Seconds and Thirds

It’s best to get this tidbit out of the way first; Greta Kline, best known as singer / songwriter Frankie Cosmos, is the daughter of actors Kevin Kline and Phoebe Cates. We know her father can sing because he was on Broadway in Pirates of Penzance (alongside Linda Ronstadt!), but we haven’t had the dance to hear her mother belt one out. Genetics aside, Vessel (Sub Pop), the third Frankie Cosmos album in four years, is as much an original artistic statement as it is an homage to her forebears Liz Phair and artists on the K Records roster. These […]

Screen Scene 2018

On Easter Sunday 2018, as part of its ongoing live musical series, NBC presented Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice’s Jesus Christ Superstar, starring John Legend. When it comes to Webber, you’d think there’d have been more movie versions of his musicals than there are, but you’d be wrong. In fact, the only theatrical movies have been Norman Jewison’s 1973 adaptation of Jesus Christ Superstar, Alan Parker’s 1996 take on Evita starring Madonna and gay filmmaker Joel Schumacher’s 2004 rendition of The Phantom of the Opera. Supposedly, there is an animated version of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, as […]

Going above and Beyond: an interview with Andy Bell of Erasure

It’s been 30 years since the release of Erasure’s third album The Innocents, the disc that aided the duo of gay vocalist Andy Bell and synthesizer mastermind Vince Clarks (formerly of Depeche Mode and Yazoo) into crossing over into mainstream success with songs such as “A Little Respect” and “Chains of Love”. Of course, the gays (and the cool kids) had been dancing to them, and songs such as “Oh, L’Amour”, “Who Needs Love Like That”, “Victim of Love” and “Sometimes” for a couple of years by then. Since the release of The Innocents, Erasure has put out more than […]

Out of the 80s and 90s

  Beloved by adults and children alike, Grammy-winning band They Might Be Giants, led by John Flansburgh and John Linnell, are known for its delightful wordplay and catchy melodies. TMBG’s 1989 hit single “Birdhouse in Your Soul” is one of the best examples of this. The good news is that after 20 studio albums, including the latest one, I Like Fun  (Idlewild / Megaforce), TMBG hasn’t lost its ability to entertain us while giving us something to think about. If you’re one of those gays whose awareness of singer/songwriter Joe Henry is limited to the fact that he’s married to […]

Winter Tea Dance Tunes By Gregg Shapiro

After pulling off a retirement stunt that would make Cher blush, LCD Soundsystem returns with the illusory American Dream (DFA / Columbia). Although it’s not as immediately irresistible as 2007’s Sound of Silver or 2005’s eponymous debut disc, American Dream does manage to push almost all the buttons for which LCD Soundsystem has become famous and beloved. From the filtered clang and multitude of synths on opener “Oh Baby,” James Murphy makes it clear that he’s back and he means business. “Other Voices” is a suitably titled funky workout featuring other voices, including co-songwriter Nancy Whang. The Bowie-esque “Change Yr […]

Big Blasts from the Past

Depending on your generational perspective, the late soul goddess Minnie Riperton is either the mother of actress / singer / SNL alum Maya Rudolph or the singer with the five-octave vocal range best known for the timeless 1975 hit single “Lovin’ You,” co-written by Riperton and her husband Richard Rudolph. You can hear Riperton, who died of cancer in 1979 at 31, paying a “lovin’” homage to her daughter Maya at the end of “Lovin’ You.” The double-disc deluxe edition expanded reissue of Perfect Angel (Capitol / UMe), Riperton’s second album and the one on which “Lovin’ You” can be […]

Tinsel Tunes 2017

Leave it to a nice Jewish (bisexual) girl such as Rachael Sage to come up with one of the most delightful holiday recordings of the year. Her five-song EP Joy! (MPress) opens with a reading of “Joy to the World” that is pure Sage, right down to her distinctive phrasing and vocals. A radio mix of the songs also closes the EP. In between, it’s a festival of lights and light pop. The originals, including the lighthearted “Tchatchkes & Latkes” and the beautiful “Hanukkah in the Village,” are among Sage’s most appealing compositions. The disc’s centerpiece, in which  Sage sings […]

Mozart’s Mysterious Requiem at BSO

Did genius composer foretell his own end? A mysterious stranger. An obsessive artist. An untimely death. This isn’t a new thriller movie; it’s Mozart’s mysterious Requiem. On Friday, December 1st and Saturday, December 2nd, Maestra Marin Alsop and the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra will perform the Requiem in D minor as part of the Off the Cuff series. Please follow and like us: