Wednesday, June 28, 2023

The Last Temptation of Read

From Lard's 1990 album The Last Temptation of Reid. Pretty sure the titular Reid - the co-owner of Chicago Trax who recorded the band's first EP - came into the pizza place where Mr. Brown and I worked in High School. Weird anecdote, but one I can't help but think of whenever I throw this record on.


Speaking of Temptations to Read, this is my biggest NCBD Pull in some time. Let's get into what I'm bringing home:

I'm going to be dropping off Ghost Rider fairly soon. I don't know, this one just isn't doing for me what it did about half the time at the onset. I can really feel Marvel building up their Midnight Sons line, introducing a lot of new characters, bringing back older iterations, and building out the world of monsters that lurks in its underbelly. You'd think that as a Horror fan, that would work for me, but I just feel like it's a sanitized Horror, and that's disappointing. Maybe I'm wrong. Maybe I'll read to the end of this current storyline and realize they're building something great, but all the books over the last year that have contributed to that - Moon Knight, that Crypt of Shadows one shot, the crap they did with Man-Thing a few years ago, none of it feels substantive.

I'm definitely digging this deeper dive into the Last Ronin world. 

So, after reading the first 'season' of Red Room, not reading the second, and then picking up the first issue of the third, I'm still digging this book. My pass on that second installment had more to do with trimming the Pull List and diverging from the fairly disturbing subject matter - which, as I've pointed out here previously, is very much offset by Piskor's Ed Crumb-like art style - and not due to any perceived failure on the book's part. Quite the contrary - each issue continues to seduce me with the social mystery that surrounds this strange, underground world of dark web murder rooms, cryptocurrency, and psychopaths. Of particular note this week, this homage cover to Charles Burns's Black Hole comic just blows me away.

I feel like it's been months since I read the first two issues of The Seasons Have Teeth, even though it's only been a few weeks. Can't wait to see where this is going. The anthropomorphizing of the actual seasons into monsters is just too damn cool to miss, especially when those monsters are rendered as visually strange and beautiful as series artist Sebastián Cabrol has made them.

The third and final one shot to welcome in the Fall of X era, the first two books - Sons of X and First Strike both constituted a huge letdown. We're talking Trial of Magneto level bad. Being that those books were not written by current X-scribes and this one is, I'm holding out hope this one justifies reading.


Blut Aus Nord - The Work Which Transforms God
Rein - Reincarnated
Lard - Pure Chewing Satisfaction
Lard - The Last Temptation of Reid
The Jesus Lizard - Liar
Cocksure - Be Rich
Lustmord - Dark Matter
Godflesh - Post Self
God is LSD - Spirit of Suicide
Anthrax - Persistence of Time
Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers - Damn the Torpedoes


• 9 of Disks: Gain - Yesod again, so imagination and reflection, and enjoying the satisfaction that comes with that. Worded in the grimoire as "Self Satisfaction," which automatically puts me in mind of hubris, the obvious point of the Pull when you take the following two cards in.
• 3 of Swords: Sorrow - Directly from the Grimoire, "Paired with Disks can point to problems w/ work;" "Let thing develop before making another one;" "Intense passion to create but doing so is problematic."
• 7 of Disks: Failure - A difficult period in Earthy life

Well, what a cheery Pull for today! Seriously, this obviously warns against a sneaky inclination I've experienced to try to deviate one or two days a week to work on another languishing project. I'm so close to a final first draft on the current one, best not to deviate. Head on to the finish line!



Tuesday, June 27, 2023

God is a Maggot Brain


I went to the movies last night to see God Is A Bullet. My viewing experience was uneven - I'll be trying to unpack that below - but one scene about halfway through won me over, and a large part of the reason why was its use of Funkadelic's "Maggot Brain." 

The first time I heard this, I was on LSD in high school. Hanging out at a friend's. When this came on, everything just kind of stopped. The entire album is fantastic, but it's one where there is such a hard line between the eponymous opener and everything that comes after it; one is dark and meditative, the other is uproarious and celebratory and sometimes just completely insane in that crazy, George Clinton way. But it works. Boy does it work.


As I mentioned above, last night I went to a 9:35 PM showing of Nick Cassavettes new film God Is A Bullet. I posted this a while back, but for the sake of the current conversation, here's the trailer and below I've basically pasted my Letterbxd review verbatim:


What I wrote last night directly after seeing the film:

I'm still unpacking how I feel about this one. First, some of the ugliest subject matter and subjects I've seen in a long time. Almost to the point of contrivance. This is a well-made film, and the performances are intense. However, I'm just not sure about the script. This is an adaptation of a novel by Boston Teran. There are quite a few things in the film I am fairly certain work better in the novel, but also, I (maybe mistakenly) get a "Bob Sagat" vibe from the film. What I mean by that is, if you've ever had the unfortunate experience of seeing Sagat's stand-up, he goes so over the top vulgar in an obvious effort to distance himself from being 'The full house guy,' it ruins any chance of him being anything but that person he tries so hard to unmake. In that same way, I feel like maybe the director's motive was to make the starkest, most horribly disgusting film he could just to blot out being known as 'the guy who directed 'the notebook.'

After sleeping on the film:

I'm not sure how much of my opinion has changed, but the way I'm processing this definitely has. Which is the mark of a good film. But it's not quite that simple...

In combing through this in my subconscious, I think I've discovered something about myself. That sheer ugliness on display in God is a Bullet, both content and characters, actually scares the living sh*t out of me. The subject matter is disgusting - the scariest, most disgusting idea at play in the world of humans. And the costuming and make-up likewise scare me. There's something about people with heavily tattooed faces that produces fear from an almost atavistic place in my brain. I remember having a conversation about this once as a bartender, and the person speaking with me about it summed it up as such:

"You see someone with ink on their face, I mean, like a lot of ink, like spiderwebs and shit, that person gives absolutely zero fucks, and probably has nothing in this life to lose. To tattoo your face like that, it sends a very clear message."

Obviously, I'm paraphrasing a bit here, but not by much. Also, I don't mean to say that anyone who has facial tattoos is a sicko, but the practice definitely sends that message, so at some point they were thinking they wanted the world to fear them on sight...

That element of contrivance I mentioned when thinking about it last night? Now I'm wondering if Cassavettes - in what I would call a pretty deft maneuver - wasn't trying to make a more 'Earthly' version of the Cenobites, because suddenly, there's something very Clive Barker about a lot of this film to me. It's long, though, and that gets lost in the experience. There's a grittiness here that, although Barker's stuff is grotesque and Horrific, has a fantasy underlining that softens the blow. God is a Bullet is real all the way through, so there's nothing fantastical to soften its blow.

Anyway, I've debunked a similar prejudice before with other Horror movies I slighted or ignored. Specifically, Catholic Devil Possession flicks. Reflecting on my snobbery toward a recent flick like Prey For the Devil was what catalyzed the epiphany. Prey looked 'dumb' to me in the way I remember thinking 2012's The Devil Inside looked dumb. But did they really look stupid, or is that a defense mechanism? I'm not religious, wasn't raised Catholic, and the textures of that stuff are as far away from my daily life/belief system as possible. Yet, William Friedkin's The Exorcist is the scariest film I know. I always say, after I watch that film, I believe in the devil for three days. So maybe that Catholic Possession stuff really gets under my skin, so I turn up my nose and walk by with an air of superiority - without watching what I'm criticizing - previously oblivious to the fact that what I'm really doing is cowering at the prospect of another flick that might terrify me the way Friedkin's does. Same too, then, for God is a Bullet, because elements of this film frighten me to my core, even if I still do have some issues with the film's overall execution. And for clarity, it's not the Satanic Cult that frightens me, but the trafficking side of their operations.

Overall? Three stars and a heart, even if the heart may flicker on and off like a bad fluorescent bulb in a dingy motel on the border.


Forhist - Eponymous
Fear Factory - Demanufacture
Blut Aus Nord - Hallucinogen
Holy Serpent - Endless
Ruby the Hatchet - Fear is a Cruel Master
Silent - Modern Hate
Uniform & The Body - Mental Wounds Not Healing
The Body - I Have Fought Against It, But I Can't Any Longer
Ghost - Infestissumam
Drug Chuch - Hygiene
Funkadelic - Maggot Brain


• Six of Swords: Science
• II: The High Priestess
• Queen of Cups

Harmonious thinking/interpretation comes from a co-mingling of influences opposite to my own today. In other words - and as usual, I take the insight here to be a direct commentary on my current writing project - I'm trying to write female characters and probably need to ask for a female's perspective on some things. That's something I would have done down the road anyway, however, I'm a little bit stuck and could probably do with an outside perspective. 

Monday, June 26, 2023

Fear Factory - God Eater


From the new album Re-Industrialized. My good friend and cohost on The Horror Vision Butcher mentioned the new Fear Factory was getting pretty favorable reviews. 

Honestly, I've never had a huge attachment to this band, however, two things about them stand out to me: back in 1993, Mr. Brown and I went to Chicago's Riviera Theatre to see Sepultura on the Chaos A.D. tour. Openers were Fudge Tunnel - who we were familiar with through their debut Hate Songs in E Minor - and two bands we'd never heard of, Clutch and Fear Factory. Fear Factory would have been touring for their first major label album, Soul of a New Machine. I remember seeing their name and laughing. We joked a lot that night in the lead-up to the show: "Ooh, Fear Factory. Is that where they make the fear?" 

After Fear Factory took the stage, we stopped making fun. 

These guys blew the fucking doors off the Riv. Demanufacture came out two years later, and at first listen, you could tell it was a seminal album. It sounded so unique, the industrial beats, the chanting vocals laid atop BCB's vitriolic snarl. The overly compressed and gated guitar sound (fresh at the time, but would quickly overstay its welcome once it became a standard across the genre and birthed the metal hybrid that distinguished itself with an umlaut. 

Butcher's fervor for the new record intrigued me. What would this sound like to someone with no real connection outside of one album, tenuous at best over time?

Listening again the other night at two-something in the morning, I remembered Demanufacture for what it is - a game changer in metal production, one that inspired some great new bands and a lot of shitty ones. The same can be said for Faith No More, Helmet, and probably a few other bands I love. I wouldn't say I love FF, but I dig them enough to give the new album a chance. \

First impression was good, but weird hearing a different voice - Milo Silvestro apparently replaced Burton C. Bell after 2021's Aggression Continuum. This is a milieu and the associated drama that never found my ears. But segueing into Re-Industrialized, some tracks definitely caught my fancy. Two days later, the same tracks persist, but more of the album has opened up to me as well. The one above, but also of note is a really kick-ass track that shares a name with William Gibson's Difference Engine novel and the atmospheric dithering of "Human Augmentation," my favorite track so far simply because it's less a song and more the sonic habitation of a melting Cyber Punk city somewhere in the distant future, or forgotten past.


Since we had a stamped concrete patio put in as an extension of our back porch, it's become difficult for me to want to do anything with my nights other than sit outside with K and the cats and just enjoy the summer. Last night we were treated to a lightning storm that was out of this world. Saturday, we just sat outside, listened to music and soaked up the night. That went late, and when we finally came in, I was pretty tired. I fired up Shudder on habit, always curious as to what's playing on Shudder TV, and when I saw Cold Hell was only two minutes and some change in, I cracked another Sierra Nevada Summer Fest and settled in for what has become my second favorite Neo Giallo after Knife + Heart. I know I've talked about Cold Hell here before, like I know I've posted the trailer, but here we go again:


Directed by Stefan Ruzowitzky, with fantastic performances by everyone involved, Cold Hell is a relentless game of Cat-and-Mouse that always keeps my pulse jacked and my brain totally engaged, even though I've seen it enough in the last five years to know it by heart. Violetta Schurawlow's Özge is the most badass female protagonist I know, easily sailing over Sharni Vinson's Erin from You're Next - who is by no means not awesome, she just doesn't have the kickboxing prowess and surging fury that Schurawlow brings to the table while she fights for her life against a killer she accidentally witnessed murder her neighbor. The "Car Scene" in this flick is a straight redline of adrenaline, and it fires me up every time.


Forhist - Eponymous
Fear Factory - Demanufacture
Witchskull - The Serpent Tide
Perturbator - The Uncanny Valley
Ministry - The Land of Rape and Honey
Baroness - Last Word (pre-release single)
QOTSA - In Times New Roman
Fear Factory - Re-Industrialized
Jenny Lewis & the Watson Twins - Rabbit Fur Coat
Led Zeppelin - In Through the Out Door
Ween - The Mollusk
Drug Church - Hygiene
The Watson Twins - Holler
Alice in Chains - Sap EP
Tom Waits - Raindogs
Angelo Badalamenti - Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me OST
Soul Coughing - Ruby Vroom


• VI - The Lovers
• Prince of Wands - Here, I'm reading this very pointedly as applying Intellect to the Creative Process
• Princess of Wands - Likewise, applying Earthly Understanding to the Creative Process

Normally I might be tempted to read that Princess in a very different way, however, I spent a large chunk of my writing time yesterday working up a timeline and a family history for some of the major characters in the new novel - which I missed completing the first draft by last Tuesday, however, which I entered the final "act" on yesterday. Add in The Lovers, and we get this in the Grimoire:

"Finally - Man!!! As Amoeba he splits his opposite and humanity is born!"

I'm assuming I culled that from either Crowley or Moore, but I compiled the bulk of this tome a long time ago, so I'm not really sure. I know some came from contemplation of the cards, the above-mentioned sources - as well as others - and more than a few Mugwort or Mushroom experiences, so who knows?
The point, of course, is that while that sentence is not the only thing on the page for Trump VI, it is what spoke to me in this moment, because through all of the Intellect and Earthly application to Will, I feel as though I have further honed and developed the characters - who happen to be familial and are, in fact, quite purposely opposites of one another.

Friday, June 23, 2023

New Music from Baroness!!!


The first single from Baroness's upcoming album Stone, out September 15th. Pre-order HERE. Love this track - listen to Gina SHRED - you can hear the Randy Rhoads influence for sure!


I interviewed writer/artist/filmmaker Pat O'Malley yesterday about his comic Popscars, his short films, future projects and our shared love of cinema. Going into it, I hadn't realized Pat made short films, so I checked out his youtube channel HERE. I dug everything on there, but Pool Shark was, by far, my favorite. Check it out:

I was kinda blown away by the camera work on this. The first few times we see the Shark, they filmed it in a way that, at first, I thought it must be stock footage of a real shark. Talk about movie magic. My discussion with Pat should go up this weekend; Popscars issue #4 comes out this coming Wednesday, and if you're lucky, there might be copies of 1-3 still lurking on your shop's shelves. Published by the new Sumerian Comics - a rebranding of the company formerly known as Behemoth - this one is wide and, only the first chapter in a bigger story.


I was so blown away by Laird Barron's The Wind Began to Howl that I'm still unpacking/reveling in it. Because of that, I've found it difficult to start my planned reread of Stephen Graham Jones's My Heart is a Chainsaw. This will be a quick brush-up before diving into the recently published sequel Don't Fear the Reaper. Meanwhile, over on his Twitter, SGJ revealed the cover to the third and final installment in the trilogy, The Angel of Indian Lake. 

Jones also linked the website, who broke the cover image and have an excerpt from the novel up. Obviously, I'm not reading that until I get current, but it's cool that this is out there in the world. Talk about inspiration! You can read the excerpt at the Crimereads link above. 


Witchskull - The Serpent Tide
Blut Aus Nord - What Once Was... Liber III EP
Spelljammer - Abyssal Trip
Jeff Buckley - Grace
Rina Mushonga - In a Galaxy
Godflesh - Purge
Mars Red Sky - Eponymous
Baroness - Last Word (pre-release single)
Bria - Cuntry Covers Vol. 1
Jawbox - For Your Own Special Sweetheart
Forhist - Eponynous
Blut Aus Nord - Memoria Vetusta II: Dialogue with the Stars
Chamber of Secrets, Clement Panchout & Mxxn - Murder House (Puppet Combo OST)
Pegboy - Strong Reaction
King Gizzard & the Lizard Wizard - PetroDragonic Apocalypse


Two days of Pulls to put up here, as I was too busy with work yesterday to do a post:

• Nine of Swords again? My dreams have actually been fairly unremarkable or unrememberable the last few days.
• Ten of Disks - Wealth - The highest manifestation of the Earthly realms, which juxtaposed with Nine of Swords may explain why my dreams dried up all of a sudden. Earthly, material issues/items dampen the inner realms
• Prince of Wands - Airy aspect of Fire, or the intellectual thrust applied to conflict. In other words, Strategy.

Okay, so let's use today's Pull to try and make sense of that:


• Prince of Wands, sir, you have my attention. Something is amiss in my head, and I may find the answer if I can figure out (the aforementioned Strategy) how to 'unblock' my dream channel.
• Nine of Disks - Gain - Let's look past other interpretations of this card and go straight to its correlations to the Sephiroth. 
Yesod - Imagination and reflection, the first stop when one leaves the bottom, earthly manifestation of the tenth plane (Sephiroth) and into the higher planes. 
• VII: The Chariot - Control and Balance, but also the origin of ideas.

My overall read here is there's an idea locked inside me that I will need to access to finish something (my current project?), and I'm going to have to figure out how to get it. That probably doesn't mean I have to figure out how to get it out of my head, but how to recognize it when I 'see' it.


The irony is it's taking time away from writing to do these recent posts, so I'll probably reconfigure the duration portion to once a week. It'll show a better snapshot to. I'm definitely doing better, though, and the transparency posting here helps immensely. 

Wednesday, June 21, 2023

Rina Mushonga - Narcisc0

I'd never heard Rina Mushonga's music before two nights ago when I watched Carter Smith's new film Swallowed. More on that in a minute, first I want to open today with the track used in that film. Taken from the 2019 album In a Galaxy, this entire record is fantastic. My elevator pitch would be Tracy Chapman meets Tune-Yards, but that's just meant to whet the appetite; comparisons really do Rina's music no justice, as it is extremely unique and wonderful.


Another light NCBD this week, which is fine since Night Fever dropped last week and that was a $25 cost I hadn't figured into my initial budget. Light maybe, be it's quality that counts, right? Yeah, and it's a good week:

Saga #65. Lying Cat on his back begging for belly rubs! Looks great, until you remember this is Saga and that means there's probably more horrible stuff for the people I love who live this book. 

The first issue of the newest series in Jeff Lemire and Andrea Sorrentino's Bone Orchard Mythos, I'm pretty psyched for this one. I loved Ten Thousand Black Feathers but felt it ended just as it began to build into something revelatory. I guess that was intentional, as Lemire has said Tenement is the book where all the disparate pieces begin to connect. There are only three issues solicited so far that I see, but whether it's three or thirty, I'm on board. 


I'd had Carter Smith's new film Swallowed on my viewing list since hearing him interviewed on the Colours of the Dark podcast a few months back. MAN did this blow my expectations away, which, incidentally, were fairly high. 

Not for everyone, but if you're willing to take the ride promised by the trailer, this is a super solid flick, with great performances from everyone involved. Like, really great performances. Also, great to see Mark Patton kicking ass and taking names in a flick. Very cool. 


Godflesh - Purge
Fen - Dustwalker
Sinoa Caves - Beyond the Black Rainbow OST
Carpenter Brut - Blood Machines OST
Rina Mushonga - In a Galaxy
Tune-Yards - WHOKILL
Pastor T.L. Barret and the Youth for Christ Choir - Like a Ship Without a Sail
Isaac Hayes - Truck Turner OST
Ghost - Impera     


• Eight of Swords - Interruption
• XV The Devil
• XI Lust

This one's all about distraction. I've found that writing for long stints over successive days equals an eroding lack of attention that actually manifests physically as an almost obsessive/compulsive awareness. This "distraction radar" widens my attention to include anything and everything, which in turn gets me out of my chair and away from my work for things that a moment later, either seem unimportant or I forget completely. This is all compounded by a generally erratic nature when in this state, which is the very definition of counterproductive.

All this just means I'm on the correct path.

I haven't had this in a long time, and it means I'm expanding my writing stamina. At my peak performance, I remember sitting down and writing a script for someone in a little over a day. That happened two times, I think, and in doing it, I remember the process that helped me build the 'muscles' to get there. It wasn't easy, because it was a lot of fighting the exact behavior I mentioned above. Which is actually a lot like Yoga, Meditation, or any aspect of Magick in general.

Years ago, when I went through a period of reading works by Aleister Crowley's works on Magick, I began trying Raja Yoga. I believe Crowley talks about this in The Book of Lies, (or it might be Aha! - been a minute). Crowley introduces the idea of Raja Yoga, then talks about how to start practicing Yoga, one must first learn to sit completely still for long periods of time. The idea is, Stillness is a first strike at the crazed torrent of Horror the modern body feels at being asked to sit still. 

Think about that for a minute.

No matter how old you are, or how educated, or successful, if you have no practice in keeping still, your body will act like a child and find a way to make you move. A tiny itch on your nose, a cramp; in more extreme cases, you'll hear things like a knock on the wall, or the snap of a twig. These aren't necessarily auditory hallucinations - although sometimes they might be. This is what happens to our brains in Stillness: we begin to hone in on our surroundings and seek beyond the filters that usually buffer our consciousness, so we can concentrate on the 'important' stuff. Once we can successfully apply the Will to keep Still for a considerable amount of time, we can then focus on controlling our Body in other ways, ie Raja Yoga. To paraphrase the most important morsel Crowley offers on this, "How can you hope to affect change on the Universe with your Will if you can't use it to keep still for five minutes?"

The joke at the time I implemented this was, I had no experience with any Yoga, so beginning with a considerably more severe form like Raja was doomed to fail. That said, man - I could almost perform and hold the Thunderbolt. That shit ain't easy.

All this Theory/Practice I'm talking about above is what led to me being able to sit at a desk for an entire day and write a script from scratch. One of my favorite writing memories, even if that project went nowhere. This is a great example of why I'm reformatting this section of the page to dip back into these ideas. If I am to look at my Practice as having built the life I have, then it makes sense that some of the systems I've put in place would need a tune-up now and again. Although I have maintained a ritualized practice of writing every day for close to a decade now, the duration of the sessions has dwindled. Time to rebuild this engine. In that, I've also added a Duration section to end the page with. This section (below) will be my personal journal of how long I wrote the day before. No hiding my failures now.


I have long used an app called ATracker PRO to 'punch in and punch out' for writing sessions. I get sloppy about using it sometimes, and when I'm as distracted as I was yesterday, I have to turn it off and on as I flit away and back again. In that, I have to get better. I want truthful accounts of solid writing time. I have never used the export function, so I'll probably tweak this as I go. Looks like dedicated time yesterday was roughly two hours and twenty-four minutes.
2:24 Hours

I use another app called Focus Keeper concurrently with ATracker for sessions within the overall session. This allows me five-minute breaks - which I often skip if things are rolling - after 25 minutes of dedicated writing. 

Tuesday, June 20, 2023

Howling for Babel

I'll get to why I'm leading with this today in a minute. First, let me just give praise to schlampeOFdeath for not only posting the club mix of this track by the band Babel but also for having a bunch of great videos on his channel. Subscribe like I did HERE.


Or perhaps more appropriately, WTF did I just Watch because two nights ago, I woke up in the middle of the night and couldn't get back to sleep, so I fired up Shudder and thought, "You know, I've still never seen any of the The Howling sequels. Why not watch the one they added recently, Howling II. This is how I came to find Howling II apparently has two subtitles: Your Sister is a Werewolf and/or Stirba - Werewolf Bitch.

My god is this movie nuts. First, and I'm sorry, but I'm just not a Christopher Lee fan after, let's say, 1960. All goodwill was dashed when I watched Hammer's Scars of Dracula a few years ago. You can throw as many of his roles at me as you want in an attempt to evoke the proper respect - I'm not saying he does a bad job, I'm just saying he does nothing for me. Well, nothing except let me know I will probably not like the movie I'm about to watch if he is in it. 

Howling II puts Lee front and center first thing, having him read biblical hokum against a cosmic backdrop. It's a ridiculous scene that segues into a ridiculous flick. Even the werewolves are weak, as apparently, when production began, the filmmakers realized they had been sent the wrong costumes and were then told to make do. Thus, all the close-up shots of Werewolf teeth instead of actual werewolves, and why any long shots of full werewolves either stick to Bark at the Moon style fur coverings or look like monkey suits. Because they actually were monkey suits.

To quote the Dreadnoks, "Har!"

Don't even get me started about the Wolf orgy.

There's a moment directly after that opening scene where the music plays over an ancient stone statue, and for a moment, it seems like this could have gone the other way; the thing I love most about the original Howling is how it feels more like a Cronenberg Body Horror flick than it does a paint by numbers Horror film (nothing against those). The entire opening of that film defies what you think it's going to be, then uses those broken expectations in the second and third acts to do something really unique. Here, something about the shot of that statue juxtaposed with the New Wave club that follows it made me think I was in for a treat, but alas, this movie is just nuts, not good. Still, there's definitely a place for that, and I happened to line it up perfectly with my mood on this particular occasion, so everybody wins.

Well, except Stirba. What a bitch.


Naked Raygun - Over the Overlords
Godflesh - Purge
Genghis Tron - Board Up the House
Genghis Tron - Dream Weapon
Jóhann Jóhannsson - Mandy OST
High on Fire - De Vermis Mysteriis
Mad Love - White With Foam
Ghost - Impera


Nine of Swords: Cruelty - So as a Nine we read accomplishment or completion, as Swords Pure Intellect. How does that relate? One sec...
• VII The Chariot - Origin of Ideas - A deep well. Also, a possibly pertinent read is "Thinking things through."
• Six of Cups - Pleasure - As a Six we read for Tiphareth, the Yellow House, a place of Balance & Hope, especially when applied to Cups, the Emotional Suit.

In a quick take - Pure means uncut. To experience Pure intellect can mean getting stuck in your own head - it's not 'cut' with reality. The Chariot is there to guide, to remind me to think things through, literally applying the circumstances of the world to your thoughts, so as not to get trapped in them. That will lead to balance.

Now, a considerably longer take:

There's a note in my Grimoire for the Nine of Swords that mentions "Bad Dreams," and since I've been thinking/writing about and having lots of dreams of late, that must play in somewhere. I'm particularly interested in this dream I had at some point last week (I think). Flying solo (K returns today, thankfully) I've been sleeping upstairs in my office/nerd dungeon. The couch folds out and I can lay with my head on a pillow about three feet from a tv, so my nightly viewing has shifted to up there, as has my sleeping. In this way, I fall asleep to a flick every night. One day last week, I fell asleep watching Gary Sherman's Dead and Buried. Something about this flick infiltrated my brain and I dreamt we were in a dark, sparsely populated seaside town. Spent a lot of time in some bar there - I can still see the fucking thing when I think about it now; I mean, it is vivid in my mind. As are some of the denizens, snippets of conversations, a steer-the-claw prize machine. It's a mashup of the textures I remember from restaurants in my early childhood (late 70s/early 80s) and the movie, and I want to inhabit it. I've tried falling asleep to D&B again in an attempt to re-trigger the dream, but of course, no dice. There's obviously a mania to how I'm currently revering this dream, and I think that has something to do with Nine of Swords showing up in today's Pull, although I'm not entirely certain what this all means. 

Sunday, June 18, 2023

Cobwebs & Night Fever

Despite loving this song, I had never seen this video before yesterday, when I stumbled on it randomly. There is something so ethereal, so perfect about Greta Link's voice when paired with James Kent's music; she literally puts me in the world he's created just by having such a human, sensual voice. 


I watched the first 28 seconds of this trailer and knew I wouldn't be watching even a second more. Sold! Can't wait to see this, hopefully in the theatre:

If this really does go wide, we're in a pretty damn great for Horror fans in 2023. Flicks like Terrifier 2, Skinamarink and The Outwaters may not be everyone's jam, but they've helped carve a space for low-budget Horror flicks in big box theatres. What's more, The Boogeyman, Evil Dead Rise, Malum and Renfield have helped remind everyone that Horror makes money. As long as I'm within reasonable driving distance of a theatre playing it, I'll be supporting Cobweb in a theatrical setting. 


As an admittedly rather late NCBD Addendum, I went into Rick's Comic City over the weekend to pick up my copy of the new Brubaker and Phillips Hard Cover Graphic Novel, Night Fever, which came in a bit late on Wednesday, and while I had 100% forgotten about:

The first non-Reckless book this team has done in two years, I have to say, I think this is my favorite story I've read by them. That might just be post-first read embellishment because - Night Fever is a fantastic read - however, the way Brubaker and the Phillips Boys portray and use the dark streets of Paris, 1978 - a location I know nothing about - really captured me. The story is just strange enough to feel a bit "Weird," while still being recognizably this team's own signature style. No one does this the way they do, and I have grown to love it very much. I can't wait for the next Reckless, however, anytime they want to take time off to release something new, I'll be happy with that, too.


Almost everything I listened to on this list was on vinyl; that's normally hard for me to do. Trapping myself in the house to write has its advantages, for sure.

Turquoise Moon - The Sunset City
Windhand - Grief's Infernal Flower
Final Light - Eponymous
Witchfinder - Forgotten Mansion
Yeruselem - The Sublime
Blut Aus Nord - Disharmonium I: Undreamable Abysses
The Obsessed - Lunar Womb
Godflesh - Purge
Jenny Lewis and the Watson Twins - Rabbit Fur Coat
Jenny Lewis - Acid Tongue
Steve Moore - Christmas, Bloody Christmas OST
Perturbator - The Uncanny Valley
Tangerine Dream - Sorcerer OST
Richard Einhorn - Shockwaves OST
Blut Aus Nord - Memoria Vitusta I: Fathers of the Icy Age
Emma Ruth Rundle & Thou - May Out Chambers Be Full
Joseph Bishara - Malignant OST


Changing the section heading because I'm going to start chronicling different aspects of my Practice, which is nowhere as robust as it used to be, but has been creeping back in around the edges of late. Part of that will be dream journaling because I found writing about the 'blood dream' the other night helped considerably.

All Major Arcana, eh? Universal forces at work:

• 0: The Fool - picking up from his appearance two days ago, this is something beginning...
• XII: The Hanged Man - typically I see this as a very broad-stroke signifier of "Sacrifice," however, it's good to remember that this shows the Pentacle the way I wear mine - one Point over four. From the grimoire: "Dreams are brought Low by Modern Rationality." I no longer remember where I cribbed that from, but I find it interesting that it pops up here after I just mentioned dreams.
• VII: The Chariot - Gathering strength before moving to the next step.
My read on this is jumbled and not all that easy to put into a paragraph or two. I think it has a lot to say about what I consider my "Practice" now, which is my life. When I got into The Occult, it was after being wooed by big, bombastic workings by Grant Morrison, tales of Jack Parson's in the desert, and of course, Aleister "I'll fuck anything that moves" Crowley. Back then, my Practice was more hands-on, occurring in self-made liminal spaces. As the fervor for drawing sigils and reading every text available cooled, as I stopped semi-regular iterations of the Lesser Ritual of the Pentagram and the like, I can look at the last ten or so years as my Practice waning, or, perhaps what this Pull reminds me, I can look at it as I simply massaged Magick into my daily life in a way that has seen me succeed in almost everything I've tried, in some way or another. Not always the success I want, but success is tiered in the overly complicated modern world. Certainly getting out of L.A. when I did has shown itself a success, and it's with that mindset that I must carry forth into the next "journey," whatever that may be.

Saturday, June 17, 2023

The Big Guns


Seeing that I've been listening to Jenny Lewis and the Watson Twins' Rabbit Fur Coat again lately, I figured I'd post my favorite track from the album (maybe from Lewis' career, although that's a tough pull from a looong list). Little did I know I would search for it on youtube and find them performing the song on Lettermen! Combining two of my favorite things, and proving Dave has immaculate taste in music.


K is traveling to see a friend this weekend, so it's me and the cats for a few days. I'm planning on using the time wisely: I've set a deadline of this coming Tuesday for the first draft of the novel I'm writing, so primarily focused on that after I punched out yesterday. When I retired for the evening, I popped open a Three Floyds Zombie Dust (thanks, Alex!) and fired up a flick I hadn't seen in... well, I think I saw Clive Barker's Lord of Illusions back in the day, but now I'm not so sure. Anyway, WOW! Here's the Red Band Theatrical Trailer from the year it released, 1995 (I didn't even remember there was such a thing as Red Band trailers back then):


So Hellraiser came out in '87, Nightbreed in '90 and Lord of Illusions in 1995. Then, as the story famously goes (and Barker has no problem talking about), the fickle, backstabbing nature of the studio system filled him with despair and he tapped out. 

What a goddamn shame! I mean, this isn't an observation probably millions of Horror fans haven't said previously, but those are three damn good films!

I've known Hellraiser since I was young. Nightbreed is one I didn't connect with when I saw it in High School, but then kind of rediscovered about ten or so years ago, thanks to friends who couldn't believe I didn't hold it in particularly high regard. But Illisions, as I stated above, if I saw it back in the day, I discarded it in the same way I discarded Lawnmower Man, a flick I was briefly obsessed with around the time it came out on video, and which I haven't seen since (and think it's probably better if I don't revisit that one).

Anyway, I think the casting of Scott Bakula threw my memory off. Nothing against the man; I was never a Quantum Leap fan (although the one episode I remember watching, where the devil shows up in the guise of Dean Stockwell's character was pretty cool, I have to say), but beyond that, there are plenty of instances of big-ticket Horror flicks in the early 90s casting TV actors to the film's detriment. 

1990's It I'm looking at you. 

In Illusions, though, Bakula does a really good job as recurring Barker character Harry D'Amour. His chops are plenty, and his presence doesn't feel like television casting. Plus, the entire film has such strong visual and narrative crossover with Nightbreed that the two films feel as though they could have been made back to back. 

Barker's imagination is so lush and unique; there are no other Horror movies like the three he wrote for screen and directed. Also, the way he incorporates the Occult always endears his work to me, film or prose. In Illusions, I was particularly excited by his use of Tarot; the scene that is set up by Harry turning over the Ten of Swords and how that pays off later at Swann's illusion just blew my mind. It's simple, but you just don't see the Occult used that way in Horror Movies that often. 

In thinking about that Ten of Swords scene before writing this page, I stumbled on this very cool video on the Rue Morgue Youtube Channel:

She goes way into it, with the full spread, which I hadn't even considered. This is exactly what I'm talking about - the lengths Barker uses the Occult for narrative purposes are beyond anyone else I can think of save, Kenneth Anger, who doesn't really have the same idea of 'narrative' as Barker.  

Lord of Illusions - happy to have found you. I believe this is the start of a long-lasting relationship. Now I'm tempted to rewatch Nightbreed again, however, I just realized I need to cancel my Showtime sub soon, and Cronenberg's Existenz is on there and it's been quite some time for that one, too. 


QOTSA - In Times New Roman
King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard - PetroDragonic Apocalypse
Realize - Machine Violence 
The Obsessed - Lunar Womb
 Secret Chiefs 3 & Traditionalists - Le mani destre recise degli ultimi uomini
Turquoise Moon - The Sunset City


• Ace of Wands - Achievement of Earthly designs 
• Princess of Swords - A chaotic battle
• IX: The Hermit - Focus; isolation; determination

Not difficult to read at all. If I want to finish my first draft by Tuesday, I have to battle my distraction (chaos) and isolate myself. In keeping with that, I think I'll stop there, post this, and get to work!!!

Friday, June 16, 2023

Positive Bleeding: RIP Blackie Onassis

Deeply moved to hear that Blackie Onassis from Chicago's Urge Overkill passed away yesterday at the age of 57.

Ten years older than me. Damn. 

This is THE Chicago band to me, as far as those who flirted with the big time. The Jesus Lizard will always occupy the throne, but while everyone screamed their way through Smashing Pumpkins songs in the mid-to-late 90s (I did until Melancholie) Urge represented the best Chicago's indie rock scene had to offer the mainstream. They didn't compromise, and they were honest-to-goodness Rock n' Roll, two capital R's and an apostrophe. Blackie, thank you for your service.


It's 11:13 on Thursday, June 15. I just finished a nearly two-hour recording session with The Horror Vision for Elements of Horror: Cruising. Prior to doing the episode, I found this on youtube:

There are SO many reasons I love this film and I love William Friedkin as a filmmaker. A LOT of those reasons are discussed herein, but pay special attention to Friedkin's discussion of the impetus for making the film. Also to Randy Jurgensen, the undercover cop who lived a large part of what we see on screen. As usual with Friedkin, I'm stunned not only by his art, but all of the thinking that went into and around its creation.


Just a quick observation on this week's X-Men: Red #12. Man, when did this book start to resemble Rick Remender and Jerome Opena's fantasy epic Seven to Eternity? In retrospect, even the cover looks a bit like it could be a Seven for Eternity cover:

There's A LOT I'm missing here due to the fact that I've still not read a large swathe of Hickman's run after House/Powers, primarily X of Swords. I have so little background on the Arrako characters, The White Sword, Genesis and Orrako, etc. Going to have to remedy that eventually, but in the meantime, the landscape of this really reminds me of Seven to Eternity, and I wonder if Ewing is a fan of that series.

Pondering this, I stumbled on the following interview Marvel's Ryan Penagos did recently with Hickman and Grant Morrison, discussing how the two men changed so much of the status quo so successfully.


Good stuff; I haven't seen an interview with Morrison in a while, good to hear his voice. 


The Native Howl - Thrash Grass EP       
Mudvayne - Choices (single)
King Gizzard & the Lizard Wizard - Gila Monster/Dragon (pre-release singles)
The Bobby Lees - Bellevue
The Sword - Warp Riders
Spotlights - Seance EP
Locrian - Return to Annihilation
Zombi - Shape Shift     
Urge Overkill - Saturation


Keeping on with the Crowly/Harris Thoth for today's Pull:

• 4 of Swords: Truce seems a direct connection to yesterday's 7 of Swords. The Pause becomes a truce. 
• III The Empress - this card has come up a lot in conversation lately. In this instance, quoting from the Grimoire, "can point to dissipation when paired with unfortunate cards; Swords, Princes."
• 5 of Swords - The Truce will dissolve and lead to a new conflict, issue, or the like.

Not terribly encouraging, but also, isn't that life? One thing directly precedes the next. I pulled a final, clarifying card and found exactly that:

No matter what life throws at you, one journey ends, another begins.

Thursday, June 15, 2023

Suitable Psychos Howling in the Wind


Mr. Brown clued me into the fact that Jenny Lewis dropped a new record last week. Totally not on my radar at the moment. I've given Joy'All a few spins - if you dig Jenny Lewis in general, this is for you. I have to say, I'm not taking to this one as easily as I have with her older stuff. Last night I revisited her 2006 collaboration with the Watson Twins (who also, it turns out, have a new album dropping next week!) Rabbit Fur Coat and it reminded me just how much I love Lewis's work. Her voice, lyrics, and arranging.  All that's there on the new album, however, those qualities feel somehow muted. It may just need more listens, which I will surely give it over the upcoming summer evenings. That said, starting with 2014's Voyager - which I adore - I feel like Lewis found a 'sound' and has not veered too far outside it. That's cool. But I miss the days when she mixed things up a bit more. Either way, new Jenny Lewis is still an event to be happy about. You can order the record HERE.


Fangoria posted a teaser for Joe Lynch's new film Suitable Flesh; I've been chomping at the bit for this one, so despite my recent tendency to avoid trailers, I watched this. 
It's perfect - gives nothing away, floods us with fantastically menacing images, and then disappears. Not unlike a Lovecraft entity, really. That's it for me, though; I won't be watching any subsequent trailers. No word on exact release dates yet, but if this goes wide, I'll be there day one.


I received and blew through Laird Barron's new Isaiah Coleridge novel, The Wind Began to Howl. Outstanding, as always. I'm amazed at Barron's ability to crank out insanely readable iterations of this character that are primarily stand-alone, modern detective stories, but also have begun to develop not only a big picture but a bridge into the Barron mythos we know from his short story collections and previous novel/novellas.  In my memory at least, back at the outset of Book One: Blood Standard, there was little to no direct sign of his strange, dark 'Outer'. It's here in spades now, although introduced and perpetuated in a way that doesn't fully immerse Coleridge in that world. Yet.

The Wind Began to Howl is published by Bad Hand Books and is available wherever books are sold!


Type O Negative - Life Is Killing Me
Colter Wall - Imaginary Appalachia
Bria - Cuntry Covers Volumes 1 &2
Blut Aus Nord - What Once Was... Liber II EP
Blut Aus Nord - Disharmonium - Undreamable Abysses
Blut Aus Nord - The Endless Multitude (pre-release single)
Godflesh - Purge
Jenny Lewis and the Watson Twins - Rabbit Fur Coat
Roy Orbison - Mystery Girl


I'm feeling a pull back to the Thoth Deck in a way I haven't in quite some time. It's good to be back; I love this deck. First one I owned and really, the only one for nearly twenty years. Missi's homemade Raven Deck and Grimm's Bound are the only other Tarot I own. There are thousands of gorgeous or intriguing decks out there, but I collect enough stuff.


• 7 of Swords: Futility - a conflict reaches a natural pause.
• Knight of Swords - Probably from exhaustion at fighting
• 9 of Cups - an understanding, peace or elation is achieved. 

There are a couple open loops in my life at the moment; none directly affect me, but all affect folks I'm close to. Not entirely sure what this Pull is referencing. 

I dabbled in the first act of Blood Magick I've tried in a long time last night. This was to help a friend, and I should say upfront, I use my own blood; I don't hurt other living things. I don't know that this Pull is referencing that. Full disclosure: I never 'ask the cards a question' before I draw. I just draw and read and usually, the result makes its subject known instantly. But this... I'm not sure how to read yet.

Interesting note: Blood begets blood. I had dark, bloody A.F. dreams all night. Two relatively close friends - no one I have ever mentioned in these pages - died of a knife puncture to the throat. This happened in the old practice spot my bands had in the 90s, the studio apartment above my parents' detached garage. The scenario began with one friend, and the dream jumbles events so I'm not sure if it was a suicide or somehow I was the killer. After the agonizing event of the death, we (no idea who the 'we' were, but it was definitely more than just me) placed the body in the bathtub with ice, then fretted over contacting the person's spouse. This was the worst part of the dream, because it seemed even dream me was unsure if I was responsible for the death. Then, in true dream logic, the body became that of someone else entirely.

This did nothing to abate the horror.

The dream flit in and out of several iterations of waking, so that by the time I awoke this morning, I was unsure if the chronology of torment it imposed on my psyche was from last night, or if the dream has been recurring for several nights and I just haven't remembered it until now. As of typing this, I feel relatively certain this only occurred last night. 

Disturbing, yes. However, like bad drug experiences, I dig nightmares. I'm always able to crack a piece of my consciousness off and have it observe from a third-party perspective, even while the rest of me shrieks in horror. 

Wednesday, June 14, 2023

New Music from Blut Aus Nord!!!


Holy F*&k! New Blut Aus Nord and it's a doozy! Was it even a year ago that Disharmonium - Undreamable Abysses came out and blew my mind? How can every record these guys do be so unbelievably different? Listening to this, I feel like Laird Barron's Isaiah Coleridge, finding a secret and otherworldly recording while digging around online for one of his spooky AF cases. Disharmonium - Nahab drops on August 21 via Debemur Morti; you can pre-order it HERE for the EU and HERE for the US.


This past Sunday, with my friend Alex visiting from LaLaLand, K, he and I held a mini Friedkin Fest - we watched William Friedkin's 1977 unsung masterpiece Sorcerer and his equally fantastic and insanely transgressive 1980 giallo Cruising


I've seen this one several times in the ~ three years since I purchased Sorcerer on Blu-Ray and watched it for the first time. Every time I see this one, it gets better. Case in point - I'd had some ups and downs with the first half of the film on previous viewings, mainly because most of those viewings occurred at night. This time I sat riveted from start to finish and came away thinking the first half is, narratively speaking, as good as the second half. That was a nice feeling, both halves finally making a whole.


Cruising is one I just watched for the first time a few weeks ago, and from the moment that viewing ended, I've been chomping at the bit for a rewatch. The twisting and turning narrative, as unreliable as if Bret Easton Ellis penned the screenplay, just blows me away, and despite the fact that this time I took copious notes, I still don't have a solid answer as to who did what. A mystery that, after it's 'solved,' begets another, darker mystery. In other words, the best kind!


Here are my picks, and I'm excited for all three of them:

Nightmare Country: Glass House has been up and down as a month-by-month reading experience, but I retain faith it will all come together as an eventual whole. 

First post-Armegeddon Game Turtles issue, a very good thing. I didn't read that event, however, from what I glimpsed in the pages of the regular series, I'm curious to see what the new landscape will be. This book often cools a bit for me, then immediately springs back to the top of my pile. We're about due for that. LOVE this cover, but it's a variant, so hopefully I'll manage to snag one.

Despite loathing last week's X-Men: First Strike or whatever the hell it was called (great cover though), my fervor for X-Men: Red, Immortal X-Men, and the monthly X-Men team book remain as high as ever. 


Godflesh - Purge
Savages - Silence Yourself
Slowspin - Talisman
Deftones - Koi No Yokan
Deftones - Gore
Deftones - White Pony
The Flamingos - Playlist: Best of the Flamingos
Chamber of Screams, Clement Panchout & Mxxn - Murder House (Puppet Combo OST)
Blut Aus Nord - What Once Was
Blut Aus Nord - The Endless Multitude (pre-release single)


Pulling from Aleister Crowley and Lady Freida Harris' Thoth Deck today:

• Battles over money/earthly concerns - the struggle is within
• XVII The Star - opening up to new influences/ideas/concerns
• 10 fo Cups - The emotional cup runneth over

All this is just to say, "stop spending so much damn money and start saving again!"

Monday, June 12, 2023

Godflesh - Army of Non


The mighty Godflesh has returned at last! I have a friend visiting from LalLaLand and as such, completely forgot that the new album Purge was released this week. Friday night as we left one of the three breweries we take all our visitors to, this popped up in my Apple feed and, after waiting for the conversation at hand to run its course while sitting in the parking lot, I warned everyone they were about to experience the new record at a rather loud volume while driving home. Wonderful; that's the only word here. We made it through about half, and with further conversating and what not once home, I refrained from playing the rest until I could do a nice, immersive listen on headphones, so that will be later today, and the vinyl I pre-ordered months ago doesn't ship until early July, so until all that happens, "Army of Non" is my current favorite track on the record.


Holy F*&K! Ted Geoghegan's new film Brooklyn 45 is fantastic! This one defied all my expectations

I don't want to say too much about this one; it's not as though there's a twist or anything, however, Brooklyn 45 really impressed me with the ambitious, and frankly unexpected dramatics that make up the meat of the film. Sure, there's a lot of Horror Fun to be had, but this one is more akin to Guillermo del Toro's film Pan's Labyrinth than it is Evil Dead (although there are moments...). This one dropped on Shudder last week and is WELL worth Your time, especially if you liked Geoghegan's 2015 film We Are Still Here as much as I did. Companion pieces in a way.


Colton Wall - Imaginary Appalachia
David Bowie - The Next Day
Ganser - Odd Talk
Iggy Pop - The Idiot
Blackbraid - Blackbraid I
Stormkeep - Tales of Othertime
Calderum - Mystical Fortress of Iberian Lands
CCR - Eponymous
Godflesh - Purge
Angelo Badalamenti - Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me OST
Pastor T.L. Barrett & the Youth for Christ Choir - Like a Ship (Without a Sail)
The Flamingos - The Best of the Flamingos
Jenny Lewis - Joy'All


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

• Four of Pentacles - completion of a job: I have set a goal for the first draft of the novel I'm currently writing, and it is next Tuesday.
• Ace of Swords - Breakthrough: Not sure if this is confirming success or a nod that setting this goal was the 'breakthrough.'
• Five of Wands - Marshall the forces of Will, 'cuz it's going to be a struggle. A worthy struggle, though.