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Friday, March 22, 2013

Preview Permanent Records' international RSD lineup

Posted By on 03.22.13 at 03:15 PM

WatchOut!s Flashbacker
  • WatchOut!'s Flashbacker
Record Store Day, the high holiday for obsessive vinyl hounds, is still almost a month away, but the list of RSD-exclusive releases that will be available is already up. Among the Call of Duty: Black Ops II-branded Avenged Sevenfold vinyl and five-album Emerson, Lake & Palmer picture disc box sets there are a few wilier-looking specimens here and there. Two of them are special RSD releases from the Permanent Records label that are a little too exciting for me to wait a month to post.

Both are vinyl reissues of bands from outside the States. The one that might jump out at you first is the evocatively named Cuntz, from Melbourne, Australia. Their Aloha album, originally released on the Australian label Homeless, has some of the Birthday Party's ghastly vibe and a lot of sonic sludge and aggressively abrasive attitude borrowed from the 80s heyday of the pigfuck movement.

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The nation's largest vertical farm is in Bedford Park, and other food news bites

Posted By on 03.22.13 at 02:41 PM

• Chicagoist reports on the opening of FarmedHere, the nation's largest vertical farm, which is located in Bedford Park (and grows the most intensely fragrant basil I've ever encountered).

• Driftless Appetite makes squirrel ragu.

• A bunch of Wrigley rooftop servers are suing their boss for stealing tips, reports the Trib.

• Grubstreet on Chicago's chef James Beard Award nominees.

• LTHForum unleashed its latest list of Great Neighborhood Restaurants.

Check, Please! announced the 17 candidates in the running to replace Alpana Singh.

Newcity reports on the former careers of local chefs.

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The accidental jazz of German indie-rock singer Monika Roscher

Posted By on 03.22.13 at 02:00 PM

Monika Roscher
  • Juan Martin Koch
  • Monika Roscher
I don't think I've ever encountered a jazz big band led by a masked woman with an electric guitar strapped around her neck, but that was before I heard the Monika Roscher Big Band. On the group's recent debut album, Failure in Wonderland (Enja), the 29-year-old composer, singer, guitarist, and arranger from a small village in Bavaria fearlessly collides disparate musical worlds with seemingly little regard to how they mesh. Her melodies and singing, to say nothing of the occasional skronking guitar solo, belong to the indie-rock world, but her 18-piece band usually sounds like a typical university big band—precise, blocky, and more than a little bit square.

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Hey Rahm: If Toni Preckwinkle unseats you, you'll have more time to go skiing

Posted By on 03.22.13 at 01:08 PM

Hey Rahm, how are the slopes?
With all due respect to my dear friends in Mayor Emanuel's press operation—and you know I love each and every one of you very, very much . . .

What the heck were you thinking yesterday?

I mean, announcing the closing of 54 grammar schools—over 11 percent of the total—on a day when Mayor Emanuel's skiing in Utah?

Who's running the big-announcement division around here—LeBron James?

Actually, LeBron at least showed up to announce his Big Decision. If he did things like Mayor Emanuel, he'd have sent his cousin Clarence before the cameras to say, "LeBron is taking his talents to South Beach . . ."

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Experimental animation at Black Cinema House on Sunday

Posted By on 03.22.13 at 12:32 PM

From one of Bodurins mixed-media animations
  • From one of Bodurin's mixed-media animations
On Sunday at 6:30 PM Black Cinema House, the south-side organization devoted to presenting "screenings and discussions of underseen works by film and video makers of the African and other diasporas," will present a program entitled Fables of the Future, a collection of animated works by local artist Adebukola Bodunrin. The four shorts explore themes of "language, culture, and media," manipulating found images through digital and manual techniques. One of these, even when life is sad, people still have a good time, deconstructs images from Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger's classic Tales of Hoffmann, though other shorts combine original material and found footage. The highlight of the evening is a mixed-media performance titled Doing Good but Behaving Badly, which will feature School of the Art Institute professor Tatsu Aoki providing musical accompaniment on upright bass.

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12 O'Clock Track: "Demon to Lean On," the Nirvana-flavored new single from Wavves

Posted By on 03.22.13 at 12:00 PM

Afraid of Heights
  • Afraid of Heights
Next week Nathan Williams of Wavves will be releasing a new record, Afraid of Heights (this time around on Mom + Pop) and today's 12 O'Clock Track is "Demon to Lean On," the record's lead-off single. It's more of his signature slacker-punk, but seems to lean slightly less toward the pop side than 2010's King of the Beach (which I've heard more than one person compare to Blink-182) and more toward 90s grunge. The verse's guitar licks and tones are pulled straight from Nevermind and the song's quiet-loud-quiet dynamics are a staple of everything post-Pixies. One thing that "Demon to Lean On" doesn't borrow from 90s West coast rock is the misery and self-loathing often associated with it. This jam still has a big, sunny hook and sugary melodies piled on top of its pummeling choruses. The video for the song is after the jump.

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I tried Ommegang's Game of Thrones tie-in beer Iron Throne

Posted By on 03.22.13 at 11:31 AM

An Iron Throne that doesnt have that asshole Joffrey perched on it
  • Gwynedd Stuart
  • An Iron Throne that doesn't have that asshole Joffrey perched on it
If, as a 30-year-old woman, I could change my name and not have it be this gigantic hassle, I would change it to Daenerys Targaryen. It's so vowely and lovely. I'll settle for nursing baby dragons around the house in this very realistic Daenerys wig I just found on eBay for the bargain Buy It Now price of $22.99.

That said, it's hard for me to understand how a beer company could resist naming its Game of Thrones tie-in beer—a blonde ale!—after Khal Drogo's fair-haired widow. Instead, Cooperstown, New York, craft brewery Ommegang went with Iron Throne. Which is fine. Especially because it was good.

I'm not a serious beer drinker. I am, however, a serious Game of Thrones watcher. (Season three premieres in a mere ten days and I won't even watch a trailer or commercial for fear of spoiling a second.) On Tuesday evening, when I found out there was an Iron Ale tasting in progress at Monk's Pub, I ran down ten flights of stairs, beat up a child for his Razor scooter, and zipped over the river to get there before they ran out.

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Did you read about Chinua Achebe, Siri, and pizza?

Posted By on 03.22.13 at 11:06 AM

Chinua Achebe, RIP
  • Craig Ruttle/AP
  • Chinua Achebe, RIP
Reader staffers share stories that fascinate, amuse, or inspire us.

Hey, did you read:

• That conservatives should embrace environmentalism as a way to protect property rights? Mick Dumke

• That Chinua Achebe, the author of Things Fall Apart, has died? Tal Rosenberg

• That Siri might soon haunt your every waking moment? Mara Shalhoup

• That according to a new study, NPR has one of the quickest-loading online news sites, the Trib one of the slowest? (Interesting methodological exchange in the comments here.) Kate Schmidt

• That the understudy for Cat was fired from the Broadway production of Breakfast at Tiffany's due to lack of acting talent? Aimee Levitt

• That Chicago leads the way in late-night pizza orders? Luca Cimarusti

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Nature Museum wants you to start thinking about what you stick in your mouth

Posted By on 03.22.13 at 10:34 AM

  • Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum
In his spare time, Steve Sullivan, the urban ecology curator at the Chicago Academy of Sciences, likes to hunt squirrels. Recently, he showed a specimen he was planning to cook up and serve as dinner to a friend.

"That's not dinner!" Sullivan's friend exclaimed after inspecting what appeared to be a rather meager hunk of meat.

And yet, as Sullivan points out, 60 or 70 years ago, an ordinary American family could make a similarly sized hunk of meat last for an entire week.

"Food: The Nature of Eating," the new exhibit Sullivan helped curate at the Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum (it opens tomorrow and will stay open till 9/8), examines, among other things, how the changes Americans made to nature affected their diets and how they think about food.

"We tend to think that there's a human world and a natural world," says Sullivan, "but we're part of the natural world, and we're most connected to it through our food."

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Himmel's is home to the original Chicago Neapolitan pie

Posted By on 03.22.13 at 10:07 AM

pizza, Himmels
It's difficult to remember what a relative pizza desert Chicago was 13 years ago. We've always had our deep dish and our cracker crust, but long before Spacca Napoli, Pizzeria da Nella Cucina Napoletana, Reno, or Great Lake came along, you had to have traveled to Italy to know what acceptable Neapolitan pizza was remotely like. And then in 1999 the late Cesar D'Ortenzi, owner of Lincoln Square's La Bocca Della Verita, opened Pizza D.O.C. around the corner on Lawrence Avenue. Naming it for the Italian government's designation of standards and regional authenticity for wine and certain foods, D'Ortenzi backed up his pretensions by importing a massive wood-burning brick oven from Italy, and in short order began blasting out beautiful charred and blistered thin-crust pies the likes of which the city had never seen.

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