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by Benjamin Aspray

4 Jun 2010


Full disclosure: my tolerance for neo-electro, or nü-rave, or whatever the hell you want to call it, began and ended with Justice. A handful of artists who may fall under these umbrella terms are still great—Hot Chip comes immediately to mind—but understand that they’ve remained so via genre dilettantism. The category itself, loosely defined by minimized acid house textures and hyper-compressed, white noise rhythms, is both redeemed and limited by its simplicity. The unanimous gushing over Sleigh Bells’ recent LP suggests that this big ‘n’ dumb thing still holds a lot of appeal for a lot of people, but not for this critic. A recent video from Mr. Flash, a member of the French-tested, Vice-approved Ed Banger label, seems to exemplify this: all T&A, bright lights, and shock value, but little reason to turn on the song on its own.

Color me surprised, then, when a friend tipped me off to Huoratron, and the high-concept film clip for his new single, “Corporate Occult”—and I liked it! Like, I could actually imagine LISTENING to it!  The severe-looking Finnish producer’s trick seems to be going for slight complexities—- an arrhythmic drum sample here, a demonic chipmunk scream there - where his kin may be content to turn up the volume.

The very NSFW video that accompanies it, directed by the undoubtedly talented Cédric Blaisbois (also responsible for the Mr. Flash video linked above) is similarly deceptively trite. What I first dismissed as yet another attempt to outdo Chris Cunningham is… still derivative of that iconic director, but it’s hard not to crack a smile at the outlandish violence. I won’t spoil it, but suffice to say that it plays like a cautionary tale about going home with the kinds of chicks you’re likely to meet at a neo-electro/nü-rave/whatever-the-hell-you-want-to-call-it show.

To close, I’ll leave you with a quote from my friend, on Huoratron’s pseudonym: “Huora means whore by the way. one of emancipative things i have been to has been their gig when the whole audience was shouting ‘huora, huora, huora’ together. It’s like a postmodern church.”

by Jonathan Simrin

4 Jun 2010


With Bill Condon attached to direct the pilot and Laura Linney in the leading role, The Big C very well looks like another one of Showtime’s hit series. Linney stars as a teacher recently diagnosed with cancer, who wants to make every moment count. Although that may come off as a cliche, The Big C seems to adopt a lighter tone that works in its favor. Oliver Platt and Gabourey Sidibe co-star as Linney’s husband and student.

by Steve Slagg

3 Jun 2010



Looking for a job? Chicago-based web comedienne Liz Thompson gets some résumé advice in the latest installment of her vlog series “How to Liz”, in which she learns 52 things in 52 weeks with the help of her friends. Most important lesson learned? Work often, sometimes.

Liz gets points for no-frills vlogging. Apparently all you need to build a following are colored markers, a three-second GarageBand theme song, impeccable timing, and some very funny friends. Chicago comedy buffs should keep an eye out: Liz’s friend roster includes some iO and Second City regulars. And her newest fan is Looking for Alaska author and vlogbrother John Green.

Other “How to Liz” highlights include How to Be Fit!, How to Maintain Eye Contact!, and the surprisingly chilling How to Solve a Murder!

by Alistair Dickinson

3 Jun 2010


Pogo, the Australian producer of “Alice” fame, has returned to YouTube with “Gardyn”. While Pogo famously mashed up tunes and clips from various movies (and made music videos out of equally mashed up scenes from those movies), this time he has decided to build a track completely from scratch. Recorded using sounds captured in his own backyard, the song and video prove that Pogo is more than capable of channeling his distinctive style with elements other than singing Disney characters. It also shows that he lives in a pretty awesome house, and that chopped-up scenes of his mother singing in a garden may be just as trippy as any compendium of scenes from Mary Poppins.

by Peta Jinnath Andersen

3 Jun 2010


Over the Memorial Day weekend, author Jennifer Belle hired 40 actresses to read her latest novel in New York hot spots—while laughing uproariously.

Wondering what the fuss is about? Here’s an excerpt from Belle’s latest, The 7 Year Bitch, courtesy of Riverhead Books and Penguin USA.

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As I walked along Waverly Place to meet my friend Joy for dinner, I saw a girl in her twenties leisurely crossing the street,and something about her brought that whole decade of my life back to me. I had never seen this girl before, but I knew her. I knew that what she was doing now was just getting through the years until she had children. She was planning, as she walked, what she was going to do that night to ward off loneliness. She wasn’t thinking of it that way, but that’s what she was doing.

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