Wednesday, May 31, 2023

New Queens of the Stone Age - Carnavoyeur

 

More new music from next month's new Queens of the Stone Age record, Times New Roman, available for pre-order HERE.

My friend Josh alerted me to this one, and I have to say, his "I hear Bowie" observation is spot-on. Not necessarily in how the song sounds (although there's that), but more in the type of experimentation the band's doing. Really cool stuff.




NCBD:

Nothing in my pull this week, however, issue #3 of Pat O'Malley's Popscars drops, and I'll definitely be picking that up and adding the book to my Pull.


Now published by Sumerian Comics - formerly Behemoth Comics, the fine folks who published Andy Leavy and Hugo Araujo's Osaka Mime, not to mention the Turbo Kid and Spare Parts tie-in books. I met Pat back in 2022 at The Comic Bug when he was in signing issues 1 and 2 of Popscars, then completely independently published. I bought those issues, LOVED them and was supposed to have him on A Most Horrible Library, but then, well, I don't think we've done an episode since. He reached out recently and I need to get back to him and extend an invite to come on my functioning show, The Horror Vision, so he can talk about the book.

Here's the solicitation description:

"Popscars is a gritty Hollywood revenge story about a vigilante badass in a pink ski mask and the famous Hollywood movie producer she is out to kill, who also happens to be her estranged father. In Hollywood revenge is best served in front of an audience. As our pink ski masked killer pushes her way through a Hollywood crowd, prepared to take her shot at her movie producer father, she's quickly swept into a brand new revenge plot orchestrated by her own unsuspecting target."
 
I love the imagery in the book, and the seedy nature of, well, all of it. An exploitation book about exploitation flicks is, by its very nature, a fantastic story.
 


Read:

I surprised myself by putting off my re-read of Stephen Graham Jones's My Heart is a Chainsaw after I noticed that my copy of Laird Barron's The Wind Began to Howl is due to land any day, and that technically, this book is labeled as "Isaiah Coleridge Novel #3.5." 

Interesting... and also probably a shorter read than clocking through Chainsaw and its follow-up, Don't Fear the Reaper, both of which I'm dying to read. But I've also been chomping at the bit for more Coleridge, and more Laird Barron in general, so I started re-reading Isaiah #3, 2020's Worse Angels.


I've read Coleridge books 1 and 2 twice each, or actually three times on book one, Blood Standard, but Worse Angels just the once, so this is a welcome return to a book that kinda blew me away (like they all do). Also, I'm eager to read it without reading book 2 Black Mountain, in close proximity. I love the entire series, however, Black Mountain was just something else, and because of this, I feel like it warped my only experience with Angels so far. Not this time...
 


Playlist:

QOTSA - Era Vulgaris
High On Fire - Snakes for the Divine
Decima Victima - Los Que Faltan
The Mysterines - Begin Again (single)
Killing Joke - Fire Dances
Tangerine Dream - Sorceror OST
            


Card:

Had an inkling to pick the Raven Tarot Deck back up and pull a single card. Here we go:


Temperance, or "Art" in Crowley and Harris's Thoth deck. Another small goad to get my ass back in gear, as my lethargy has crept through the weekend and into the middle of the damn week now. We've had a steady stream of vendors out to the house for various reasons over the last few days, and that continues today. Also, I am once again completely enraptured by Laird Barron's Worse Angels. That said, I need to develop a curriculum. One thing I was pretty taken by in Ivy Tholen's Tastes Like Candy - I mean, besides the awesome Slasher story - was main character Violet's practice routine with her violin. It reminded me of the benefit of commitment to the craft. I've been wanting to work up a schedule that includes not only writing - and of course reading has to be in there - but also guitar, as I've felt a pull back to that after nearly a decade ignoring what used to be my muse. 




Tuesday, May 30, 2023

Tastes Like Candy


For reasons that will be obvious to anyone who watched the Yellowjackets season two finale this past Friday. I've already posted The Horror Vision's discussion on youtube and all streaming platforms. Crazy good and this song was a perfect choice to end the episode and season. 


Watch:

I finally watched Huesera: The Bone Woman the other day. Pretty solid flick. I ended up wanting a bit more in the story department, however, filmmakers rarely go wrong giving us less instead of more. This is the slowest of the slow burns but is peppered with some genuinely freaky moments and images, chief among them the giant Mary statue at the start of the film (you see a bit of it in the teaser below, but that doesn't quite do the scene justice).

 
Directed by Michelle Garza Cervera, Huesera: The Bone Woman is streaming on Shudder and well worth your time, when you're in the mood for a film that settles in and slowly turns up the heat. 



Read:

Last week, I finished Chuck Palahniuk's The Invention of Sound. I would recommend this one to any old-school Palahniuk fan or new reader interested in his work. This is classic form Palahniuk - The Invention of Sound reads exactly the way I remember Choke, Lullaby, Diary reading when I first started seeking the author's work out in the late 90s/early 00s. That might be a bad thing if you've just recently read a bunch of his work, however, if you're like me and haven't read anything he's written in a while, this will remind you of what you loved about his older books. 

I've always thought the key to Palahniuk is not reading a bunch of his books in a row. Not an easy thing to do when they move so quick and have such propulsive style and ideas. However, there seems to be a law of diminishing returns if you binge his stuff, or at least there is for me and quite a few other fans I've spoken to about this over the years. Anyway, none of that should be taken as criticism; I love the man's work and I love this book.

After finishing that, I was set to go into a re-read of Stephen Graham Jones's My Heart is a Chainsaw as prep to then read the recently released sequel, Don't Fear the Reaper, however, something drew me to a novel my good friend Jesus had sent me quite some time ago, Ivy Tholen's Tastes Like Candy.


This book is fantastic! A slasher novel that revolves around a group of incoming Senior girls at a Texas High School who get picked off one-by-one in an closed carnival. I blew through Tastes Like Candy in four days, and it really only took me that long because I had friends in from out of town for the holiday weekend. My Goodreads review is HERE, however, suffice it to say here that this fit right in with all the other well-known authors I've been reading this year. Great stuff! The author's website is HERE if you want to check out her work.
         


Playlist:

The Hives - Tyrannosaurus Hives
Dir En Grey - The Marrow of a Bone
Queens of the Stone Age - Emotion Sickness (pre-release single)
Queens of the Stone Age - Era Vulgaris
The Effigies - Remains Unknowable
David Bowie - Scary Monsters (and Super Freaks)
Ozzy Osbourne - Patient No. 9
X - Los Angeles
Blut Aud Nord - Disharmonium: Undreamable Abysses
Druids - Shadow Work
Blut Aus Nord - Memoria Vetusta I: Fathers of the Icy Age
Trombone Shorty - For True
            


Card:

From Jonathan Grimm's Bound Tarot, which you can buy HERE.

 

• Knight of Cups - Controlling Emotion with Will
• Two of Pentacles - Earthly Partnership
• Three of Swords - Growth of conflict or complex relationship

As always, keep in mind the interpretations I lay down for individual cards are a combination of grimoire research strained through personal circumstance. That said, I'm fairly certain this is reminding me of my current project (again), which has been on the backburner over the long weekend while friends were in. I have a fairly complex legal/business relationship in the novel, and I really need to work that out before proceeding.




Friday, May 26, 2023

New Music from Swans

 
More new music from the upcoming album The Beggar, out June 23rd on Young God Records/Mute. Pre-order HERE.



Watch:


RIP Tina Turner. Here's a fun little clip of her on Letterman back in the day. The song is one from the era where she kind of followed Bowie and a lot of other aging 70s icons into a brief dalliance with what I'd call new age adult contemporary - not really my thing, but I'm not really posting it for that reason. Stick around to the end and watch Letterman go absolutely Ga-Ga for her before asking her to demonstrate how she taught Mick Jagger to dance.


There's a joy to Lettermen when he's in the presence of performers he really admires, and it shines here. Also, very cool to hear Tina Turner talk about her relationship with the Stones.            


Read:

Kind of a NCBD addendum picked up a book I'd not expected to this past Wednesday, Damian Connelly's Blood, Love, Ghosts, and a Deadly Spell:


A very cool softcover collection of B&W Horror that puts me in mind of old Vertigo and Negative Burn comics. The first story in this, Helena, was my favorite, and it definitely has me interested in picking up Connelly's other books, You Promised Me Darkness and Follow Me Into Darkness

Blood, Love, Ghosts, and a Deadly Spell is published by Fairsquare Comics and Alien Books. If you can't find it in a shop, you can order from Fairsquare HERE
          


Playlist:

Forhist - Eponymous
Yeruselem - The Sublime
The Sword - Warp Riders
The Ocean - Heliocentric
Ganser - Odd Talk
The Ravenonettes - Raven in the Grave
Blackbraid - Blackbraid I
High on Fire - Snakes of the Divine
The Dead Milkmen - The King in Yellow
Beach House - Become EP
Beach House - Thank Your Lucky Stars
CCR - Eponymous
Sleep - The Sciences
Ghost - Phantomime EP
The Hives - Tyrannosaurus Hives
Druids - Shadow Work
Soft Play - Sockets (single)



Card:

From Jonathan Grimm's Bound Tarot, which you can buy HERE.


• Page of Cups - Princess in Thoth, this is the physical aspect of emotion
• Seven of Swords - Completion of Will, or perhaps more commonly, of conflict
• Six of Swords - Here, I think, Balance of conflict

This is one of the more difficult Pulls to read in quite some time. I definitely think this has to do with my current project, but I'm unclear how, exactly, so I'll do what I always do in situations such as this: leave the cards up on my desk where I can see them all day. Sometimes that's enough to trigger understanding.



Tuesday, May 23, 2023

Druids - Shadow Work

 

 From Druids' 2022 Shadow Work, an album I just discovered and which is blowing me away. Released via The Ocean's Pelagic Records, these guys fit that aesthetic like a glove, although I'd say they're a bit closer in sound to super stoner group Shrinebuilder than the Post-Metal of The Ocean. Either way, this entire record is fabulous, so it was tough to choose a track to post. Luckily, Pelagic has a full stream up. You can order this one direct from the label's website HERE.




NCBD:

Another short but sweet NCBD. Here are my picks:


Black Tape
's fourth and final issue! I still haven't read three, so sometime soon I'll sit down and burn through the entire arc. Love that Shout At the Devil homage cover!


Still one of my favorite reads every month now that the status quo has resumed, Boss and Rosenberg's What's the Furthest Place From Here has to be the single most intriguing 'world' I've come across in a comic in a long time. 



Play:

Here's a hilarious little commercial Puppet Combo made for their summer sale, which began yesterday!

 

I can't play any of this stuff on my computer, otherwise, the "Buy All" for $25 would be a total no-brainer! The direct link to the sale on Puppet Combo/Torture Star's website is HERE.




Playlist:

The Teardrop Explodes - Kilimanjaro
Spotlights - Alchemy for the Dead
Druids - Spirit Compass (single)
Druids - Shadow Work
Final Light - Eponymous
Nun Gun - Mondo Decay
Ganser - Just Look At That Sky
          


Card:

From Jonathan Grimm's Bound Tarot, which you can buy HERE.


• Eight of Pentacles (Disks) - Transformation of Earthly materials/goals
• 14 Temperance - Art in Thoth, this often denotes a mixing of two or more different ethos to create the desired result. In this case, I'd read it as branching out from a safe routine/style.
• 17 The Star - Totality and fulfillment. 

I think this is a direct reference to something I just started working on. I'm taking an old collaborative project from 2018 and stripping it of the ideas that were created jointly with someone else, trying to extract the prose and rework it into a High School Giallo I've been thinking about for at least as long. There's a lot of good prose that I wrote in this - the other party was involved conceptually and with story, but not with any of the actual writing. There's a good 100k words - a lot of it was the product of what I since learned was overzealous 'word stuffing,' but a lot of it is good. So why waste it? Why not transform that Art into a lucrative project?

 


RIP Andy Rourke & Ray Stevenson

 

Almost let it slip by me that former bassist for The Smiths passed away last Friday. I love the entirety of The Smiths' catalog, and all of Andy's basslines, but this is one of my favorites.



Watch:

Ray Stevenson passed away yesterday. Wow. I know he's come to the forefront of cultural discussion in the last two years with the success of RRR - a movie I have no interest in ever sitting through after my friend Shailesh 'streamlined' it for me months before it took the world by storm - but here's the trailer to possibly my favorite version of the Punisher to hit the screen (Bernthal is awesome, so it's a bit of a draw):

 
Punisher: Warzone is just a crazy fucking movie - from the opening with Stevenson using a broken pencil to fix his broken nose to the exploding gymnastic villains, this one took a moment upon first viewing to grasp its tone, but once I got there, I never looked back. 



Playlist:

Brand New - Daisy
Ghost - Phantomime EP
The Ocean - Holocene
VOLA - Witness
The Ravenonettes - In and Out of Control
Peter Gabriel - So



Card:


Fortunes change as the cosmic Wheel turns unrelenting, What will this bring me today? No idea, but I'll embrace it. 
 

 


Monday, May 22, 2023

Deftones - Bloody Cape

 
Deftones's self-titled turn 20 this year. Not my favorite of theirs by any means. In fact, with its predecessor White Pony being my introduction to the band, the self-titled caused me to ascribe them a one-and-done status until friends sat me down and played me Saturday Night Wrist. From there, every album has only gotten better - well, nothing beat Koi No Yokan, but Gore and Ohms are fantastic in their own right - and I always thought I'd eventually go back and discover I'd misjudged the Eponymous, but that's never really happened. Anyway, even my least favorite Deftones records are standing on the shoulders of giants, so it's not as though I don't like them. I will be skipping the anniversary colored vinyl, however, if you go HERE you can order it!




Watch:

Saturday night I showed K Brian De Palma's 1993 masterpiece Carlito's Way for the first time. I've loved this movie since I first saw it circa 1995, however, it's been at least a decade since the last time I revisited it. Surprise - it's even better than I remembered!   

Normally, I'd post a trailer, but the trailers I find give too much away. Here's a scene that I'm reticent to take out of context because, at first glance, it might invite the viewer to dismiss this film as another Gangster film. While it is that, on one level, my take has always been this is a love story first, and a tragic one at that. 

  
 When this flick comes up, I always mention how it leaves me teary-eyed. Saturday, though, it fucking leveled me emotionally. I'm talking full-on sobs. There are elements at play I'd never noticed before, most specifically that De Palma shot a lot of this film to look like classic Hollywood. There's Bogie and Bacall and a whole host of other visual references I'm not versed enough in 30s and 40s Hollywood to be able to accurately put a name to. But they're there: the scene with Charlie and Gail in the coffee shop, when she stands to leave and he hugs her in the middle of the room - the camera briefly encircles them and you get a taste of a love that surrounds every aspect of these two people's lives. All the alleyway scenes, the sets and the way they're created and shot - especially when in the rain. We've seen these before in other, legendary films even if we haven't seen those films. This stuff informs the business - or at least it did before technology changed the overall look of the industry (probably starting with The Matrix). 

Anyway, if you've never seen Carlito's Way, I can't recommend a film more. I have pretty low mileage for the Gangster genre, and like I said, this transcends it. If hard-pressed though, it's this and Goodfellas - I can leave everything else on the shelf.



Read:

I finished Alan Campbell's God of Clocks and thus his Deepgate Codex series. I would be lying if I didn't say I felt the ending was a bit rushed, but I don't care - I loved it anyway. I've already revisited Book One Scar Night at least four times since it came out in 2007, and Book Two Iron Angel Twice now. I'll definitely come back to this series again at some point further down the tracks.

Next up - Chuck Palahniuk's newest novel, The Invention of Sound, which I have a nice signed hardcover copy of thanks to my friend and A Most Horrible Library cohost Chris Saunders!

I know nothing about this novel, and I'm only about thirty-five pages in so far, so there's not much I have to report about the plot except that it already feels very Palahniuk (not all his novels do), and I'm excited to take that 'ride' again - it's been quite some time since I read anything new by the man, with 2009's Pygmy probably being the last novel by him I read upon the time of release. Everything between that and this I've missed. 

One thing I noticed right off the bat about The Invention of Sound, though, is Palahniuk seems to be writing in a purposely strange, almost 'wrong' way when it comes to the actual syntax of some of his sentences. Here's an example:

"As if she a prizefighter was, and she'd pasted him a roundhouse punch to his glass jaw."

What the hell? I mean, that sentence is all kinds of awkward. That, of course, is no doubt the point - there have already been quite a few moments like this in the prose, and I'm curious if his earlier books have elements of this, too, and I just wasn't a practiced enough writer to notice them before. Or, I imagine it is extremely possible, he's trying to use a similar and considerably less overt method as he did in Pygmy, which is written in such a strange, Pidgeon English that it was near impossible to acclimate to for the first couple tries, then, once my brain rewired itself, became increasingly disorienting in the best possible way.




Playlist:

Witchfinder - Forgotten Mansion
Boris & Merzbow - 2R0I2P0
The Devil's Blood - The Thousandfold Epicentre
Etta James - Second Time Around
Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings - Give the People What They Want
Deafheaven - 10 Years Gone
Ghost - Phantomime
Windhand - Eponymous
Steely Dan - Aja
Paul J. Zaza - My Blood Valentine OST



Card:

From Jonathan Grimm's Bound Tarot, which you can buy HERE.
 

• Eight Pentacles - Transformation of Earthly Resources
• Ace of Pentacles - Breakthrough
• Seven of Cups - Completion 

To transform my situation, I need to finish what I'm working on. A bit of a no-brainer, but then Tarot readings usually are. The cards can't really tell you anything you don't already know, they just clarify and bring to the forefront what you otherwise might be ignoring/unable to see. I'm foggy on the specifics of this Pull, but I'll figure it out. 
 


Friday, May 19, 2023

Spelljammer - Bellwether

 
Thursday morning and I happened to stumble upon this video for Spelljammer's "Bellwether." I'd not heard of these guys before, however, Riding Easy Records has a pretty gnarly track record when it comes to Doom/Stoner metal. So of course, it comes as no surprise that this track instantly put the band on my radar. From the album Abyssal Trip, available to order HERE.



Watch:

Ted Geoghegan's We Are Still Here is one of my favorite flicks of the 10s. As such, I was pretty excited to see all the news surrounding the release of his new film, Brooklyn 45, June 9th on Shudder. Here's the trailer:
 
In keeping with my recent philosophy of avoiding trailers, I watched about 30 seconds of this and turned it off. I mean, Larry Fessenden's in it, what more do I need to know? 

Nothing. 100% sold on this. 



Playlist:

Spotlights - Seance EP
Blut Aus Nord - The Work Which Transforms God
Blut Aus Nord - Thematic Emanations of Archetypal Multiplicity EP
Estrasphere - It's Understood
R.I.P. - Street Reaper
The Sword - Warp Riders
Lustmord - Berlin
Ghost - Phantomime EP (pre-release singles)



Card:

From Jonathan Grimm's Bound Tarot, which you can buy HERE.

 


Still sick and I just do not have the energy for anything, hence why this is posting so late. Anyway, let's see if I have it in me to do a quick breakdown:

• Ace of Swords - Breakthough. I read this as Will honed to the point of perfection, obliterating an obstacle. Not sure what that applies to here, but maybe that will become clear as I go.
• Nine of Swords - Accomplishment
• Judgement - "Aeon" in Crowley and Harris's Thoth, this card indicates a pivotal point in the sequence. 

All this seems to add up to say a touch-up on my application of Willpower should provide a breakthrough in a project. I think the Will is going to come into play getting back into writing daily - I haven't been doing much more than working and watching movies while I've been sick. 



Wednesday, May 17, 2023

New Music from King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard!

 
New music from King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard, and it rules! I'll admit, I've never really made a serious attempt at getting into these guys. I'm not really sure why. That said, my friend Josh sang their praises in a conversation last week and Josh is one of those people whose opinion on music is very important to me. Coincidence or cosmic alignment, here we are with a new track from a new album, Petrodragonic Apocalypse or Dawn of Eternal Night: An Annihilation of Planet Earth and the Beginning of the Merciless Damnation, which you can pre-order directly from the band HERE.

This track RULES, so I think this was my fated window into KGLW!!! Thanks, Josh!



NCBD:

A nice and light NCBD this week, and although I will most likely not show up at the shop until later in the week when I feel better, this is what will be in my box:


Looks like I jumped on The Seasons Have Teeth just in time last week, as number two hits the shelves today. 

X-Men 23 - I was wondering when we'd get back to Orchis, and look - the gangs all here. Even MODOK stuck around! I find it interesting that coming out of Sins of Sinister, I'd completely forgotten that Orchis's Ally Dr. Stasis is a Sinister - my bet is he's the one that we saw in 616 all through the 80s and the architect of the original Mutant Massacre and original Inferno, who did have quite the flamboyant personality the Krakoa era Sinister does. Also, apparently, writer Gerry Duggan is now helming Iron Man as well, and he's had Feilong take over Stark Industries, so that's an interesting asset for Orchis to have in their arsenal.



Watch:

Still hanging around the house, letting the last of this vile illness loosen its remaining tendrils on me, so I watched some more flicks after a half day of work. 

First up, Richard Stanley's Hardware. Instead of reposting the trailer, which I've probably posted on here a handful of times previously, here's a cool little segment I found on the film's composer Simon Boswell's youtube channel where he talks to Stanely about scoring the film:


Next up, I've been diving into that Severin boxset All the Haunts Be Ours that I bought last year. Yesterday's film was Kåre Bergstrøm's Lake of the Dead, which I could not find a trailer for, so here's a poster:


From 1958 Norway, this is a tight little thriller, kind of a Nordic Twilight Zone murder mystery that I really enjoyed. Best of all, I now realize this is currently on Shudder! Not exactly what we think of as Folk Horror today, which is good, because I'm beginning to feel the genre is amassing a checklist. You know, "Add a ram skull, a forest, and a farmer and you have a Folk Horror flick;" not the case exactly, but it tends to happen to recently popularized genres. This is NOT that.



Playlist:

Ghost - Phantom of the Opera (pre-release single)
Ghost - Jesus He Knows Me (pre-release single)
Ghost - Opus Eponymous
David Lynch & Marek Zebrowski - Polish Night Music
SQÜRL - Silver Haze
Spotlights - Alchemy
The Besnard Lakes - The Besnard Lakes are the Roaring Night
Kermit Ruffins and the Rebirth Brass Band - Throwback



Card:

Still not feeling super up to anything, so I thought I'd just pull one card from my trusty Thoth deck. When that one card is the 7 of Disks Failure, however, it's hard not to want some context:


Just a warning about a planned surprise I have slated for K's birthday tomorrow. Duly noted, Monsieur Universe. Duly Noted.

 


Tuesday, May 16, 2023

Ghost Covers Iron Maiden!!!

 

From the forthcoming Phantomime EP, out this Friday! Pre-order HERE



Watch:

I've been sick AF since Saturday, so I watched a lot of movies over the last few days. I'm not going to post trailers for everything, but there are a few I'd like to mention. First of those is Gary Busey in a Richard C. Sarafian film, Eye of the Tiger! This was probably my favorite viewing experience. I don't know, seeing Gary Busey kick the hell out of a gang of ruthless bikers. Here's a trailer:

   

I'd put this flick up against a lot of similar movies from the same year - 1986 - that feature box office candy like Stallone and Armold; Eye of the Tiger is really well-made, and Busey turns in a solid performance. 

Also of special note from what I watched over the weekend, 1994's The Guyver.

 

I have some vague memory of seeing the imagery from this film somewhere about the time it would have received release press. More recently, when Fangoria interviewed Steven Kostanski about his influences on Psycho Goreman (Fangoria Vol. 2 issue 10) he mentioned The Guyver, so it was in my peripheral. Then, I noticed that Darcy had uploaded the full movie in the old Monstervision presentation to the Lost Drive-In Patreon, and I figured, what better way to watch it, right? Cool flick; not exactly my cuppa, however, as usual watching pretty much anything with Joe Bob amplifies it. I've thought about this a lot, the idea that even a movie you hate can be made enjoyable (to a degree) when you have the proper context for it. That's something Joe Bob excels at providing, and I usually find myself better able to put myself in the movie's headspace. I'm sure there would be conditions under which this theory would break down; I doubt very much that even if Joe Bob hosted The Notebook I would get a kick out of it. Then again, who knows?




Read:

I continued to make my way through Alan Campbell's final book in the Deepgate Codex series this weekend, but I also had the itch to read some old Spider-Man comics, so I dug out Web of Spider-Man 40-42, the "Cult of Love" storyline, only to realize I'm missing the fourth and final part.


Not really a big deal; I located issue 43 on eBay, so I'll get to read that in a few days. More important than the story was the general tone of the story. 80s comics are very much recognizable, especially Spidey. They reflect the New York of the time, but also the world and society of the time. The art and writing are a certain 'way' - again, a lot of that has to do with topics that haunted Western Society at the time. Vietnam was a big one, but in this case, echoes of the Tate/Labianca murders and the fear of 'cults' that crime inspired. I wasn't there to read through metaphors of societal trauma, though. No, I was there because the 80s was when I started reading comics and Spidey, while not a mainstay, every-week purchase, had three ongoing monthly titles that I cherry-picked from quite often, and it's always super cool to go back and re-experience those books. 



Playlist:

Blut Aus Nord - The Work Which Transforms God
Nabihah Iqbal - Dreamer
Nirvana - Nevermind
Greg Puciato - Child Soldier: Creator of God
Black Sabbath - Sabbath Bloody Sabbath
Black Sabbath - Sabotage
The Beatles - Abbey Road
            


Card:

Easing back into it with a single card Pull from Missi's Raven Deck:


As usual, this deck just knows. I'm abstaining from drinking any beer while I've been sick and thinking of carrying it on until the weekend, just to further give my body a break. My fever's gone, but I was up most of the night last night coughing, so I'm exhausted at the moment. Ginger Ale remains a close friend.
 


Thursday, May 11, 2023

Poor Things - Your Arse is on Fire

 

Looks like Mr. Bungle encored with "My Ass is on Fire" two nights ago in Pomona, CA. I don't have tickets for any of these shows (obviously; my best chance of seeing Bungle now is if they add a Chicago date), but I'm psyched to hear they pulled this one out of the toy box. I got to see them play it on the Disco Volante tour at the Chicago Metro back in, gasp, 1995! By the time they came around for the two California tours, they had a new, 'remixed' version I didn't particularly care for. Still, good to see them pulling out something from the first album, and hopefully the new lineup might be working up to a few more surprises down the road.




Watch:

I have, to date, only seen one film by Yorgos Lanthimos, and that's Killing of a Sacred Deer. That film blew me away, and I really need to get on seeing the others. In the meantime, while I've been sitting on my hands as a potential fan, Mr. Lanthimos has constructed a new film:

 

Frankenstein? Well, obviously to some degree, but I'd wager there's a lot more going on here. Interesting to see the fantastic imagery here; almost reminds me of an LSD-laced version of Wes Anderson. 




Read:

After seeing a friend post about it on social media, I went ahead and grabbed the first issue of Dan Watters and Sebastián Cabrol's The Seasons Have Teeth. Here's the photo my friend posted that convinced me:


Yeah, that's all I needed, too. The logline here is what if the Seasons manifested as beasts. This right here is Spring, and it's where we start our story, through the lens of a news photographer whose grief has him ready to risk his life to get the pictures that will show the world the Seasons' faces.

Dan Watters has really floored me over the last few years. Between Homesick Pilots and The Picture of Everything Else - which finally finishes with the release of issues 4 and 5 nxt month - I've now seen his name on an upcoming Marvel title or two. Let's celebrate his success by hoping he has enough time to continue to make these wonderful Creator-owned books, too.




Playlist:

QOTSA - Emotion Sickness (pre-release single)
QOTSA - Villains
QOTSA - Era Vulgaris
The Hives - Tyrannosaurus Hives
White Lung - Paradise
White Lung - Premonition
White Lung - It's the Evil
Slayer - Decade of Aggression
Trombone Shorty - Too True
Blanck Mass - In Ferneaux
           


Card:

From Jonathan Grimm's Bound Tarot, which you can buy HERE.


I feel like I see the Seven of Swords a lot lately. Taken here with the Ten of Cups and The Moon, I'd say there's something hidden or obscured that's preventing me from achieving victory in regard to a monetary issue. 
 


NEW MUSIC FROM QUEENS OF THE STONE AGE!!!

 From the forthcoming album Times New Roman, out June 16th. You can pre-order HERE

SUPER cool song - I hear T. Rex a lot in here, always a good thing. I'm also noticing the guitar sound on the verses has that super distorted "junkyard" feeling that I loved so much from Era Vulgaris, pushed back to the front. I've never been sure if that's a soft application of a ring modulator or a pitch shifter or both. Either way, loving it here.




Watch:

From an article on Bloody Disgusting this morning (HERE), I give you the trailer for God is a Bullet:

 

Satanic Cult? I'm in! Also, Maika Monroe has been in some killer genre flicks over the last few years, and she's been great in all of them. 
  
Is it a bit weird that this film is directed by Nick Cassavetes, director of The Notebook? Not to judge the man - lots of people break in with what they can and then follow their passion (consider the case of Ryan Gosling, star of The Notebook), but there's also a track record of non-Horror folk 'hanging out in Horror' for a paycheck. Hopefully, that's not the case.

This one's getting a wide theatrical release - not sure if it will play by me; at first glance, I thought having the title God is a Bullet would stigmatize it right out of the local theatres here, then I realized having "bullet" in the title might actually push it in any way. After all, if there's one thing people seem to like more than god here, it's bullets.




Playlist:

The Raveonettes - Raven in the Grave
The Raveonettes - In and Out of Control
The Hives - Tyrannosaurus Hives
Ghost Cop - End Credits
Ghost Cop - One Weird Trick
Screaming Females - Desire Pathway
Danko Jones - We Sweat Blood
Iress - Prey
Type O Negative - Origin of the Feces
Mars Red Sky - Eponymous




Wednesday, May 10, 2023

Live Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs!

 

KEXP dropped a live session with British Sludge Punks Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs a few days ago, and I'm here to tell you it kicks some serious arse! Check it out and if you dig, head on over to their Bandcamp HERE and grab the new record Land of Sleeper

Mr. Brown was the one who turned me onto these lads when the album dropped, and I've been spinning both the new one and 2020's Viscerals - both fantastic albums of grimy, heavy slabs of Slunk (see what I did there?) 

I hear so many different influences in these guys: The Wipers, Sabbath, Melvins, and Idles all spring immediately to mind. That said, this is a 100% original sound, which is difficult to do in the sludge world. 




NCBD:

Once again, here are my picks for #NCBD!


As of issue 13 I realized that my theory that Danny Ketch was now a product of the Weapon Plus Program was off; instead we have some weird corporation developing weapons with aspects of Hell in their DNA? Super weird, and I'm curious to see where this goes.


I confess - I was not blown away by Nightmare Country's return last month with Glass House #1. Also, so the full title now is The Sandman Universe: Nightmare Country: The Glass House? That's a lot of sub-titles. Regardless of naming aesthetics, James Tynion IV has my complete trust. Also, what a cover!!!


I love the simplicity of this story so far. I also love the mechanics of the two worlds in juxtaposition to one another.


Saga!

First X-Men: Red since coming back from Sins of Sinister, and we're looking at a cover of Storm amidst a pile of dead Xaviers. The mind reels at what insane cosmic blasphemies Al Ewing and Jacopo Camagni have in store for us now that Arakko is back
 


Watch:

A new trailer for Christopher Nolan's Oppenheimer dropped earlier in the week.


At some point, despite loving every one of Nolan's films up to and including (especially!) The Dark Knight Rises. For my money, Nolan's Batman is the only cinematic Batman. That said, I always loved his non-IP films better, with The Prestige ranking as one of my favorites of that decade. Yet, I missed Interstellar in the theatres then sat on my hands when it lived on Prime for the better part of 2016, skipped Dunkirk entirely, and even mismanaged my fervor for Tenant due to not being able to see it in a theatre during its COVID-era release. After seeing this trailer for Oppenheimer, I'm not letting this one get away.




Playlist:

Chamber of Screams, Clement Panchout & Mxxn - Murder House Original Puppet Combo Soundtrack
Perturbator - Dangerous Days
Soundgarden - Super Unknown
Tamaryn - The Waves
DIR EN GREY - The Marrow of a Bone
            


Card:

From Jonathan Grimm's Bound Tarot, which you can buy HERE.


Doubling up on Swords suggestions Conflict, however, cut with the Page (Princess in Thoth) of Cups, I'd say this refers to news of the quiet dissolution of multiple social and business problems this morning.
 


Tuesday, May 9, 2023

Network


Mr. Brown and I have been doing vinyl swaps now that I live within a day's drive. This most recent one goes back to, I think, February. We pick out six albums we want to expose the other to, then hand them over until the next time we see one another. The albums in my most recent bag from Brown included Steve Earle's 2021 J.T. and it is exceptional.

Other than a few failed attempts at getting into Copperhead Road back around 2008, the only thing I really know about Steve Earle is he did a stint on HBO's brilliant Treme, where unlike most of the other Louisana musicians who appeared on the show as themselves, Earle played fictional local musician Harley Watt. 

The linear notes for J. T. tell the story of Justin Townes Earle, the first son and, by his own right, accomplished musician/songwriter who recorded and toured for nine studio albums before he passed away at the age of 38 in 2020. J.T. then, is Steve Earle and his band The Dukes recording a selection of his son's songs (one original closes out the album). Pretty powerful stuff. I'm not familiar with Justin Townes Earle's stuff outside of spinning this record half a dozen times now, but I can see why the term "genre agnosticism" keeps coming up when I read about him. The track I selected today has a very early 90s jangle pop sound hidden amidst its straight country leanings.




Watch:

Sunday night K and I sat down to watch Sidney Lumet's 1975 film Network.

I'd seen half this movie back in the USPS Netflix days, when whatever DVD release they stocked needlessly split the 2-hour and 1-minute film onto two discs, apparently unknown to the service, who only sent me one disc. After that, well, Network faded to the back of my mind until I noticed it on HOBOMAX recently.

 
 
The prescience of this film - released in 1975 - is staggering today. This predicts EVERYTHING about our media-defined reality in 2023: The "Howard Beale Show" almost seems a template for every influencer, toktik "star" and social media celeb. The lengths the network will go, the manner in which everyone who doesn't agree falls quickly in line when they see the reactions of the masses (republican party 2015 anyone?) and the general disconnect Diana Christensen has from the world and the people around her - for anything other than the television - is so spot on with our world it's frightening. I really want to try and hit Cronenberg's Videodrome in the next day or two now, as I think these would be a perfect double feature.
 


Playlist:

Alice in Chains - Jar of Flies
Fen - Epoch
A Perfect Circle - Mer De Noms
Sleep - The Sciences
The Sword - Warp Riders
Slayer - Decade of Aggression




Card:



I felt compelled to stay with the Thoth Deck for this morning's Pull, so here we go:

• 4 of Cups Luxury - 4's traditionally denote stability, and when Crowley named his version of the 4 of Cups "Luxury" he did so as an intimation that, removed from the Earthen themes of Disks (pentacles), the luxury here is a stable, healthy emotional mind frame. This is the opposite of manic, which incidentally, is how I've felt the last two days.
• Prince of Swords - the Intellect when applied to the interconnectivity of relationships, whether they be personal or Earthly (ie legal and the like) - this is the road out of manic ville - thinking with purpose.
• 8 of Swords Interference - Pretty self-explanatory; it pains me to say that, when my mental gears are not processing something I've just read, watched or listened to, my thinking tends to be rather passive. I get carried away on flights of fancy very easily, resurface and often have nothing to show for it. THIS is what eats my productivity as a writer, but it also leaves my mind lazy. This then, is what I have to watch out for, as it produces a lethargy that then manifests (eventually) as a manic state. 

I definitely could see how Network ties into this; television in general. 

Sunday, May 7, 2023

Cruising Near Dark


From the 1987 OST for Kathryn Bigelow's inimitable debut film, Near Dark, one of about three vampire movies I can't live without. 

Tangerine Dream was such a solid choice for scoring this film, and I'd say it just accentuates William Friedkin's obvious influence on Bigelow film. The early scene in the film this song scores is one of the most era-defining moments of 80s Horror for me. I didn't see Near Dark until well after its release, but the sights and sounds of this sequence somehow sum up a large part of the texture I remember from the mid-to-late 80s. 




Watch:

Saturday night, K and I finally sat down and watched William Friedkin's 1980 thriller Cruising.

 
I remember some time back when Netflix was still by mail, I watched Friedkin's French Connection and To Live and Die in L.A. and realized, "Oh shit, this is the same guy who did The Exorcist. Wow."

I've never been one to get into an artist and just consume everything they've done immediately. There's still one Bret Baston Ellis book I haven't read; there are several Irvine Welsh novels I'm keeping on the back burner, and I've not heard more PJ Harvey than I've heard. This isn't to say there's any reason I'm avoiding these entries in the respective artist's canon except that I want to make sure there's something on deck. With Friedkin, I'm sure I looked up his filmography and made some long-forgotten notes, but I didn't exactly jump on anything else right away.

Sometime around 2013, titterings began for the restoration, release and revival house screenings of two "lost masterpieces" - 1977 Sorceror and Cruising. I remember mid-week screenings popping up at the New Beverly Cinema or the Silent Movie Theatre. I remember not having the money to go, or to buy the newly released DVD because my live was getting ready to explode. Ten years later, I finally sat down and watched Cruising and it absolutely blew me away, although not in the manner I expected. 

Friedkin is the best kind of sneaky when it comes to what he shows his audience. He manipulates his story via the medium of film by how he edits, what he puts in and what he leaves out of his script and its dialogue. Also, there's a level of casting manipulation here that I didn't understand at first, but after I read THIS ARTICLE. There is such mastery of film as a medium here, but not in the usual ways. Yes, the craft - the cinematography, writing, acting, all of it is superb, but the mastery I'm referencing here is the way Friedkin compresses his narrative into the actual physical act of showing it to us on screen. This isn't anything 'new,' however, I don't know anyone who has done it quite like this before. 
 


Playlist:

Black Sabbath - Master of Reality
Black Sabbath - Technical Ecstasy
Bongripper - Satan Worshipping Doom
Atrium Carceri - Kapnobatai
High on Fire - Death is this Communion
High on Fire - Surrounded By Thieves
Sleep - The Sciences
SQÜRL - Silver Haze
Gaupa - Myriad
Mars Red Sky - Eponymous
Steve Earle - J.T.
Trombone Shorty - Too True
The Devil's Blood - The Thousandfold Epicenter
Black Sabbath - Sabbath Bloody Sabbath
David Bowie - Diamond Dogs
        


Card:

A single Thoth card for my Pull today:



When one path closes, the trick is sidestep the disappointment and watch for the next opening sure to arise in the wake. 

 


Friday, May 5, 2023

Lighthouse Horror as a Subgenre





First, some appropriate music to set the tone:

 

As I originally mentioned in an earlier post today, seeing the trailer for Torture Star/Marevo Collective's upcoming (May 18th!) new game No One Lives Under the Lighthouse, I felt compelled to talk a bit more about Lighthouse Horror as a burgeoning Subgenre. Yeah, I know it's pretty easy to get carried away with subgenres, but I feel like this is becoming as legitimate a 'thing' and there's a wealth of great entries that people interested should know about. 

First: What a spectacular setting, right?  I mean, an abandoned lighthouse island with rocky crags and descending spiral staircases lends itself so well to Horror that I just feel this is made to be. No or limited electricity, an ever-present "man vs. nature" throughline, pervading darkness and let's not forget the isolation - Oh! the isolation! Such tasty morsels for a Horror story to lean into. 

Lighthouse Horror is interesting because there's a fairly small and finite number of permutations to get the ball rolling. Either someone is being shipped out to a lighthouse because the operator has gone missing/mad/died, or the characters are rotating in for their shift and something horrific transpires. The isolation is a large part of the Horror, and keeping this in mind, the setting is perhaps optimum for slow-burn formulas, especially where the characters' psychological state becomes increasingly unmoored, slowly sinking them into madness. 

Being that the entire purpose of the lighthouse as a structure is to keep away the darkness and act as a beacon to those traveling through it, the subgenre is also ready-made for metaphors, and Lovecraftian sea monsters slot into these tales nicely as well, whether you consider them metaphors or not.

The argument for adding Lighthouse Horror as a subgenre begins, as far as I can tell, in 2017. That's the year Cold Skin by Xavier Gens came out. This takes a Lovecraftian route with its use of a lighthouse location to tell a Horror tale, and it fits like a glove! 

From there, of course, Robert Eggers's The Lighthouse came out just two years later in 2019. This takes the more psychological route with the location, although there are folks that argue there are some Lovecraftian moments sprinkled throughout, just in a decidedly more subtle. The "Can I Play With Madness" themes of this film prove pretty aggressive by the end, and as I've said on this page before, I can't think of a better example of the admittedly overused logline, "A slow descent into Madness."

More recently, Jeff Lemire and Andrea Sorrentino kicked off their Bone Orchard Mythos with The Passage, a graphic novel that takes place entirely on a lighthouse island and contains some genuinely haunting images. There are overarching monstrous themes in the Boneyard Mythos - which is still developing in subsequent series - and while I'd say the aspirations are Lovecraft-level, this is 100% Lemire and Sorrentino's own thing, which is refreshing. There are some images in The Passage that rank as the most effective I've seen in a Horror Graphic Novel since Pornsak Pichetshote's Infidel and some very smart uses of a drone to deliver them.

What route will No One Lives Under the Lighthouse take? With first-person games a perfect vehicle to elicit very real paranoic responses from their players, this might be the closest some get to a real lighthouse Horror experience ourselves (let's hope so!) 



Ghost of Vroom!


New music from Mike Doughty's Ghost of Vroom! If you're a Soul Coughing fan like I am, this is the closest thing to that sound Doughty's done since their breakup back in, well, a loooong time ago. The new album, Ghost of Vroom 3 is out later this year, although no hard date has been announced.




Watch:

Rewatched Kevin Phillips' Super Dark Times on Shudder last night. Man, this one is heavy.

I'm not going to post a trailer because I think it's best to go in cold on this one. Yes, that's my recommendation for every movie, however, we can't always control that. This one is from 2017, so if you haven't seen it you may already have an idea what it's about. If not, just watch it. Damn.

What I will say is A) Kevin Phillips NAILS high school. I mean, he just crushed it - so many little non-sequitur moments that surround the characters and mean nothing other than to reinforce where our minds are at this age. Anger, Angst and Rebellion. "No I don't need your fucking help, lady!" one background character screams at one point, and it's just spot fucking on. B) This deals with a trauma that an event in my life in high school shares some DNA with. Phillips nails the state of mind that followed it. Again, he CRUSHED it.
 


Play:

Ask and ye shall receive: new Puppet Combo-like game No One Lives Under the Lighthouse by Torture Star and Marevo Collective hits a bunch of platforms - Switch included - this month!

 
Spooky AF! There are some images in this trailer that seared into my brain the moment they appeared on screen (@1:22 - WTF???). What a spectacular setting; an abandoned lighthouse island with rocky crags and descending spiral staircases lends itself so well to this aesthetic. I can't wait to play this game!

NOTE: if you read this post earlier and remembered it being longer, fret not! You are correct - I've expanded my "Lighthouse Horror as a burgeoning subgenre thoughts in a separate post HERE.

No One Lives Under the Lighthouse is out May 18th!



Playlist:

Sleep - The Sciences
Windhand - Eternal Return
Earth - Live at Third Man Records
Dorthia Cottrell - Death Folk Country
The Sword - Warp Riders
Bongripper - Satan (single)
Crowbar - Planets Collide (single)
Gaupa - Myriad
Witchfinder - Hazy Rites
Witchfinder - Forgotten Mansion
            


Card:

From Jonathan Grimm's Bound Tarot, which you can buy HERE.


• 20 Judgement is Aeon in Crowley and Harris's Thoth deck. Regardless of which you go with, this is a card of Redemption. It also suggests a pivotal sequence and the holography of cause/effect.
• Seven of Pentacles is a card that denotes Victory/Completion of Earthly matters
• Queen of Pentacles, in this particular case, is offering the advice that I actually stop thinking with my emotions on Earthly matters and begin applying a more staunch lens of discernment.

In other words - I'm spending too much money on vinyl.