Numero Group to release rare Jackie Shane records.


The first artist-approved collection of Ms. Shane’s work features all six of her 45s and every highlight from the legendary 1967 live sessions at the Sapphire Tavern,
including three previously-unreleased tracks 


(Any Other Way album art)

Recognized by genre aficionados as one of the greatest singers and most riveting stage presences in soul music, Jackie Shane has remained largely unknown outside of Toronto, where her career briefly flowered in the 1960s. Ms. Shane is a star without parallel — a pioneer of transgender rights born in a male body, living her entire life as a woman at a time when to do so seemed unthinkable. Any Other Way, out October 20th via the Numero Group, is the first artist-approved collection of Ms. Shane’s work, collecting all six of her 45s and every highlight from the legendary 1967 live sessions at the Sapphire Tavern, including three mind blowing, previously-unreleased tracks.

Ms. Shane’s identity and sexuality were never a secret. She wore makeup, silk shirts and jewelry onstage and off, projecting a sense of refined femininity, and did so in a manner exuding class, self-respect and dignity. Her identity was never an act designed to play with an audience’s sense of exotica.

With her last appearance taking place onstage in Toronto in December of 1971, the city which Ms. Shane considers her second home and where she lived during the peak of her success, this collections marks Ms. Shane’s first communication with the public in nearly half a century. Extensive liner notes tell, for the first time ever, Ms. Shane’s story in her own words, copiously illustrated with never-before-seen pictures from a career and life unlike any other.

Listen To “Any Other Way” —

Watch Any Other Way Teaser Video —

Any Other Way Tracklist:
01. Sticks And Stones
02. Any Other Way
03. In My Tenement
04. Comin’ Down
05. Money (That’s What I Want)
06. I’ve Really Got The Blues
07. Send Me Some Lovin’
08.  Walking The Dog
09. You Are My Sunshine
10. Stand Up Straight And Tall
11. New Way Of Love
12. Cruel Cruel World
13. Intro [Live]
14. High Heel Sneakers [Live]
15. Barefootin’ [Live]
16. Knock On Wood [Live]
17. Money (That’s What I Want) [Live]
18. Raindrops [Live]
19. You’re The One (That I Need) [Live]
20. Don’t Play That Song (You Lied) [Live]
21. Papa’s Got A Brand New Bag [Live]
22. Any Other Way [Live]
23. You Are My Sunshine [Live]
24. I Don’t Want To Cry [Live]
25. Shotgun [Live]


Download hi-res images & album art —

Pre-order Any Other Way

Numero Group Online:

Rewind Review: Blue Cheer – Vincebus Eruptum (1968)

I’d heard and read that Blue Cheer (Dick Peterson – bass and vocals, Leigh Stephens – guitar, Paul Whaley – drums) were among the loudest bands of all time. Eric Clapton mentioned this in an interview I read once when he was talking about the psychedelic / stoner rock scene in late 1960’s. Other musicians seemed to whisper about Blue Cheer like speaking too loudly of them might unleash a sonic boom at any moment. So, I figured I should buy their debut album Vincebus Eruptum (which is Latin for “blue cheer,” by the way).

The album opens with what is widely considered to be the first heavy metal song ever released – their cover of “Summertime Blues.” It immediately pours on the distortion and drumming that sounds an army of Orcs is playing it. My favorite part of the cover is how they don’t bother singing the parts when the boss or the congressman in the song speak. They just play a quick bass, drum, or guitar solo instead. “Rock Me Baby” is a blues standard, showing that Blue Cheer could groove as well as blow out your eardrums.

“Doctor Please” is the first track on the album written by Peterson, and it’s almost eight minutes of howling vocals backed by wailing guitar, heavy drums, and angry dog-growl bass. “Out of Focus” almost starts that way with its funky, weird bass groove, but soon Whaley’s drum licks bring everything into a (somewhat fuzzy) focus.

“Parchment Farm” has guitar work that you can hear influenced bands like Earthless, Sleep, Kadavar, and Wolfmother. Stephens melted the first faces in 1968, and some people still haven’t recovered. Listening to “Second Time Around” is like hearing the first cries of Baby Stoner Rock. It’s a wild, bluesy, psychedelic trip with a crazy drum solo from Whaley. The band is allegedly named for a type of LSD, after all.

As wild as it is to hear Vincebus Eruptum now, it must’ve been mind-blowing in 1968. No one had done anything like this before, and many are still trying to do it now. From now on when people ask me, “What should I listen to if I want to get into stoner rock?” I’ll tell them to start with this.

Keep your mind open.

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The Damned announce UK winter tour dates.

British punk legends the Damned have announced winter tour dates for the United Kingdom.  They put on a great live show, and catching them in their homeland would be outstanding.  Tickets are on sale now for the Evil Spirits tour, so don’t wait to snag some if you’re in the UK or planning a trip there this winter.

Keep your mind open.

Rewind Review: Big Audio Dynamite – Megatop Phoenix (1989)

Big Audio Dynamite (Dan Donovan – keyboards and vocals, Mick Jones – guitar and vocals, Don Letts – effects and vocals, Greg Roberts – drums and vocals, Leo “E-Zee Kill” Williams – bass and vocals) were a big part of my high school years, and their final album, Megatop Phoenix, was a great way to go out on top. I had it on a mix tape for years, so it was high time I bought a proper copy of it. Recorded not long after Mick Jones nearly died of pneumonia (special thanks are given to his doctors and nurses in the album’s liner notes), the album is a reflection on the band’s history and a look to the future.

“Rewind” is a battle cry to all of us to stay strong in the face of adversity and to never count out the underdog. The kick-in of Williams’ bass after the first verse still gives me chills. It’s a great blend of their raga / post-punk / new wave / electro mix that made them so innovative. “Union, Jack” is Jones, Letts, and Williams’ call to British people to get back up on their feet in the Reagan / Thatcher years that were grinding them down into complacency. It opens with a sample of the British national anthem and then kicks in some of the slickest beats by Roberts. Lyrics like “Now in the classroom I was told about the Empire, how you were bold. A pint of beer, life passes by, your spirit’s squashed just like a fly.” continue to resonate today.

“Contact” is a song about Jones’ inner struggle to express himself to perhaps a lovely lady or even his own band mates. This was B.A.D.’s last album, after all. His guitar has nice heaviness to it when it comes in during the chorus. “Dragon Town” has Jones expressing the band’s wonder at being lost in a Chinatown while looking for an exotic woman.

“Baby, Don’t Apologize” is, on its surface, about Jones telling a lover not to be sorry things didn’t work out because he can’t or won’t change. It’s probably a veiled reference to the end of the band, however. Jones had a life-changing experience with his pneumonia, Don Letts was becoming a producer and DJ, and the other band members were also involved in other projects. Jones was worried about how he might be perceived (“My head is in the stock. It rains refuse, some shout abuse, and others throwing rocks.”), but as he puts it, “What I am is loud and clear for all to see, for all to hear.”

“Around the Girl in 80 Ways” is a straight-up love song from Jones and Letts as they teach how to woo the lady of your choice. They suggest everything from “a bunch of flowers” to playing it cool. “James Brown” was written after the Godfather of Soul was involved in a domestic violence case and a police pursuit that landed him in jail. Jones and Letts tell the story from Brown’s perspective, paying tribute to him and calling him out on his bad behavior at the same time. The beats are wicked, as is the verbal takedown of American celebrity culture (which is just as bad in Britain nowadays).

“Everybody Needs a Holiday” sounds better than ever in this world that has only gotten smaller, busier, and less personal since 1989. “House Arrest” is a tale of partying on Saturday night until six in the morning when the cops show up. It’s a floor-bumper with heavy bass and kick ass drum licks. Letts gets to take lead vocals on it as he sings about “bouncers, bimbos, lager louts” and “cops and dogs in transit vans.”

“The Green Lady” is a clever and slightly bittersweet song (with great guitar work by Jones) about a man who falls in love with a Chinese woman in a mass-produced photograph hanging in his flat. “London Bridge” is about the Americanization of London, but Jones professes his love for his town with catchy hooks. “Stalag 123” is about Jones and crew being stuck in the studio working on a record while the building’s basement is flooded and they have to deal with “no windows, no air, and secondhand gear.”

B.A.D. didn’t sound like anything that came before them, and no one has really matched their mix of genres since. They had a successful reunion tour a few years ago, and we can always hope for another. If not, there’s always their excellent catalog and this fine end to it.

Keep your mind open.

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Pitchfork Music Festival 2017: Day Three recap

Day three of the Pitchfork Music Festival started out a bit chilly as the Windy City was living up to its nickname, but we soon got our sweaty groove on thanks to a great set by Chicago house music legend and pioneer Derrick Carter.

Derrick Carter dropping beats like an Olympic power lifter dropping a barbell.

For those of you who weren’t dancing during his set, please see a doctor because something is wrong with you.  He put on a house music clinic.  It was a great way to start the day.

We also heard a bit of Colin Stetson‘s set.  He plays this wild, droning, hypnotizing saxophone music that is difficult to describe but quite mesmerizing.  We had plenty of time before Ride‘s set, so we met up with my college pal and his husband again before heading off to do a little shopping and eating.

Ride put on a good set of shoegaze that was a great switch from all the hip hop, electro, and funk we heard during the festival.  Unfortunately, they had a shortened set due to some early technical difficulties, but they played new and old material and blasted all of us with the final song of their set.  It was a loud, distorted, fuzzed-out assault.  “I needed that,” said one man next to me by the time they were done.

Ride melting faces in a killer finale.

Ride did a signing at the record fair afterwards, and I scored a signed copy of their newest album, Weather Diaries (review coming soon).  They were happy to meet everybody, and I’m happy to report they had a long line of fans there.

Mandy caught Jamilla Woods‘ set, which she enjoyed very much, after she’d been moved from the Blue Stage to the Green Stage due to the Avalanches cancelling their performance.  According to their Twitter feed, a family member one of the band members had some sort of dire medical emergency.  My college pal came to the festival mainly to see them, so he was more than annoyed they weren’t playing.  He and his husband learned via a Google search that the Avalanches are about as finicky as Morrissey when it comes to performing.

Thankfully, Nicolas Jaar put on an excellent set of his experimental electro / trance music that was both psychedelic and dance-inspiring at the same time.  At about the halfway point of his set, a guy in front of me turned to his friends and said, “This is the best set I’ve seen all weekend.” and then left.

Chilean DJ Nicolas Jaar creating intricate beats on the fly.

We split after that, beating the crowds and stopping to meet artist Jay Ryan so we could get one of his posters.  He does really neat and cute art for a lot of bands and other projects.  We already had a Bob Mould tour poster of his hanging in our living room, and now Mandy has a “It’s Time to Read” poster that will go in her office featuring bears, cats, and a wooly mammoth reading books.

I walked out with a new pair of sunglasses and CD’s by Screaming FemalesVacation, Waxahatchee, Tycho, Priests, Slowdive, She-Devils, Ride, and Wavves, and even a cassette by a band called Diagonal.  I’ll have reviews of all this stuff in the coming months.

All in all, the Pitchfork Music Festival was a good time.  We’d go back if the lineup was good and we could stay close to the festival.  As it’s been for the last few festivals I’ve attended, VIP tickets don’t look worth the money.  It’s not as laid back as a Levitation festival, but still fun.  It also could’ve used a little more rock, in my opinion, but it was worth the trip.

Keep your mind open.

That’s my pal, Chris, on the far right and his husband, Darin, on the far left. Chris and I hadn’t seen each other since 1993.

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Pitchfork Music Festival 2017: Day Two recap

We were happy to learn that the folks at Pitchfork Music Festival decided to open a second entrance on the east side of Union Park.  This saved us from having to walk around the park to get into the lone entrance (unless you were a VIP), and saved probably thousands of people from waiting in another long line at the start of the day.

The new entrance, located at Ogden and Washington, sent us straight into the poster and print exhibition.

Posters and prints everywhere!

We immediately noticed it was far busier than the previous day.  The weather was better, too.  It was sunny and just a tad humid, whereas it had been mostly cloudy on Day One.  The new entrance also put us near the craft and record fairs.

Clothes, jewelry, sunglasses, hats, one-hitters.
It’s a bunch of wrecka stows under one roof!

I’m curious to see how much prices drop on Day Three, as I’m sure all of the vendors would like to pack up as little as possible.

As for the music, we started off the day with George Clinton and Parliament Funkadelic.  We managed to find a college housemate of mine in the crowd.  I hadn’t seen him in over 20 years, and it was fun to jam with him, his husband, and Mandy while Mr. Clinton and crew went nuts.  I was surprised when they ended their set with some trap music.  I expected more funk.  As my friend said, “They need to have about fifteen more people on stage.”  The group did include a foxy lady whose job was to stand next to the drummer and look sexy.  She succeeded on all counts.

Mr. Clinton is in the striped shirt. The foxiest go-go dancer / back-up singer I’ve seen in a long while is to his right. MEOW!

We had plenty of time until the next set we wanted to see, so we headed to the food vendors for drinks and snacks.  The festival organizers made another smart decision by not checking I.D.’s at the entrance gates (like they’d done on Day One, creating an even longer wait time to get into the park), but instead checking them by the tents where you bought drink tickets.  One extremely dry cider and two teriyaki chicken buns later, we were off to see Madlib.

Madlib not caring if you expected more bass or trance beats. He’ll play what he wants, and we’re all better for it.

Madlib gave a master’s course in mixing and spinning.  He played a lot of tracks features different rappers he’s collaborated with in the past such as J Dilla and MF DOOM.  I geeked out when part of his visual display showed clips of the psychedelic movie Phase IV.

I caught part of  S U R V I V E‘s set, which was a neat blend of dark wave and film score music.  I saw more than a few kids at their set and figured they were probably jazzed to see the guys who made the Stranger Things score.  One man was tripping hard during their set and dancing like he was having a religious experience.  More power to him.

S U R V I V E gets bonus points for one of their members (far left) wearing a Goblin shirt.

We couldn’t get even halfway to the stage for A Tribe Called Quest.  The crowd for them was massive, and having P.J. Harvey on a nearby stage before their set only added to the number of people on the main lawn of the park.

A photo of a video screen. Mandy and I are somewhere in the back right of that crowd.

Nevertheless, we had a blast during ATCQ’s set.  They ripped through classic and new tracks, and Ali Shaheed Muhammad is still one of the best DJs in the business.

Representin’ Linden Boulevard.

The crowd around us was a bit low key, for reasons unknown to us.  One woman was wandering around asking random strangers if they had any weed to share.  A drunk man danced with Mandy and mumbled nonsense before learning I was with her and then freaking out a bit when he saw me.  I patted him on the shoulder and told him not to worry.

One of the best, and most bittersweet, parts of ATCQ’s set was the unmanned microphone on stage for Phife Dawg, who died last year from diabetes.  They still played his vocals, and even an a cappella version of one track that had the stage dark and only Phife’s vocals carrying across the lawn.  The band was big on “Dis Generation” and “Award Tour,” which they restarted twice.

It’s an award tour so far.

It was a fun way to end the day, but getting out was another story.  Pitchfork has VIP entrances and exits, but they don’t open these exits to everyone at the end of the day.  As a result, hundreds (at least) of us who figured we could get out through the east VIP exit were sent back through the record fair tents to the entrance and exit gate for the plebeians.  This gate still had a folding chair, a box, and some cattle gates across it that should’ve been moved before thousands of people started to leave.

Day Three will involve Derrick Carter, Ride, the Avalanchesand Nicolas Jaar.  Wish us luck.

Keep your mind open.

Pitchfork 2017 Day Two is in the bank.

Jane’s Addiction to release live version of “Ritual De Lo Habitual” this August.

Alt-rock legends Jane’s Addiction recently announced they’ll release a live version of their classic album Ritual De Lo Habitual on August 25, 2017.  This was recorded on their 2016 tour and features all the original members of the band.  They play the album in its entirety and include four encore tracks (“Mountain Song,” “Just Because,” “Ted, Just Admit It,” and, of course, “Jane Says”).

The album will be available for download (for a mere nine bucks) and on red or blue vinyl.  Get it while it’s hot.

Keep your mind open.

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Pitchfork Music Festival artist spotlight: A Tribe Called Quest

Hip-hop legends A Tribe Called Quest are bringing their final tour to Chicago’s Pitchfork Music Festival on July 15th.  The impact of ATCQ on rap music is probably incalculable, and they were (and still are) a bright contrast to gangsta rap.  Don’t let that sentence confuse you, however.  ATCQ were (and still are) powerful voices for the causes of racial, gender-based, and economic equality, solutions for gang violence, and freedom of speech.

Founding member Phife Dawg died last year, so the band announced that this will be their last tour and the outstanding We Got It from Here…Thank You 4 Your Service will be their last album.  It’s sure to be a raucous set full of hip-hop favorites, power anthems, and political commentary.

Keep your mind open.

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Pitchfork Music Festival artist spotlight: P.J. Harvey

Singer, songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, actress, and sculptor P.J. Harvey will be playing Chicago’s Pitchfork Music Festival on July 15th.  Ms. Harvey is an alt-rock, feminist giant who has crafted complex songs she insists aren’t about her, but many suspect otherwise.  She is bold and beautiful, serious and sexy, charming and chaotic.  Her set will surely be packed and one of the highlights of the festival.

Keep your mind open.

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Pitchfork Music Festival artist spotlight: George Clinton and Parliament Funkadelic

I don’t know what I can write about George Clinton and Parliament Funkadelic that hasn’t already been written.  The man is the godfather of funk and pretty much spearheaded a musical revolution in the 1970’s.  His bassist, Bootsy Collins, is one of the greatest of all time.  They’re responsible for more psychotronic freak-outs than you can imagine, not to mention a thousand beats and bass lines you’ve heard in ten thousand hip hop songs.  Their set on July 15th at the Pitchfork Music Festival is a can’t-miss show.

Keep your mind open.

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