The Toxic Avenger will avenge once again in new reboot

Those who grew up in the ’80s, and even the ’90s, no doubt remember Troma’s disgusting anti-hero The Toxic Avenger. Michael Herz and Lloyd Kaufman’s 1984 splatter superhero film spawned three sequels, a musical, a video game, and, yes, even a children’s cartoon.

Well, Toxie is back, as Variety reports that actor, screenwriter, and director Macon Blair has grabbed hold of the slimy toxic drum and will write and direct a new reboot for Legendary. Even better, Kaufman and Herz will serve as producers to make sure it’s as grimy and despicable as ever.

Blair, who starred in Jeremy Saulnier’s indie thrillers Blue Ruin and Green Room, has recently made some waves as a screenwriter and filmmaker. In 2017, he won Sundance’s Grand Jury Prize I Don’t Feel At Home in This World Anymore, and has since penned Netflix’s Hold the Dark and Small Crimes.

Rest assured, this will be brutal, and Blair will certainly add another edge to the janitor-turned-toxic crusader. Revisit the original film’s trailer below, in addition to the trailer for his award-winning directorial debut shortly after.

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Sharon Van Etten performs “Comeback Kid” on Fallon: Watch

The great Sharon Van Etten has been making the rounds in support of her tremendous new album, Remind Me Tomorrow. Since the album’s release back in January, she’s appeared on both Kimmel and Ellen, the latter performance proving particularly savage. She was back at it on Monday night with a visit to The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon. This time, she dazzled late-night audiences by performing the album standout, “Comeback Kid”. Catch the replay below.

Van Etten is set to kick off a European tour later this week, and will then spend the summer playing festivals on both sides of the Atlantic, as well as in Australia and New Zealand. See hew updated tour schedule below, and grab tickets here.

In other exciting news, Van Etten recently got engaged. Mazel tov!

Sharon Van Etten 2019 Tour Dates:
03/21 – Birmingham, UK @ The Mill
03/22 – Manchester, UK @ Albert Hall
03/23 – Dublin, IE @ Vicar Street
03/24 – Glasgow, UK @ St. Luke’s
03/26 – London, UK @ Roundhouse
03/27 – Bristol, UK @ SWX
03/29 – Amsterdam, NL @ Paradiso Noord
03/30 – Brussels, BE @ Orangerie (at Botanique)
04/01 – Paris, FR @ La Maroquinerie
04/02 – Koln, DE @ Luxor
04/03 – Munich, DE @ Strom
04/05 – Berlin, DE @ Lido
04/06 – Hamburg, DE @ Grünspan
04/07 – Copenhagen, DK @ Studio 2 (DR Concert House)
04/09 – Gothenburg, SE @ Pustervik
04/10 – Oslo, NO @ Parkteatret
04/11 – Stockholm, SE @ Kagelbanen
05/03 – Atlanta, NY @ Shaky Knees Music Festival
05/04 – New York, NY @ Webster Hall
06/01 – Sydney, AU @ Vivid LIVE
06/05 – Auckland, NZ @ Powerstation
06/07 – Brisbane, AU @ OPAC Concert Hall
06/09 – Hobart, AU @ Dark Mofo
06/11 – Melbourne, AU @ Hamer Hall
06/22 – New York, NY @ Alt 92.3 Inaugural Summer Open
06/26-30 – Pilton, UK @ Glastonbury Festival
07/01 – Norwich, UK @ UEA
07/02 – Cambridge, UK @ The Junction
07/04 – Barcelona, ES @ Vida Festival
07/07 – Soliera, IT @ Artvive
07/08 – Sesto Al Reghena, IT @ Sexto Nplugged
07/11-13 – Madrid, ES @ Mad Cool Festival
07/11-13 – Lisbon, PT @ NOS Alive Festival
08/15-18 – Brecon Beacons, UK @ Green Man Music Festival
08/17 – Hasselt, UK @ Pukkelpop
08/19 – Leeds, UK @ Styles
08/20 – Newcastle upon Tyne, UK @ Tyne Theatre
08/25 – Paris, FR @ Rock en Seine
09/21-22 – Asbury Park, NJ @ Sea.Hear.Now Festival

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Metallica Announce Concert With San Francisco Symphony

Metallica has announced a concert with the San Francisco Symphony. “S&M2” will take place on Friday, September 6, becoming the first concert at the city’s Chase Center. The show will also mark the 20th anniversary of Metallica and the San Francisco Symphony’s 1999 live album S&M. The symphony’s music director Michael Tilson Thomas will conduct a portion of “S&M2.” Check out the poster below.

Metallica’s latest album, Hardwired… to Self-Destruct, came out in November 2016. The band is currently on tour in Europe. Find Metallica’s schedule at their website. Tickets are available here.

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SXSW Film Review: Stuber Thrives as an Action Movie, Not So Much as a Comedy

(Editor’s note: The following review concerns a work-in-progress cut of Stuber at SXSW 2019. As such, a final grade will be held until the film’s release this summer.)

The Pitch: Hardened Los Angeles detective Vic (Dave Bautista) is supposed to be at home recovering from a recent LASIK procedure. But when Tejo (Iko Uwais), the drug lord who killed his partner six months earlier, is reported to be back in town, he disobeys doctor’s orders in an attempt to seek revenge. Because Vic is barely able to see, he ends up enlisting the help of a pushover Uber driver named Stu (a.k.a. Stuber, played by Kumail Nanjiani), to be his eyes, navigator, and reluctant sidekick. The tension between the unlikely crime-fighting team threatens to explode as the danger increases, and the two men begin offering unwanted advice about each other’s personal lives.

Four Stars for Action: Taking a page from so many R-rated buddy-cop films of the ’80s and ’90s, Stuber refuses to pull its punches when it comes to the violence. The knockout opening sequence contains all the bullet dodging, spurting blood, and crushed bones you could ever want from two onscreen powerhouses like Bautista and Uwais.

There’s an artistry in the way director Michael Dowse smashes their two colliding styles together, the latter’s nimble acrobatics proving to be a formidable match for the former’s blunt-force brawling. The grisly nature of the sequence and an early onscreen death both demonstrate that Stuber isn’t afraid of having high stakes.

Dowse and screenwriter Tripper Clancy continue escalating the danger with several more action setpieces throughout, including a rough-and-tumble shootout at a veterinarian’s office and a finale at a hot-sauce factory. Although neither scene quite achieves the adrenaline levels of the opener, the kinetic energy of Stuber remains strong throughout.

Two Stars for Comedy: On the other hand, the jokes don’t land quite as well. There’s no denying the begrudging chemistry between Bautista and Nanjiani as the two leads, but so many of the gags — perhaps expectedly — center around the film’s namesake driving app to the point where the movie begins to lapse into overt product placement. If the bits about star ratings, tips, glove-box snacks, UberPool, and Vic’s confusion over how ride-sharing works already feel tired in 2019, how well is Stuber going to age before long?

Much of the non-Uber humor ends up feeling equally passé. When Vic and Stu’s feud comes to a head at the sporting-goods store where Stu also works, the sequence turns into an overlong free-for-all of the duo hitting each other with heavy athletic equipment. To be fair, the majority of the audience at Stuber‘s work-in-progress screening at SXSW roared with laughter for the majority of the scene, so maybe it just comes down to how much you enjoy prolonged slapstick comedy. But when the movie demonstrates so much physical virtuosity elsewhere, setpieces built around ideas like two dudes hitting each other in the balls turn into kind of a snooze.

Tip Your Driver: Even though they despise each other after their first encounter, Vic and Stu follow the golden rule of Stuber‘s genre by eventually showing an investment in each other’s personal lives. Vic criticizes Stu’s willingness to let a friend he once hooked up with (Betty Gilpin) walk all over him, while Stu chastises Vic for how little interest he shows in his daughter (Natalie Morales) and her work as an artist. Thanks to the naturalistic performances of Bautista and Nanjiani (neither of whom go broad in their character work), these moments of bonding manage to feel more authentic than many of Stuber‘s broader stabs at humor.

The Verdict: It’s refreshing to see a buddy movie reclaim some of the grit and emotional connection of bygone decades, but for all of its killer fight sequences and shootouts, Stuber just isn’t all that funny after a while. At the end of the day, an action-comedy needs to live up to both ends of the genre.

Where’s It Playing? Stuber will arrive at your address starting July 12th.

Red Carpet Gallery:

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The Front Bottoms reimagine Kevin Devine’s “Just Stay” for new Devinyl Splits collaboration: Stream

Kevin Devine has announced the final addition to volume two of his Devinyl Splits Series. As a preview of the 7-inch split single, Devine has shared The Front Bottoms’ cover of his own “Just Stay”.

The track comes from Devine’s 2006 LP, Put Your Ghost to Rest, and as frequent tourmates and collaborators — and close friends — The Front Bottoms are a perfect choice for the cover. Their take is searing and powerful from the start, standing in stark contrast to the original number, which opts for a simple acoustic guitar and crisp vocals. The two renditions remain consistent in their mournful tone, however, even though the avenues they use to get there are wholly different.

(Read: Top 50 Cover Songs from Movies)

Devine actually features on the track, while TFB serve as the accompaniment for his B-side cover of “Rhode Island” off the New Jersey folk-punk band’s 2011 self-titled debut LP. Take a listen to “Just Stay” below, and pre-order Devinyl Splits No. 12 before it’s released on March 29th via Bad Timing Records.

For each Devinyl Split, the Brooklyn-born singer-songwriter collaborates with another artist. For the second, six-part volume — which has been rolled out throughout 2018 and 2019 — Devine also teamed with Craig Finn, David Bazan, Petal, John K. Samson, and Cavetown, working with these varied acts to record classic covers, reworks of old tunes, or debuts of entirely new material.

As Devine previously shared with us after wrapping up the first volume of the vinyl series,

“I wanted the partner to have free range to present what was most interesting to them. That’s the ideal. Sometimes it’s going to be what’s easiest with their touring schedule, their recording schedule, their life schedule… but my hope was to present the idea of doing a split, then let the other artist tell me what excited them. I wanted to make it as free and easy for everybody as possible.”

You can find some of these past 7-inches and more of Devine’s music on vinyl over here. Below, check out the Devinyl Splits No. 12 artwork.

Devinyl Splits No. 12 Artwork:

The Front Bottoms Kevin Devine The Front Bottoms reimagine Kevin Devines Just Stay for new Devinyl Splits collaboration: Stream

The Front Bottoms Kevin Devine The Front Bottoms reimagine Kevin Devines Just Stay for new Devinyl Splits collaboration: StreamDevinyl Splits No. 12 Tracklist:
01. “Just Stay” – The Front Bottoms (Kevin Devine cover featuring Kevin Devine)
02. “Rhode Island” – Kevin Devine (The Front Bottoms cover featuring The Front Bottoms)

Devine has a number of upcoming tour dates on the calendar, including three St. Patrick’s Day shows as their Celtic-inspired alter-ego, Kenny O’Brien and the O’Douls. In May, he will join with Samson and Shannen Moser for a brief Northeast run. Check out his itinerary below, and get tickets here.

Kevin Devine 2019 Tour Dates:
03/16 – Boston, MA @ Great Scott*
03/17 – New York, NY @ Mercury Lounge (early show)*
03/17 – New York, NY @ Mercury Lounge (late show)*
05/09 – College Park, MD @ Milkboy ArtHouse^
05/10 – Philadelphia, PA @ Boot & Saddle^
05/11 – Philadelphia, PA @ Boot & Saddle^
05/12 – Woodstock, NY @ The Colony^
05/14 – Porsmouth, NH @ 3S Artspace^
05/17 – Hamden, CT @ Space Ballroom^

* = as Kenny O’Brien and the O’Douls
^ = w/ John K. Samson and Shannen Moser

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BTS to Perform on “SNL”

BTS are performing on “Saturday Night Live” next month. They’re set for the April 13 episode, hosted by Emma Stone. Find the “SNL” announcement below.

On April 12, the day before their “SNL” debut, BTS will release their new album MAP OF THE SOUL : PERSONA. It’s the follow-up to 2018’s LOVE YOURSELF 轉 ‘Tear’ and LOVE YOURSELF 結 ‘Answer’.

The K-pop group will play North American concerts in May. Check out BTS’ full schedule at their website. Find tickets here.

Read “BTS: How the Biggest Boy Band in the World Stays Radically Korean” on the Pitch.

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Album Review: Stella Donnelly Takes the World to Task on Beware of the Dogs

The Lowdown: Stella Donnelly is a virtual newcomer to the musical scene, but Beware of the Dogs, a glimmering yet no-frills portrait of the political and personal realities and shortcomings of average life, makes one wonder where we ever were without her. She kicks off with an energetic push into the action with “Old Man”, before pulling back into the threads of something a little less pop, a little more indie, which guide the rest of the album. It’s a quick odyssey into a world Donnelly clearly knows well, from the delightfully acerbic family tensions in the lyrics of “Season’s Greetings” to the pinnacled mourning of “Boys Will Be Boys”. Haunting yet real and comprehensive but manageable, Beware of the Dogs is an indie folk wake-up call and a more than apt introduction to this young, fearless expert, who is quickly making herself impossible to overlook.

[Buy: Tickets to Upcoming Stella Donnelly Shows]

The Good: Beware of the Dogs shines in its concrete approaches to meaningful subject matter. Most markedly, Donnelly’s exasperation with the patriarchy bobs to the surface regularly across the album’s 13-track span; even in the moments when it’s not directly articulated, we feel the way that it informs everything, much like in day-to-day life. Anthems like “Old Man” and “Boys Will Be Boys” make it explicit, while in other areas, like “Watching Telly”, it takes on a more sorrowful edge. Donnelly also flexes her talent for pairing relatable imagery with sentiments that are often difficult to describe or characterize, allowing each to enhance and elucidate the other (“You’re jerking off to the CCTV/ While I’m pouring plastic pints of flat VB/ You owe me, you owe me”). This expressiveness reaches its summit with the digging, angry truth of the title track, “Beware of the Dogs”, a visually resonant and foreboding journey through the streets, houses, and countrysides that make up the quiet and dark sides of civilian life.

The Bad: The album feels like a complete and concise emotional journey, navigating fraught conversations, family reunions, and suburban lawns. Sometimes, though, the individual songs feel more like snapshots than complete pictures within themselves. Part of this may be intentional, and it does create an interesting dimensionality to the album in that some songs assist the listener through partial, rather than full, beginning-to-end journeys. There is no strict ending in sight to some of the issues Donnelly spends the album addressing, which perhaps makes the sometime aversion to neatness a fitting approach.

The Verdict: The title of this debut album may be Beware of the Dogs, but make no mistake: The real enemy of the season, at the risk of oversimplifying the message a bit, is men. But Donnelly’s approach, while explicit, is far from heavy-handed or broad-stroked, steering clear of the danger zones of exclusive feminism and man-hating and focusing instead on the crumbling pillars of patriarchy. The album benefits enormously from her sweet voice, driving in its haunting impact on songs like “Allergies”, and her ability to marry playful, soft melodies with grim philosophy and existential anger in songs like “Die”. The carefully composed rock here reminds us that our journeys are our own, regardless of whatever else we tack onto them. No matter how full Donnelly’s hands get with the interpersonal frustrations of day-to-day life and the wounds of the past, the world is still hers for the taking, and she makes it feel like it’s all of ours, too.

Essential Tracks: “Beware of the Dogs”, “Lunch”, and “Season’s Greetings”

Buy: Check out Beware of the Dogs and other Stella Donnelly vinyl here.

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Paris Jackson defends father Michael Jackson: “chillax my dudes”

The new documentary Leaving Neverland has brought renewed scrutiny to Michael Jackson’s past relationships with underage boys and allegations of sexual misconduct. However, Jackson’s only daughter, Paris, is standing by her father.

Earlier this week, TMZ reported that Jackson, 20, “firmly believes” her father is innocent of the allegations levied against him. She’s since taken to Twitter to address the documentary and respond to both fans and critics of her father.

Jackson initially tweeted, “y’all take my life more seriously than i do. calm yo tittaaaaysss.” After receiving some blowback for the flippant nature of her comment, she sought to expound on her stance: “i didn’t mean to offend by expressing that titties should be calm, i know injustices are frustrating and it’s easy to get worked up. but reacting with a calm mind usually is more logical than acting out of rage and also…. it feels better to mellow out.” She added, “smoke some weed n think about the bigger picture. chillax my dudes.”

When a supporter of Jackson argued that “the bigger picture is your father’s legacy ruined and his name smeared forever,” Jackson responded, “so….. not love and peace and trying to carry that message out? tabloids and lies are the bigger picture? i’ll pray for you.”

“No, they want to tear his name down and stop playing his music but it’s cool like who cares that he died for this,” the fan responded. Jackson replied, “yeah they do that to everyone with a good heart and tries to make a dfference but do you really think that it’s possible to tear his name down ? like do you truly believe they stand a chance ? relax and have peace.”

Another supporter of Michael Jackson tweeted to Paris, “I guess that’s what the media wants… Is to get a reaction. Maybe if they see we’re not bothered by their lies and garbage stories they’d get bored and mellow out with their fairytales lol.” Jackson quoted the tweet in agreement, adding, “if everyone reacted this way towards articles, they’d stop making lies and start writing actual news.”

Jackson later replied to an article reporting on her comments, saying, “you forgot the very vital part where i say ‘smoke some weed and chill out.’”

You can find Jackson’s tweets below.

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CupcakKe Shares New Song “Bird Box”: Listen

CupcakKe has shared a new track called “Bird Box.” It’s the Chicago rapper’s second song of 2019, following January’s “Squidward Nose.” Hear “Bird Box” below.

CupcakKe released two projects in 2018: Ephorize and Eden. She recently shared the nautical music video for “Squidward Nose.”

Read Pitchfork’s “You Need to Listen to CupcakKe, the Raunchiest Rapper Out.”

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The Black Keys return with first song in five years “Lo/Hi”: Stream

The Black Keys are back.

The garage rock duo have been everywhere over the last five years except together. Frontman Dan Auerbach has been off releasing albums with The Arcs and solo, as well as launching his Easy Eye Sound label as a home to the likes of Shannon & The Clams, Sonny Smith, and others. Meanwhile, drummer Patrick Carney has dipped into producing for artists including Tobias Jesso Jr., Tennis, Wild Belle, and Turbo Fruits, not to mention penning the BoJack Horseman theme and finding parental bliss with fiancée/collaborator Michelle Branch. Now, though, the two are finally back where they both belong: together.

(Read: Ranking: Every Alternative Rock No. 1 Hit from Worst to Best)

Today, The Black Keys have shared a new single called “Lo/Hi”. The track marks their first new music together since 2014’s Grammy-nominated Turn Blue. Written and produced by Auerbach and Carney themselves, the song was recorded at the former’s Easy Eye Sound studio in Nashville, Tennessee. Take a listen below.

Whether or not “Lo/Hi” is the signal of more new music on the horizon is yet to be seen. In the meantime, pick up some of The Black Keys’ past efforts on vinyl here.

“Lo/Hi” Single Artwork:

The Black Keys Lo:Hi Single Artwork

The Black Keys Lo:Hi Single Artwork

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