Tuesday, April 30, 2024

Saigon Blue Rain - Visions

When I posted that Ships in the Night track last week, I fell down a rabbit hole that led me to the band Saigon Blue Rain. Instant infatuation. Their 2023 album Oko would have been on my top ten of the year list if I had heard it in 2023. Regardless, I'm really digging the music this two-piece makes. You can check out and support Saigon Blue Rain on their Bandcamp HERE.




Watch:

Last Friday, K and I got to see Ridley Scott's original Alien on the big screen for the first time. It was magnificent.


I've seen James Cameron's Aliens considerably more times than I have Scott's Alien; both are fantastic films, but Aliens was the first of the series I remember seeing, and that initial viewing - somewhere around the time it came out on VHS circa... 1987? - blew me away. I'll never forget sitting in our living room watching it on a Saturday afternoon with my Dad, both of us held taut by the absolute non-stop thrill of the film. Alien is, of course, not the same kind of movie. Alien is quiet, slow-burning and eerie. As a special introduction to this 45th-anniversary theatrical run, the film began with a sit-down conversation between Fede Alvarez and Ridley Scott. During their conversation, Scott mentions how he'd never been interested in Science Fiction until he saw Stanley Kubrick's 2001: A Space Odyssey several years before and how that film was such an influence on Alien. I never really thought about that before, but watching the film with that in mind last Friday, I'd say the entire First Act is Scott's version of 2001. It was all about creating the illusion of Space Habitation and Travel, and the technology that goes with that. 




Read:

Sunday I finished Ivy Tholen's Tastes Like Candy 2: Sugarless. FANtastic book! I've said it here before, Ms. Tholen's prose is so inherently readable, her books almost read effortlessly. 

Next up: just like last year, I'm jumping directly from Ivy Tholen to Stephen Graham Jones. I'm raring to dig into the third and final Indian Lake book, The Angel of Indian Lake; however, first, I'm going to re-read last year's Don't Fear the Reaper to really set the stage for the finale to Jade/Jennifer Daniels' story.


Sixty pages in, and this one just fits like a glove. Another effortless read, SGJ's books have become part of a well-spring of Horror fiction for me. His work, along with Laird Barron's and Nathan Ballingrud help balance me as a writer. These guys are masters of their craft, and their work explores the intersection of the Horrifying and the Weird that has obsessed me for most of my life. 




Playlist:

Fever Ray - Radical Romantics
Metallica - 72 Seasons
Metallica - ... And Justice For All
Mannequin Pussy - I Got Heaven
Frankie and the Witch Fingers - Data Doom
The Beta Band - The Three E.P.'s
Bexley - Eponymous
Mazzy Star - So Tonight That I Might See

* made to shuffle



Card:

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


• Nine of Wands
• VI: The Lovers
• Six of Swords

A lot of climax and support, with VI there to indicate a harmonization of opposites - or perceived opposites. This feels like more heartening news concerning my recent anxieties, which remain vague due to the public nature of this forum and the... watchful eyes that abound out in the world today.

Saturday, April 27, 2024

Drying the Rain & Washing Your Hands

 

Wow. I hadn't heard The Beta Band in ages, let alone their big single "Dry the Rain." Then, sitting in my coffee shop writing last night, a brief interval of silence between songs on my headphones had me stop and say, "Wait, I remember this..."




Watch:

I took yesterday off and had that rare combination of energy and perseverance well into the wee hours of the morning, so I was able to watch a handful of films. 


Listed as Lockdown Tower on Shudder but also known as simply The Tower, Guillaume Nicloux's claustrophobic nightmare is Lord of the Flies meets Dawn of the Dead without the children or zombies. The inhabitants of a highrise tenement discover their building is surrounded by a black void that consumes anyone who steps across the thresholds of every egress from the building. Doors, windows - there is no way to leave. We start from the moment the phenomenon begins and travel forward through time with these people, seeing how the building's ecosystem evolves. Or, more accurately, devolves because, as Nick Cave sang, "People just ain't no good."

Next up, Jenn Wexler's The Sacrifice Game.


I loved this one. Between The Sacrifice Game and 2018's The Ranger, Jenn Wexler has become one of my favorite modern directors. Looking at her credits on Letterboxd, she's had a hand in a lot of films I've adored over the previous ten years; from Robert Mockler's Like Me, to Ana Asensio's Most Beautiful Island, to Larry Fessenden's Depraved, Ms. Wexler has left an imprint on the current state of Independent Horror that cannot be denied, and with the polish we see on The Sacrifice Game, I think she's poised to eventually make a breakthrough similar to what Ti West has done with his X trilogy. That makes me super happy and excited to see what may come of such an opportunity.

I have no idea what led me to re-watch Metallica's Some Kind of Monster the other night, but I turned it on and found I could not turn it off, despite the fact that it made me feel super gross about having a goatee in the 00s.

 

This is such an illustration of a band so far out of touch with themselves, their music, their fans, and just the actual reason people make music that it's super hard to watch. Especially considering that, while I still love their old stuff and refuse to acknowledge everything after their self-titled (which in itself I have a conflicted relationship with), I genuinely like their two most recent records. I think one thing this documentary showcases, besides how up their own asses this band was in the 00s, is that Bob Rock was the worst choice for a producer they ever made. This guy... wow. Not that hooking up with Rick Rubin helped do much besides draw a caricature of their sound for a while, but it seems like once Rubin's Engineer Greg Fidelman took over as the band's producer, things changed for the better.

The highlight of the film is when Robert Trujillo comes on board. The guy is just seems so down-to-earth, and he is an absolutely outstanding bass player, which you can see clear as day in this film.
 


Read:

TMNT 150 ended up being a huge disappointment to me. It sucks to say that, but it's true. I could draw so many similarities to the mess Kieron Gillon is making of the X-Books at the moment, but it would sadden me further to do so. I half-read 150, bagged it, and am happily jumping off for what comes next. We'll always have this mammoth run of (roughly) 12 years of a vast, intricate, and emotionally charged TMNT run. 

Sophie Campbell has been co-writing with Kevin Eastman since Tom Waltz left after the series hit issue #100; she's taken it to some great heights - as have all the writers and artists on the title since it started in 2012 - and the thing I've loved so much about this series is the expansion. This is by far the longest, deepest look into a Turtles continuity we've ever received, and I've loved it. Time to let it rest, before it overstays its welcome like so many long-running comic continuity's do. Yeah, I know I was hoping for Jason Aaron's upcoming run to continue in the current world, and I'm still glad it will, but this milestone issue and all its time-travel/QNA deus ex machina convinced me it's time for me to go.




Playlist:

CCR - Cosmo's Factory
Windhand - Eternal Return
The Veils - ... And Out of the Void Came Love
Justin Hamline - The House With Dead Leaves
Windhand - Eternal Return
Moon Wizard - Sirens
Metallica - 72 Seasons




Card:

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


• XV: The Devil
• Five of Swords
• Five of Pentacles

The Devil again, and this time, I'm inclined to think it's because I completely missed the point of the previous Pull. I now believe I am the source of the misinformation, because I'm not approaching anything rationally. The two Fives bear that out, as Five is often conflict, and here it would be conflict of Intellect (Swords) and Earthly concerns (Pentacles).

Thursday, April 25, 2024

Cosmo's Sugarless Long Legs

 

How about a little Creedence Clearwater Revival to start our day? Woke up insanely early - haven't managed more than five hours of sleep a night in a while - and sat on the back porch with coffee, Ivy Tholen's Tastes Like Candy 2: Sugarless (it's awesome!) and CCR's Cosmo's Factory, which is every bit as awesome an album as the cover photo is awful. But hey, it was 1970!




Watch:

Osgood Perkin's upcoming film Long Legs is one of two flicks coming this summer that I've now seen the teasers for a few times and I can honestly say know how to do a 'teaser' right (Fede Alvarez's Alien: Romulus is the other). Check it out:

 

These teasers tell you absolutely NOTHING about the film, but 100% get me charged up to see it. I wasn't a fan of Mr. Perkins' previous two films (I tried with The Blackcoat's Daughter multiple times; it cheats!), but they are well-made films and that's on me. I'm hoping Long Legs blows me right the F away. Certainly seems like it will.


Read:

As I mentioned above, I'm trucking along on Ivy Tholen's Tastes Like Candy 2: Sugarless and it is fantastic! 


This one starts out like a typical Slasher sequel and then abruptly takes a left-hand turn. It's not what I thought it was going to be at all. You can order a copy HERE, and it's free on Kindle Unlimited at the moment.




Playlist:

The Devil's Blood - The Thousandfold Epicentre
Moon Wizard - Sirens
Telekinetic Yeti - Primordial 
Windhand - Eternal Return
Witch Skull - The Serpent Tide
Jim Williams - Woodlands Dark and Days Bewitched OST
Bryce Miller - City Depths
Saigon Blue Rain - Oko




Card:

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


• Ten of Swords
• XV: The Devil
• 0: The Fool

Not exactly the cards I wanted to see with what's on my mind. Ruin, lies/misperception/bad optics/a new journey. 

Wednesday, April 24, 2024

Ships in the Night - The Fire


I had no pre-existing idea of Ships in the Night when this popped up in my youtube feed, but upon hitting play, I was definitely hooked. It's definitely nothing new - we've been recycling the 80s for longer than that era's aesthetics lasted the first time, but it continues to provide something some of us seem to need. Making peace with the past, perhaps? Either way, I'll be checking out more of Alethea Leventhal's music on the Bandcamp right over HERE.




NCBD:


The final issue of Duke before we switch over to follow the story in next month's Destro mini-series. I'll never be able to score this cover, but I'd like to.


Just f*cking end already. Goddamn me for my completionist leanings.


Thank god you've returned, SIKTC. Help me wash the taste of Fall of X from my mouth.


Me thinks this issue of The Six Fingers is going to be a bit gnarly. 


It's over. TMNT 150. Wow. I started reading this book in 2012 when they were three issues in and I haven't stopped. What a ride - still the best reboot of a preexisting property I've ever seen. 


Again, this last little bit of the Krakoan era is just killing me. 




Watch:

I've been in the mood for Folk Horror again lately - seems to be a recurring taste this time of year - so I consulted my Severin Films' All the Haunts Be Ours and pulled out one of the few films in it I had not watched yet, Brunello Rondi's Il Demonio from 1963:


I feel like the B&W photography in this film is second only to that in The Third Man. A revolting, frustrating tale of a woman persecuted and exploited by her community, this one will piss you off even as it leaves you swooning over the imagery on the screen.




Playlist:

Zeal & Ardor - Eponymous
Zeal & Ardor - Devil Is Fine
Zeal & Ardor - Stranger Fruit
Melvins - Tarantula Heart
Moon Wizard - Sirens
Moon Wizard - Ukiyo (single)
The Veils - ...And Out of the Void Came Love




Card:

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


• Page of Swords
• Eight of Wands
• XVI: The Tower

Page or Princess of Swords is fitting: Just. Breathe. Things are a mess. Impetuousness. Overcome by the rapid communication suggested by the Eight of Wands. This leads to a paradigm shift. 

Tuesday, April 23, 2024

New Music From Zeal & Ardor!!!


New full-length GREIF is out August 23rd. No pre-order yet, but I'll be watching like the proverbial hawk.




Watch:

This past Sunday, K and I met my parents at the local theatre to see Guy Ritchie's newest film, The Ministry of Ungentlemanly Warfare. Here's the standard trailer; it doesn't show too much:

 

Another super solid, big-budget action flick by Mr. Ritchie. This type of flick isn't usually my bag, however, I've maintained since the advent of the Pirates of the Caribbean films that there's room in my life for the occasional big-budget, studio action film if they sate certain personal affectations of mine. I couldn't specifically explain that other than to say, "I know it when I see it." Guy Ritchie almost always fits like a glove. I suspect that has  A LOT to do with my love of his seminal film Snatch - one of my all-time favorite flicks, and I'm fine with that bias. 




Playlist:

Doobie Bros. - South City Midnight Lady (single)
Judas Priest - Invincible Shield
Zombi - Direct Inject
The Devil's Blood - The Thousandfold Epicentre
The Damned - Night of the Living Damned
The Ocean - Heliocentric
The Ocean - Anthropocentric
Ike Reilly - Poison the Hit Parade
Zeal & Ardor - GREIF (pre-release single)




Monday, April 22, 2024

Danzig - Blood and Tears

 

I'm not going to say where I unexpectedly heard this song married to Horrific imagery recently, but man was it effective! Danzig's first four albums stand apart from everything else he's done; as much as I like some of the records that came after Chuck Biscuits, Eerie Von and John Christ left the band and Rick Rubin stopped co-producing, there's just something so perfect about the heavy blues influence on those first four. Of those, Danzig II: Lucifuge will always be my favorite. I'll never forget the first time I saw a friend's older brother wearing a Lucifuge shirt - I didn't know what it was and it kind of scared me in that 80s/early 90s way of, "What the hell is this guy into?" 

That's probably around the time the album came out in 1990 and I would have been sixteen. Before the internet, and not so far removed from all the weird fears being a small child during the Satanic Panic instilled in me for a short time. There was a certain... haunted feeling to that era. Everything from the tv news to paperback books to Inside Edition (remember that pile of sh*t?) told you there were secret societies of Satan Worshippers in every neighborhood, just waiting to sacrifice any unlucky folks they happened to target to their dark lord. I actually pine for that feeling now, but not in the way so many do by rejecting everything known in favor of their opinions, fears and fantasies, and empirical data doesn't mean anything to our society as a whole anymore. Anyway, I cracked Lucifuge out and listened to it over the weekend and it doesn't disappoint.
 


Watch:

This trailer for the new film Pandemonium popped up in my youtube feed two days ago. I have no pre-existing knowledge of this one, or anyone involved in making it, but I'm definitely intrigued. Here's the trailer I half-watched:


Also, wanted to point out that, thanks to Warren Ellis's newsletter Orbital Operations, I've found the first watchable version of Andrej Żuławski's On the Silver Globe on youtube I've encountered. 


I've seen mention for a few years about this popping up for years, but whenever I go looking for it - an irregular occurrence for sure, but one I do periodically undertake, I find ones with awful pictures. Not this, which you can see HERE. I haven't sit down to watch this yet, but it's in the cards for the next few days. 

Thanks to Heavenisanincubator for putting this one on my radar to begin with.




Read:

I am about a third of the way through Ivy Tholen's Tastes Like Candy 2: Sugarless and I am here to tell you, it's fantastic!


Full disclosure: We recently invited Ms. Tholen to be a guest on The Horror Vision to discuss her novels, and she not only accepted but also sent us digital advance reader copies. That's a moot point, though, because I'd been waiting for this one regardless. If you read the first, this is a great continuation. If you haven't read the first and you love Slasher Flicks, THIS is for you. 




Playlist:

Black Sabbath - Master of Reality
Black Sabbath - Technical Ecstasy
Moon Wizard - Sires
The Veils - ...And Out of the Void Came Love
The Damned - Night of the Living Damned (Thank You, Mr. Brown!)
High on Fire - Cometh the Storm
Melvins - Tarantula Heart
Ike Reilly - Poison the Hit Parade
Mike Doughty - Live From Ken's House
Danzig - Danzig II: Lucifuge
Nikki Lane - All or Nothin'
Ministry - Hopiumforthemasses
Witchfinder - Hazy Rites
Man Man - On Oni Pond
Ozzy Osbourne - Blizzard of Oz
Led Zeppelin - In Through the Out Door
Jimmy Buffet - Good Luck




Card:

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


• Ace of Cups
• X: Wheel of Fortune
• III: The Empress

A bird' s-eye view of this (all I have time for at the moment) is quite soothing to a massive stress bomb that has gone off in my life. Ace of Cups is the card that anchors this to a positive interpretation, something I really needed at the moment. Emotional Breakthrough, "Karma" and Fertility, in an abbreviated three-card reading. 

Wednesday, April 17, 2024

Second Song Second Time Around

 

Yesterday, I began my day with some TV on the Radio. Man, I miss these guys. Technically, I don't think they ever actually broke up; however, their most recent record, Seeds, came out a decade ago now, and their hiatus has lasted just about as long. 

Mr. Brown recently pointed out that the new Chelsea Wolfe album I've been spinning so much was produced by TVOTR's Dave Sitek, so maybe that's why I've been thinking of them lately. 

Interestingly enough, Sitek also produced Scarlett Johansson's 2008 album of Tom Waits' covers, Anywhere I Lay My Head. I remember having an advance copy of that back when it came out, but I don't remember a single thing about what the record actually sounds like.


Watch:

Kimo Stamboel's new film Dancing Village: The Curse Begins recently received a trailer. The only film I know by Stamboel is 2019's The Queen of Black Magic, but it's a f**king DOOZY to say the least. 


I watched about half of this trailer and am totally in. There's something so visceral about Stamboel's work. Some of it's the setting—the way he uses the jungle—I can almost feel the humidity and discomfort, the dirt and insects. But there's also an almost Body Horror element to some of his kills. They really leave an impression. 

The idea that this will be in selected theatres - I'd imagine I have almost no hope of seeing this in Clarksville, but then again, I've been surprised a lot lately by what's come through my town. So we'll see. 




Playlist:

TVOTR - Nine Types of Light
TVOTR - Dead Science
TVOTR - Desperate Youth, Blood Thirsty Babes
Moon Wizard - Sirens
Deftones - Gore
Ministry - Hopiumforthemasses
Adam Kesher - Eponymous
Justin Hamline - The House With Dead Leaves
Blackbraid - Blackbraid II
Captain Beefheart & His Magic Band - Lick My Decals Off, Baby




Card:

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


• Three of Swords
• Six of Cups
• Queen of Pentacles

Turbulence, Pleasure and Fertility, which sounds like another way of saying from Chaos comes opportunity.

New Music From Barry Adamson!!!

 

Another advance single from Barry Adamson's upcoming Cut to Black album dropped on Monday and it is fantastic! You can pre-order the new album HERE.




NCBD:

Light week, as I'm trimming a few titles from the Pull:


Ash Williams, you rogue! Only three issues left after this one (I think). Loving it!


At this point, this is easily my most anticipated book each month. The depth of character research and building that's going on here is awesome, and I'm actually excited to see more of the Cobra-La folks. 


Nice revisiting J.C. again. I dug the previous issue quite a bit; such old-school Vertigo flavor. 


Just riding this out. My malaise with the current X-Books doesn't have anything to do with this title, but they're all suffering from this rapid decline. Only one issue left of this series after this.




Watch:

I only watched the first 20 seconds of this trailer for Byte, a film I had not previously heard of, but those 20 seconds sold me!


Low-budget werewolf movies don't always work, but I'm hoping this one will. 




Playlist:

Type O Negative - Bloody Kisses
Soundgarden - Badmotorfinger
Chelsea Wolfe - She Reaches Out to She Reaches Out to She
The Jesus Lizard - Mouth Breather 45 single (Sunday You Need Love cover B-Side)
The Jesus Lizard - Puss 45 single (No B-Side)
The Jesus Lizard - Wheelchair Epidemic 45 single (Dancing Naked Ladies B-Side)
Gogol Bordello - Gypsy Punks: Underdog World Strike
Melvins/Lustmord - Pigs of the Roman Empire
Perturbator - Lustful Sacraments




Card:

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


• XI: Justice 
• Knight of Swords
• XV: The Devil

Justice or Lust in the Crowley/Harris deck again! Funny, because this card was in the #3 position two posts ago, and yesterday had VII The Chariot in the #2 position. Funny because I relate these cards, and they seem to be showing a process that is reversing itself. I'm just not quite sure what that process is. Also, maybe that feels like a bit of a reach, but my edict is to prevent myself from overthinking these when I do them, and that was definitely the first thing I 'saw' in the cards.

So what else do we have there then? Knight of Swords, or the Firey aspect of Air. This suggests force of Will tempered by Intellect so as to avoid conflict. The Devil has so many attributions, many of them quite fanciful. One I always keep in mind right off the bat is materialism over spiritualism. 

So Primordial forces (which we will pragmatically interpret here as uncontrollable mental or physical attributes - anger, fear, perhaps even logic - that need to be tempered by tempered by Will and a sharp eye on motivations. 

I'm not entirely sure this works for me - that's a lie, it does - but I want to keep it close and think about it. Might be telling me some things I don't want to hear at the moment concerning work.

Tuesday, April 16, 2024

Blackout in the Sleeping Village

I know it's summer now, as one of the rituals that eased in last year during my first full summer in Tennessee was Black Sabbath's Eponymous debut becoming my 'first thing in the morning' listen. This is no doubt because, for as long as I've loved this record, it will always remind me of two very particular summers—one when I was a Junior in High School and one when I was a year or two out of High School.  I listen to this year-round, but since moving back to the middle of the country and the climate I grew up with Sabbath's debut has come back to an association of hanging outdoors in the green environment of the midwest's humid, sub-tropical environment. 




Watch:

Holy cow! I completely missed that Larry Fessenden's Blackout hit VOD this past Friday! I remedied that right quick, let me tell you!


I really dug this one, but at this point, that's no surprise. I wouldn't say this is anywhere near my favorite film by Mr. Fessenden, but its ability to mix an almost regional approach with a fairly stacked cast reminded me of Harmony Korine's Gummo - although the subject matter and tone are nothing like that film. This environmentally conscious, small-town set film does some pretty interesting things with the concept of lycanthropy, in a tone that will feel familiar to those viewers who have been with Mr. Fessenden for a long time. Reminded me quite a bit of his 1991 film No Telling, a favorite of mine from the Director's oeuvre. 




Playlist:

Black Sabbath - Eponymous
Black Sabbath - Paranoid
Barry Adamson - Cut to Black (pre-release singles)
Zen Guerilla - Positronic Raygun
Adam Egpy Mortimer - The Obelisk




Card:

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


• II High Priestess
• VII The Chariot
• Page of Cups

Of particular interest to me this morning is the High Priestess in the starting position. This is the middle pillar of the sephirothic Tree of Life, and thus concerns concerns the descent of the Supernal into the lower, knowable realms and the ascent of the aspirant to higher plateaus. Taken with The Chariot - the origin of ideas - and the Page (Princess of Cups), which can indicate "Dreams become Reality," I would say this is a nice nod toward a path that might provide the possibility for my work to emerge into a higher (more successful) realm.

Monday, April 15, 2024

Midnight in the City

Still has the power to bring tears to my eyes, even after all this time, even after I've pretty much disengaged from everything Gonzalez has done since (except the Knife + Heart OST). Hearing this reminds me of the smoldering possibilities that still seemed to exist in 2011. Those are all but gone now, as we accept the shitty future the Corporations have made for us. Backed into a corner, hindsight isn't just nostalgic, it's paralyzing.

What a lead-in to our next topic of discussion...




Watch:

Heed my warning: much as I expected, if you live in the US, Civil War might F**K you up.


Another five-star nightmare from Alex Garland. I'm telling you, I've read all his books and seen all his movies - he never fails. This latest is possibly the most nerve-racking, terrifying film I've seen in years. K has had considerable PTSD from the flick, and I get it. I was literally terrified for the characters (one in particular) for pretty much the entirety of the film. Also, super cool that Garland still uses Geoff Barrow and Ben Salisbury for every score, and on top of that, there are not one but TWO Suicide tracks in the film. I love how, in the past year, I've now heard Suicide in a major theatrical release and Throbbing Gristle's "Hamburger Lady" in two (Love Lies Bleeding and V/H/S/85; I guess the latter isn't a major theatrical release, but I saw it in a theatre, so it felt like one at the time).




Read:

I had an insanely relaxing weekend—well, other than the anxiety from Civil War—reading comics. First, when my Drinking with Comics cohost Mike Shinabargar and his wife came down to visit us last weekend, he brought my Chicago Comics Pull down. This meant I could finally read the entirety of Garth Ennis and Jacen Burrows' The Ribbon Queen from start to finish.


This is easily my favorite Garth Ennis comic since Preacher. There - I said it. Man, this was just... perfect. A story of revenge set amidst a backdrop of the Me-Too and BLM movements in 2020, the characters are fantastically conceived, established and developed, and the situations are tense and beautifully woven together with one of the most horrific 'monsters' I've seen in quite some time. Ennis is one of the few writers in comics who can so effortlessly blend the social dramas of our time with pure nightmare fuel. 


After watching the above episode of Cartoonist Kayfabe, I felt compelled to dig in the box of old Punisher comics I pulled from my parents' house last year right before they moved and see if I did indeed own any Punisher War Zone. As I thought, I had issue one, but I also had 2-4, so I did a re-read Sunday. 


I really love how the CK boys add a level of artistic context I would normally never possess for books like this, and I thoroughly enjoyed this one. I have A LOT of old Punisher comics - the ones that have always traveled with me wherever I move are the original 80s mini-series, about the first 17 or so of the original ongoing 80s series, and the first 8 issues of Punisher War Journal (also 80s). My actual Frank Castle collection is at least 3x that size, though, and includes a lot of issues I bought as they came out, but which I'm not so sure about. The Punisher was one of those characters whose popularity in the 80s mandated he be strip-mined well into the mid-90s and the books and character suffered for it. I think War Zone was about where I checked out, hence why I only have those first four issues, which sucks because I didn't finish out what I'm now remembering is a pretty damn good story about Frank infiltrating the Carbone crime family. That means I'll be checking some back issue bins at Rick's Comic City and online this week, looking to find the rest of that storyline (seems to be up through issue 11).




Playlist:

Dödsrit - Nocturnal Will
M83 - Hurry Up, We're Dreaming
!!! - Myth Takes
Dödsrit - Nocturnal Will
King Gizzard & the Lizard Wizard - PetroDragonic Apocalypse
Ghost - Opus Eponymous
Anthrax - Persistence of Time
High on Fire - Cometh the Storm (pre-release singles)
Suicide - Eponymous
Jimmy Buffet - Living and Dying in 3/4 Time
Turnstile - Glow On
Idles - Tangk




Card:

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


• Page (Princess ) of Cups
• Queen of Cups
• XI: Justice

I progression, I think, from my previous spread. Emotions are still high, but I'm keeping myself in check. I have a feeling this is a recurring cycle to the point that I could probably graph it, so I'm going to add a piece of metadata to this and my previous post, maybe even work back using the search function for keywords like "irritation" and "tolerate" so I can possibly get an even more accurate idea of how often and in what 'pattern' this occurs. 

The XI, which is Lust in the Crowley/Harris deck, is a nod toward the primordial power of Anger, however, it can also occasionally indicate a possible Lunar influence. That should be easy enough to map. I used to keep a moon phase widget this site, however, those always break. Might look for another one and begin adding that data to this section of the page, as I would be interested how this might line up with lunar cycles. 

Friday, April 12, 2024

New Music from High on Fire!!!


Now that's what I'm talking about! The title track from Cometh the Storm, High on Fire's ninth studio album, out next Friday, April 19th on MNRK Heavy. Pre-order HERE.




Watch:

I've been busy as hell with regular work stuff and with watching movies and reading comics. Sounds like a great first-world problem, eh? Let's talk about what I've watched.

First, the Soska Sisters' new film Festival of the Dead is a Tubi exclusive and is now up on the streamer, ready to watch. A sequel to George A. Romero's Night of the Living Dead, this was a blast. 


The first ten minutes or so feel a bit like an NBC family morality flick, but Festival of the Dead very quickly asserts itself in the Romero tradition and does not look back. Loved some characters, loved watching others die in horrible ways, this one is fun and gory and just a good time in general. Don't let those first ten minutes fool you. 

Next, K and I caught Kiah Roache-Turner's Sting last night at the local cinema. Wow! This one is fantastic, too!


I've mentioned before that I have a bit of a spider phobia, and this one definitely plays on that. The FX are great, and the overall pace and tone here make for a great theatrical viewing. One thing I definitely noticed is there appears to be a huge chunk missing from this film (concerning the Bug Brothers, for those who've seen it), and I can only imagine the studio made the filmmaker trim a section to hit a specific run-time, and that's what came out. The film doesn't suffer for it, but it's pretty obvious. If anything, will make for a great extra feature on the eventual Blu-Ray.

There's a great interview with Sting's Creative Director about the practical FX in the film up on Bloody Disgusting HERE.

Finally, Shudder recently dropped the directorial debut by Alberto Corredor, a film titled Baghead.


Ostensibly a Talk to Me clone, this is still a pretty great first film. It's shot well, the lighting is great, and the location is an old Irish Pub that really steals the show, so it was pretty easy to enjoy this one despite any shortcomings. 




Read:

As I type this, I'm finishing up my re-read of Chris Claremont and John Byrne's "Dark Phoenix Saga." I'm reading this in Classic X-Men, the way I bought it at a comic show at a Knight's of Colombus Hall somewhere in southern Illinois way back in... I don't really know when. Late 80s? Early 90s?

One thing I've noticed with these Classic X-Men issues is I actually prefer the cover art for a lot of these reprints to the original issues. Here are two great examples:


Above is John Byrne's original cover for Uncanny X-Men 134, while below is his cover for the reprint.


The original is good, but this second version is haunting in my opinion. There's something so chillingly cold and cosmic about Master Mind's eyes, hollowed out by an injection of Chaos by Phoenix. The fact that his slack-jawed, empty visage is so far up in the foreground and that Phoenix is more or less just an outline filled with the same cosmic imagery really ties this together, as does the cool greenish-blue color palette, which helps add a clinically void feeling to this entire tableau. This could be a poster, as far as I am concerned.

Next, the climactic chapter of the saga, Uncanny X-Men 137:


This has been a classic, iconic comics image since I began collecting in 1986, and while it is great - the massive yellow ad copy taking up the upper fifth of the page doesn't really help matters - it pails in comparison to the one on the reprint, Classic X-Men 43:


This one is a lot less dramatic of a moment than the first, so I can't quite figure out why I like it better. Again, the color palette is definitely more to my overall liking, but also, despite the fact that the original image is much more of an 'action' image, this one feels like a moment stolen from the finale of the issue. I think this is a case of the technology being better and the image simply being overall more crisp. 




Playlist:

Turnstile - Glow On
Revolting Cocks - Beers, Steers and Queers
Chelsea Wolfe - She Reaches Out to She Reaches Out to She
Zen Guerilla - Positronic Raygun
Yawning Balch - Volume One
Trombone Shorty - Too True
Frankie and the Witch Fingers - Data Doom
Man Man - On Oni Pond




Card:

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


• Ten of Cups
• Eight of Swords
• Seven of Cups

Lots of emotion in this Pull. The pinion here, I think, is the Eight of Swords, as reading center-left-right, that is the middle card. This makes sense in that I've been prone to mood swings based on a certain person in my life; Ten of Cups is emotional maturity, Seven is Victory over emotion, but Eight of Swords can be read as Interference, that there's always some of that keeping me from being victorious over my emotions nad balancing them maturely in the face of trying situations. 

Wednesday, April 10, 2024

Maxxxine!

 

I woke up the morning of the Eclipse with the B-Side of Soundgarden's final album Down on the Upside. Giving this one a spin always takes me back.


Watch:

Ti West's Maxxxine finally gets a trailer! Yeah, I know I always bitch about trailers, but I am so excited for this one there was no way I wasn't watching it at least once.


I don't need any press to get me pumped for this one, as to say I've been waiting for it since that first after-credits tease at the end of Pearl's credits would be an understatement. I've been a West fan since I first saw The Roost back in 2005; I remember waiting what seemed an eternity for House of the Devil, and seeing him get a huge boost in the Horror community from that movie. That boost was nothing compared to the one he's had with this X trilogy, and I fully expect Maxxxine to further that. 

July 5th cannot come fast enough.




NCBD:

Fairly big week and I'm pretty psyched for some of these, especially 


This issue will round out the second volume of Jeff Lemire & Gabriel H. Walta's Phantom Road. This book is getting weirder and weirder. 


The Penultimate issue of Al Ewing & Luciano Vecchio's Resurrection of Magneto. I've LOVED this one, and I'm super curious to see how it resolves, even if I most likely won't be sticking around afterward. There's such an interesting 'metaphysical' aspect to this book, and where that can often go wrong and incur a big eyeroll, Ewing always does that kind of thing correctly.


Starscream verses Soundwave? F**k yeah! 


Christopher Yost and Val Rodrigues's Unnatural Order ends its first arc with this fourth issue. Great series so far; I'm digging the blend of Pre-history and future space, Vikings and Picts and Tech. Kind of a throwback, in some ways, to a lot of 80s SciFi Fantasy comics.


Despite my initial misgivings, I really dug the first issue of What if... Carter Burke had lived. Looking forward to where this is going.

Also, I thought I'd try a new book that technically came out last week:


I don't know anything about this one, but the title grabbed me right away.




Playlist:

Soundgarden - Down on the Upside
Bauhaus - The Sky's Gone Out
Red Lorry Yellow Lorry - Talk About the Weather
Drug Church - Hygiene
Jim Williams - Possessor OST
Thee More Shallows - More Deep Cuts
Final - Solaris




Card:

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

Some friends drove down from Chicago this past weekend and, after hanging out for the weekend, we drove out to Paducah, KY for the Eclipse on Monday, April 8th. From that location, we experienced totality, which was crazy awesome. Totality lasted for about two minutes; during that time, I made sure to pull one card. 


Six of Swords. In the Thoth deck, this card is "Science;" it can indicate objectivity and clarity, a healthy balance of emotions and intellect. Also, this card may indicate a good time to make a decision.

In my grimoire, I also have this added, "I can see clearly now the rain is gone." I find that last bit particularly interesting, in that it's been raining all week, and literally just seems to have stopped. 

Other attributes for this card include Innovation and experimentation.

Monday, April 8, 2024

I'm a Monkey Man


I've been 'off' for a few days while some friends were in town, so I'm behind on some stuff from last week. First, this Orville Peck/Willie Nelson track that dropped last Friday and makes me super happy. To hear these two together is just... wonderful. I love how Willie does these tracks with the younger generation of real country stars to welcome them in - he did a similar one with Kacey Musgraves a few years back.



Watch:

I saw two flicks in the theatre late last week. First up, Arkasha Stevenson's The First Omen

 

This was not for me, but then, I pretty much hate the original Omen as well. If you dig that one, you'll dig this (I think). Stevenson and her team - which includes cinematographer Aaron Morton (Evil Dead 2013; No One Will Save You) and Composer Mark Korven (The Witch; The Lighthouse) go out of their way to evoke the 70s tone of the original film, so this definitely feels as though it takes place in that world. Also, Nell Tiger Free does a great job as the lead. My problems really revolve around the script, but like I said, if you dig the original, I think you'll dig this. If you're on the fence and have it in mind to see only one Catholic/Nun Horror flick this summer, I'd go with Immaculate. It's just a better movie, in my opinion.

Next up was Dev Patel's Directorial debut: Monkey Man!

 

Dev Patel wrote/directed/and starred in this one, and it is quite the debut. A visceral fable of Haves and Have-Nots set amidst India's hard-line class division in a fictionalized version of Mumbai named Yatana, Patel plays "The Kid," a man orphaned by corrupt politicians as a child who has now grown up with only one guiding star in his sky: revenge. 

See it in a theatre if you can. The choreography and score by Jed Kurzel will light you up for days.




Read:

I started a re-read of Chris Claremont's Uncanny X-Men this weekend. I've done this before and fallen off rather quickly, so this time I'm really going to try and stick to it. A few years ago (more than a few), I found a huge stack of single issues at a thrift store in Harbor City, CA, all in the mid 100s, and I've never read most of them. My readership began as a kid in the 80s, right around issue 211, and although I still have a bunch of holes in the run, I'm going to go through what I have. Starting with a bunch of issues of Classic X-Men; the monthly reprint series that ran in the 80s as the title became more popular, bringing hard-to-find storylines like The Dark Phoenix Saga back for newer fans to read. So that's exactly where I started.

Reprinting Uncanny X-Men #130

Reprinting Uncanny X-Men 131

While I do own a beat-up copy of The Phoenix's first appearance in Uncanny 101, I'm not even 100% certain I've ever actually read the entirety of the Phoenix Saga, so this is a great place to begin; I picked these Classic X-Men up years ago at a comic convention and really need this re-read to figure out what I've missed. As well as I know a lot of the lore and history, some of that was no doubt absorbed via years of fandom. It'll be very cool to actually experience Claremont's run.




Playlist:

Revolting Cocks - Beers Steers and Queers
Miranda Sex Garden - Carnival of Souls
Type O Negative - Bloody Kisses (Suspended in Dusk Vinyl)
Chelsea Wolfe  - She Reaches Out to She Reaches Out to She
Perturbator - The Uncanny Valley
Anthrax - Persistence of Time
King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard - PetroDragonic Apocalypse
Turnstile - Glow On
Beck - Odelay
Rollins Band - The End of Silence
Brigette Calls Me Baby - This House is Made of Corners EP
Amigo the Devil - Yours Until the End of the War
The Tiger Lillies - Bad Blood  + Blasphemy
Tom Waits - Rain Dogs
Mannequin Pussy - I Got Heaven
Mannequin Pussy - Drunk II (single)




Thursday, April 4, 2024

New Music from Better Lovers!


No idea if this is an advance single from a forthcoming record, but I LOVE this!




Watch:

Despite growing up in the '80s and early '90s as a huge fan of Chris Claremont's X-Men I was a touch too old to ever encounter the X-Men cartoon that ran in the '90s. My girlfriend on the other hand, was a fan, so when Marvel announced the new season of X-Men '97 premiering on Disney+ last month, she was excited. I knew I would watch this with her, but I wasn't sure how I'd feel about it. Well, I'm pretty damn happy to report that after sitting down to watch the first episode last night and not breaking away until we'd watched the first four, she was over the moon and I was very pleasantly surprised.


Of course, the cartoon is still largely based on that first Blue Team/Gold Team design era for the X-Men, heavy Jim Lee, and that's not my favorite era by any means. That said, I was pretty impressed how they worked in both the Madelyne Pryor/Nathan Summers storyline and the LifeDeath story with Forge and Storm. I'm 100% in.




Watch:

I think there was a very specific chain of events that led to me liking that X-Men 97 cartoon yesterday. Let me retrace that here.

First, I watched this Cartoon Kayfabe video:


I've made no bones about how disappointed I've been with the current state of the X-Titles. I was off reading them for close to a decade when I fell back into the Hickman Powers of X/House of X, and really, I think even after he left the books were fabulous for about the first year. But of late, as the Krakoan era is winding down, I've begun to loathe the overall franchise. Something about this video made me realize that I have strong, good memories even of the bad comics I've read, and I think that really helped boost me up for the cartoon. 



Playlist:

Turnstile - Glow On
Rollins Band - The End of Silence
Ned's Atomic Dustbin - Godfodder
Jim Williams - Possessor OST
Oranssi Pazuzu - Live at Roadburn 2017
Dödsrit - Nocturnal Will