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Watch: Veruca Salt “It’s Holy”

Veruca Salt

On Record Store Day 2014, the first of Veruca Salt’s new music was be released as a limited-edition “Seether” single with two new tracks on the B-side, “The Museum of Broken Relationships” and “It’s Holy.” Shortly thereafter, the band released a music video for “The Museum of Broken Relationships,” and has now followed it up with another video for the other B-side. Watch below.

Veruca Salt is heading out on a 2014 tour — click here for dates.

(via Stereogum)

Cast Photo, Release Date Revealed for NWA Biopic “Straight Outta Compton”

NWA biopic pic

Back row (l-r): Ice Cube, F. Gary Gray, Dr. Dre
Front: O’Shea Jackson Jr., Jason Mitchell, Corey Hawkins

Universal Pictures has announced that the forthcoming NWA biopic, Straight Outta Compton, will be released in theaters on August 14, 2015. Along with the announcement, the studio also unveiled the first photo of the cast, who will be portraying three of the notable members of the group: Ice Cube, Dr. Dre, and Eazy-E.

Dr.Dre will be played by Corey Hawkins. Eazy-E will be played by Jason Mitchell, and Ice Cube — whose real name is O’Shea Jackson — will be portrayed by his real-life son, O’Shea Jackson Jr.

Casting is still underway for the final two members of the iconic rap group, MC Ren and DJ Yella. The film will be directed by F. Gary Gray. (via Access Hollywood)

Watch: Shirley Manson Teaches German on Revived Children’s Educational Show “Pancake Mountain”

Shirley Manson of Garbage on "Pancake Mountain"

Back in 2004, the Washington, DC-based educational show “Pancake Mountain” debuted, and became quickly well-known in underground circles for airing a music video by Ian MacKaye and Amy Farina — The Evens — entitled “Vowel Movement.” However, in 2012, after eight years, the show folded after a failed Kickstarter campaign.

But it has been a good month for great children’s shows. First, “Reading Rainbow” met and far exceeded its Kickstarter campaign goals, and now today, “Pancake Mountain” has returned, and will air a new episode online every Monday for 10 weeks. The premiere episode includes a performance by Garbarge front woman Shirley Manson (and a new theme song by Brody Dalle), which you can watch below. This and all other episodes can be seen on the show’s PBS Digital Studios YouTube channel.

(via RS)

Watch: John Oliver’s Incredible Rant on the FCC and Net Neutrality

John Oliver on net neutrality

John Oliver and his new-ish show, “Last Week Tonight,” continue to dazzle. Oliver’s recent rant on the FCC and the impending doom of net neutrality is a worth a watch — but even more worth taking note of is that he provides instructions on how US citizens can contact the FCC with their opinions regarding net neutrality. Watch the clip below, and then follow the instructions courtesy of Upworthy and contact the FCC. It will only take you a moment.

Click here to access the FCC comments website, and follow the simple instructions below.

How to contact the FCC with comments regarding net neutrality

Pinback to Celebrate 10-Year Anniversary of “Summer in Abaddon” With 2014 North American Tour, Reissue

Pinback

It has been 10 years since Pinback released their alt-pop classic Summer in Abaddon, and to celebrate, the duo is heading out on a North American tour. Additionally, Touch and Go Records will be reissuing the album — a limited edition pressing on maroon HQ180 vinyl that will be sold only at the shows and online.

Tera Melos will support Pinback during their tour. Dates are below.

Pinback on Tour
09/03 Phoenix, AZ @ The Crescent Ballroom

09/05 Dallas, TX @ Trees
09/06 Austin, TX @ The Mohawk
09/08 Birmingham, AL @ Bottletree
09/09 Atlanta, GA @ Terminal West
09/10 Big Room Charlotte, NC @ The Chop Shop
09/11 Washington, DC @ Black Cat
09/12 Philadelphia, PA @ Union Transfer
09/13 New York, NY @ Irving Plaza
09/15 Cambridge, MA @ The Sinclair
09/16 Buffalo, NY @ Buffalo Iron Works
09/17 Columbus, OH @ Skully’s Music Diner
09/18 Akron, OH @ Musica
09/19 Chicago, IL @ Bottom Lounge
09/20 Minneapolis, MN @ Cedar Cultural Center
09/22 Omaha, NE @ The Waiting Room
09/23 Englewood, CO @ Gothic Theatre
09/24 Salt Lake City, UT @ The Depot
09/25 Boise, ID @ Knitting Factory
09/27 Vancouver, BC @ The Imperial
09/28 Seattle, WA @ Showbox at the Market
09/29 Portland, OR @ Doug Fir Lounge
10/02 San Francisco, CA @ Bimbo’s 365 Club
10/03 Los Angeles, CA @ El Rey Theatre
10/04 San Diego, CA @ House of Blues

Descendents to Play “Milo Goes to College” In Its Entirety With Original Bassist Tony Lombardo at Riot Fest 2014

Descendents | photo by Shahab Zargari

Descendents at Punk Rock Bowling 2014 | photo by Shahab Zargari

At the 2014 Riot Fest in both Chicago and Denver, the Descendents will be performing their debut full-length, Milo Goes to College, in its entirety. The band will be joined onstage by founding member and original bassist, Tony Lombardo. The Descendents’ current bassist (since 1987), Karl Alvarez, made the announcement on Facebook:

I hope I’m not letting the cat out of the bag here, But at Riotfest 2014, Descendents will be performing the “Milo Goes to College” L.P. in it’s entirety. With the original bass genius of the group, Mr. Tony Lombardo presiding. I’ll be the guy on the side of the stage with the joint and a silly grin on his face.

Riot Fest in Chicago takes place September 12th through 14th, and will be in Denver September 19th through the 21st. Click here to see pics of Descendents performing at Punk Rock Bowling 2014.

Full-Length Montreal-Based Film “Punk Noir” to Be Produced

Punk Noir cast and crew

Independent film company Dead Ringer Movies has announced plans to film a full-length thriller/drama feature, Punk Noir. Directed by Mark Aylward, the movie will be filmed and set in Montreal, Quebec, following a group of street punks as they get into escalating bouts of trouble, culminating in a deadly clash with authorities.

The film will star Verbicide‘s own Chris Aitkens as Cameron, a squeegee punk hell-bent on making the next biggest punk doc, and Francophone actress Mélanie Elliot as Vanessa, who flips Cameron’s world upside down.

A Fundrazr campaign has been launched to raise funds for production – just five dollars will get you a link to the movie once it’s made.

Also, the movie features an international soundtrack with bands from the US, Canada, the UK, Sweden, Germany, Argentina and France. Limited edition double-vinyl records are being made for those who donate $100 to the campaign. For more info or to donate, click here.

Gwar Front Man Dave Brockie (Oderus Urungus) Died of an Accidental Heroin Overdose

Dave Brockie (Oderus Urungus) of GWAR

Back on March 23, 2014, Dave Brockie — better known as Oderus Urungus, the founder and lead singer of Richmond, Virginia-based metal band Gwar – was found dead at the age of 50 at his home. Responding police investigators found evidence of heroin use, but the cause of death wasn’t finalized until toxicology tests were completed.

Now the cause has been officially announced: Brockie died of an accidental heroin overdose, according to the State Medical Examiner’s Office.

Despite Brockie’s death, the remaining members of Gwar are continuing on. Their annual GWAR-B-Q will go on as planned on August 16, 2014 in Richmond, during which time they’ll hold a public memorial for Brockie.

(via CBS 6, CoS)

Kurt Vonnegut’s Seven Rules for Great Writing

Kurt Vonnegut

While there have been countless books written on how to write, sometimes all it takes is a little inspiring note from a true master. Kurt Vonnegut, author of classics such as  Slaughterhouse-Five and Breakfast of Champions, pretty much says all that needs to be said — and what better source to hear it from?

The seven rules he lays out were originally published in 1985 in How to Use the Power of the Printed Word, also featuring tips from wordsmiths such as George Plimpton and James Dickey; however, Vonnegut’s is perhaps the excerpt that has become most renowned and read. The advice is timeless and true — read on for a bit of inspiration.

1. Find a Subject You Care About
Find a subject you care about and which you in your heart feel others should care about. It is this genuine caring, and not your games with language, which will be the most compelling and seductive element in your style.

I am not urging you to write a novel, by the way — although I would not be sorry if you wrote one, provided you genuinely cared about something. A petition to the mayor about a pothole in front of your house or a love letter to the girl next door will do.

2. Do Not Ramble, Though
I won’t ramble on about that.

3. Keep It Simple
As for your use of language: Remember that two great masters of language, William Shakespeare and James Joyce, wrote sentences which were almost childlike when their subjects were most profound. ‘To be or not to be?’ asks Shakespeare’s Hamlet. The longest word is three letters long. Joyce, when he was frisky, could put together a sentence as intricate and as glittering as a necklace for Cleopatra, but my favorite sentence in his short story ‘Eveline’ is just this one: ‘She was tired.’ At that point in the story, no other words could break the heart of a reader as those three words do.

Simplicity of language is not only reputable, but perhaps even sacred. The Bible opens with a sentence well within the writing skills of a lively fourteen-year-old: ‘In the beginning God created the heaven and earth.’

4. Have the Guts to Cut
It may be that you, too, are capable of making necklaces for Cleopatra, so to speak. But your eloquence should be the servant of the ideas in your head. Your rule might be this: If a sentence, no matter how excellent, does not illuminate your subject in some new and useful way, scratch it out.

5. Sound Like Yourself
The writing style which is most natural for you is bound to echo the speech you heard when a child. English was the novelist Joseph Conrad’s third language, and much that seems piquant in his use of English was no doubt colored by his first language, which was Polish. And lucky indeed is the writer who has grown up in Ireland, for the English spoken there is so amusing and musical. I myself grew up in Indianapolis, where common speech sounds like a band saw cutting galvanized tin, and employs a vocabulary as unornamental as a monkey wrench.

I myself find that I trust my own writing most, and others seem to trust it most, too, when I sound most like a person from Indianapolis, which is what I am. What alternatives do I have? The one most vehemently recommended by teachers has no doubt been pressed on you, as well: to write like cultivated Englishmen of a century or more ago.

6. Say What You Mean to Say
I used to be exasperated by such teachers, but am no more. I understand now that all those antique essays and stories with which I was to compare my own work were not magnificent for their datedness or foreignness, but for saying precisely what their authors meant them to say. My teachers wished me to write accurately, always selecting the most effective words, and relating the words to one another unambiguously, rigidly, like parts of a machine. The teachers did not want to turn me into an Englishman after all. They hoped that I would become understandable — and therefore understood. And there went my dream of doing with words what Pablo Picasso did with paint or what any number of jazz idols did with music. If I broke all the rules of punctuation, had words mean whatever I wanted them to mean, and strung them together higgledly-piggledy, I would simply not be understood. So you, too, had better avoid Picasso-style or jazz-style writing if you have something worth saying and wish to be understood.

Readers want our pages to look very much like pages they have seen before. Why? This is because they themselves have a tough job to do, and they need all the help they can get from us.

7. Pity the Readers
Readers have to identify thousands of little marks on paper, and make sense of them immediately. They have to read, an art so difficult that most people don’t really master it even after having studied it all through grade school and high school — twelve long years.

So this discussion must finally acknowledge that our stylistic options as writers are neither numerous nor glamorous, since our readers are bound to be such imperfect artists. Our audience requires us to be sympathetic and patient teachers, ever willing to simplify and clarify, whereas we would rather soar high above the crowd, singing like nightingales.

That is the bad news. The good news is that we Americans are governed under a unique constitution, which allows us to write whatever we please without fear of punishment. So the most meaningful aspect of our styles, which is what we choose to write about, is utterly unlimited.

For Really Detailed Advice
For a discussion of literary style in a narrower sense, a more technical sense, I commend to your attention The Elements of Style, by Strunk, Jr., and E. B. White. E. B. White is, of course, one of the most admirable literary stylists this country has so far produced.

You should realize, too, that no one would care how well or badly Mr. White expressed himself if he did not have perfectly enchanting things to say.

In Sum:

  1. Find a subject you care about
  2. Do not ramble, though
  3. Keep it simple
  4. Have guts to cut
  5. Sound like yourself
  6. Say what you mean
  7. Pity the readers


Click here for Neil deGrasse Tyson’s Top Eight Books Every Intelligent Person Should Read

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

Reading Rainbow

In late May 2014, actor and “Reading Rainbow” host LeVar Burton launched a Kickstarter campaign to expand the now online-only educational program. The longtime PBS show was relaunched by Burton and his team as an app, but the goal of the fundraiser was to “reach a new generation of digital natives” — getting “Reading Rainbow” on apps, in classrooms, and on mobile devices, gaming systems, and connected televisions. Basically, wherever children turn for entertainment and education.

The response to the fundraiser was overwhelming, as children of the ’80s and ’90s latched onto the idea and sent the campaign hurtling past its original $1 million goal within the first day of fundraising. Coupled with the promise of a quality educational show making its way to youth who so desperately need it, nostalgia surely played a heavy role in so easily convincing the members of Generations X and Y to rip open their wallets and drop a few bucks.

If you’re wondering why so many of us cling to such fond memories of the show — or if you just want to take a fun trip down memory lane — take a look at these five excellent clips from the show’s heyday in the 1980s.

Kermit the Frog Visits “Reading Rainbow”

From Episode 3.5, “Perfect the Pig” (July 5, 1985)

Playing Hockey With the New York Islanders

From Episode 5.6, “A Three Hat Day” (June 29, 1987)

Pete Seeger Reads “Abiyoyo”

From Episode 4.10, “”Abiyoyo” (July 4, 1986)

LeVar Visits Chinatown

From Episode 1.7, “Liang and the Magic Paintbrush” (June 14, 1983)

LeVar Is Transformed for Halloween

From Episode 1.2, “Miss Nelson Is Back” (June 7, 1983)

LeVar Gets Sawed in Half

From Episode 1.7, “Liang and the Magic Paintbrush” (June 14, 1983)

LeVar Burton Launches Kickstarter Campaign to Bring Back “Reading Rainbow”

Reading Rainbow

LeVar Burton, host of the incredibly popular educational program “Reading Rainbow” from 1983 through the mid-2000s, wants to resurrect the show. So, he has launched a Kickstarter campaign that aim to raise $1 million  to fund the development of a web version.

In 2011, Burton released a tablet version of “Reading Rainbow” – but as he acknowledges, there are many kids without access to tablets. Wider reach requires a web-based version; furthermore, Burton wants to create a new version of the show for the classroom, complete with resources for teachers, available for free to the most cash-strapped schools. If he can meet the $1 million goal, it should put the program in 1,500 classrooms for free.

“You take advantage of where kids are. Back in the ’80s that was in front of the television set,” Burton told the Verge. ”Today, you have to have access to the web. Universal access is really what this effort is all about.”

Click here to donate to Burton’s “Reading Rainbow” Kickstarter campaign.