“Grow Ocean” — Fleet Foxes  Streaming at Pitchfork.com

Seattle’s Fleet Foxes has shut itself in the studio for several long  months, following the success of its self-titled LP. Now, the neo-folk quintet is back with “Grow Ocean,” the first single from its forthcoming sophomore album, Helplessness Blues.

At once thunderous and harmonic, the track boasts thicker arrangements of acoustic guitars and organs than the band’s previous work, at times comparable to recent work by Jónsi and Grizzly Bear. But those unmistakable vocal harmonies remain, soaring over the chords and hilltops to the song’s stripped-down closing words.

If anything, “Grow Ocean” is convincing evidence that frontman Robin Pecknold and Co. are alive, well and fostering a beastly spring release.




Made In Austin, Day One: A Night with Richard Linklater

Cinefamily — Friday — 8 p.m.

Hollywood might be slowly imploding under ballooning budgets and poor theater attendance, but independent cinema is still alive. As if foreshadowing the downfall of the studios, Texas-bred indie film forefather Richard Linklater will visit the Cinefamily this Friday night for a discussion, along with screenings of his own Slacker and SubUrbia.

Set in the sun-blasted neighborhoods of Austin, Linklater’s hometown, Slacker spins a series of non-linear, hysterical vignettes about the city’s social outcasts. Highlights include a JFK conspiracy theorist, a house burglar who has befriended the aging anarchist he once attempted to rob and a woman with a Madonna pap smear poster to sell.

SubUrbia offers a similar, if darker, take on writer Eric Bogosian’s birthplace of Woburn, Massachusetts, where the locals gather at the corner convenience store, waiting for a miracle to latch onto.

The event begins at 8 p.m. Tickets are $10.




Joe Wright slams sexist Sucker Punch

With his new Chemical Brothers-scored teenage assassin thriller Hanna in theaters, British director Joe Wright isn’t pulling any punches when it comes to his opinion on Zack Snyder’s action picture.

“For me, one of the main issues in terms of womens’ place in society and feminism is the sexual objectification of women,” Wright said to Movie Line on Sunday. “That’s something that feminists in the ’70s tried to fight against but has been totally lost in the 21st century consumer-celebrity world. So for me, when I look at the poster for Sucker Punch it seems actually incredibly sexist, because it is sexually objectifying women regardless of if they can shoot you or not.”

Though destined to inflame Snyder’s fans, Wright does make an articulate point. This isn’t the first time a Snyder film has been accused of morally heinous idealism. His earlier 300 was accused of being fascist and Islamophobic by detractors. Might we be seeing a pattern here?




“Networking for Kinky People”  Stockroom — 4 p.m.

Earlier this year, Northwestern University psychology professor J. Michael Bailey took a page out of the Monty Python sex-ed book and, for the benefit of his class, enlisted an uninhibited couple to demonstrate the use of a sex toy marketed as the “fucksaw.” The orgasmic display incensed millions.
Now, Silver Lake’s Stockroom sex shop has arranged a live re-enactment of the event, this Saturday afternoon.
“The use of the toy in Chicago was framed by a broader discussion of what the toy was used for, and how the people demonstrating it felt about doing so,” according to store owner Mike Herman.
Herman claims Saturday’s show will help to illuminate the educational value of Professor Bailey’s original presentation.
Like most higher education in America, the event comes with a price tag. Tickets will be sold at the door for $20.