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  WINDY CITY TIMES

Pop Making Sense
Special to the online edition of Windy City Times
by David Byrne with Tony Peregrin
2013-02-26

This article shared 3628 times since Tue Feb 26, 2013
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Tegan and Sara's Heartthrob is one of those pop albums where I found myself really enjoying every track on this polished, mostly upbeat collection by these Canadian lesbian twins. Sure the sound is delightfully ready for mainstream appeal, but the twosome still has its self-doubting lyrics, DIY sensibilities and hipster-worthy haircuts intact.

VH-1 already licensed the twins' catchy lead single, "Closer," for Mob Wives commercials. "How Come You Don't Want Me" offers a break in the album's electro-pop-flavored tempo and recalls "If You Want It" from OMD's comeback effort, History of Modern. The delicious tracks "Drive Me Wild," "I Couldn't Be Your Friend" and the bonus track "Guilty As Charged" will give listeners quite an enjoyable sugar rush.

Tegan and Sara were in Chicago in December to open for The Killers. The sisters take to the stage with Diana at Pabst Theater, 144 E. Wells St., Milwaukee, on Thursday, March 7. The duo is rumored to be one of the draws at this summer's Lollapalooza; therefore, there will be no stops in Chicago on the tour's spring leg.

When I saw Helen Money open for Meshell Ndegeocello at Old Town School of Folk Music, I was mesmerized by how she could emote so much with her cello. Her latest, Arriving Angels, is a large canvas ready for her phonic onslaught, where she adeptly marries classical, punk and ambient tendencies. The opener, "Rift," has a compelling, strong contrast between soft and aggressive, whereas the title track includes moments with a rapid beat like gunfire and thrashing sounds. A pleasant surprise on the set is a cover of Pat Metheny's "Midwestern Nights Dream." Recorded and mixed by alternative music luminary Steve Albini (Nirvana, The Breeders, The Pixies, Jinx Titanic), Arriving Angels is an instrumental collection that speaks volumes by utilizing an amplified cello in such avant-garde ways. Money performs at Township, 2200 N. California Ave., on Friday, March 15. Arriving Angels is out now via Profound Lord Records.

Another noteworthy album is Emmy Rossum's Sentimental Journey. Here, she sheds the Imogen Heap-meets-Sarah Brightman vibe that she favored on her 2007 debut Inside Out. This time, Rossum has delivers interpretations of standards that range from the '20s to the '60s. It is a hopeless cause not to be won over by her charms on the sweet, whimsical take of "The Object of My Affection." "I'm Looking over a Four Leaf Clover" has a big finish for anybody doubting her singing capabilities. The arrangement and vocals on the Andrew Sisters classic "I'll Be with You in Apple Blossom Time" offers a heartwarming feel of old-time radio. "Things" and "Keep Young and Beautiful" show off her personality flawlessly, and break the pace of slower numbers like "Summer Wind" and "Autumn Leaves (Les Feuilles Mortes)."

The New Yorker has the honors of being the most memorable part of 2004's Phantom of the Opera film, a role for which she received a Golden Globe nomination. Rossum also appears on Showtime's series Shameless and in the recent witch-romance film Beautiful Creatures.

Chicago's Boystown neighborhood has different meanings to people. It is a home, a place to work, a shopping destination, a hub for nightlife and a cherished place to recount one's coming-out days. Windy City Gay Idol finalist Mark Ortega returns with the single "Boystown." This ditty is a lively, upbeat homage that not only salutes Chicago, but also embraces the LGBT districts in other cities like San Francisco and New York. Forget the attention that Halsted Street has been garnering for violence—this feel-good time capsule also puts the neighborhood in a good light with the lyrics, "Where your love is always welcome and our broken hearts are found." "Boystown" is available now through digital music retailers.

Burlesque icon Dita von Teese finds herself in a new role in the music industry—this time as the sultry siren on the collaboration "Disintegration" with the electronic duo Monarchy. The video is stylishly shot, with von Teese depicting the brooding, unfulfilled housewife in a nuclear family. On the grinding dance track, the raven-haired beauty has vocals that are distorted digitally. But unlike AutoTune-dependent pop tarts, von Teese is bubbling over with a sultry fire and sexiness in her albeit computerized purrs during the verses.

The former Mrs. Marilyn Manson has been seen in multiple music videos, including Siobhan Fahey's pairing with Agent Provocateur on the cover of Joy Division's "She's Lost Control." Von Teese is seen performing her "woman in giant martini glass" routine on the big screen in the background during "Feeling Good" from George Michael's 2008 world tour.

In her new video "Tonight," Anastasia Luna makes quite a splash by crooning her longing lyrics to her lover in lingerie as the two ladies dance, grind and pose in a posh penthouse. The soulful song reminds me of Paula Cole's slow burner "Feelin' Love" and George Michael's "A Last Request (I Want Your Sex Part 3)." The out Russian-born artist now resides in New York. In her previous clip, "Heart Jump," Luna hints toward her sexuality by leaning in to kiss another woman during the piece's storyline in between break-dancing routines. The video to "Tonight" is a bold move, as well as a bold statement for this rising talent.


This article shared 3628 times since Tue Feb 26, 2013
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