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Entries in neil miller jr. (9)

Monday
Sep092013

COLETTE || When the Music's Loud

Colette
When the Music's Loud

Label: Candy Talk Records
Released on: August 23rd, 2013
Grade: 5 out of 5 meatballs
Reviewed by: Neil Miller, Jr.

Househeads, rejoice! In an ocean of carbon copy EDM where one track sounds only slightly different from the last, Chicago’s own DJ Colette (or just Colette as she’s known here) has put together a masterpiece of real house music complete with vocals performed by the First Lady of House herself. From the opening kick drums of “Best of Days” to the smooth bass line of “Oasis,” When the Music’s Loud is the dance album those of us who grew up with electronic music have been waiting for. While it may throw back to the 90s once in a while — in good taste, of course — this album serves as a Cliff’s Notes for any “EDM” followers that might not be aware of where house music came from. Not only did it come from Chicago — that’s a given — but it was born out of the urge to make people dance and to take the listener on a journey through sound rather than induce fist pumping. Who better to remind us of that than Chicago legend DJ Colette?

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Wednesday
May082013

IAMX @ Lincoln Hall

IAMX
Where: Lincoln Hall
When: May 2nd, 2013
Grade: 4 out of 5 meatballs
Reviewed and photographed by: Neil Miller, Jr.

Each time I see IAMX live, an overwhelming sense of things coming full circle astounds me. You see, the only reason you’re reading this review of Chris Corner’s amazing show at Lincoln Hall this past Thursday night on UR Chicago is because I pitched a feature on him many years ago to the magazine to preview his then upcoming date in Chicago to support his second album, The Alternative. I’ve been a fan of Corner’s work since he was one of the brainiacs behind Sneaker Pimps and time has only nurtured that fandom into something purely loyal and faithful. I may not have liked his last album, Volatile Times, but I still know that IAMX live is an experience like no other. Packed with the dramatics of a Shakespearean play, flawless musicianship, and loads of punk attitude and unbridled energy, Chris Corner and company dominate every stage they step foot on. Touring in support of an album that could very well be his best yet, The Unified Field, IAMX cranked up the energy dial to 11 and blew the minds of Lincoln Hall’s sold-out crowd.

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Monday
Apr012013

alt-J w/Hundred Waters @ Metro

alt-J w/Hundred Waters
Where: Metro
When: March 28th, 2013
Grade: 4 out of 5 meatballs
Reviewed and photographed by: Neil Miller, Jr.

The best shows are always the ones where every artist performing is top notch. The Metro frequently brings in shows of this variety, and that is precisely why it will always be Chicago’s best venue for real music. Tonight’s alt-J show was no exception to that trend and although we only caught the second half of Hundred Waters’ texture-rich and mesmerizing set, that much in itself was a nice treat for our ears. Surrounding themselves with synths and samplers with a live drummer to fill out their multi-layered sound, Hundred Waters delivered a set worthy of an Arcade Fire-style following… and they definitely have the potential to become a band of that magnitude through their wistful harmonies and spastic dives into whatever genre they feel like owning for each song. But alas, Hundred Waters was the opener, and the best part of the night was yet to come…

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Monday
Mar182013

Yasiin Bey aka Mos Def @ The Shrine

Yasiin Bey aka Mos Def
Where: The Shrine
When: March 15th, 2013
Grade: 4.5 out of 5 meatballs
Reviewed and photographed by: Neil Miller, Jr.

Before you even hear about the Mos Def show — which, by the rating, you can tell was pretty much amazing — I have to gush about The Shrine. In my seven years of reviewing shows and seeing bands in drastically different environments, I have never been anywhere like this place. Right when you walk through the door, the vibe is so chill that it’s like Xanax in venue form. Everyone’s just there to have a good time, no one messes with each other, and the stage is on top of the bar! But the venue’s magnetism rests in its old school mentality (check out this hallway if you don't believe me), and that’s why it’s so easy to fall in love with The Shrine… they’re keeping real hip-hop music alive and well. 

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Sunday
Mar172013

Spring Breakers

Spring Breakers
Directed by: Harmony Korine
Released on: March 15th (LIMITED) | March 22nd, 2013 (WIDE)
Grade: 5 out of 5 meatballs
Reviewed by: Neil Miller, Jr.

In a perfect world, Spring Breakers would sweep the award ceremonies clean. It packs a punch that few films in recent memory have been able to achieve: it’s gritty and raw, just as you’d expect from a Harmony Korine film, but also manages to be lighthearted since, after all, it is a film about four "regular"girls. 

The movie was funny when it needed to be — mostly due to the memorable absurdity of James Franco’s white-boy thugged-out character — and two of the most unforgettable moments of the film were soundtracked by none other than Ms. Britney Spears (so it’s safe to say we have a gem of a film on our hands). In all sincerity, Spring Breakers will hit home with audiences of many different flavors and, because of that, could very well be one of Korine’s most accessible films to date.

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Saturday
Mar092013

Finch w/ The Almost @ Metro

Finch w/ The Almost
Where: Metro
When: March 7th, 2013
Grade: 4.5 out of 5 meatballs
Reviewed and photographed by: Neil Miller, Jr.

Ten years ago, Finch released an album that seemed poised to rearrange the face of rock music whether we were ready for it or not. What It Is to Burn is one of those albums that changed lives: it was extremely well produced, the relatable lyrics hit home to anyone susceptible to feeling a connection with music, and the band couldn’t be pigeonholed no matter how hard critics would try. But this was also to the band’s detriment; Finch were too hardcore for the emo or alternative rock snobs and too melodic for the hardcore "scene" kids. After another impressive album and a few one-off single and EP releases, Finch sadly fizzled out... only to return to the road for the 10-year anniversary of that memorable album.  

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Thursday
Mar072013

Major Lazer @ Congress Theater

Major Lazer
Where: Congress Theater
When: March 2nd, 2013
Grade: 2 out of 5 meatballs
Reviewed and photographed by: Neil Miller, Jr.

Some may read this as a bit bold, but it’s safe to say that there are two sides to Diplo: the pre-Beyoncé era side and post-Beyoncé era side. I’ve seen Diplo in several incarnations over the last decade: backing M.I.A. for her early shows, spinning a solo set, and with Major Lazer twice as of this past weekend. The last time I saw Major Lazer, I thought the show fell short due to the absence of Switch (who worked on the album with Diplo), but at least then we were treated to a quasi-Diplo set. That’s always been the redeeming factor with the chameleon we know as Diplo — no matter what, he’s a fucking good DJ. You never know what he’ll spin when you see him — he could be on a carioca funk kick, or maybe old school hip-hop mashed up with 80s hits, or dubstep, and now even trap music. But at the Congress Theater this past weekend, I wasn’t feeling the show and here’s why. . .

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Monday
Oct152012

SINISTER

Sinister
Directed by: Scott Derrickson
Released on: October 12th, 2012
Grade: 5 out of 5 meatballs
Reviewed by: Neil Miller, Jr.

Well, I’m pissed. I think I may have just seen quite possibly the best horror film since The Exorcist. Why does this piss me off? With some rather promising horror outings on the horizon (the upcoming Paranormal Activity 4 looks promising as does The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 3D, both of which have trailers prior to Sinister), I feel as if this movie can’t be topped. It will — pardon my French — fuck with your mind. It will frighten you, it will disturb you, and even worse… it will stay with you. I had the heebie jeebies for the entirety of my ride home and even still as I write this review. Read on to find out why this movie is destined to go down in history as one of the best modern day horror films of our time.

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Tuesday
Sep272011

MEDINA || Welcome to Medina

Medina
Welcome to Medina

Label: Ultra Records
Released on: September 6th, 2011
Grade: 4 out of 5 meatballs
Reviewed by: Neil Miller, Jr.

She’s had a firm grip on Europe for awhile, but it’s past time for Medina to make a splash stateside. Welcome to Medina is finally seeing a release in the U.S., and it couldn’t come at a better time. With electronic music ruling the airwaves even more than it did during the 90s "electronica" boom, this cohesive and seamless record is sure to be a hit amongst those who like a little emotion injected into their 4/4 beats. If it sounds like I already have my mind made up about this album, it’s because I’ve had it kicking around my iPod for some time now, and I’ve been anxiously waiting for it to release here so I could write this glowing review for your eyes and minds to soak up. And trust me, it’s worth the hype I’m giving it.

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