Thursday, December 30, 2010

Recent Acquisitions in the Arena of the Printed Page

Eddie Campbell is a certifiable comics genius. Possibly best known for his insanely well researched and rendered graphic depiction of Victorian London in From Hell (written by another comics Master Alan Moore) Campbell's graphic style can be deceptively off-putting at first glance, but I assure you the man is a visual tour de force and a born storyteller. Alec, a tome of over 600 pages, is an autobiographical epic that has had my eye on the book shelf for some time.

Though first of course I have to finish:

And Interspersed throughout, some light holiday short stories:

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Still Raining, Still Dreaming...

It's been raining in Southern California for days. I LOVE it.

For the first time in years I've fallen into a heavy sway with The Verve. Their music... it's as if I'm standing on a dock in the rain watching the distant lights of a boat getting farther and farther away, a season of my life moving away from me without cruelty or judgment and Richard Ashcroft's voice is the voice that's been sent to let me know that even though the channel's fading the transmission is still strong.

I'm reading Dan Delillo's White Noise and it's one of those books that within two pages you know it's important. You know it's going to change you, and that's as rare as it is magnificent.

I'm falling in love with my wife all over again and she doesn't suspect a thing...

The Verve

Soooo awesome. We're having storms galore in southern California – more rain here in a week than probably the entire going-on five years we've lived here. And The Verve... well, they are perfect for stormy weather.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Friday, December 17, 2010

Grant Morrison's Batman Returns/Incoportated - SPOILERS!!!

Recently I made a HUGE mistake.

In August I re-read all of Grant Morrison's Batman, Batman and Robin and The Return of Bruce Wayne – re-read up to that point anyway. So, you see the mistake of course was that I didn't wait the extra three or so months and re-read it after the arc arrived at its conclusion – a conclusion Morrison had been building to, in the Batman books, for close to five years (and arguably a lot longer if you take into account that all of his DC stuff since his JLA run in the mid-90's* has all been intertwined). So now the page has turned, Bruce Wayne is back and the "new era" has begun; one where apparently many people will wear a Batman or related suit, and I've realized I have most definitely missed something.


So I guess I'm just going to have to read it again. But not for a bit.

First – I am extremely happy to see that Dick Greyson and Damian Wayne are going to continue to be the Batman and Robin of Gotham. I'm not too happy that Morrison is leaving that title for Batman, Inc. but I'll stay on for a while**. Grant's Batman and Robin has been one of my favorite books each month – he's arguably redesigned and added to Batman's Rogues Gallery in such a way as to make it a little bit more modern and perhaps even usable for those great, dark and realistic Christopher Nolan films***, because really, other than those Nolan has already mined for the films, whose left that won't come across completely Schumacher-ish?

But I digress, whereas Batman and Robin has been lighting up my comics life every month Morrison's The Return of Bruce Wayne has been a bit of an 'Ohhhhhkkkaaaayyyy... I'll read this out of the obligation to the overall story arc but... I don't know. Each issue has felt a bit... unfulfilling? First of all, I have to believe that DC pushed Morrison into a storyline similar to the mega-successful Captain America death-time-travel-return storyline**** that was so successful for Marvel (because the big two just have to imitate each other still, in this day and age). And really, Morrison's doing a decent job with it, it's just that, well, every issue feels rushed and too concerned with showcasing a Batman re-imagining in key time eras (Prehistoric, Colonial, Pirate, Cowboy, etc). When I performed my marathon re-read ROBW was only up to issue three and since then I've let the next three collect in a pile. I guess I figured if I waited until the series had reached it's conclusion it would read better in one sitting.

Did it?

Yeah, a little bit.

The forced trappings of the storyline are still there, but Morrison exhibits some almost bafflingly esoteric and profound moments of exposition on what may indeed prove to be an even bigger, grander concept for The Dark Knight in the years to come. That's why I'm such a Morrison fan – it's not just the big picture that can take years of seeding and development, it's also his ability to transcend the actual pages he's writing on and turn over-used archetypes such as Golden Age superheroes into avenues by which the reader can access bigger, almost occult ideas from the wider, realer world around them. This was true of The Invisible, which Morrison has talked extensively about being not just a story or work of incredibly clever Meta-fiction but a "Spell" by which he Willed the world to grant him access and influence to certain things.

Batman is one of those things and, I think, a continuation of a modern wordsmith/philosopher/cultural engineer's Oath of Ipsissimis through his work.

And maybe more important, that work is DAMN entertaining to boot!!!


* Yeah, he's that good.

** In the realm of comics I follow a few key writers, not characters or titles.

*** Which I suppose I'm still interested in even though Mr. Nolan has stated he is not going to recast Joseph Gordon-Levitt as the Joker in the wake of Heath Ledger's unfortunate death. I understand this decision, but as I've posted about somewhere before I really feel as though Nolan's first two films were both set-ups to a much more important concept to be played out in the third and any subsequent films – the idea that once Rachel Dawes died, the only person who could complete Bruce Wayne, so did he. What would have been left of course was Batman and the only person who could complete him, and that would of course be The Joker.

Plus Levitt is freakin' awesome and apparently an uncanny mimic.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

New Twilight Singers album

2010 proved to be an AMAZING year for new music and if this is any inclination 2011 is starting off on a damn good foot. Greg Dulli's Twilight Singers have proven to be one of the most influential groups in my life in recent years (if there was ever a soundtrack to my life from 2001-2006 it was their MASTERPIECE Powder Burns). Just from reading a little bit about the forthcoming Dynamite Steps (Feb 11th; Sub Pop) I'm expecting another epic of 2AM proportions*.

Follow below and hear the new single:


2AM is, loosely put, a 'genre' I am attempting to create or 'coin' for the kind of atmosphere that abounds in the post-bar hours of the night. Encapsulating it in words is my current project and something I feel Dulli did perfectly on Powder Burns, an album that was recorded, in many cases, via generators in post-Katrina New Orleans. 2AM's denizens are booze, drugs, sex and danger – all for no reason other than if you're up that late and out on the town, those are the waters you're going to eventually find yourself swimming in. 2AM is also a verb, i.e.: 2AM too long and you'll eventually find yourself fighting to keep your head above water.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Let's Try This Again... Douglas Copeland's Pessimists Guide to the Next 10 Years

Apparently I'm having technical difficulties. However, although I've not read any of Copeland's novels (our friend Vanessa's copy of The Gum Thief has been sitting on our shelves for a while now - I'm working my way 'round to it) this right here makes me think he is an important mind in our day and age. Please follow and digest (if the link works this time that is).

Monday, December 13, 2010

Liars - Scissors

In reviewing my favorite albums of the year, this came back up. Such a FANTASTIC music video (I say that a lot on this blog, but not a lot in general).

Friday, December 10, 2010


If you haven't heard about this let me break it down: These two guys made a fake trailer for a movie that doesn't exist and wasn't in anyone's production schedule (except their own). The trailer is masterful; they hug new age horror movie trailer conventions beautifully. Then, the cherry on the sunday, they attached Eli Roth's name to it and put it online. Roth saw it and is now producing it for them.

"That's not funny daddy..." Awesome.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

One Of My Favorite Breweries

Fuck what Old Milwaukee's saying – it doesn't get any better than this!!!

La Fin Du Monde is probably my favorite of the Unibroue beers, although any of the four of these is absolute heaven on the taste buds. Also of note is Unibroue's Blanche de Chambly and Blanche de Noir, light and dark opposites of similar style. Ah, and the elusive Raftsman which can currently be found in their taster pack but doesn't seem to exist in an individual bottle.
Points of note: any bar serving any Unibroue beers on tap is your friend and you should frequent it often, tipping the wait staff generously and remembering that not everyone is as lucky as you are to have a place like that.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Kylie Minogue Love At First Sight official video HQ


I cannot stop listening to this album. I'll be posting a full review on my Chud blog soon, but Yppah's They Know What Ghost Know is on fire in my head and driving my fingers across the keys like break dancers across lily pads.

The music is mostly instrumental and possessed with a great vibe; exuberant, cheerful, triumphant and melodic even in it's oft break-beat breakdowns and traipsing sampledelia. They Know What Ghost Know is a perfect ying to another electro-ish album I've been courting for the better part of a year now's yang, Crystal Castles II. However where Yppah is happy Crystal Castles 2nd album is dark and brooding, almost terrifying at times (and I do not use that word loosely to describe music). There is an element of repressed fear and explosive release – as if an exorcist was called forth to bring the Poltergeist-like depths of singer Alice Glass' soul so that she could release critical inner tension, finally vomiting it out in garbled, often muffled screams and incoherent proclamation. I know that doesn't necessarily sound like what one would call 'Pop' music, but trust me, it is.

Then again I have a pretty different definition of what constitutes pop than many people. Although we all seem to agree on Kylie Minogue.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Grinderman & Faith No More Live!!!

This was a tough but glorious week. Working 6 days a week, long hours to boot, and two concert experiences with perhaps two of my most beloved musical influences/heroes on two consecutive days.

My love of Nick Cave is a more recent thing; I didn't 'get it' until a friend of my wife, then girlfriend, burned me a double whammy of 'And No More Shall We Part' & 'Let Love In' about seven years ago. But Faith No More... they are primordial for Shawn. And although I've seen Mike Patton in almost every other project he's had since I'd missed every opportunity to see Faith back in the day. Well this week I saw both (well, not The Bad Seeds, but Cave's new offshoot band Grinderman) and reviews for both amazing shows on my Chud blog. Links follow.