Thursday, November 30, 2023

RIP Shane MacGowan

A CRUSHING blow for this reality. Thus begins my Seven Days of Shane!


Eating the Flesh of Robots

One of the records Mr. Brown lent me in our recent record swap is The Flesh Eaters 2018 album I Used to Be Pretty. Holy cow, is this a burner of a record! If you dig the track above - my favorite at the moment - check out the entire record.  


I've been in a bit of a rut with watching anything other than Happy! the last few days, and when I finished season one, I found I wanted something more. One of the things I found is Netflix's Love, Death + Robots.

I have watched this show before, although not in any consistent capacity. I've had Sci-Fi on the brain, though, and my decades-long avoidance of most animation that's not Cowboy Bebop seems to be falling away - never understood what that was all about, anyway - so this slotted in nicely.

Previously, only a few of these really left an impression, particularly Season Three's In Vaulted Halls Entombed, which I've watched quite a few times since it came out a year-and-a-half ago (the whys of my obsession are obvious if you've seen it). This time, however, I'm playing through entire seasons and really enjoying what I'm seeing, particularly The Very Pulse of the Machine, Life Hutch and The Drowned Giant. Oh, and Three Robots. Yes, that's a fantastic piece of post-apocalyptic satire right there. 


I finished Richard Kadrey and Cassandra Khaw's The Dead Take the A Train and am definitely placing it among my favorite novels of the year. So much fun, and all while being Hellraiser/Evil Dead level GOREY! This is the first book in a series, and I'm down for all of them that follow. 

Still riding high off that, I ordered Cassandra Khaw's Nothing But Blackened Teeth and started that. 

Look at that cover! 

About a quarter of the way through, and I can say Ms. Khaw may be one of my favorite modern Horror writers. She has a descriptive flair I am head over heels in love with, and her characters feel so very real. The set-up here is fantastic, with a wealthy twenty-somethings friend paying for his small group of friends to stay at a supposedly haunted ancient Japanese estate. I can already tell things will probably get Hellraiser-level bloody, and with a narrator I'm not entirely sure I'd consider reliable, all kinds of hell seems poised to break loose.


David Bowie - Black Star
Donny McCaslin - Beyond Now
Sen Morimoto - Diagnosis
Opeth - Blackwater Park
Zombi - 2020


I'm finding I don't have the bandwidth at the moment to concentrate on involved Tarot readings, so I've been utilizing Missi's Raven Deck for single-card Pulls. Here's today's card:

On the lookout for obscured influences or hidden agendas, so that's (sadly) a "work-related" reading. Also, and perhaps more probable, what am I missing?

Wednesday, November 29, 2023

The Effigies - Body Bag


Thanks to Jim DeRogatis and Greg Kot's Sound Opinions podcast, I realized last night that I had completely missed the fact that Chicago Stalwart's The Effigies frontman John Kezdy passed away back in August. You can read an article about this at the Chicago Tribune HERE. While off my radar of late, The Effigies' 1989 album Remains Nonviewable was one of the records I encountered as a Junior in High School, a record that, like Fugazi's 13 Songs or Black Flag's Everything Went Black, altered my musical trajectory. Kezdy went on to become an attorney,


Here's my Pull for this week's NCBD:

I still wish the art inside had a little more 'tooth' to it - not the artist's fault, more a mis-pairing, in my opinion. That said, I still couldn't pass this one up. So far, pretty good backstory to the classic film, kind of "other stories from that day." This is the penultimate issue, and as it's the second NoTLD series from American Mythology, I'm curious if there are more on the horizon. 

To say I have been waiting for this final chapter in SiKTC's current story arc would be an understatement. Shit went so pear-shaped at the end of issue thirty-four, I can't wait to see how this resolves (please let this resolve!).

After re-reading the last few issues in a burst, I'm totally back on the What's The Furthest Place From Here train. We stand at the foot of world-building revelations, but I'm really just here for the dialogue and insane antics of this cast. 


SyFy had a good run of original programming a few years ago. Deadly Class was excellent, and a total shame it didn't go longer than one season. Another comic adaptation they actually doubled down on was Grant Morrison and Darick Robertson's Happy!, about a down-and-out NY cop turned hitman whose daughter is abducted by a man in a Santa Claus suit. The daughter's imaginary friend, a cute-as-a-button blue unicorn, seeks out her father and together, the two attempt to save her.

When Happy! came to Netflix, I watched most of the first season and absolutely loved it. THIS is my definition of comedy. For some reason, I never finished the first season and completely missed or forgot there was a second. So I'm watching it again now and I have to say, this may be one of my favorite shows of all time.

This is one of the rare times when the adaptation far surpasses the source material. The book is pretty simple, but the lengths of violence and depravity that Morrison, Brian Taylor and their team put Christopher Meloni through in this show is insane and so utterly fun to watch; I find it impossible not to end an episode in a good mood.

Even if there's also some pitch-dark shit in here, too. 

This is one of those shows I would buy physically if such an item were available, but alas, it is not. 


Steve Moore - Christmas Bloody Christmas OST
Zombi - 2020
The Flesh Eaters - I Used to Be Pretty
Allegaeon - Apoptosis
Silent - Modern Hate


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

• XIV - Temperance (Art)
• X - Wheel of Fortune
• Five of Pentacles (Disks)

Applying intuition and 'Art' can lead to conflict. 

Tuesday, November 28, 2023

Wishful Beginnings


Sunday night, I found myself in bed at 10:30 after getting another round of COVID booster earlier in the day. 

I felt awful.

Of course, this means I woke up somewhere around 4:45 AM on Monday. Yay. Not a lot good about waking up that early, especially when feeling like absolute crap. That said, this has happened enough over the last few years that I know not to waste the time. I make coffee, fire up the laptop and plug my headphones into my ears, eager for an aural world to impress itself upon the morning-thin physical one. In this particular case, I followed David Bowie into that special liminal zone he had such a way with in his later years. One track I've always shortchanged on 1997's Outside is "Wishful Beginnings," which despite knowing quite well, often gets overshadowed by the fact that it leads directly into "We Prick You," one of my favorite tracks on the album. Something about "Beginnings" really resonated with me in those grey early hours yesterday, though, and it stayed with me all day, a rather pleasant haunting.


Despite not having seen any of the Legendary Godzilla or Kong movies, I caught up on Legendary Studios/Apple TV's Monarch: Legacy of Monsters over the last few days, and I have to say, I dig it. Of course, a lot of what I dig is the utilization of Kurt Russell and his son Wyatt, both cast to play the same character at different points in his life. There's one scene transition where the older Russell's face seamlessly dissolves into his son's, and it's pretty damn breathtaking. 

Seeing this, I've become curious enough to probably finally give the Legendary Studios' Godzilla and Kong movies a chance. I'd previously avoided these after being warned off 2014's opening film in the franchise by friends. I'd also made a subsequent attempt at viewing Godzilla: King of Monsters that failed. With the former, the hopes I held that Legendary would treat the iconic monster in a more "Cloverfield" manner were banished when friends saw it and basically reported back, "It's just another Godzilla movie." With the latter, I'm pretty sure I watched about half the film and there were considerably more humans than monsters, which seemed impossible based on the title and trailers (there's another reason to dislike trailers).


David Bowie - Black Star
David Bowie - Outside
André 3000 - New Blue Sun

I really don't know what to make of this new André 3000 album. It's an easy candidate for "up its own arse," but at the same time, I think there's something there. Maybe it's because I was sick A.F. yesterday (still am) and needed something soothing, but I put in headphones and drifted into a bizarre inner space courtesy of four tracks with names like:

1) I Swear, I Really Wanted to Make a 'Rap' Album but This Is Literally the Way the Wind Blew Me This Time 

2) The Slang Word Pussy Rolls Off the Tongue with Far Better Ease Than the Proper Word Vagina. Do You Agree? 

3) That Night in Hawaii When I Turned into a Panther and Started Making These Low Register Purring Tones That I Couldn't Control ... Shit Was Wild

4) BuyPoloDisorder's Daughter Wears a 3000® Button Down Embroidered

I guess there's the relief that there won't be another "Hey ya" floating around out in the world like a viral STD for the ear, but I also have to wonder if this is a complete piss take. Actually, it's a lot like another project Mr. 3000 was involved with around the turn of the century, Guy Ritchie's Revolver, which I'm still not sure how I feel about, as it's either the dumbest movie I've ever seen or the smartest. 

Talk about walking a thin line.

Monday, November 27, 2023

The Dead Take the A Train Straight Through the Spider Labyrinth

November is nearly over, and I realized I have not posted any Opeth yet. For that matter, I hadn't even listened to them until whatever day last week I began this post. Back around 2006/2007, Opeth became a big winter band for me, with the time change and early night that directly follows Halloween a welcome signifier that it's time to crack out Deliverance, Blackwater Park and the Candlelight years.


I did a bit of online Black Friday shopping last week. Nothing huge, but there were a few titles from boutique Blu-Ray labels I haunt online that I could not pass up. 

First up, Synapse Films has a 4K restoration of one of my all-time favorite films, Mike Mendez's The Convent. I have no interest in the 4K, but the release includes a standard Blu-Ray, and I've been waiting some time for this one to get a proper clean-up and re-release:

Next, and this is a somewhat blind buy, one of Severin Films' secret titles for their Black Friday sale is Gianfranco Giagni's 1988 nightmare The Spider Labyrinth. This is one I've never seen, but I've seen a certain amount of buzz steadily build for it in the backwaters of the Horror Community, with Italian Filmofiles clamoring for a proper digital release (which the film never received before now). Check out the trailer below, and although I've become fairly anti-spoiler, I'm pretty sure there's no way to spoil the absolute madness of this one.


Finally, although this isn't a new title, it's one that's been on my radar for a while, and after watching Michael Venus' 2020 film Schlaf (Sleep), I forked over the dough for this gorgeous release from Arrow Video; for $20 how could I not?

If I were to elevator pitch this flick to you, I'd say it's kind of a cross between Anthony Scott Burns' Come True and the possibilities I saw inherent in Stewart Thorndike's Bad Things (which admittedly did not work for me, but had some very interesting potential insofar as location and plot). 

Here are the purchase links if anyone is interested:

Arrow Video: Sleep


Richard Kadrey has released two books this year, and I've been wanting to read both, so after finishing Michael Wehunt's Greener Pastures, I slipped into The Dead Take the A Train, a collaboration with author Cassandra Khaw, whose Nothing But Blackened Teeth has been on my to-read list for the last two years or so and has now jumped to the top of that list based on the 65% of A Train I've read in the last few days.

Here's the solicitation blurb:

"Julie is a coked-up, burnt-out thirty-year-old whose only retirement plan is dying early. She’s been trying to establish herself in the NYC magic scene, and she’ll work the most gruesome gigs, exorcize the nastiest demons, and make deals with the cruelest gods to claw her way to the top. But nothing can prepare her for the toughest job yet: when her best friend, Sarah, shows up at her door in need of help. Keeping Sarah safe becomes top priority. Julie is desperate for a quick fix to break the dead-end grind and save her friend. But her power grab sets off a deadly chain of events that puts Sarah – and the entire world - directly in the path of annihilation. The first explosive adventure in the Carrion City Duology, The Dead Take the A Train fuses Cassandra Khaw’s cosmic horror and Richard Kadrey’s gritty fantasy into a full-throttle thrill ride straight into New York’s magical underbelly."

It's been some time since I read Richard Kadrey's Butcher Bird, but I loved that novel and have followed the man on ever since. He's a bright spot in the increasingly noxious online world, and it's great to 'catch up' with his writing over a decade since I began.*

Also, that cover has to be one of the most gorgeous I've seen in some time (artist James Jirat Patradoon's website is HERE). 


* I've always wanted to read Sandman Slim, however, much like Jim Butcher's Harry Dresden books, I have grown to baulk at starting so lengthy a series, in case I love it and it consumes the next year of my life.


Allegaeon - Apoptosis
Frank Black and the Catholics - Snake Oil
Opeth - Deliverance
Misfits - Collection II
Rodney Crowell - Christmas Everywhere
Godflesh - Purge
Perturbator - Dangerous Days
Dream Division - Beyond the Mirror's Image
U2 - Achtung Baby
Justin Hamline - Worst Locals Ever
Steve Moore - Gone World
The Cramps - Smell of Female (Live)
Lord Huron - Long Lost


I've been off the clock here since last week, and I am tired. Had a new round of the COVID booster yesterday, and it just hit me like a ton of bricks, so just one card from Missi's Raven Deck today:

I'll be double-verifying all information that crosses my path today and, perhaps conversely keeping an eye out for ways to slip mainstream corridors of thought. 

Wednesday, November 22, 2023

Rodney Crowell - Something Has To Change

From Rodney Crowell's 2021 album Triage. Mr. Brown and I have been doing record swaps for the last year or so; I lend him six, and he fires back six. One of the best records to come of those exchanges is Rodney Crowell's 2021 album Triage. Something "Has to Change" is the Side A closer, and it's a powerhouse. Throughout the record, I hear a lot of 70s-era Stones and Chicago singer-songwriter stalwart Ike Reilly. Also, as Brown pointed out, a lot of Catholics-era Frank Black (my favorite Frank Black). 

All that is not to say Mr. Crowell does not have his own sound. He does, and it's a sound grown from the same good Earth those others are - old-school Rock n' Roll, Rhythm and Blues and, well, just straight up Blues. The arranging on his albums continues to evolve, and you hear it best on this track. That trombone!!!


Here's the Pull for this week's NCBD:

The Penultimate issue of Immortal X-Men looks like it might just answer my complaints about the Jean Grey series and tie the end of that into the current story. Granted, they did start to do that in Jean #4, so maybe I jumped the gun. We'll see. Either way, my complaints are small; overall, this era of X-Men is still my favorite since Claremont's. 

I feel like it's been longer than 30 days since our last issue of Tenement; however, that's likely because I love this book so much. I have a four-day weekend coming up; might be time to re-read the Bone Orchard Mythos to date.

Sadly, I won't get my hands on this until my next trip to Chicago, which is likely only a week away or so. Still, knowing another chapter of Garth Ennis and Jacen Burrows' The Ribbon Queen is just out of reach may drive me mad. This one is escalating in a way that reminds me of Fincher's The Game; not sure anyone else is getting that, and I'm definitely not referring to the story itself. But as the pieces move into place, a bigger picture slowly emerges, the brief images of it we see suggesting Horrors beyond anything we've seen before. As the dread creeps in beneath the human dramas unfolding, page after page, we wait for awful things to happen. When they do, they are both a release and a harbinger of even worse, more cosmic monstrosities that await us. The feeling is... thrilling.

Time once again for my most-anticipated book of the month. Void Rivals has been a delight through and through, and having loved the experience of reading Kirkman's The Walking Dead month-to-month for most of its original run, I know what this man can do with a monthly. 


Pat O'Malley, the Writer/Creator of one of my favorite comics of the year, Popscars, has a Kickstarter up for 12 more days. Jurassic Parkour 4 looks fun as hell.

I had Pat on The Horror Vision a few months ago; it was a great time, two Horror fans just geeking out on the stuff we love. Parkour 4 looks a lot more like - well, kind of like what if the Triceratons from TMNT were the lead characters. Being a TMNT fan, I gotta see what that looks like.


The Cure - Disintegration
David Bowie - Black Star
Donny McCaslin - Beyond Now
PJ Harvey - Stories From the City, Stories From the Sea
Frank Black and the Catholics - Snake Oil
Willie Nelson - First Rose of Spring
Depeche Mode - Violator
U2 - One (single)


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

• Ten of Pentacles
•XIV - Temperance (Art)
• Page of Swords

The Ten of Pentacles/Disks again. Hmm...

Closure is dictated by the Creative solution to an upcoming problem. I'm hoping this refers to yesterday when our Realtor and I had to use some last-minute finesse to solve a problem with earnest money. Barring that, I could also see this as a reminder to not let the chaos in my life at the moment distract me from my writing goals, which is absolutely another facet of what transpired yesterday.

Tuesday, November 21, 2023

Takes A Second To Say Goodbye To Thanksgiving

It took considerably longer than a second to say goodbye to U2 this week. After yesterday's early morning contemplation of their seminal 1991 album Achtung Baby, I found it impossible to shake the mood they set in me. That usually takes this route - Achtung to 1983's War

War will always be not only my favorite album by this band but one of my favorite records of all time. Over the years, I've grown accustomed to starting the record on track two, "Seconds," playing all the way through and then listening to the opening track, "Sunday Bloody Sunday," last. It's nothing against SBS; "Seconds" is just an instant time machine to circa 1987 when I first took notice of the band. I had a Junior High Music Teacher named Miss Mooha who was clearly an activist of some kind and brought the record in to play SBS for us, going so far as to pass out Xeroxed lyric sheets and use the time to talk about the conflict in Ireland and, beyond that, musicians who used their platform to try and make change in the world. Of course, at eleven years old, a lot of this went over my head. 

I always find it fascinating to juxtapose these two records by the band because A) they're my favorite records by them, and B) there is such a sharp contrast. To do so, one really need look no further than the band photos that accompanied the release of each record:

As I said in yesterday's post, I did not hold this change against the band. Part of that may be I was fifteen when Achtung came out and did not have the same kind of "identity politics" attached to them that I did to say, Metallica, whose change for the infamous black album eventually shattered the hold the band had on me up until that point. With U2, it all seemed to be coming from the same place somehow, and a lot of the differences would not become apparent to me until I really deep-dove Achtung Baby in directed juxtaposition to War. Also, at 15 in 1991, that puts me directly in the tsunami of the "Alternative" movement, and a lot of what was coming out just felt like part of that and somehow integrated with changes in my own life at the time.


If you are a Horror fan and have not seen Eli Roth's Thanksgiving yet, let me give you the best advice you're going to get for the next two months. Go see it in a theatre.

I guess this is a day of "juxtaposing" (or I just really like that word) because I'll say that, like many folks I've talked to about this, I was hesitant going in. I really dig Eli Roth as a speaker/personality within the Horror Community; however, other than his first film Cabin Fever, I've never liked any other movie I've seen by him. That said, I feel like there are legions of Horror fans who have clung to a hope that, since first seeing the 'fake' trailer included with Tarantino and Rodriguez's Grindhouse double feature, Roth would one day actually make this completely insane-looking film (that trailer is age-restricted and thus, only available on youtube). Well, he did, and it is one of the best Horror flicks I've seen all year and an absolute BLAST in the theatre. The moment it ended, K turned to me and said she was already thinking about when we could see it again (we had previous engagements afterward, or we would have seriously sat through it again right away).

To hear more about the flick, we did an episode on it for The Horror Vision. Warning - the first ten minutes or so is spoiler-free, then we segue into a full-spoiler discussion, but not without ample warning. Seriously, this one has a fantastic murder mystery undertone that you do not want ruined before viewing.

The Horror Vision is available on all Podcast Platforms or you can just click the widget in the upper right-hand corner of this page. There's also a YouTube version, although I was in a rush to get this one up and didn't do a hell of a lot with the graphics. 


My reading has been all over the place of late, so I'm still working through Michael Wehunt's Greener Pastures. Sunday night, I had a lot of trouble sleeping and ended up reading what is easily the best short story I've read all year, Wehunt's The Dancers

As a forty-seven-year-old man and only five years younger than the protagonist, I found this story to be one of the most refreshingly nihilistic treatises I've ever read on middle age. Add to that the fact that about three-quarters of the way through, Mr. Wehunt completely yanks the rug out from under the reader and goes full-on WEIRD, and my first time through this story, The Dancers blew me away.


U2 - Achtung Baby
U2 - War
NIN - Pretty Hate Machine
Your Black Star - Sound From the Ground
PJ Harvey - Stories From the City, Stories From the Sea
Rein - Reincarnated
BÉNNÍ - The Return
Brand New - The Devil and God Are Raging Inside Me


From Aleister Crowley and Lady Freida Harris's Thoth Deck:

• Three of Disks - Works
• Ten of Disks - Wealth
• Six of Disks - Success

Second day in a row where we have two-thirds of the pull as Disks/Pentacles. Makes sense - as I've related here now for a few weeks, my concerns at the moment are very tangible, Earthbound. Seeing the Ten of Disks for the second day in a row, puts a pretty fine point on things, and I'm very much okay with that as I sit here typing this waiting for a call or text from my folks with an update on the now twice-postponed closing on their house. In times of uncertainty, one could definitely do worse than seeing threes, sixes and tens.

Monday, November 20, 2023

One For the Ages

One of the folks I follow on a certain social media app is Vinylchucks. I love this man's posts because, although our tastes don't completely align, he is very well-spoken and reminds me about a lot of music that I tend to forget. 

Case in point - I was always a HUGE fan of U2's War and, to a steadily decreasing degree their subsequent 80s records, but where 1991's Achtung Baby was the death knell for many old-school fans of the band, I thought it was a masterful cocoon from which an entirely new band emerged. Unfortunately, I don't really care for anything else that 'new' band did (subsequent records have their moments for me, but they are sparse, to say the least), but nothing can ever take away what this record and perhaps most specifically this song did for a fifteen-year-old stoner slowly getting into a much wider musical world.


If you didn't know it, a new Bobby Fingers video went up last week. As usual, it brings me joy on a level nothing else on the internet could ever hope to match.

As a Patron, I was able to view this three days ahead of the wide release, along with a secondary Patron-only video that shows him making the eyes for this absolute monstrosity!  This is the most talented person online right now, folks, and I'm proud to have contributed funds to the making of this.


With the very sparse time I have in my life for gaming, I'm still hovering at what I think is the final stage of Torture Star/Puppet Combo's Night At the Gates of Hell. I love this game, and I'm learning that the games Torture Star for the Puppet Combo banner are my favorite. Add to this my immovable position at 80% through the Pilgrimage of the first Blasphemous game, and I don't really have time for anything new on Switch. That's fine because I'd rather wait until the new Horror Metroidvania The Last Faith goes on sale before I buy it anyway. 

But oh yes, I will be buying it.

This definitely looks like they 'skinned' Blasphemous, but I don't care. Talk about some stellar imagery! My cohost on The Horror Vision, Butcher, was one of the original backers of the Kickstarter campaign for this, so he's already playing. Butcher reports the game play is taking some getting used to, as it is closer to Castlevania than Blasphemous, but like me, he's a sucker for this type of game and its nightmarish, Horror imagery.


Chelsea Wolfe - Hiss Spun
Helmet - Left
Uncle Acid and the Deadbeats - Blood Lust
Turquoise Moon - The Sunset City
The Reverend Horton Heat - Whole New Life
The Smiths - Louder Than Bombs
Deftones - Ohms
Red Lorry Yellow Lorry - Talk About the Weather
Uncle Acid and the Deadbeats - Slaughter On First Avenue
Chelsea Wolfe - Abyss
Allegaeon - Apoptosis
††† - Good Night, God Bless, I Love U, Delete
André 3000 - New Blue Sun
Rodney Crowell - Triage
Aerosmith - Same Old Song and Dance (single)


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

• Six of Swords - Balancing Relationships
• Five of Pentacles - Earthly Conflict
• Ten of Pentacles - Ending an Earthly Concern

There are a few interpretations today's cards indicate, but chief among them is an ending to the big issue in my life at the moment - moving my parents from Chicago down to Tennessee by us. I have earnest money to drop off this week on their behalf; however, a last-minute delay in closing their house's sale has everyone in the family on edge. While I remain optimistic, this is really messing with my folks, as the purchase of the house they found down here is contingent on the sale of their house (contingent on a final inspection for radon and termites, as well, but let's cross one bridge at a time, eh?). The spread above makes me think I need to trust in my optimism. 

Wednesday, November 15, 2023

Chelsea Wolfe


I'm a bit late to the game on the second track to be released from Chelsea Wolfe's upcoming album She Reaches Out To She Reaches Out To She, out February 9th (pre-order HERE). I'd listened right after it dropped, but in keeping with my practice, for artists like Ms. Wolfe, I will listen to pre-release tracks, but not overly so. I'm way more interested in preserving the experience of the full album. Anyway, I ended up watching this video twice last night - the photography herein is a complete visual level-up for what she's doing. Written, Directed, Shot and Cut by George Gallardo Kattah, I had to look this guy up; however, there's not a lot out there. Mr. Kattah, to take nothing away from your accomplishments to date (his portfolio can be found HERE), you will do wonderful things, sir. I'm still just absolutely blown away by this video.


Here's my Pull for this week:

I've still only read the first issue of Jeff Lemire's Fishflies, but I'm definitely in for the entire series, whether that's simply through the fourth and final issue solicited thus far or beyond. A special magick occurs when the writer is also the artist, and Lemire's style is unlike anyone I've ever seen. 

Okay, let's see what this Cult of Mephisto is all about. I've stated here previously that I'm really hoping for something that rivals Mike Baron and Klaus Janson's take on the Jonestown cult waaaay back in original Punisher series numbers four and five. We'll see.

The finale to Louise Simonson's Jean Grey series. A nice, tight, four-issue romp through the character's past and, presumably, future. 

Totally on the fence with this one. I know nothing about it, and although I've become a huge Tynion fan over the previous year, I don't read everything he does. That said, two things will most likely sway me to grab this. 1) the artist on the book is Joshua Hixson, who also did Vault Comics' The Plot a few years ago. That book was good enough to endear the entire creative team to me forever. 2) This is another three-issue series, much like The Closet, which I loved.

One more to go after this. Still standing by my predictions for Captain Krakoa, although I don't think we're getting that answer until issue five.

Love this cover. 


A quick, behind-the-scenes video of David Fincher's The Killer? Yes, please.

I imagine I'll probably be talking about this one for quite some time; I actually re-watched it already last night, and it was even better the second time. I guess one of the major things that I like about The Killer is that, I'd all but given up hope on Fincher making a 'fun' movie ever again. Mank, Gone Girl, Benjamin Button, I suppose they're all fine, well-crafted films even if I can't remember nearly anything about them, but The Killer feels more akin to his early work. Fight Club, The Game, Se7en (wouldn't necessarily call that last one 'fun') - these are all ingrained in my psyche. For the last two decades or so, other than the Netflix stuff he's known to Produce but not direct (Sex, Death and Robots; Mindhunter), David Fincher's work had become the cinematic equivalent of fine china for me. You watch with extreme attention to detail, then carefully place on a shelf and never touch again. Not this one. I could watch The Killer again tonight.


Tyler Bates & Chelsea Wolfe - X OST
Cartoonist Kayfabe - November 14, 2023
Chelsea Wolfe - Abyss
Gazelle Twin - The Entire City
††† - Good Night, God Bless, I Love U, Delete.
Run the Jewels - RTJ4
Willie Nelson - Pretty Paper


From Aleister Crowley and Lady Freida Harris' Thoth Deck:

• Five of Cups - Debauch
• Prince of Wands
• Ten of Cups - Saiety

Drive will disappoint us, but still somehow end up fulfilling us in the end. Not sure what exactly that has to say about my current situation, although, now that I've typed those words, it occurs to me that I've been writing every day and haven't really felt like I'm making progress. Which, of course, is wrong. You're always making progress if you're working on the project. 

Tuesday, November 14, 2023

Shoplifters of the World!


I've been on a bit of a Smiths kick lately, and it was cool to see David Fincher's new film The Killer pretty much use their greatest hits as the soundtrack for the titular character (to say nothing of the brilliant Rezner/Ross score).  Now, let's talk about that movie...


I had somehow missed that a new David Fincher movie was on the horizon until just a week or two ago. I knew nothing about The Killer going in except it was Fincher directing from a graphic novel I am unfamiliar with and that Michael Fassbender would star. 

Everything about this flick worked for me, from how Fassbender's character dressed like Raoul Duke to the pop culture references on his IDs.  The lighting was to die for, and Erik Messerschmidt's cinematography was soft and fluid, even during the brutal scenes (Messerschmidt also shot Mank for Fincher and, more memorable to me, The Empty Man back in 2020). The Killer was a total homerun for me - possibly my favorite non-horror flick of the year. 


After hitting Amazing Fantasy in Frankfort, IL for my secondary pull there (mainly consisting of stuff I had trouble finding here in Clarksville for whatever reason), I was able to catch up on Garth Ennis and Jacen Burrows' The Ribbon Queen.

This book is super gnarly as far as the kills, and that's part of what makes The Ribbon Queen feel right in line with all the books Avatar pu that company published in the mid-to-late 00s. This one's a Horror story on the surface, with underlining themes that touch on a host of modern issues, particularly those surrounding Police. As usual, Garth knows how to cut the shit and exploit the fallacies of both sides of the argument. 


Blackbraid - Blackbraid II
Frankie and the Witch Fingers - Data Doom
Jamiroquai - Return of the Space Cowboy
Jamiroquai - Canned Heat (single)
The Smiths - Louder Than Bombs
Danko Jones - We Sweat Blood
David Bowie - Outside
Type O Negative - Life is Killing Me
Screaming Females - Desire Pathway
Concrete Blonde - Bloodletting
NIN - With Teeth
Goatsnake - Black Age Blues
Seatbelts - Cowboy Bebop OST
Hexis - Aeternum
Code Orange - The Above


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

• Six of Swords - Greater objectivity required
• Three of Cups - Family. Together
• Six of Cups - Emotional Balance

I love seeing these spreads that are so exactly the hammer on the head of a pin currently sticking out of my life. Moving my parents almost feels bleak right now; there's a level of having to accept that they won't be out on time (this Friday) and will need to pay the extension to stay. They are inbound to us now, coming down for another round of house hunting. The spread tells me to shove all my defeatist bullshit into the corner, remain objective and balanced, and that will eventually create stability.

Friday, November 10, 2023

It's a Wonderful Knife

Budos Band live on KEXP - talk about a great way to kick off the weekend!!! 


Last night, I headed out to my local Regal to see the new film by Freaky writer Michael Kennedy. Directed by Tyler MacIntrye, It's A Wonderful Knife had been on my radar since I made a last minute decision to miss it at this year's Beyondfest. Here's a trailer:

I LOVED this movie! Ostensibly this one is an intentional hybrid of the Hallmark Holiday movie formula and the Slasher formula, and if that doesn't sound like it would work, it most certainly does! This one gave me all the feels, and looks like it opens wide for the rest of the week (until next Thursday by us), so if you're in the mood for a, uh, feel-good holiday slasher, this is it!

I recently resubscribed to Netflix so I could watch The Fall of the Hosue of Usher. As luck would have it, the timing is advantageous for several reasons, one of the biggest of which is the release of David Fincher's newest film, The Killer today! Here's the trailer (which I won't be watching; I know NOTHING about this film):

I've only been remotely aware of this one in the run-up to its release, and I relish the chance to go in 100% blind on such a big Director. 


Ghost - Impera
Crystal Castles - II
Rina Mushonga - In A Galaxy
Nabihah Iqbal - Dreamer
Screaming Females - Desire Pathway
Fvnerals - Let the Earth Be Silent
Faetooth - Remnants of the Vessel
David Bowie - Outside
Drug Church - Hygiene
Deftones - Gore
Oranssi Pazuzu - Live at Roadburn 2017
Gazelle Twin - The Entire City


Just one quick pre-travel card from my portable Thoth deck:

Perfect. The beginning of a new journey. 

Wednesday, November 8, 2023

Twin Tribes - Monolith


My A Most Horrible Library cohost Chris has been singing me the praises of Twin Tribes for a couple years now, and while I've given a couple of their records a spin, I haven't completely connected with these guys yet. That said, this new track, "Monolith," is pretty rad, and I actually dig the hell out of the video - a rarity indeed. Taken from forthcoming album Pendulum, out January  26th; you can pre-order the record HERE.


Here's what I'm bringing home this week:

I loved the first issue of the new Daniel Warren Johnson Transformers book for Robert Kirkman's Energon Universe. Not as much as I love Void Rivals, but still, DWJ doing Autobots and Decepticons is as close to a dream come true as we've gotten with this juggernaut IP in a while, so I'm excited to jump into issue 2.

I've seen the covers for the next two books, and the "Road to 150" is on the horizon. That means a major shake-up is coming. Starting in the last few issues, we've seen the Turtles' standard "nuclear" family as we know it begins to grow tributaries and move on, so my prediction is someone will leave this book and head away from NY, thus getting their own series. That will both excite and infuriate me, haha. I'm still on board, regardless, as this is still the best reboot ever. 

Phantom Road is back and I could not be happier! This book is like high-brow Grindhouse Horror, and I am absolutely picking up what Lemire and Walta are putting down!

After Friday I can finally read this one up to date, as I should have all the issues sitting in my secondary pull at Amazing Fantasy in Frankfort. Can't wait to see what all the hype - niche hype, but hype nonetheless - is all about. 

Let's see if issue two continues to deliver on the promise of issue one. There have been mountains of Army of Darkness/Evil Dead comics, and I learned long ago to avoid them. This, however, this is different. Continuing on from both the original and director's cut ending of the film, Army of Darkness Forever posits that Evil Ash ended up back at the S-Mart in 1992. What does that mean for everything we think we know about Ash's life after the films? Will the series take Ash vs. The Evil Dead into account? Like they used to say in those commercials, 'Read the book."

I've been late to the game on David Dastmalchian's Count Crowley, partially because I sat on my AMHL cohost's recommendation when the first series came out, and partially because I was able to find two of the four issues of the previous series. I'll eventually pick all those up, but in the meantime, this guy has earned enough goodwill in the Horror community that I'll be grabbing this one from the beginning.


Sampha - Lahai
Oranssi Pazuzu - Live at Roadburn 2017
Twin Tribes - Monolith (pre-release single)
Twin Tribes - Ceremony
Alien Sex Fiend - Alien Sex Fiend Halloween
Kingsborough - Percy (single)
Oranssi Pazuzu - Kosmonument
Lebanon Hanover - Let Them Be Alien
Anthrax - Among the Living
Telekinetic Yeti - Primordial
The Sister of Mercy - Floodland
††† - Goodnight, God Bless, I Love U, Delete
Crystal Castles - II


I felt like crossing the streams today. Here's what I came away with:

Due to the different sizes of the three decks, this format is difficult to get a decent picture of at the moment because it's new, so bear with me. 

• XVIII: The Moon - influences/ideas/agendas obscured.
• XII: The Hanged Man - Sacrifice/intuition
• Princess (Page) of Wands - The Early Aspect of Will

It's been a minute since I've done an in-depth Pull, so I feel a touch rusty.  Having the intuition to apply the Will to Earthly matters will prevent missing unseen or forgotten facets of the conversation. This is 100% a reminder to pay attention during open enrollment. Boring, maybe, but I've already had a few insurance SNAFUs with my employer since going remote, so it'd be nice to avoid that in the coming year, and this is the kind of Earth-Bound stuff that I always view from the corner of my eye.

Monday, November 6, 2023

Falling From the House of Usher


I'd never heard of British electronic artist Sampha until Mr. Brown messaged me about him a few days ago. Upon checking out his new album Lahai, I'm sold. I'm always looking for the next Burial, and although in no way would I compare this record to Untrue, there's definitely some shared DNA. Spacious, floaty and a beautiful approach to the vocals and backing textures, this record drifts along at a slow speed so you can be sure to catch all the gorgeous sonic scenery that populates each track. Throw in some really tight bass lines and beats to boost the tempo now and again, and this one is a perfect late-night, winding-down record. You can pick this one up at the shop HERE.


I watched the first two episodes of Mike Flanagan's The Fall of the House of Usher on Friday and quickly dismissed the show as "not for me." I have issues with the last few Flanagan Netflix projects and am actually looking forward to him shaking up his paradigm with his new deal at Amazon. 

Yet, I kept thinking about it all day Saturday. So I went back and watched two more. I was destined to finish this anyway, as we're recording an episode on it for The Horror Vision this coming Thursday night. Regardless of that, episodes three and four smoothed over some of the rough edges. Then, yesterday K started the show from episode one, and I sat through 1-4 for a second time. Not sure what my problem was on Friday, but I was 100% wrong. This one is fantastic!

One of my initial problems was that the creators seemed hellbent on critiquing the "Hedonism of the Rich," which, to me, is a moot point. We're well over a decade into kardashians and their public sex tapes/church scams/meltdowns. It's old news. The first two episodes of Usher really spend a lot of time making this point, and it feels goofy. Also, since Midnight Mass, Flanagan's characters spend a lot of time making grand soliloquies, and for me, they don't always work. 

These are minor grievances, though. 

One of the things I'd forgotten about Flanagan's style is he plays a long game, dropping bits that seem inconsequential or startling for the sake of being startling at the time and really don't come together until the end. This has been in his work almost from the beginning; I first discovered him by randomly watching Absentia circa 2012. That one put his name at the top of my "Directors to watch" list so that, in 2013, when Oculus hit theatres, I sat alone in a theatre on opening day. Oculus was definitely one I had to adjust to; my first viewing was, a lot like watching these first two Usher episodes, an exercise in frustration for me because I was rushing the story. When I eventually rewatched Oculus on video, I realized it was fantastic and essentially the template for everything the Director would do going forward. 

Also, it seems this "watch the first half and then watch it a second time before you continue" is a sound strategy for Flanagan's work, as in looking back through old posts here, I found THIS about The Haunting of Hill House:

"K and I plowed through the first five episodes of the Netflix/Mike Flanagan epic The Haunting of Hill House. I was a bit uncertain at first, but quickly came around. It has Flanagan's time weaving technique, the one that makes Occulus so unique. I dig it, probably not as much as I'd hoped I would, but for watching five episodes in a binge -something I haven't had the time to do in forever - it was good. We wanted to make it through the first five because an article popped up last week HERE on Bloody Disgusting where Flanagan suggests people watch the first five, then go back and watch them again before continuing on to episodes 6-10. This is based on a revelation in ep. 5 that changes the way you will see things in the first half if you watch them again with that in mind."

The point of all this, then, is to tell you that if you haven't watched this one yet, and if you can find the time, watch episodes 1-4 of Usher once, then restart them and continue through to the end. I'm about halfway through six and extremely invested; none of my previous complaints have even occurred to me since that first failed viewing on Friday.


In order to fully appreciate Flanagan's adaptation of Poe's work, I also picked up a $1.99 Kindle "Complete Works" for Poe, as my hardcover copy has long ago been lost to the aether, and all I still have is the paperback copy of the 1980 Signet Classic edition I've had since High school:

There are quite a few cheap Kindle editions of the complete works, and all of them will contain the main stories adapted here. So far, I've re-read Usher and The Masque of the Red Death, and it's been quite interesting to see what Flanagan and his writers pulled from each for the show. I'm looking forward to diving into Murders in the Rue Morgue next. 


The Misfits - Collection I
The Cramps - RockinnReelininAucklandNewZealandXXX (Live)
Cocksure - TVMALSV
Anthrax - Among the Living
The Cramps - Smell of Female (Live)
Deafheaven - New Bermuda
The Heartwoods Institue - Unburied Bane (thanks, Tommy!)
Deth Crux - Bloody Christmas (single)
Bryce Miller - City Depths
Seashore Darkcave - Synthtales
Ulver - Teachings In Silence
Ulver - Bergtatt
Silent - Modern Hate
Greg Puciato - Mirrorcell
Loathe - I Let it in and It Took Everything 
Gazelle Twin - Black Dog
Umberto - Prophecy of the Black Widow

Thursday, November 2, 2023

Your Black Star


I haven't listened to Your Black Star in a pretty damn long time, and although I have absolutely no idea what put them back on my radar, yesterday, I'm glad it happened. I love this band's 2006 record Sound from the Ground; this came out the same year I moved from Chicago to L.A. My ex-wife was a music journalist, and back in those days, we'd have CDs arriving in the mail all the time. A lot of stuff from small, completely independent labels. Not all of it was good, but boy did I find some gems that way. Young Widows, These Arms Are Snakes, and Your Black Star were top of the list. 

Listening again, I realized that while I'd always recognized The Cure's influence on these guys, it wasn't until diving back in that I realized how much this opening track is influenced by the title track to Pornography, arguably my favorite Cure record. Listen to those pounding drums, the way the bass comes in and the 'static' guitar. Gorgeous.

31 Days of Halloween:

I didn't get a chance to post the last two days, so here's the end tally for 2023's 31 Days of Halloween:

1) When Evil Lurks/VHS 85/Adam Chaplin
2) Tales From the Crypt Ssn 1, Ep 6 "Collection Complete"
3) VHS
4) All You Need is Death
5) Slashers (2001)
6) The Beyond/Phenomena
7) The Convent
8) Evil Dead 2
9) The Autopsy of Jane Doe
10) Totally Killer
11) Ritual (Joko Anwar)/The Final Terror/Grave Robbers
12) Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers (w/Joe Bob)
13) Never Hike Alone/Never Hike in the Snow/Never Hike Alone 2
14) Puppetman
15) Creepshow Season 4 Episode 1
16) Return of the Living Dead
17) Don't Look Now
18) When Evil Lurks
19) Barbarian
20) Demons 2/All Hallows Eve
21) May
22) Let's Scare Jessica To Death
23) The Birds/30 Coins Ssn 1 Ep 1
24) 30 Coins Ssn 1 Ep 2/The Church
25) Elvira Mistress of the Dark
26) To Kako (Evil)/To Kako: Stin epohi ton iroon
27) Tourist Trap (w/ Joe Bob)/Totally Killer
28) Amusement
29) The Rocky Horror Picture Show/There's Nothing Out There
30) Planet Terror/Arsenic and Old Lace/George A. Romero's Bruiser/976-Evil
31) Halloween 78 (w/ Joe Bob)/Flatliners 91/Night of the Living Dead


How has it been twelve years since I watched Robert Rodriguez's Machete? This might be one of the best action movies ever.

This flick is such a rip-roaring good time, and watching it again last night made me realize I'ver never seen the sequel, Machete Kills. Time to remedy that.


The Misfits - Static Age
Wytch Finger - The Dance EP
Skinny Puppy - Remission
Ministry - The Mind is a Terrible Thing to Taste
Umberto - Prophecy of the Black Widow
The Misfits - Collection I
The Sisters of Mercy - Floodland
Boy Harsher - Careful
Trust Obey - Fear and Bullets (98 Edition)
Ghost Cop - One Weird Trick
Your Black Star - Sound from the Ground
Deftones - Gore
Red Lorry Yellow Lorry - Talk About the Weather


Just one card from my Thoth deck for today. 

Yeah, that's an understatement. The endeavor to move my folks from South Suburban Chicago to Clarksville was almost complete, and then... thwarted at the last minute by an inspection. That's not the change denoted here; this generalized pull is really just reminding me that although my preoccupation with the move has me blinded to it at the moment, there's a lot of change on the horizon. That's a pretty surface-level reading, especially when using the Thoth deck, but that's all I've got. I fried.