Monday, April 30, 2012

Zine Review: The Heat and the Hot Earth

Adam Gnade (Punch Drunk Press
Adam Gnade returns with a new novella—a newvella, if you will. The Heat and the Hot Earth continues the story of aimless youth Gnade established with, Hey, Hey Lonesome. If you've read this previous title, you will recognize a few names (Tyler, Ted Boone, Joey Carr) and be introduced to new ones. At least they were new to me, they may have made previous appearances as Gnade often revisits characters in his work. The chapters of The Heat and the Hot Earth are presented in the forms of letters, dreams and blog posts, and from the points of view of the different characters. New or old, it is purported that Gnade will, at some future point in time, unite these characters, situations and locations and tie them all together into one tight knot. Or notChris Auman

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Muggsy's Rock Picks

Gaunlet Hair, Lull, Icarus Himself @ High Noon Saloon, 701A Washington, Madison, WI

Yeah, I've rocked some gauntlet hair in my day, sure. I've also rocked hat hair, bedhead, the Buckwheat, cowlicks and some really unfortunate takes on the mullet, but I've never rocked gauntlet hair like these guys—Muggsy McMurpy

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Comic Review: The Call

Steve Broome (Coal Minds)
The Call is writer/artist Steve Broome’s on-line graphic tale of the lives of three mythical and mystical African tribes who must turn to a new generation to confront an uncertain future. Broom allows us to observe these tribes as they hunt, gather, survive and perform spiritual rituals. While the story may be set in Africa, it is a purely fantastical tale trading in magic, witchcraft, assorted sorcery and strange forest beasts whose screams can be captured and turned into spells. Broome creates such a visually sweeping setting for his characters to inhabit (pun intended), that would only be better served in full color. The black, white and gray tones don’t make for the most visually appealing panels, but the action scenes are well done and create nice tension in the story. Speaking of the story, I was a bit lost in places as the storyline jumped from character to character and tribe to tribe in the space of a few pages but this may not be the last we've scene of The Call which could easily develop and fit into a larger, more comprehensive, narrativeChris Auman

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Thursday, April 26, 2012

Music Review: Larry O. Dean

Throw the Lions to the Christians (Zenith Beast)
Chicago via San Francisco via Michigan poet/writer/musician Larry O’Dean has many accomplishments under his belt. He’s an award-winning poet, he’s a Poet-in-Residence for Chicago Public Schools, he’s worked with fellow Flintian, filmmaker Michael Moore, he’s had his work translated into bunches of different languages and such—but enough of that press release stuff. Throw the Lions to the Christians is a re-release of Dean's 1997 album. Dean writes straight-forward pop tunes that rock in the right places. His songs hearken back to the great singer-songwriter days of the 70s, and I'm not talking about your Fogelbergs and your Chapins or even your Lightfoots, but rather I refer to your Lowes and your Costellos. A little less angry than those fellows perhaps, but just as earnest. In fact, Larry sounds at times like Daniel Johnson in his more excitable moments. And there's always something to be happy about. Dean pens paeans to good days (“Well-Ordered Day”), humorous jibes at plastic surgery (“Nose Job”) and everyday topics that need a new look and a light-hearted spin without being too saccharine—Jayne O. Wayne [Larry O. Dean]

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Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Music Review: Second H. Sam

Samuele Gottardello is Second H. Sam. Does the H stand for Hand as in Second-Hand Sam? I have no first-hand knowledge one way or another. I do know that Gottardello is from Italy. I know that he is also the singer of the Hormonas from Venezia and Buzz Aldrin from Bologna. I know that he sings in a swarthy baritone voice akin to halo-bending, beat happener, Calvin Johnson. I know his music is stripped down to the bare essentials in instrumentation and recording techniques and that it was possibly performed entirely by himself. I know that this vinyl EP showcases four of his three minute plus songs of love, loss and springtime and that the cover for this seven inch was created by Turin-based artist Mattia Lullini. I just don't know what the H stand for—Jesus H. Christ [Second H. Sam]

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Friday, April 20, 2012

Record Store Day!!!

Record Store Day Breathes More Life into Vinyl

It’s coming round to the third Saturday in April again. This year Record Store Day falls on 21 April and it is time to get your boots on, get out and support independent record stores by attending some local events and treating yourself to some of the very special vinyl that is being released to mark the occasion.

Dusty and musty

The first Record Store Day was held in 2008 and was set up to celebrate the unique culture of record stores. You remember flicking through 12”s and albums in their plastic protector sleeves and slotted into wooden boxes in stores. You remember tracking down a proper treasure and hugging it close. It’s the hunt, the shiny smooth black look, the artwork on the sleeves and the very slight crackle of vinyl that make it loved worldwide.

CD shopping just ain’t the same. For a start, the sound when you flick through them in the racks is jarring. Sure, buying music online can also nourish your collection but there is nothing wholesome about the experience. Wandering into dusty shops that smell musty from decades of vinyl production and are hosted by an eccentric or cranky assistant with awesome knowledge is the true experience. That is what is being celebrated.

Metallica kicked off the first Record Store Day in San Francisco five years ago. Iggy Pop is this year’s ambassador. Then and now, activities include special appearances and performances, cook-outs, body painting, meet and greets with artists, parades, DJs appearances and so on. You can identify your local store and what is happening there using the Record Store Day website. There is also an app that provides the same information about what’s on where, gives product information and provides news and views from Facebook and Twitter feeds.

Special releases

The 400+ special releases for the occasion span the decades, nod to all categories of music and include new collaborations. Classical releases are being introduced to the mix for the first time this year. By far the majority of releases are on vinyl, but there are some CD releases too and a cassette! Some new releases are designated ‘Record Store Day First’ and participating stores will be playing them though they will not be available for purchase for another 4-6 weeks. Some are being released limited edition and only being sold on Record Store Day in participating stores.

Featuring among the day’s collection are: a red vinyl reissue of Little Richard’s classic album Here’s Little Richard; a 7” with two versions of Otis Redding’s Respect, one by him and a version by Aretha on the flipside; a 7” picture disc of Bowie’s Starman; a white vinyl LP of the Breakfast Club soundtrack; Afrikaa Bambaataa performing a cover of MC5’s Kick Out the Jams, a red and black swirly 7” of Hand Springs by the White Stripes and the new album Tasilli by desert Tuaregs Tiniwaren. That’s just the tip of a very colourful and exciting iceberg and the range is so wide that as well as treating yourself you can stock up on some excellent and very special gifts.

If downloads, Amazon boxes and Parcel Force delivery vans are the way you like to receive your music, then fine. Amazon won’t be coming to the Record Store Day party though. Qualifying stores are quite tightly defined by organizers, who sum it up by saying, “we’re dealing with real, live, physical, indie record stores—not online retailers or corporate behemoths.” Fans in Belgium, Germany, the Netherlands and the UK have also set up Record Store Days and will be holding events on the same day.

It goes without saying that the digitalization of music has been a major factor in the demise of the vinyl industry and that it still represents a very small portion of music sales. What has to be shouted very loudly though is that vinyl sales saw a massive 40 per cent increase in the UK in 2011, making it the best year for vinyl in the last six years. In the US there was also a rise with a 20 per cent increase in the number of units sold. Record Store Day claims a role in this success. May we wish it more for 2012—Imogen Reed
Double gatefold 7" on while vinyl

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Muggsy McMurphy's Rock Pick

Portugal. The Man, The Lonely Forest @ The Vic, 3145 North Sheffield

Mid-band name punctuation is an important new facet in popular music. So says Muggsy. The Legend. The Myth. The Dude.

Video: The Mediums "My My My"

Read the Reglar Wiglar Interview w/the Mediums!

Comics Review: Project 0, Part 2

Phase 1, Part 2
John & Charles Agbaje (Central City Tower)
The Central City saga continues in Part 2 of John & Charles Agbaje’s graphic novel, Project 0. Although the story is only just beginning, from the action so far, it appears that the Outsiders are dead set on sabotaging the military equipment of what one can only presume to be an intrusive, authoritarian government—isn't that just like intrusive, authoritarian governments though? It looks like our young protagonists (Aatu, Bea and Owen, introduced in Part 1) are going to get caught in the middle of the struggle where they'll likely play a pivotal role as they try to find the last piece of their rocket puzzle. New installments of the comic are already available on the Central City website if you can't wait for the next issueChris Auman

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Monday, April 16, 2012

What's It All About, White Hills?

Each week, Reglar Wiglar Magazine asks a band, artist or musician: What’s it all about? What's the point and why go on? This week we ask New York's space rocketeers, White Hills:

What’s it all about?

Living, playing, Subterranean, 2011 W. North on April 20.

What’s the point?

Face it...we are all Frying On This Rock! Listen to it. Get ahead of the curve.

Why go on?

Why not? Life is good! More soundtracks and shows to come.

Sleepy Sun, White Hills, Soft Speaker @ Subterranean, 2011 W. North Ave.

White Hills - Dead from Thrill Jockey Records on Vimeo.