Wednesday, January 31, 2018

2018: January 31st 5:02 AM

I woke up with an 'old' MIA song in my head so I thought I'd lead with it here:

Since the week began I have felt unusually sleep deprived and thus, I have not gotten much writing done. Interestingly enough though, the sleep-starved brain may not work very well at hammering out the actual interconenctive tissue of Prose itself, yet it seems remarkably capable in figuring out the foundation work underneath the Prose. Yesterday, I once again overcame a 'big picture' problem just by thinking about it. I know that sounds a bit obvious, but it's not; previously I've always written my way into structure. It feels like an ENORMOUS accomplishment to be hashing major plot points beforehand. I've never been too much on outlining but this is a bit different and doesn't make the actual writing process feel stodgy once I dig into it.

Playlist yesterday looks something like this:

Zen Guerilla - Positronic Raygun
The Casket Lottery - Real Fear
The Soft Moon - Zeroes
Curtis Harding - Face Your Fear
Tuneyards - I Can Feel You Creep Into My Private Life
Real Estate - Days
Glass Animals - How To Be a Human Being
Zen Guerilla - Trance States in Tongues

And yeah, I'm really digging The Casket Lottery. They're playing in Irvine at Chain Reaction on a Friday sometime in the spring and I'm almost definitely going to go. Oh! Also, I scored tickets to see Preoccupations at The Echo in May. Very excited about that.

Card of the day:

Again? Okay, that could be a good thing.

I had not realized Tuneyards third record had been released - I thought I read March originally - and as soon as I caught wind of it I added it in Apple Music and dug in. Once again they blow my mind. Merrill and company's sophomore release Nikki Nack claimed my number one album of the year in 2014 and after one listen I can already tell that is not outside the realm of possibility for I Can Feel You Creep Into My Private Life. Great title, too.

Track 6, Colonizer is my favorite track on the new album (thus far) but I can't find a good version to embed here so I'll go with the video they've released for album opener Heart Attack:

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

2018: January 30th 6:26 AM

I once again began the day in silent contemplation of my current writing project and I am happy to say, after a vexing and truncated writing session last night I smashed my problems this morning. Used the Olympus - let's call her Diane from now on, for obvious reasons - to record it all and now I'll transcribe it, let it stew for a few hours and try and map it on lunch. To reward myself I spent the later half of my commute listening to my two favorite tracks off Zen Guerilla's Positronic Raygun album from 1997, the second because I always lust for this track when Spring kicks in, and in truly baffling Southern California fashion, it's spring ladies and gentlemen. The first because I wanted something to zone out to in order to pull my thoughts out of the 'writing soup' they'd been in:

To get the full effect of Frequency Out you really need to do Healing in the Water, 2000 Watts over the South Side and then Frequency Out, but I figured two tracks as an intro here was already a bit cumbersome. The entire album is online and I can't recommend it or Zen Guerrilla in general enough;  these guys were one of the best live bands I've ever seen - and I've seen a lot of bands live. Miss these guys. Miss the people Healing in the Water reminds me of, too. That's a different post though, one that I may have already put on here somewhere in the murky aeythers of the past.

Card of the day:

I've got nothing on this card in my Thoth Grimoire and I'm thinking now maybe that's why I have money but no gain - I don't know it, I haven't spent the time getting to know what it is to truly Gain. Or maybe that's a little new age. Not sure. More coffee please.

Yesterday's playlist looks like this:

The Knife - Shaking the Habitual
Teenage Wrist - Chrome Neon Jesus (just the three pre-release tracks currently available)
Teenage Wrist - Dazed EP
The Casket Lottery - Real Fear
Viet Cong - Eponymous
Sleigh Bells - Kid Kruschev
Ministry - Animositisomina
Black Rebel Motorcycle Club - Wrong Creatures
Deafheaven - Sunbather

A little Roxy Music off their debut in there somewhere too.

Teenage Wrist is a band my good friend Jacob told me about. They are Incredible:

The Casket Lottery are an Los Angeles band the sound guy at The Love Song bar told me about last week - I added their album Real Fear that night so I wouldn't forget it but didn't have a chance to listen to it until yesterday. They are also fantastic and not at all what I expected based on the context of the conversation they were originally brought up in and what the name/cover image might suggest. Let's all say thank you for artists still willing to defy expectations.

Monday, January 29, 2018

2018: January 29th 6:40 AM

Started the day with some quiet drive time wherein I may have worked out a problem prohibiting another writing project I'm partially engaged with at the moment. Had that by the halfway point so I decided to reward myself with a little TV On the Radio:

In the interests of refining this journal as I go, I'm going to add and subtract things as I see fit. First thing I'm adding?

Tarot of the day.

The theme for this year is shaping up to be a daily one: daily words, daily playlists, and now daily card. Today's card is the Emperor. Note: I only use one deck and it's Crowley and Lady Freida Harris's Thoth.

Here's what I have in my homemade Tarot Grimoire - which is not nearly complete or even extensive at this point, more on that in a minute:

The Rules that Govern All Life. 
- Action, Decisiveness and High Energy.
- Engage obstacles/enemies
- Strength

Honestly that already feels like today, at least the action and high energy part.

It's been almost 3 years since I engaged with my deck, which I've had for close to 15. I wax and wane with activity in Tarot and Magick in general (although there is a part of me that chooses to see the way in have made writing an institution in my life as my own personal vow of Ipsissimis) and in that time I've probably done 2 pulls; this is all due to the fallout in 2015 of extended Magickal Practice surrounding Grant Morrison and Chris Burnham's Nameless comic, the annotations/research for which I did is still live on Joup. I don't think I ever put don't the experience I had in words, but maybe I'll do that soon. Needless to say it was a harbinger for the 'dark night of the soul' that 2015 was for me.

Playlist yesterday was non-existent; I started the day with that Eno and from there the only music I listened to was some Emily Kinney stuff K played in her car as we ran errands. Other than that the day disappeared in quiet chunks scored only by the sound of my Love's voice and the snarky complaints from our cat. We did watch Adaptation and it was just as good as I remembered it.

Sunday, January 28, 2018

2018: January 28th 9:59 AM

"Juanita and Juan, very clever with maracas, making their fortunes selling secondhand tobaccos. Juan dances at Chicos and when the client's are evicted, he empties the ashtrays and pockets all that he's collected."

Beginning my musical day with Brian Eno's Here Come the Warm Jets. It feels like a warm blanket after the night we had. Surprise party for Keller went off without a hitch. Drinks were consumed - a lot of drinks. There was plenty of Sierra Nevada and Guinness going around, as well as a bottle of Basil Hayden - which is, thus far, the bourbon that has made me rethink Bourbon, which I normally turn my nose up to. And a bottle of Port Dundas, which was fantastic. Because of the party, the playlist was alllll over the place, but a snapshot of the entire day looks something like this:

Converse - The Dusk in Us
Revolting Cocks - Big Sexy Land
Algiers - The Underside of Power
Au Pairs - Sense and Sensuality
David Bowie - Diamond Dogs
Grimes - Art Angels
Black Francis - Bluefinger

Moved into the writing portion of my night, a brainstorm session with Keller to iron out some big picture problems with the structure of our story. Switched sonic gears to Reznor and Ross's OST for The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. From there I segued into Sleigh Bells - Treatment, the opening track of which we're using as a soundtrack to a scene in our story we refer to as, "The Sleigh Bells Massacre".

No, its not a Christmas story.

The timing was impeccable - K showed up right as the song went nuts and charged through the door with many of our friends behind her. Keller was stunned. From there, all musical bets were off. I can tell you we indulged in some John Spencer Blues Explosion, Def Leppard, The Knife, Was (Not Was), Morris Day and The Time, Prince, then bafflingly I see New Edition and Bell Biv Devoe on my "recently played".

Huh. Never underestimate the nostalgic power of whiskey + friends.

Going to go to breakfast and then lick my wounds. Planning on watching Spike Jonze and Charlie Kaufman's Adaptation today, which I just received from Amazon and haven't seen since the theatrical run. I'll never forget walking out of that Orland Park cinema with Brown in 2002 and saying, "Well, I've never said it before and I'll probably never say it again, but Nicholas Cage deserved TWO fucking Oscars for that one."

Of course Cage didn't get it. We'll see how bad the oscars fuck it up this year - I usually just scoff at their sad attempts to 'reward' artistic merit, which I do not believe has anything to do with the oscar's agenda at all. This year the Golden Globes - an awards institution I normally pay less attention to than the oscars - really felt like they hit it on the nose, so I'll probably be more apt to talk about that show when in need of an industry awards reference, if ever.

Saturday, January 27, 2018

2018: January 27th 9:51 AM

Started the day in silence as I drove to work on a relatively clean 405. As I've become increasingly intent on becoming a better writer I find starting the morning with my thoughts is a very good thing. Lots of ideas come to me in the morning, always have, and it's a good thing to let them flow. I work a lot of 'big picture' problems out this way, and I keep my handy dandy Olympus VN-722 PC Digital Voice Recorder in my car so I can always click it on and capture everything completely; one thing I've learned as I've aged is no matter how great an idea is, it will often slip away and disappear completely if I don't nab it on the spot.

Starting my musical day with Converge, as I'm still buzzing off the show on Thursday:

Didn't have a lot of time to make progress with Han King's The Vegetarian this week, but I'm eeking along; the perspective shift at about page 50 was interesting and adds a whole new angle to whatever the hell is happening. I'm enjoying this very much.

Reading-wise I did make some progress in catching up with all the comics I'm behind on, chief among them Kevin Eastman's ongoing relaunch of TMNT. I can't say enough good things about this series, it's still the best re-launch I've ever seen. I grew up in the mid-to-late 80s as a fan of the original Eastman and Laird B&W series, before the Turtles became marketed at children, a tactic I've never begrudged, as the creators have always been good about keeping at least one title on the shelves to appeal to us old school fans: there was the Erik Larsen B&W series in the 90s that continued the original series, then the Peter Laird series in the early 00s, and now this Eastman-driven one that started circa 2012 and has brilliantly brought in elements of every iteration of the Turtles and found a way to do all of it without alienating any aspect of the fanbase. The long form storytelling makes me smile to no end, and when I finished the double-sized final chapter of "The Trial of Krang" the other night I was once again in awe of how excellent this series is.

Yesterday's playlist was once again a bit diluted, as I started work later than normal to accommodate for the late night after the concert. I wasn't totally keeping track of what I was listening to, but I'll try to pull from memory:

Converge - The Dusk in Us
Fiona Apple - Tidal
Drab Majesty - Careless
Swans - Glowing Man (Disc 1)
David Bowie - Black Tie White Noise

This last album was also the subject of my Joup Friday Album yesterday, filling in for Sonny who takes up the reigns next week.

Speaking of Joup, I launched my new, weekly column this past Thursday: Drinking, Fighting, F*&king and Crying - check it out, this week's is Drinking, next week's is Fighting and so on. You get the picture.

Friday, January 26, 2018

2018: January 26th 9:19 AM (by way of 11:37 PM)

Converge at The Regent - awesome band, awesome show. Here's a break-down of my night in Downtown LA - still the filthiest city I've ever seen in my life:

-Drive to Hollywood after work and meet up at Keller's place

-One last Americano before the show to help buoy my up-since-four-AM-arse

-Drive to DTLA, stare aghast at the post-apocalyptic landscape - as Keller mused, "It's an abandoned city"

-Walk three blocks to The Regent. The Regent is owned by Spaceland, who now own/book the Regent and the two places on either side of it, Prufrock Pizza and The Love Song Bar. We had some pizzas and a pitcher of Stone IPA at Prufrock, then further avoided waiting in the massive entry line by walking over to the Love Song Bar, where they had Abita Amber on tap (Not my favorite Amber but I needed a break from the IPA mouth) and were spinning The Kinks on vinyl over the sound system. Halfway through the first pint local LA band Spain began a set of some of the most wonderfully jazz-tinted indie rock I've heard in years. We stayed for three songs and then...

-Go into The Regent just in time to see Sumac's set (we missed Cult Leader). Sumac is Aaron Turner's (formerly of Isis) new band. They are outstanding. Converge went on at 11:00 and KILLED it. No video up from last night's show yet, so here's them doing my favorite song on The Dusk in Us live a few months ago:

All in all a fantastic night that we rounded down with a few beers at a wannabe dive back in Hollywood.

Aside from the live experience, yesterday's playlist looked something like this:

Jimmy Hendrix and the Experience - Axis Bold As Love
Thin Lizzy - Fighting
Converge - Caring and Killing
Converge - The Dusk in Us
Roxy Music - Eponymous
Swans - The Glowing Man (disc 2)

Here's a trailer for a movie I really want to see. Thank the Universe for Larry Fessenden and Glass Eye Pix:

Thursday, January 25, 2018

2018: January 25th 6:53 AM

ROUGH morning on the 405. Snoozed through my eight alarms (!), got a late start, and of course Thursday is the worst day for traffic in LaLaLand. Just having my first sip of coffee now as I write this - how did I ever make it all the way to work without it?

After the news of Mark E. Smith yesterday I needed some aural sunshine this morning so I listened to Axis Bold As Love. Man, that album never fails to bring the good vibes. I've long likened it to a religious experience and that comparison stands. Since I can't find any of that to post from youtube I'll throw you a slice of what I'll be getting into as I start my work day:

Playlist from yesterday was scarcer than usual:

Preoccupations - Eponymous
Swans - The Glowing Man (Disc 1)
USSA (Duane Denison and Paul Barker!)
Ennio Morricone/John Carpenter - The Thing OST (WaxWork edition)
The Politics of Punk - disc 6 (By way of The Fall and Rowche Rumble)
Johnny Jewel - Windswept

Converge tonight!

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

R.I.P. Mark E. Smith

On my way home this evening Mr. Brown sent me a text relaying the news that Mark E. Smith, mastermind behind Post-Punk legends The Fall, passed away today at the age of 60. I immediately knew what my tribute would be, however I'm still unsure where exactly this version of my favorite song by The Fall is originally from (I actually uploaded this one because I couldn't find it anywhere on youtube). I found this song, and conversely my appreciation of the band, via a weird compilation I bought in the early 2000's called either The Politics of Punk or The (S)hit Factory. Shortly thereafter on a trip to London, I visited as many record stores as possible and bought a handful of albums by the band, however I never located this version of Rowche Rumble, which remains as awesome today as it was the first time I heard it, no matter how many times in a row I listen to it.

RIP Mr. Smith. You've done good work and earned your rest.

2018: January 24th 8:43 AM

Not looking forward to traversing the 405 this morning. Waiting for the traffic to subside after taking a late start at work because the MAINT REQD light came on yesterday on the way home. Everything's good though; my Mechanic was able to get me for a 7:30 and true to his word - he always is - I was in and out in half an hour. So I was able to sleep a bit late and then pass the first part of the morning sitting in his shop talking politics with him and another local I met, a retired LA Firefighter. Good guys. Not seduced by the lack of common sense that blinds both sides of the political arena to what I like to call good ol' common sense. I wish I knew how to start a political party, because the more people I talk to lately, the more my idea for a Common Sense Party seems like something that would appeal to all the people who don't simply treat their politics like a sporting event. Fuck you side - it's about pragmatism and common sense. Also, let me say if you do not have a local, independent mechanic, you are missing out. Find one in your area and go to them for your oil changes and maintenance - it's a great way to support local business and I've yet to meet one I didn't like. Well, that's not exactly true, but you can usually sniff out a bad one right away. Most are great people who will give you the proverbial seat cover off their back. Or something like that.

Starting my musical day with Preoccupations again:

The playlist for yesterday looks something like this:

Viet Cong - Eponymous
Preoccupations - Eponymous
(Those two probably at least four times each)
David Bowie - Black Tie, White Noise
The Jesus Lizard - Liar
Zombi - Shape Shift
Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross - The Girl w/ The Dragon Tattoo OST
Chasms - On The Legs of Love Purified
Disasterpeace - It Follows OST

That was my first time listening to the It Follows OST; I put the album on repeat as I fell asleep and it woke me up in the middle of the night with some sudden horrific sound that I think burrowed back into my brain and left me with a strange feeling and a constant, on-the-hour wakefulness. Good stuff.
As I intimated yesterday, I've always wanted to journal the daily totality of what I consume music-wise; I've always harbored suspicions seeing the trends and constants, after enough time, would give me some overarching insight into my daily 'self'. Also  as I said previously I have no idea how sustainable an idea this journaling will be. But for now, I'm enjoying the process.

Finished Reinhard Kleist's Nick Cave: Mercy on Me and dove into Han Kang's The Vegetarian. ~50 pages in and I am unsettled and beyond curious to know where the hell this is going. Thanks to Tori for lending me this and another novel I probably would not have heard of otherwise, The Book of Joan, which I'm also looking forward to reading before too long. Really interested in diversifying my reading habits this year and this is a good start. Not that there won't be that new Laird Barron in May (Can't wait!), as well as a whole host of the usual, creepy ass books I love so much. Next however, I think I'll finally dive back into Nick Cave's And the Ass Saw the Angel, which I started back about eleven years ago and regretfully never finished. Kleist's journey into, ahem, "Caveland" really reignited something.

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

2018: January 23rd 5:56 PM

Walked up to do my words today. About a nice mile hike uphill. Trying to regain some of what I lost with my health issues last year.

I finished Patrick Kindlon and Maria Lovet's There's Nothing There last night. Really cool book. The part that sealed the deal for me was when Oscar Zeta Acosta showed up. I mean - holy shite! He appears as something of a spirit, although maybe not exactly, and he drops the names of the other spirits that had previously appeared to the main character, Reno. Oscar's presence spurred me to do some research and sure enough, all of Reno's visitors were real people from history who disappeared.


Kindlon's afterwards are worth the read alone - they're all fantastic snapshots of the comic industry from someone immersed in it, and in the back of the final issue he teases that there's more to tell, that maybe he and Maria will get back to it some day.

Please do.

Fell head over heels in love with Viet Cong and their current incarnation as Preoccupations. I remember when all of the hullabaloo with their name was going on two or so years ago, but I never read up on it. Also never had the chance to check out the band, despite the fact that over on Heaven is an Incubator Tommy swore/swears by them up and down. Another great thing about Apple Music - everything I think of is at the touch of a button. These are good enough to own on tactile though, so I'm sure I'll grab the vinyls eventually. As I keep saying, Apple Music is great, but so is giving the artists your hard earned money for their art - not just the royalties they get from streaming services.

I'll be switching gears from the standard Deafheaven for those daily words today:

2018: January 23rd 7:16 AM

Already been awake and at the job for a little over an hour - real hard time rousing from slumber this morning. The 8 or so alarms I have set on my iPhone perpetually pummel me and I perpetually snooze them, until the unending cacophony of alarms leave me no choice but to crawl from the warm arms of my love and face the cold, cold world.

Yes. I used cold twice, despite the fact that I live in Los Angeles and the lowest it gets at night here right now is probably in the forties. I am not unaware of the ridiculousness my friends and family in the Midwest and East Coast will look upon this with. I've earned my stripes - did I mention it was -12 windshield for several of the days I was recently back in Chicago? It's all relative. Trust me. If you lived here 47 would be cold cold too.

Drove to work listening to Barry Adamson's Soul Murder. Track 8 reminds me of laying awake all night in a Drumcondra Bed and Breakfast with a broken heart. It's a good memory - one that helped get me here today, even if it occurred at the tail end of a night that almost permanently removed me from the planet. But that's a story for a different time. Soul Murder is exceptional, possibly my favorite of Mr. Adamson's early works, when he was crafting film scores for the movies in his head and releasing them via MUTE.

I can't find Reverie to embed so I'll give you a different taste of the album:

Speaking of music, one of the things I've wanted to do for, oh, probably my entire life is keep a running journal of what I listen to everyday. Like, everything. I don't know how much I'll keep this up, but when I can amass a day's tally, I'll post it here. Yesterday's looks like this:

Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds: From Her to Eternity
The Birthday Party - Mutiny/The Bad Seed
Blut Aus Nord: Memorial Vetusta III:
Helmet: Aftertaste
Odonis Odonis: No Pop
Protomartyr: Agent Intellect
Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds: Henry's Dream
Deafheaven: New Bermuda
The Knife: Shaking the Habitual
Curtis Harding: Face Your Fear
Talking Heads: random tracks from Talking Heads 77 and Fear of Music

Monday, January 22, 2018

2018: January 22nd - 5:46 PM

Almost 12 hours since this morning's post. I just arrived at my writing spot, acquired more caffeine and am about to dig into the pure bliss of continuing work on a dream project, a kind of "what could be" for an iconic horror franchise that will probably never see the light of day. Or who knows? Between my writing partner and myself we have a few connections and an inimitable gift of salesmanship in certain situations.

As usual, digging into my favorite (and most played) writing music of all time:

Have an excellent night. I know I will.

2018: January 22nd

6:30 AM - I've already been awake for 2 hours. Going to be a long day, between work at the biorepository, the commute home (which hopefully won't be that bad but, well, I won't hold my breath) and my scheduled daily words for this evening, I'll be running on caffeine and sheer force O' Will for the next... 13 or 14 hours. And then I'll do it all again tomorrow, probably with less sleep under my belt. That's okay, Wednesday is nap day (I swear to the Sleep Bank theory, something I'll either link to or define myself sometime soon) and Thursday night is Converge at the Regent. Going to be insane. I've been looking for a band to fill the hole left by Dillinger Escape Plan's retirement, hopefully this will do the trick. I will NOT be hitting the action in the Pit however, as my torn hamstring at December 14th's Jesus Lizard show (The Fonda) has convinced me that, just like K warns me when I step up to the plate to do stupid things, I'm 41 and well past the age I can surf over a throbbing crowd on other people's fingertips and kindness.

Well, at least until I properly heal...

K and I watched The Killing of a Sacred Deer last night. Jesus H. Christ, where to begin? I'll save it for another time. I loved it though, and it will definitely make my "Shawn's Favorite Films: 2017 list, which I'm delaying publishing on Joup until the day of the oscars, just to allow myself time to see everything. Hey, if the awards that almost always get it wrong can have until February to see everything, so can I.

Began the day with some Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds - From Her to Eternity.

Finishing up Reinhard Kleist's brilliant Graphic Novel Nick Cave: Mercy on Me

Also jogging through a re-read of Patrick Kindlon and Maria Llovet's There's Nothing There - issue 5, the final issue, came out recently and it'd been a few months since I'd read the previous ones, so I thought I'd go back to the beginning and read through until the end. Reno is a strange character; because of her vapid, media whore lifestyle I should hate her. I don't. I want to see her come out of this journey with something new to her, a better outlook. That said, I'll be just as interested in the final issue of the story if she doesn't evolve but receives some kind of comeuppance instead.