Friday, November 1, 2013

12 O'Clock Track: "Blank" is terrifying, sludgy metal from New Orleans

Posted By on 11.01.13 at 12:00 PM

Take as Needed for Pain
  • Take as Needed for Pain
Legendary New Orleans metal act Eyehategod is in town this weekend, playing back-to-back Cobra Lounge shows this Saturday and Sunday. The band formed in 1988, creating a doomy, molasses-slow sludge metal racket that was as heavy and intense as it was terrifying. Highly publicized drug addictions and criminal records made the band's loathsome and misanthropic moods and lyrics seem all the more raw and real—a friend of mine who caught them at Fireside Bowl in the mid-90's said that he was legitimately scared of the band. In his words, they made "Neurosis look like the Promise Ring." It seems like over the past few years, more attention has been paid to Eyehategod's several side projects than to the band itself—guitarist Jimmy Bower plays drums in the Phil Anselmo-fronted Down and vocalist Mike IX Williams plays in the experimental industrial act Corrections House with Chicago boys Bruce Lamont and Sanford Parker—and while said offshoots are totally great and brutal in their own right, nothing comes close to the pure sonic punishment that is the full-on core lineup of Eyehategod. The band was dealt a tragic blow back in August when drummer Joey LaCaze died of respiratory failure just two days after his 42nd birthday. They bounced back quickly, though, playing in Austin last weekend with special guest drummer Dale Crover (of a little band called the Melvins), and today they officially announced a new full-time basher, Aaron Hill, another NOLA metal vet. In anticipation of this weekend's shows, today's 12 O'Clock Track is "Blank" off of Eyehategod's 1993 LP Take as Needed for Pain, my favorite release of theirs. The album's opener kind of sets up the vibe for what's to come: volume, filth, lead-heavy sludge metal.

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Thursday, October 31, 2013

The good Dr. Young—social media superstar!

Posted By on 10.31.13 at 04:00 PM

Dr. Quentin Young in 2010
  • Dom Najolia/Chicago Sun-Times
  • Dr. Quentin Young in 2010

I finally have a little good news to report from Chicago's left-of-center front.

Mayor Emanuel awoke yesterday from a Scrooge-like nightmare and said, "Holy shit! I'm a Democrat. Why am I acting like Texas senator Ted Cruz?"

Then he promptly called N'Dana Carter and other members of the Mental Health Movement to apologize for closing all those clinics.

Well, we can dream.

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Street View 135: Michelle takes a walk on the dark side

Posted By on 10.31.13 at 03:09 PM

Street View is a fashion series in which Isa Giallorenzo spotlights some of the coolest styles seen in Chicago.

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Since today is Halloween I decided to give you some darkness. I also wanted to balance out my last post by paying homage to black. Black is mysterious, glamorous, elegant, rebellious, introspective . . . So much can be said about this mystical noncolor, an all-time fashionista favorite. And it can also make an impact if you play with shapes, proportions, layers, and maybe add a little twist—like Michelle's winged wedge sneakers. See it in its full glory after the jump.

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Promising CPS principal follows promising CPS administrator to Madison

Posted By on 10.31.13 at 02:36 PM

Nancy Hanks at Melody elementary in June.
  • Ryan Lowry
  • Nancy Hanks at Melody elementary in June. "I'm comfortable in Cambridge, but I'm even more comfortable here in Garfield Park," she said then.
​In June I wrote about Melody elementary, one of Chicago's countless hypersegregated public schools. The enrollment at Melody, in West Garfield Park, is 98 percent black and 99 percent low-income. The school was on probation because of its test scores, which have been dismal for years. Melody was being consolidated with Delano, another poor, African-American school with dismal test scores.

But Melody had something going for it: a young, energetic, highly regarded principal—Nancy Hanks. She'd gotten a master's at Harvard in 2009, in a training program designed specifically to produce principals for CPS, and she'd been at Melody for three years, during which time she'd worked hard to set a new tone at the school.

In August, Hanks, 31, let administrators know she was leaving for Madison, where she'd been offered a district-level job as deputy assistant superintendent for elementary schools.

Hanks grew up on the west side and attended public schools—Lewis elementary, Thorp Scholastic Academy, and Whitney Young Magnet High School. "I was born and raised here, so I knew what I was signing up for," she told me in May, in her small office at Melody.

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High Spirits bring their over-the-top power metal to Reggie's this weekend

Posted By on 10.31.13 at 02:00 PM

2013
  • 2013
One of the most notable names in Chicago heavy metal is Chris Black. He's a member of Dawnbringer, Superchrist, Aktor, and Pharaoh, and the former bass player in black-metal revolving door Nachtmystium. Since 2009, Black has also been recording and playing shows with High Spirits, essentially a solo act that has evolved into a full-blown live band. This Saturday, High Spirits—who don't play live very often—will be taking the stage at Reggie's Rock Club with Manilla Road, Bible of the Devil, Harbinger, and Ancient Dreams. As the name suggests, High Spirits is all about good times. A far cry from the intense, bleak metal of some of Black's other projects, this act owes more to the good-vibe, tough-guy rock 'n' roll of Judas Priest and Saxon. On High Spirits' latest record, the 2013 EP, Black lays down smooth, catchy, Halfordesque vocals over sharp, harmonized guitar shredding. There's even a lofty power ballad, the heartfelt "If I'm Gone," that's rife with hand claps and a massive, wanking guitar solo. Cheesy? Sure. But that doesn't matter. In the end, it might even be the point. High Spirits is fun and undeniably great, and Saturday's set should not be missed.

You can hear 2013—which I can't stop listening to, by the way—in its entirety after the jump.

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The Absent Column documents the battle over Prentice Hospital—but you didn't see it at CIFF

Posted By on 10.31.13 at 01:13 PM

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  • The Absent Column

Journalist Nathan Eddy says he was sitting in his Berlin apartment, reading about the battle over Northwestern University's plan to destroy Bertrand Goldberg's Prentice Women's Hospital , when he decided to do something about it.

"I went to school at Northwestern and fell in love with Chicago architecture while I was there," Eddy says. "I remember being amazed at how unique Prentice was, especially in its Streeterville neighborhood."

Using his own money, and working with two friends from his NU student days, producer Oscar Boyson and cinematographer Felipe Lima, Eddy spent a week interviewing opposing parties in the controversy, as well as shooting the building and the city. Nate DeYoung edited their footage down to a little more than seven minutes, and Eddy submitted the handsome finished product, The Absent Column, to the Chicago International Film Festival, thinking that would be the best way to reach Chicago audiences.

To his dismay, CIFF turned it down. But The Absent Column has been accepted at other fests, including the Architecture and Design Film Festival, which will come to Chicago next spring, screening at the Music Box in late April.

By then, Eddy notes, the actual building will probably be gone, since NU prevailed and demolition is already under way.

That'll make his visual tribute—which includes shots that show the building scarred by neglect and comments by architecture critic Paul Goldberger—all the more valuable.

But you don't have to wait till spring to see it; here's the video:

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Best shows to see: Phuture, Arkona, My Bloody Valentine

Posted By on 10.31.13 at 12:35 PM

My Bloody Valentine
  • My Bloody Valentine
Happy Halloween! As to be expected with weekends in Chicago, there are tons of shows to catch, and starting today there are even more than usual, with Halloween parties and cover sets popping up all over town. Some of those include the obligatory Misfits cover band tonight at Ultra Lounge, two nights of cover sets at the Double Door (tonight's show is headlined by all-female Kiss cover band Slutter, while tomorrow it's Sex Therapy as Janis Joplin), tonight's Lake Michigan cruise with local metal act Bloodiest, and a Halloween party at Burlington featuring a performance from local punk band Bully in the Hallway. And speaking of spooky and scary, NOLA-based sludge-metal masters Eyehategod will be bringing their terrifying tracks to Cobra Lounge on both Saturday and Sunday.

All the info for the weekend you'll need is up on Soundboard. After the jump are some words that our writers have on some especially notable shows.

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12 O'Clock Track: Rob Crow's haunting cover of the Misfits' "Astro Zombies"

Posted By on 10.31.13 at 12:00 PM

RobCrowalbumcover.jpg
One of the problems I've run into while trying to celebrate Halloween this year, besides finding a costume (my ideas make Matt Carmichael's lame costume look pretty decent), is picking a good song to capture the, uh, spirit. "Monster Mash" is too cliche. John Carpenter's theme from Halloween? Too obvious. A Misfits number is a little too easy. But a Rob Crow spin on a Misfits tune? That's just what I was looking for in a 12 O'Clock Track for today. A handful of years ago I stumbled upon a live recording of the Pinback singer-guitarist doing a lovely rendition of the Misfits' "Astro Zombies," and his haunting take on a song involving flesh-eating creatures from space sent to destroy earth floored me. I only wish Crow would release an official studio version of his take on the tune—the above album cover isn't actually for "Astro Zombies," but the artwork for the CD single of "I Hate You, Rob Crow" is so appropriate for today I couldn't pass up using it. Anyway, take a listen to the tune below—it's a real, um, treat:

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Did you read about Koji Uehara, climate change, and shit?

Posted By on 10.31.13 at 11:24 AM

Koji Uehara: Read his blog.
  • Rob Carr/Getty Images
  • Koji Uehara: Read his blog.
Reader staffers share stories that fascinate, amuse, or inspire us.

Hey, did you read:

• About the real-time map of births and deaths that is a little too eerie? Kevin Warwick

• That the national security apparatus has been secretly collecting millions of records a month, potentially including e-mails, from Google and Yahoo? Mick Dumke

• Naomi Klein on how the science of climate change says we either revolt or we're fucked? Tony Adler

Yasmin Nair's hilarious and fascinating disquisition on shit? Sam Worley

• Glenn Greenwald on leaving the Guardian? Tal Rosenberg

• About photographer Mark Nixon's portraits of much-loved stuffed animals? Aimee Levitt

• Or see these great photographs of American malls in the 80s? Gwynedd Stuart

• About Red Sox closer Koji Uehara's blog, translated courtesy of the Boston Globe? ("After everything is finished, I’m going to drink a lot of beer.") Kate Schmidt

• Take-out joint Real Kitchen dressed up as Alinea for Halloween? Mike Sula

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New York Times cites Reuters citing God knows who

Posted By on 10.31.13 at 10:00 AM

Once removed, an anonymous source is still anonymous.
  • kieferpix/Photos.com
  • Once removed, an anonymous source is still anonymous.

A little attribution has become a dangerous thing.

We all know a lot of attribution has its perils, which is why so many sources prefer to lie low, happy to inflect and direct the news so long as nobody knows they're doing it. For a long time, plenty of reporters were cool with protecting sources this way.

Today, not so much. New York Times public editor Margaret Sullivan had this to say in August about the use of anonymous sources: "Readers deplore it, public editors shake a finger at it, Times editors and reporters say they try to minimize it." The Times style book calls it a "last resort."

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