Posted inArts & Culture

The Sound of Music

The Light Opera Works production of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s classic has a fine orchestra and lavish sets, and the harmonies are sublime, especially when the nuns sing. But none of this compensates for the paper-thin characters offered by the cast, with the exception of Jamie Axtell as the talent scout/unapologetic mooch Max and, sometimes, Winifred […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Nature, Remystified

Shona Macdonald’s abstracted landscapes at the Chicago Cultural Center are precisely detailed and otherworldly. Each of the more than 100 shapes in Isles #1 looks like a different protozoan, and variable shadings add to their strangeness. The forms in Mountains, Craters, Shells seem to rise together out of emptiness: as if in an alchemical reaction, […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Matthew Dear

Nu-‘lectro darling Matthew Dear grew up in Texas, and he moved to Detroit too late to have firsthand knowledge of the time when Motor City techno defined and refined the sound heard on dance floors around the world. But though he first got known as a microhouse artist–his 2003 full-length debut, Leave Luck to Heaven […]

Posted inArts & Culture


In 2003 I sang the praises of the three O’Malley brothers and their intense, engaging style of garage-ish rock, which blends power-pop hookiness with a rockabilly fierceness. It’s been nice to see the love spread since then: on the strength of their debut, Family Jewels (Failed Experiment), and a follow-up 2004 EP, Boogie Woogie Rumble […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Zero Boys

For a band from Indianapolis whose sole original LP was less than 23 minutes long and only available sporadically in the years after its authors blipped across the early-80s hardcore radar like vodka-mad porcupines, the Zero Boys were amazingly influential. By the time 1982’s Vicious Circle was rereleased by Panic Button in 2000, I’d already […]

Posted inNews & Politics

The Straight Dope

OK, before asking my question, I have to admit that I got the idea for it from an episode of Beavis and Butt-head. Anyways, can I hop in a box, have a friend take me to the post office, and send myself to far-off destinations? If I can, would it be cheaper than airfare? I’m […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Diplo, Books

Musique concrete–music made from recordings of everday sounds–alienated the cold-war-era European bourgeoisie, but when the premise was unwittingly revisited decades later by American sample junkies like Public Enemy’s Bomb Squad, it turned out that what didn’t quite work as art music worked great as pop. Composing with found sounds is old hat now, in the […]