Dilate Peoples, Long Beach Dub Allstars, NOFX, Millencolin, Deviates, and others 7.12 / Wang Chung, Flock Of Seagulls, Missing Persons, Gene Loves Jezebel 7.23 / Red Hot Chili Peppers, Stone Temple Pilots and Fishbone 8.2
@ No Exit - 773/743-3355, 6870 N. Glenwood: New Music Sundays hosted by Laurie Lee Moses / Tommi Zender 7.7 / Ember Swift 7.15
@ Northalsted Market Days - 773/868-3010: Jill Sobule, Joi Cardwell, SONiA, Ellen Rosner, and others 8.5 & 6
@ Old Town School of Folk Music - 773/278-6000: Huun-Huur-Tu: The Throat Singers of Tuva 8.5 / Ali Farka Toure with Affel Bocoum 8.9
@ Park West - 773/929-5959: Cherry Poppin' Daddies and The Four Charms 7.8 / Zap Mama 7.14
@ Phyllis' Musical Inn - 773/486-9862: Stardust - The David Bowie Tribute Band 7.7
@ Ravinia - 847/266-5100: Isaac Hayes and Liquid Soul 7.5 / Nanci Griffith and The Blue Moon Orchestra 7.12 / Misia 7.17 / Willie Nelson 7.18 / Betty Buckley 7.24 / David Broza and Alabina 8.1 / Clint Black 8.2 / The Eternal Feminine with Susanne Mentzer, mezzo-soprano 8.7 / Jethro Tull 8.8 / Celia Cruz and Albita 8.9 / Kathleen Battle, soprano, 8.14
@ Record Emporium - 773/248-1821: The Slugs 7.8
@ Schuba's - 773/525-2508: The Slugs 7.5 / Paddy Casey and Peter Case 7.7 / Tom Maxwell and the Minor Drag 7.8 / Tarika 7.11 / Thingy 7.12 / Josh Rouse 7.14 / Sally Taylor 7.15 ( 7 p.m. ) / Richard Buckner 7.15 & 16 ( 10 p.m. ) / Mila Drumke 7.20 / Over The Rhine 7.21 / The Silos 7.22 / Leona Naess 7.27 / Freakwater 7.28 / Chris Mills, Mr. Rudy Day and Marta Tenae 7.29 / Danny Barnes ( of Bad Livers ) 8.1 / Kelly Hogan and the Pinevalley Cosmonauts 8.2 / Summer on Southport 8.5 & 6 / New Orleans Klezmer All Stars 8.11 / Melissa Ferrick 8.20 / Ralph Stanley 11.19
@ Sheffield Garden Walk - 773/929-9255: Little Charlie & The Nightcats 7.23
@ Stargaze - 773/561-7363: Valerie James 7.8 / Suzette 8.4
@ Uncommon Ground - 773/929.3680: Al Rose 7.28 & 8.26
@ United Center - 312/559-1212 ( TM ) : Dixie Chicks 7.13 / Sting and Tracy Chapman 7.21 / Christina Aguilera and Destiny's Child 8.19 / Tina Turner and Joe Cocker 10.4
@ Vic - 312/559-1212 ( TM ) : Dido 8.3