Even More Solos and Sides

If you had the misfortune of suffering through Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again, you might not think it would be possible for anything good to come from such a debacle. But you’d be wrong. Cher, who played Sophie’s grandmother Ruby, and performed the song “Fernando” as a duet with Andy Garcia, may be the only one who survived the wreck as a winner. For her new album Dancing Queen (Warner Brothers), her first studio recording in five years, Cher reinterprets ten ABBA songs with mostly delightful results. Not a particularly original concept (Erasure beat sure Cher to it by […]

Voices from the Past

All hail Liz Phair! Kicking the male-dominated Chicago rock scene in its tender nuts with her steel-toe boots, Phair’s 1993 debut album Exile in Guyville didn’t mince words when it came to the battle of the sexes. It was a bruising felt round the world, as dudes and bros moved to cover their privates. Twenty-five years later, the 18 songs on that album, as well as those on the preceding Girlysound home demo tapes, still sound fresh and ring true. The restored triple disc set Girly-Sound to Guyville (Matador), a provocative musical history lesson if there ever was one, is […]

Oh, the Horror!

You know how somethings improve with age? Well, Exorcist II: The Heretic (Scream Factory), now available in a collector’s edition Blu-ray, isn’t one of them. An incoherent mess when it was first released, the catastrophic 1977 sequel to The Exorcist, directed by John Boorman (Deliverance and Hope and Glory), features an intoxicated Richard Burton at his scenery-chomping worst. Even the few returning cast members, including Linda Blair, Kitty Winn, and Max Von Sydow, couldn’t give this doomed production the credibility that it needed. Father Lamont (a bumbling Burton) calls on the spirit of the late Father Merrin (Von Sydow) to […]

Dancing Towards Doomsday

If you’ve been paying attention to the news, things look bleaker than they have in a long time. You can bury your head in the sand and hope it stops. You can take to the streets in protest in an effort to make it stop. Or you can dance your cares away. Leave it to the genius of Merrill Garbus of tUNe-yArDs to turn cultural appropriation and apology for white privilege into a dance party as she does on I Can Feel You Creep Into My Private Life (4AD). Not only does the new album contain some of tUNe-yArDs’ fiercest […]

Complete Coverage

In the history of modern pop music, certain acts are associated with the songwriters behind their biggest hits. Dionne Warwick will forever be linked with Burt Bacharach and Hal David. While they had hits written by others, the Fifth Dimension’s most memorable hit singles were penned by Laura Nyro. Motown divas The Supremes (Diana Ross, Mary Wilson, and Florence Ballard) are another perfect example. It’s hard to imagine where they would be without the songs composed by the team of Lamont Dozier and Brian and Eddie Holland. Essentially an expanded and rebranded reissue of 1967’s The Supremes Sing Motown, The […]

Putting the Spice in Advice An interview with Bianca Del Rio

When I first heard that Bianca Del Rio had written a book, in true Bianca Del Rio fashion I thought, “Wrote a book? I didn’t even know she could read a book!” Cue the laughs. Undoubtedly the greatest success story that “RuPaul’s Drag Race” ever launched out of the starting gate, Del Rio consistently sells out concert venues for her live shows, has graced the silver screen in Hurricane Bianca and its new sequel Hurricane Bianca: From Russia With Hate (Hurricanebianca.com), and now has a new book of advice, Blame it on Bianca Del Rio (Dey Street, 2018) to her […]

Seasonal Gaiety

It’s been said before, but it bears repeating. LGBTQ musicians are making some of the most captivating and inspiring music out there. Since the beginning of 2018, new releases by queer artists such as Jim Andralis, Lucy Dacus, H.C. McEntire, and Sarah Shook rank among the best to be heard. Beginning with the release of her eponymous 2005 debut recording, Brandi Carlile has consistently delivered outstanding albums, including The Story and Bear Creek, that have earned her a devoted following. With a goose-bump raising vocal range and the ability to write songs with immense emotional impact, Carlile doesn’t disappoint with […]

Do You Remember Yesterday?

If you’re of the age to remember the first time that Donna Summer’s On The Radio – Greatest Hits – Volumes I & II was released in 1979, you may recall that it came with a large poster of Summer. It was also a single-slot jacket containing both vinyl LPs. Rereleased, no doubt, to coincide with the Tony-nominated Broadway musical Summer: The Donna Summer Musical, the double LP reissue of On The Radio – Greatest Hits – Volumes I & II (Casablanca / Mercury / UMe) no longer includes the poster. That image can now be found in the reissue’s […]

The Disco Diva’s Diva An interview with the legendary Linda Clifford

As disco divas go, few are as down-to-earth, warm, and genuine as Linda Clifford. Forty years after the release of her breakout album If My Friends Could See Me Now was released, featuring the chart-topping dance club hit title track, Clifford is still hard at work, regularly touring as one of the First Ladies of Disco (along with Martha Wash, Evelyn “Champagne” King, and Norma Jean Wright) and performing at various festivals and fairs. Four of Clifford’s most cherished albums, the aforementioned If My Friends Could See Me Now, as well as 1979’s Let Me Be Your Woman and Here’s […]

Late Summer Dance Fling

Anyone who’s familiar with the work of Róisín Murphy shouldn’t be surprised by the concept of Irish electronic dance music. Heck, even U2 has been known to dabble in electronic beats. That said, the aptly-titled Pleasure (Red River) by Irish electronic dance band Le Galaxie definitely ups the ante. The ten dance-floor-ready tracks on Pleasure are as forward-thinking as they are nostalgia-inducing, mixing modern dance moves with a healthy respect for disco history with a splash of new wave. The merger of electronic and organic instrumentation with the shared vocal duties by May Kay Gegharty and Michael Pope also give […]