Wednesday, September 30, 2020

The War For Reality

Thanks to Heaven is an Incubator for retweeting this and bringing such an eloquent, albeit chilling, crystallization of current events to light. My prediction: with all the Reality bending already in place, it will not matter whether trump is reelected (although let's not let that stop us from tossing him out the door); we're going to see an increasing escalation in violence from both sides and within the next ten years the 50 states as we know them will change. I'm not sure what that's going to look like exactly, but I (once again) point to Greg Rucka and Michael Lark's Lazarus or the USIDENT of Richard Kelley's Southland Tales as possible examples. "Oh, but that's just silly. Those are science fiction," you say? Friend, we're already living in Sci Fi land. When someone can stand up and say "Day" when it's clearly "Night" and a large part of the population will believe him despite the empirical evidence of their senses, I say all bets are off.

Isolation: Day 200


Well, we pulled the bandage off last night and finished Halt and Catch Fire. Easily one of the best shows I've ever experienced, and it really reminded me a lot of Six Feet Under, which K has never seen. We're going to move that one up the list, however, now is the time to really double-down on The Boys. I watched Season One last year without her, so this year I've been slowly rewatching that with her in preparation for moving into Season Two. Can't wait, even if the pop culture saturation point with it is riding an annoying level of saturation.

Rewatching Six Feet Under scares me a little bit. I loved the show, however, by the end it had very much changed the way I looked at Death in a tangible way, and with it, how I look at life. Not necessarily bad, but from about halfway through the second to last season, the show really gets heavy, and I'm not sure I can take the emotional beating until at least after November (and maybe not then, depending on how things go).


There's a number of great things out today:
The Boys: Dear Becky Issue 5, just in time for my engagement with the show. This book was obviously brought into existence to coincide with and capitalize on the show, however, I'm fine with that. Ennis is telling a story and flexing his absurdity muscles, so it's about what I would have expected. I don't love it, but I didn't love the entire comic series either - only the first six issues and the last year's worth, with the Butcher mini-series, included in that. Those were the facets of the saga I thought were fantastic. The rest had its high points but was a little too much of Ennis trying to out Preacher Preacher, if you know what I mean and I think you do.
I love this book, however, after reading 1-5 in a straight shot last month, there are some serious hinks to the writing. Usually, art will not make up for that in my book. With Mercy, the problems don't outweigh the good, especially with this art. It's fantastic.

Really digging this series so far, and meaning no disrespect whatsoever to Jacob Philips or Chris Condon, it fills the hole left by Criminal's end quite nicely.


Deftones - Ohms 
Dame Fortune - Am I a Warrior (single) 
Molchat Doma - Etahzi

Not a heavy music day yesterday, because over on the Bret Easton Ellis podcast, Mr. Ellis has begun reading his newest novel in a serialized fashion. He hasn't given a title, and it wasn't until this newest episode - the first hour or so of which is the reading (followed by a fantastic interview with Hollywood Legacy Executive Peter Bart) - that Ellis even quantified that that's what he's doing - serializing his new novel. The story is a purported memoir, though at this stage I'm fairly certain it's about as much of a memoir as Lunar Park is. That's fine - Lunar is my second favorite novel of all time, right behind Gatsby, and I find Ellis' ability to sync real life with narrative both riveting and powerful. 

The book has to do with something terrible that happened to a teenage Bret Ellis and his close friends 1981 in Los Angeles, and how those events line up with a serial killer dubbed "The Trawler" who stalked LA at the time. Ellis has said everyone's names have been changed, and even the killer's nome de plume is made-up, although was bandied about early on in this larger than life horror's earliest days of activities.

I'm fascinated, and can't wait for more. You can click over to Ellis' Patreon HERE to sign up and get the podcasts. Worth every dime (roughly $3 a month I believe for the silver tier, which is what I have).


New ideas, new journeys afoot.

Tuesday, September 29, 2020

Isolation: Day 199


I spent the previous two nights re-watching the 1986 Transformers Animated Movie. The first night, I had it on and, halfway through, K came in and sat down. I was tired, wasn't able to finish, and was totally stoked when, last night, she professed a desire to watch the entire thing with me. 

I didn't realize it as a kid, but one of the things about the Transformers cartoon that I still love to this day is just how much the creators borrow from Jack-Kirby once the movie was released. The continuity's jump from mostly Earth-bound events to a lot of deep space locations all have a distinctly "Kirby-esque" feel, and Unicron, well, an obvious loving homage to one of Kirby's greatest celestial creations, Galactus. Which leads me to ask the question that now occurs to me for the first time: Who would win in a fight, Unicron or Galactus?


Confession: I spent too much $$$ on some toys recently. I have certain weak spots, and I've psychoanalyzed myself enough to know that because as I was growing up, we didn't have a lot of money and I often couldn't have the figures or toys that I wanted, I've been more than willing to buy some of this stuff as an adult. Plus, the toy tech is so awesome now that all these figures look like they did in the comic or cartoon; gone is the edict that to make a toy 'playable' it can't look like it's supposed to. Case in point, the Hasbro Pulse website has been both a blessing and a curse since I recently discovered it. I've ordered a few of the new GIJoe: Classified figures - they all look amazing - but last week I upped my involvement by paying to get into the premium tier so I could grab these two little gems, both 'exclusives' at the virtual Pulsecon 2020 event:

The cost of all this wasn't too insane - a little over $100 - but seriously, it's like someone pulled the Quintesson Judgement Pit right of my 10-year old Shawn's cranium. I had NO control (this was also reflected by the Lust Card yesterday, I believe, but it was too much to go into for yesterday's post).


Type O Negative - Life is Killing Me 
Fields of the Nephilim - The Nephilim 
Fields of the Nephilim - Elizium 
Deftones - Ohms 
The Smith - The Queen is Dead 
Arthur Ahbez - Gold


The good ol' Princess of Disks pops up again. I feel as though I've seen this one a lot lately. Today, I get the impression this is intimating I need to look for practical solutions to a certain hink in my narrative for Shadow Play: Book Two.

Monday, September 28, 2020

Isolation: Day 198 - New Pixies!


Being that I'm more of a Frank Black/Black Francis fan than a Pixies fan - though that wasn't always the case and really, I love both so it's kind of splitting hairs - their ongoing reunion has been bittersweet to me. Bitter, because I would love to hear another Black Francis/Grand Duchy/Frank Black (with or without The Catholics), but instead most of the previous decade has been a continuous run of new Pixies material. Which is also great, although I've received each album in different degrees of infatuation. The first one back, Indie Cindy, is a perfect return. I love it absolutely. Head Carrier and Beneath the Eyrie have required a bit more of a loving curve, but thanks to Mr. Brown, I dig both - although I haven't had enough of a Pixies binge in a while to really get to know either album like I do the others. Now we have a new 12" and the first 'single' I absolutely LOVE. So bring it on guys (and gal), I'm ready for whatever you have coming. 

But I'd still love to get a new album from Mr. Black sometime soon.


I finally made it around to reading The Autumnal #1 from Vault Comics. Written by Daniel Kraus, with art by Chris Shehan, this is another one of those books, like The Plot and Black Stars Above, that has helped define Vault as the destination for Indie Horror Comics.

Now, those are non-consecutive pages. I just wanted to give you a feel for the art and the characters, both of which I absolutely love so far. Kat Somerville and her daughter Sybil remind me a lot of people that would know the family from The Devil's Candy, another family set I adore. Maybe it's because I've chosen not to reproduce that I love seeing stoner families who love one another and set a good example.


Deftones - Ohms 
Alice in Chains - Dirt 
Mastodon - Medium Rarities 
Low Cut Connie - Hi Honey
The Blues Brothers - Briefcase Full of Blues 
Black Pumas - Eponymous 
Mannequin Pussy - Patience 
Bob Mould - Blue Hearts 
Alice in Chains - Sap
Alice in Chains - Jar of Flies
Concrete Blonde - Eponymous
OGRE Sound - A Field Recordist's Guide to Summoning Lesser Demons
Portishead - Third 
The Devils Blood - The Thousandfold Epicentre
Alice in Chains - Eponymous 
Pixies - Hear Me Out (single)


Spontaneity and Enthusiasm. Two attributes to contemplate this week as I shift into the second Act of the second Shadow Play book.

Sunday, September 27, 2020

Sunday Bandcamp - OGRE Sound - The Field Recordist's Guide to Summoning Lesser Demons

With a name like this, there was probably no way I wouldn't like this record, which I have heard of before but erroneously attributed to being one of the many musical projects of Nivek Ogre, which it is not. No, OGRE sound is the work of Robin Ogden. I fell sideways back into this album this morning through a story on Bandcamp about Ogden and Dallas Campbell's just released score for the classic George A. Romero film Night of the Living Dead. The article, written by J. Edward Keyes, can be read HERE and very much has me thinking that when I do my annual watch of NoTLD on Halloween, I'll be scoring it with this. 

But back to Lesser Demons. This is a super creepy, super inventive use of field recordings arranged for keyboard/synthesizer. Parts remind me of the Italian classic Ain Soph - Rituals album, other parts remind me of a nightmare, or the score to a seriously well-done cinematic nightmare, take your pick. Either way, wow. 

Friday, September 25, 2020

The Horror Vision: Quick Spoiler-Free Review of Brandon Cronenberg's Possessor

It's 3:33 AM and I'm exhausted. I've been up since 5:18 AM - woke up late on purpose knowing full well I'd be up well beyond what I am normally capable of on a work night, regardless of the fact that I am off tomorrow. After work, my good friend Ray and I went to the opening night of Beyondfest 2020. Not really opening night, as the rest of the fest doesn't start until 10/02, but still, the crazy MF's that run the fest brought out the big guns for the West Coast Premiere of Brandon Cronenberg's new film Possessor. This was one of if not my most anticipated film this year, and it did not disappoint. This is also only the second time I have hung out in person with a friend since March (last weekend K and I went out to finally see our other Horror Vision host Anthony, his girlfriend, and their new baby), so it was very much a 'win-win.'

Beyondfest is calling this year's festival the "Fuck COVID Edition" and in keeping with that, they obviously were not going to be able to have it at the Egyptian as usual and observe social distancing, so instead, the fest this year is being held at the Mission Tiki Drive-In Theatre. What a great place! Granted, it's 50+ miles from our home, but Ray drove and we made the trip in roughly an hour and twenty (considerably less on the way back), and a fantastic time was had by all. Above is our ten-minute, spoiler-free review on youtube. You can also hear it - and all our other episodes - on any Podcast Platform, including Spotify which, if you look in the upper right-hand corner of this blog, you will see a widget for that will take you directly to the review. 

What we don't discuss on this quick-take episode, but Ray and I both plan to bring up on the next full-length Horror Vision is that tonight's show was a double feature, and the second movie was an old John Frankenheimer film starring Rock Hudson from 1966 called Seconds. This was also fantastic, so here's the trailer:

Okay, I've still got a new Deftones record to try and get through before I go to bed... Nope. I'll save that for tomorrow. 

Thursday, September 24, 2020

Isolation: Day 195 - New Zeal and Ardor!


Fuck yes! I'm loving these new songs. These plus "Baphomet", whick K and I heard the band premiere live at the Roxy two years ago now, are going to make for a great new set of tunes.


I'll be driving out to Montclair this evening for the Premier of Brandon Cronenberg's new film Possessor, and in celebration of that, last night I rewatched his first film AntiViral.

There is no other film out there like this film. It's a fucking masterpiece, and so much closer to reality than I can believe. However, I remember thinking the same thing when I watched it eight years ago, and since we haven't progressed into this future anymore in that time, I'd have to say Antiviral feels almost like an alternate timeline Earth, albeit one that really brushes up against ours.


The Veils - Total Depravity
The Thirsty Crows - Hangman's Noose 
Emma Ruth Rundle and Thou - The Valley (pre-release single) 
Zeal and Ardor - Tuskegee (pre-release single)
Ozzy Osbourne - The Blizzard of Ozz

Also, I don't want to sound like I'm kneeling before the algorithm, but this week's Apple Music "Favorites Mix" based on my listening turned out pretty sweet. I spent a good deal of time the last two days with Audible's Sandman adaptation - yes, I'm going through it very slowly to make it last, however, once I hit The Doll's House - my favorite Sandman story and one of my favorite stories ever regardless - I've been unable to get it out of my head. here's that mix:



A nice inclination for my first night out in the world since this entire 2020 fiasco began. I can't pretend I haven't become a little agoraphobic again, and driving 54 miles out to spend an evening in a drive-in theature, while inherently awesome sounded, fills me with a small modicum of dread. Here's to holding this card's image in my head all day and using it to sooth any 'rough patches.'

Wednesday, September 23, 2020

Isolation: Day 194


Well, I fell down a Mastodon hole yesterday and am having difficulty climbing out. When I first spun Medium Rarities, I thought it was cool, but being that Mastodon is such a great 'album' band, I didn't see getting all that attached to an odds and sods compilation. Also, listening at work on my blu tooth speaker, I was in and out of the office and missed quite a few parts. I know this because I had not even realized that Mastodon faithfully covers The Flaming Lips' A Spoonful Weighs a Ton. I'm not sure how the hell I missed both hearing the track and noticing the name on the tracklisting - one check in the 'con' column of digital music, I'd say, is that you don't have the liner notes in your hands for careful consideration before even playing the damn album! Anyway, it was the ever-vigilant Mr. Brown who mentioned it to me, and since hearing their rendition, I've pretty much fallen in love with Medium Rarities.

For comparison's sake, here is the original:



Of particular interest this week is the fact that Gideon Falls #25 comes out. Now, every week we get a new issue of Jeff Lemire and Andrea Sorrentino's Weird Fiction/SciFi/Horror mash-up is a great week, but this week's issue comes hot on the heels of the recent revelation that the series comes to its grand finale in December with an 80-page issue #27! Holy cow, I'm starting that re-read SOON just to be prepared.

Next, here's a new book from Vault I'm looking forward to, a book about Autumn that takes place in Chicago:

Issue Three of a series I've very much been digging so far:

And finally, I'd recently found myself wondering whatever happened to that Sam Keith Batman/Maxx crossover that began last year. I missed issue three, but four and five never came out. Now, they're on the horizon, and I'll be picking up this bargain-priced Compendium of the first two issues to prepare for it:

I wasn't crazy about the first two issues - you can't go home again - but The Maxx is one of those things I'm a completionist about, so they get my $$$!


The Veils - Total Depravity 
Mastodon - Medium Rarities 
Marilyn Manson - We Are Chaos 
The Dean Ween Group - The Deaner Album
Windhand - Grief's Infernal Flower 
Mastodon - Once More 'Round the Sun
Dance with the Dead - Loved to Death
John Carpenter and Alan Howarth - Prince of Darkness OST       


 Stability and control, because I've finished the first draft of the first act (of three) of Shadow Play, Book Two! Onward to part two!

Tuesday, September 22, 2020

Isolation: Day 193


Michael Gira, the brainchild behind Swans, announced recently that their 1987 album Children of God will be re-released via Gira's own Young Gods Records in cooperation with Mute. This is Jarboe-era Swans, arguably the most lauded, and one I am not nearly as familiar with as I would like. You can pre-order the CD or Vinyl from Gira HERE.


Being that The Mandalorian Season Two is on the horizon, I will be signing up for Disney+ again soon. After Marvel/Disney released this trailer for the upcoming WandaVision show yesterday, looks like I'll be sticking that sub out for as long as it takes to see this show as well, because folks, this looks insane! I'm not entirely sure what the premise, set-up, or plot of the show is, but I'm definitely digging the almost Doom Patrol vibe I'm getting (notice I said almost Doom Patrol, as in irreverence for the medium and conventions). We'll see if WandaVision is as weird as it looks, but as Mr. Brown observed to me recently, with the MCU flicks making a 'Bajillion' dollars, Marvel may have the elbow room to indulge in some weirder ideas for a while, and that, I'm all for.


Windhand - Grief's Infernal Flower 
Sepultura - Quadra 
Le Butcherettes - Don't Bleed 
Mannequin Pussy - Patience 
Exhalants - Atonement 
Earth, Wind, and Fire - I Am 
Black Sabbath - Sabbath Bloody Sabbath 
Carpenter Brut - Trilogy
Mastodon - Medium Rarities 


On the nose as usual, being that I should be completing the first of three acts in Shadow Play, Book Two this week. 

Monday, September 21, 2020

Isolation: Day 192 - New Sepultura!


I had no idea we were getting a new Sepultura album this year! Of course, that's probably because for the most part, the band's been off my radar since, well, since 1993's MASTERPIECE Chaos A.D. While I never took a side in the schism between Max Cavalera and the rest of the band because I didn't follow it that closely, Sepultura lost me with Roots, which has some amazing tracks on it - even korn-boy couldn't sully that track with Patton it - but overall felt like a sinking ship. NOTE: Many people have told me to give Roots another chance, and I suppose now's as good a time as any, what with this new track completely blowing my mind. The new album, Quadra, is available now from Nuclear Blast Records.


Dipping back into The Hellbound Heart, and I'm completely smitten with it. My love of Barker is stronger this year than it's been in a while, and revisiting this one on the heel of rewatching the first three movies several times over the few years, I find myself very interested in his adaptation process.

Look at Barker's original cover art; this should have never been changed. I'm currently reading this one on Kindle, but I'll have to keep an eye out for a copy of the original. 


Angel Witch - '82 Revisited
Dance With the Dead - Near Dark
Type O Negative - Bloody Kisses (digipak)
Jello Biafra and the Guantanamo School of Medicine - White People and the Damage Done
Iggy and the Stooges - Raw Power
Isaac Hayes - The Isaac Hayes Movement
Japandroids - Celebration Rock
Low Cut Connie - Hi Honey
Alice in Chains - Dirt
Sepultura - Quadra
Gloom Balloon - All My Feelings for You (single)
John Carpenter - Skeleton/Unclean Spirit (single)
Blueneck - Repetitions
Frank Sinatra - In the Wee Small Hours
Uniform - Shame         


Different deck, same card as my last draw. I suppose this underlines my explanation from the nineteenth, however, today was a fairly productive day, as I clocked several hours of solid writing time on Shadow Play, Book Two. This is what I always have to remind myself when I start something this big - the Flow will only come if you wait through the off times. Day one might suck; day two might suck; day three might suck, but it won't suck as bad. Then, before you know it, the polarity reverses and the Work gets better and easier, more rewarding. But you have to hammer through the Strife. 

Sunday, September 20, 2020

Sunday Bandcamp: Dance With The Dead

As the wait for the next Perturbator records near neigh interminable lengths, and the knowledge that James Kent is leaving his former 'genre' behind, I've begun to clamor for more dark, brooding synthwave. Bandcamp remains a fantastic place to find what I'm looking for. Case in point, this week's Sunday Bandcamp spotlight on Dance With The Dead. I haven't made it very deep into their discography, but after absorbing Near Dark yesterday, I intend to do so in the very near future.

Saturday, September 19, 2020

Isolation: Day 190


I had NO idea Mastodon recorded a song with Gibby Haynes. Kinda made my day. Apparently, only released originally as a download from the Adult Swim website, Atlanta appears on the just-released Medium Rarities album, which is pretty fun all around, with instrumental versions of some songs, live versions, and this. Oh yeah, and this too:


Nice to have this on youtube, because having sat through that ATHF movie once, I'm in no hurry to do so again!


I finally got around to Craig William Macneill's Lizzie, the Lizzie Borden dramatization starring ChloĆ« Sevigny, Kristen Stewart, and Kim Dickens. Slooooow burn, but ultimately a very well-made, well-acted film that airs on the side of discretion and atmosphere. 

Also under the umbrella of watch, a late-week announcement that Beyondfest would indeed be happening made my year! Instead of the historic Egyptian Theatre in Hollywood - which obviously would not be conducive to social distancing, those crazy fuckers that run the show are having it at Mission Tiki Drive-in Theatre, fifty-four miles from me in Montclair, California. This presents massive logistics issues, and I was not able to get everything I wanted because of that. However, what I did get, is awesome!



I can't really complain, because this is a STACKED couple of days. This coming Thursday is the Possessor premiere, and I'll definitely be doing a quick, spoiler-free review of it for The Horror Vision, after the showing, so watch for that next Friday!


Electric Wizard - Let Us Prey
Portishead - Third
Death Valley Girls - Under the Spell of Joy (pre-release single)
Death Valley Girls - Hold My Hand (pre-release single)
Cocksure - K.K.E.P.
Doves - The Universal Want
White Lung - Paradise


A lot of Swords lately. Here, the Five of Wands - or Strife as Crowley dubbed it in the Thoth - appears to point toward my internal struggle over my work on the second Shadow Play book. It's been a difficult two weeks, which surprises and infuriates me, as with the intricate outline I previously created for this book, the writing is not that difficult. Yet, somehow, I struggle with it nearly every time I sit down to work on it. I've tried all my tricks - my timers and focus apps and whatnot - and I've tried just putting my head down and pummeling into it. All of this works in getting writing done, but none of it works in making the process gel in my head. I know this will come, it's just frustrating waiting for it.

Friday, September 18, 2020

Isolation: Day 189


One week until the new Deftones Ohms drops! This video premiered last night - I'm putting it here for posterity's sake, and to pass along my excitement at having a new Deftones record on the immediate horizon, however, I won't be watching or listening to the track until I have sat and absorbed the full album. I'm planning on doing a full release event next week, which sounds bigger than it will be. Just me, a bowl of green, and the new record for at least one full spin, my attention undivided. Can't wait!


I can hardly believe it's already time for me to re-subscribe to Disney+ for the new season of The Mandalorian. Looking forward to seeing where this goes.


Cibo Matto - Stereotype A
Cibo Matto - Viva! La Woman
Angel Olsen - All Mirrors
Zola Jesus - The Spoils
Zola Jesus - Stridulum
Ghost - Meliora
Ghost - Prequelle
Repugnant - Epitome of Darkness
Mastodon - Medium Rarities
Mastodon - Leviathan
X - Under the Big Black Sun
Firewater - The Ponzi Scheme
Angelo Badalamenti/Various - Twin Peaks: A Limited Event Series OST


Self-control and balance, two things I'm sorely lacking at the moment. Things keep coming apart, and my attention span has been f*&ked! I'm going to try and remedy that this weekend. There's so much not getting done!

Thursday, September 17, 2020

Isolation: Day 188 - Synchronic Gets a Trailer

I feel like  I have been waiting for a long time for the new Benson and Moorhead. These guys look to be at the top of their game with Synchronic, they certainly have a lot more money behind them here. I see big things ahead for these two, can't wait.


Closing in on the end of Halt and Catch Fire's final season, this song - which I've always dug but kind of also always took for granted - now has special significance. Wow. I'm going to hate to see this show go.


Alice in Chains - Dirt
Ghost - Prequelle
Electric Wizard - Dopethrone
Nirvana - Nevermind
Doves - The Universal Want
Tennis System - Technicolor Blind
Turquoise Moon - The Sunset City

Also, Apple Music does a weekly 'favorites' playlist based on what you're listening to. I normally ignore it, but this week's is pretty cool


Interrupted energy and/or creative flow. Heat, back pain, and lack of sleep have all conspired to interrupt my writing sessions. 

Wednesday, September 16, 2020

Isolation: Day 187


Another track from the upcoming eight album by The Ocean. Love this video, and love the song. The Ocean is still one of the bands that carry the metal through the 00s for me, and one that still feels as though they are reaching to continually change the landscape of the genre.

The new album, Phanerozoic II: Mesozoic I Cenozoic is out on September 25. Pre-order HERE.


Not a lot of books this week, but one, in particular, I've been waiting for his Dead Day #3.

I know I've talked a lot about this one lately, but it's worth the hype. I am also aware that for someone who has, consistently for the last nearly two decades, endlessly recited a speech that contains, "Zombies are a dead scene, man," and, "First three Romeros and a couple others are all that matters," I've been logging a lot of excitement for quite a few new zombie books/movies/comics. Well, I guess there's more on heaven and earth than dreamt of in my philosophy, at least when it comes to zombies.


Slipknot - Subliminal Verses
Kendrick Lamar - Damn.
The Ocean - Phanerozoic I: Paleozoic
Code Orange - Underneath
Electric Wizard - Let Us Prey
Turquoise Moon - The Sunset City


Healing and compassion, two things I'm currently working on. 

Tuesday, September 15, 2020

Isolation: Day 186


I've been in an Electric Wizard mood lately. Here's one of my favorites from 2011's Black Mass, probably my favorite of the group's. 

Mindful Habitation:

The last few days have been a bit of a blank slate. Submerged in the same, endless routine of days didn't bother me at all. Until it did. I've experienced a sudden and overpowering loneliness that came on from out of nowhere. I need a pattern interrupt, but I'm not sure exactly how to do that. I would kill to go sit at the crappy BWW's in Hollywood by my friend's apartment and sit with him, have a burger and a few beers. Just typing that makes me feel like I want to cry. This is crazy. I'm not sure where this overwrought deluge of emotion has come from, but it's almost crippling. The workweek feels like one endless day, and the pattern at home has disintegrated my sleep patterns so that I'm always tired when I'm there during the week. I find joy in consumerism and food, a slippery slope. I'm not gaining weight, but the extra I have is setting up shop right in my stomach. 

Okay, now that that's hopefully been expunged, I can maybe get on with my day. Everything I said above is true, but it's also exaggerated from my perspective because everyone needs to feel a little goth/emo now and again. I'll continue to do what I do, however, I think K and I will maybe take a small weekend trip soon, and perhaps meet up with some friends this weekend, just to alter our landscape.


Slipknot - Subliminal Verses
Electric Wizard - Black Mass
Code Orange - Underneath



Cause and Effect, eh? An interesting pull based on everything I wrote above. The emotional and psychological effects of this long-term isolation will most likely resound through our society for years, perhaps even after a vaccine.

Speaking of vaccines, I might as well put down my prediction here before it's too late, both as a warning and an 'I told you so,' because the frustration of the current socio-political landscape has made me into the kind of cunt that will say exactly that. Prediction: A 'vaccine' will appear shortly before the election, Trump will take credit, and it will then turn out to not work. Such is our world that even if he introduces a fake vaccine, his die-hard supporters will smile and champion its (and his) merits regardless of whether it's real or not. This MIGHT put him in enough favor to win.

I can see it clear as day: the CDC, FDA, AMA, can all shout at the top of their lungs that it's not thoroughly tested, or straight up doesn't work, and he will cry fake news and people will rally around him as a savior. Let's hope I'm wrong, let's hope there is some Justice served in November. But really, it wouldn't surprise me at this point if there wasn't.

Monday, September 14, 2020

Isolation: Day 185


Wow. This just blew me right the F&*K away. This year's Underneath is already on the shortlist to be on my top ten albums of 2020, this perfect cover of Alice in Chains' immortal 'Down in a Hole' may just put the newly released Under the Skin live album on that list, as well. 

This is one of those songs I can't hear without a slew of emotions, thoughts, and sensations from high school coming flooding back. That kind of emotion juxtaposition usually doesn't translate to covers. That is definitely not the case with this one. 


Two stories from finishing Nathan Ballingrud's debut short story collection, North American Lake Monsters, I jumped into Stephen Graham Jones' Night of the Mannequins. I read the thing in a few hours and absolutely loved it. Funny, freaky, weird, hilarious, spooky, confounding. All of the above. This is a slasher novel that is not anywhere close to being what you would ever expect from a slasher story. Highest possible recommendation, especially since you can probably knock it out in a day. Perfect summer reading. 

Night of the Mannequins is $3.99 on Kindle right now, and worth every goddamn penny!

Next, as I savor these last few stories in Lake Monsters, I'm probably going to start a long-overdue re-read of Clive Barker's iconic The Hellbound Heart.


Doves - The Universal Want
Earth - Primitive and Deadly
X - Los Angeles
Steely Dan - Aja
Mudhoney - March to Fuzz
Electric Wizard - Black Masses
Electric Wizard - Dopethrone


Getting back up on my writing legs after a fairly successful weekend that proved my new outline method will make writing these next two Shadow Play books considerably easier than the first.

Sunday, September 13, 2020

Sunday Bandcamp: New Album from Exhalants!

I missed the pre-order on the vinyl for Atonement and now I'm kicking myself. Regardless, the entire album is fantastic, and I can't recommend a band more at this stage in their career. Support Exhalants HERE.

Saturday, September 12, 2020

Isolation: Day 183 Doves - Prisoners


My good friend Grez reminded me that the new Doves album dropped yesterday, a fact I had completely forgotten. When I crawled out of bed this morning and sat down to write this post, I threw on my headphones and dug in. So far, fantastic album, but of course those who know Doves would expect no less. Here's one of my favorite tracks, so far, although it was difficult to choose.  


I finally got around to working through the stack of comics I picked up from both The Comic Bug and Atomic Basement two weeks ago. On that pile was the second issue of Ryan Parrott and Evgeniy Bornyakov's Dead Day, published by Aftershock Comics

In prepping to read issue two, I went back and re-read issue one, realizing I'd completely forgotten how awesome this book is! Basic set up is every year for the last four years, dead people - not all dead people, no one knows who or why exactly - return from the grave and visit the loved ones they left behind. Well, as the story is showing us, some also visit those who wronged them. 

There felt like a considerable gap between issues 1 and 2, so here's to hoping that won't be the case with issue 3, which is currently scheduled for this coming week, 9/16.


Contours - 20th Century Masters
Black Sabbath - Sabbath Bloody Sabbath
Uncle Acid and the Deadbeats - The Night Creeper
Melvins - Houdini
Afghan Whigs - Gentlemen
Fen - Dustwalker
Marilyn Manson - We Are Chaos
Marilyn Manson - Antichrist Superstar
Kings of Leon - Because of the Times
Kensonlovers - Keep Rolling (single)
Jaye Jayle - Prisyn
Exhalants - Atonement
Code Orange - Down in a Hole (single)
Code Orange - Underneath
X - Los Angeles


I wanted to do a full spread this morning, as it has been quite some time since I'd done one of these.

Starting with 0 The Fool, this spread lays out a slightly tumultuous path that includes overthrowing current paradigms and fighting through self-doubt toward a new idea that will help define the subject. 

Thursday, September 10, 2020

Isolation: Day 181

Episode two of Halt and Catch Fire's fourth and final season ends with James' Laid playing over the characters as they move through the culmination of the episode's interactions, relationship and business shake-ups that no doubt begin to move all these people I've grown to love into position for the series' end in eight more episodes. It reminded me how long it had been since I last listened to James, and how much this song - a song I despised when it made its initial splash in the mid-90s zeitgeist - has come to mean to me since I fell in love with it in a pub in Dublin, circa 2001.

Watch: I'm not really a Dune fan. I've never read the novels, and the 80's film adaptation is the only film directed by David Lynch I abhor - and feel fine doing so, considering Lynch petitioned to have his name removed from it. That said, I am definitely a Denis Villeneuve fan. And this looks gorgeous, so I'm in:


I'd love for Mr. Villeneuve to pattern his career after someone like Christopher Nolan - alternating big-budget, franchise, or high-end IP projects with original films, and I have a feeling that's exactly what he will do. In the meantime, I loved Blade Runner 2049, and I think I'll love this, too.


I don't do many shuffles, but I ended up having a pretty good one this morning on Apple Music and then translated it into a playlist on Spotify. Here it is:


From there the day's music looked like this:

Firewater - The Ponzi Scheme
Darkness Brings the Cold - Devil Swank Vol. 1
Lawnmower Deth - Billy
Iress - Prey
The Bronx - The Bronx (I)


"Quiet contemplation yields unexpected results."
I'll be looking for that today, in the (hopefully) quiet moments when contemplation often sneaks up on me. 

Wednesday, September 9, 2020

Isolation: Day 180


I pulled out Firewater's classic 1998 album The Ponzi Scheme and, as usual, now find myself unable to put it away. I've posted other songs from this album here before but haven't paid tribute to others. In that interest, here's"So Long Superman," just another of my favorite songs on an album where every song is a favorite.


I finished John Ajvide Lindqvist's Handling the Undead a few days ago. Wow. Very good. Understated, powerful, and creepy as hell. Lindqvist's prose is a touch dry, but it works well as he filters between the three main groups of characters - three families - and how they react to the return of dead loved ones. Their reactions then become superimposed across a larger arena as the whole of Sweden reacts to the return of what the media dub the "Reliving," a term very much inspired by a government trying to handle a baffling and unprecedented experience. This is an undead book where the undead are, for the most part, completely unviolent, leaving the characters to deal with the psychological, emotional, and sociological ramifications of what would happen if the recently deceased returned to us.

From there I moved back into Nathan Ballingrud's debut short story collection, North American Lake Monsters. I'd been reading a story here or there over the last two weeks, just to have something to dig into that inspires me to write, and now that I'm full bore, I'm once again in Ballingrud's beautiful prose. This man is easily one of the best writers working today, no need for the genre quantifier. I simply cannot wait for this to hit Hulu next month as the new anthology show Monsterland; I'm hoping they do all nine stories. In particular, The Crevasse is one of the best shorts I've ever read, and to see it properly translated would be majestic, in the least.


Firewater - The Ponzi Scheme

Mastodon - Crack the Skye

Mastodon - Emperor of Sand

Perturbator - Dangerous Days


"Harmonious union of male and female energies" is a nice reminder on something I've been working on as I muster up the gumption to jump back into Shadow Play, which I continue to avoid for some reason.

Monday, September 7, 2020

Isolation: Day 178

Struggling a bit to get into the recent Jaye Jayle, so I ended up going back to 2018's No Trail and Other Unholy Paths. That led me to this. Very cool to see them in action.

Watch: Finally sat down and watched Z on Shudder last night. I really liked this one. There was some great, sustained tension, and one scene in particular really affected me in a way that resonated long after. 

Also, K and I had a 'nefarious mansion' doubleheader across two nights over the long weekend. We kicked it off Saturday night with this classic which I had never seen but K swears by. She's totally right, too. April Fools Day is definitely not your ordinary 80s Slasher flick. Which, of course, made me like it quite a bit. 


 And Sunday night it was the always amazing Clue!

Love that one, as it's got such a great cast who all turn in iconic performances. 


Low Cut Connie - Hi Honey
Nirvana - Nevermind
Zeal and Ardor - Vigil 
The Clash - London Calling
The Obsessed - Lunar Womb
Ainoma - Necropolis
Brand New - God and the Devil are Raging Inside Me
Jaye Jayle - No Trail and Other Unholy Paths


Okay, now this is getting crazy.

I have to dial back in. I did a fairly decent job tonight, hoping I can plow through after the return to work tomorrow. Back is better with some anti-inflammatory meds the doctor gave me, so that's not really an excuse right now. 

Saturday, September 5, 2020

Isolation: Day 175 - New Music from All Them Witches

New music from All Them Witches on this wonderful first day of a three-day weekend. New album Nothing As The Ideal dropped yesterday, order it HERE.


Originally, I had no intention of watching the new Ridley Scott produced Raised By Wolves. After Mr. Scott decided Michael Fassbender's android character David was now the focal point of the Alien franchise - a decision that would not have bothered me had Scott not bizarrely used it as a reason to kill ALL the Engineers off camera* - the trailer for Raised By Wolves looked like he was now doubling down on his android fascination, deciding to make something new and wholly apart from Alien that only focused on those white-goo filled humanoids. 

I mean, David, Bishop, Ash - the androids are all great characters, filled with weird amoral dilemmas, but they're not that cool, right? I mean, cooler than the Engineers, the god-like creators of the Xenomorph and, um, EARTH? No.

However, then I began to think, what if Raised By Wolves does end of tying in? I've always regretted the fact that the marketing for Prometheus gave away the connection to Alien before the movie even opened. I mean, imagine having gone to see this new Ridley Scott Sci Fi movie in the theatre, getting to the end, and seeing it suddenly connect as a surprise? It would have been one of the best theatrical experiences ever! Robbed of that, what if Mr. Scott had a new opportunity to do the same thing and took it, only this time as a top tier HBO series?


Well, after watching the first two of the three episodes that dropped this week, I'm pretty sure Wolves will not tie in to Alien. However, it's pretty damn good. Also, it's not a Scott creation. This is the brainchild of Aaron Guzikowski, who also wrote one of my favorite films of the previous decade, the Denise Villeneuve-directed Prisoners. Keeping that in mind, after two episodes, I'm all in.


 Zeal and Ardor - I Can't Breath (pre-release single) 

Zeal and Ardor - Vigil (pre-release single) 

The Smiths - Louder Than Bombs 

Queens of the Stone Age - Era Vulgaris 

Nirvana - Nevermind


Whenever I draw the Ace of Disks now, I draw a clarifying card, because somehow, this one has becomes slightly bent, which physically increases the chance that it is the card I will cut the deck at. I don't want to completely disregard it; also, my preference previous to beginning these daily pulls was always to do at least a three-card spread, however, as the meme goes, ain't nobody got time for that.

Four of Wands, Completion. Two solid cards, one vested in Material or Earthly matters, one in aspects of Will. What do they tell me when taken together?
As is my wont, I interpret pretty much everything in these daily draws as relating to my work as a writer. If I ever need anything outside of that, I draw separately and don't mention it here. Keeping this in mind, I  believe my plan for the day should be to finish my most recent query letter on Murder Virus before I dip back into Shadow Play, and send it out. I've stalled on everything of late, mostly because I've slipped or herniated a disc in my back and am more or less in continuous pain, which has affected my mood, which in turn has made me quite lethargic. Need to get over that.

Friday, September 4, 2020

Two New Zeal and Ardor Tracks from Forthcoming EP

 All proceeds from "I Can't Breathe" to be donated.


You can pre-order the forthcoming EP on Zeal and Ardor's Bandcamp HERE.

Isolation: Day 174 Cowboy Bebop OST on Vinyl!

I've been meaning to post about this all week! I'm in the middle of a re-watch of the Cowboy Bebop, and on a lark - and because lately, Saturday nights after midnight I tend to go buzzed record shopping online - I looked up the constantly out of print soundtrack for Bebop and found there is a new pressing up for pre-order RIGHT BLOODY NOW!!!

I ordered mine from the evil empire HERE, but if you have another source, there may be an alternative. All that really matters is I will finally own this one. The music Composer Yoko Kanno and Seat Belts did for this series is among my most favorite music in the world. I can't wait!


I have fallen in love with Mirka Andolfo's comic Mercy. Look at these covers!

Art is not usually the factor that pulls me into a new book, but it convinced me to pick up the first issue of this one a few months back. Well, more than a few. I let the rest slide, but recently made it back into Atomic Basement Comics - I'm lucky enough to have two comic shops I love near me, it's just the Bug is literally walking distance from my crib, so my pull at Atomic sat lonesome since this whole Pandemic began. Anyway, I picked up my stash and there they were - four more issues of Mercy. It's not just the art - this one is a sly, period piece horror story that reminds me more than a little of Mike Mignola and Troy Nixey's Jenny Finn or even Joe Hill/Laura Marks/Kelley Jones' recent book Daphne Byrne. Polite society in what I think is late 1800s Washington state, with a tentacled monster(s) preying on lords, ladies, and orphans alike! Can't recommend this one enough.


Earth - Primitive and Deadly

Rezz - Mass Manipulation

Sam Ewing - The Shed OST

Windhand/Satan's Satyrs - Split

Wolves in the Throne Room - Two Hunters

Agalloch - Marrow of the Spirit

Me and That Man - New Man, New Songs, Same Shit, Vol. 1

Tennis System - Technicolor Blind



Persistent, eh? Persistent creativity perhaps? While it's true my creative impulse has lately been curbed by persistent back pain, I had a good little session on Shadow Play Book Two this past Wednesday, enough to get me stoked for the possibility of a deep-dive on this upcoming holiday weekend that begins, well, today!


See you, Space Cowboy...

Thursday, September 3, 2020

Isolation: Day 173


A couple weeks ago, my good friend Jacob sent me a link to a band called Skywave's album killerrockandroll on Apple Music. It took me until late last week to get around to it, and when I did, my first reaction was apprehension. I liked Skywave quite a bit, but they sounded an awful lot much like A Place to Bury Strangers, and because of that I had mixed feelings. I mean, it even sounded like Oliver Ackermann singing. A lot. I did some quick research and learned there was a good reason the two bands sounded so much alike: Skywave was Ackermann's precursor to APTBS, disbanding around 2003.

As a sound, killerrockandroll definitely scratches the APTBS itch, which is great, because ever since Exploding Head, I've been less than impressed with most of what Strangers release, so now I have a new place to go when I wear Head out and feel like something more.


Last week was fairly unproductive, writing-wise. I had a major breakthrough early one morning on my way to work, but after that, the days just took too much out of me. I have developed some kind of chronic, insanely painful back pain that manifests as sharp, horrible spasms when I do things like, well, move. It's not constant, but walking on eggshells and the fact that this hasn't gone away in almost a month has me more than a little afraid and totally exhausted mentally. Every day last week I came home, stared longingly at the spot at the kitchen table where I write during the afternoon, and then collapsed onto the sectional instead. As is my habit on afternoons such as this, I threw on a few movies, mostly conking out before they even began. Most were utterly forgettable. One was great, one good. 

First, the great one: Director George Popov's The Droving. I loved it.

This one fits into a subgenre I've kind of created in my head, "British Occult," and shares that tag with films like Colm McCarthy's Outcast, Julian Richards' Darklands, and Ben Wheatley's Kill List. The Droving follows Martin, an ex-military interrogator, home from the desert and looking for his sister, who has disappeared. I have a brief review up on my Horror Amino profile, as well as on my Letterbxd page. Needless to say, I really dug this film, and plan on going back and watching Popov's first film Hex, which stars much of the same cast as this one, and is currently included with Amazon Prime.

Next, the good one was Director Dan Bush's The Dark Red. Here's the trailer:

This one took a while to win me over. Being distributed by Dark Sky Films I should have given it the benefit of the doubt from the start, but I found it on Prime and, honestly, the movie algorithm they use has started to make their 'Recommends' list look like the ass end of the Horror Section you'd see at Hollywood video back in the early 2000s, when a ton of cheaply made crap horror flix began to fill out the shelves of the Horror section (Dark Night of the Scarecrow anyone? How about Alien vs. Hunter?). Anway, The Dark Red is pretty solid. The tone switches in the third act, and even though it's a bit jarring, that final act really turns everything that came before on its head. Which turns out to be both good for the viewer and the excitement factor in the flick, a little bad if you're really paying attention. Full disclosure, I nodded off a bit, so my issues may be mine, and I can't help wonder if I'd seen this under better circumstances, if it would have totally wowed me. One thing is for sure, the actor Bernard Setaro Clark blew me away with his supporting performance, and I'd definitely like to see more of him.


Deftones - Diamond Eyes

A Place to Bury Strangers - Exploding Head

Santogold - Eponymous

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

Thou - Heathen

Rezz - Mass Manipulation

(Lone) Wolf and Cub -  May You See Only Sky

Lebanon Hanover - Let Them Be Alien

Skywave - Killerrockandroll



Success in artistic endeavors. I'll take it!