Center on Halsted has its annual event, the "Human First" gala, on Saturday, May 18 at Hilton Towers, 720 S. Michigan Ave. Here, outstanding members of Chicago's LGBT community will be saluted for continual contributions. Chaka Khan will be serenading the crowd and sharing her own stories. DJ Matthew Harvat will be on the turntables.
Born in the Windy City, Khan has 40 years worth of treasures like "Tell Me Something Good" and "You Got the Love," as well as magnificent interpretations like "I Feel 4 U," "My Funny Valentine" and "'Round Midnight." She has blurred genres with her footing in funk and R&B. Her latest, 2008's Funk This, is highlighted by a duet with Mary J. Blige on "Disrespectful" and remakes of Prince's "Sign O' The Times" and Jimi Hendrix's "Castles Made of Sand."
The multiple Grammy winner had her iconic status cemented once divas Whitney Houston covered the classic "I'm Every Woman" and Blige remade "Ain't Nobody," "Everlasting Love" and "Sweet Thing." Last year, Kristine W. transformed the power ballad "Through the Fire" into a club anthem. For tickets and more information about Human First, please visit www.centeronhalsted.org .
Formerly with the queercentric band Girlyman, Tylan steps out on her own with the solo debut One True Thing. Her roots with folk stay planted here, as heard on the dynamic "Vigil" and the more uptempo "St. Stephen." Try not succumbing to the beautiful storytelling complemented by a comforting rhythm on "Earthquakes." Girlyman has toured with Indigo Girls, now Tylan's lead single "Already Fine" features Amy Ray on guest vocals. Tylan headlines a show at Space, 1245 Chicago Ave., Evanston, on Saturday, May 11. One True Thing's personal and revealing aesthetic will match the intimate atmosphere of this venue. One True Thing is due out June 18. Copies can be preordered at www.tylanmusic.com .
Even before the acclaimed debut Hands was released, Little Boots was causing an industry-buzz. Then sleek dance-pop tunes like "Remedy" and "New in Town" quickly went into heavy rotation. Little Boots returns with the new full-length album Nocturnes. The sound is more mature here than on the candy-coated Hands. But irresistible cuts like "Broken Record," "Beat Beat" and "Satellite" will keep fans dizzy with delight. The 2012 single "Every Night I Say a Prayer" fits in well with its throwback '90s feel. The other teaser, "Shake," shatters the pop-mold with its beats intact. Little Boots comes to Lincoln Hall, 2424 N. Lincoln Ave., on Wed., May 8. New York's Avan Lava along with Feathers, who opened for Depeche Mode at SXSW, are also on the bill.
Thanks to licensing on HBO's Girls, a spot on Dancing with the Stars and use in commercials, the electro-pop song "I Love It" by Icona Pop featuring Charli XCX finally is making impact stateside. Guest contributor Charli XCX just released her own promising effort True Romance through IAMSOUND. This is quite an eclectic collection, but it is consistently solid. Charli XCX has a darker edge than contemporaries Robyn and Natalia Kills, as heard on "So Far Away" and "What I Like," but she comes back with a touch of sweetness on "Set Me Free (Feel My Pain)." "Cloud Aura" has a chorus slightly recalling "You Got Me" by The Roots featuring Erykah Badu. The British newcomer nods her cap to Kate Bush on "You're the One." The 20-year old joins Marina and the Diamonds for a sold-out concert at Riviera Theatre, 4746 N. Racine Ave., on Monday, May 20.
Duo Marky & Ricky unites with Pink Floyd's engineer Andy Jackson for the EP Just Your Typical Gay Teen Newlyweds. Here, the pair delivers industrial tracks like "Party Like Sodom & Gomorrah" and "I Wanna Hurt Justin Bieber," as if these were outtakes plucked from Trent Reznor's side project How to Destroy Angels. The take of "I Saw Him Standing There" has a queer twist to it, but this sheds the Beatles' dimpled version in favor of a stalker sense worthy of licensing on A&E's Bates Motel. Just Your Typical Gay Teen Newlyweds is out now digitally and a portion of proceeds benefit The Trevor Project. Marky & Ricky already have demos for follow up material posted on SoundCloud.
I still regret missing Black Moth Super Rainbow's performance after seeing School of Seven Bells a few years ago. Black Moth Super Rainbow's latest effort, Cobra Juicy, has an abundance of its trademark crunchy psychedelic electro sound, as witnessed on "Windshield Smasher" and "Hairspray Heart." "The Healing Power of Nothing," "I Think I'm Evil" and "Dreamsicle Bomb" are absolutely delicious with dreamy sequences. The vibe on "Psychic Love Damage" takes an appealing detour with slower, country gone trip-hop-electro elements. Black Moth Super Rainbow comes to Metro, 3730 N. Clark St., on Saturday, May 11.
Experimental Japanese rock trio Boris hosts two shows at Lincoln Hall on Friday, May 10, and Saturday, May 11. During this tour, Boris will play music covering its catalog on the first night. The return visit will focus on the avant-garde, fan-favorite 2000 album Flood, which features four tracks forming an epic 70 minute musical experience. Both nights will include material that never has been performed on stage stateside. After issuing three albums in 2011, 2013 finds Boris releasing the box set The Thing Which Solomon Overlooked — Chronicle and the album Praparat.