Showing posts with label Warren Ellis. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Warren Ellis. Show all posts

Sunday, February 25, 2024

Erosion Cylce

While you listen to the wonderful opening track from Erosion Cycle's 2015 Maladies - available on their Bandcamp HERE - follow the logic of how I re-discovered this artist I first connected with about a decade ago. It's a weird and winding road.

I began Sunday morning in a manner I try not to begin any morning; I picked up my phone. Sunday's go one of two ways: I either barely touch the damnable device all day and reach for a book instead, or I feel the need to read the latest Orbital Operations from Warren Ellis the moment I open my eyes. Yesterday proved a case of the latter. From that OO email, I redirected to Ellis' Ltd site (his daily notebook, which I often pick at during the week via the RSS reader Feedly). The article that caught my eye is titled "Cory Doctorow Blogging Style." One of the things I love about Warren Ellis, besides pretty much everything he writes, is how he serves as a hub for access to so many other writers. I share Mr. Ellis' fascination with hearing what writers have to say about their Process, and although I am familiar with Mr. Doctorow in name and reputation alone, a glimpse into his blogging style held a strong pull for me. Blogging continues to be a passion of mine, and in an age where it seems to have largely lapsed as a relevant cultural format, I find inspiration and solace in other people's versions of it. Especially someone as prolific as Cory Doctorow. 

In familiarizing myself with Doctorow's Pluralistic, I began to lurk about, reading various thoughts and articles from the site's four-year history. That's when I hit on the "Enshittification" piece and, subsequently, THIS PIECE Electronic Frontier Foundation published as a five-part article on the cunning (and ruthless) manner in which social media companies basically capture an artist's followers and then ransom them back to them. I finally get it. For anyone else who feels as though their posts are the equivalent of hollering into a cyclone, here, then, is the answer. 

When I used to add links to these daily posts on social media, at the very least I'd get some interaction from friends and followers. Then, for years FB began to classify any link to my blog as "inappropriate or harmful," based on, I finally deduced, the link to one of my previous musical project's names. This, as well as a growing general disdain, led me to all but stop using FB and eventually deactivate the page for a number of months. Later, when I re-engaged, the idea to link this Blogspot page to the URL solved the censoring problem. However, now I had next to no engagement for the posts whatsoever. 

Zero engagement can be tough when you've previously enjoyed a livelier go. I write here for my own benefit primarily, however, those years of having others chime in on my thoughts/work had created a sometimes reciprocal relationship with interaction. It's the same with all the podcast projects I do - it's nice to know someone other than myself is listening.

So now I understand. I've known since the Muskrat took over the bird page and made it x that my posts were being squashed in order to persuade me to pay for that blue checkmark. Not doing that. Hell, I'd love to actually drop my account there altogether. That said, like FB, it is the only avenue of "direct" connection I have with some folks, so I keep it regardless of how my steeping resentment prompts me to avoid actually posting on it for large swathes of time. 

Anyway, by the time I finished reading all those articles by Cory Doctorow, I A) felt physically gross from staring at my phone for so long, despite the intellectual gymnastics my choice of reading promoted, and B) I ended up falling down a rabbit hole and pruning my follows on x (yeah, I don't understand how staring at a largely vapid social media feed fed to me by an algorithm that devalues me at every turn could prompt more time spent on said platform, but that's an avenue of insidiousness perhaps best left deconstructed by someone who earns their dimes in a field of psychological study). It was while doing this that I stumbled across Erosion Cycle for the first time in literally probably ten years, and fell in love as soon as I hit "Play."


TENET absolutely blew my mind.

I am SO happy I waited four years for a chance to have my inaugural viewing of this film (because there will be oh so many more) on an IMAX screen. 

For comparison's sake, I'll say this: Christopher Nolan is the exact opposite of Nicolas Winding Refn. Refn makes beautiful images that he strings together with concepts so foul he basically dares you to continue watching. This is not a negative criticism, and also not exactly accurately applied to Refn's MO until he became a box office draw. Only God Forgives, Too Old to Die Young, Neon Demon - all of these followed the breakout success of Drive and all of them, in some way or another, attempt to punish the viewer's revelry for their imagery with themes, characters and situations that are psychologically grotesque. We see examples of this in but not limited to Martin's high school GF or, hell, episode five of TO2DY; Gordon's request near the beginning of Only God Forgives and Julian's relationship with his mother, or pretty much all of the themes in Neon Demon

Christopher Nolan, on the other hand, takes such care and pride in his work as a cinematic creator, that he develops stories that require multiple viewings to fully grasp. If you make a beautiful movie that everyone understands outright, they may return to it from time to time, but not nearly as much as if you challenge the audience's intellect; in this way, Nolan creates a compulsion to return to his films to "figure them out." I was halfway through TENET and already planning my next viewing.



The new episode of The Horror Vision Presents: Elements of Horror is up on all podcast platforms and with a swanky video on youtube. Full-Spoiler discussion on Gerald Kargl's 1983 "Video Nasty" Angst. I've been putting more and more work into these, and that's definitely starting to pay off:

Also, the recent episode of Drinking with Comics - now an "only YouTube" show, where Mike Shinabargar and I talk in-depth about Robert Kirkman's Energon Universe, especially what he and Joshua Willamson are doing with GIJOE:

I had a lot of fun doing both of these, which is really what it's all about. 


High on Fire - Electric Messiah
Justin Hamline - The House With Dead Leaves
Jim Williams - Possessor OST
Emilie Levienaise-Farrouch - Censor OST
The Devil's Blood - The Thousandfold Epicentre
The Bronx - (I)
Blut Aus Nord - Memoria Vetusta II: Dialogue with the Stars
Chelsea Wolfe - She Reaches Out to She Reaches Out to She
Amigo the Devil - Yours Until the War is Over
Stephen Sanchez - Angel Face
Ozzy Osbourne - No More Tears
John Carpenter - Lost Themes II
Erosion Cycle - Maladies
Amigo the Devil - Everything Is Fine
Jerry Cantrell - Brighten
Nobuhiko Morino - Verses OST


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

• Page of Wands
• IX: The Hermit
• Six of Pentacles

Page of Wands, the Earth of Fire; Tempering the Will to Earthly Concerns. The Hermit is, in my experience, often an indication to regroup and lay low. Finally, the Six of Pentacles can indicate the Balance of those Earthly Concerns, so I'm reading this the same way I've been reading a lot of these of late - take a respite, regroup and save, then redirect my Will. Several "Earthly" concerns I could align this with, but I'm wondering if this is a direct response to something I've been thinking about just before breaking out the cards. The idea that I consulted them without consciously realizing that's what I was doing is a little too good to pass up. 

Wednesday, January 10, 2024

David Bowie - Blackout at the Monolith!!!


Yeah, I'm a little hung up on Heroes lately. Love this track; there's something about it that nods toward Scary Monsters (and Super Freaks), even with the inherent Enoisms present. What a truly strange record, Heroes. Comprised of a single that can reduce me to tears or move me to shake my fists at the heavens, three increasingly odd instrumentals that feel a bit like Blade Runner-meets-John Zorn on quaaludes, a lushly arranged funk track, and then all kinds of Eno weirdness strained through David's pop sensibilities, it all works amazingly well together for a sound that you can only really compare to, well, the rest of the Berlin Trilogy.


I am getting major Warren Ellis/Jason Howard Trees vibes from the thirty seconds of this trailer I watched. 


Also, despite my issues with Evil Dead Rise, I'm very much looking forward to seeing more Lilly Sullivan! 

Monolith is Directed by Matt Vesely and Written by Lucy Campbell. In looking through their discographies, I noticed Ms. Campbell is also a Writer and Co-Director of a 2021 Science Fiction miniseries titled The Big Nothing. Here's the summary:
"When the captain of an isolated mining station near Saturn is murdered, Detective Lennox is sent to investigate the three remaining crew members. Centered around a series of interrogations and flashback, Lennox discovers that everyone has a motive to kill. With otherworldly threats approaching and the killer amongst them, will everybody make it off the station?"

Intriguing, right? I went looking for this and found you can watch the entire five-episode series on an official YouTube channel HERE.

Very hopeful that Monolith will get a wide enough release to hit Clarksville!!!


The Damned - Evil Spirits
Killing Joke - Eponymous
The Sound - From the Lion's Mouth
Run the Jewels - RTJ4
David Bowie - Earthling
David Bowie - Heroes
Marilyn Manson - We Are Chaos
David Bowie - Low
Negative Blast - Echo Planet
The Afghan Whigs - Do The Beast
Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds - Dig, Lazarus, Dig!!!
The Afghan Whigs - Gentlemen


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

• Page of Swords
• Ten of Swords
• Four of Swords

Okay, not only all Swords this morning but also, this is the second day in a row the Four of Swords has reared its head. 

Writing this about eight hours after penning the original post. I was too tired to really deep dive into this Pull last night, but after reading a bit about it, I'm reminded of the "Truce" interpretation. A.K.A. rest. I actually drew these cards last night, while on the verge of what felt, rather dramatically, like exhaustion. It's taking me longer than usual to acclimate to walking as much as I am. Shin Splints set in Tuesday, tore me up yesterday. After scheduling this post last night at about 6:30 PM, I ended up writing for an hour and a half, then turning it in, and I think the "rest" recommendations worked. 

• Page of Swords - Pay attention (intellect) to your body, dickhead!
• Ten of Swords - Get your kingdom in order (when I travel, I very much set up a "Kingdom."
• Four of Swords - Truce between Intellect and Body - REST!!

Tuesday, January 9, 2024

David Bowie/Brian Eno - Neuköln Remastered


Being that David Bowie was not only born but also took his exit from our Planet on this week, I'm doing another edition of David Bowie Week! For today's post, I pulled the remastered version of "Neuköln," originally published on 1977's collaboration with Brian Eno, Heroes. I LOVE the arranging on this one, especially Bowie's Sax. Some interesting tonal ideas.

Heroes is a great album, but it could almost be pragmatically divided into two different playlists, one for the 'songs' and the other for the instrumental suites like "Neuköln." Such a haunting atmosphere to these passages, while the songs draw on a lot of the musical ideas/subsequent tropes being formed in the late 70s. Likewise, the Eastern influence of the instrumentals and overall world themes (


A few days ago I fired up Shudder.TV to see what was playing and caught Writer/Director Liam Gavin's 2017 film A Dark Song. Here's a trailer:

I caught this once before, maybe three or four years ago. I really dug it at the time, and it totally holds up upon second viewing. Mr. Gavin clearly knows his way around the Occult, or at least he researched the hell out of this film. Also, I may be off base, but feel like I detect some Warren Ellis influence here. Maybe I'm just running an unconscious parallel to Ellis and Mike Wolfer's Gravel series from the 00's - also kind of a Mercenary Magician, although in Gravel's case, Combat Magician would be a better description.

Wow. I just realized how much I miss Gravel.

How has it already been almost twenty years since this and Doktor Sleepless


Screaming Females - Desire Pathway
Fever Ray - Radical Romantics
David Bowie - Heroes
Marilyn Manson - We Are Chaos
Run the Jewels - RTJ4
Wayfarer - American Gothic
The Afghan Whigs - How Do You Burn?
The Afghan Whigs - In Spades
The Afghan Whigs - Do The Beast
Damone - Out of the Attic
Yawning Balch - Volume I


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

• VI - The Lovers - Influence or inspiration
• Ace of Wands - Essence inception
• III - The Empress - Fruitfulness

The big pinion in the interpretation for today is choosing to read The Empress as Fruitfulness, an association I often forget or disregard altogether. It fits in with all the other ideas attached to this card, though, and it shows here that I need a little something new to get back on track writing. Being away from home for so long, it would be damn easy to fall out of the habit of writing. Not gonna happen, however, I think I need to lean into a new idea briefly in order to get my momentum back up. I haven't written since Friday. I brought a nice microphone with me so I could record myself reading the current version of Black Gloves and Broken Hearts, a part of the process that can be cumbersome, but that is also one of the most beneficial elements of my edit strategy. So while I'll be doing that at night, I think I'll take some time this afternoon to start up a new Nosleep story I've had percolating in the back of my brain. My first, fairly successful three-part serial on Nosleep, I Got a Deal On My New House Because Someone Committed Suicide in the Garage really inspired me, as I feel like it's some of the best short-form writing I've done to date, and I've been wanting to kind of re-create that. Sure, the Nosleep Community is fantastic, and provides instant validation to writers if they take to your story, which might sound lame at first, but that validation can be used as fuel for stepping up projects.

Thursday, September 29, 2022

You Goddamned Son of a Bitch!!!


Flew into Chicago Midway this past Friday. Always amazing to be in Chicago, more 
so now that I live so close. I flew back out three days later on Monday, back to LaLaLand to work for two weeks. Of course, my boss is awesome, and when he asked me to cycle back in for a week to help out in-house, I asked if I could A) time my stint to coincide with Beyondfest, and B) if I could stay the entire two weeks of the fest. Once a patron of the festival himself (and the person who originally introduced me to it way back in 2012), he replied of course.

It's cool being back in LaLaLand, even if everything about the texture of the city reminds me why I left. There is garbage literally everywhere. Living here, you start to become desensitized to stuff like that; it's a mental and emotional survival skill to ignore crises like that. But once you're away for even a little while, you see it for what it is: an indicator that the population has given up because the civic leaders either don't care or have given up, and infrastructure suffers. This entire city just seems sad to me now. Filthy and dying. Of course, there are still bright bastions of joy housed here, a focal point for so much creative energy for so long now, but the top-heavy corruption that (probably) began with the old studio systems has finally evolved into something of an apex, and it doesn't look good.

Glad I got out but kept a tie. Nice place to visit, wouldn't want to live here (anymore).

But Chicago! Oh, the majesty! I had not driven on Lake Shore Drive for easily two decades, and I did so Saturday night, up to the Chicago Metro for Cold Waves X Day 1. We arrived late and missed the first few bands, but Rein was fantastic, Stromkern also fantastic, and Revco... well, talk about a dream come true, to finally see one of my favorite and most influential bands since Mr. Brown turned me on to them in High School. The night was perfect. The setlist:

Cattle Grind
Stainless Steel Providers
38 (with Richard 23)
Crackin' Up
Attack Ships on Fire
Something Wonderful
No Devotion
Beers, Steers and Queers
Do You Think I'm Sexy (with Duane Buford and Richard 23)

I might have mixed up the order a bit, but those are the songs.


My first Beyondfest screening is tomorrow night at the Aero in Santa Monica. Dario Argento's Dark Glasses:

I'm pretty psyched. After that, Saturday a bunch of us scored free tickets to Trick R' Treat on the big screen at the Hollywood Legion Theatre. Director Michael Dougherty will be in attendance for a Q&A. Pretty psyched. 


Despite the fact that I will be visiting The Comic Bug on this trip, that's not until next week, and I won't be picking up any of the titles I have on my regular pull list back at Rick's Comic City in Clarksville. So this is what will be sitting in my box from this week when I get back to TN:

And Declan Shalvey's new book, Old Dog:

Mr. Shalvey is writing and drawing this, so I am very excited. I've been a fan of his since his work with Warren Ellis, particularly their six-issue run on Moon Knight (the definitive modern run, in my opinion) and Injection, one of if not my absolute favorite ongoing independent comic series in recent memory. Couple that with the writing chops he displayed with 2019's graphic novel Bog Bodies, and Old Dog feels poised to be an immediate obsession.


Revco - Beers, Steers and Queers
Revco - Bix Sexy Land
Revco  - Linger Fickin' Good
Revco - You Goddamned Son of a Bitch
Thee Sacred Souls - Eponymous
Stereolab - Pulse of of the Early Brain (Switched On Vol. 5)
The Flamingos - Best of Playlist
Rein - Reincarnated
Idles - Joy as an Act of Resistance
Boards of Canada - Music Has the Right to Children
Boards of Canada - Geogaddi
Frankie and the Witch Fingers - Brain Telephone
Stromkern - Armageddon
Zeal and Ardor - Stranger Fruit
Joe Begos' Bliss Playlist
Misfits - Static Age
Dio - Last in Line


I haven't had the time to write or post an entry here (been working on this one since Monday), but I have been doing daily pulls:

Tuesday, 9/27/22:

Wednesday, 9/28/22:

Thursday, 9/29/22:

No time to try and read these all now, let alone write anything down, but I always try to record these here for posterity's sake.

Monday, April 11, 2022

Carpenter Brut - Color Me Blood


I completely forgot the new Carpenter Brut dropped earlier this month! Thankfully, a message from my good friend Jacob reminded me, and, after several days of indulging in Leather Terror, can say this is easily my favorite of Mr. Brut's work. Every song is great; here's my current fav, a kind of classic darkwave synth nightmare with a killer beat.

I really want the double red vinyl for this one, but being that there's an almost thirty dollar shipping fee on it from the UK, I'm sticking to the digital release for now. Also, vinyl lust aside, Leather Terror is another example of an album that I do not believe warrants the double vinyl format. Three songs on a side? I feel like constantly flipping a record like this detracts from the experience of listening to it. Regardless, if you want to, you can order it HERE


Warren Ellis recently posted a Pay-What-You-Want, 10K short story on his Orbital Operations site. The story is called Watchtower, and you can read it HERE. I have no idea what it's about; doesn't matter. It's Warren Ellis, and it's far too infrequent we get a piece of prose from the man (not a complaint; he's a busy dude who writes for a living). 

I've mentioned it here before, but his Orbital Operations newsletter is one of my favorite things in life. His musings on the writing process are among my favorite things to read, and I've discovered quite a bit of good music and literature through the recommendations he includes. If I had to pick a favorite of his work... well, I can't. It's all just too good. But you can sign up for the newsletter HERE and you can start with either his first prose novel Crooked Little Vein HERE, his semi-recent revamp of DC's Wildstorm line - which is free on Kindle Unlimited and Comixology at the moment and TOTALLY worth your time; unlike anything you'd expect a DC comic to be - HERE, or just click over to Netflix and fire up his Castlevania series, which I really do need to finally finish.

I'm way overdue for a re-read on this one, and it's been kinda calling my name from the shelf. 


A group of my friends were able to hit the movies on Saturday afternoon for the last scheduled showtime of Goran Stolevski's new film You Won't Be Alone

Talk about not what I expected at all. 

I really enjoyed this one, though, in a way where I can tell you, a lot of people may not feel the same. Especially with the somewhat misleading trailer. You Won't Be Alone requires a certain level of commitment from its audience, and its journey is one that really takes you on a personal journey with the main character, alternately played by several different people, but mostly helmed by Sara Klimoska. The story of a young girl who is kidnapped by a witch and turned into one of the hag's own shapeshifting kind, this is not a Horror movie, but a journey to find a life denied, and it's quite beautiful. I'll admit, I (and pretty much everyone I was with) had a hard time for the first 30 minutes, but after that, I adjusted to the rhythms and mission of the film and really kind of fell in love. 

That's not to say there aren't Horrific elements. However, that is most definitely not the point here. The Horror is a life denied, not the blood and guts. That said, the film's take on witches is one of pretty extreme Body Horror at times, and it can be quite visceral. 

I believe I've posted the trailer here before, however, I'd rather just go with the poster, as it's not misleading in the least. I get that they have to turn the trailer into something that will put people in seats at the theatre, but I really think there might be some backlash on this one.


Carpenter Brut - Leather Terror
Amigo the Devil - Everything is Fine
The Veils - Total Depravity
Grinderman - Eponymous
Scratch Acid - Berserker EP
Huey Lewis & the News - Sports
The National - High Violet
Nurse with Wound - Soliloquy for Lilith
Revocation - The Outer Ones
Orville Peck - Bronco


Yesterday, for the first time in weeks I slept over nine hours. I feel like that recharged some batteries, and the coming week doesn't look quite so bleak as the last one did going into it. This card sometimes denotes inner power, and I'm guessing that recharge will help balance me for the week's ordeals.

Thursday, March 17, 2022

Happy St. Paddy's Day


I'm not going to be able to really celebrate until Saturday, but in the meantime, there's Pogues and Guinness.


You can really tell I've drank all the Marvel kool-aid now, eh?


A friend at work showed me this trailer for the upcoming Event Book Judgment Day, and I will say, I'm curious. I'm not very hip to the Eternals, however, the idea that in their fervor to rid the Earth of "Deviants" they've determined that mutants are one and the same, well, it's a good idea for a story.

Judgment Day lands in July - I think - and although I'm not certain I'll be reading it, I will probably be at the very least staying peripherally abreast of the beats and outcome.


Tones on Tail - Everything!
Plague Bringer - As the Ghosts Collect, the Corpses Rest
Spizm - B4uDIE
Bryce Miller - City Depths
Def Leppard - Pyromania
Rammstein - Rosenrot
Mark Lanegan - Blues Funeral
New Radicals - Maybe You've Been Brainwashed Too
The Pogues - Rum, Sodomy and the Lash
The Pogues - Red Roses for Me
Svarte Greiner - Devolving Trust


Dogmatic regimes - outdated thought that threatens to lock your mind in a box of its own making - the worst kind. Hmmm... No context for this at the moment, unless A) the pull is the cards being playful, as I just had a conversation yesterday about The Hierophant with the person who colored and gave me these cards, or B) it's commentary on how far up Marvel's arse I am at the moment that I'm posting a trailer for an event book. Either way, always good to have a playful reading.

Saturday, March 12, 2022

Haute Tension

New video from Dance with the Dead, and it's really cool! I love the floating first-person perspective used to zoom along deserted, dilapidated forest roads and into old mine shafts. Very cool. Also, those shots are so alluring, I'd imagine it could be difficult to come up with something more narrative-like to compliment it, but a four-minute video of just that perspective stuff would definitely get old. Luckily, the creators knew exactly where to take this one. The "skeleton rave" is a bit goofy, but ultimately totally works for the song, and it gives us a destination for all those traveling shots.


Since seeing it pop up on Shudder at the beginning of the month, I've really been wanting to rewatch Alexander Aja's 2003 High Tension. The problem with that particular film, however, is as much as I like everything about the first two acts, the twist or reveal at the onset of the third never worked for me.


Maybe I've just been looking for a reason to try the film again - I seem to watch it about every ten years, always hoping I feel different. That's never the case. However - I recently began listening to the Horror podcast The House That Screams, and I'll be damned if their most recent episode didn't change my view of the film's personality-warping twist. 

The important thing is, I think, the idea one of the hosts expresses that the killer is not so much a secondary personality, as it is a personification of Marie's romantic (?) feelings for her friend Alex. Something about this just helped my acceptance of the film's outcome, I think probably because at the time of its release, there had already been so many films that imitated Fight Club's masterful maneuvering of character that any hint of it immediately killed a film for me. The only exception to that was Brad Anderson's The Machinist, and my acceptance of that one only came after a conversation with a friend where they explained their understanding of Ivan as a physical personification of Trevor's guilt. The House That Screams hosts (I'm new to the show and haven't heard enough to know exactly who is talking when) make a comparison to Leland Palmer/Bob. Now, while they don't suggest it's exactly the same scenario as Bob's "inhabiting spirit," I'd never thought of this angle before. That kind of surprises me, being what a huge Twin Peaks fan I am. But hearing it and making the earlier, perhaps more 1:1 comparison with The Machinist, I feel like I'm ready to watch the film again and see how it sits.


Re-reading Warren Ellis & Declan Shalvey's painfully short run on Moon Knight. Goddamn, I wish they'd stayed with it for at least twelve issues.

The good news, of course, was the relationship between Ellis and Shalvey that started here went on to give us three GLORIOUS volumes of Injection, and further went on to launch Shalvey as not only a top-tier artist but a pretty damn great writer as well. I'm still thinking about Bog Bodies after re-reading it middle of last year.


Ghost - Impera
Orville Peck - Bronco
The Cure - Faith
Greg Puciato - Lowered (single)
Tennis System - Technicolor Blind
Isobell Campbell & Mark Lanegan - Sunday at Devil Dirt.
Mad Season - Above
Revocation - The Outer Ones
Mark Lanegan - Bubblegum


Okay, I love this spread:

To see such a clear narrative offset by instructions that don't just make sense in the course of my current life, but in the course of the nature of the cards, is almost breathtaking. 

Past = Princess of Swords: Confusion and chaos. This is my exact mindset of late. I'm fighting myself, my intuition, everything. 

Present = Queen of Wands: Not a fan of this card, however, you look at that calming hand on top of the Lion and you get the picture. Reel it in, son. Tame your inner fires and FOCUS.

Future = Prince of Wands: Here's where the beauty emerges. These two cards are in sequence in the deck. One tells you to tame the Lion, the other shows it under your control, pulling you forward. 

Thursday, March 4, 2021

It's all Hunky Dory, Baby!!!

A little Bowie to start things off today, because I'm missing his presence in the world a great deal at the moment.


Here's a great little interview with Nick Cave from last year. Really digging the new Nick Cave/Warren Ellis "solo" record, Carnage, which is great, because I didn't care for Ghosteen at all, as it felt too similar to Skeleton Tree.        


Jackie Wilson - Higher and Higher
Smokey Robinson and the Miracles - Going to a Go-Go (single)
Run the Jewels - RTJ4
Death Grips - Gmail and the Restraining Orders (single)
Death Grips - The Money Store
The Replacements - Tim
Sleaford Mods - Spare Ribs
Dream Division - Beyond the Mirror's Image
The Raveonettes - Lust Lust Lust
The Besnard Lakes - The Besnard Lakes Are the Last of the 


 A recent imbalance definitely caused a miscommunication between myself and one of my fellow podcasters. This has postponed the long-planned Drinking with Comics reunion. I'll probably do a deeper pull later this week to try and figure out how to approach solving this issue.

Saturday, March 28, 2020

Isolation: Day 16 - The Return of Joe Bob Briggs!

Man, this could not come at a better time! I cannot wait for weekly event viewing with Mr. Briggs.


I've been on a reading tear. I finished my re-read of Inferno, the mini series that ran through all the X-books in 1989. I even through in the What If...? Issue that contemplated what would have happened had the X-Folks lost to S'ym and Madelyne Pryor. Mr. Sinister remains my favorite X-Villain, however, it's unfortunate that Mr. Claremont never had the opportunity to fully explore his backstory. I know subsequent X-writers did, however, I don't know that I'd ever be interested in reading beyond Claremont's X-Men again. Louise Simonson works well writing X-Factor inside Claremont's domain, and I don't want to belittle what she did, but really, she began as Claremont's editor on the books, so it makes sense that when he had to hand the reins of one book over to someone, it would be her. And Ms. Simonson's contributions are fantastic. I even like a bit of what Fabian Nicezia added closer to the end of Claremont's tenure, but most of what other creators did at that time grew organically out of the seeds Claremont had laid. Who knows? Maybe I'll find the one of those Sinister-related trades on sale for Kindle at some point and take a chance. I know they took him back to the Victorian era - an immediate 'Pro' for me, however, the subsequent convolution of all things X after Claremont and the editorial insistence on 'Status Quo' just makes me want to pretend the characters were part of a finite series. (Although Morrison's stands on its own as a three-volume masterpiece, and I suspect that may be just about up for re-read as well).

Possibly my favorite splash in the entire series

Next up was the complete Alien/Predator/Prometheus Fire and Stone saga, which was pretty awesome. 

One of my favorite elements of this was when the construct Elden - similar model to Bishop or David from the films - is injected with the Engineer's Life Accelerant "Black Goo" and begins an evolutionary journey that sees him become something almost as monstrous and distressing as the Xenomorphs themselves. Check this out:

More wonderful Nightmare fuel from the Alien Universe!

Next, the first installment of Warren Ellis' 2016 serial novel Normal, which I've had since its release and which I've just realized, is now only available as the collected novel. So, apparently in order to continue, I'll just have to pick that up, which is no problem, as it's readily available on Kindle:

Although I won't be doing the rest of Normal just yet, as reading the first part awakened in me a rabid desire to re-read Charles Stross' Atrocity Archives, which I believe I first read back in... 2007 or 2008, and which has perpetually been on my mind since setting up a Feedly account a few months ago and following Stross' blog (HERE).

If you're unfamiliar with Stross, his Laundry Files books follow an employee in the IT department of a company that deals with Necromantic Arts and Lovecraftian Elder Gods the way Silicon Valley companies deal with Technology. It's fascinating, and I'd been meaning to re-enter Stross world for sometime. I'm only a few pages into this re-read, but I may do more of the series afterward.



The Birthday Party - Mutiny/The Bad Seed EP
Fenn - Epoch
Balthazar - Fever
Beach House - Thank Your Lucky Stars
Siouxsie and the Banshees - Tinderbox
Tennis System - Lovesick
Spotlights - Love and Decay
Various Artists - The Void OST
LCD Soundsystem - Sound of Silver
Me and That Man - New Man, New Songs, Same Shit, Vol. 1
NIN - Ghosts V: Together
Rammstein - Eponymous


No Card.

Thursday, March 19, 2020

Isolation: Day 7 - Type O Negative - Open Air Festival 1995

As usual, Brooklyn Vegan has been killing it on curation and content during these trying times. THIS article, posted Wednesday, 3/18, runs down a list of several fantastic live shows currently available in-full on youtube. Of course, I went directly to the Type O one. I saw them twice on the October Rust tour - the shows are among my fondest concert memories - and this footage takes me back in a way I did not quite expect. With the tenth anniversary of Peter Steele's death on the horizon (April 14th), and with rain falling intermittently more than usual in LaLa Land, this landed at the perfect moment for me. Thanks Brooklyn Vegan, for all that you do!


Two nights ago, K and I finished the second season of Netflix's Castlevania, which means we finally get to move on to Season Three, which I keep seeing referred to as "Psychedelic Horror." Can't wait for that, especially considering the way events played out at the end of Season Two. Written by legendary comics scribe Warren Ellis, Castlevania is pure joy for Horror/Comics/Video Game fans alike. Ellis' writing is top notch; think of when the mostly creator-owned writer steps into high level IP's like X-Books, Batman, or, if you're like me and fondly remember Nextwave: Agents of H.A.T.E., and you'll get a ballpark sense of what a joy it is seeing this man play with super well-known toys. For a peak inside his process, go to Orbital Operations and sign up for his weekly newsletter. It is seriously one of the things in life I most look forward to reading every week, both for the process insights, and his unmatched aptitude as a curator of all things awesome! In the meantime, for only those who have finished Season Two, here's a clip of the penultimate battle that just blows my f*&king mind!



The Mars Volta - Deloused in the Comatorium
Antemasque - Eponymous
The Black Angels - Eponymous EP
SOD - Speak Spanish or Die
Chris Isaak - Heart Shaped World
Slayer - Decade of Aggression
Type O Negative - Origin of the Feces
Beach House - Thank Your Lucky Stars



I'm not sure how to read the common interpretation of "Seed to a Tree." In light of world events, I'm not sure if that's positive for us now, on this side of what this thing will eventually become, or if it's referring to the growth of COVID-19, or if we're talking about the mass culling of our population and eventual rebuilding phase. Another common interpretation here is that something will begin, but that's pretty much as eerily ambiguous as the other.

Let's hope future generations aren't as irresponsible as we (collectively) have been.

As more and more cities go into Shelter-in-Place, I'm having moments throughout my day where Science Fiction interlopes my daily routines and shows me where we very well may be going. Remember, the difference between Science Fiction and Fantasy is Science Fiction is - in its purest form - fiction based on the extrapolation of current Scientific Knowledge/Method. In other words, the Orwells, RAW's, and Huxley's of the world - not to mention the Gilliams -  have been warning us for decades. My company announced today they are drafting official documents for us in the event of checkpoints being erected to control non-quarantine compliance. I heard this and couldn't help envision a scene cobbled together from various fictional sources I've consumed in my life: I pull up to a police or military checkpoint, lower my window, and hand a gas-mask wearing official my papers, which they check over and hand back.

Wow. Yeah, that is most likely where we are going.


Mindful Habitation:

It has never been my intention to make this blog political, primarily because there is no answer when it comes to politics. I detest both sides and long for the day when I can remove my support from either tired old institution we continue to placate. I thought that would be this year. Now - assuming we still have an election in November - I not only want Captain Hairdo out of office, I want to see him tried for Crimes Against Humanity. Because all the other shit was bad, but not that different from what the other side does. Now though, we have a 'leader' who is very much responsible for not only the loss of human life on a grand scale, but what is looking like it will be the end of 'this great nation.' No, I'm blaming him for the existence of COVID-19. But when you follow his words and sentiment, you see where the irresponsibility sets in, and why I make such strong accusations.

Some things to think about are HERE and HERE. Don't dwell in there too long, and don't fall down the Twitter-hole, but these are the things to remember when/if we have an election in November. I would like to see these people Tried in a Court of Law for Crimes Against Humanity. The difference here is, if you compare to, for instance, when Nixon fell from grace, his supporters believed he wasn't guilty until his crimes were proven. In this day and age, people can see proven facts and simply refuse they are facts. This goes back to what I have been saying since the "Alternative Facts" bullshit that began post inauguration. There is no such thing as Alternative Facts. THIS is Orwell's 1984, where the state decides reality, and it's fucking terrifying.

Wednesday, February 26, 2020

Bohren and Der Club of Gore - Deine Kusine

Last night Bohren and Der Club of Gore released a music video - really a short film - for "Deine Kusine," the fifth track off their new record Patchouli Blue, available HERE. A great album, my favorite of the band's since 2000's Sunset Mission, which I've recently noticed is criminally hard to find.


Along with Netflix's Black Spot, which we're almost caught up with and which is becoming increasingly interesting, I've circled back around to two shows I've been meaning to watch for quite some time now. The first, which I binged several episodes of over the weekend, is Love, Death, and Robots, the David Fincher-produced anthology of short, animated films. Those who know me know that, for whatever reason, I really don't get into much animation. Aside from shows with nostalgic value and Cowboy Bebop - truly the work that transcends the genre/medium - animation usually does not connect with me. For this show, I feel like I'm getting more out of it than usual, and the premises so far have been very interesting, so I'm enjoying it. I especially liked Frank Balson's Suits, where the humdrum, simple country life of the farmer has evolved to include piloting mech suits to fight off alien invaders, and Alberto Mielgo's The Witness, which plays like Cold Hell with strippers.

The other show I've gone back to is Warren Ellis' Castlevania. This one, K and I had the missed opportunity of starting multiple times when it first landed, and each and every one of those viewing experiences resulted in our falling asleep. I had long suspected this was not the show's fault, and now that I've settled back into it and completed the first season - at a whopping four episodes - I'm hooked. The first three episodes we'd seen before, in parts multiple times, and they just didn't do it for me. Episode Four? Fantastic. I plan on binging the rest of this over the coming weekend, just in time for Season Three, which Ellis announced in his weekly newsletter recently, and which the trailer for just dropped last week:


New Comic Book Day is slight but marvelous:

Previously, whenever I see the new issue of either Black Stars Above listed on Comics List's New Comics This Week list, the solicitation is always at least one week before the book actually ships. I'm hoping that this time, that is not the case. Black Stars Above continues to astound me with it's complex narrative, fluid prose, and beautiful art. I could really go for all of that today.



The Mars Volta - De-Loused in the Comatorium
Roxy Music - For Your Pleasure
Roy Orbison - Mystery Girl
Second Still - Equals EP
Odonis Odonis - Post Plague
Odonis Odonis - No Pop
Mazzy Star - So Tonight That I Might See
Various Artists - The History of Northwest Garage Rock, Vol. 2

Wednesday, January 22, 2020

Hilary Woods - Tongues of Wild Boar

I know nothing about Hilary Woods, but this song and its accompanying video are gorgeous in the creepiest possible way. The album drops March 13th on Sacred Bones - and it brings me a little spark of joy knowing that's a Friday to boot. Pre-order HERE.



Nothing new this week that's on my radar, but I still have to grab Trees: Three Fates #5. from two weeks ago (not sure how I keep missing this one or why I never put it on my Pull):

Trees: Three Fates has been a nice mostly dose of Warren Ellis' comics writing, and its helped me postpone getting involved in Batman's Grave on a monthly basis. As I editorialized on the most recent episode of Drinking with Comics, I'll read an independent monthly, but I'm done reading Big Two books in a format constantly interrupted by shitty ads. Plus, admittedly, Ellis always reads better in trade.

I know Trees won't be coming back for a while, but I'm really looking forward to the return of Injection, which I believe I read will be starting up again this year. Injection stands as my favorite Ellis book since Doktor Sleepless, and I miss it dearly.


I finished David Cronenberg's Consumed. Outstanding. Five stars - six if it was possible. I really can't wait to see this rendered by the author into a visual, episodic format. There's some serious body horror here, and it runs the game from subtle-but-terrifying to remarkably vulgar. Thus, it should make for a fantastic Cronenberg project.

In the wake of Consumed, I've become a book my friend Jesus gifted me for Christmas, Chuck Wendig's Wanderers:

One-hundred and six pages in and I can't put this book down! I know nothing about the story going in - I hadn't even heard of it before Jesus put it in my hand - and that's definitely making for a great read. Also, its always nice to see a tense or horrific story start with a twist on something so basic - what if your loved one started sleepwalking and would not stop for anything?



Steve Moore - Bliss OST
Tangerine Dream - Sorcerer OST
Zombi - Shape Shift
Umberto - Helpless Spectator
Tangerine Dream - Exit
Godflesh - Post Self
Godflesh - Hymns


Yesterday's card was XXI: The Universe, and it compelled me to work for an extended period of time on the "Bigger Ideas" of the final book in the Shadow Play series. I've made a pact with myself to not begin writing the second book - which is painstakingly outlined - until I have the entirety of the third volume outlined as well. This has proved challenging, to say the least. My writing sessions, have been long and consisted of reading research material, outlining, story boarding (of a sort), and all kinds of other fun tasks, but nothing that scratches the itch to write. Still, a solid three hours yesterday and I made what feels like serious progress.

Serious. Professional. Driven. All qualities I could stand to aspire to of late; as much fun as this phase of the Shadow Play project is, it's susceptible to distraction. I downloaded a new focus app, called Tomato Timer, and it's helped me get a handle on this a bit. And on that note, off to work!

Wednesday, December 4, 2019

It Never Rains in Southern California

It gives me infinite pleasure to have finished Season Three of Veronica Mars last night - the episode ends with this song - and wake up to find it POURING. Because, like the man sings, it literally never rains in Southern California.

Next: Veronica Mars the movie, then Season 4! WU-HU!


Couple movies I watched recently:

Nothing revelatory, but an entertaining watch, to be sure. I really liked the way they used a huge red herring out of the gate and then totally dropped it. Also, the faux choking gag that results from this made me laugh out loud. Letterbxd

I LOVE this movie so very much. Letterboxd.

I LOVE Brad Anderson's films. Most of them, anyway. Transiberian owns a very special place in my heart, as does Session 9 and The Machinist, though to a lesser degree. IN my opinion, Trans is his masterpiece thus far - although there's a few I didn't see in the last few years and one I didn't care for at all, Vanishing on Seventh Street. Letterbxd.


I never thought I'd say it, but after reading Gideon the Ninth on a kindle, then moving on to Warren Ellis' Dead Pig Collector (finished, fantastic), and Autumn Christian's Girl Like A Bomb (in the middle of, also great) on it as well, I am in love with the digital reading format. I bought the Kindle version of the Injection Omnibus by Warren Ellis and Declan Shalvey - I have all the issues at home, but wanted to be able to carry the entire thing around with me all the time, as it is a source of endless inspiration at the moment, even though I've been pretty spotty on actually getting any writing done the last few days. Those weekend shifts at work kill me this time of year, and I've generally just been tired and obsessed with finishing V. Mars.



Orville Peck - Pony
Allegaeon - Apoptosis
Beth Gibbons and the Polish National Radio Symphony - Henry Górecki - Symphony No. 3
New Radicals - Maybe You've Been Brainwashed Too
Canyons - Barrie (single)
Caterina Barbieri - Ecstatic Computation
Blood Red Shoes - Get Tragic
Spotlights - Love and Decay
The Soft Moon - Criminal
The Smiths - Meat is Murder
Meg Myers - Sorry
Blackwater Holylight - Veils of Winter
Lana Del Rey - Norman Fucking Rockwell
Meg Myers - Take Me to the Disco
Perturbator - Dangerous Days
(Sandy) Alex G - House of Sugar


No card today.

Saturday, November 30, 2019

Grimes - My Name is Dark

New Grimes track! I reluctantly listened to this - while I'm chomping at the bit for the album and can't help but listen to every new track she drops, I'd really like to preserve the album experience. That said, I'm glad I hit play this one time (abstaining after until release day) because this is a fantastic track.


Finished Gideon the Ninth. Fantastic - four solid stars on Goodreads. Next up, Autumn Christian's Girl Like A Bomb, which I'm only a few pages into so far but am totally fascinated by. Sex has never been something I've shied away from in fiction, probably because so many of my favorite formative authors utilize it so well. It is a part of life, after all, and Irvine Welsh, Bret Easton Ellis, and Chuck Palahniuk -  to name a few - all write it very well. However, if you look at the common denominator there - all men - you'll probably see what I see, namely the fact that it's pretty one-sided. Christian's book starts off with sex and carries on much the same for the first chapter. It's about a girl's mission to lose her virginity and the strange power she experiences in doing so. Not sure if this power is a metaphor or something extraordinary yet, but then, that's the gotta see of the book, so far, and it's nice to see sex from the female perspective.

Because Girl Like A Bomb is a shorter book, and because I needed some inspiration and Warren Ellis is always raw inspiration, I also bought and downloaded Dead Pig Collector, the novella I picked up a signed copy of earlier in the year but can't bring myself to actually handle in order to read. It was only $.99 on Kindle, so a second, digital copy is hardly extravagant. And of course, within two pages, I'm fascinated and anxious and inspired, all at once.

There are a couple Ellis novels or novellas I've been meaning to read for a few years now, and one I plan to re-read fairly soon, but I figure I'll space them out a bit. The man has a lot of comics I still need to get to as well. The very definition of prolific.


My only day off this week due to the on-call schedule, K and I blitzed through a good half-dozen episodes of Veronica Mars season 3 yesterday. Man! I remembered three as being the weakest season, but honestly, just past the half-way mark and I'm thinking it is actually the strongest. The Campus rape storyline is dark AF and I have to wonder if it helped make the show disappear during that original run, but it's the most engrossing storyline to date, and doesn't suffer from being strewn across an entire season, mixed in with the "Scooby-Doo", case of the week stories that pepper throughout. Unlike the Lilly Kane or Exploding Bus storylines, the Campus rape storyline is an omnipotent presence that nips at our casts' heels the entire length of its life, and as such, really creates an ongoing sense of anxiety that works well in a detective, beach-noir show.

We're super close to finishing season three, doing the movie and then finally getting to the new season, so my curiosity is almost at the point of being sated. I purposely know nothing about Hulu's season 4, and cannot wait to dive into it and see where all these familiar characters are in their lives, fifteen or so years later. And after that... the truth is out there. Mr. Brown and my X-Files playlist project begins...



Meg Myers - Sorry
Jenny Hval - The Practice of Love
New Radicals - Maybe You've Been Brainwashed Too
Badly Drawn Boy - The Hour of the Bewilderbeast
Federale - No Justice
Roxy Music - For Your Pleasure
The Forest Children - Kingdom Animalia
The Forest Children - Darkness Brings the Cold
Oh Baby - The Art of Sleeping Alone
Radiohead - Hail to the Thief
Radiohead - OK Computer
Dungen - Ta det lugnt
Muggs - Dust
Thievery Corporation - The Mirror Conspiracy
Twilight Singers - Twilight
Various Artists - Under Frustration Vol. 2
Blut Aus Nord - Hallucinogen
Them Are Us Too - Remain
White Hex - Gold Nights
Sleaford Mods - English Tapas



I had to pull a clarifying card after coming up with the Eight of Swords - so some contrary experience will challenge a pre-established idea or ideal I carry with me? Good. It's always nice to get a fresh perspective.