Two years ago, Chicagoan Rose Polenzani released an unassuming seven-song cassette titled "4-Track Demos" that featured little but Rose's strumming guitar and swooping, kissing, knife-wielding voice. She also released a four-song, self-titled cassette that same year, one song of which would reappear in 1998 on her self-released CD "Dragersville." All three releases were filled with musings of dark mystery, humid fantasy and identity crises just the sort of naked thoughts you'd expect to be floating richly about in the 2 a.m. dim light of a hidden back bedroom which was where many of these were hatched and recorded. If you missed out on them, don't worry.
The Indigo Girls didn't.
Hearing her demos at a music convention, the Indigos invited her to join them onstage first at the 1998 Newport Folk Festival and then again for a short "Suffragette" tour of women artists. Then she played the Tinley Park stage last year at the New World Music Theatre's Lilith Fair show.
Now comes "Anybody," the compilation/culmination of those two years. Put together by the Indigo Girls' Amy Ray and Polenzani and released by the Indigo's own label, Daemon, "Anybody" collects the bulk of the material from Polenzani's first two cassettes as well as a couple tracks from "Dragersville." The Indigo Girls also added their gentle harmonies to "Or" and "Olga's Birthday," two of Polenzani's most eloquent works.
"Or" actually offers folk musings of literary quality when she sings, "There's another lilt on her/and I draw it up, lissome and larkspur/My hook or your bride skeined around me, she smiles/talks of you now and again/sending me grillburns and gooseflesh."
"Anybody" offers simple, still stands of emotion and poetry that won't make you get up and dance, but may, if you lean in and listen close, give you gooseflesh.
For more information, check out www.rosepolenzani.com.
This 11-song disc was recorded and put out by a northwest suburban Chicago band that shows a decided love of Boston (especially on "Drivin'") and other late '70s vocal rock acts. They sound like a great local bar band and turn out some nice harmonies and hummable tunes on Break, though it all comes across as a bit old fashioned for modern rock play. There are some amateur recording mistakes (mainly in occasionally thin-sounding vocals, not-quite-heavy enough guitar riffs and ill-chosen tempo shifts in "She Calls My Name"). But with a real producer and some more consistent concentration from their singer, these guys sound ready to put together a good drivin' rock record.
For more information, call (888) 5-THE-WELL, or visit www.digitalgods.com/wishingwell.
Out of the Pouch
The Wombats two-thirds of which are the Giragosian brothers who once owned and operated Red Tower Records on the outskirts of Orland Square mall have been digging in around the South Side for a few years now, though their live appearances have been sometimes few and far between. This three-song demo CD offers a quick insight into their pop rock sound. Opening with "Wrong Girl," a Fastball-sounding merger of classic rock chords and modern power, the disc moves on to "Nothing's Fine" a forgettable bit of middle of the road guitar pop (with nice background ooohs and ahhs) and finishes up with "Not My Kind of Fun," an ambling bit of alt rock fun about a girl who teases other guys who "don't seem to mind that her boyfriend's never far behind her with a gun."
For more information, call (708) 301-0936, or write Box 1011, Orland Park, IL 60462.
Rhino Records offers two new CDs this week. In cooperation with Lifetime, Rhino has just released Intimate Portrait: Women in Rock, featuring the Bangles' "Hazy Shade of Winter," Joan Jett's "French Song," Cyndi Lauper's "She Bop," Eurythmics' "Would I Lie To You?" Pat Benatar's "Hit Me With Your Best Shot" and Belly's "Feed the Tree," along with other songs from Sam Phillips, Linda Ronstadt, Michelle Shocked, Scandal, Laura Branigan, Bananarama, Lita Ford, the Pretenders, Vonda Shepard and Alannah Myles.
Rhino also has teamed up with music magazine Alternative Press to present Industrial Strength Machine Music The Framework of Industrial Rock 1978-1995. Included are songs from the leaders of the industrial rock scene (a form typified by abrasive guitars, angry vocals, media samples, dance-heavy beats and noise loops) from Throbbing Gristle, Ministry, KMFDM, Coil and Cabaret Voltaire to Einsturzende Neubauten, Skinny Puppy, Nine Inch Nails and Front 242.
Virgin Records brings us This Is Cult Fiction, a collection of 17 songs from cult hit movies and TV shows. Included are Dick Dale's "Misirlou" from "Pulp Fiction," Steppenwolf's "Born To Be Wild" from "Easy Rider," Bobby Vinton's "Blue Velvet" from "Blue Velvet," Henry Mancini's "Theme From Charlie's Angels," the Marketts' "Batman Theme," Mike Post's "Theme From Hill Street Blues," Angelo Badalamenti's "Theme From Twin Peaks Fire Walk With Me," the Ventures' "Hawaii Five-O," Isaac Hayes' "Theme From 'Shaft' " and Lalo Schifrin's "Mission Impossible" theme, among others.