The Proclaimers haven't scored another big hit since they ruled the summer radio waves more than 10 years ago with "I'm Gonna Be (500 Miles)." But the boys have continued recording and just released a new album, "Restless Soul," last month. They'll bring their tour to support the disc to Chicago's Abbey Pub, 3420 W. Grace St., on Saturday. More information is at www.abbeypub.com.
The wildly popular "Desperate Housewives" TV show now has it's own Music From and Inspired by Desperate Housewives soundtrack on the shelves. The all-femme singers disc, released on Hollywood Records, offers tracks from SheDaisy, Shania Twain, Anna Nalick, Liz Phair, Indigo Girls, LeAnn Rimes and more. The CD also includes the instrumental theme by the ubiquitous Danny Elfman (Tales From the Crypt, Batman, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory).
(Warrior Girl Music)
It's been six years since I first discovered and reviewed gilli moon's amazing self-titled debut, "Girl in the Moon."Since then, I've given four stars to her 2000 disc, Temperamental Angel, and her 2002 release, Woman.
It's amazing to me that with her fourth CD -- and another four-star outing -- moon is still releasing her always-evocative, ever-exciting work on an independent label that she formed herself (and has since released several discs on by other artists as well). An amazing creative force, both as a singer and songwriter, gilli moon ought to be in the big leagues by now, touring with the likes of Alanis and Tori Amos, instead of still grinding along on the coffeehouse circuit.
Nevertheless, moon is, thankfully, recording and making music because it is a rare treat to listen to a CD with the color, emotion and depth of extraOrdinary life.
The 15-song disc opens with its title track, in which she invites the listener to celebrate with her the journey that is her "extraordinary life." It's a tour de force of moon's extraordinary musical talents. The song opens with a low, cool sinuous bass and contemplative vocal. And the piece slowly builds with the textures broadening and increasing in energy until, by the end, there's a wall of pounding piano, crunchy guitar, belting backup vocals and an amazing feeling of … positivitiy and victory as moon sings of the things she's learned on her journey: "between the black and the white/I find clarity."
In "Hollywood," she crafts a beautifully taut "missing you" ballad about her personal deal with the devil. (She was born in Italy and grew up in Australia but these days spends most of her time in L.A. building her career.) The song is dominated by a gently percussive piano as she sings of being away from the one you love in order to succeed at the goals of your life:
"So I landed in Hollywood. …" she sings. "I dreamed all of these years, and worked through my fears/to be the best I can be … but my inward heart is torn apart … I don't wanna be wasting my time/without you by my side/in Hollywood."
Then, in "Evolution," she switches to a percussive acoustic guitar strut as she sings about the difference between one's private self and public persona ("I'm a riot in my own living room," she notes).
One of the disc's standout tracks comes in "Circus of Life," a pounding bass-dominated track about moving down life's road without slowing and settling down. "I don't wanna die in the suburbs," she sings, extolling the virtues of roaming the skies and the seas in search of new experience ("life's gift is improvisation," she sings).
Another perfect ballad comes in the salsa percussion and Spanish guitar strains of the gorgeous "Bye Is Such a Lonely Word," which she reprises at the end of the disc and sings in her native Italian.
She strums out an upbeat acoustic guitar anthem in "We Can Work It Out" and then takes a big risk in "Deconstruction," a spoken-word piece with ambient background music. The risk pays off because, while spoken-word poetry often can sound too precious and pretentious, this piece is both personal and universal, as moon admits, "I'm feeling tender in my convictions" and asks "can there be two hearts that beat like one?"
She goes on to invite her listeners into her world, noting "many paths I've traveled, many roads have led me here … I've lived a thousand years and spoken with devils and angels …," and "Past, present, future, it's one delicious glass of wine … jump into my extra ordinary, extraordinary life."
The disc hits its key message and most upbeat rocking track in the penultimate "The Wind," in which she sings, "I'll take it as it comes," atop a rollicking bass and squalling horns, in a head-bobbing frenzy of Spanish rhythm and personal affirmation.
If you've never heard of moon, it's high time you did. You won't see her bringing her piano and seductively personal vocal stylings to the Tweeter Center this year, but she ought to be. She is the real deal — a consummate poet, performer and songstress.
More information and a sample of the CD are at www.gillimoon.com.