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Pop Making Sense
by David Byrne with Tony Peregrin
2008-03-05

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Living up to the adage, March will start off with a lion's roar as The Flesh Hungry Dog Show takes place at Jackhammer, 6406 N. Clark, on Fri., March 7. This time, the monthly concert will be a special release party for Scott Free's third outing, The Pink Album ( A Pop Opera ) . Heralded as the godfather of Chicago's LGBT music scene, Free collects different tales of the struggles surrounding the coming-out process and the accompanying self-acceptance. It may seem long ago that homosexuality was an unspeakable act, but Free's poignant history lesson measures how far the LGBT community has come and how universal these individual struggles are. Sharing the bill with Scott Free and His Closest Friends are Condenada, New City and Plaid on Plaid.

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Scott Free, B52s, Antigone Rising.

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Out musician Bob Mould celebrates his rock roots with the deeply personal District Line. The icon, who fronted Husker Du and Sugar, gets his latest off to an intense start with Stupid Now and Who Needs to Dream. He does not look past his experimental days, as electronic elements surface on Shelter Me. Again and Again is a triumphant break up song that could be covered quite well by Veruca Salt. The ever-influential Mould can be heard in the music by The Foo Fighters and Angels & Airwaves. In support of his new album and recent live DVD, Circle of Friends, Mould will be performing a career-spanning set at the Metro, 3730 N. Clark, on Fri., March 7, with Halou as the opening band.

The B-52s return from Planet Claire to welcome all to the quartet's Funplex. The outfit from Athens, Ga., has been missed since its 1992 album Good Stuff, although retrospectives, a collaboration with Junior Senior, a remix EP and sporadic live shows partially sated loyalists. A kitschy good time remains the group's motive, as Fred Schneider screams out 'Faster, pussycat! Thrill! Thrill!' on the rocking title track. Remixes for the lead single will be done by Peaches, CSS and Scissor Sisters. Produced by Steve Osborne ( New Order, KT Tunstall, Doves ) , Funplex hits shelves Tues., March 25, on Astralwerks.

The Supreme Beings of Leisure are reclaiming the downtempo scene after a five-year hiatus since the pair's sophomore album. Don't fret: The Rykodisc release 11i will not send listeners into an eternal slumber. Solid with grooves and melody, 11i includes upbeat tracks like Mirror and Oneness to spice up the pace. Angelhead finds the group at its best, as Geri Soriano-Lightwood purrs over a seductive soundscape. Despite tempting her audience throughout the album, the chanteuse has listeners really wanting to believe her as she pleads, 'I'll be good tomorrow' on Good. The Supreme Beings of Leisure's superb phonic journey closes with the epic Lay Me Down.

The Acorn flourishes on Glory Hope Mountain, which is out now on Paper Bag Records. This Ottawa band offers more than a folksy concept album. Glory Hope Mountain recounts lead singer Rolf Klausener's mother's challenging journey in the '70s as she emigrated from Honduras to Canada. Last month Acorn was honored as Spin's artist of the day and will take to the stage on Sat., March 8, at Schuba's, 3159 N. Southport ) .

While fans find themselves 'waiting, watching, wishing' for a new album from Antigone Rising, the all-female rock band is scheduled to take to the stage at Double Door, 1572 N. Milwaukee, Sat., March 15. Devotees will be treated as new music will be tested at this concert. Antigone Rising even jokes, calling the tour InstAntigone. Still want more? Live and acoustic songs are available via the group's official Web site. The quintet was one of the first artists to team with Starbucks in the wildly successful Hear Music series to reach a broader fan base.

Sally Shapiro's cool voice, complimented by electronic beats, may be responsible for adding frost to many a playlist. Justifiably, Shapiro finds herself coupled with fellow cutting edge Scandinavian singer-songwriters like Annie and Kate Havnevik. This Swedish songbird is now embarking on her first tour of the United States alongside Johan Agebjorn with a DJ gig at Sonotheque, 1444 W. Chicago, Sun., March 9. Her hip debut, Disco Romance, will have a companion in Remix Romance, which features mixes by Junior Boys, Juan McLean and Lindstrom.

When I go to the gym, I do not listen to my headphones or iPod; rather, I subject myself to what is coming out of the speakers. The other day I found myself singing along to a pop-techno song, not recognizing it at first. It turns out Dancing DJs unearthed Sophie B. Hawkins' Right Beside You from her 1994 opus, Whaler. Dancing DJs give the tune a Eurobeat makeover in the same fashion as DJ Sammy's popular butchering of Bryan Adams' Heaven and Annie Lennox's Why. Right Beside You may seem like an odd choice from Hawkins' catalog, but it is her highest-charting hit in the United Kingdom. Although this remake lacks any soul, passion and intensity in the same spirit as DJ Sammy's efforts, hopefully it will broaden interest in Hawkins and allow her to produce more worthwhile material.


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