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  WINDY CITY TIMES

Pop Making Sense
by David Byrne with Tony Peregrin
2012-02-08

This article shared 2059 times since Wed Feb 8, 2012
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It is a fact: Rumer just released the ultimate soundtrack for Valentine's Day—Seasons of My Soul. The British sensation is drawing comparisons to Karen Carpenter and Dusty Springfield as she delivers her timeless material. The songbird draws a romantic mood with the opening number, "Slow." Rumer reveals how the Queen of Soul becomes her confidante through her headphones on the standout "Aretha." The singer-songwriter faces the end of a relationship on the somber yet breathtakingly beautiful "Take Me As I Am." Although Season of My Soul has been out overseas for awhile, it is finally available stateside. (Also, check out photos from Rumer's recent Chicago show online at www.WindyCityMediaGroup.com .)

British duo Goldfrapp just came out with its first retrospective, The Singles. The collection spans the electronic pair's five full-length albums and has two brand new tracks, "Yellow Halo" and "Melancholy Sky." The upbeat "Ooh La La" and "Strict Machine" are sleek, sexy and glamorous, while "A&E" is a melodic, twisted tale about ending up in the emergency room after a night out. Sorely missing are the dreamy "Fly Me Away" and the pop-driven "Alive." The former was used in an ad campaign for Target. Upon the release of 2010's Head First, lead singer Alison Goldfrapp spoke openly about being in a relationship with a woman, but clearly preferred to redirect the conversation to her art.

Hot & Heavy Burlesque is paying tribute once again to Pink Floyd's The Wall. Running from Thursday, Feb. 9, until Sunday, Feb. 12, at Stage 773, 1225 W. Belmont Ave., performances will be to the classic 1979 double album, which contains the signatures "Another Brick in the Wall, Part 1" and "Comfortably Numb." The dancing finds inspiration from the movie and the band's concert productions. Tickets are available at www.stage773.com . Hot & Heavy Burlesque recently had the industrial band Tool and the musical comedy This Is Spinal Tap as themes to its revues.

Avant-garde cellist Zoe Keating returns to The Space, 1245 Chicago Ave., Evanston, on Saturday, Feb. 11. Her 8 p.m. show is sold out, so a matinee at 2 p.m. has been added. Her music beautifully marries her cello-playing with rhythms from samples using her foot-controlled lap, similar to what I have seen Helen Money and Imogen Heap do in their live performances. Keating has collaborated with many including Amanda Palmer of The Dresden Dolls and Curt Smith of Tears for Fears. Her latest album, Into the Trees, is out now.

Out rapper Emanuel Vinson is coming to Pancho's, 2200 N. California Ave., on Sunday, Feb. 12, to support his 11th album, Tender Discovery. Here, Vinson sings and raps over rhythms that he voices. Even though there is no musical accompaniment, Vinson keeps the listener tuned in with his unique timing in his delivery and his coarse cries, which is best found on "Will the Push." There is also a companion mixtape, Living Better. Also on the bill with Vinson are Show You Suck, Milo & Otis and Lamon Manuel and SKECH185.

Death in Vegas has wowed me with its knack to be boundless with its music. Now fronted only by Richard Fearless, the genre-bending outfit released Trans-Love Energies, its first album since 2004's instrumental outing Satan's Circus. Death in Vegas might be best known for having its electronic gem "Girls" appear in the films D.E.B.S. and Lost in Translation.

Instead of resorting to recruiting a legion of guest vocalists, Fearless steps up to singing, most notably on the chilled introduction "Silver Time Machine" and the rocking "Black Hole." Austra's Katie Stelmanis brings her heaven-sent vocals to "Your Loft My Acid" and "Witch Dance." The former recalls Orbital's ethereal staple from the '90s "Halcyon on and On," while the latter is an icy synthesizer masterpiece straight from 1980. The instrumental "Savage Love" has guitar riffs and keyboards to fittingly conclude this otherworldly odyssey. A limited edition is also available with remixes and material not included on the standard issue of Trans-Love Energies.

The Republicans got a knockout blow as Survivor filed a federal lawsuit against Newt Gingrich for using the 1982 hit "Eye of the Tiger" during his campaign. Damages are being sought and the plaintiff wants to prevent the presidential hopeful from using this energizing anthem in any fashion ever again. Prior to the lawsuit, co-writer Frankie Sullivan's lawyer had no success in trying to get Gingrich's team from using the track. "Eye of the Tiger" is best remembered for its use in the blockbuster Rocky III. The Republican Party has had repeated struggles finding music to play during its rallies. Recently, Tom Petty issued a cease-and-desist order to Michele Bachmann from using "American Girl" as her theme song.

The music community suffers another loss as Don Cornelius was found dead due to a self-inflicted gunshot wound in his home in California on Feb. 1. With a budget of $400, Cornelius laid the tracks for the popular, long-running TV series Soul Train in Chicago. Here, a studio audience would dance to R&B and soul hits while showing off the hottest moves in the latest fashions. Although Soul Train continued to air, Cornelius stopped hosting the weekly program in 1993. The classic episodes from the '70s and '80s are the most beloved. An array of guests has appeared during its 35-year run, ranging from Aretha Franklin to Duran Duran to Christina Aguilera and The Jackson 5. Using his deep, smooth voice, Cornelius would sign off at the end of each episode with the message, "Peace, love and soul."


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