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  WINDY CITY TIMES

Pop Making Sense
by David Byrne with Tony Peregrin
2005-08-10

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The Ladies of the Canyon presents a concert series which will salute Tori Amos on Aug. 16 at Martyrs. The line up will include local up-and-coming singers Shana Spiegel, Becca Kaufman, Annie Kellett, Erin Miller, Kari Nelson, and Stephanie Rogers. Meanwhile the redheaded beekeeper herself is due to appear with Imogen Heap at The Jay Pritzker Pavilion in Millennium Park on Wed., Aug. 31 with $10 lawn seats still available.

Shana Spiegel, who is also in the band Tributosaurus, started this project to showcase and encourage her fellow female singers. As a credit to her experience in the industry and involvement in the music community, Spiegel intends the Ladies of the Canyon performances to focus on the artist, not a stage show. Even acting as a launching pad for their careers, some of the performers bring their CDs or demos available for purchase. Wanting to keep the song's original arrangement, Shana helps the budding singers find the right fit for their vocal range and style.

With an abundance of talent on stage, Chicago's veteran musicians approach Shana regarding a chance to jam at these quarterly live dates. After the tremendous success of the recent Annie Lennox tribute, the Ladies of the Canyon secured a spot at Market Days, performing an encore Eurythmics homage.

After four acclaimed albums, British dance outfit Faithless is releasing its first retrospective, Forever Faithless. This collection debuted at No. 1 in the U.K. earlier this year, Arista just released the set stateside. With her older brother as the one of the puppeteers of the group, Dido sings on the anthems 'Salva Mae' and 'One Step Too Far.' Although the hits 'Insomnia,' 'God is a DJ' and 'We Come 1' are interchangeable, the band's overall sound cannot be pigeonholed by any means. Rapper Maxi Jazz prevails over a moving beat on most of the tracks, but Forever Faithless has folk songs and contributing vocalists, even a haunting Nina Simone sample on 'I Want More.'

Openly gay singer-songwriter David Manley makes a return with his single 'So Unreal,' which is available through his Web site davidmanley.com . As a predecessor to his sophomore album, which is still a work in progress, 'So Unreal' resonates as an honest queer love song. With remixes and a resemblance to Marc Almond's Fantastic Star album, this song proves to be the perfect summer anthem. Even Madison Avenue should take note, the remix by Super Buddha ( Scissor Sisters, Rufus Wainwright, Debbie Harry ) would be right up the alley for a trendy car commercial.

The New York music scene recently flourished with electro and '80s-inspired bands, the band Makar is a breath of fresh air with its full-length debut 99 Cent Dreams. Timeless folk-based pop gems manifest Makar's 99 Cent Dreams. The opening track 'I Hate My Job' offers everyday man fantasies about leaving the 9 to 5 drudge to become a rockstar. The standout tune 'What Can I Tell' also appears on the compilation Freshly Squeezed Music vol. 1. Husband and wife Mark Purnell and Andrea DeAngelis not only share lead vocal duties, but also co-wrote 15 of the 18 songs jointly and arranged the album's artwork. Purnell's voice is surprisingly theatrical and DeAngelis, who proved her own at various poetry recitals in the Big Apple, flavorfully adds chirps, complementing the cadence. 99 Cent Dreams is available through cdbaby.com .

Looking for a big voice that can wail and recount the blues she lived? Candye Kane's latest album White Trash Girl is no fool's gold, it shows off this top-heavy singer's style and sense of humor. Not to be confused with New York's transgendered entertainer extraordinaire Candis Cayne, Candye Kane was a teenage welfare mom who turned to posing topless to provide for her son and herself. Throughout, music remained her passion, labels claimed they were not interested in her because of her past or her full figure. Once Kane discovered the welcoming blues community, her star began to shine. According to a fan site, Kane identifies herself as bisexual. She easily can transition from singing about her man's needs ( 'I Wanna Do More' ) to chasing skirts ( 'What Happened to the Girl' ) and admiring a female dancer ( 'Mistress Carmen' ) . Not only is she renowned as a sex activist, but Kane's music has a message, promoting a positive self-body image to people of all body types. She even has been trying to appear on the Howard Stern Show to shock the DJ with her breast-piano playing trick. With a diverse fan base, including loyal gay admirers, Candye Kane tours heavily worldwide.

In between seductively chomping burgers and her hit reality show, Paris Hilton recorded an album. Per the Village Voice, the heiress laid down a version of Blondie's 'Heart of Glass.' It is bad enough that Hilary Duff and her sister did a cover of 'Our Lips are Sealed' by the Go-Go's and Boomkat remade Blondie's 'Rip Her to Shreds' for the Mean Girls soundtrack. No word if her music videos will be filmed using a night vision camera.


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