Monday, August 31, 2020

Isolation: Day 170

Another song from the forthcoming first solo album from former Dillinger Escape Plan/current Black Queen frontman Greg Puciato. Child Soldier: Creator of God is out October 23rd, you can pre-order it HERE.




Watch: 

Saturday night, K and I checked off a box and watched Sleepaway Camp III: Teenage Wasteland. Man, I remembered this one being way better than it is. While it's hard to fault any slasher that uses a garbage truck for its first kill, Teenage Wasteland is mildly entertaining, but essentially little more than a perfunctory set-up to deliver a series of mostly uninspired kills. 

Yeah, it kinda all goes downhill after the garbage truck.

Friday, we did John Wick 3, and I continue to be amazed at how much I like these movies. The location scouting is unbelievable, and everything in the series, from the costumes, to the lighting, to the choreography, only helps establish a very unique and opulent atmosphere for unparralleled levels of violence to unfold within. Hell, not even Halle Berry - who is almost always a "No" for me, did a fairly good job.




Playlist: 

X - Los Angeles

The Clash - London Calling

The Rolling Stones - Sticky Fingers

The Babies - Eponymous

Low Cut Connie - Hi Honey

Boy Harsher - Careful

Brand New - God and the Devil are Raging Inside Me

Brian Eno - Here Come the Warm Jets

Pink Floyd - Dark Side of the Moon

X - Wild Gift

Windhand -  Grief's Infernal Flower

Ainoma - Manhunter

Ainoma - Necropolis




Card: 

Referencing the importance of maintaining a clear head, especially when confronted with or analyzing former setbacks. This is a huge nod toward my thought process this morning in the car, where I kind of went over a previous project I'd let wane due to a reluctance on my part to bond with what I and a collaborator had come up with for an entry point to the story. Tossing that key point aside, respectfully, I think I have a much better idea. I just need to be careful how I explain that to the collaborator.
 

Sunday, August 30, 2020

Sunday Bandcamp: Ainoma

I stumbled across Ainoma's 2019 release Manhunter purely by accident. After reading THIS a few days ago, I've had Richard Stanley's 1990 Techno-Horror masterpiece Hardware on the brain, and the cover art for Manhunter bares more than a passing resemblance to that film's murderous robot, the M.A.R.K.-13. That, coupled with the description "Grim Music from the DEAD CITY" caught my attention, and I like what I've heard. Ainoma hail from Russia, and you can pick up both Manhunter and its predecessor Necropolis on their Bandcamp HERE.

Friday, August 28, 2020

Isolation: Day 167

I have been in such an X mood for the last few weeks! Here's a favorite from their 1980 debut Los Angeles, surely the greatest album to reference my adopted hometown, out of probably a thousand songs that reference it. I need to dig back into Alphabetland soon, this year's all-original line-up X record, their first in some time.




Watch:

I'm working the weekend this week, so today is my day off! Other than writing, I'm hoping to squeeze in Frank Sabatella's The Shed, which just hit Shudder yesterday. I've heard good things about this one, and I feel like Shudder has been on a bit of a roll with new movies, so my hopes are high. Also, it's an RJLE release, and I don't think I've seen them release a bad flick yet. Here's the trailer:




Playlist:

Alice in Chains - Facelift

Low Cut Connie - Hi Honey

Santogold - Eponymous

Cults - Host (pre-release singles)

Jello Biafra and the Guantanamo School of Medicine - We Created Putin (pre-release single)

Godflesh - Streetcleaner

Boy Harsher - Careful

Boy Harsher - Country Girl Uncut

Revolting Cocks - Beers, Steers and Queers

Windhand - Grief's Infernal Flower

Public Image Limited - This is What You Want... This is What You Get

Oh Baby - The Art of Sleeping

The Clash - London Calling

The Clash - Combat Rock

Windhand - Eternal Return

Jaye Jayle - Prisyn

X - Los Angeles

Black Breath - Heavy Breathing

Blut Aus Nord - Hallucinogen




Card:

The Tens are always rooted in the most physical senses. Malkuth, the world. For the Ten of Swords in particular, where the hilts of the Swords are arranged to represent the Qabalahistic Sephiroth and the blades converge on and shatter the Six - Tipareth or the Sun - the idea is if you fight long enough, the only outcome is destruction. This is an important reminder for me at the moment; my Beta Reader has Murder Virus, and I've encountered a situation where I need to do some more work on it to smooth out a considerable bump in the road. There's two paths I can take - one where I do a lot of work, and write and re-write several chapters, and one where simply re-ordering certain parts might do the trick. According to the Ten of Swords, the latter may be the better way.


Wednesday, August 26, 2020

Isolation: Day 165


Jello Biafra and the Guantanamo School of Medicine have a new record out this fall on Biafra's Alternative Tentacles label, and if We Created Putin is any indication, Tea Party Revenge Porn will be the musical reaction of the trump years I have been waiting for.




NCBD: It is a very good thing I went in and picked up the three weeks worth of books in my Pull last week, because this week's NCBD has the biggest haul in a while. Let's start with the return of one of my all-time favorite books:

It's been a minute since Stray Bullets: Sunshine and Roses #41, but I do not begrudge David Lapham the time off. On the contrary, this is one of the hardest working men in comics, so I'm one hundred percent behind the occasional hiatuses he takes. That said, it's good to have Beth, Orson, and the crew back! 

New Locke and Key, you say? Yes, I only just read the entire original series at the end of last year/beginning of this one, but I'm definitely in on this two-issue series, especially because it leads to a Locke and Key/Sandman crossover later this year. Can't wait for that!

I'm still a bit on the fence with That Texas Blood, however, I plan on going back and re-reading issue one before plowing into two and now three. 

Bliss number one made a pretty big splash with me, and I'm anxious as hell to see how the story continues.

The Plot returns with issue six this week. I love this return to the Ancestral Horror genre, so much so that I penned the first installment of my new "A Most Horrible Library" column on TheHorrorVision.com. Read it HERE, and watch for future installments to go back to a video format similar to my 2017 Evolution of the Arm series. I don't really have the time to write a regular column at the moment, but with a Video Column, I get to work with K again - she shoots and helps design the look of the show - so that'll alleviate me putting another project solely on myself.

 The best thing about picking up all your books after they've been out for a few weeks is that, such as is the case with TMNT, I literally just read last month's issue a few days ago, so the story is still fresh in my mind. This series has been a consistent succession of awesome evolutionary moments for a lot of the characters in the TMNT universe that might have gone stagnant in a lesser series. Case in point, last month we got this:

I don't know if that makes anyone else out there as happy it does me, but I'm excited as hell to see more of "Leatherkrang!"

See what I mean? That's A LOT of books for one Wednesday! Feels good.




Playlist:

Thou - Heathen

A Place to Bury Strangers - Exploding Head

Santogold - Eponymous

Drab Majesty - The Demonstration




Card:

This one keeps coming up of late, and as I surmised on 8/20 when the Princess of Disks came up last, a signpost on the logic/emotion tug of war it's been reentering the Shadow Play world. Big breakthrough two days ago, not much since. But I've been a bit lost in my head, and reluctant to dig into the dirt and really start laying the foundation in prose. Time to pony up.

Monday, August 24, 2020

Isolation: Day 161

It's been some time since I broke out the Vitalic, but a few weeks ago this song floated to the surface of my mind and I spent an afternoon at work revisiting the French DJ's 2005 debut album, OK Cowboy. Good times. My Friend Dario is such a perfect little electro-pop song that I'd imagine would have been all over the radio in a sane world. If there's one thing the intervening years since this record's release have taught us, it's that this is most definitely, not a sane world. Sometimes, like Dario, don't you just feel like driving  too fast, taking your hands off the wheel and...


Watch:

The second episode of HBO's adaptation of Matt Ruff's Lovecraft Country aired last night and I have to say, this show is fantastic. HBO seems to know how to change story elements so that, while they are clearly trying to meet inclusive agendas, they do not sacrifice story elements. In fact, I'd say so far, between this and last year's Watchmen, the changes HBO makes improve the material. Again, as I said last week, in no way am I casting aspersions on Ruff's novel, because it's great. However, it does not feel like "pop" to me. This does, and the fact that anyone has made a Lovecraft-adajacent show "pop" blows my fucking mind. 

If you're unconvinced, HBO has the entire first episode up on their youtube channel, so maybe give it a whirl. The episode opens with a particularly crazy, CG dream sequence, so don't let that convince you. The graphics are good; not great. About on par with those from Ash Vs Evil Dead. There's a lot of shit going on in this dream sequence and none of it's in the book, but seeing Jackie Robinson fight Cthulhu proved to be one of those things I never knew I wanted until I saw it happen:


After Lovecraft Country, as K and her mother sequestered themselves in another room to watch a reality show they have a long-standing tradition of watching this time of year, I settled in for a weekend wrap-up flick. I'm getting better at circumnavigating the 'paradox of choice' that streaming has inspired in me, where I flip through Shudder, Prime, Netflix, HULU, HBO and never settle on anything. Last night, I went straight to Shudder, saw that Jay Baruchel's new slasher flick Random Acts of Violence had landed, and settled in for what turned out to be a pretty damn fantastic viewing. Here's the trailer:

 

I really liked this flick! First, it was so good to see Jesse Williams, who you may remember from Joss Whedon and Drew Goddard's Cabin in the Woods.  Second, I pretty much instantly fell in love with the way Baruchel and cinematographer Karim Hussain capture the locations and sets here. They really know how to convey the mood of traveling the interstates that lay at the heart of this country. There's what I call "truck stop paranoia" seeping from the darkened highways, crappy motels, rest stops and dank bars with only ancient beer logo lamps for lighting.


Playlist:

Otis Redding - Otis Blue

Low Cut Connie - Hi Honey

A Place to Bury Strangers - Exploding Head

The Haxan Cloak - Eponymous

Emma Ruth Rundle and Thou - Ancestral Recall (pre-release single)

Deftones - Koi No Yokan

Iress - Prey 

Vitalic - OK Cowboy

Ritual Chair - Pain and Decay

Cult of Mary (Ritual Chair) - Praise 

Ritual Chair - Brock Turner

Thou - Heathen

Perturbator - New Model

Perturbator - The Uncanny Valley

**

Card:

And before I even post this one, I've let something trivial at work influence an otherwise good mood. I'll need to fight my way back to a positive mindset, and the best way to do that is strap on my headphones and work.

Sunday, August 23, 2020

Sunday Bandcamp: Ritual Chair

A happy accident that while looking up music by another band, I stumbled upon a Daily Bandcamp article by Jordan Reyes spotlighting Ritual Chair's music. The name caught my attention, but the music is what caught my breath. I started with 2017's Pain and Decay, and quickly found I could not work my way away from Ritual Chair's bandcamp. Each successive piece I listened to helped grow a seed of horror and anxiety inside me, which is a good thing when you see where Hailey Magdeleno's music comes from, what motivates it, and where the proceeds go. By the time I arrived at this piece, which incorporates what the artist describes as a "random tape called Africa Praise 1" - which appears to actually be released as a different project by the same creator - I feel like I should have been ready for the harrowing funnel of sound that enveloped me, but I was not. This made for a distinctly unique listening experience, one I will probably attempt to recreate down the line, but will most likely fail. 

Another thing that absolutely blew me away, and seemed like the best example of an artist giving a well-deserved 'Fuck you' to a deserving party who has thus far escaped the maximum desecration he deserves, is Ritual Chair has a release titled "Brock Turner."

 

The album art is his smug, cunt face, and the description is a terse indictment of his failed humanity. Mr. Turner deserves far worse than having an album named after him, but it's my long-held belief that sound and idea, when sculpted from outrage, anger, and frustration, can act as a kind of Sword of Will. Perhaps if enough of us listen to and talk about this recording, it will gain the power to steal his breath while he sleeps, leaving only a lifeless shell in his place.

One can hope. In the interim, all proceeds from this, and quite a few of Ritual Chair's other releases, go to The House of Ruth.

Saturday, August 22, 2020

Isolation: Day 159

 

I have become a HUGE fan of the AMC show Halt and Catch Fire. K had watched it previously, and both her and Mr. Brown recommended it to me on more than one occasion. Two weeks ago we started the now-completed show - at four seasons, ten episodes a season, I had a sense going into it that the story had been crafted in a tight, no-BS manner, and so far that's exactly what I feel I've gotten out of the first two seasons, the second of which we completed a few nights ago. Following a small Texas tech company in the early 80s, Halt and Catch Fire uses an imaginary company called Cardiff electronics - based on Compaq computers, if what I've read is accurate - as they clone the IBM desktop BIOS and strike out to make the world's first portable computer. "At a feather-lite fifteen pounds, you can take the Giant anywhere," the sales pitch eventually goes. The interesting thing about the show is how, by the end of season one, we're done with Cardiff and personal computing and onto the proliferation of online games and chat. Interesting, too, is how the show keeps the core five characters growing in different directions yet still realistically intertwined; this show is no slouch - the writing is fantastic. As are the performances, set design (so much nostalgia), and the theme song! Created by Trentmøller, I had so hoped the theme was a shortened version of a longer song. Nope. Short and sweet and leaves me wanting more every damn time I hear it, this is another of those show intros that I would never dream of skipping, even in the height of a binge. 

 ** 

Read: 

I swam a bit after finishing Matt Ruff's Lovecraft Country; there are so many damn books I want to read right now, that I became paralyzed by the prospect of actually choosing one. I ended up going with a short-story collection/novel combo. 

 First up, Nathan Ballingrud's debut short story collection, North American Lake Monsters. I've been wanting to read this since I first read The Visible Filth in 2015, but I'm often a 'saver' - that is to say, I purposefully hold out on reading books by favorite authors so I have something to look forward to. With Babak Anvari's adaptation of the stories as a new HULU original Horror Anthology show set to premiere in October, I figured I should probably get on this one, which was published in 2013 by Small Beer Press.

One story in, the majestic You Go Where It Takes You, I'm even further convinced that Ballingrud is one of the greatest living Horror authors the world has, and I find myself even more excited by the prospect of watching Anvari's interpretation of more of his world (2019's Wounds - which I wouldn't shut up about last year - was Anvari's first work with Ballingrud's material, adapting The Visible Filth, still one of my top five favorite books ever). 

 Next up, John Ajvide Lindqvist's Handling The Undead

 

This is a loaner from my Horror Vision co-host Anthony. Lindqvist is best known for his 2004 debut Vampire novel Let the Right One In - which I have not read - and I am going into Handling.. totally blind to his style or anything about the plot, other than, working backward from the title, this will most likely be Lindqvist's unique take on the Zombie genre, an area I don't normally care all that much for, but which lately I seem to keep finding really interesting derivations of. Hopefully this continues that course. 

**

Playlist:

The Cure - Standing on the Beach

David Bowie - Lodger

Rezz - Mass Manipulation

Deftones - Ohms (pre-release single)

Santogold - Eponymous

Deftones - Diamond Eyes

Skywave - Killerrockandroll

A Place to Bury Strangers - Exploding Head

Thou - Heathen

Deftones - Gore

Midnight Danger - Chapter 2: Endless Nightmare

Red Hot Chili Peppers - Blood Sugar Sex Magik

**

Card:

Back to my original, full-size Thoth deck for today's pull:

Keeping me on course. Reading You Go Where it Takes You this morning, I feel the urge to work on one of several short stories I have sitting around. Maybe late tonight; for today's writing session - which I've already budgeted out to be fairly lengthy - it's back to what I have to complete next, Shadow Play Book Two: The Absence of Light, which means I have to finish the outline for Book Three, the title of which I am not yet ready to reveal, but which fills me with unholy glee!

Friday, August 21, 2020

Isolation: Day 158 New Deftones!!!

Musically speaking, I can't imagine better news than the imminent arrival of a new Deftones record, in just barely a month, at that. Even the way the band announced Ohms - out September 25th - is a work of art. Apparently, the Deftones put coordinates on their twitter feed, and one fan drove to those coordinates and saw a roadside billboard add for the album. Pretty cool, no? Normally, I hold off on listening to single songs more than once before an album this important to me drops, but I just mainlined this one about five times in a row and it has me rabid for the entire album. Pre-order Ohms HERE.

**

I ended up making it into the comic shop yesterday to pick up my books, and let me tell you, I had quite a haul. I've barely even cracked into the stack, however, of the two books I have read, one gave me ultimate happiness. This is going to be something only diehard fans of the old Marvel Comics Transformers series will be able to understand, but in Simon Furman and Guido Guidi's Transformers '84: Secrets and Lies issue 2 - which serves as a prequel to the Marvel series and thus, put events before the Ark's fateful crash landing into prehistoric Earth, we had a hell of a call back to the original series. Furman and Guidi show us Lord Straxus moving into Darkmount for the first time and discovering his newly appointed Decepticon outpost has its own Smelting Pool. This draws on one of my favorite comics EVER - the seminal Transformers #17, written by original Transformers scribe Bob Budiansky, with art by Don Perlin and Keith Willaims, published by Marvel Comics in 1986.

Issue 17 was such an eye-opener for me. I'd originally preferred the Transformers cartoon continuity to the Marvel comic, which I did not buy every month and which often seemed to run contrary to some of the big, cosmic ideas the show went for after the 1984 theatrical movie. That was until I read issues 17 and 18, which showed us what was going on back on Cybertron, and what was happening was Lord Straxus feeding Autobots to his smelting pool! These issues were populated with characters that were not in the cartoon or toy line, and this really fed my imagination, to the point that I tried to make a Lord Straxus and some of the other characters out of Legos so I could incorporate them into my own ongoing continuity which I had devised in my play sessions with the figures.

Transformers '84 has been full of nods to the original Marvel series, which Furman took over from Budiansky about halfway through the original run and really made his own up until it ended somewhat unexpectedly with issue 80 in 1991. Several years ago, Furman and Guidi came back for a new series that continued the original continuity, Transformers: Regeneration One, which was one of the books I could not stop talking about during its two-year run. '84 is definitely a worthy successor (or predecessor, being that it's a prequel).

**

Playlist:

The Cure - Standing on the Beach

Thou - Summit

Thou - Heathen

Santogold - Eponymous

Low Cut Connie - Hi Honey

**

Card:

More Disks, which makes perfect sense, as K and I have begun hatching a plan that involves a large sum of money.

Thursday, August 20, 2020

Isolation: Day 157

I love EVERY song on Hangman's Noose, The Thirsty Crows' debut album on Batcave Records (order HERE). But after living with it almost two years now, I have to say, I think this is my favorite song on the album.

Although that may change again. The whole thing is just so damn great.

**

I've been meaning to post this trailer for Netflix's upcoming The Devil All the Time. I never made it around to reading Donald Ray Pollock's 2011 novel of the same name, but it's been on my radar for a while (so I have no excuse other than the to-read list is large enough to put that island of plastic refuse in the Pacific look like it's no bigger than a bottle cap).

The movie adaptation, directed by Antonio Campos and starring, well, pretty much everybody, looks riveting and moody. The trailer oozes Southern Gothic suspense, and Robert Pattinson looks downright foreboding in his role as what appears to be a charlatan preacher. Mr. Pattinson really has turned out to be quite an actor.

**

Playlist:

The Thirsty Crows - Hangman's Noose

Santogold - Eponymous

Portico - Living Fields

The Plimsouls - Everywhere at Once

Atrium Carceri - Kapnobatai

Le Butcherettes - A Raw Youth

The Cramps - RockinnReelinInAucklandNewZealandXXX

The Cure - Pornography

Converge - The Dusk in Us

Emma Ruth Rundle and Thou - Ancestral Recall (pre-release single)

Thou - Summit

**

Card:

to my original Thoth deck, where I find the Princess of Disks waiting for me. My day may be a dragging, uphill trek through mundane, everyday tasks.

One aspect of this card that always strikes me is the way the rock outcropping the Princess stands behind resembles both an altar - for tribute and focus - as well as a goat turning to look behind it. Also, the branches from the trees in the immediate background look not just they belong to the forest, but also to the the Princess and her altar-goat, too. This populates the card with nothing but Earth-bound textures, a key tip-off that this is one of the purest cards in the suite of Disks, from which not a lot of emotion, logic, or Will creeps through, suggesting labor. Which is exactly where I'm at in my process of re-entering the world of Kim and Jessie.

Wednesday, August 19, 2020

Isolation: Day 156 Emma Ruth Rundle and Thou

 

Yes please! Emma Ruth Rundle and Thou have a collaborative album coming from Sacred Bones, dropping on - how perfect - October 30th. You can pre-order May Our Chambers Be Full HERE.

**

NCBD today. It's been a few weeks since I've been in to collect my books, so I'm really going to try and make it in today.

First up is the second issue of Aftershock's Dead Day. It's been a minute since issue #1, so I'll no doubt re-read that first. As I'm sure I've said here a thousand times, I'm generally pretty exhausted with the Zombie genre, however, every once in a while something new comes along that gives it a fresh spin. This book appears to be doing just that.

Gideon Falls #24 - speaking of re-reading older issues, I really need to find the time to go back and start Gideon Falls over from the beginning. I'm keeping up with the story month to month just fine, however, I'd really like to experience everything thus far in a tight burst; this book is so freakin' out there, I really want to let its odd narrative wash over me and see what more I get out of it.

The second issue of Simon Furman and Guido Guidi's newest chapter in the Transformers original comic Universe that started in the 80s at Marvel hit the stands today, and already has me panting - look at that cover! Shockwave vs. Grimlock? I don't geek out over much that holds this beloved brand's name anymore, but these guys are definitely my window into that world.

Playlist:

The Thirsty Crows - Hangman's Noose

Iress - Prey

Mastodon - Fallen Torches (pre-release single)

Mastodon - Emperor of Sand

Lustmord - Hobart

Low Cut Connie - Hi Honey

Exhalants - Bang (pre-release single)

P I n K O/Exhalants - Eponymous Split 7"

The Birthday Party - Hee Haw

The Birthday Party - Mutiny/The Bad Seed

Nabihah Iqbal - Weighing of the Heart

Mötorhead - 1916

Me and That Man - Songs of Love and Death

Le Butcherettes - A Raw Youth

Lana Del Rey - Norman Fucking Rockwell

La Hell Gang - Thru Me Again

Second Still - Violet Phase

Cocksure - TVMALSV

Savages - Silence Yourself

**

No card today.

Monday, August 17, 2020

Isolation: Day 154 Darling 666

 Holy cow! Dorthia from Windhand has a new band with Gina Gleason from Baroness? Count me in!

**

I was pleasantly surprised by not one but two movies yesterday. First up, We Summon the Darkness, which I'd originally blogged about my plans to rent a few months back when it first premiered on VOD. That never ended up happening, and the flick fell off my radar until Jonathan Grimm alerted me to the fact that it hit Netflix recently.

 

 This flick is 100% worth your time. I loved it; yes I saw a big WTF moment coming a mile away, but I think the filmmakers knew most folks would and added an extra little twist that I did not. Plus, who cares about twists when the characters, setting, mood, and overall layout of the film is this fun. We Summon the Darkness is a really good time that doesn't take itself too serious and knows how to get down and dirty in the mud and blood with Satan!

Next up, Host on Shudder. This is a 56 minute flick that was filmed during COVID shelter-in-place on Zoom. 

Yes, that's right. On Zoom. I know what you're thinking; stop thinking it. This one's scary as hell and quite a good time.

Granted, I watched Host in my ideal setting: alone, stoned, with all the lights off and totally focused on the film. It's 56 minute runtime helped in that, because these days an uninterrupted movie is almost an impossibility. 

**

Playlist:

Santogold - Eponymous

Perturbator - Dangerous Days

JK Flesh - Depersonalization

X- Under the Big Black Sun

X - Los Angeles

Dead Swords - Enders

Iress - Prey

Iress - Flaw (pre-release singles)


Card:

Back to the Raven Deck for this morning's Pull:

Old rules reassessed and rewritten? Or get off your lazy ass? I did a fair amount of work getting back into the sequels for Shadow Play over this past weekend. Not a lot of writing; mostly digging in and re-reading the bible for the series, plus the copious amount of notes I have on it. Feels good. That said, the Tower pops up to remind me that although I told myself I would send a query letter a day, it's been at least three days since I actually have, so I need to get back on that ASAP.

Sunday, August 16, 2020

Sunday Bandcamp: Iress

This one takes me places. Far off places, that sift and swirl with dark but life-affirming energies. I have a feeling I will be hanging out with this band for a large part of the week while writing. Fabulous stuff. Pre-order upcoming album Flaw HERE.

Saturday, August 15, 2020

Isolation: Day 152

 

I never realized this song is an homage to Bret Easton Ellis' Less Than Zero. It's obvious, really, but somehow I missed it. 

**

Let's talk about Comics. In fact, let's talk specifically about one comic: Brian K. Vaughn and Fiona Staples' Saga.

 

I had honestly not realized that issue 54 of Saga came out two bloody years ago! I mean, like every other die hard fan, I am very aware that the cliffhanger lingers, but two years? Wow. All I can say is, I am absolutely fine with the hiatus, knowing that when Saga does return, the tracks will be greased for month-after-month, on-time issues. My gut tells me before the end of this year, but we'll see.

**

Something occurred to me earlier today as I sat finishing my re-read of Bret Easton Ellis' Less Than Zero. The idea that the narrator Clay may be responsible for some of the atrocities that occur 'off-screen.' His sister's dead cat; the girl tied up and murdered at the Palm Springs party a year before. There's a number of horrible events he can't be responsible for in the book, thus is Clay and his peers soulless, vapid world, but Clay's disassociation from the people and world around him - a disassociation we revisit in the 2010 sequel Imperial Bedrooms only to find Clay may well have grown into a psychopath over the intervening thirty years between books - feels like it might just hide a burgeoning killer. My theory then is this is not a concrete interpretation, but definitely an element of the character that planted the seeds for Patrick Bateman in Ellis' second novel, American Psycho. Bateman himself then evolves in Ellis' 2005 masterpiece Lunar Park

In finishing Zero, I took to the internet to see if anyone else has ever discussed these possibilities, and though I didn't find that, I did find a fantastic article about Zero, which you can read HERE and is absolutely worth your time if you're an Ellis fan.

After finishing Zero, I am now on to Chuck Palahniuk's Fight Club. As I mentioned here recently, although I have read almost all of Palahniuk's work up to and including Pygmy, this is my first time reading Fight Club, being that I've been away from his work long enough now that I find myself at a place where I don't feel like my love of the movie will work against my reading of the work it is based on. I'm very much looking forward to comparing and contrasting the novel with the film, something I would have possibly had trouble doing previously.

**

Playlist:

Protomartyr - Agent Intellect

Run the Jewels - RTJ4

X - Los Angeles

Low Cut Connie - Hi Honey

Otis Redding - Otis Blue

Windhand - Grief's Infernal Flower

**

Card:

Back to my original Thoth deck for today's Pull:

 

I have a complicated relationship with the Wands suit. Where wands are Will and a more logic-based interpretation, ten is Malkuth, and therefore wholly of the material world. This basically tells me I'm spending too much time distracted by shit like movie and tv, and that I need to spend more time working. It was a good feeling yesterday when I passed the final version of Murder Virus - now 100% the title of the new book regardless of whether I end up publishing it through THV Press or not - off to my first beta reader. For the first time since mid-March, I closed all Scrivener documents pertaining to MV and re-opened those for Shadow Play Book Two. Now, the real work begins.

Friday, August 14, 2020

Isolation: Day 151

It's official! October 30th, Mr. Bungle's The Raging Wraith of the Easter Bunny is out via Patton's Ipecac Recordings. Thanks to Mr. Brown for the heads up, because I've been slammed all week and would have completely missed the chance to snag a copy of that Ruby Red 2 LP vinyl! Pre-order HERE.
While I've been a Bungle fan since Brown turned me on to their self-titled debut back in High School, and I spent a good deal of my time on Napster in the late 90s downloading bootlegs of their older, demo stuff, I never really got into the original, thrash version of the band. That said, seeing these songs a few months ago, played by musicians who are older and wiser, I became convinced if they recorded it, Easter Bunny had the potential to be one of the greatest thrash records to come out in decades. If Raping Your Mind is any intimation of what is on the rest of the record, I'm pretty sure I was correct.
Sure, I'd love another weirdo Bungle album eventually, but in the meantime, I'm welcoming this one with open arms.
**
NCBD this week was another no-go for my pull, which is fine, because I haven't picked up my books in two weeks now. One of the companies I always look forward to checking is Vault, and this week, I notice a collection for a series I'd not noticed previously. This looks pretty damn interesting, and I've ear-marked it for a little research.
This collection just came out, however, I'm going to look for the individual issues first, as I love the art and design of the originals' covers. Here's an example:
There's such a throw-back feel to this, but not like a comic, more like the old paperback books I used to read as a kid. LOVE this.

**
Playlist:
Concrete Blonde - Eponymous
Concrete Blonde - Free
X - Wild Gift
X - Los Angeles
Plimsouls - Everywhere at Once
Contours - Essential 
Carpenter Brut - Blood Machines OST
X - Under the Big Black Sun
The Birthday Party - Hee Haw
Tom Waits - Rain Dogs
Hank III - Straight to Hell
Low Cut Connie - Hi Honey
Francesco Zampaglione and Andrea Moscianese - Tulpa OST
Brainiac - Smack Bunny Baby
Vitalic - OK Cowboy
Aerosmith - Pump
Airiel - Molten Young Lovers
Moderat - II
Reverend Horton Heat - Liquor in the Front
Brainiac - Hissing Prigs in Static Couture
Afghan Whigs - Gentlemen
The Bangles - All Over the Place

**
Card:

Let's do another multi-deck spread:


For this one, I used one card from the Raven Deck, and two from my mini Thoth - both decks gifts to me from my good friend Missi, who now has my new book Murder Virus - that's the name I'm sticking with - as my first beta reader. Missi Birthday was yesterday, so there's a lot of her energy in this spread. The Tower is a toppling of old conventions, though here I don't take it as pointing to the 'Old Guard' publishing industry, but my perceptions of it. Work is the hard work and determination I need to maintain (another query sent a few days ago), and Lust is a warning about the lust of result. Those of you who know anything about Magick know lust of result is one of the major blockades to achieving one's Will.


Tuesday, August 11, 2020

Isolation: Day 147

Last Thursday at work I had a hankering to see what Bret Easton Ellis has been up to on his podcast, and realized that the reason I hadn't seen any new episodes in my queue on Apple Podcasts was because my tier on his Patreon had been replaced. I changed my subscription up and was rewarded with a HUGE list of episodes I'd not even realized were available. Settling in to listen, I began with one from late last year where for nearly three hours, Ellis interviews author Chuck Palahniuk. This set off a full-on Palaniuk/Ellis binge over the coming days.

Ellis and Palahniuk were probably the two authors that motivated me the most to actually sit down and start writing fiction seriously. The book I'm finishing now was absolutely inspired by Ellis's American Psycho and Lunar Park, and Palaniuk's, well, pretty much his first five or six books, all of which I read in rapid succession in the early 00s. 

It's been some time since I'd gone back to these guys. Ellis is always just around the corner in my head - Lunar Park is my second favorite book ever, so it's just in my blood. But by the time Palahniuk's Pygmy came out - the most recent of his books that I've read - I had pretty much lost touch with his work. (NOTE: Not because Pygmy is bad by any means, however, this is a story for another day, if I haven't told it here already). 

Saturday morning K and I watched Fight Club, which is actually the only of those initial books by Palahniuk that I haven't read, simply because the movie always occupied such a large amount of real estate in my head, I assumed any reading of the book would be colored by it too much. I no longer subscribe to that trepidation, so after the film, I ordered both Fight Club and Choke, which I've always thought as companion pieces.

Although I'm still having trouble finding time to read for pleasure while I plod through another final edit of my own book, I started Ellis' Less Than Zero. It's an easy one to burn through, and works well with a start/stop regiment. Technically, I'm still about thirty pages from finishing Matt Ruff's Lovecraft Country, so all these books I'm mentioning now are 'on deck,' if you will, and their accumulated presence has shifted my musical palette, so that I found myself compelled to stay up late writing on Saturday, falling down an audio hole with X, The Plimsouls, and Concrete Blonde.

There's never a moment that I'm aware of where Bret Easton Ellis specifically mentions Concrete Blonde, but they are definitely a band that fits the headspace I associate with his fiction. As such, I've been a bit obsessed. I tweeted out my love for the album version of Still in Hollywood later at some point during that late night, however, this live version of the alternate take that serves as a bonus track on the CD version of their 1989 Eponymous debut was just too good to pass up posting here today.

**

Playlist:

Concrete Blonde - Eponymous

Psychetect - Extremism

X - Wild Gift

Algiers - Eponymous

Black Pumas - Eponymous

Beth Gibbons, The Polish National Radio Symphony Orchestra and Krzysztof Penderecki - Henryk Górecki: Symphony of Sorrowful Songs

The Birthday Party - Mutiny/The Bad Seed 

The Birthday Party - Hee Haw

JK Flesh - Depersonalization

Vitalic - OK Cowboy

Carpenter Brut - Blood Machines OST

Spotlights - Love and Decay

**

Card: 

Interesting. Two days in a row. I'm sticking with the same interpretation, because my discomfort at penning query letters hasn't magically abated after writing about them. However...

I have to wonder if there's something more in here, as well. Destabilization of established processes and mores comes to mind, something 2020 has been all about. Any coincidence I have a voting ballot sitting next to me on my desk as I type this? I think not.

Monday, August 10, 2020

Isolation: Day 146

I kept seeing the thumbnail for this, but didn't realize it had ties to Ken Kesey's One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, which I haven't seen since I was in High School. The trailer had me immediately.

 **

I find it interesting that, after just watching a film about a viral idea that makes people think/know they are going to die tomorrow, I crack out the Concrete Blonde and fixate on the song Tomorrow, Wendy, which contains the following lyric:

"Tomorrow Wendy is going to die."

   

Weird, huh?

A fantastic song, Tomorrow Wendy also features this unrelated by no-less poignant line:

"I told the priest, don't count on any second coming, God got his ass kicked the first time he came down here slumming, He had the balls to come, the gall to die and then forgive us."

**

Playlist:

Pixies - Surfer Rosa

Calexico - The Black Light

X- Los Angeles

X - Wild Gift

The Plimsouls - Everywhere at Once

Concrete Blonde - Eponymous

Concrete Blonde - Bloodletting

Don Shirley - Don Shirley's Best

Pat Benatar - Essentials

Frank Sinatra - Best of 

 **

Card:

Five of Disks, also known as Worry. This one fits right into my current state of anxiety over sending query letters. I'm not certain why I'm so terrified of this process, but worry definitely sums up the low-level, background radiation of my brain at the moment.


 


Sunday, August 9, 2020

Sunday Bandcamp: Psychetect

It's been a minute since I revisited Psychetct's Extremism. I bought this back around 2015 or 2016. I haven't been the headspace for this kind of thing for a while, but stumbling across it again on my old iPod earlier today, I couldn't help but be transported into a landscape of digital madness. The focus and restraint showed in Extremism's creation and continuity is a bit baffling to me, in all the best ways.

Saturday, August 8, 2020

Isolation: Day 144 - New Mastodon

Well, maybe not exactly new Mastodon, as the forthcoming Medium Rarities, out September 11th, is, as the title suggests, a rarities collection, and not a full-blown new album. Either way, I'm excited. It's been three years since Emperor of Sand, and I am fully ready for new music from these guys.

**

Last night, it was with great fervor that I rented Amy Seimetz's new film She Dies Tomorrow. Wow. This is one I'll be mulling over for months to come. It's not that there's necessarily something deeper than what's on the screen, but the film is an interesting idea - and extrapolation of linguistic, sociological, and psychological idea already out there - executed by Semitz's unique and confident voice. It's a voice that is wholly her own, although you'll be able to make some comparisons when it comes to tempo and restraint. It's the confidence I'm smitten with here; this is not going to be a popular film, but the writer/director doesn't care. And she shouldn't. That's the point.

**

Playlist:

Poe - Hello

Exhalants - Bang (pre-release single)

Moaning - Uneasy Laughter

Contours - 20th Century Masters

Mastodon - Emperor of Sand

Mastodon - Fallen Torches (pre-release single)

Johnny Thunders and the Heartbreakers - L.A.M.F.

**

Card:

 I did a spread today, to see if A) the recently omnipotent Hierophant would rear his head and, B) if so, might I find a little clarity. No V, but I think I may have found some clarification. 

I've recently finished The Secret Life of Murder, which I'm alternately thinking of as A Beast of its Own Momentum, although that title will most likely go to something else. Once finished, though, I decided instead of simply publishing the novel through my The Horror Vision Press, I would try to shop it. That meant buying a Writer's Market - thank god for Kindle, so no phone book sized tome laying around, waiting to be discarded in a few months. It also meant figuring out a way to make the book slightly different. The version I'm shopping has a different title - a far simpler title, and not necessarily one that I approve of. The idea here is to try and use this to my advantage, to usher in a larger audience and paycheck. Selling out? Who cares - that's an argument for a younger man. As the world unwinds, I find that all I really want to do is be able to buy a piece of land somewhere in Washington state - somewhere away from major cities - and have my little enclave. This is the first step on that experiment.My plan also means sending query letters, something I used to find distasteful, but which I now recognize that I am 100% terrified of. I find this near-paralyzing fear confounding, but its there alright. So for the better part of a week I sat twiddling my thumbs, making excuses of why I wasn't ready to do that yet. Until the first of the three draws of V The Hierophant recently, which basically says this is the dogma you left behind, but for the moment, face it head-on. This new spread then, tells me I have to put in the work doing this, and it will pay off and change my world.


Friday, August 7, 2020

David Lynch Theater: The Mystery of the Seeing Hand

 Extra posts may be a common thing for a while, as I'm attempting to work around the frustrations I have with the new blogger format. Also, I haven't posted enough from David Lynch Theater of late. Here's a recent favorite.

Isolation: Day 143


The Two Minutes to Late Night covers EP is up until Midnight tonight and it is packed with goodness! Here's my favorite track. Download HERE. Remember, proceeds go to The Cancer Research Inst. and the artists who contributed!

**

I just went back and looked at yesterday's post - the HTML embed codes I used didn't translate! This is because Blogger is changing its interface, and I have to say, the new one SUCKS. It's taking me forever to write these now, so after more years than I can remember off the top of my head, this site may end up closing up shop. We'll see.

**

Last week Eibon Press released the fourth and final issue of their adaptation/expansion of Lucio Fulci's The Beyond. I ordered issue one a few weeks back, loved it, and went back and ordered the rest yesterday.


There are several editions of these, with various bells and whistles. I went for the basic ones - no signature or art prints - simply because I'm not really one for all the extras. Just give me the book.

**

Playlist:
Mike Patton - Mondo Cane
Johnny Thunders and The Heartbreakers - L.A.M.F.
Contours - 20th Century Masters
NIN - Pretty Hate Machine
NIN - Ghosts VI: Locusts
Metallica - Master of Puppets
Soviet Soviet - Endless

**
Card:


Wow. Okay already.


What is happening here, what I am trying my best to follow through on, is submitting query letters for the new book. I sent my first yesterday. I'll send another today. The Hierophant represents the established order - ie the traditional publishing industry - and although I've eschewed it for my two previous releases, and will sidestep it again if I don't drum up any agent or publisher interest by October - I'm attempting to use the new book to go down that route. We'll see. I'd rather just publish it through The Horror Vision Press, but why not try the other way, too?


Thursday, August 6, 2020

Isolation: Day 142



Had an itch to crack out The Heartbreakers this morning. Classic. Somewhere I have the files for a perfectly curated edition of L.A.M.F., as provided by White Trash Soul Blog. This morning I just went with what I found on Apple Music, the L.A.M.F.: The Lost '77 Mixes (Remastered). I haven't compared the two, but I know the one up on White Trash Soul takes mixes from all the different international releases and compiles what they deemed the best of each song. It's good. So is this. That's the beautiful thing about great music - in most cases, the soul comes across no matter the mix. 

In most cases.

**

Tomorrow, August 7th, from Midnight to Midnight, Two Minutes to Late Night is making their Covers Only release available for purchase. Part of the proceeds go to The Cancer Research Institute, the rest to the musicians contributing. Great causes both. 


If you're unfamiliar with Two Minutes to Late Night, it's essentially a Late Night Talk Show format show created by comedians Jordan Olds and Drew Kaufman, and the show's theme is all METAL! They release episodes complete with guests and skits, the house band is Mutoid Man with occasional guests, and they also release cover videos that pull in all kinds of guests, all playing synched over the internet. Here's one of my favorites from their recent releases:


And yes, that's Max Fucking Weinberg on drums!

Two Minutes to Late Night's website is HERE. Their bandcamp is HERE. I'm not really sure where the covers album will be available, but I'm pretty sure it will be through one of these two sites, or when the following video premieres, they will tell us there. 


**

Playlist:

The Bronx - The Bronx (I)
Nirvana - Nevermind
Low Cut Connie - Hi Honey
Ministry - Toronto 1986 (Live)
Rezz - The Silence is Deafening EP

**

Card:


Loud and clear. 

Wednesday, August 5, 2020

Isolation: Day 141



Mr. Brown sent me this last night, and after watching it, both K and I are immediate fans. I can't wait to dig into The Hu's catalogue, which you can peruse and purchase from HERE.
**

A new trailer dropped for Season Two of The Boys.



The trailer is a bit overdone, but I'm still excited to see where this goes.

**

NCBD:

Not a lot this week. I did notice this coming from Vault, and I'm curious. Back in the early/mid 90s, I wasn't a RPG'r, but I loved Vampires. I know the entire genre is cliched now, and maybe it was back then, too. I didn't know that. I discovered Anne Rice's Interview with a Vampire when I was a senior in High School, and I LOVED it. This was shortly before the movie - which I'm not a huge fan of - and reading that first novel in Rice's Vampire Chronicles coinciding with my purchasing Type O Negative's Bloody Kisses (the digipak version, of course). I'd smoke out and lay around devouring the novel, while listening to Peter Steele's voice sing of Blood and Fire, and Suspended in Dusk, and Steele's voice became Louie's voice. I haven't gone back to those novels in since I read them; I'm not even sure I'd like them now. Back then though, Rice's fiction had me ravenous for more Blood Lore, and in this way I discovered White Wolf Publishing's Vampire: The Masquerade. My Chicago comic shop Amazing Fantasy carried a lot of books as well (thank you Garrett!), and I believe that is where I bought my first Masquerade novel. I wouldn't even be able to tell you which one it was, it left a bit of an impression on me. Enough that I'm curious to see a comic series reviving the line.


A few years back, when my friend Missi turned me on to Poppy Z. Brite's fiction from the 90s, it kind of scratched a long-standing itch for this kind of Goth-Pageantry fiction, and it's probably the hangover from reading her Lost Souls last year that has me tempted to pick this up.


**

Playlist:

Young Widows - Settle Down City
Protomartyr - Under Color of Official Right
Rezz - The Silence is Deafening EP
The Teardrop Explodes - Kilimanjaro
Urge Overkill - Saturation
Metallica - Master of Puppets

**

Card:


Keep going despite fatigue. The wheel turns, so says Ka.

Tuesday, August 4, 2020

Isolation: Day 140 - Vólan!



Vólan is a band from Moscow I'd never heard of until this morning when this live session from Audio Tree popped up on my youtube feed. Pretty awesome! You can hit their Bandcamp HERE for more music and merch!

**

I'm a pretty big fan of Robert S. Wilson's Nightscape Press, and as such I backed their recent Kickstarter HERE. I'd actually meant to post about this earlier, but there's still twelve days left, and even fully funded, this is absolutely worth contributing to. Nightscape is a fantastic and fully independent publisher, and my hope is they will be around for many years to come.


Previously, I've mentioned Nightscape's brilliant Ashes and Entropy anthology - easily one of the best books I read last year. I also recently picked up Dark and Distant Voices, Nightscape's short story collection by Tim Waggoner. I'm only one story in - ALL my pleasure reading is on hold as I work on final edits of two different versions of my forthcoming novel (I'll explain that at some other point). The point is, Mr. Wilson runs a top shelf company who deserve our support.

**

Playlist:

The Thirsty Crows - Hangman's Noose
Aerosmith - Pump
Motörhead - 1916
Nirvana - Nevermind
Low Cut Connie - Hi Honey
The Rolling Stones - Sticky Fingers
Roxy Music - For Your Pleasure
Urge Overkill - Saturation
**

Big picture.

Monday, August 3, 2020

Isolation: Day 139



The beginning of this song is one of the most beautiful pieces of music I've heard on piano. I fell down a bit of a Don Shirley rabbit hole yesterday, and in doing so, came across again some articles that posit 2018's Green Book was a racist film. THIS is the problem with the left; everything is a problem. Every man's a rapist. Every white person is racist. Four years of captain goatfucker in office and everyone loses their fucking minds. The way forward is not to one extreme or the other. It's COMMON SENSE. Until the day this prevails (not holding my breath), I'll use music like this to remind me how beautiful the world is by listening to music like this. Thank you, Don Shirley.

**

The Final episode of HBO's I'll Be Gone in the Dark aired last night. Slightly anticlimactic, but of course that's the bane of most True Crime.

Next up, we're finishing the last half of the final season of Breaking Bad. halfway through, I realize there's a reason I've put off revisiting this show. The emotion destruction that accompanies Season 5 Part 2 is unlike anything else I've seen in serialized television. I love this show for the craft, the concise nature of the storytelling, but it really beats me up.

After that? I think we're going to do one both K and Mr. Brown have recommended to me - Halt and Catch Fire.



I've been looking forward to this for some time, so even though there's a boatload of shows to dig into, this one is next.

**

Playlist:

Low Cut Connie - Hi Honey
Led Zeppelin - Coda
La Hell Gang - Thru Me Again
Roly Porter - Kistvaen
The Jesus Lizard - Head
Jeffery Alan Jones - Most Beautiful Island OST
François-Eudes Chanfrault - Computer Assisted Sunset
Ghost - Opus Eponymous
Ghosts of Glaciers - The Greatest Burden
Blut Aus Nord - Hallucinogen
Underworld - Beaucoup Fish
Don Shirley - Don Shirley's Best
Don Shirley - Total Expressions

**

Card:


Time to pay closer attention to the rules for a bit, especially those I place upon myself. Things may have gotten a bit loosey Goosey of late, with Quarantine-Fatigue, or possibly from the contemplation of actually making it through the tunnel and out into the light again.

Sunday, August 2, 2020

Sunday Bandcamp: Dead Swords



Holy shit, where has this been my whole life? I stumbled across New Jersey's Dead Swords while tripping off this awesome record that Heaven is an Incubator posted a few days ago. Talk about an algorithm!

This album goes deep, so strap on some ear goggles and disappear to another dimension.

Saturday, August 1, 2020

Isolation: Day 138 The Royal Screw



I cannot get enough of this album! It is perfect, and this song is probably my favorite (I'm rotating through the track list day-by-day). The drum sound on this record is a total throw-back to old school Rhythm and Blues, while having the advantages of modern technology. The alto sax that peppers through the verses evokes Boots Randolph, while the chorus horns hit hard and serve as a good-natured reminder that former Dap-King Thomas Brenneck produced this collection of perfection. Finally, the vocals are perfect - striking a bit of an evocation of classic Van Morrison while still being completely Adam Weiner, snark and energy going full throttle.

**

Last night K and I watched the indie film Cosmos. Loved it! In fact, I kept thinking "I never knew astronomy could be so riveting! This reminded me of Darren Aronofsky's π, not in style or tone at all, but simply because the filmmakers made something most people see very little in and make it thrilling (in π it's math).



Cosmos was directed by brothers Elliot and Zander Weaver and stars a total of four freakin' people, and it's one of the best examples of 'more with less' I've seen in a while. True, the score is definitely heavy, and really helps to dramatize situations that might have had slightly less impact, but overall, this one get a four-and-a-half star from me.

The Weavers' production company is Elliander Pictures, website is HERE.

**

Playlist:

The Thirsty Crows - Hangan's Noose
Low Cut Connie - Hi Honey
Run the Jewels - RTJ4
JK Flesh - Posthuman
Dead Swords - Enders
Low Cut Connie - What Has Happened to Me (pre-release single)
JK Flesh - Depersonalization
Baroness - Gold and Grey
Led Zeppelin - How the West Was Won

**

Card:


Turning once again to the Raven Deck, I get a nod to follow my instincts. I think this card is a vexing counterpoint to the 4 of Wands' continuous advice.