Saturday, December 28, 2019

My Favorite Albums of 2019

The order is, for the most part, negotiable by day. However, Orville Peck's Pony is absolutely the best and my favorite record of 2019.

Beth Gibbons/Henry Gorecki - Symphony No. 3 - Admittedly, I'm a bit of a rube when it comes to orchestral/classical music. I know what I like, but I don't necessarily know how to find it. Imagine my surprise when I saw Beth Gibbons name attached to this one. Gibbons, along with legendary composer/conductor Krzysztof Penderecki and the Polish National Radio Symphony Orchestra deliver a rendition of Henryk Górecki's Symphony No. 3 that makes my heart both swell and sing with all the force of a cinematic thunderhead. Also, fantastic writing music.

Sunn O))) - Life Metal - PERFECT writing music, but beyond that, Sunn O)))'s Life Music, produced by Analog hero Steve Albini, contains a lot of rewarding textures that only reveal themselves after in-depth and multiple - and I mean multiple - listens. Easily my favorite record Sunn O))) has put out since 2009's Monoliths and Dimensions.

Lana Del Rey - Norman Fucking Rockwell - A late entry, this album is as calming as it is strange. Of course, at first glance, the strange is less than apparent, buried behind the subtle, acoustic pop sensibilities on display in the making and arranging of this record. But there's some pretty strange choices here when compared to what you get at first glance, and without having much of a history with Ms. Del Rey's earlier works, this one began as a curiosity for me and quickly grew into a calming obsession.

Blut Aus Nord - Hallucinogen - As much as I love Blut Aus Nord, I've come to terms with the fact that I don't love everything they put out. After a couple years of albums I've tried repeatedly to connect with and failed, Hallucinogen hit me from the opening chord and held me all the way through its runtime. My favorite thing they've released since 2012's 777 Cosmosophy.

The Thirsty Crow - Hangman's Noose - Yes, I am good friends with one of the members of The Thirsty Crows. Yes, I co-host two podcasts with him. Yes, I love his band. Do I love it because he's my friend? Yes, but that's not the only reason I love The Thirsty Crows. I also love them because they are A) Awesome live, and B) the only Rockabilly/Psychobilly band I have identified with since I was head over heels in love with The Reverend Horton Heat back in the mid/late 90s. That scene has broadened considerably, and while I dig a lot of it, I don't love any of it like I love the Crows. Their music is catchy AF, and dusty in a way that feels familiar and pleasing, like leaving the Joshua Tree Saloon at two in the morning hammered out of your skull and meeting people with drugs in the parking lot. "Drinking and drugging 'til six in the morning," yeah, I can't live that life anymore, but I can enjoy wicked ass thrashabilly songs about it.

Federale - No Justice - Another sun-drenched album, this one with enough cinematic flourish as to play like a Robert Altman flick from the 70s. No Justice is up there with my most listened to records this year, and it's been an absolute pleasure learning every nook and cranny of these songs.

Oh Baby - The Art of Sleeping Alone - What do you get when you have a band with a terrible name releasing an album with a fantastic name? Apparently, a hell of an album. Poppier than everything else represented here, this one scratched an itch that had lingered the last few years, a good dance/electro record with pop sensibilities and fantastic arranging, eschewing bubble gum for a kind of Neon Noir Dance Floor feeling.

Spotlights - Love and Decay - Beautiful beyond words from start to finish. Epic, haunted, brash, and polished, I absolutely love this album.

Boy Harsher - Careful - Dark LaLaLand electro that feels like old Revolting Cocks did the music for an alternate version of David Lynch's Lost Highway.

A dream, a lover's return, a haunted highway at night. Orbison, Lynch, Williams. Desert, tavern, danger. Pony is a place that I have always wanted to go to and now cannot stay away from for very long.

Friday, December 20, 2019

C*nts Are Still Running the World

Jarvis Cocker released a new version of his 2007 track Cunts Are Still Running the World just in time to "celebrate" the election in the UK. And I thought this song rang true twelve years ago? Meet the new boss, bigger slag than the last boss.


Currently immersed in collating all the year-end stuff I want to spread the word about. This coming Saturday, The Horror Vision will be recording our "Favorite Horror of 2019" episode, but what about just a general "Favorite Films" list? Well hell, Chewy, I haven't done one of those in at least five years. I always want to do one, but never really feel like I see everything in the end-of -year Oscar release schedule that I want to, or perhaps that I feel I need to in order to make a well-informed list. This year? Fuck that. Here's my three favorite, non-horror films of 2019. My plan is to see Knives Out on Sunday, and I'm assuming I'll be able to add that to the list.

Also, despite the venomous oath I swore two years ago upon walking out of The Last Jedi to never see another Star Wars film again - actually, it was to never even watch the old ones again - I will be going to see the new Star Wars film in a few weeks, but only for the same reason I vote. So I can feel justified in complaining.

Joker is the only film in years that I have seen twice in a theater upon original release, and seeing it in 70 mm at the Aero Theatre with Director Todd Phillips in-house for a post viewing interview was one of the theatrical highlights of a year with quite a few theatrical highlights.



Carpenter Brut - Trilogy
Brittany Howard - Jaime
NIN - Ghosts I-IV
The Atlas Moth - Coma Noir
Boy Harsher - Careful
Revolting Cocks - Beers, Steers and Queers
Federale - No Justice
The Misfits - Static Age
The Misfits - Earth A.D./Die, Die My Darling
Preoccupations - New Material
Balthazar - Fever
Cave In - Final Transmission
Meg Myers - Sorry
Black Pumas - Eponymous
Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross - Watchmen Vol. 3
Blood Red Shoes - Get Tragic

Wednesday, December 18, 2019

Blood Red Shoes - Mexican Dress

Blood Red Shoes' 2019 album Get Tragic is one of those albums that just missed being on my Top Ten Favorite Albums of 2019 list. And I mean, just missed it. A solid album that scratches the itch left by The Kills, whose last album I didn't particularly care for.

That list is coming soon, I swear. In the meantime, Heaven is an Incubator posted his Top Ten Favorite Albums of 2019 HERE. Great stuff, and a lot of it that's new to me. Of particular note is Zetra, whose Bandcamp you can check out HERE.


I recently became completely obsessed with HBO's Watchmen show. I've always been hesitant with any addition to Alan Moore and Dave Gibbon's seminal graphic masterpiece, completely ignoring After Watchmen and Doomsday Clock and Doctor Manhattan's Super Happy Funtime Show, or whatever other ridiculous way DC is currently involved in trying to fleece the source material for, so I didn't fall in line with HBO's offering until I learned a few things recently that changed my mind.

1) HBO's show is not a sequel to the Movie Adaptation. It is a sequel to the original comic. That means no Dr. Manhattan blamed for Nuclear Strike, but massive phony squid alien destroys New York, brings humanity together, and diverts Nuclear Holocaust. Three episodes in, I'm floored by the quality of the show. I mean, it's HBO, so the production value is always going to be top of the line. But I'm getting some aesthetic vibes reminiscent of True Detective Season One. Also, the story plays with so many peripheral elements of the world created by Watchmen that it's just not the story I would have ever imagined anyone doing. If that's not awesome enough, the way the show introduces people/events and then doles out information made the first episode basically one big gottasee, so I am hooked.

Oh yeah, and 2) Mr. Brown sent me THIS.

Shudder recently added Brian Yuzna's Bride of Reanimator. I'd never seen this one before, despite loving the first Reanimator, and I was shocked to find that I think I actually like Bride better! It's funnier, gorier, and really just completely insane.



Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross - Watchmen OST, Vol. 1
Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross - Watchmen OST, Vol. 2
Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross - Social Network
NIN - With Teeth
NIN - The Slip
Talking Heads - Remain in Light
Godflesh - Pure
Godflesh - A World Lit Only By Fire
NIN - Not the actual Events
Duende and David J - Oracle of the Horisontal
Blood Red Shoes - Get Tragic
Carpenter Brut - Leather Teeth
Lana Del Rey - Norman Fucking Rockwell
Carpenter Brut - Trilogy

Friday, December 13, 2019

Orville Peck - Nothing Fades Like the Light

From the album Pony, which is most definitely in my top ten favorite albums of 2019. Where's it rank? I'll be posting my list within the next week or so, and you'll find out.


Happy Friday the 13th, folks! I'll be celebrating tonight with a croc pot full of Chili, copious amounts of beer, and Joe Bob Brigg's Red Christmas Special on Shudder. Can't wait!

What three movies is Joe Bob going to play? I'm guessing Black Christmas, Deadly Games, and Silent Night, Deadly Night 2, the first of which I dig, the other two I have never seen.


And now, ladies and gentlemen, it's time once again for...

Last night was Season 1, Episode 3, "Squeeze." I'd seen this one before as well, but it's been quite a while. While I can't say there was anything spectacular about the episode - which, of course, wasn't the point at all - the first of two episodes with "Twentieth Century Mutation" Eugene Victor Tooms is a freaky-ass exercise in creature-of-the-week tone. The idea of a human being able to stretch, squash, and elongate on command is a nice, subtle play on the 'body horror' ethos, and makes me wonder what would have happened if David Cronenberg directed an episode or two of this show.

I especially dug the opening kill of this episode, as it really felt like the beginning of a horror movie or, perhaps better equated, an episode of Tales From the Crypt.

Oh yeah. And the Bile Cave. That was pretty gnarly as well. Now that I'm thinking about comparisons and the X-Files influence down through the years, I'm also feeling a kinship to some of the Body Horror/Nightmare Logic of Channel Zero (RIP).



Young Widows - Settle Down City
Kaiser Chiefs - Duck
Me and That Man - Songs of Life and Death
Shining - X Varg utan flock
Windhand - Grief's Infernal Flower
The Body - I Have Fought Against It, But I Can't Any Longer
Godflesh - A World Lit Only By Fire
The Afghan Whigs - Gentlemen


I'd imagine then that I should be careful about befouling my plans for the weekend. 

Thursday, December 12, 2019

Me and That Man - Run with the Devil

Me and That Man is a band I only recently discovered. Back in early November, I spent a few weeks ingesting their 2017 debut Songs of Love and Death. Now they release this and totally throw me for a loop on their sound - which is huge and amorphous - and I'm in love with this! Tarantino meets Bava's Demons meets The Thirsty Crows! How can this be any better? Well, in writing this post I did some reading and realized Me and That Man is a side project for Nergal from Behemoth, a band I'm not a huge fan of, but have wanted to give another try - 2014's The Satanist was fellated by many an online critic but never really burrowed into me the way I had hoped at the time. Maybe five years and seeing this completely different side of the brain trust will change that?

Here's to hoping there's a new album dropping in 2020.


Wow. A pretty stacked NCBD:

 Love this cover.

This book is getting even more insane with the newest story arc. There was a point where I thought it lost me; I was wrong.

This kind of NCBD hardly ever happens to me these days, so even though I'm picking up a day late, I'm psyched.


K and I wrapped up Season 4 of Veronica Mars last night and... well, wow. Aside from all the tears, I ended up absolutely loving this new tone for the grown-up Veronica world, despite what seemed like a slightly wobbly first two episodes (probably me bringing in baggage as we steam-rolled through season 3, into the movie, right into this, so there was some tonal shock at how the show and, particularly the Veronica character, had changed). Now, it's time for...

K is a complete X-Files virgin, and I was only ever spotty at best watching the show. I've always harbored the tendency to turn my nose up at tv, and that was especially true after Twin Peaks and before The Sopranos, so X-Files just seemed silly to me back when it came out. I never saw any of the first season episodes until waaaay later, and it wasn't until the 'Mythology' episodes hooked me with their eerie continuity before I cared at all. During a recent conversation, Mr. Brown asked if he could curate a 'playlist' of non-Mythology episodes for me, as a kind of overview of the best the series had to offer in its purest form. The idea of seeing the show through my good friend's eyes was something I would never pass up, so here we are. Of course, we have to start at the beginning, even if we deviate sharply from there.

Season 1, Ep. 1 - Pilot.

I'd seen this episode before, at some point, but remembered very little. I've gotta say, I really enjoyed it. There are so many cues The X-Files took straight from Twin Peaks (the episode opens with two Pacific-Northwest lawmen hunched over a dead girl's body found in the middle of the woods. When they turn her over, one of them recognizes her as a classmate of his son's. Does this feel too 'on the nose'?

No. It feels influenced by Peaks, but like the show is trying to do its own thing with the tone, which I appreciate. As the episode continues, I was surprised by the tasteful restraint of the music. Maybe it's later seasons, but I remember catching part of an episode in passing on someone else's tv within the last few years, and the score was so over the top and crescendo-heavy, I couldn't tolerate it for me than a few moments. Not the case here - Mark Snow's score in the non-iconic moments is wonderfully dark and sparse. I never felt like he was trying to manipulate my emotions or the story (when the writing is good, it stands on its own. Nothing worse than an over-indulgent score trying to make up for crappy writing). Also, the chemistry of the situation between Mulder and Scully works from the moment they meet. There's no fat on this one, and even though it has a lot to do in a short time, nothing ever feels rushed.

Overall, a fantastic episode and a great start to Mr. Brown's X-Files Playlist!



David Bowie - The Next Day
David Bowie - Black Star
David Bowie - Hunky Dory
Chelsea Wolfe - Hiss Spun
Spotlights - Love and Decay
Orville Peck - Pony
Boy Harsher - Careful
Meg Myers - Sorry
Lana Del Rey - Norman Fucking Rockwell
Deafheaven - Sunbather
Blackwater Holylight - Veils of Winter
Blut Aus Nord - The Work Which Transforms God
Blut Aus Nord - Hallucinogen
Moor Mother - Analog Fluids of Sonic Black Holes
Revocation - The Outer Ones
Godflesh - A World Lit Only By Fire

Wednesday, December 4, 2019

It Never Rains in Southern California

It gives me infinite pleasure to have finished Season Three of Veronica Mars last night - the episode ends with this song - and wake up to find it POURING. Because, like the man sings, it literally never rains in Southern California.

Next: Veronica Mars the movie, then Season 4! WU-HU!


Couple movies I watched recently:

Nothing revelatory, but an entertaining watch, to be sure. I really liked the way they used a huge red herring out of the gate and then totally dropped it. Also, the faux choking gag that results from this made me laugh out loud. Letterbxd

I LOVE this movie so very much. Letterboxd.

I LOVE Brad Anderson's films. Most of them, anyway. Transiberian owns a very special place in my heart, as does Session 9 and The Machinist, though to a lesser degree. IN my opinion, Trans is his masterpiece thus far - although there's a few I didn't see in the last few years and one I didn't care for at all, Vanishing on Seventh Street. Letterbxd.


I never thought I'd say it, but after reading Gideon the Ninth on a kindle, then moving on to Warren Ellis' Dead Pig Collector (finished, fantastic), and Autumn Christian's Girl Like A Bomb (in the middle of, also great) on it as well, I am in love with the digital reading format. I bought the Kindle version of the Injection Omnibus by Warren Ellis and Declan Shalvey - I have all the issues at home, but wanted to be able to carry the entire thing around with me all the time, as it is a source of endless inspiration at the moment, even though I've been pretty spotty on actually getting any writing done the last few days. Those weekend shifts at work kill me this time of year, and I've generally just been tired and obsessed with finishing V. Mars.



Orville Peck - Pony
Allegaeon - Apoptosis
Beth Gibbons and the Polish National Radio Symphony - Henry Górecki - Symphony No. 3
New Radicals - Maybe You've Been Brainwashed Too
Canyons - Barrie (single)
Caterina Barbieri - Ecstatic Computation
Blood Red Shoes - Get Tragic
Spotlights - Love and Decay
The Soft Moon - Criminal
The Smiths - Meat is Murder
Meg Myers - Sorry
Blackwater Holylight - Veils of Winter
Lana Del Rey - Norman Fucking Rockwell
Meg Myers - Take Me to the Disco
Perturbator - Dangerous Days
(Sandy) Alex G - House of Sugar


No card today.