Makin Waves Scene Report with Frankie & the Knockouts, Ellis Wilkinson, Eleanor Tallie, & More

Also featured this week are Rhyme & Reason Records, Delicate Flowers, Jenny & the Felines, Carnival of Shadows, and Milan Lazistan.

  Celebrate four decades of Franke & the Knockouts with Friday Music’s three-CD box set, The Complete Collection, which contains all three original albums: the 1981 self-titled debut on Millennium Records, the 1982 follow-up, “Below the Belt,” and the 1984 MCA outing, “Makin’ the Point. The Nov. 30 release also will feature 11 rare bonus tracks and a live CD. Fans who pre-order the collection will receive a free autographed coaster while supplies last.

  Band hits, such as “Sweetheart,” “Never Had It Better,” “Outrageous,” “You Don’t Want Me,” “Without You (Not Another Lonely Night),” “You’re My Girl,” “Carrie Why,” and “She’s a Runner,” are featured in the box set with songs written for an unreleased fourth Knockouts LP.  While not included in The Complete Collection, two of those songs, “(I’ve Had) The Time of My Life” and “Hungry Eyes,” were featured in the 1987 film, “Dirty Dancing.” Shortly after the Knockouts broke up in 1986, front man Franke Previte and co-composer/Knockouts session bassist John DeNicola won the Best Song Academy Award for “Time of My Life,” and Eric Carmen scored a hit with “Hungry Eyes” from the film’s soundtrack.

  Box set rarities also span Previte’s career as a songwriter and singer. He said he dug deep into his personal archives to find them. In the liner notes, he says, “The unreleased song demos on CD number two represent the journey I took starting back in 1974 with the song ‘Sweet Marmalade’ and the group Bull Angus. Next, we move onto 1978 with the song ‘I’ll Never Leave L.A. Again,’ when I was signed to Buddha Records as an R&B singer. These two very different musical styles helped create Franke & the Knockouts.”

  Members of the Knockouts have included Tico Torres, who briefly was with the band before he joined Bon Jovi in 1983; Bobby Messano, a guitarist who subsequently worked with Lou Gramm, Steve Winwood, Clarence Clemons and Peter Criss; co-founding bassist Leigh Foxx, and longtime keyboardist Tommy Ayers. The live CD features performances compiled by Previte just for this collection, including “Never Had It Better,” “Just What I Want,” “Without You,” “Sweetheart,” “You Don’t Want Me,” and “One Good Reason.”

  With his longtime life and music partner, Broadway performer Lisa Sherman, Previte also produces many stage shows, such as “Calling All Divas.” The salute to the 20th century queens of rock, pop, soul and country, including Aretha Franklin, Tina Turner, Diana Ross, Carole King, and Barbra Streisand, interweaves a story about four female singers trying to make it in show business. In addition to Sherman, cast members have included favorite Jersey Shore divas Eryn O’Ree, Layonne Holmes and Williams Honor’s Reagan Richards.

  Funky pop diva Eleanor Tallie has a busy weekend coming up playing Nov. 2 at The Golden Nugget, Atlantic City; Nov. 3, Wonder Bar, Asbury Park (with Pepperwine), and Nov. 4, Rockwood Music Hall, New York City, while she finishes recording her debut full-length. In the Asbury Park studio of producer Steven Greenwell (Joss Stone, Digable Planets, Busta Rhymes), Tallie is forging the follow-up to her 2016 debut EP, No Turning Back. The new single, “Promised Land,” is a nod to her native Israel, from where she emigrated in 2013 to pursue a music career in the U.S. And quite a career it’s become with more than 250 shows logged across the country and a new management deal with Gramophone Media.

  Based out of both Memphis and Asbury, Tallie’s studio band includes drummer George “Spanky” McCurdy (Lady Gaga, Justin Timberlake, Jill Scott, Lauryn Hill) and bassist Jack Daley (Lenny Kravitz, Beyonce, Michael Jackson). Along with a video for “Promised Land,” four more singles will be coming out by them into the New Year when the LP drops and a spring tour ensues.

  By the way, for those Asbury Park aficionados, Tallie, a Gaelic name that means princess, is Tillie’s girlfriend. Also, Memphis, especially Stax Records, was a huge influence on the Sounds of Asbury of Bruce Springsteen, Southside Johnny, and Little Steven. Looks like this funky princess just might have a few things goin’ on in the City by the Sea that she didn’t even realize. Let’s wish her well and check out her 10:30 set at the Wonder Bar.

  “Division Bell” is the lead single off the upcoming self-titled debut LP of Jersey Shore singer-songwriter Ellis Wilkinson. His talent for fusing hauntingly ethereal melodies with catchy pop hooks creates a soundscape certain to resonate. The power behind his arrangements is derived from the force of his lyrics, which deal heavily with the themes of love and obsession, as well as the both beautiful and destructive experiences that result when those forces collide.

  Wilkinson is represented by KL Martin of 3143 Artist Management, which also handles The Mercury Brothers, We’re Ghosts Now, Dave Mooney, and Matt Dubrow & the Captives. Upcoming shows include Dec. 15 at John & Peter’s in New Hope and Dec. 21 at The Bitter End in New York City.

  Jersey City-based Rhyme & Reason Records has plenty of good news to share about releases, tours and more. Shara Nova, the classically trained vocalist and self-taught multi-instrumentalist who records as My Brightest Diamond, is set to release her latest album, A Million And One, on Nov. 23. A richly grooving single, “It’s Me on the Dance Floor,” is out, and a one-month tour of Europe, the U.S. and Canada will follow starting Nov. 15 in Copenhagen. After stops in the Midwest and Canada, the Detroit-based artist will play Dec. 10 at Brooklyn Steel before heading back to Canada. In February, she’ll be at the Noise Pop Festival in San Francisco.

  Featuring members of Das Damen, Phantom Tollbooth and Roky Erickson’s band, the Brooklyn-based indie jazz trio The Royal Arctic Institute not only can be heard on their brand new RARR debut, “The Grubert Effect,” but also live Nov. 9 at Quinn’s, Beacon, N.Y.; Nov. 11, Bowery Electric, New York City, and Nov. 13, The Pet Shop, Jersey City.

  The Brooklyn-based singer-songwriter pronoun is touring in support of “You Didn’t Even Make the Bed,” a messy breakup song that is the third single from her debut full-length. You can hear that and other tunes from the forthcoming album, as well as songs from the acclaimed 2016 EP, “There’s no one new around you,” when the confessional indie popster tours with Justin Courtney Pierre of Motion City Soundtrack. The tour launches Nov. 1 in Chicago, then passes through Detroit and Cleveland before landing Nov. 5 at Brighton Music Hall, Allston, Mass.; Nov. 6, Bowery Ballroom, New York City; Nov. 8, The Foundry, Philadelphia; Nov. 9, U Street Music Hall, Washington, D.C., and Nov. 10, House of Independents, Asbury Park.

  Perhaps the most rad thing coming from RARR is Calliope Musicals, the Austin Chronicle’s 2017 Band of the Year whose new video for “Cosmic Poison Arrow” from a 2019-bound LP is deliciously weird and intoxicatingly fascinating. The Austin art rockers’ label debut will be entitled Color/Sweat, their sixth release since 2011.

    Glenn Morrow’s Cry for Help have a great show coming up at Rent Party, the monthly gig that fights hunger and poverty. The Hoboken-based band will play Nov. 9 at the Maplewood venue with the great Highland Park power-pop band The Anderson Council and The Lord Calverts, a garage-rockin’, power-poppin’ band from Brooklyn. Proceeds will support three local food pantries, a large community garden that provides fresh produce to those pantries, and Our BackPack Pals, a program that offers a weekend’s worth of nutritious food to about 100 food-insecure kids.

  Sniffling Indie Kids’ Delicate Flowers will release their debut full-length, Die Progress Unit I, Nov. 2 at Stosh’s in Fair Lawn. Sharing in the celebration will be label mates LKFFCT and John Cozz and former label mates Toy Cars. The album is the first half of a two-part project that will culminate in the spring alongside, uh, delicate flowers. Die Progress follows two EPs released since 2015. Delicate Flowers also will play Dec. 2 at Pet Shop in Jersey City with Joy Cleaner and Jaren Love of The Lampshades.


  The always entertaining Jenny & the Felines have a new video out for “Come on, Little Cougar,” a ‘50s-sounding romp that has fun with aggressive older women in their pursuit of younger musicians. Lauren Moran Mills of The Women’s Theatre Co. has a ball in the lead role, as do music scene pals as Bobby Mahoney as one of the young musicians and Bruce Tunkel as her hairdresser. The Felines’ Jenny Cat directed the clip to “have fun” and “offset global discord.” See Jenny live in a solo acoustic set on Nov. 2 at Old Town Pub in Bordentown.

  Having recently released a lyric video for the title track, ska-punks Carnival of Shadows are re-recording their debut album, Carousel, with trombonist-horn arranger Michael Ventoso, as well as Gogol Bordello/Aurelio Voltaire-inspired gypsy-punk violin. A February release is planned, along with a new five-track EP, Creepy, by year’s end. See them live Nov. 3 when they return to Lot 13 in Bayonne, where they’ll play with Eye Defy, Ensemble Cavalera and Radio Daze. Expect a Northeast tour to be announced soon.

  P-Funk North/A.M. Radio guitarist Milan Lazistan has released a video for the title track to his solo debut album, “Music at Midnight.” The cinematic clip about a two-timing player recently was screened at Jersey City’s Golden Door Film Festival. You can hear Lazistan perform the album live on Nov. 2 in the Old York Cellars Store in Bridgewater Commons. Having recently opened for Ballyhoo! at The Stanhope House and The Wailers at White Eagle Hall in Jersey City with P-Funk North, he’ll play with them again Nov. 10 at Blackthorn Restaurant & Irish Pub in New Brunswick. With A.M. Radio, he’ll be at 16 Prospect in Westfield on Nov. 9 and Dec. 8.

Bob Makin is the reporter for and a former managing editor of The Aquarian Weekly, which launched this column in 1988. Contact him at And like Makin Waves at