May 17, 2002
BY JIM DeROGATIS POP MUSIC CRITIC
There's a busy roster full of diverse sounds in Chicago this weekend,
from the Eastern-tinged electronica of Cornershop to a rare local
performance by the great Al Kooper, and from the third Indiepop Festival
to the annual Q101 Jamboree.
Led by Tjinder Singh, the British group Cornershop comes to Metro,
3730 N. Clark, at 10 tonight in support of its genre-hopping fourth
album, "Handcream for A Generation" (V2). (The cover is $15; call
773-549-0203 for more information.)
Five years in the making, the follow-up to the group's 1997
breakthrough, "When I Was Born for the 7th Time," builds on the success
of the hit single "Brimful of Asha" by incorporating more bottom end and
stronger house/R&B grooves into the heady mix of Eastern drones, world
rhythms, and George Harrison/Beatles-styled psychedelic pop. Singh says
the freshness of the disc is due in part to the band having had a break,
and in part to what he learned playing with his side project, Clinton.
Buying album sends message of support
Hello Mr. DeRogatis:
Re: Your article about Wilco's first Nonesuch release [May 2]. Of
the 55,000 album sales, I'm one of them. I had all the songs in MP3
format via the online release, but I still purchased the CD. I
haven't purchased a CD in over three years, mainly because I'm
content with MP3 formats that are slightly sub-CD quality. So why
did I purchase "Yankee Hotel Foxtrot"? To support a band that cared
about songcraft unlike any other currently working. I want to do my
part to make sure they keep making music.
Just wanted to let you know that I think your reviews are quite
fair, articulate, and entertaining. I'll read your column even when
I don't like who is being discussed. Certain moments crack me up;
recently, you brought up ticket prices to David Crosby. I liked
those old reviews of Britney Spears, and that time you let the
singer from Third Eye Blind defend his music. I also dig your "Great
Albums" section every other weekend. Thanks to you, I've checked out
My Bloody Valentine's "Loveless," which is completely wonderful. I'm
surprised at how much the Smashing Pumpkins' guitars sound similar
to those on "Loveless," especially on "Siamese Dream."
Pop Music Critic Jim DeRogatis co-hosts "Sound Opinions," the
world's only rock 'n' roll talk show, from 10 p.m. to midnight
Tuesday on WXRT-FM (93.1). E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org
or visit him on the web at www.jimdero.com.
"I think that did a lot for Cornershop," the singer says. "On that
album, the last track is totally Otis Clay, and there's a lot of Otis
Clay on this new album as well." (The blues great serves as the album's
MC by rapping on the first track, "Heavy Soup.") "In terms of
production, the sound is augmented; there's far more bottom end and a
full range of other things going on. That also comes out in the live
sound. Basically, the goal was to make this album hot and undeniable, to
kind of come away with an album that if it was our last album, it would
be a nice way to leave."
Does this mean that the notoriously grumpy Singh is thinking of
throwing in the towel?
"I could drop it all tomorrow," he says. "It all has to do with how
the industry has changed. At the moment, I don't think I could carry on
for too long. I've been doing it for 10 years. It seems like for some
groups, they take the elevator, and other groups, they take the stairs.
And mother------s like us have to take the fire exit shaft from the
outside, and I'm just fed up with doing that. I've been doing it for far
You heard it folks: Best catch this inventive band now while there's
still a chance.
* * * *
Al Kooper is another grumpy but lovable musician--and hugely
talented, of course. Last year, Sony released a prime two-disc
collection, "Rare + Well Done: The Greatest & Most Obscure Recordings,"
charting the keyboardist's career from his Tin Pan Alley days in the
early '60s, through the groundbreaking mid-'60s and early '70s sounds of
the Blues Project and Blood, Sweat & Tears, up to an eclectic array of
more recent fare, like some soundtrack work for TV's "Crime Story."
As impressive as the package is, it only scrapes the surface of
Kooper's many accomplishments. He is also a legendary sideman (he played
the organ on Bob Dylan's "Like A Rolling Stone" and the French horn on
the Rolling Stones' "You Can't Always Get What You Want"); a songwriter
(he penned "This Diamond Ring," which was recorded by Gary Lewis and the
Playboys), and producer (most famously on Lynyrd Skynyrd's first three
albums). The parts of the story that aren't included in the box set can
be gleaned from his hugely entertaining autobiography, Backstage
Passes & Backstabbing Bastards : Memoirs of a Rock 'N' Roll Survivor.
Not for nothing have some called Kooper "the Forrest Gump of rock 'n'
roll." Now, the good doctor (he got an honorary degree from the famous
music school Berklee, where he taught for several years) is coming to
Chicago to perform with a band comprised of fellow instructors. Dr. Al
Kooper and the Funky Faculty perform at 7 and 10 Saturday night at the
Old Town School of Folk Music, 4544 N. Lincoln. Tickets are $25; $23 for
members, and $21 for seniors and children. Call (773) 728-6000.
* * * *
The ubiquitous indie-rock fan and tape hound Adam Jacob is once again
hosting his Indiepop Festival (the first fest took place in 1997;
the second, last year). The goal, according to Jacob, is to "spearhead
the exposure of melody-driven underground music," and the list of talent
he's recruited is an impressive one.
The festival kicks off at 10 tonight at the Hideout, 1354 W.
Wabansia, with Light FM, Tom Daily and the Volunteers, and the
Siderunners. On Sunday at 7 p.m., the Weakerthans, Trackstar, and the
Atari Star perform at the Fireside Bowl, 2646 W. Fullerton.
Schubas, 3159 N. Southport, hosts Stars, L'Altra, and Utah Carol at 9
p.m. on May 23; Troubled Hubble, Paper Moon, and the Icicles at 5 p.m.
on May 25, and Kleenex Girl Wonder, Aden, and Currituck County at 9 p.m.
on May 26.
The remaining shows all take place at the Abbey Pub, 3420 W. Grace.
Box O Car, Butterfly Child, David Singer and the Sweet Science, Tenki,
and the Buddyrevelles perform at 8 p.m. on May 23; Elf Power, Archer
Prewitt, the Hushdrops, Aloha, Love Scene, and Masters of the Hemisphere
play 8:30 p.m. on May 24; Frisbie, +/-, the Salteens, Mink Lungs, and
Man Planet play at 8:30 p.m. on May 25, and things close with the
Anniversary, Detachment Kit, the Reputation, and Happy Supply at 8 p.m.
on May 26.
Call (773) 235-1649 for more information on any of these shows.
* * * *
Finally, the lineup for this year's Q101 Jamboree, the radio
station's annual multiband alternative-rock festival, is the best in
quite some time, with five must-see acts (Zwan, Dashboard Confessional,
the Strokes, Tenacious D, and headliner Kid Rock) and several lesser
performers that, thankfully, are generally allotted about 20 minutes
each (Our Lady Peace, Earshot, Unwritten Law, Quarashi, Trik Turner, and
The show starts at 1 p.m. Saturday at the Tweeter Center in Tinley
Park; tickets are $37.50 plus Ticketmaster service fees. Call (312)