Thursday, February 28, 2019

2019: February 28th - New Deafheaven Track!

Fuck yes! Stoked to hear this.

Rick Remender's Deadly Class on SyFy continues to blow me away. I seriously think this might be my favorite and possibly even what I would now consider the best comic book adaptation yet. And I love the way they do the flashback sequences for the characters in Wes Craig's animation. Here's Maria's story from last week's episode #6, aptly titled after one of my favorite Bauhaus songs, Stigmata Martyr.

Playlist from 2/27:

Glass Candy - B/E/A/T/B/O/X
Chromatics - Camera
Ghost - Opus Eponymous
Daughters - You Won't Get What You Want
Ghost - Infestissumam

Card of the day:

Breakthrough! This refers to two events: One, that I've begun using the Zoom H4N Pro that I record The Horror Vision with to record myself reading the finished product of Shadow Play, so I can add it to my iPod and listen to it. I can't express enough how reading my writing out loud helps me make it better. It's a 100% game changer. Previously, I've read everything out loud to K and my close friend Keller, but now, reading it for myself, it's even more profound. Especially since I can go over it on my headphones the next day. Breakthrough indeed!

Two, I found out I'm going to Spokane, WA for a week in mid April for work. Nothing like a couple of lonely nights in a hotel room to kickstart new short stories! Breakthrough!

Wednesday, February 27, 2019

2019: February 27th - The Chromatics' Nite Back in Print!

There's a whole slew of music re-released recently on Italians Do It Better, and of particular interest is The Chromatics' 2004 album Nite, long OOP and recorded/released before current lead singer Ruth Radelet joined the band. You can order Nite HERE; there's links at the bottom of the page for a ton of other music from both The Chromatics and Glass Candy, all on beautiful limited edition vinyl.

Now I just wish IDIB would release the old Glass Candy and the Shattered Theatre demos. I'd love to have Night Nurse, Love Love Love, or Brittle Women on vinyl.


Consistently entertaining as all hell:

Finally! The return of Punk's Not Dead! And the new mini series is titled, "London Calling." How awesome is that? Might have to spin some Clash today to prep.

Playlist from 2/26:

Firewater - The Ponzi Scheme
Young Widows - Settle Down City
Jaye Jayle - No Trail and Other Unholy Paths
Bob Mould - Sunshine Rock

Shockwaves Podcast #134 dropped last Friday and the back half of it is an hour-plus interview with Tobias Forge of Ghost. After the lawsuit by his ex-ghouls bringing his identity to light two or so years ago, I've avoided all interviews with the man. I think he's really adept at rolling with the punches, and the lawsuit hasn't hurt the band at all, though it has changed its persona's course for sure, but this one I couldn't pass up. You can find the episode (and all the others) on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or wherever fine podcasts are desalinated. You can also go straight to the source HERE.

Finally, at 12:00 PM noon CT time, Mondo/Death Waltz is releasing the John Carpenter/Alan Howarth soundtrack to my favorite JC movie, Prince of Darkness, or as I like to call it, Prince of Fucking Darkness. You can grab that HERE, just know there are probably a bunch of fanboy motherF*&kers like me who have alarms set and intend to be sitting at their computer with their fingers poised over the Order button on Mondo's site.

No card today.

Tuesday, February 26, 2019

2019: February 26th - New FOALS

I'm digging the Beachhouse/Smiths feel here. Foals is a band my interest has pinioned back and forth on. Their new album, Everything Not Saved Will Be Lost Part 1, is out March 8th and can be pre-ordered HERE, with Part 2 following in Autumn. Pretty cool release idea.

The teaser for the AMC adaptation series of Joe Hill's BRILLIANT novel NOS4A2 dropped yesterday. It's not much, but it certainly has me excited, especially after seeing Zachary Quinto in Charlie Manx, III make-up:

I cannot say enough good things about the novel. After having read Hill's Heart-Shaped Box and Horns and loved them both, when my friend Becky handed me an advanced reader copy of NOS4A2 back in early 2013, I expected I'd dig it, but  what I didn't expect was how different the tone and style would be from Hill's other books. In retrospect, I should have already reached the conclusion that Hill is such an accomplished writer he is able to change these integral elements of his voice and completely reinvent himself from book to book. Where Heart-Shaped Box was a tight, atmospheric horror novel that worked gloriously inside the tone of the mass market paperbacks of the 90s, Horns felt stylistically similar to a Chuck Palahniuk novel. NOS4A2 was the first of Hill's books where I felt the influence of his father, Stephen King. It was also the first where the two writers began to mingle their worlds a bit, and while in 2019 I'm pretty exhausted of 'shared universes,' I still say King/Hill's methods hold up. They intertwined their worlds just the right amount so as to leave you smiling at the possibilities, but without being overly ostentatious about it.

Here's that teaser:

Playlist from 2/25:

Firewater - The Ponzi Scheme
Firewater - The Man on the Burning Tightrope
Beck - Mutations
Ghost - Opus Eponymous
The Devil's Blood - III Tabula Rasa or Death and the Seven Pillars

Card of the day:

Second time in how many days I received this one? Hmm... Looking deeper into it, I'm wondering if this has to do with the somewhat shadowy side of this card. Prince of Cups is the Intelligence that navigates passion, and passion includes Art. It has been in my head of late that I often fall into a pattern of neglecting the ones I love while caught inside these worlds I'm building in my head. Perhaps it's time to find a flash of non-Artistic inspiration and do something unexpected for someone I love?

Monday, February 25, 2019

2019: February 25th

A little classic Firewater to kick off the morning. I drove in to work playing The Ponzi Scheme, the band's 1998 masterpiece, and it reminded me how much I love this album. I've always been a bit reticent when engaging with their other albums; nothing against the band or Tod A, the principal composer/arranger/lyricist who is the anchor of the group, Firewater is just one of those band's whose first album I heard made such a deep impression I've always had trouble going for anything else. That changes today, I think. I've loaded 2003's The Man on the Burning Tightrope to my Apple Music and intend on engaging with it shortly after I post this.

Congratulations to Green Book for winning best picture. I know, I know: I'm one of those people who  flap their gums about detesting the oscars and then applaud when the awards line up with my personal choices. What'dya gunna do?

Quick correction on my previous entry to these pages. In 2015, Hateful Eight was not my favorite/the best movie of the year, it was Alex Garland's Ex Machina.

Saturday night I had the guys from The Horror Vision over and we watched Philip Ridley's INSANE 1991 film The Reflecting Skin. This just hit Shudder and is a bit hard to come by, so I recommend if you have the service you watch it. Haunting, and you will never see daylight and fields of wheat look so freakin' ominous again.

The final episode of True Detective season 3 aired last night. Much like the first season, I didn't love the finale. Still, no complaints on an overall awesome season. My slight disappointment simply stems from the fact that, even more than season 1, this season set up a lot of what could have been really profound ideas and then skirted around them for a pretty convenient and simple resolution. I guess the show will never be what I want it to be, but even just these teases - when executed this well - are enough to permanently endear it to me.

Playlist from 2/23:

Beck - Odelay
Don Shirley Trio - Don Shirley
The Devil's Blood - The Thousandfold Epicenter
Godflesh - A World Lit Only By Fire
Paramore - All We Know is Falling
Ritual Howls - Into the Water
Odonis Odonis - Post Plague
The Cure - Pornography

Playlist from 2/24:

United Future Organization - Third Perspective

Card of the day:

Hmmm... poisoned waters? Overflow of emotion tainting the perfection of the Six? No idea on this one, though I'm tempted to read it as my preoccupation with a new short story idea - well, a couple of them really, hence the overflowing symbolism - interfering with my editing of the book I've promised myself will be published in April.

Saturday, February 23, 2019

2019: February 23rd

There's a new album from Tamaryn on the way. This is a performer I know nothing about. Somewhere are 2010-2011, her debut album Waves ended up in my iTunes - no idea how it got there, which is a story/theory for another time - the point is when I listened to I fell for the album hard. That's it; I know none of her other music. When this came up in my youtube feed this morning I was interested. Sounds very Cure to me, so a departure from that first album, but pretty cool nonetheless. You can pre-order Dreaming the Dark, out on DERO Arcade March 22nd, from Tamaryn's bandcamp HERE.

K and I went to the movies for the first time in forever last night and saw Green Book. Wow. Here I've been down about the fact that there's pretty much no big Prestige films this year, a sad fact when last year was jam-packed: I, Tonya; Three Billboards; Phantom Thread; Shape of Water. I'm sure I'm forgetting some others as well. This year... not so much. But I'd heard Green Book was good, and Viggo Mortensen is always great, and Mahershala Ali has been blowing me away in True Detective, so we gave it a shot.

FANtastic film. Seriously, it won't be in theaters much longer, but if you can, go see Green Book. Some will say it has a touch of schmaltz, but don't believe them. Life-affirming, and it introduced me to the music of Dr. Don Shirley:

Okay, so I never do Favorite Film list anymore. Probably not in five years. Why? Well, A) I never see everything I want to before the end of the year. And B) at some point I went back and looked at my list for 2012 and basically no longer trusted myself to remove the viewing experience and all its facets from the quality of the film, because in 2012 I ranked Argo over both The Master and The Dark Knight Rises. Nope. I call bullshit on you, sir. The reason for this was a fantastic theatrical viewing experience, at home in Chicago with my parents - a family bonding moment - and although I haven't seen Argo since, there's just no way it's better than those other two I ranked below it. It's good. Great even. But not that great.

So I began to consider myself an 'unreliable narrator' when it came to ranking films.

My favorites of the last few years seem more solid choices: Three Billboards in 2017, a tie between LaLa Land and The Witch in 2016, Hateful Eight in 2015, and Whiplash in 2014, but I never get around to seeing everything I feel I need to in order to make an educated assessment. This year, however, since there haven't been many movies I felt I needed to see, I'm a little bit more assured that my opinions are accurate. So here then, is my 'best of' list for film in 2018:

Best film: a tie between Hereditary and Green Book, sort of both ends of the spectrum, but both affected me immensely.

Best Actress: Toni Collette - by a fucking landslide; the fact that she didn't get nominated for an oscar proves how pointless the award is now, and was the impetus for my never capitalizing the award's name again. Forever.

Best Actor: Mahershala Ali -  Viggo's up there as well for Green Book, but Mahershala also has his performance in True Detective factoring in, because like I said earlier, he has me in awe. Juxtaposing the two performances, I hadn't seen a cast list for Green Book before the credits rolled at the end of the film, and I questioned whether it was him or not for the entire movie. In fact, I had pretty much deduced it wasn't him, and was curious to see who played the part of Dr. Don Shirley. There's a physical difference between Ali in the two roles, some of which comes down to the aging make-up in TD, but some of which is Ali's ability to manipulate his mannerisms, stature, and poise.

Favorite movie: Mandy - the reverberations from my initial theatrical viewing the night of the film's release at the Egyptian Theatre still surround me, coloring my thoughts with excitement. This is the film I struggle not to watch every day, so as not to sap its power.

Playlist from 2/22:

Beck - Odelay
The Goat - Puppy
Jaye Jale - No Trail and Other Unholy Paths
C-Building Kids - Shitting in the Urinal
Ariel Pink's Haunted Graffiti - Mature Themes
True Widow - AVVOLGERE
Windhand - Grief's Infernal Flower
Windhand - Eternal Return
Don Shirley - Waterboy

No card today.

Friday, February 22, 2019

2019: February 22nd - Chromatics - Time Rider

Does this mean Dear Tommy is finally nearing release? The cynic in me stifles a, "probably not," primarily based on the fact that three days ago, The Chromatics released this video and announced their first tour at pretty much the same time. I'm effectively in the middle of a concert ban, with only Uncle Acid and the Deadbeats and The Veils being previously cited exceptions. I might add The Chromatics to that list as well. Might. It's a slippery slope, and like everything else in life, I find an acting inertia in concert going, i.e. once I start I can't stop, but now that it's been months since I've been to one, I'm out of the habit and reticent to start up again. It doesn't help that Johnny Jewel and company are playing The Wiltern here, not a bad venue, but certainly one that seems bigger than they require.

Finished my Deadwoods rewatch two nights ago. Wow. I had forgotten a lot of Season 3, especially how it ended. I remember wincing at how unresolved the show was, but it's even more open-ended than I remembered. Good thing this is coming soon:

Playlist from 2/20:

Pink Floyd - The Wall
Pink Floyd - Obscured by Clouds
Faith No More - Angel Dust
Jaye Jayle - No Trail and Other Unholy Paths
Jeff Angell's Staticland - Eponymous

Playlist from 2/21:
Pink Floyd - The Wall
Young Widows - Old Wounds
Godflesh - A World Lit Only By Fire

Card of the day:

Sensitivity curbed by emotional intelligence. Creation, and perhaps, destruction.

Wednesday, February 20, 2019

2019: February 20th

Currently in love with Louisville, KY band Jaye Jayle's 2018 record No Trail and Other Unholy Paths. This was produced by David Lynch's long-time music supervisor/collaborator Dean Hurley, and pretty much blew me away from first spin. Think Mark Lanegan/PJ Harvey vibe, but with some dirgey Doom goodness thrown into the mix, I can't wait to go through the band's back catalogue, available on their bandcamp HERE.

Jaye Jayle's music - or at least on this album - totally fits in with my visual life at the moment, because tonight K and I are scheduled to finish Season 3 of Deadwood. I've watched the series before, although I haven't seen Season 3 but the one time, back in the aughts. This viewing has kind of been like seeing it for the first time again. I'm amazed at the pot boiler the show is building out of the Hearst/Swearengen-Bullock skirmish, and I can't wait to finish this out and then keep my fingers crossed 24/7 that the movie we have now actually seen pictures of in EW really does come to pass. Seems impossible at this point that it wouldn't, but you never know...

NCBD: Not a whole lot today, but a new issue of Seven to Eternity is always a reason to celebrate, and D.J. Kirkbride's Errand Boys comes to a rip-snortin' finish with issue #5!

Playlist from 2/19:

Pink Floyd - Works
Young Widows - Old Wounds
Jaye Jayle - No Trail and Other Unholy Paths
Alice in Chains - Rainier Fog
Algiers - Eponymous
The Body - I Have Fought Against It, But I
Chris Connelly - Artificial Madness
Beck - Odelay

No card today.

Tuesday, February 19, 2019

2019: February 19th

A few nights ago, K and I watched the 1986 film At Close Range, directed by James Foley and starring Sean Penn, Christopher Walken, Chris Penn (looking a lot like Jason Mewes back in the day), Keifer Sutherland, Crispin Glover, and Mary Stuart Masterson. I can remember this film for as far back as I can remember; seeing the television trailers for it as a kid, glimpsing the VHS box at the general store that served as our first video rental outlet (well before Blockbuster or Hollywood existed); but I never actually saw the movie. However, we noticed it's on Prime right now, so I finally pulled the trigger. Not bad; early 80s teen angst/crime mash-up. Interesting to see Christopher Walken before he settled into being Christopher Walken in every role. Also, interesting to see Keifer Sutherland before he was a name brand - he has all of about two lines. Glover and Sean Penn both deliver as usual, and Mary Stuart Masterson does a good job with some of the more uncomfortable scenes. All in all, I'd give it 3.5 out of 5.0.

The soundtrack utilizes the opening, instrumental portion of this Madonna track as score, so we hear it a lot. It served as a serious nostalgia trigger for me, so by the point in the film where they bring in the vocals, I was certain I'd heard it before and placing it was driving me nuts. Now Live to Tell is stuck in my head, or the opening notes are, at any rate. There's not a lot of Madonna I really dig, but I think this track is going onto that list.

Playlist from 2/18:

Pink Floyd - Animals
Young Widows - Old Wounds
Deftones - Gore
Faith No More - Sol Invictus
Pink Floyd - Works
Jimi Hendrix - Electric Ladyland

Emotional intelligence with a penchant for secrets and introversion. I think it's time to pull myself out of the hole I dug for myself while sick over the last week. Today = Writing session.

Monday, February 18, 2019

February 18th: Good Omens Series Title Sequence

To say I have been waiting for an adaptation of Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman's Good Omens: The Nice and Accurate Prophecies of Agnes Nutter Witch for a long time is an understatement. Mr. Brown and I read this back in the mid-90s and I've been a fan since (though I could definitely use a re-read). I remember Terry Gilliam was attached for a while, and Johnny Depp and Robin Williams were set to play the Angel Aziraphale and the Demon Crowley, though which was set for which I can't remember anymore. Regardless, the fact that we're finally getting Good Omens, and as a series no less, makes me very happy. The title sequence was revealed recently and watching it, I feel anticipation unlike any in a while. I just wish this could have come to fruition while Mr. Pratchett was still alive.

Playlist from 2/18 was non-existent.

The penultimate episode of True Detective, Season 3 aired last night and it was HUGE!!! I won't spoil anything here, but this season has been masterful.

Also, Episode 5 of Rick Remender's Deadly Class aired on SyFy and it pretty much left me speechless. This has been such an amazing adaptation of a comic, probably the best one I've ever seen, and all the glory is owed to Mr. Remender. In the back matter of the most recent issue of the Deadly Class comic, Remender talked on how he surrendered sleep and freedom to be the show runner on Deadly Class, and he's filled out the story in the comics with much love. Nothing has been added that doesn't expand the source material organically, and the actual ratio of straight adaptation to screen has been fantastic. Episode 5 was the Vegas episode, and the use of animation here was amazing. Reminded me of The Wall, a bit. SO freaking good.

Card of the day:

Okay, many will say I probably should remove this card from my mini Thoth deck, but I left it in and drew it, so I'm stuck interpreting it. Hmmm... I've said this before recently and not followed through, but perhaps I should pull some Crowley off the bookshelf in my room and peruse for inspiration?

Sunday, February 17, 2019

2019: February 17th - New Perturbator!!!

New track from Perturbator, who had previously stated he was done with the synth wave thing. This is definitely something different, and I'm hoping only one facet of what will be a widely different adventure for the musician, who is perhaps just as equally ambitious as he is talented. A good thing, for sure.

As for pre-orders, there's nothing listed on either the Perturbator or Blood Music bandcamps yet, but when I find something, I'll be sure to post it here.

Back in 2006, Scottish write Alan Campbell messaged me on myspace - remember that? - and, having noticed I talked about the work of China Mieville a lot, asked if I'd heard of his debut novel, Scar Night. Set in a city that hangs on massive chains above a bottomless pit, I really didn't need to read any more than that to seek the book out. Thus, my love of Campbell's Deepgate Codex series was seeded. Four books and five years later, I saw an announcement for a new novel and series go up, Sea of Ghosts: the Gravedigger Chronicles, Book One. Only problem was, for years I could not seem to get the book in the U.S.

At some point Sea of Ghosts fell off my radar, and remained obscured to me for some time. Now, a few weeks ago, I finally ordered a copy and, having received it yesterday, began reading it. It's good to be swaddled in Campbell's lush, fantastical prose again.

There's not a lot of fantasy I like, primarily because, from my experience, most of the genre is made up of authors who love Tolkien and want only to write inside his tropes. Hence, no matter how many people I drive mad with my resolve, I will never read or watch Game of Thrones. I'm sure they are excellent, but Knights and Dragons are most assuredly not my thing. It's been done to death. Mieville's take on fantasy - where everything is his own creation -  is more my taste, and I'd add Campbell and Peter V. Brett as similar contemporaries. Campbell's Deepgate Codex plays with the textures and aesthetics of Steampunk, for example, but never feels the need to limit itself by those aesthetics, preferring instead to incorporate them into the author's own unique world-building ideologies. And with his undermining explorations of the tenants of religion, political power, and military intelligence, Alan Campbell's aesthetics always engage and expand my own imagination, and quite often make me smile. I'm excited as pie to be back in one of his worlds again.

Playlist from 2/16:

David Bowie - Scary Monsters (and Super Creeps)
David Bowie - Station to Station
Beastmilk - Climax
Jozef Van Wissem & Jim Jarmusch - An Attempt to Draw Aside the Veil
Red Rider - As Far As Siam
Frankie Goes to Hollywood - Welcome to the Pleasuredome
Pink Floyd - Animals

Frankie Goes to Hollywood? You mean, like Relax? Yep. How did that happen? Well...

Two nights ago K and I watched Body Double for the first time. I LOVED this flick; possibly my favorite De Palma film, or at least right behind Carlito's Way. Body Double is early, macabre thriller De Palma, and its tone is compelling and unapologetic for turning the camera's eye on a protagonist that is as seedy as he is well-intentioned. In the film, there's a sequence that utilizes pretty much the entire track Relax, and seeing it I remembered encountering the LP Welcome to the Pleasuredome on the shelves of a thrift store back in the oughts. The album art and design was involved, and I remember thinking it looked as though this band I only knew the one track by - a track I liked very much - may have had ambitions on a level similar to groups like early Genesis, or Pink Floyd. I'm not sure why I didn't buy the record that day in the thrift, but I'd always meant to get around to listening to a full album by Frankie, partially just because I don't know that I've ever spoken to anyone else who had.

So, spurred on by Body Double - a film I really can't say enough good things about - I used the good ol' Apple Music to listen to Pleasuredome yesterday. Verdict? Hmmm... not sure. Ambitious? Yes. Nobly so? Maybe not. Bloated with its own regard? Probably.

I may get back around to re-engaging with Frankie Goes to Hollywood's Welcome to the Pleasuredome some day, but in the meantime I'll still crank Relax whenever I hear it. Like now:

Card of the day:

I'm hoping this points to being back to all cylinders, and not the fact that in order to finally extricate this damnable flu, I need the help of a trained professional. I'll know by the end of the day, I'm sure.

Friday, February 15, 2019

2019: February 15th

Spending my morning with Brian Sweeney Fitzgerald, aka Fitzcarraldo. This is one of the most impressive motion pictures ever made. Period. I'm planning on following up the film with a viewing of Les Blank/Michael Goodwin's The Burden of Dreams, the documentary about the making of Fitzcarraldo. If you've never seen these films, what's so amazing is this: in Werner Herzog's Fitzcarraldo, the titular character, as played by the always brilliant Klaus Kinski, is a would-be entrepreneur in the early 20th Century Amazon with one great dream in life: to build an Opera house in Iquitos, a small city in the jungle. To fund this, Fitz's plan is to become a Rubber Baron by exploiting the one region of rubber trees still unclaimed in the area - unclaimed because the rapids in the Ucayali River that leads from the Amazon directly to the region are unnavigable. But Fitz has a plan.

The Plan: To sail upstream on the neighboring Pachitea River, then pull the boat over the narrow strip of land that separates it from the Ucayali. From there, Fitz reasons they can sail down the Ucayali into the region of rubber trees, gather his workers' yield, and haul it back up to the crossover point, it's just a matter of short trips for his steamer up the Ucayali, and the work of transporting his crop back across to the Pachitea.

But, you know, first they have to actually pull a streamliner over a mountain.

So how do you film that? Well, you have to actually do all of it. As in, Herzog had to actually pull the steamer over the land, which required blasting. The Burden of Dreams chronicles the reality of a filmmaker willing to do the same fantastic feat he requires of his fictional character. It is massive, awe-inspiring, and the very best kind of creative insanity, to say the very least.

Playlist from 2/14:

Pink Floyd - Animals
Corrosion of Conformity - No Cross No Crown
Black Sabbath - Eponymous
The Pack A.D. - Unpersons
Jimi Hendrix - Electric Ladyland
Mike Patton - Mondo Cane

Card of the day:

Seems to line up with my viewing this afternoon. Something this inspirational will usually help charge the batteries right before a new endeavor.

Thursday, February 14, 2019

2019: February 14th

My health is much better today, which means I'm back to work. It's been raining here in LaLaLand off and on for days; today the heaven water is planted firmly in the 'On' position, which is cool with me. I always get a kick out of what heaven LA rain does to the city - green sprouts up everywhere instantaneously, as if all this plant life you didn't even know is there has just been waiting for a few drops to come back to life and flourish. And the LA river? Right about now you could probably take a canoe to it.

NCBD this week; I haven't been in to pick up my books in weeks, so despite tracking what came out each of the last few Wednesdays in these pages, I haven't picked up a single one. This week was a big one though, so I'll probably head in today for this, along with everything else:

Second Arc conclusion is bound to be a doozy; firmly the book I look forward to the most each month. No offense, TWD, you're still up there, too:

 Soooo good! The idea that we are living in a world with a monthly Criminal book is invigorating beyond description:
 And forgot that this hit last week:

Playlist from 02/13:

Secret Chiefs 3 Traditionalists - Le Mani Destre Recise Degli Ultimi Uomini
Pink Floyd - Animals
Jimi Hendrix - Axis Bold As Love
Jimi Hendrix - Electric Ladyland

Card of the day:

Ah, the extra card. Most people take these out, I leave them in. That said, I've never drawn this before so I've never had the occasion to research it. If you do a little quick reading, this is the Unicursal Hexagram Crowley used in Ritual situations. It is a symbol of Crowley's 'religion,' Thelema. Not sure what this is saying; perhaps I should take a few moments today and peruse some of my Crowley texts, just to see if anything relevant bites.

Wednesday, February 13, 2019

2019: February 13th

Well, it's been a few days. In fact, the interim between today's post and my previous one on Sunday is the longest I've gone without posting since I began the new format of this page shortly into 2018. This plague I have is no joke, and to top it off we're short at work, so I've had to go in the last few mornings. It's been half-sick days all week, which isn't bad, but half measures apparently are not going to give me the rest I need to beat this, so today I am just off, period.

I'm starting the day re-watching the above Emma Ruth Rundle documentary that Sargent House dropped last week; makes me want to move back to the Midwest, if I'm being truthful. Although, if I'm being honest, many fleeting glances into other people's lives inspire that reaction in me; from visits home, to contemplation of friends who have beautiful homes and pay less in monthly mortgage payments by half than I pay to rent a small two-bedroom, to the idea of thunderstorms owning an entire season. The early scenes in this doc, those with everyone in the bar, even just the shot of the street outside the bar for that matter because there aren't bars in LA like that, these scenes make me homesick. Then again, I remind myself, it's only one aspect of myself that pines for these things, and as green as the faraway grass of Chicago, or Dayton, or Louisville looks from here in Los Angeles, I'm well aware I have a pretty awesome life set up here. Cost of living is a big check in the CON column, but there's a lot of PROs as well. This is the mental and emotional cost of daily life: the balancing act between all the wants and needs inside us. And I do a pretty good job, for the most part.

This doc also made me remember how much I like Young Widows. Been a while; you'll notice they begin to populate my daily listening again below.


Here's a shocker I just found out yesterday because I don't pay any attention to music award shows: High on Fire won a Grammy on Sunday. Holy shit; hell hath frozen over. And as much as I hate to solicit for a paradigm I detest, here's their acceptance footage, because even after watching it twice, I still can't believe it. That said, I feel like this is an Oscars-like, making-up-for-lost-time awarding, because although I dig Electric Messiah, I feel as though the band's truly groundbreaking and undeniable work is well behind them. Still, who'd have thought, eh? Better late than never...

Having now crested the half-way point in Ramsey Campbell's Alone with the Horrors, I've returned it to the shelf and decided to re-read a few of the stories in Thomas Ligotti's debut collections Songs of a Dead Dreamer/Grimscribe. There's a definite pedigree here; Ligotti is clearly influenced by Campbell, although not in an overly direct way. But there are some aesthetic through-lines I am interested in exploring here, and I'm enjoying this strange little path I've discovered for myself through some of the foundations of short-form modern Weird/Horror. It's definitely helping me understand tone and craft better.

I've watched quite a bit during my sick time. First up, Anthony from The Horror Vision recently gifted me a copy of Scream Factory's Scream Queens Double Feature: John Carpenter's The Fog, and Joe Dante's The Howling. It'd been a couple years since I'd seen The Howling, and I was curious to see the difference the transfer would make, so before watching it I did a quick A/B with my old DVD copy.

Wow. Folks, this is dangerous. Having only recently been converted to the merit of upgrading to Blu Ray - because I refuse to rebuy my collection on another format - I have to say, the difference is huge. So I watched The Howling and was enraptured by the clarity. I also did some reading about transfer technology and what not ( is a near limitless source for that), and I have to say, I won't be replacing everything, but some films for sure. Army of Darkness for instance, or at least the DVD copy I have of the Director's Cut, is a laughable transfer; seriously, this was one of the first films I noticed issues on, two years ago when I excitedly sat down to show K the original Evil Dead trilogy. We made it to the third installment and I realized the picture was so bad it looked like we were watching the film on a crappy old tv in 1978 during an electrical storm. I mean, it's garbage.

Army of Darkness isn't a film I can't live without; it's easily my least favorite of all Ash Williams vehicles, but it's an iconic gem and one I want in my collection. But not this terrible transfer. Because, the idea isn't about constantly upgrading and rebuying, it's about Film Preservation. And while I'm not sure if I have to nitpick over the differences between the $10 AOD Blu Ray that Scream Factory released and the $30 one, having all three versions of the film is important to me, so it's going to have to be the $30. But that purchase is down the road, perhaps when one of SF's sales comes up. I'm still trying like hell to save money, and doing a fairly good job doing it, which is precisely why all the information available about transfers and clarity is, as I said at the outset, dangerous.

After The Howling, I changed pace and watched Jim Jarmusch's Paterson. Wow. One of the best films I've seen in a while, and one of my favorite of Jarmusch's to date; he has such a sense of forgiveness, community, and humanity that comes through in his work, that I feel like this film actually helped heal some black, sticky stuff that was left inside me after a falling out I had back in August last year. So good. I'm not posting a trailer, because there's no way a trailer could tell you anything about this film. Just watch it; Paterson is an Amazon-funded film, and thus available on Prime for free.

Next, I finally got around to Werner Herzog's Nosferatu: The Vampyre. I don't always understand or gel with Herzog's style, but he has such a knack for balancing pragmatism with artistic flourish that I always enjoy his films, even if only after they've ended and I'm re-thinking them. That might be the case here. Let's stick with the poster thing, I'm starting to hate trailers:

Finally, with all these long stretches of time on my hands, I thought I'd get around to one of the longer flicks that has been on my list forever, namely, Derek Cianfrance's 2012 MASTERPIECE, The Place Beyond the Pines. This film was enormous to me; a familial crime epic that blew me away and capped my cinema for the day yesterday because, how the hell do you follow something that BIG? And hell, Mike Patton does the score, and I can say this not just as a fan of his but as a fan of cinema scores: fantastically done, Mr. Patton.

Playlists have been tiny, so instead of doing a day-by-day, I'm summate thusly:

Playlist from Sunday, 2/10-Tuesday, 2/12:

SQÜRL - Paterson OST
David Zinman, Dawn Upshaw & London Sinfonietta - Gorecki: Symphony #3, Op 36 "Symphony of Sorrowful Songs": I. Lento - Sostenuto tranquillo ma cantabile
Young Widows - Settle Down City
Young Widows - Old Wounds
Talking Heads - Remain in Light
Windhand - Eternal Return
Morphine - The Night
Secret Chiefs 3 Traditionalists - Le Mani Destre Recise Degli Ultimi Uomini
Jozef Van Wissem & Jim Jarmusch - An Attempt to Draw Aside the Veil
John Carpenter - Lost Themes

Card of the day:

I'm hoping this is a reminder of the past few days, and not a harbinger of more oppressive illness to come.

Sunday, February 10, 2019

2019: February 10th: New Sunn O))) - That's recorded by Steve Albini!

If you read the notes available in the description panel for this on youtube (or just go HERE and read it in full), the ideology, methodology, and execution the band describes for conceptualizing and producing Life Metal is staggering. Add to that the fact that this is an entirely analog project - I love the line in the description about the "air coming off the speakers in front of the microphones" - with the analog Master Steve Albini doing the recording duties at Chicago's Electrical Audio, and I haven't been this excited for a Sunn O))) record since Monoliths and Dimensions. I need a pre-order link NOW!

I've been sick as all hell the last few days; Saturday I didn't even leave my bed. During that time Had ample time to pick at the video cue. Here's what I watched, all of it excellent:

And a Sabbath Documentary named Black Sabbath: In Their Own Words, that is streaming for free on Amazon Prime. I couldn't find the trailer on youtube, but you can view it on Amazon HERE.

I also watched There Will Be Blood again for the first time in a long time. Totally holds up (not that I expected anything else):

Oh! And I can't forget this video Mr. Brown linked me to. A fantastic exploration/interpretation of Twin Peaks Season Three that shed a lot of new light and convinced me the premise of the video's title is 100% correct. Well, as 100 % correct as you can be interpreting David Lynch's work:

Playlist from 2/09 was non-existent.

Playlist from 2/08:

Flying Lotus - You're Dead
Bob Mould - Sunshine Rock
HEALTH - Vol. 4 :: Slaves of Fear
The Blueflowers - Circus on Fire
Brian Eno - Here Come the Warm Jets
Deafheaven - New Bermuda
Grinderman - Grinderman II
Ghost Bath - Moonlover

Card of the day:

Always good to see Netzach! I'm interpreting this card, it's six pristine wands overlaid by one roughly hewn but bursting with power one, as the insight I'll have from writing in my current diminished health capacity. We'll see.

Thursday, February 7, 2019

2019: February 7th

Wow. My good friend Jacob messaged me a few weeks ago about the then-just released split EP Minsk and Zatokrev released at the end of 2018. Minsk is pretty much always a sure thing, but I'd never heard Zatokrev before. And now I am a fan.

You'll notice a binaural beats album on the playlist from yesterday. I have a weird suspicion about these; that they're a pop psychology/new age product made from something valuable. Way back in 2001/2002, when I was in The Yellow House, I had a pretty good makeshift studio setup in the basement of the house where we practiced, Joup's Joe Grez's original Palos Hills, two-story home. He lived there with two other guys he rented to as roommates, and we had the basement as our rehearsal/studio space. It was the early days of Pro Tools being available for laymen, and I was fresh out of Colombia College with a minor in sound recording. We had a pretty sweet monitor situation in the basement, but also had some big ass stereo speakers, located at opposite ends of the room. I was deep diving into Magick, the Occult, and all things related, and had stumbled across the waveform science that eventually begat Binaural Beats. I was fascinated and began conducting experiments, first on myself with headphones, then Grez became intrigued and asked to take part, then I began expanding my horizons, broadening my experiments to unknowingly include guests to the house. We'd often finish practices and end up with friends hanging out, and for a while they became involved. Nothing malevolent at all, but interesting...

Here's the deal: Theta Waves occur from 3 to 8 Hz, and are the frequencies of dreams, memory, and intuition. And the brain does a funny thing; if you apply a frequency to the brain using, let's say headphones, the brain will match it. Now, speaker responses are normally from 40 to 4k Hz, so speakers - which are transducers, that is they take one form of energy and turn it into another form, in this case sound waves to electricity - cannot at this point in time be made to physically handle sound waves outside of that range. So how do you apply 4 Hz to the brain and induce Theta state? Well, the brain does another funny thing; if you put 48 Hz in one ear, panned hard right, and 44 Hz in the other panned hard left, the brain splits the difference and matches 4 Hz. Crazy, right? So back in The Yellow House studio, I'd do this to myself and try and induce unease, nausea, joy, trance, etc. And I started doing it to visitors when they'd hang, put Hi-Beta waves (15-22 Hz) through the room by using a tone generator to pan 60 Hz through hard right and 72 Hz through left and watch too see if people began to feel irritated or high strung.

They did.

Anyway, it's been a while since I've utilized this. I have a meditation tone I constructed in Pro Tools a few years back, but other than that it's usually difficult for me to do that kind of thing with my now antiquated set-up. I've been wanting to get back to dreaming and dream journaling, and Lucid Dreaming has long been elusive to me - I've done it exactly once that I'm aware of. So when a co-worker who has a kind of pop 'metaphysical bent' to his interests told me he'd started using binaural beats to induce Lucidity in dreaming and it worked, I figured why not. I listened to this yesterday during the day, no where near the hour I went to bed, but I did have a pretty insanely vivid dream right before I awoke this morning, so maybe it will work.

Playlist from 2/06:

Ghost - Infestissumam
Bob Mould - Lost Faith (Pre-release single)
Bob Mould - Patch the Sky
Binaural Beats - Lucid Dreaming
Mastodon - Once More 'Round the Sun
Bigod - Minsk & Zatokrev

Card of the day:

Interesting. I have a meeting this morning this could be relevant to. The dissolution of old paradigms to make way for something new...

Wednesday, February 6, 2019

2019: February 6th: New Bob Mould!

Sing it brother! Talk about hitting the f*&kin' nail on the head. Bob Mould has always had a knack for hooky, endearing, emotionally charged melodies, especially on his choruses. This is no different, but Lost Faith is also bleaker than anything he's done in a while. Love the accordion on the end of the track, and as far as videos go, I'm not usually a fan of videos with the artist standing in the camera, aping playing their instrument, but here the aping is intentional, and, what's more, powerful. Because Bob wears his age on his sleeve and it helps. It helps someone like me, who lost his aging reference just over three years ago and is looking for someone to help him navigate the onset of the back-end of his system's course.

Mr. Mould's new record, Sunshine Rock, is out on Friday from Merge Records. Order it HERE.

The name of the game today is one step back, anticipation for two steps forward. Let's see if that pans out in today's card when I get to it below.

I've been on a bit of a Ghost kick lately, and I was surprised to find I've come back around to Prequelle with a considerably kinder regard. In fact, it's actually working its way up to ranking in with the rest of the Ghost records. Still my least favorite, but I'd imagine I'm finally looking at it as an album in its own right. Also, all the Ozzy solo stuff is probably curbing my expectations mixing them with reality.

My current favorite track.

Watched Velvet Buzzsaw two nights ago. Really dug it. Dan Gilroy pairs with Jake Gyllenhaal and Rene Russo again, adding Toni Collette, Natalia Dryer, Zawe Ashton, John Malkovich, and a bunch of other great talent to turn in a funny little romp through the world of high class/high cost Art and turn it into... a slasher flick. I mean, it took a while for that to happen, but there's a point where I became lucid in the midst of a classic slasher trope and realized, "Holy cow, this is a slasher flick with Art as the killer!"

That idea alone should be enough to get you to watch it. For me, there's also the fact that I adore the way Gilroy shoots nighttime Los Angeles. He has an eye for catching its beauty, as previously seen in the fantastic Nightcrawler. The trick, I believe, is to shoot LA at night, because at night it is beautiful. During the day LA is, for the most part, gross.

Playlist from 2/04:

Joy Divison - Closer
Skid Row - Slave to the Grind
The Devil and the Almighty Blues - II
Ritual Howls - Turkish Leather

Playlist from 2/05:
Ghost - Infestissumam
Ghost - Prequelle
Boy Harsher - Careful
King Buffalo - Longing to be the Mountain
Battle Tapes - Form EP
Ghost - Opus Eponymous

Card of the day:

While there was nothing lazy about my night last night - I spent it hardcore cleaning/rearranging stuff in the apartment that had gotten out of hand - I did not write. This is a reference to that. Also, in reading around online to expand my interpretation, I'm reminding this is an 8 so it corresponds to Hod, which is all about structure and logic, which had a lot to do with my impromptu organizing jag yesterday. Today? Write!

Monday, February 4, 2019

2019: February 4th - New Chasms

New music from Chasms, whose new album The Mirage comes out February 22nd on the always amazing Felte Records. Pre-order it HERE, and see them live if you can, as they are wonderful.

Subterranean Press has a very limited number of copies of Warren Ellis' novella Dead Pig Collector, something I have been wanting to read for years but forgot about some time back while waiting for a physical copy to emerge. Said copy has emerged, but the door is closing quickly. Order it HERE.

February is Women in Horror month, and to kick things off, K and I hosted 3/4ths of The Horror Vision crew this past Saturday for a viewing of Jen and Sylvia Soska's American Mary. Damn, I love this film. The empowerment that comes through the story and performances is intoxicating, and seeing it again has me even more excited for the Soska's upcoming remake of David Cronenberg's Rabid, about which there is a pair of marvelous articles in the latest issue of Fangoria Vol. 2.

You can listen to the newest episode of The Horror Vision on Apple, (although I think there's a lag in the episode uploading to Apple at the moment) Spotify, Google Play, or our website.

Playlist from 2/03:

Jozef Van Wissem & Jim Jarmusch - Concerning the White Horse (on repeat for like an hour while I finished the new story)
Boy Harsher - Careful

Card of the day (despite the fact that the day's almost over; I'm curious):

Perfect and funny for so very many reasons at the moment.

Sunday, February 3, 2019

Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark Trailer


2019: February 3rd

I saw ATW's name on a movie I watched recently but I can't quite place what it was. I thought for sure it was Dead Wax, but I can't seem to find any acknowledgement of that online. Either way, these guys are pretty great and it's good to see them breaking through to a larger audience.

It's been a wicked weekend of hard rain in Southern California. We needed it. Wish it would continue, but there's the sun, already poking out from behind the clouds, drying up all the moisture. The rain always inspires new creative bursts in me, and the second story for my inevitable follow-up to A Collection of Desires is in the bank. Can't wait to see what comes next.

Earlier last week, I picked up Ramsey Campbell's Alone with the Horrors again. This is a collection of Campbell's short fiction from 1961-1991. I've had this for years, inspired to purchase it after a customer from back in my border's days recommended I read the short story Again. That story made quite the impression on me, but during my initial attempt at reading the entire volume, I've only ever made it through a handful of the other tales. Early last year I began again, re-reading those first few stories, but once again moved on. Now that I've returned to Alone with the Horrors a third time however, I am finding it hard to put down. The stories are fantastic; bleak and grey like the skies in the author's native Britain, with an often cold and terse style that matches the somewhat frumpy aesthetic Britain seemed bathed in during the 70s/80s. In particular, the story The Brood, from 1976, impressed me. My intention is to read a few tales from this one in between novels, the next of which will be Gemma Files' Experimental Film.

Playlist from 2/02:

Ozzy Osbourne - Blizzard of Ozz
Black Sabbath - Vol. 4
Black Sabbath - Eponymous
Ozzy Osbourne - Ultimate Sin
Skid Row - Slave to the Grind

Card of the day:

These pulls are all tied up in a personal drama with a friend. This will hopefully work itself out over the next week. Good to see the Six of Wands again, though.

Friday, February 1, 2019

2019: February 1st

Although Chrysta Bell and David Lynch released the album This Train back in 2011, they've just dropped a video for closing track The Truth Is a few days ago. Really cool video that should serve to remind us how we all have different masks we wear to navigate the world around us. Why is that? Well, maybe one day that won't be the case, but for now, many humans are still obsessed with hating anything different than they are. Must be a sad existence, that, as although I was never wired to hate anybody except maybe ben stiller and jim carrey, I wouldn't be able to find the time for it. And maybe that's the key: fill your mind, body, and soul with things you love, and you won't have time to hate.

Today is my three year anniversary of meeting K. What an amazing three years this has been! We love and support one another, she's my devoted first listener/reader, and gobbles up as many horror movies as I can cram into our daily lives. K - I Love You. Thank You for making my life complete.

Playlist from 1/31:

Joy Division - Still
Skid Row - Slave to the Grind
Ozzy Osbourne - Diary of a Madman
Red Rider - As Far As Siam
Ennio Morricone - The Thing OST

Card of the day:

I already know what's stagnant and poisoning the well; I had to post-pone taking care of it because of the end-of-the-month scheduling at work. Perhaps next week. I can feel it though, and this run of what I think of as the 'murky waters cards' is only proving it.