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Conor Oberst’s Rape Accuser Admits She Lied, Issues Public Apology

Conor Oberst

The woman who accused singer-songwriter Conor Oberst of raping her when she was 16 years old has offered a public apology for her claims. A note from a representative for Oberst says that Joanie Faircloth has issued an official statement admitting that she lied in a post on the xoJane comments section, blaming the accusation on a “difficult period in [her] life,” when she was trying to deal with the illness of her son. Oberst later filed a libel suit against Faircloth, and as of last week she had yet to appear in court. The full text of the statement from Oberst’s representative, including Faircloth’s apology, is below.

“North Carolina resident Joan Elizabeth Harris aka Joanie Faircloth has issued a public apology to Conor Oberst recanting her on-line accusations of being sexually assaulted by the musician. After seven months of attempts to reach Ms. Faircloth to request that she rescind the false accusations she made against Mr. Oberst in the comments section of the xoJane website in December 2013, and repeated elsewhere over the following months, Ms. Faircloth contacted Mr. Oberst’s lawyers and today issued a notarized statement. Her statement reads in full:

‘The statements I made and repeated online and elsewhere over the past six months accusing Conor Oberst of raping me are 100% false. I made up those lies about him to get attention while I was going through a difficult period in my life and trying to cope with my son’s illness. I publicly retract my statements about Conor Oberst, and sincerely apologize to him, his family, and his fans for writing such awful things about him. I realize that my actions were wrong and could undermine the claims of actual sexual assault victims and for that I also apologize. I’m truly sorry for all the pain that I caused.’

In February Mr. Oberst filed a libel complaint in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York asserting that the only relationship between the two parties was one of artist and fan; Ms. Faircloth had no physical contact with Mr. Oberst at the Durham, NC show she claimed was the location of the alleged sexual assault.”

A copy of Joanie Faircloth's signed statement

(via Spin)

Top 10 Hip-Hop Releases of 2014 (So Far)

words by Nathan G. O’Brien

 1. Schoolboy Q – Oxymoron (Top Dawg / Interscope)

Schoolboy Q "Oxymoron"

Oxymoron is the first album out of the TDE/Black Hippy camp since good kid, m.A.A.d city catapulted Kendrick Lamar to stardom. And with its arrival, Schoolboy Q has emerged much in the same way: a conflicted individual whose rhyme scheme and subject matter is as varied as his beat selection.

He traverses through redundant clichés (“Hell of a Night,” “Man of the Year”) and deeply personal lyricism (“Hoover Street,” “Blind Threats”) with vigor and an unmatched attention to detail. On the trap-tinged “Prescription/Oxymoron,” his internal conflict raps are at their most obvious, as he addresses the crippling effects of taking prescription drugs and the allure of selling them in the street. He asks, “How can they say feeling good is an addiction?” while the hook goes, “I just stopped selling crack today.”

2. Timeless Truth – Dominican Diner EP (Self-Released)

Timeless Truth "Dominican Diner"

Following up on last year’s under-the-radar cassette the Brugal & Presidentes EP, Oprime39 and Solace, the largely unknown New York City-based duo that makeup Timeless Truth, have returned with a new EP. Destined to be criminally underrated, Dominican Diner is a perfect combination of laid-back summer-y hip-hop — perfect for barbecues and sunny bike rides through the city (“Trife,” “Crème Da La Crème,” “Glory”) — and traditional New York rap at its most authentic (“Out of the Loop,” “Bail Money in the Mattress,” “T.I.R.O.”).

3. Freddie Gibbs & Madlib – Piñata (Madlib Invazion)

Freddie Gibbs & Madlib "Piñata"

The latest in a string of collaborations between emcee Freddie Gibbs and super-producer Madlib, Piñata is on a straight-up gangster rap tip. Madlib’s beats — culled from old-school soul, funk, and blaxploitation — are the backdrop to Gangsta Gibbs signature misogyny, drug dealing, and pistol play. And although at large he’s unapologetically keeping it real, Gibbs isn’t afraid to show a little bit of remorse. While he’ll give the listener a glimpse of his softer side (“Deeper,” “Broken”) he always holds back enough as to not compromise his rugged ghetto-hardened exterior (“Thuggin’,” “Real,” “Knicks”).

4. Step Brothers – Lord Steppington (Rhymesayers Entertainment)

Step Brothers "Lord Steppington"

Continuing a partnership the dates back to the early ’00s when producer Alchemist made some beats for emcee Evidences’s group Dilated Peoples, the two have taken form as Step Brothers. Their debut album, Lord Steppington thrives in ‘90s boom-bap nostalgia, bong hits, and in-joking. A song like “Legendary Mesh” is evocative of the album as a whole: Evidence flexes his pay-attention-or-you’ll-miss-it cleverness (“I swear to drunk I’m not God, but getting closer”), while Alchemist’s psychedelic samples, hard drums, and deep bass drive the beat to neck-snapping heights. There are some notable guest spots from the likes of Domo Genesis and Scott Caan (“Bryon G”), Action Bronson (“Mums in the Garage”), and Alchemist’s Gangrene co-conspirator Oh No (“Draw Something”).

5. Atmosphere – Southsiders (Rhymesayers Entertainment)

Atmosphere "Southsiders"

Southsiders is the first Atmosphere album since 2011’s lackluster Family Sign. And while you can still find some leftover moroseness here (“I Love You Like a Brother”), Southsiders is as close to a return to form as we can expect from Slug and Ant, the emcee and producer combo that makes up the nucleus of Atmosphere.

Things have changed: babies were born, people died, and weight was gained. Once you reach a certain age, life becomes more about durability than it does going all out. Realizing that it’s more about finishing the race than it is winning it, on the title track Slug raps, “Life’s too short to fight the feeling /I get a little paranoid for no reason/When the jukebox plays don’t stop believing.” While there were several songs on The Family Sign that had people guessing that they were about the passing of Michael “Eyedea” Larson, “Flicker” leaves nothing to imagination. And there are a handful of tracks here (“Star Shaped Box,” “Bitter,” “Kanye West,” “January on Lake Street”) to appease those that hold the Overcast, Headshots:  Se7en, and Lucy Ford: The Atmosphere EP’s days in high regard.

6. Blu – Good To Be Home (New World Color/Nature Sounds)

Blu "Good To Be Home"

Good To Be Home is a lofty double-disc celebration of Blu’s hometown of Los Angeles. People who grew up listening to hip-hop around the same time Blu did will find plenty of moments to nod in agreement (“Boyz in the Hood,” “Dre Day,” “Bobby Brown”) and there’s enough guest spots (2 Mex, Prodigy, Phil Da Agony, Planet Asia, Krondon) to keep the would-be monotony of a 20-song album at bay.

As far as the production goes, it’s very similar — at times nearly indistinguishable — from track to track, but it’s that sameness that really adds to the overall cohesiveness of the album. Bombay’s beats are peculiar exercises in raw simplicity; at times reminiscent of Apollo Brown and at others seemingly haphazardly-assembled loops. Good To Be Home should be heard with a nice set of headphones to be fully appreciated.

7. Skyzoo & Torae – Barrel Brothers (First Generation Rich Inc./Internal Affairs Entertainment)

Skyzoo & Torae "Barrel Brothers"

After experiencing a modicum of success as solo artists, New York City emcees Skyzoo and Torae come together as Barrel Brothers. Traveling parallel career paths and having collaborated numerous times already, the rugged fluidity of Barrel Brothers comes as no surprise. The duo called upon a grip of producers (Illmind, Oh No, Black Milk, Khrysis, DJ Premier, Apollo Brown) to assemble a tapestry of hard-knocking beats.

Aside from a few select guest spots (Sean Price, Guilty Simpson, Blu) Skyzoo and Torae fully own the project, further cementing themselves as supreme rhyme-slingers. With a focus on skillful lyricism and head-nodding beats Barrel Brothers is boom-bap revivalism at its finest.

8. De La Soul & J. Dilla – Smell the Da.I.S.Y. (mixtape)

De La Soul & J. Dilla "Smell the Da.i.s.y."

Smell the Da.I.S.Y. (Da Inner Soul of Yancy) Is an 11-track mixtape that finds Posdnuos, Dave, and Maseo dropping reworked verses over some unreleased J. Dilla production. The beats will rattle your subs, while De La’s recognizable verses will transport you back to a time before trap and Autotune became the norm. Come on ya’ll, just clap your hands to the beat.

9. D.I.T.C. – The Remix Project (mixtape)

D.I.T.C. "The Remix Project"

Anyone well-versed in ‘90s rap music is already aware of the contributions Diggin In The Crates have made to hip-hop. The emcee/deejay/producer super-crew consisted of Showbiz & AG, Diamond D, OC, Lord Finesse, Fat Joe, Buckwild, and the highly revered Big L.

For the uninitiated and old heads alike, D.I.T.C. has done the rap world a solid in the form of a free download. The Remix Project is a 14-song collection of the crew’s back catalog that has been given the remix treatment. Some of the tracks were remixed in-house by Lord Finesse (“Thick Lord”), Showbiz (“Best Behavior”), Buckwild (“Casualties of the Dice Game”), and Diamond D (“Internationally Known”), but many of them were handed over to some of present day’s masterful beatsmiths. The Alchemist (“We All”), Apollo Brown (“All Love”), DJ Premier (“Diggin in the Crates”), 9th Wonder (“Time to Get Money”), and Marco Polo (“Way of Life”) all take turns breathing new life into songs, some of which are 20 years old.

10. Various Artists – Coalmine Records Presents: Unearthed Mixed by DJ Revolution (mixtape)

Unearthed

Like they did with the DJ Rhettmatic-mixed version of M-Phaze’s 2012 producer album Phazed Out, Coalmine Records dropped another mixtape in the true sense of the word. DJ Revolution mans a nonstop boom-bap party mix of tracks culled from the decade-old hip-hop preservation label’s back catalog. It features production from the likes of Marco Polo, Khrysis, Ayatollah, and more, and raps from Pharoahe Monch, Large Professor, Kool G Rap, Blu, Guilty Simpson, and Sean Price, among others.

Also of note: Army of Pharaohs – In Death Reborn, Onyx – Wakedafucup, Mobb Deep – The Infamous Mobb Deep, Freddie Gibbs & The World’s Freshest – The Tonite Show

Nathan G. O’Brien is an artist and writer living in Minneapolis with his wife, cat, and many bicycles. He sporadically publishes the zines HotDogDayz and The Soda Killers. You can find him on Twitter at @OMG_NOB.

Tommy Ramone, Final Surviving Founding Member of the Ramones, Dies at Age 65

Tommy Ramone

Tom Erdelyi, better known as Tommy Ramone, died of bile duct cancer on Friday at his home in Ridgewood, Queens. He was 65. Tommy Ramone was the founding drummer and last surviving original member of the Ramones, the influential New York City punk rock band.

He played only on the band’s first three albums, their self-titled debut in 1976 and Leave Home and Rocket to Russia, in 1977. He was also the primary author of several of the Ramones’ early classics, including “Blitzkrieg Bop.”

Joey Ramone died in 2001, Dee Dee died in 2002, and Johnny died in 2004.

(via New York Times)

Top 10 Most “Abandoned” Books That People Quit Reading Before They Reach the End

Marilyn Monroe reading James Joyce's "Ulysses"

Marilyn Monroe found time to read “Ulysses” — why haven’t you?

Goodreads has published a very interesting infographic showing which books people are most likely to give up reading partway through. Contemporary books listed include Fifty Shades of Grey and Eat, Pray, Love, and five of the classics most people abandon are, unsurprisingly, Moby Dick and Atlas Shrugged. The infographic goes onto explore other factors such as what makes people abandon books, what causes them to continue reading, and how far into a book they are when they decide they no longer wish to read it.

Interestingly, most people quit reading books after reading fewer than 100 pages. Personally the books I’ve abandoned are often much closer to the end (including On the Road, which I bailed on about 20 pages to the end).

Take a look below at the most abandoned books (click the infographic to see it in full size), and let us know which books you’ve quit reading before finishing.

Abandoned books

(via Goodreads)

Man Suffers Brain Injury From Headbanging to Motörhead

Motorhead

Recently, The Lancet published a case study that examined a 50-year-old patient who visited an ER after having a constant headache for two weeks. He had no signs of drug use or prior medical history indicating that he would be at risk — but he had been to a Motörhead show in the last month.

Surgeons removed a blood clot and the man has made a full recovery, but they linked his subdural hematoma to headbanging.

Doctors wrote in the study that “headbanging, with its brisk forward and backward acceleration and deceleration forces, led to rupturing of bridging veins causing haemorrhage…” and declared that the case “serves as evidence in support of Motörhead’s reputation as one of the most hardcore rock’n’roll acts on earth, if nothing else because of their contagious speed drive and the hazardous potential for headbanging fans to suffer brain injury.”

There you have it: evidence supported by medical doctors that Motörhead rocks.

(via The Daily Beast)

OFF! Announce Summer 2014 Tour Dates With Drummer Dale Crover of Melvins

OFF!

OFF! have announced a new run of tour dates this August in support of their latest album Wasted Years. In place of the group’s usual drummerMario Rubalcaba is Dale Crover of Melvins (and a former member of Nirvana). Joining the band for the tour are California punkers Bad Antics and Arizona hardcore band Gay Kiss, with the Dwarves jumping on select Texas dates. Full dates are below.

OFF! on Tour
w/ Mario Rubalcaba:
7/11 Milton Keynes, UK @ Milton Keynes Bowl *
7/17 Mexico City, Mexico @ Indie Rocks! Forum

w/ Dale Crover (all dates with Bad Antics and Gay Kiss):
8/06 El Paso, TX @ Lowbrow Palace
8/08 San Antonio, TX  @ Korova+
8/09 Austin, TX  @ Mohawk+
8/10 New Orleans, LA @ Siberia
8/11 Baton Rouge, LA @ Spanish Moon
8/13 Orlando, FL @ Backbooth
8/14 Miami, FL @ Churchill’s Pub
8/15 St. Petersburg, FL @ Local 662
8/18 Atlanta, GA @ Drunken Unicorn
8/19 Raleigh, NC @ Kings Barcade
8/21 Washington, DC @ Rock and Roll Hotel
8/22 Brooklyn, NY @ Europa
8/23 Pittsburgh, PA @ Altar Bar
8/24 Cleveland Heights, OH @ Grog Shop

* with Pearl Jam
+ with The Dwarves

Six Writing Tips From John Steinbeck

John Steinbeck

If you’re a writer who’s looking to write better, then there is often no better place to turn to for advice and inspiration than a master of the craft. In addition to Kurt Vonnegut’s seven rules for great writing, we now present to you six writing tips from John Steinbeck, taken from his interview published in the Fall 1975 issue of The Paris Review, seven years after his death.

1. Abandon the idea that you are ever going to finish. Lose track of the 400 pages and write just one page for each day, it helps. Then when it gets finished, you are always surprised.

2. Write freely and as rapidly as possible and throw the whole thing on paper. Never correct or rewrite until the whole thing is down. Rewrite in process is usually found to be an excuse for not going on. It also interferes with flow and rhythm which can only come from a kind of unconscious association with the material.

3. Forget your generalized audience. In the first place, the nameless, faceless audience will scare you to death and in the second place, unlike the theater, it doesn’t exist. In writing, your audience is one single reader. I have found that sometimes it helps to pick out one person — a real person you know, or an imagined person and write to that one.

4. If a scene or a section gets the better of you and you still think you want it — bypass it and go on. When you have finished the whole you can come back to it and then you may find that the reason it gave trouble is because it didn’t belong there.

5. Beware of a scene that becomes too dear to you, dearer than the rest. It will usually be found that it is out of drawing.

6. If you are using dialogue — say it aloud as you write it. Only then will it have the sound of speech.

 

Click here for Kurt Vonnegut’s Rules for Great Writing

 

 

“Reading Rainbow” Kickstarter Passes $5 Million, Seth MacFarlane Donates an Extra $1 Million

Reading Rainbow

At the end of May 2014, LeVar Burton launched a Kickstarter aiming to raise $1 million to rejuvenate “Reading Rainbow,” the beloved PBS program that originally ran from 1983 through the mid-2000s. Within a day, they were able to surpass their goal, allowing them to broaden their aspirations and set their sights on raising $5 million.

The Kickstarter, which ended July 2nd, blew past the goal on the final day. As an added bonus, “Family Guy” creator Seth MacFarlane pledged an additional $1 million, bringing the grand total raised to more than $6.4 million. Altogether, nearly 106,000 people donated to the campaign, which will bring “Reading Rainbow’s” library of interactive books and video field trips to more platforms, and will provide free access to classrooms in need.

Click here for Six Clips of Classic “Reading Rainbow” Episodes From the 1980s

Tina Fey to Produce “Hocus Pocus 2″

Hocus Pocus

A new report from The Tracking Board states that Tina Fey and her company, Little Stranger, will produce the long-awaited sequel to the 1993 film Hocus Pocus.

Fey is joining Allison Shearmur from Allison Shearmur Productions along with executives Bryan Oh and Stephen Meinen, who were attached to the project previously. And Disney is coming on board through executives Jessica Virtue and Tendo Nagenda.

No actors from the original movie have signed on or are even rumored to be a part of the Hocus Pocus sequel, and no director has been named either. Kenny Ortega  directed the original film.

Street Dogs Announce August 2014 European Tour Dates

Street Dogs performing at PRB 2012 | photo by Shahab Zargari

Street Dogs performing at PRB 2012 | photo by Shahab Zargari

Boston’s Street Dogs — featuring vocalist Mike McColgan — have announced a summer tour of Europe with Bishops Green. Full dates are below!

Street Dogs on Tour
8/06 London, England @ Underworld
8/07 Blackpool, England @ Rebellion Festival
8/08 Winchester, England @ Boomtown Fair
8/09 Torgau, Germany @ Endless Summer
8/10 Frankfurt, Germany @ 11er Club
8/11 -indau, Germany @ Club Vaudeville
8/12 Eindhoven, Netherlands @ Dynamo
8/13 Oberhausen, Germany @ Kulttempel
8/14 München, Germany @ Backstage
8/15 Portomaggiore/Ferrara, Italy @ What Is Rock? Festival*
8/16 Stemwede, Germany @ Stemweder Open Air Fest*

* – denotes no Bishops Green

Top 20 Best Summer Movies of All Time

Stand By Me

When school is out, the weather is warm, and the sun stays up until nearly 9 o’clock at night, there are plenty of better ways to spend your time than watching television. But, of course, there’s nothing wrong with capping off a great day with a classic flick. Here are 20 summertime favorites.

20. Batman (1989)

Tim Burton’s Batman was the biggest blockbuster of the summer of ’89, and it completely revolutionized superhero movies. Until then, such films were campy, cheaply made, and generally overlooked. Now, large budgets, high-tech armor and suits, fantastic special effects, and big-name actors are standard fare for the superhero film genre.

19. Pee-wee’s Big Adventure (1985)

Four years before Batman hit the big screen, Burton directed this tale of a man-boy who travels from California to Texas in search of his custom bicycle. The film’s meta finale culminates with a viewing of a movie of the same name at that old-timey staple of summer, the drive-in theater.

18. Independence Day (1996)

If you like a ton of CGI explosions and Will Smith spitting out macho catchphrases while sucking on a stogie, this is the film for you. Surprisingly, a sequel is due out on July 1, 2016 — 20 years from the day that the original film was released.

17. Flight of The Navigator (1986)

Like Pee-wee’s Big Adventure, Flight of the Navigator stars Paul Reubens, who provides the voice of the Trimaxion Drone Ship. And like Independence Day, it takes place on the Fourth of July, and there are lots of aliens. I guess you could say it’s the best of both worlds.

16. Back to the Future (1985)

Outside of the Theban plays, the Back to the Future films comprise history’s most famous trilogy commencing with an Oedipal relationship. But unlike Sophocles’ masterpiece, these movies are infinitely re-watchable.

15. The Goonies (1985)

It would be hard to find anyone who was a kid in the ’80s who didn’t dream of a being a Goonie. Fun fact: a “sequel,” The Goonies II, was created in 1987…in video game form.

14. Jurassic Park (1993)

Released in mid-June of 1993, Jurassic Park redefined summer blockbusters. Universal Pictures sunk a whopping $65 million into a worldwide advertising campaign, and then raked in nearly a billion dollars, shattering the box office record held since 1982 by E.T. Four and a half years later, Titanic would break the record set by Jurassic Park, but the movie is still heralded for its revolutionary special effects.

13. Jaws (1975)

Heading to the beach this summer? Don’t watch this movie first.

12. Wet Hot American Summer (2001)

An incredible ensemble cast featuring members of “The State” (Michael Showalter, Michael Ian Black, Ken Marino, and Joe Lo Truglio) plus Paul Rudd, Bradley Cooper, Elizabeth Banks, Janeane Garofalo, Amy Poehler, David Hyde Pierce, Christopher Meloni, and many more star in this bizarre satirical comedy that takes place in August 1981 on the last day of summer camp. Supposedly, Netflix is developing a TV series based on the movie.

11. Meatballs (1979)

Predating Wet Hot American Summer by more than two decades, Meatballs set the bar for summer camp comedies. Though he was already well known as a cast member of ”Saturday Night Live,” this film is Bill Murray‘s breakout movie role.


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North Korea Threatens War on US Over James Franco and Seth Rogen’s Kim Jong-un Movie

"The Interview," starring James Franco and Seth Rogen, and pissing off Kim Jong-un

According to the BBC, North Korea has promised “merciless” retaliation if a forthcoming Hollywood movie about killing Kim Jong-un is released. A North Korean foreign ministry spokesman said in state media that the movie’s release would be an “act of war,” and that “If the US administration allows and defends the showing of the film, a merciless counter-measure will be taken.”

He did not mention the title, but a Hollywood movie called The Interview starring James Franco and Seth Rogen (and co-written by Rogen) is due in October. Franco and Rogen play a talk show host and his producer who are invited to interview Kim Jong-un, and are subsequently recruited by the US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) to assassinate the leader. Rogen told Yahoo, “People have the hypothetical discussion about how journalists have access to the world’s most dangerous people, and they hypothetically would be in a good situation to assassinate them.”

North Korea is holding three Americans in custody. The latest to be detained is said to be a tourist named Jeffrey Edward Fowle, who reportedly left a Bible at a hotel.

Watch the teaser trailer below.

Song Premiere: Pillage & Plunder “How Did It Come to This?”

Pillage & Plunder

Atlanta-based Pillage & Plunder are self-proclaimed “art rockers” who play a unique mix of indie, prog, and jazz-punk. The trio will release their debut full-length The Show Must Go Wrong on August 5, 2014. They previously released their debut single in 2009, and their first EP, Look Inside for the Prize, in 2011. In 2013, they dropped Goodnight Jack, an acoustic EP.

Below, you can stream the premiere of their track “How Did It Come to This?” They are preparing for a big late-summer tour to coincide with the album release.