Sunday, December 31, 2023

My Favorite Albums of 2023

I feel like I didn't get to spend as much time with my favorite albums in 2023 as I have in years past. Is time speeding up or slowing down? Does it matter? Ultimately, no. We're all locked into this journey for as long or as little as it takes. Or to put it another way by quoting a famous physicist/rockstar/brain surgeon - "No matter where you go, there you are." So here we are, and what follows is the list of my ten favorite albums released in 2023.

Top Ten Albums 2023:

10) Fever Ray - Radical Romantics

Nothing else sounds like this. Fever Ray excels at burying catchy, almost poppish sensibilities inside an absurd musical architecture that transcends most of the musical tropes, instrumentation and methodologies of our lifetime. Also, it impresses the hell out of me that Karin Elisabeth Dreijer is able to use the sound of artificial Jamaican steel drums - a sound that I dislike to the very core of my being  - and evoke a positive response from me.

Buy Here.

9) Baroness - Stone

Stone is the first record Baroness has released that hit me this hard as a whole. I always dig what this band does, however, usually their albums feel somewhat uneven to me. Not Stone. This has a lot to do with Lead Guitarist Gina Gleason's expanding presence on backup vocals, but it also, I think, has to do with this lineup coming into its own after big changes in the middle of the 2010s. Also, John Dyer Baizley continues to experiment with the parameters of his songwriting, and the rewards are plentiful, to say the least (see "Beneath the Rose" and "Choir.")

Buy Here.

8) Bunsenburner - Rituals

This record is a gorgeous combination of everything I love, from Metal to Jazz to Twin Peaks to experimental. Founding member/principle songwriter Ben Krahl surrounds himself with musicians who help bring this ambitious project to life in a way that transcends genre expectations, something I don't stumble upon very often these days. 

Buy Here.

7) Nabihah Iqbal - Dreamer

Just like Iqbal's previous record, 2017's The Weighing of the Heart, Dreamer is beautiful, ethereal and uncompromisingly optimistic. There is so much love and wonder in these songs, they make me feel hope in an age where that has become a nearly herculean effort. Appropriate album title, too, as I believe these ten tracks are indicative of the music one would expect from a gentle soul with the heart of a dreamer. 

Buy Here.

6) Spotlights - Seance E.P.

Ghostly, haunting and at times, crushing, Spotlights followed this with an album that was slightly spoiled for me by the perfection of this E.P. 

Buy Here.

5) ††† - Goodnight, God Bless, I Love U, Delete.

The follow-up to †††'s debut came nearly ten years after its release, and I think we're all the better for it. This album is such a perfect amalgam of the last ten years of music, with elements from every strain of electronic, rock, and even hip-hop spun together to make something new and nostalgic at the same time. What started as an, ahem, Witch House side project for Deftones frontman Chino Moreno has come to deserve a lot more consideration than is often granted to such a large band's 'side projects.' 

Buy Here.

4) Fvnerals - Let the Earth Be Silent

Jet black nightmare fuel that helped me get to a certain mental place and stay there while crafting some fairly dark scenes in my current writing project. I know nothing of Fvunerals, but I'm here for whatever they do from here out. With this one, the cover really says it all.

Buy Here.

3) Yawning Balch - Volumes 1 & 2

Cracking their debut into two separate volumes doesn't change the fact that, when I play all six tracks Yawning Balch released this year in chronological order, I hear one of the most imaginative, expressive instrumental statements I've heard in some time. I hear the desert and the inner SciFi landscape visiting it always excites in me. I hear the cosmic weirdness of pulp writers from one hundred years ago, and that feeling is rigorously supported by John McGill's cover art. I hear the Universe and everything light and dark contained therein. 

Reading into the band a bit, I found there is good reason for this seemingly chaotic list of associations. Yawning Balch is a collaborative project between ex-Fu Manchu guitarist Bob Balch and the desert prog band Yawning Man. I also found that these two volumes are taken from a single five-hour jam. That formula almost never works for me, but in this case, Yawning Balch take me somewhere usually only accessible by reading Clark Ashton Smith or eating mushrooms in Joshua Tree.

Buy Here.

2) Blackbraid - Blackbraid II

An exquisitely crafted Black Metal album that follows its own internal logic as it moves from one track to the next, creating one long moment imbued with Native American ideologies, instrumental flavors and imagery. There is such power in this record, that it tends to pull me in for multiple successive listens at a time. Also, after Fvnerals, this was the album that helped me write the most in 2023.

Buy Here.

1) Screaming Females - Desire Pathway

How perfect that Screaming Female's greatest album should be their last. Not to say I was glad to hear of the breakup, but really, talk about going out on top. Desire Pathway played a big part in my year as one of the albums that anchored me on my trips back to L.A., when I would walk around with this on my headphones. Some songs have super hooks (Ornament, Brass Bell), and some grow on you, but the entire thing combines to make the most perfect start-to-finish record of my 2023.

Buy Here.

Honorable Mention:

Metallica's 72 Seasons. I still can't believe how much I like that record. 

Friday, December 29, 2023

Snake Oil for the Authoritarian Soul


From 2023's post-script collection of covers Snake Oil, here's Frank Black and the Catholics doing Bruce Springsteen's "I'm Going Down" and absolutely OWNING the song. Special thanks to Mr. Brown for lending me this in our most recent vinyl swap. Hot damn, I needed a fresh dose of Catholicism!!!


A couple nights ago, K and I went to see Sean Durkin's new film, The Iron Claw. This was completely off my radar, and I'm very grateful K suggested it.

Durkin's 2011 debut film, Mary Marcy May Marlene left an impression on me that has lasted long since my only viewing, shortly after it hit physical media. I've watched his name pop up here and there but hadn't actually seen anything else by him until now. Imagine my absolute joy to find out his work has paid off with a widely released film (thank you once again, A24!!!) that features some fairly notable actors. Zac Efron impressed the hell out of me with his physical dedication to taking on this role, as did The Bear's Jeremy Allen White, both of whom gave enormous performances. This one is a story for the heart, and I find it infinitely gratifying that the cultural detritus of previous eras are being reevaluated and recirculated in new contexts, helping unify the various cultural 'eras' of our time on this planet into something that helps us understand one another better. 


Two nights ago I began reading Jeff Vandermeer's Authority, the sequel to Annihilation. Seventy or so pages in, this one hasn't inspired quite the same level of rabidity that book one did, however, there's a brilliant bridge built into the story from the first book and this one; something that promises things are going to get pretty insane pretty soon. 

Based on my difficulty finding images for this one's cover, I'm going to guess that this series didn't really receive the attention it deserves. This is super high concept Science Fiction/Horror that pushes into the spaces between the world as we understand it and really tries to pick apart the atomic structure of what humanity has built for itself. Not always the easiest read, as evidenced by the somewhat scuttling pace of the opening chapters of this book, there's a "clinicism" here that pushes how we take in and assimilate concepts through language. Reminds me a bit of China Meivile, specifically Embassytown and City and the City.


Portishead - Third
Baroness - Stone
Frank Black and the Catholics - Snake Oil
Frank Black and the Catholics - Eponymous 
Blackbraid - Blackbraid II
Frank Black and the Catholics - If It Takes All Night (single)
The Bronx - IV
Exhalants - Atonement


From Jonathan Grimm's Hand of Doom Tarot, which you can buy HERE.

• King of Swords
• Ten of Wands
• Nine of Wands

Lots of phallic imagery today! The Airy aspect of Air indicates to me at this moment that I'm not smart enough for what is required of me in some situation at play that, in fact, may have already resolved itself.  Recognize the accomplishment and don't dwell on the afterbirth.

Thursday, December 28, 2023

My Favorite Comics of 2023

The end of the year is always a time for me to make lists of my favorite stuff, and one of the lists I enjoy as much as dread making every year is my "Favorite Comics" list. Why? Well, not sure you noticed, but I read a lot of comics. 

Same thing as last year. Some REALLY great books in 2023, so as usual, this was not an easy list to assemble.

2023: Caveat

Maybe this is just my way to get an extra entry onto this list - it has been a wonderous year for comics - but due to my difficulties procuring copies of Chris Condon and Jacob Phillips' That Texas Blood spin-off/prequel series The Enfield Gang Massacre, I still have not read the entire series and thus, cannot in good faith add it to this list. There's nary a doubt that it belongs here with the best of the best, though. 

The climactic Issue Five came out two weeks ago, and with me now spending most of January in L.A., I probably won't have it in my hands until February or March, whenever I return to Chicago. This means I won't be able to actually read this series in its entirety until then. Condon and Phillips show no signs of relenting in their ability to turn out one of the most interesting mixtures of Weird Fiction/Crime/Noir around, now adding Westerns to the list of genres they can effortlessly tackle.

Favorite Comics of 2023:

10) The Ribbon Queen

It is so good to have Garth Ennis working in Horror again, especially when teamed with Jacen Burrows. The Ribbon Queen does what Ennis does so well - takes topical stress points from the headlines and juxtaposes them with ancient, otherworldly forces that ultimately just want to do horrible things to human flesh. In the case of this book, that methodology feels especially fresh and, dare I say satisfying. Nothing like seeing terrible humans suffer a brutal punishment. What makes this a cut above, though, is the added moral quandary of whether or not revenge is the answer, even if it feels like it is.

9) The Bone Orchard Mythos: Tenement

You might recall that I added a caveat to last year's list that stated I would hold off adding Jeff Lemire and Andrea Sorrentino's Bone Orchard Mythos until this year. Some might say that required a lot of faith, however, I did this primarily because, although we had received several entries into this mythos by the end of 2022 (The Passageway, Ten Thousand Black Feathers and the NCBD single) word was Tenement would really kick the doors open on what Lemire and Sorrentino are building. Happily, this book has more than lived up to any expectations set by those previous entries. What's more, as a standalone Horror story, Tenement excels. As with the duo's previous book, Gideon Falls, the frayed realism and vibrant humanity they bring to Horror, and the veil they reveal beneath the modern cityscape create such an otherworldly yet still relatable feeling that you're never quite certain what you're looking at, of, more importantly, if it will hurt someone you've grown to care for. 

8) Popscars 

Thanks to a chance meeting in the spring of 2022, I watched Pat O'Malley's Hollywood Revenge series Popscars go from a successful Kickstarter campaign to worldwide distribution via Behemoth (now Sumerian) Comics in 2023. This book is gritty and pretty at the same time - which is exactly how Pat and artist Santi Guillen planned it. A macro view of the illusory facade of Hollywood undercut by the stark, cold reality that lies in wait beneath it. Also, just about the coolest, most iconic character I've seen in a long time.

7) The Seasons Have Teeth

Gentle, brutal, horrific, serene, but overall sublime, The Seasons Have Teeth's high concept and eye-catching art grabbed me from the first issue and pulled me into a story that moved me to tears by the end. Dan Watters, Sebasián Cabrol and Dan Jackson's harrowing tale of Earth's mightiest retort to humanity's apathy is unlike anything else I've read and probably an annual read from here out. Now, what season should I associate with it?

6) Phantom Road

Leff Lemire and Gabriel H. Walta's Phantom Road is a book that brings me nothing short of pure joy. The story of two regular folks traversing a "between place," slipping in and out of the world they know and braving an unknown liminal space is so right up my alley that it kind of feels like it was commissioned by an alternate timeline version of myself. These are ideas I hold near and dear to my heart, and while I've certainly seen the themes of "Thin Spaces" and what lies in wait within them explored before, no one except Stephen King has ever come so close to capturing it the way I 'see' the idea. 

5) X-Men: Red

X-Men: Red is a BEAST. I've made the statement multiple times now that this book feels so much like Rick Remender and Jerome Opena's fantasy epic Seven to Eternity that I have to keep reminding myself it's an X-Book. This is where the Krakoa era - if it is truly on its way out - took some of its biggest swings and made the most impact. The ideas and concepts, characters and evolution have been nothing short of staggering, and I for one will be devastated to see this go. 

4) Void Rivals

The only thing that could have made this book better is if I'd followed a fleeting impulse and picked it up before I knew it would tie into Robert Kirkman's Energon Universe. This book sets an EPIC stage, and I have no doubt that Kirkman will deliver. After all, this is the man who kept The Walking Dead series my "MUST READ RIGHT F*&KING NOW" book every month for nearly sixteen years. I have no doubt he can do it again while mixing new characters and concepts with ones I've loved almost as long as I've been alive. 

3) Haunthology

Jeremy Haun put all of his hopes, fears and nightmares during the COVID lockdown into this collection of stories, so it resonates on its own level. There is an elegant simplicity to the storytelling here that absolutely blows me away, and I don't believe a single story herein ever pull their punches or take the easy way out. There's so much relatable pain in here, it's still a touch difficult to read, however, if you love Horror to pull your strings the way I do, there's no better tome in recent memory to go to than this one.

2) Something is Killing the Children

This is really the first year I've been a SIKTC fan, and I went all in. This book is so worth every bit of hype it receives, and the rabidity of the fanbase is earned. Hard Earned. The arcs fly by, no one is safe, and all manner of hell breaks loose over and over again. The fact that the first three trades or fifteen issues are all one location, one event essentially, is amazing when you stop to think about how much suspense and horror just explode from every single issue. And it's never slowed down since. 

1) Night Fever 

I have thought about Brubaker & Phillips' Night Fever every day since I read it back in May. 

Every. Day.

I love this book more than I can even begin to explain. Part Noir, definite 70s influence from the likes of Friedkin and Costa-Gavras, not to mention the cinematic flourishes and predilections of Kubrick and Mann, this one is, to me, the pinnacle of what Brubaker and Phillips have done to date.

Wednesday, December 27, 2023

The Caretaker - Malign Forces of the Occult


Something prompted me to go looking for an old album by The Caretaker that I had back around the time I moved to L.A., circa 2006. I quickly found all but the most recent of Caretaker's albums are not on streaming platforms, but instead reside for a very modest cost on his Bandcamp Page. This is his second album and also the second in his Haunted Ballroom Trilogy.


Pretty sizeable Pull this week. Let's get into it:

Issue three! I feel like there was a HUGE gap since number two, but maybe that's just further indication of how much I'm digging Dynamite Comics' Army of Darkness Forever book. 

I'm not super hip to starting off the new GIJOE Energon Universe book with a standalone book about Conrad Hauser, but we'll see. 

The final issue of Benjamin Percy's current Ghost Rider endeavor and likely the final issue of my participating in what comes next in March. This hasn't been a bad series by any means, but it definitely wavered a lot, so I'm happy to prune some titles for the new year and concentrate on the books that really move me.

After the misstep I perceived issue 17 of Immortal X-Men to be, this has a lot to make up for. Final issue before the new titles kick in. 

Jesus Christ, everything is ending, huh? Remember when comics' numbering trudged on year after year? Not saying one way is better than the other. I can't find anything online that indicates if this is the final volume of Tynion's Nightmare Country epic, so I guess I'll just have to wait and read it to see. 

Only two issues left for Ennis and Burrows' The Ribbon Queen; did I think it was longer or only hope so? This is one that probably won't end up in my hands until March when the whole series is finished, so I'll patiently wait and try to read nothing about it.

Another book rounding the final lap, I realized today that there are only three issues of Lemire and Sorrentino's Tenement left after this one, so that coupled with the "Revelations" printed on the cover tells me things are about to get really weird, which some might think wouldn't be possible with as strange as this book and its overarching "Bone Orchard Mythos" series have been to date. Anyone who stuck it out with this team's Gideon Falls knows just how out there they're version of Horror can get.

That's quite a few books! Certainly the most for me in a while. Watch out for the new episode of Drinking with Comics: NCBD & A Beer, which should post later this evening, after I've brought all this home and had a chance to read and digest. 


A few months back while I was in Los Angeles, my good friend and A Most Horrible Library cohost Chris Saunders gifted me a copy of Jeff Vandermeer's Annihilation. This is the first in Vandermeer's Southern Reach Trilogy, and after blowing through this in two days, I went out to the local Books-A-Million and picked up books 2 and 3. 

I previously saw Alex Garland's cinematic adaptation of Annihilation back when it hit the big screen in 2018. Loved it - a film that inspired days of conversation with K. I purchased the Blu-Ray when it was released later that year, but have yet to rewatch, an oversight I am now glad of. With five years and some change between that viewing and my picking up the novel, I was able to go in with zero baggage and I absolutely loved the book. There is an interiority to the first-person narration that creates an elaborate headspace in the reader, one unlike anything I've read in some time, if ever. Vandermeer's prose is the right balance between clinical and verbose, and in the meeting of these two methods we come to know the narrator - referred to by herself simply as the Biologist - in a manner that makes the scenes of isolated terror at her surroundings manifest almost in a sensory way. I felt her running through the reeds, trying to escape 'the creature,' and the feeling was marvelous.


Tangerine Dream - Phaedra
The Caretaker - Stairway to the Stars
Ray Noble and his Orchestra - Midnight, the Stars and You (single)
Stereolab - Refried Ectoplasm, Switched On, Vol. 2
Earthless - Rhythms from a Cosmic Sky
Opeth - Blackwater Park
Belbury Poly - From An Ancient Star
Ghost - Impera
Mike Patton - The Solitude of Prime Numbers OST
Bag Raiders - Shooting Stars (Kris Menace Remix)


From Jonathan Grimm's Hand of Doom Tarot, which you can buy HERE.

• Queen of Disks
• XII: The Hanged Man
• I: The Magician

That exertion of Will over emotional matters apparently was not as effective as it could be. Sacrifice and a touch of something more... for lack of a better way to say it, Magick, will resolve the issue. 

I have no idea what this is pointing me toward, event, action or assessment, but that Queen is pretty persistent. 

Tuesday, December 26, 2023

Flies on Sandstone


Heaven Is An Incubator recently posted "Love Fade," from Tamaryn's 2010 album The Waves, long a personal favorite since one of my old-school Inventory team back at Borders Torrance turned me onto it. No other Tamaryn album has ever slipped so perfectly into my personal sonic cosmology, but I've laid beneath the stars in Joshua Tree and soaked this one in. It's special, so I had to break it out and post a track, too.
Thanks Tommy!!!



About three months ago, I kind of surprised myself by re-starting Drinking with Comics. This was something that had been on my mind off and on for a while; I LOVE the idea of the show, but it's hard to move beyond the previous iterations. For me, the pinnacle was when Mike, Chris, Jordan and myself were in front of the camera and Kirsten was running tech. Doing the whole thing at Atomic Basement never felt fully 'right,'  and whenever I look on YouTube for someone discussing comics that move me, I'm almost always disappointed. 

Other than Comic Book Herald's channel, pretty much every "discussion" video I've attempted to watch does that annoying YouTube thing of drawing out what you're there for as long as possible to increase their watch time. I fucking hate that! So, I finally decided I'd let the old Drinking with Comics be what they were and start a new iteration. It helped that I get to call it Vol. 4.


My good friend Jesus surprised us with some Christmas presents in the post this past Friday. Jesus and I tend to ship books back and forth to one another, and he's introduced me to some incredible novels. Well, he outdid himself this time, because one of the books he sent was C.J. Leede's 2023 debut novel Maeve Fly

I read it in just over a day.

I can't recommend this one enough, the only caveat is, I'd say you should definitely read Bret Easton Ellis' American Psycho first, as this book is very influenced by it, and even pinions some elements of the seminal volume of transgressive 80s literature. Despite this, however, Maeve Fly is definitely its own thing, and I couldn't be more in love with Leede's prose. Also, this book made me insanely homesick for L.A.


Various - Learn to Relax: A Tribute to Jehu
Van Halen - 1984
Amigo the Devil - Everything is Fine
Godflesh - Purge
Godflesh - Hymns
Steve Moore - Bliss OST
Fever Ray - Radical Romantics
Deftones - Saturday Night Wrist
Rein - Reincarnated 
Tamaryn - The Waves
Calexico - Seasonal Shift
Rodney Crowell - Christmas Everywhere
Thou - Rhea Sylvia
Frayle - Skin & Sorrow
James Last - Christmas Dancing with James Last
Willie Nelson - Pretty Paper
J. D. McPherson - Socks
Luciano Pavarotti - Christmas with Pavarotti
Iwan Rebroff - singt Weison von Wodka und Wein


From Jonathan Grimm's Hand of Doom Tarot, which you can buy HERE.

• Queen of Disks
• Knight of Disks
• Two of Swords

Emotional aspects of Earthly matters, honed by Will, collaboration of intent. Not sure if this is telling me I'll find the 'honing' in collaboration or not - seems doubtful - but I'm definitely feeling like Earthly matter could use a shoring up. 

Wednesday, December 20, 2023

Even it Out of Darkness


From this year's Radical Romantics, an album I almost forgot about. After rediscovering it earlier in the month, this one has become a daily listen for me. Fantastic and unlike anyone else out there. As for the video... fucking bizarre and uncomfortable don't even begin to describe this. Like a Helsinki Gummo remake outtake. 

You can pick up Radical Romantics directly from Fever Ray over on Bandcamp.


Here are my picks for this week's NCBD:

This second 'season' of Chip Zdarsky and Jacob Phillips' Newburn is ratcheting up so much tension I kind of thought we were further ahead in the arc than we actually are. Two more issues after this one, and the cover tells you upfront we're in for more cold sweats. Good - I wouldn't have it any other way with this one!!!

The finale for the second series of American Myhtology's Night of the Living Dead spin-off. Not a lot to say about this one other than I'll be curious to see how it ends and I still wish the book had an artist that fit the film's tone better. 

I loved issue one of The Deviant and have been anxiously awaiting this second issue. 

"The Road to 150" banner at the top says it all. Major shake-ups coming for this series. 

Now that we know who's been impersonating Cyclops in the Captain Krakoa armor, well, my interest in this series has waned. Good thing this is the final issue. 


Bleeker Street dropped a trailer for Andrew Cumming's upcoming debut feature Out of Darkness. Here's a trailer I watched about a quarter of with the sound off:


I'd wager this was picked up with hopes it might appeal to Dan Trachtenburg's Prey. Doesn't matter - I'm just happy it did get picked up. Period pieces, even when this controlled, are never a safe bet, especially for a first-time filmmaker.


Various - Learn to Relax: A Tribute to Jehu
Deftones - Saturday Night Wrist
Negative Blast - Planet Echo
Oranssi Pazuzu - Live at Roadburn 2017
Mortuary Drape - Black Mirror
Fever Ray - Radical Romantics
Perturbator - Dangerous (single)
Final Light - Eponymous


From Jonathan Grimm's Hand of Doom Tarot, which you can buy HERE.

• King of Swords
• Queen of Swords
• XIX: The Sun

Major themes/influences/ideas today. Cut through the shit, get to the heart of the matter. Allow passion to be the motivating force that guides these energies, which will emerge raw and unformed.

Monday, December 18, 2023

Suitable Prey, Tender Flesh

From the 1988 album Tender Prey. I'm not entirely certain how I wound up here yesterday morning, but other than occasional dalliances, I've been disengaged from Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds for a while now. Might be time to remedy that. Pure Creative Force contained in this man's records.


As I was compiling my "Best Horror of 2023" list the other day, it occurred to me that I still had not seen Joe Lynch's Suitable Flesh. After Infinity Pool, this was my most-anticipated Horror flick of 2023. It did play at Beyondfest, but the day/time/location conflicted with our three-day When Evil Lurks/VHS 85/Adam Chaplain, so I made a hard call. Turns out, I made the right choice because When Evil Lurks is looking like it may end up being one of my favorite Horror films of the decade (yeah, it's a bit early to be saying that, but I can't help it, my reverence knows no bounds.

But what about Suitable Flesh?

Now a $4.99 rental on Prime and hitting Shudder on January 26th, I finally watch Joe Lynch's modernized adaptation of H.P. Lovecraft's The Thing on the Doorstep. It's great; easily one of the best modernizations of HPL, with fantastic performances, a wicked score and some amazing gore FX by Richard Jason Miller; I absolutely loved this flick. At this point, not sure it's ending up in my top ten (have one more rewatch to confirm or deny another film's placement), but it's still in the upper tier of 2023, which has been a fantastic year for Horror.


Massive Attack - Protection
Various - Spotify Haunted Playlist
Massive Attack - Heligoland
Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds - Tender Prey
Negative Blast - Echo Planet
Electric Wizard - Dopethrone
High on Fire - Blessed Black Wings


From Jonathan Grimm's Hand of Doom Tarot, which you can buy HERE.

• Ten of Wands
• Ace of Cups
• Nine of Wands

A cataclysmic act of Will brings an emotional Breakthrough and a full the means to finish a project. 



I woke up with Massive Attack's Protection in my head. A pretty place to be but also an isolated and slightly forlorn one. Tracey Thorn's vocals play as the perfect accompaniment to the haunted music. Hearing this track always evokes the memory of listening to it on a bus in Bath, England, while we waited to find out what happened to another member of our tour that day. The woman never reappeared, and to this day, Protection carries with it the reminder of a now nearly two-decade mystery I will never have the answer to. 

Isn't that a perfect association for this album?


I was in Dayton, Ohio, again over the weekend. We left Friday morning and upon returning yesterday evening, I had several packages waiting for me. One of those was my copy of Severin Film's newly restored and released edition of Gianfranco Giagni's 1988 little-known film The Spider Labyrinth.

There's a lot of talk of this being a "Lost Horror Classic," and I guess I can concede that. I liked the film, but classic? Well, not for me. This is kind of Argento-lite; I honestly thought it would be considerably weirder, or perhaps better said, utilize its truly weird portions more. Instead, there's a lot of "investigation runaround" that slows the flick down a bit. But again, still really dug this one, just not sure I'd recommend folks pay the sticker price for it unless you are an absolute Italian completist. 


I finished Richard Kadrey's The Pale House Devil over the weekend and can 100% recommend it for anyone who digs the "Occult Detective" genre, even if the two main characters, Neuland and Ford are hitmen instead of detectives. Hitmen who specialize in killing supernatural beings. 

This one is creepy and fun as hell, which is kind of Mr. Kadrey's specialty from what I've read of his work. Looking forward to seeing these characters pop up again, as this novella very much sets up the scaffolding for them to return. 


Blut Aus Nord - Disharmonium Nabib
Amigo the Devil - Everything is Fine
Beach House - Thank Your Lucky Stars
Cocteau Twins - Garlands
The Dillinger Escape Plan - Calculating Infinity
The Knife - Silent Shout
Fever Ray - Radical Romantics
Tuneyards - WHOKILL
Baroness - Stone
Mars Red Sky - Dawn of the Dusk
Deftones - Saturday Night Wrist
Brand New - The Devil and God are Raging Inside Me
War Curse - Confession
Calexico - Seasonal Shift


From Jonathan Grimm's Hand of Doom Tarot, which you can buy HERE.

Four cards today because they literally slid out of the deck together almost in this exact positioning. In the case of four, I'm going to do something different and, since there's no clear middle card, I'll be reading left to right.

• Eight of Wands
• Nine of Wands
• Two of Cups
• Three of Cups

It doesn't look like I shuffled this deck very well - it is a brand new one I received for backing Jonathan Grimm's most recent Kickstarter (decks are still available at the link I posted at the top of this section). As far as interpretation goes, we see Transformation and Climax of the Will, followed by Collaboration and Growth of Emotions. I'm not entirely certain how to read that at the moment, but these are good ideas to keep an eye out for as the day passes. 

Wednesday, December 13, 2023

Fever Ray Live in an Abandoned Factory

I guess I had completely forgotten that Fever Ray released a new record earlier in the year. 

Historically, this is the time of the year when I go back and see what I missed or forgot about, and this was a big one. Great record. Even better - seeing them perform here for 


Here's my Pull for yesterday's week's NCBD!

This final issue of the That Texas Blood spin-off/prequel The Enfield Gang Massacre will be out of my reach for a while, as my Drinking with Comics cohost Mike Shinabargar will be pulling it for my box over at Amazing Fantasy in Frankfort, Il. No sweat, I haven't had time to read all four of the preceding issuues yet, so I'll probably just wait to do the entire series in one fell swoop once I have them all. Not like I don't have a ton of stuff to read, regardless.

Very excited to be two issues into the return of Phantom Road. I adore this book, and can't wait to see where this crazy ass alternate-dimension/Grindhouse story is going. 

Well damn. The last issue of X-Men: Red. I'm both bummed and excited to see how this Arrako civil war ends up, especially after that final panel last month.

Also, a couple of surprises, which I talk about at length on the newest episode of Drinking with Comics: NCBD & A Beer!!!

Really digging the Gargoyle of Gotham!


In preparation for an episode of The Horror Vision we're recording later today, I rewatched Demián Rugna's Terrified and When Evil Lurks. I can honestly say that the latter elevates the former and also that When Evil Lurks is an early-in-the-running nominee for best Horror film of the decade. 

Much like Steven Kostanski and Jeremy Gillespie's The Void did in the 2010s, this one inspires nothing less than tireless awe every time I watch it.


Baroness - Stone
Fever Ray - Radical Romantics
Yawning Balch - Volume One
Yawning Balch - Volume Two
Amigo the Devil - Everything is Fine
Kings of Leon - Because of the Time
Blut Aus Nord: Disharmonium: Nahab
Rodney Crowell - Christmas Everywhere


My bandwidth is LOW, so today, just one card from Missi's Raven Deck:

VIII - Contemplate routines and make adjustments where needed. Interesting, as I feel like that's exactly what I just did by taking the shorter route for this Pull. 

Tuesday, December 12, 2023

Perturbator - Dangerous


I had no idea this existed until just now. Love it (even if I'm not interested in reading the series; I'd rather just re-read the novel for the fifth or sixth time). Still, I applaud Sumerian for using their record label chops to strengthen their publishing ventures.


Two weeks ago, I watched Quentin Dupieux's Deerskin. This movie instantly became an all-time favorite film. 

I'd not seen Rubber, even though I'd heard good things. I posted the trailer to Wrong back in 2013 but never ended up seeing it. Now, I'm kind of obsessed with seeing all Dupieux's films. We did an Elements of Horror episode that just went up, a deep-dive into Deerskin and talking about it just made me love it more. Unfortunately, there is no standard-issue U.S. Blu-Ray; however, if you have a region-free player, there's a Region B on Amazon right now for a little over $10. TOTALLY worth it. 


After finishing Cassandra Khaw's Nothing But Blackened Teeth, I took a small detour from my next intended book and began re-reading the short stories in James Joyce's Dubliners

I like the idea of having a book of short stories I can go to here and there, and this is perfect for that. I'd never read all of these; this is a picture I found online of the edition I've had since sometime in late HS or early College, when I'm fairly certain volume-closing "The Dead" was assigned reading. I've been picking at these over the last few days, and will no doubt set it down soon to read my final book of the year, but while I'm on it, I'm loving the elegant prose and snapshot style, especially in "Eveline."


Moderat - II
Steve Moore - Christmas Bloody Christmas OST
Perturbator (Feat. Kabbel) - Dangerous (single)
Carpenter Brut - Blood Machines OST
Amigo the Devil - Everything is Fine
Opeth - Deliverance
Cocteau Twins - Garlands
Baroness - Stone


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

• Five of Pentacles (Disks) - Earthly Conflict/Struggle
• Eight of Pentacles (Disks) - Earthly Transformation
• Ace of Swords - A breakthrough of intellect

This is one of the more mundane discussions I've had "with the cards," but I'm reading today's Pull as a definite nod to the conflict that always permeates our household between K's mother and myself. It's the age-old story of the mother-in-law syndrome, and I hate to fall into these kinds of "Life Tropes," however, the struggle is real, brothers and sisters. The message imparted here would seem to be "use your brain, not your anger," as I tend to steam for a while and then verbally lash out. Nothing too untoward, but arguments occur and maybe this year they don't have to.