Rhino continues to polish up and reissue the voluminous Chicago catalog.
The latest installments come from a downturn in the band's popularity – the end of the '70s, as disco was hot and Chicago struggled with the changing sound of the pop world and its personal loss with the death of founding member Terry Kath.
Hot Streets, Chicago 13 and Chicago XIV were released from 1979 to 1980 and only charted a few minor Top 100 hit singles — "Alive Again," "No Tell Lover," "Gone Long Gone" and "Must Have Been Crazy." But just a couple of years later, the band would find new life with a string of its most successful hits, launched by "Hard to Say I'm Sorry" in 1982.
Rob Zombie's kitschy horror film House of 1,000 Corpses sat on the shelves for a couple of years before finding release in theaters last month. But the artist's directorial debut is finally out — along with a soundtrack featuring six darkly strutting Zombie songs. House of 1,000 Corpses, Original Motion Picture Soundtrack, on Geffen, includes Zombie's scream-and scary organ-drenched title track (previously issued on his last solo album), as well as a wild gutting of The Commodores' "Brick House," featuring Lionel Richie and rapper Trina.
It's a pounding echoey carnival of creepy redneck strutting fun. Parental discretion is advised.
Blue Man Group
More than just a performance art troupe in a couple of long-standing theater gigs across the nation (including the Briar Street Theatre in Chicago), the Blue Man Group is a viable pop-rock act, led by original Blue Men Josh Wink, Matt Goldman and Phil Stanton.
While the first Blue Man Group album, 1999's Audio, featured expanded instrumental numbers from the stage show, the band's second album brings a wealth of guest vocalists to take the Blue sound to a new level.
The Complex doesn't change the band's sound at all — every track rests on the oscillating pipe percussion that is the Blue trademark. But the new disc works to bring the Blue sound into the realm of pop-rock.
The CD's first single pairs the trio with Dave Matthews in the sing-song, head-nodding ode to loneliness of "Sing Along" (If I sing a song/will you sing along/or should I just keep singing right here by myself").
Tracy Bonham, who first hit the charts in 1996 with "Mother Mother," offers her powerful pipes to two songs on the disc.
The ethereal duo Esthero joins up to bring a dreamy atmosphere to Jefferson Airplane's "White Rabbit," and newcomers Venus Hum pump up the racetrack-ready energy on a cover of Donna Summer's "I Feel Love."
The Complex brings the Blue Man world a little closer to our own with the new focus on vocals and guitars, but, thankfully, the rich percussion-base that made the troupe a hit remains the driving sonic force. Put on your headphones, close your eyes, and soak in these Blue dreams.
Blue Man Group was originally scheduled to perform with Venus Hum at the Congress Theatre May 21. That show has been canceled and will be rescheduled for later this summer.