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Wednesday, July 23 2014

Weird Al’s New Album || ‘Mandatory Fun’

Thank god, the album is timely and hilarious. No one wants to see a clown age ungracefully into old age, and Weird Al has saved us from watching a decline into obscurity, far from it, he has risen like a pheonix in the age of the internet. His music videos are among the most viral, dragging a constant stream new fans past their eye-rolling and into laughter.

If you doubt me, check out the star-studded video above for the song “Tacky” (send up of Happy) featuring Kristen Schaal, Margaret Cho, and Jack Black.

Tuesday, July 22 2014  |  1 note
Sneaker Bloody Sneaker || Grab Black Sabbath Shoes for $60
I won’t bore you with the details: There are some handsome shoes with Black Sabbath stuff printed on them that you can buy over at Converse.com. Ozzy had this to say:

"I’d like to see you try to download this, you little pukes!"

*please note the above quote is from my friend Oswald,who has been going through some rough times lately and screamed the above at the sky while pointing at his head, which he had just covered in tin foil. He is not to be confused for John Michael “Ozzy" Osbourne

Sneaker Bloody Sneaker || Grab Black Sabbath Shoes for $60

I won’t bore you with the details: There are some handsome shoes with Black Sabbath stuff printed on them that you can buy over at Converse.com. Ozzy had this to say:

"I’d like to see you try to download this, you little pukes!"

*please note the above quote is from my friend Oswald,who has been going through some rough times lately and screamed the above at the sky while pointing at his head, which he had just covered in tin foil. He is not to be confused for John Michael “Ozzy" Osbourne

Friday, July 18 2014  |  1 note
NEW INTERVIEW: Julia Dahl | Authorby Andrew DeCanniereThough I don’t ordinarily gravitate toward murder mysteries, from the moment I picked up Julia Dahl’s debut novel, Invisible City (Minotaur Books, 2014), I was hooked. The novel, which centers around a murder in the ultra-Orthodox Jewish enclave of Borough Park in New York City and Rebekah Roberts, the young reporter determined to uncover the truth of the case, has to be one of the most original, most engrossing books I’ve read in a long while. This week I had the opportunity to speak with Julia about the inspiration for her book, New York City’s Hasidic community, her influences and much more. Read on to see what she had to say…

NEW INTERVIEW: Julia Dahl | Author

by Andrew DeCanniere

Though I don’t ordinarily gravitate toward murder mysteries, from the moment I picked up Julia Dahl’s debut novel, Invisible City (Minotaur Books, 2014), I was hooked. The novel, which centers around a murder in the ultra-Orthodox Jewish enclave of Borough Park in New York City and Rebekah Roberts, the young reporter determined to uncover the truth of the case, has to be one of the most original, most engrossing books I’ve read in a long while. This week I had the opportunity to speak with Julia about the inspiration for her book, New York City’s Hasidic community, her influences and much more. Read on to see what she had to say…

Wednesday, July 16 2014  |  1 note

Don’t miss The Outsiders Tour feat. ERIC CHURCH, DWIGHT YOAKAM, and HALESTORM!

Talk about an eclectic pairing of artists, it doesn’t get much wilder than Eric Church’s upcoming Outsiders tour!  Following Warner Bros. Records/Reprise’s signing of Dwight Yoakam, the rockin’ honky tonk troubador has been tapped to head out on the road with Eric this Fall.  He just released a cover of CCR’s “Who’ll Stop The Rain?” yesterday on iTunes as well, so be sure to check that out.  The strangest addition to the tour, though, has to be my favorite rock band of the last decade, Halestorm.  It was already a shock when frontwoman Lzzy Hale took the stage with Church at the CMT Music Awards to perform “That’s Damn Rock & Roll,” but this may be one of the first rock/country tours in recent memory.  Eric Church has flirted with rock audiences in the past through his very well received performance at Lollapalooza 2013, but this is a bold leap in a great new direction for country music. 

You can check the tour dates here and as of right now, the nearest dates to us in Chicagoland are in Peoria on November 21st at the Peoria Civic Center and in Evansville, IN on November 22nd at The Ford Center.  Tickets for Peoria are available here and Evansville, IN here.  See you there and stay tuned for more updates on each of these artists! -NMJ

Wednesday, July 16 2014  |  2 notes

Neil Gaiman || Breaking New Ground with Wayward Manor  {TL;DR}

You may have heard that Neil Gaiman was working on a Video Game, I have mixed feelings, as you can see from the video above which is a game for the Sega Genesis that I loved growing up. This video shows you that the basis of Niel’s game, as recapped in the quote below, is far from original. 

Set in a 1920s Victorian Gothic pastoral estate, Wayward Manor focuses on the plight of a ghost whose hope of a peaceful after-life is interrupted by a remarkable cast of intruders. Awoken from his post-mortem slumbers, our ghost must find ever-more inventive and brilliant ways to scare them away. 

Which is the same as the idiosyncratic Sega Genesis game above, minus the Victorian styling. That pisses me off on the nose, but then I remember how much I loved and played the Genesis game, far past its era, and I just hope that this ‘Wayward Manor’ game pays some damn homage to it’s granddaddy, because to not learn from the only similar game ever made is just stupid. Let’s make it a new fun genre, not just jerk off Neil, mmkay? 

Friday, July 11 2014  |  1 note
NEW FEATURE: Roger Ebert & Life Itselfby John EstherWhile Life Itself offers an amusing recount of Roger’s formidable years, career and relationship with Gene, its real value comes in Steve’s documentation of his last year on earth. Originally diagnosed with cancer in 2002, for the next decade Roger would go through various surgeries, remissions and cancers. Eventually his face would be drastically altered, eventually leaving a hole in it. Rather than hide or manufacture an untrue image, Roger, and company, invites us to watch his pain, his decay and his courage in the face of death. Whatever you think of his film criticism over the years (or his liberal politics in general), it is hard not to have respect for and sympathize with this man who was generous with his time and talent. Read on, reader…

NEW FEATURE: Roger Ebert & Life Itself

by John Esther

While Life Itself offers an amusing recount of Roger’s formidable years, career and relationship with Gene, its real value comes in Steve’s documentation of his last year on earth. Originally diagnosed with cancer in 2002, for the next decade Roger would go through various surgeries, remissions and cancers. Eventually his face would be drastically altered, eventually leaving a hole in it. Rather than hide or manufacture an untrue image, Roger, and company, invites us to watch his pain, his decay and his courage in the face of death. Whatever you think of his film criticism over the years (or his liberal politics in general), it is hard not to have respect for and sympathize with this man who was generous with his time and talent. Read on, reader…

Friday, July 11 2014  |  1 note
NEW MOVIE REVIEW: Chef by Justin TuckerAfter a series of high-concept spectacles including Cowboys & Aliens and the first couple Iron Man films, writer/director/actor Jon Favreau returns to the pleasant, character-driven fare that got his career off the ground with Chef. He stars as Carl Casper, the titular gourmet. A divorced workaholic, he spends the very limited time he has with his son, Percy (Emjay Anthony), making runs to the farmer’s market and buying ingredients for the Los Angeles restaurant where he serves as head chef. Read on, reader…

NEW MOVIE REVIEW: Chef

by Justin Tucker

After a series of high-concept spectacles including Cowboys & Aliens and the first couple Iron Man films, writer/director/actor Jon Favreau returns to the pleasant, character-driven fare that got his career off the ground with Chef. He stars as Carl Casper, the titular gourmet. A divorced workaholic, he spends the very limited time he has with his son, Percy (Emjay Anthony), making runs to the farmer’s market and buying ingredients for the Los Angeles restaurant where he serves as head chef. Read on, reader…

Thursday, July 3 2014  |  1 note
UR A WINNER: Win 3-Day Passes to Pitchfork! LAST CHANCE!!!Snoozed on getting Pitchfork tickets? Upset that both the 3-day passes and Sunday tickets are now sold out? Don’t fret! We are running a Twitter contest to win pairs of precious Pitchfork 3-day passes over the next ten days. Contest starts July 3rd and will run through July 13th. Winners will be announced July 14th. ALL THOSE THAT ENTERED THE MIXTAPE CONTEST EARLIER IN THE SUMMER ARE AUTOMATICALLY ENTERED INTO THIS CONTEST AS WELL.  
Contest rules:1. All participants should follow URChicago and Pitchfork Festival on Twitter and LIKE the UR Chicago page and Pitchfork Festival page on Facebook (if they don’t already)!
2. Participants should then tweet “Take me to @pitchforkfest @URChicago, I need to see ______! (insert twitter handle/name of artist they most want to see at the fest).” Tweet must also include #pitchforkfest.3. Do this by July 13th! Winners will be announced July 14th. Winners are responsible for arranging a time to pick up their 3-day passes from our office in Chicago between July 14th-18th.
***Although Pitchfork 3-day passes and Sunday tickets are SOLD OUT, you can still purchase tickets for Friday and Saturday online through Ticket Fly.***

UR A WINNER: Win 3-Day Passes to Pitchfork! LAST CHANCE!!!

Snoozed on getting Pitchfork tickets? Upset that both the 3-day passes and Sunday tickets are now sold out? Don’t fret! We are running a Twitter contest to win pairs of precious Pitchfork 3-day passes over the next ten days. Contest starts July 3rd and will run through July 13th. Winners will be announced July 14th.

ALL THOSE THAT ENTERED THE MIXTAPE CONTEST EARLIER IN THE SUMMER ARE AUTOMATICALLY ENTERED INTO THIS CONTEST AS WELL. 


Contest rules:

1. All participants should follow URChicago and Pitchfork Festival on Twitter and LIKE the UR Chicago page and Pitchfork Festival page on Facebook (if they don’t already)!

2. Participants should then tweet “Take me to @pitchforkfest @URChicago, I need to see ______! (insert twitter handle/name of artist they most want to see at the fest).” Tweet must also include #pitchforkfest.

3. Do this by July 13th! Winners will be announced July 14th. Winners are responsible for arranging a time to pick up their 3-day passes from our office in Chicago between July 14th-18th.

***Although Pitchfork 3-day passes and Sunday tickets are SOLD OUT, you can still purchase tickets for Friday and Saturday online through Ticket Fly.***

Wednesday, July 2 2014  |  1 note

PITCHFORK MUSIC FEST 3 Day Passes and Sunday Tix sold out! Friday/Saturday tix still available!

In case if you missed it, 3 Day Passes and Sunday tickets for the Pitchfork Music Festival are sold out!  There are still tickets available for Friday and Saturday at $60 a piece via this link.  So if you sat this one out, you missed your chance to see Slowdive or Kendrick Lamar, but you still can catch Beck, Neneh Cherry, and Giorgio Moroder on Friday or Pusha T, St. Vincent, and Neutral Milk Hotel on Saturday.  And you should do that because this is a lineup not to be missed! -NMJ

Tuesday, July 1 2014  |  6 notes
One Man Fucks with The Jesus || John Turturro to return to Role
The Jesus, everyone’s favorite single-serving character from the Big Lebowski, may end up in his own film. Straight from the Lips of the man who played him, John Turturro, when asked about The Jesus at a master class recently: 

"If I can get the permission I need, I’d like to return to that role," 

Please do. I want to know everything about the relationship between this poor man’s Prince and the fat shy-chihuahua looking mustachioed gentleman next to him. Oh yeah, and why does no one fuck with him? I mean, I might fuck with him, he seems pretty loud and boisterous. But there is something that keeps the world from fucking with him. What is it? Tell us, John. Tell us with your movie. 
via Hollywood Reporter

One Man Fucks with The Jesus || John Turturro to return to Role

The Jesus, everyone’s favorite single-serving character from the Big Lebowski, may end up in his own film. Straight from the Lips of the man who played him, John Turturro, when asked about The Jesus at a master class recently: 

"If I can get the permission I need, I’d like to return to that role," 

Please do. I want to know everything about the relationship between this poor man’s Prince and the fat shy-chihuahua looking mustachioed gentleman next to him. Oh yeah, and why does no one fuck with him? I mean, I might fuck with him, he seems pretty loud and boisterous. But there is something that keeps the world from fucking with him. What is it? Tell us, John. Tell us with your movie. 

via Hollywood Reporter

Monday, June 30 2014  |  2 notes
Joe Hill’s Comics in Hardback || Twisted Prequel to N054A2
I loved N054A2. it is a world with so much more to offer than a vampire car; it has a large cast of characters cursed with powers they don’t understand who have been drawn into battle over/in a land stitched out of an old man’s mis-rembered childhood. So many of these characters don’t get enough time on the page, and the world of N054A2 is one that seems to have only been touched on, despite the size of the book. So guess what? Joe Hill is returned to comics late last year (see his first: Locke & Key, a must read for Lovecraftians). with Wraith, which just wrapped up it’s story on June 11th. Now, hot on the pulp-back comic’s heels, is a beautiful hardback collection coming out.
Here’s what Young Joe has to say about Wraith:

"The world of NOS4A2 is very, very big, and I only had a chance to explore a part of it in the course of the novel. I told the story I wanted to tell, but I also feel there’s a lot more to discover. In NOS4A2, we learn about Charles Talent Manx the iii, who has kept himself alive for over a century by draining an essential life force out of children, warping them into giddy monsters. When he’s done with them—when Charlie has what he wants—he takes them to Christmasland, where they live forever and ever in an eternal Christmas Day. They live for fun and are good at having it, whether they’re playing a game of tag… or a bloody game of scissors for the drifter. In Wraith, we’re going back to Christmasland at an earlier time, to find out what happens when some unlucky grown-ups find themselves on Gumdrop Lane"

Judging from the few issues of Wraith I’ve read so far, Joe Hill still has a lot of good, original horror left in him. Now if only we could get his dad to stop. 

More Info / Preorder the Hardcover Collection

Joe Hill’s Comics in Hardback || Twisted Prequel to N054A2

I loved N054A2. it is a world with so much more to offer than a vampire car; it has a large cast of characters cursed with powers they don’t understand who have been drawn into battle over/in a land stitched out of an old man’s mis-rembered childhood. So many of these characters don’t get enough time on the page, and the world of N054A2 is one that seems to have only been touched on, despite the size of the book. So guess what? Joe Hill is returned to comics late last year (see his first: Locke & Key, a must read for Lovecraftians). with Wraith, which just wrapped up it’s story on June 11th. Now, hot on the pulp-back comic’s heels, is a beautiful hardback collection coming out.

Here’s what Young Joe has to say about Wraith:

"The world of NOS4A2 is very, very big, and I only had a chance to explore a part of it in the course of the novel. I told the story I wanted to tell, but I also feel there’s a lot more to discover. In NOS4A2, we learn about Charles Talent Manx the iii, who has kept himself alive for over a century by draining an essential life force out of children, warping them into giddy monsters. When he’s done with them—when Charlie has what he wants—he takes them to Christmasland, where they live forever and ever in an eternal Christmas Day. They live for fun and are good at having it, whether they’re playing a game of tag… or a bloody game of scissors for the drifter. In Wraith, we’re going back to Christmasland at an earlier time, to find out what happens when some unlucky grown-ups find themselves on Gumdrop Lane"

Judging from the few issues of Wraith I’ve read so far, Joe Hill still has a lot of good, original horror left in him. Now if only we could get his dad to stop. 

More Info / Preorder the Hardcover Collection

Friday, June 27 2014

For all you bass heads out there, here’s a new track from the forthcoming Hybris album which will be released on Noisia's Invisible Recordings label.  You know if Noisia approves, it’s gonna be good.  And it is.  Download this ish for free and crank up your system! -NMJ

Friday, June 27 2014

Radio Free Albemuth || Premieres Tonight @ The Logan Theatre

John Alan Simon’s interpretation of Philip K Dick’s late masterwork finally hits the big screen in Chicago tonight at 7:15 pm, and again at 9:25. You may remember Simon from my interview with him last year when this release was still in the kickstarter phase; or you may just love Philip K Dick. Either way, put on your scramble suit, ingest your reality-creating or time-unstable drugs, and see this trippy paranoiac fever dream featuring Philip K Dick himself as a character!

Thursday, June 26 2014  |  2 notes
Cuphead || Hand-Drawn Video Game Coming in 2015
Not to be confused with the Ian MacKaye Side-project Pailhead, this little gem called Cuphead was previewed at E3 This year, Here is what we know for sure so far:
1. The graphics are all being made using traditional Cell-Animation, which is a hell of a process, piled on the already gargantuan task of creating a video game. Good luck, MDHR
2. It will come out on Steam and Xbone. It may come out in additional formats, but those are the only two that are for sure right now.
3. No 8-bit music, it’s all live jazz. 
4. It will have 2 player local multi-player (Squee!)
5. The gameplay will be classic side-scrolling run & gun button mashing.

So get ready to see a game made like no other! I really hope that this catches on, (which I predict it will) as a way to create graphics for video games (like Stick of Truth) now that technology has finally caught up. I’m already a fan. 

Cuphead || Hand-Drawn Video Game Coming in 2015

Not to be confused with the Ian MacKaye Side-project Pailhead, this little gem called Cuphead was previewed at E3 This year, Here is what we know for sure so far:

1. The graphics are all being made using traditional Cell-Animation, which is a hell of a process, piled on the already gargantuan task of creating a video game. Good luck, MDHR

2. It will come out on Steam and Xbone. It may come out in additional formats, but those are the only two that are for sure right now.

3. No 8-bit music, it’s all live jazz. 

4. It will have 2 player local multi-player (Squee!)

5. The gameplay will be classic side-scrolling run & gun button mashing.

So get ready to see a game made like no other! I really hope that this catches on, (which I predict it will) as a way to create graphics for video games (like Stick of Truth) now that technology has finally caught up. I’m already a fan. 

Thursday, June 26 2014  |  1 note

SCHOOL OF SEVEN BELLS release new song, new album on the way!

It’s almost difficult for me to write about School of Seven Bells since Benjamin Curtis passed this last December.  SVIIB made the music I’d been waiting my whole life for…blissfully reverbed guitars, beats courtesy of drum machines, powerful yet airy female vocals, and actual hooks that stick in your head for days.  Each album was an improvement on the one before it, yet each record was flawless in its own way.  Needless to say, School of Seven Bells are among the elite in who I consider to be my favorite bands of all time, so losing Benjamin Curtis hit me pretty hard.  But he recorded one last album for us …

Straight from the press release: “Throughout 2012 School of Seven Bells were working on a follow up to the critically acclaimed Ghostory. When producer/guitarist Benjamin Curtis was diagnosed with T-Cell Lymphoblastic Lymphoma in 2013 the band took a break. Today, School of Seven Bells is excited to announce plans to release a new album. Prior to passing, Benjamin had recorded his portion of the record in its entirety, both before he was diagnosed and after, between treatments. Alejandra is picking up where they left off and heading into the studio to finalize the next record. Stay tuned for more details to come.”

You should definitely buy “I Got Knocked Down (But I’ll Get Up)” on iTunes by clicking this link.  It was the last song Benjamin recorded before passing last year and it’s one of the most powerful things I think I’ve ever listened to.  Your iPod/iPhone/mp3 player of choice needs to have this song on it.  You can watch the video here as well.  And stay tuned here for more word on the new record. -NMJ