Saturday, June 30, 2012

Muggsy's Rock Pick: Detroit Cobras

The Detroit Cobras, L'Assassins @ 7th St. Entry, 701 1st Ave. N. Minneapolis, MN

Even though Cobras are not indigenous to the Midwestern United States, these Detroit Cobras have traveled from Michigan to Minnesota in order to spit some venom in your eye. So thank them for that.

Friday, June 29, 2012

Muggsy's Rock Pick: Hüsker Düdes

Hüsker Düdes (Husker Du Tribute), Textbook Committee (Guided By Voices Tribute) @ Cactus Club, 2496 S. Wentworth Ave., Milwaukee. WI

Here's somethin' to hüsker, dude.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Comic Review: WIZZYWIG

Ed Piskor (Top Shelf)
Most hackers are anarchists whether they consciously subscribe to that particular political theory of government or not. They're definitely rule breakers. And instigators. Some hackers are activists engaging in what they perceive as vigilante justice. Many hackers are motivated less by financial gain, than by the adrenaline rush of going where they’re told not to go and doing what they're told not to do. They enjoy the challenge of solving problems and gaining access and some of their victims are not very sympathetic ones in the public's eye (like Ma Bell in hacking's early days). Most hackers are too smart for their own good.

Ed Piskor's graphic novel WIZZYWIG collects his previously published installments of the life and crimes of one particular fictional phone phreaker/hacker, Kevin “Boingthump” Phenicle. Boingthump is a composite of real-life cyber criminals like Kevin Mitnick and Kevin Poulsen. He's a bright kid from a broken home who is bullied and beaten at school. He gets little guidance from the few adults in his life and as a result his judgment is misguided as he misuses his considerable talents. Kevin finds out an an early age how to cheat his city's bus transit system and he’s hooked. Sometimes, with the aid of an accomplice (his buddy, Winston), Kevin cheats the system out of scores of free bus rides, pizzas, and unlimited long-distance phone calls. He creates an early computer virus that earns him the ire of the gaming public. Kevin eventually graduates to bigger crimes, which garners him the attention of the FBI. He is arrested but not charged for crimes that aren't even on the books yet. Jailed and paroled and a fugitive again, Boingthump just can't seem to lead the straight life. Hacking invariably hooks him again and again forcing him into a never-ending cycle of criminal activity.

Piskor creates an exciting tale of a techno fugitive on the lam and does so with compelling storytelling and in a likeable style: imagine the love child of Little Orphan Annie and Jughead (she of the pupil-less eyes and he of the narrow and rectangular proboscis) and that's our Protagonist. Piskor tells Boingthump's tale from different points of view; newscasts and talk shows, multi-paneled talking heads with person-on-the-street perspectives, but much of the story is told through Winston’s radio show, "Off the Rocker," where Winston pleads Kevin's case to his listeners and demands a trial or his freedom.

Piskor is a bit of a trickster in his own right, tossing in cultural references to Beastie Boys and Ramones songs and that's undoubtedly the late Harvey Pekar starring as the nice man behind the counter at Rocko's pizza parlor, soon to be duped by Boingthump. (Piskor worked with Pekar on several projects including American Splendor.) The hacking life makes for a fascinating subject and in Piskor’s hands it’s pure entertainment with a bit of a history lesson mixed in. I would recommend getting yourself WIZZYWIGGED at your earliest convenienceChris Auman []

Read more reviews, and always...always read Reglar Wiglar

Muggsy's Rock Pick: Ministry

Al believes he can fly.
Ministry, Blackburner @ The Vic, 3145 North Sheffield, Chicago, IL

Ticket Price: $69.69
Convenience Fee: $8.25
Facility Fee: $1.00
Additional Taxes: $0.41
Order Fee: $3.00 per order 

Add it all up and that's a rip off!

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Comics Review: Legends: The Enchanted

Nick Percival has created a visually stunning graphic novel; reimagining a fairy tale world full of gruesome creatures, dark magic, and nasty ol’ hags. Unfortunately the artwork is the only bright spot of the novel. While this is an imaginative reimagining it is also, regrettably, more of the same of what we’ve come to expect from authors who take far too many liberties with the stock characters they use.

It appears as if all of Grimm’s Fairy Tale characters have grown up to become a band of gruesome anti-heroes known as the Enchanted; a rag-tag group of immortals who all enjoy the same hobbies of killings trolls. This idea could have possibly made for a decent story but a rushed script makes for an exciting but ultimately unfulfilling graphic novel. Legends: The Enchanted is simply another failed attempt at profiting over the unexplainable craving for the reimagining of the sweet fairy tale characters we all grew up with. We’ve seen it before in comics (Fables), several movie attempts (Snow White and the Huntsmen, Red Riding Hood) and now a television series (Once Upon a Time).

Percival does create an interesting story but seems to think that by using well-known characters he can simply skip the character development found in most well-crafted tales. Why are Rapunzel, Hansel and Gretel, Pinocchio, and Little Red Riding Hood immortal? At what point in between Mother Goose’s tales and Percival’s reimagining did they suddenly acquire a taste for mercenary work and ninja-like combat skills? As one goes through this novel you begin to question why the author even bothered using these well-known characters. They are so far from being anything like the characters they’re based upon that Percival might as well have created entirely new ones.

I’d give you a plot summary but that seems rather pointless as this novel is just 100 pages of your favorite childhood story characters gruesomely killing or being gruesomely killed. That being said, Legends: The Enchanted is a gritty and beautiful comic and an absolute joy to look at but drab storytelling and an unimaginative script unfortunately prevent it from becoming something more. If you just so happen to be a fan of gritty fairy tale characters then by all means pick this one up! Otherwise, your money will be better spent elsewhere. The Enchanted isn’t a bad comic, but with graphic novels like My Friend Dahmer being released why bother with a brutal rehash of Jack and the Beanstalk?—Henry Rentas

Read more reviews, and always...always read Reglar Wiglar

Muggsy's Rock Pick: Howard Jones

In '85, this hair style would make Muggsy's eyes bleed.
Howard Jones, DJ Jake Rudh @ The Varsity Theater, 1308 4th St. SE Minneapolis, MN

If I caught you listening to Howard Jones in 1985, I beat your ass, no questions asked. If you're one of those people, I'd like to apologize... in person. Just meet me outside the Varsity Theater after the show tonight (heh, heh, heh).


Muggsy McMurphy

Monday, June 25, 2012

What's the Point, The Fucking Hotlights?

Every now and again, 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 scorchingly bright The Fucking Hotlights...

What’s it all about?
Going broke. Or is it supposed to be "going for broke?" Whatever, too late now. It's mostly about entertaining ourselves by trying to put everyone else in our bad mood and hoping we find a few masochists along the way who are into that sort of thing. 

What’s the point?
We spent all our money to put out a record and now we want you to buy one. We also just released a cassette with some brand new material never heard before by human ears other than our own. You can buy both straight from our hands at our show this Tuesday at The Cactus Club. In fact, we're driving all over the place this week to play these tunes in front of people. So I guess the point is for you to buy something from us so we can convert that money into carbon dioxide and shoot poison fog into the atmosphere behind our tar stained van. 

Why go on?
The outside chance that being members of an unsigned, un-hyped band is exactly like the plot of Brewster's Millions. What else are we gonna do?

Links of interest:Our website: Our bandcamp where you can hear and download most of our total recorded output: The tape label who helped us put out our new tape and from whom you can order and/or download said tape:  

Kash, Sleepcomesdown, The Fucking Hot Lights @ Cactus Club, 2496 S. Wentworth Ave., Milwaukee. WI

Comic Review: Hotwire #1

Vol. 1: Requiem for the Dead
(Radical Publishing)
While Hotwire may come off as nothing more than a pathetic attempt at combining Blade Runner with Poltergeist, those readers who are brave enough to foray past the first few pages are in for a treat. Our story takes place in a technology-ridden future where ghosts, for lack of a better word, roam the streets as blue fog, in the form of people and, in some special cases, monsters. Enter Alice Hotwire, a detective exorcist complete with a pretty face, a plethora of unnecessary sarcastic remarks and a smart-ass attitude. In short, she’s the girl of your dreams—the one Mom always warned you about.
Exorcising ghosts (or blue lights as they are called in the novel) and keeping her co-workers off her back is all in a day’s work for Alice, but when these blue lights become increasingly violent, Alice has to become more of a detective and less of an exorcist to solve the mystery. This shift is what makes the read so great! What could have been a cheap imitation of Ghostbusters quickly becomes an excellent mystery novel when writer Steve Pugh shifts gears and lays off the sci-fi and delves into a far more compelling story.

The novel is a little difficult to get through at first. I often found myself rolling my eyes as I frustratingly made my way through some clunky and comically unrealistic jargon/dialogue. The further you read the better it gets, however, and the novel quickly stands on its own drawing less and less from outside sources. A lot of the charm of this book is a direct result of our heroine, Alice Hotwire; the type of woman that most men absolutely hate but secretly dream of taking out to dinner: she’s mean spirited, reckless (and a pain in the ass!), but she does what she does well and she looks good doing it to. Expect to see more of Alice Hotwire in the future as most people will be picking up the next chapter of her story, not because of the compelling narrative, but simply because it’s HER story. But that’s not to say there’s nothing to be gained from Pugh’s storytelling ability. What we have here is a captivating sci-fi mystery tale with some very interesting twists which will intrigue many readers. It’s almost a shame that the main character actually overshadows a really quite interesting story, but I have a feeling that is exactly what writer Steve Pugh was hoping for.

This graphic novel is going to entertain a lot of people but if you’re not into sci-fi I’d stay away from it. If you’re into dystopian futures, piña coladas, ghosts, getting caught in the rain, sassy heroines, or just looking for an interesting read you should definitely pick this one up! (Or give me a call.)—Henry Rentas

Read more reviews, and always...always read Reglar Wiglar

Muggsy's Rock Pick: Chandeliers

Chandeliers, Golden Birthday, Bitchin Bajas @ Empty Bottle, 1035 N. Western Ave., Chicago, IL

Muggsy likes free shows more than he hates synthy pop disco.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Zine Review: Home Sweet Homegrown

By Robyn Jasko (Microcosm)
The subtitle of this book sums up the content quite concisely: "How to Grow, Make and Store Food, No Matter Where You Live". What can I add except to say that it delivers on this stated purpose. And not only that, it does so in a well-organized and easy to read fashion. Ok, I haven’t put it to practical application yet, but I certainly could. Starting with seeds and seedlings through to planting, harvesting and using and preserving the fruits of your labor, Robyn Jasko schools the aspiring green-thumb on the how-to. She even gives us the why-for (page 9). There's instruction on how to make rain barrels, non-toxic bug sprays and baba ganouj and, as a bonus, the book looks great and is lovingly illustrated by fellow Pennsylvanian, Jenn Briggs. Whether you're growing on a window sill in the city or a wild garden plot in the country you now have no excuse to get planting—Chris Auman

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Muggsy McMurphy's Rock Pick: Japandroid

Japandroids, Cadence Weapon @ Lincoln Hall , 2424 N. Lincoln Ave. Chicago, IL

Not from Japan and not androids, but I'm not going to hold that against the Japandroids.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Music Review: Silver Jews

Early Times 90-91 (Drag City)
This is for the hardcore Silver Jews fan out there 'cause these fourteen tracks take the term lo-fi and grinds it down a fi or two. The songs on this compilation come courtesy of the band's Dime Map of the Reef 7" and the Arizona Record 12" and even by early 90s (and Silver Jews!) standards this is some pretty rough stuff, but the album ain’t called Early Times ‘cause of the whisky they were drinkin'. Well, maybe it is. Whatever the quality of sound or total lack thereof, Early Times is simply a testament to the early, early stages of a group of hardworking “slackers” who probably drank too much but cared enough about music to not sweat the small stuff. Form a band now and learn to play later is the best model for good music anyway. All that said, music buffs and Silver Jews fans may rejoice at the release of this historic document, but repeated listening? Not so much—Dove Burman

Read more reviews, and always...always read Reglar Wiglar!

Muggsy's Rock Pick: Prairie Empire

Prairie Empire, The Tiny Band @ High Noon Saloon, 701A Washington, Madison, WI

Could a musical collective from Portland, Oregon lay a serious claim to my beloved prairie land? Maybe Prairie is a metaphor. It better be.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Zine Review: Manifesto #1

Published by Ed Tillman
This small (four by five and a half inch) zine concerns itself with art. That is to say, fine art. Manifesto's introduction to the world starts with an accounting of a conversation among friends about what constitutes art. After the futility of that question is established, the rest of the zine features short snippets by various artists on a variety of art-related subjects. "Polaroid” waxes nostalgic for that archaic camera and film. “Dirty Filthy Art” recommends good old preservative-filled white bread to clean up old paintings, and “Plate Glass Observations” is people watching in an LA neighborhood through the window of a tiny Greek restaurant. If you're artistically inclined or merely artistically interested in art, this zine was made with you in mind. [edtillman]

Read more reviews, and always...always read Reglar Wiglar!

Muggsy's Rock Pick: Cloud Cult

Cloud Cult, Judson Claiborn @ Pritzker Pavillion, Michigan & Randolph, Chicago, IL

If you absolutely have to join a cult, why not make it a Cloud Cult?

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Muggsy's Rock Pick: Pinback @ Bottom Lounge

Pinback, Tim Kinsella @ Bottom Lounge, 1375 W. Lake St., Chicago, IL

You got your Pinback and you got your Nickelback and never the twain shall meet. At least not on stage. I hope.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Muggsy's Rock Pick: Baby Dee

(photo by Jim Newberry)
Baby Dee at @ Old Town School of Folk Music, Lincoln Ave., 4544 N. Lincoln Ave., Chicago, IL

Muggsy's most favorite transgendered, harp playing, ex-circus performer in the world.

Friday, June 15, 2012

What's the Point, Nones?


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 Chicago's known Nones...

What’s it all about?
K Holes, Nones and Paul Cary on a Friday night at Township.

What’s the point?

We really like the K Holes' records and can't wait to play with them.

Why go on?
We have a 7 inch coming out on HoZac this Summer and we are currently working on a full length.

K-Holes, Nones, Paul Cary @ Township, 2200 N. California, Chicago, IL

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Muggsy's Rock Pick: Lonesome Wyatt

Sad, sad lone
Lonesome Wyatt & the Holy Spooks, Joseph Huber @ High Noon Saloon, 701A Washington, Madison, WI

It's mighty lonesome being Lonesome Wyatt. Good thing he's got the Holy Spooks to keep him company.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Muggsy's Rock Pick: Peter Wolf Crier

Porch wolves.
Peter Wolf Crier, The Blind Shake, Prissy Clerks @ Triple Rock Social Club, 629 Cedar Ave. S., Minneapolis, MN

You've heard about the boy who cried Peter Wolf Crier, right? Well, it wasn't Muggsy. I'm a man and I weep.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Muggsy's Rock Pick: Mucca Pazza @ The Hideout

The search for the missing tuba player continues.
Mucca Pazza @ The Hideout, 1354 W. Wabansia Ave. , Chicago, IL

This the kind of mad cow Muggsy can really march behind. John Philip Sousa is rolling in his grave, ya'll!

Monday, June 11, 2012

Muggsy's Rock Pick: The Eternals @ Pritzker Pavillion

Oh yeah, The Eternals are pretty serious.
The Eternals, Wild Belle @ Pritzker Pavillion, Michigan & Randolph, Chicago, IL

Speaking of Energy Fields, what better place to check out the Eternals than on an old patch of prairie grass set against that back drop of a gigantic metal bean?

Saturday, June 09, 2012

Friday, June 08, 2012

Muggsy's Rock Pick: Electric Youth

Electric Youth, Hank & Cupcakes, Ghosthouse @ Subterranean, 2011 W. North Ave., Chicago, IL

Hey Electric Youth! It's 80's Youth calling: Please stop all this awful 80s retro shit. We're so sick of it back here in 1983 that we had to invent hardcore a couple years ago just to cope. And Thompson Twins are a hundred haircuts better than you anyway. Seriously, if we have to deal with this bad synth pop again in 30 years, we're just gonna blow it all up right now! DON'T MAKE US DO THAT!!!

Thursday, June 07, 2012

VIDEO: Die Antwoord, Baby's on Fire

Comic Review: My Friend Dahmer

It’s strange to think that serial killer/cannibal/sexual predator Jeffrey Dahmer had friends growing up. Right? I mean, it’s possible that he could have had a few close friends who shared his morbid interests in anatomy and alcohol. More probably, he was that weird, loner freak that kids avoided like a cootie plague. Or maybe it was somewhere in between. Comic artist Derf Backderf was one of those high school “friends” but we’re keeping the quotes around that particular term. Backderf (best known for his long-running weekly strip “The City”) attended the same junior high and later high school as Dahmer. That makes him more than qualified to give us the graphic novel, My Friend Dahmer—a detailed and researched account of Dahmer's teenaged years in rural Ohio. Backderf uses his own memories and those of his friends plus hours of videotaped FBI interviews, radio, tv and print media to construct his story.

Derf categorizes Dahmer as a “true nobody,” a strange adolescent: lost, forgettable and easily ignored by most students and teachers. Dahmer was on the outside of Derf’s tight circle of high school pals, but he certainly didn’t go unnoticed by them. His social awkwardness and sense of humor (usually mean-sprited) earned him admiration from Derf’s gang. They even formed the tongue-in-cheek Dahmer Fan Club in his honor. Derf recounts Dahmer's fascination with roadkill and dead animals, his binge drinking all through high school and his lack of empathy towards others. He gives us a glimpse into a deeply troubled young man who needed someone to step in and do something. Derf is amazed and a little dismayed at how the adults at their school and in their community—Dahmer's own parents!—were not able to pick up on some obvious red flags. Backderf doesn’t deal with Dahmer's life after graduation. He doesn't go into the details of his crimes or offer any explanations or answers. There are none. He simply offers an account of the adolescent years of a sociopath.

It's quite evident that producing a full-length graphic novel has helped Derf improve as an artist, a fact he readily admits in his intro to the book. Those familiar with Derf's weekly strip will notice his drawing style in Dahmer has more depth and contrast and his characters are less exaggerated. This is a serious work and Backderf's drawing and storytelling chops are up to the task in this fascinating yet decidedly non-sensational bookChris Auman

Read more reviews, and always...always read Reglar Wiglar!

Muggsy's Rock Pick: Royal Headache

Staring too long at this photo will give you a royal headache.
Royal Headache, OBN III's, Football @ The Burlington, 3425 W Fullerton Ave.

I like my headaches royal, blinding and Australian.

Wednesday, June 06, 2012

Muggsy's Rock Pick: O'Death

O'Death, Charlie Parr, Adam Helwin @ Cactus Club, 2496 S. Wentworth Ave., Milwaukee. WI

When Muggsy is forced to listened to some random banjo and fiddle band, he prays for O'Death.

Tuesday, June 05, 2012

Monday, June 04, 2012

Muggsy's Rock Pick: Zeus @ Schuba's

Zeus, The Kickback, The Van Goghs @ Schuba's, 3159 N. Southport Ave., Chicago, IL

By Zeus' beard! What new heights of lazy band-naming hath these plebians aspired to? Could they not have come up with a better one than Zues? Did no one darest to Google Hephaestus? Yes, I guess someone did.

Sunday, June 03, 2012

Music Review: Southside Stranglers

Devilled EP (self-released)
Oshkosh rocks kosh b’gosh. Oshkosh's Southside Stranglers have a 90s sound that does remind one of Helmet in its driving, yet totally moshable rhythmic attack. It’s heavy, a little edgy and slightly menacing. The Devilled EP is damn near an LP with seven tunes tightly packed into just over twenty minutes. “The Blood We Bleed,” while perhaps not the best song title ever, is the standout track track for me. The packaging on this CD is simple and pretty cool. Can’t do that on an MP3. Nope—Muggsy McMurphy [Southside Stranglers]

Read more reviews, and always...always read Reglar Wiglar!

Muggsy's Rock Pick: Do Division!

The Antlers, Pinebender, Cory Chisel & The Wandering Sons, Teengirl Fantasy, The People's Temple, Eiren Caffall @ Do Division, 2000 W. Division, Chicago IL

Muggsy saw Pinebender at Big Horse back when there was a Big Horse and it was damn near the loudest thing he ever heard. We'll see if they can do Do Division like that.

Saturday, June 02, 2012

Muggsy's Rock Pick's: Do Division!

Peanut Butter Wolf, The Besnard Lakes, Craig Finn (of The Hold Steady), Mannequin Men, In Tall Buildings, Chris Connelly @ Do Division Fest, 2000 W. Division, Chicago, IL

This is why Muggsy would do Do Division: Peanut Butter Wolf 'cause he makes me feel hungry, Besnard Lakes 'cause they make me feel swimmy, Mannequin Men 'cause they make me feel stiff, In Tall Buildings 'cause they make me batophobic; Chris Connelly 'cause he makes me feel all Connelly and Craig Finn 'cause he makes me feel Finnish. Finished.

Friday, June 01, 2012

Music Review: Hot Lunch "Killer Smile" 7"

“Killer Smile” b/w “You’re Alright: 7” (Who Can You Trust? Records, Germany)
Keeping with the cafeteria theme here, Hot Lunch serve up some pretty fierce rock and roll on this piping hot 7". The a-side features the thriller, “Killer Smile” with a heavy acid rock riff and some high octane energy. The b-side is a cover song from the Hal Jepson 1980 skater film Skateboard Madness. The actual name of the song and its original performers and writer(s) seem to be lost to history, or at least it's lost to my feeble internet search. It's what you could call a love song from a surfer dude who doesn’t express his feeling all that well except to say, you're my baby and we'll leave it at that. Cassettes and more coming from Hot Lunch. Your lunch ticket's about to get stamped!—Lunch Lady Sue [Hot Lunch]

Read more reviews, and always...always read Reglar Wiglar!

Muggsy's Rock Pick: Black Belles

Black Belles, BBU, Moon Furies, @ Do Division Fest, 2000 W. Division, Chicago, IL

I hate people so it's a no brainer that I would not want to be around as many of them as possible at an outdoor event where alcohol is being consumed in large quantities. However, if you tell me there's going to be Southern Gothic Ladies dressed in black performing live at said event, then sure, why not.