Showing posts with label Mastodon. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Mastodon. Show all posts

Friday, April 29, 2022

Masking Threshold


Mastodon's Hushed and Grim kind of fell off my radar these last few months, so nice of these guys to unleash a video for one of my favorite tracks on the double album and put it back in sight. The intro to this song is insane, and then it kinda just glides into a super soulful (for metal) verse and becomes one of the catchiest songs on the record.


I'm hoping to hit a couple flicks at the virtual arm of Kansas City's Panic Fest this year. Johannes Grenzfurthner's Masking Threshold is top of my list:


You start a trailer with a John Cage reference and then move into talking about anechoic chambers and you have my attention.


Ash Ra Tempel - Friendship
Eagulls - Eponymous
Testament - The New Order
Soundgarden - Superunknown
Soundgarden - Badmotorfinger
Carpenter Brut - Leather Terror
Mothership - High Strangeness
Joseph Bishara - Malignant OST


Uncanny. I'm not going to go into details, but this is a PERFECTLY timed reminder to keep the peace. 

Tuesday, December 28, 2021

My Top Albums of 2021

2021 was a weird year for music. I spent A LOT of time on albums that came out in previous years. So much so, I wasn't entirely certain I could pick ten records that had a huge impact on me. Some of these have ended up here despite my having not fully ingested them yet. That's okay, I always know the special ones the moment I hear them (for the most part).

Here then, are my ten favorite records released this year:

Jerry Cantrell - Brighten: This is the album I've been waiting for Jerry Cantrell to make for years, and its arrival serves as the beginning of a new role for him in relation to popular music. Cantrell has always been a sage, but previously he's been reluctant about it. Brighten shows him aging into this new position in a way so as to best take advantage of the role as a songwriter and musician. Brighten is big and filled with living reflections, a man looking behind him to better inform his path into the future. The songs hit hard, because, despite a decade between us, I can completely relate. Aging is rough, but you have to take what you can from it, use your mistakes and triumphs to make the future better. 

Also, bringing Greg Puciato into the fold earns JC enormous goodwill in my book. 

Sleaford Mods - Spare Ribs: Spare Ribs hit at exactly the right time, in my opinion, to make it both extremely poignant socially and serve as the most idealized presentation of Sleaford Mods' sound to date (I say that at the risk of having Williamson dismiss my assessment as 'cuntish'). These guys have a social perspective that previously made their minimalist approach to songwriting feel a lot bigger than it might have seemed at first glance. With Spare Ribs, the music has caught up. 

Ministry: Moral Hygiene: I'm not entirely sure when the last time a Ministry album made it onto one of my year-end lists. Maybe 2007's The Last Sucker, because, while I've liked most of the band's releases, I haven't loved any since Sucker. Moral Hygiene, however, is a return to form for Uncle Al and his cohorts. This makes perfect sense, as who else could you expect to chronicle the shitstorm of the last two years into pulse-pounding, cynical Industrial Metal that perfectly represents where we are in relation to our planet and technology? 

Perturbator - Lustful Sacraments: How so many fans turned their backs on James Kent for this album blows my mind because to me, Lustful Sacraments is an evolution for him as an artist that makes 100% perfect sense. It's deep, layered with nuance and knows when to take huge swings - all of which land. Incorporating more traditional "band" elements is no doubt a turn-off to some old-school fans who want another Dangerous Days. For myself, I'm happy to go wherever Kent's artistic wanderlust takes him.

Mastodon - Hushed and Grim: Double albums almost never work, yet they remain a rite of passage for bands. Hushed and Grim is probably the most solid of the like to come out in three decades. There's no excess here, nothing is superfluous. Each of the songs helps to expand Mastodon's sound, while as an overall cycle, all fifteen tracks form a solid, coherent whole. Not a feat easily mastered, but then, Mastodon has become one of the best bands around. 

Odonis Odonis - Spectrums: After 2016's Post Plague ranked as my number one album that year, I've not even really liked anything Odonis Odonis has done since. Spectrums is a return to form for the group, running the line between industrial and electro in a way that feels unique to this particular band, thrilling and a little crazy.

Adam Egypt Mortimer - The Obelisk: Filmmaker Adam Egypt Mortimer conjures another dimension with The Obelisk. This is unlike anything else I've ever heard, and for that reason alone, it garners my praise. But moving beyond the stunning adventure of the album's occult soundscapes, everything about the textures AEM uses to construct this fit into my favorite types of music. Sparse beats, analog synth, brooding overtones and flitting, ghostly flourishes of voices and who knows what the hell else. This is another one of those records that opens a door I feel as though I've been waiting my entire life to step through.

Eldovar: A Story of Darkness and Light: I stumbled across this record by the combined talents of Elder and Kadavar with no previous knowledge of either band's work. I think I may have listened to an Elder album at some point, but I remember nothing about that previous engagement with them. This then was a complete surprise. From the opening notes of the record, an immediate comparison to Led Zeppelin came to me. Not because of the sound of the music, per se, but because of the timeless aesthetic applied here. I believe this is what some folks took to calling "Proto Metal" back in the 2010s, and despite a certain lack of clarity in that as a descriptor, I get it. There's also a healthy dose of Acid Rock. But the emphasis on melody, specifically intertwining vocal melodies, gives this one an ephemeral quality that is not nearly as important to rock musicians today as it was in the afterglow of the 60s. Eldovar seems to have learned the lesson of that far-gone era and transported it to the present day with this album.

King Woman - Celestial Blues: King Woman has always been about balancing Doom aesthetics with a certain Post-Metal reserve, and on Celestial Blues, they perfect it. As brutal as it is reflective, this one drones, beats, cuts, and soars in a way that I defy anyone to put a definitive genre tag on. The haunting overtures that ebb and flow throughout the course of the album's nine tracks show songwriting on a level that bodes great things from this band in the future.

Nun Gun - Mondo Decay: A last-minute HOLY FUCK moment thanks to Heaven is an Incubator's 2021 list, it makes perfect sense this would hit me as hard as it did seeing as Algiers owned both my 2015 and 2017 with their first two albums. Mondo Decay is a strange, sick record that's filled with sonic homage while still playing as an extremely new, unique sound. When I listen to this, I feel like I'm honing in on it from between white noise transmissions, like Harlan and Maxx finding the pirate transmissions in Video Drome. This is clandestine and important, and a little scary in the best possible ways.

Tuesday, October 5, 2021

Mastodon's Drinking Tears Again


This very well might be my favorite Mastodon song ever. I'm sure some folks will say the band is mellowing I can't wait for Hushed and Grim to drop on October 29th (pre-order HERE).


I was just getting back into town when VHS '94 premiered at Beyondfest yesterday. This one was kind of off my radar for a while - I have mixed feelings about the original VHS series -  overall I do very much enjoy them, but there's no arguing that as the series progresses, the results become an average of diminishing returns. Still, now that this new, 90s-set entry has arrived, I find myself excited to see it. 

VHS '94 hits Shudder tomorrow.


The Allman Brothers - Idlewild South
Windhand - Eponymous
Black Sabbath - Sabotage
Black Sabbath - Children of the Grave
Small Black - Cheap Dreams
Ghost - Hunter's Moon (single)
Mastodon - Teardrinker (single)
Converge and Chelsea Wolfe - Blood Moon
Various - The Devil's Rejects OST
The Black Queen - Infinite Games
Boards of Canada - Geogaddi


The last two weeks I have been given over to eating and drinking to excess. Now, who does that sound like to you? Putting things back into a regular routine and moving forward on multiple projects I just haven't had a chance to get to. Still, the temptation is always there, no?

Monday, September 13, 2021

Mastodon - Pushing the Tides


New Mastodon before year's end and it's a double-fucking-album! In general, double albums don't work out so well, but Mastodon inspires enough faith in me that I don't think that will be the case with Hushed and Grim, dropping October 29th. Pre-order in the band's store HERE.


Hell, what haven't I watched in the last two weeks? Laid low by what definitely turned out to not be COVID-19, I still spent a week and some change on my couch. I read three books (well, read one and finished reading two others), and watched something like 15 flicks. For most of those, you can see my Letterbxd. What I specifically want to mention here are two readily available new flicks that I absolutely loved, Ben Wheatley's In the Earth, and James Wan's Malignant.


I loved this flick. Wheatley seems to never disappoint - I even dug his recent remake of Hitchcock's Rebecca he did for Netflix - and this is a bit of a return to his previous dabblings in UK Occult/Folk Horror, only this time, with a technological twist I found very much needed. Folk Horror is becoming a bit like Steampunk, i.e. there's a checklist of images and themes associated with it, and all a filmmaker needs to do is add those ingredients to produce an entry in what is becoming a somewhat tiresome set of tropes. A Classic Horror Story attempted to do this as well, I believe, but failed, while Wheatley conjures what could easily be seen as a sister-work to some of what Warren Ellis did with his and Declan Shalvey's comic series Injection.

I had no interest in seeing this but changed my mind for review purposes (The Horror Vision's deep-dive on Malignant drops tomorrow). In a nutshell, the only things I liked about the first 33 minutes of this flick were DP Michael Burgess' cinematography and Joseph Bishara's score. Then, around 40 minutes I understood what Wan was doing and totally fell for the film. 


The Cars - Eponymous
T. Rex - The Slider
Concrete Blonde - Bloodletting
Concrete Blonde - Eponymous
Electric Wizard - Dopethrone
Sleep - The Sciences
Ghost - Prequelle 
Powerplant - People in the Sun
Pearl Jam - Vs.
Emma Ruth Rundle and Thou - May Our Chambers Be Full
An Autumn for Crippled Children - The Long Goodbye
Blut Aus Nord - Hallucinogen
Anthrax - Spreading The Disease
Windhand - Grief's Infernal Flower
Mastodon - Pushing the Tides (pre-release single)
Perturbator - Lustful Sacraments


This makes sense - I've recently found a new path into the second Shadow Play book, which was very much needed. 

Monday, January 11, 2021

Mastodon Covers Alice in Chains

One of my favorite current bands covering one of my all-time favorite band's best songs. Magic. After this and that Flaming Lips cover on last year's Medium Rarities record, Mastodon is one of the few bands I like hearing do covers, basically because I can't wait to see what they'll pick to do next.


I recently found this super cool, animated reading of H.P. Lovecraft's Dagon that Patronoid Magazine published recently. Lost of cool stuff from these folks, check out their site HERE


I've had Stuart Gordon's Dagon in mind of late, and not being able to find my old DVD copy (I had two at some point, I love this one so much), is the perfect excuse to buy that gorgeous Blu Ray copy that the resurrected Vestron Video put out a few years back. Here's the trailer:


ISIS - In the Absence of Truth
Alice in Chains - Rainier Fog
Yellow Magic Orchestra - Solid State Survivor
Giraffe Tongue Orchestra - Broken Lines
The Smashing Pumpkins - Siamese Dream
YOB - Our Raw Heart
Emma Ruth Rundle - Marked for Death
Jimi Hendrix - Electric Ladyland
Low Cut Connie - Hi Honey
Black Sabbath - Paranoid
The Beatles - The White Album
David Bowie - Heroes


Back to the wonderful Raven Deck my good friend Missi made for me:

Whereas this would normally read Completion, and despite the fact that I don't normally recognize ill-dignified (read: upside down), I can't help that dopple-definition fits, because it tends to hinge on 'interruptions' or 'hesitating.' I'm stalled again at the moment, and need to push myself back into 'On' mode.

Wednesday, September 23, 2020

Isolation: Day 194


Well, I fell down a Mastodon hole yesterday and am having difficulty climbing out. When I first spun Medium Rarities, I thought it was cool, but being that Mastodon is such a great 'album' band, I didn't see getting all that attached to an odds and sods compilation. Also, listening at work on my blu tooth speaker, I was in and out of the office and missed quite a few parts. I know this because I had not even realized that Mastodon faithfully covers The Flaming Lips' A Spoonful Weighs a Ton. I'm not sure how the hell I missed both hearing the track and noticing the name on the tracklisting - one check in the 'con' column of digital music, I'd say, is that you don't have the liner notes in your hands for careful consideration before even playing the damn album! Anyway, it was the ever-vigilant Mr. Brown who mentioned it to me, and since hearing their rendition, I've pretty much fallen in love with Medium Rarities.

For comparison's sake, here is the original:



Of particular interest this week is the fact that Gideon Falls #25 comes out. Now, every week we get a new issue of Jeff Lemire and Andrea Sorrentino's Weird Fiction/SciFi/Horror mash-up is a great week, but this week's issue comes hot on the heels of the recent revelation that the series comes to its grand finale in December with an 80-page issue #27! Holy cow, I'm starting that re-read SOON just to be prepared.

Next, here's a new book from Vault I'm looking forward to, a book about Autumn that takes place in Chicago:

Issue Three of a series I've very much been digging so far:

And finally, I'd recently found myself wondering whatever happened to that Sam Keith Batman/Maxx crossover that began last year. I missed issue three, but four and five never came out. Now, they're on the horizon, and I'll be picking up this bargain-priced Compendium of the first two issues to prepare for it:

I wasn't crazy about the first two issues - you can't go home again - but The Maxx is one of those things I'm a completionist about, so they get my $$$!


The Veils - Total Depravity 
Mastodon - Medium Rarities 
Marilyn Manson - We Are Chaos 
The Dean Ween Group - The Deaner Album
Windhand - Grief's Infernal Flower 
Mastodon - Once More 'Round the Sun
Dance with the Dead - Loved to Death
John Carpenter and Alan Howarth - Prince of Darkness OST       


 Stability and control, because I've finished the first draft of the first act (of three) of Shadow Play, Book Two! Onward to part two!

Saturday, September 19, 2020

Isolation: Day 190


I had NO idea Mastodon recorded a song with Gibby Haynes. Kinda made my day. Apparently, only released originally as a download from the Adult Swim website, Atlanta appears on the just-released Medium Rarities album, which is pretty fun all around, with instrumental versions of some songs, live versions, and this. Oh yeah, and this too:


Nice to have this on youtube, because having sat through that ATHF movie once, I'm in no hurry to do so again!


I finally got around to Craig William Macneill's Lizzie, the Lizzie Borden dramatization starring ChloĆ« Sevigny, Kristen Stewart, and Kim Dickens. Slooooow burn, but ultimately a very well-made, well-acted film that airs on the side of discretion and atmosphere. 

Also under the umbrella of watch, a late-week announcement that Beyondfest would indeed be happening made my year! Instead of the historic Egyptian Theatre in Hollywood - which obviously would not be conducive to social distancing, those crazy fuckers that run the show are having it at Mission Tiki Drive-in Theatre, fifty-four miles from me in Montclair, California. This presents massive logistics issues, and I was not able to get everything I wanted because of that. However, what I did get, is awesome!



I can't really complain, because this is a STACKED couple of days. This coming Thursday is the Possessor premiere, and I'll definitely be doing a quick, spoiler-free review of it for The Horror Vision, after the showing, so watch for that next Friday!


Electric Wizard - Let Us Prey
Portishead - Third
Death Valley Girls - Under the Spell of Joy (pre-release single)
Death Valley Girls - Hold My Hand (pre-release single)
Cocksure - K.K.E.P.
Doves - The Universal Want
White Lung - Paradise


A lot of Swords lately. Here, the Five of Wands - or Strife as Crowley dubbed it in the Thoth - appears to point toward my internal struggle over my work on the second Shadow Play book. It's been a difficult two weeks, which surprises and infuriates me, as with the intricate outline I previously created for this book, the writing is not that difficult. Yet, somehow, I struggle with it nearly every time I sit down to work on it. I've tried all my tricks - my timers and focus apps and whatnot - and I've tried just putting my head down and pummeling into it. All of this works in getting writing done, but none of it works in making the process gel in my head. I know this will come, it's just frustrating waiting for it.

Saturday, August 8, 2020

Isolation: Day 144 - New Mastodon

Well, maybe not exactly new Mastodon, as the forthcoming Medium Rarities, out September 11th, is, as the title suggests, a rarities collection, and not a full-blown new album. Either way, I'm excited. It's been three years since Emperor of Sand, and I am fully ready for new music from these guys.


Last night, it was with great fervor that I rented Amy Seimetz's new film She Dies Tomorrow. Wow. This is one I'll be mulling over for months to come. It's not that there's necessarily something deeper than what's on the screen, but the film is an interesting idea - and extrapolation of linguistic, sociological, and psychological idea already out there - executed by Semitz's unique and confident voice. It's a voice that is wholly her own, although you'll be able to make some comparisons when it comes to tempo and restraint. It's the confidence I'm smitten with here; this is not going to be a popular film, but the writer/director doesn't care. And she shouldn't. That's the point.



Poe - Hello

Exhalants - Bang (pre-release single)

Moaning - Uneasy Laughter

Contours - 20th Century Masters

Mastodon - Emperor of Sand

Mastodon - Fallen Torches (pre-release single)

Johnny Thunders and the Heartbreakers - L.A.M.F.



 I did a spread today, to see if A) the recently omnipotent Hierophant would rear his head and, B) if so, might I find a little clarity. No V, but I think I may have found some clarification. 

I've recently finished The Secret Life of Murder, which I'm alternately thinking of as A Beast of its Own Momentum, although that title will most likely go to something else. Once finished, though, I decided instead of simply publishing the novel through my The Horror Vision Press, I would try to shop it. That meant buying a Writer's Market - thank god for Kindle, so no phone book sized tome laying around, waiting to be discarded in a few months. It also meant figuring out a way to make the book slightly different. The version I'm shopping has a different title - a far simpler title, and not necessarily one that I approve of. The idea here is to try and use this to my advantage, to usher in a larger audience and paycheck. Selling out? Who cares - that's an argument for a younger man. As the world unwinds, I find that all I really want to do is be able to buy a piece of land somewhere in Washington state - somewhere away from major cities - and have my little enclave. This is the first step on that experiment.My plan also means sending query letters, something I used to find distasteful, but which I now recognize that I am 100% terrified of. I find this near-paralyzing fear confounding, but its there alright. So for the better part of a week I sat twiddling my thumbs, making excuses of why I wasn't ready to do that yet. Until the first of the three draws of V The Hierophant recently, which basically says this is the dogma you left behind, but for the moment, face it head-on. This new spread then, tells me I have to put in the work doing this, and it will pay off and change my world.

Friday, April 7, 2017

Mastodon - Steambreather

Emperor of Sand has been out a week today. I don't dig it as much as Once More Round the Sun, but it's pretty damn great. A lot of its pretty dense and takes a few listens to crack. Not this one - when track four came up on my first go-through I knew from its opening chords it was a force to be reckoned with.

Monday, March 20, 2017

New Mastodon Video is Hysterically Awesome

I haven't posted any new Mastodon here yet because I only surfaced the other day for that Whigs and caught wind of some of the stuff coming down the pipes. This is one. With Show Yourself and the only other song I've heard thus far, Andromeda, new album Emperor of Sand - due March 31st -  sounds right in line with Once More Round the Sun, which I loved.

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Mastodon Video - Asleep in the Deep

Via Bloody Disgusting. Mastodon's Once More 'Round the Sun made my top 10 records last year and continues to be an almost daily listen for me (often multiple iterations in a sitting). I was obviously very happy to see this pop up earlier today. Hit the bloody disgusting link above for some information about what you see.

Saturday, January 3, 2015

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Mastodon - Chimes at Midnight

I don't totally love this track yet, but I like it, and Mastodon has proven to be a band whose music really filters in through the nooks and crannies only after I can sit and really absorb an entire album over the course of several sittings. The A and B parts of this song are both awesome, but I'm drawn much more at the moment to the slower, melodic guitar of the B sections. It has a cosmic feel to it, a distance that is not relatable by human language or emotion. And I like that. It makes it feel enigmatic and magical, to a degree.

Very much looking forward to Once More 'Round the Sun on June 24th. And honestly, I've never contemplated paying $69.99 for a vinyl no matter what it came with before, but if you follow that link and see those lithographs of the artwork by Skinner, well, if I have the money I just might. Hanging that on the wall in my home seems as though it might turn said wall into a doorway to Cykranosh.