Showing posts with label Zeal and Ardor. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Zeal and Ardor. Show all posts

Wednesday, October 5, 2022



Seeing Zeal and Ardor tonight with some friends at the Echoplex!!!


Still going to be another week before I return to Tennessee and grab my books, but here's this week's pull:

New book written by Stephen Grahman Jones! 

I've actually really missed this book in its brief furlough. Can't wait to see what madness Cotes gets Bruce and his big, green spaceship into this time.

Another new book I know very little about.

Kinda hell waiting to buy my books, especially when I intend on stopping by The Comic Bug at some point, and Mike from Atomic Basement is doing a Pop-up shop in Long Beach.


David Bowie - Earthling
Anthrax - Worship Music
Marilyn Manson - Antichrist Superstar
Anthrax - Persistence of Time
Drum - Gold Class
The Ocean - Heliocentric
NIN - The Slip
Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds - No More Shall We Part
Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds - Let Love In

Friday, February 11, 2022

Zeal and Ardor - Run


The new Zeal and Ardor album is out and after three listens this morning, it's already on my shortlist for album of the year. I am perpetually blown the f**k away by how this man's sound evolves. It would be so easy for a band with this DNA to tread water, but that is most definitely NOT the case.


This isn't the edition I have, but I love this cover

I realized recently that, for all the fiction by H.P. Lovecraft I've read over the last thirty-odd years, I don't think I'd ever read The Case of Charles Dexter Ward. I'm about halfway through the novella at this point, and two observations:

1) This one definitely sates the thirst for Lovecraft imagery and overall style/tone, however, it is not a very good story, and does not feel all that different than quite a few of his other stories.

2) This is easily the most racist of HPL's work that I've read.

The racism, coupled with the redundant prose, has made this one a bit of a chore. However, I intend on trudging on until completion. As I have gotten older and been exposed to more and more Weird Fiction and Horror, Lovecraft becomes more about the concepts and less about the writing. He just wasn't that good. 


The season finale of The Book of Boba Fett was everything I could ever want from a Star Wars story. 

Now, we'll all just have to wait until the third season of The Mandalorian premieres.


Burial - Antidawn
Zombi - Digitalis
Abby Sage - Fears of Yours and Mine EP
Zeal and Ardor - Eponymous
Orville Peck - Pony

Saturday, December 11, 2021

New Zeal and Ardor!


I was debating on even posting this, as I won't be watching/listening to anything else from the upcoming eponymous sophomore album from Zeal and Ardor, out February 11th (pre-order HERE). In the end, this is one of my favorite current bands, so there's no way I can't post it here for posterity's sake. Can't wait for this record!!!


I'm really finding myself backlogged with stuff to read these past few months. A lot of this is due to a surge in great comics. And a lot of that is my being pulled kicking and screaming (at first) back into Marvel's X-Books. I'm not reading that many of them, but here's what I'm reading and what I think about them.

I guess I'm going to talk this one to death, but that's kinda what I do with comics/movies/books/music I love. This collection of Jonathan Hickman's TOTAL conversion of the X-Books into something so "All-New, All-Different" took me by complete surprise. In my worldview, there's Claremont, there's Morrison, and now there's Hickman. The House of X/Powers of X revamp eschews zero previous continuity but finds the most bafflingly fantastic ways to give all that tired old stuff an exciting new spin. Characters I've always hated like Xavier and Magneto I'm suddenly fascinated by, and the overall schematic at work here is unlike anything you've ever seen in an X title before. 

No, seriously.

If the cover of that collection I've posted above looks extremely Sci-Fi, that's because the X-Books left the superhero genre behind on this revamp, and have moved into full-blown, epic Science Fiction, with elements of Game of Thrones, Space Opera and pretty much anything else you can think of thrown into the mix. There are very few fisticuffs here - the storylines feel heightened and intriguing because they're all about different characters and their agendas. Plotting, treachery, secret plans and manipulations - seemingly from everybody. All those annoying X-Men altruisms? Pretty much gone.

I'm not going to go into all the plot details here, but if you follow THIS there's a ten-point list that will give you the idea. The list is in descending order, from ten to one. I recommend just scrolling down to number two and starting there. It gives you what you need to know.

Also in these books, there's this running idea of Mutant Technology - not technology as we think of it, but one that consists of multiple mutants using their powers in tandem to form 'Circuits' and garner results not possible as individuals. This is the kind of thing I always complained about in crossovers - the dire straights until the eleventh hour and then, "Quick, use your power with mine and PRESTO - the apocalypse is thwarted every time. Hickman is clearly aware of this trope - who isn't - and addresses it in the same manner he addresses the constant recapitulation of the dead (see number 3 on that list linked above). 

At some point, Wolvie and Colossus' famous Fastball Special is mentioned as the earliest example of this 'technology.'

The Grant Morrison-created Stepford Cuckoos being the first advancement of this in recent years, where five mutants harmonize as one. Five is apparently an important number in this technology, and I'm curious to see how many more examples of this develop in the issues to come.

S.W.O.R.D. is all about the space opera side of this new X-landscape, and although I'm not one for that particular subgenre in prose, in a comic like this, the flavor really hits the spot. As you'll see with all these books, this one is also centered around agendas and machinations, so much so that every issue so far has had pages of classified dossiers included, as we begin to see what an altruistic (maybe) viper Abigail Brand really is. If you don't know who that is, don't worry - I didn't either when I started this book. They catch you up quick.

Also, look at the cast here - there was no way I wasn't going to dig this book, as we have a couple forgotten characters from my favorite era of X-Books included, namely Gateway and Whiz Kid, or Takashi as I last knew him when he was running around with Artie and Leech in the original Inferno.

Spinning out of Hickman's sandbox comes Gerry Duggan's helming the 'Super Hero' genre book "X-Men" that launched at the end of this past summer. The idea is, while the event books deal with the agendas of what's going on with these characters, Mutantdom handpicks a classic "rescue and response" team to help safeguard the planet - you know, since most of the mutants' concerns have gone cosmic. This small team is given a headquarters in NYC from which they can respond to the kind of standard threats we're used to seeing populate all superhero books. Except, even here the book doesn't squander the premise of the larger picture with regular ol' super villains. And besides - all the mutants now coexist on Krakoa, they're no longer fighting one another. So, if Apocalypse, Magneto, Mr. Sinister, et al are all in the family now, who does this new team of X-Men fight? 

So far? A lot of monsters. 

The books have been great, giving us a pretty gnarly planetary threat in the first couple of issues, bringing in one of my favs, the High Evolutionary in another, and setting up someone called Dr. Stasis who is being slowly introduced in a very Chris Claremont plant-the-seeds-slowly-and-make-the-readers-wonder way. 

I started buying this book just for the #1, and five issues later I'm re-reading the issues multiple times. That's true of all these titles - there's so much woven into and between them, it takes a lot of attention to piece it all together. 

When I first saw these ads for the Inferno event, I hadn't read House of X/Powers of X yet. In fact, it was reading the first issue of Inferno 2021 that prompted me to go back and read Hickman's opening salvo. So looking at these ads initially, I was irritated - they used the title of my favorite X-Event from the 80s, and then even made the propaganda modeled after those old Inferno 88 ads. 

Well, I don't know that there's any thematic connection between the two series, but I have to say, my favorite X-Event will still always be Madeline, S'ym and N'astirh's attempts to sacrifice 12 babies and open the gates of Limbo for full-blown Hell-on-Earth, this new Inferno is quickly climbing up to sit at number two on that list. Admittedly, I don't even think there would be five entries on it, as most of the crossover events afterward are lackluster at best. Still, Inferno 2021 is fantastic because it's all about more and more revelations as to just what dirty little fuckers Charles and Magneto are. 

Now, sadly, the one weak link of what I've read in these books is the current "Trial of Magneto" series. Not nearly the same caliber, and hopefully an exception and not an indicator of what is to come once Hickman makes his exit after Inferno #4.


Fleetwood Mac - Tusk
Fleetwood Mac - Tango in the Night
Mastodon - Once More 'Round The Sun
Odonis Odonis - Spectrums
Boy Harsher - Careful
Blut Aus Nord - Memoria Vetusta II: Dialogue with the Stars

Wednesday, October 20, 2021

New Zeal and Ardor!!!


Another new Zeal and Ardor track dropped last week. From the forth-coming, self-titled new album out February 11, 2022, I've successfully avoided listening to this one so far. Too many singles off an upcoming album can be like watching an extra-long movie trailer that tells you too much. I don't like hearing the songs without the context of the larger work of which they are a part. That said, I'm about to break down and jam this one, because, well, because Zeal and Ardor, you know? Pre-order the album from the band's store HERE.


UPDATE: I originally posted the books hitting shelves on 10/27 here for 10/20. This is the corrected list.

Last month, I grabbed the first issue of this series on a lark. Really dug it, and I couldn't pass up this cover on issue 2!

Super into where this book is going again after issue 121. How can they sustain such a fantastic title for this long? I guess with the momentum of nearly four decades behind the characters, it makes sense. Or does it? No other book lasts this long and is good the entire way through. Maybe Claremont's Uncanny X-Men or Peter David's Incredible Hulk. This iteration of the Turtles began in 2012, so that's nearly ten years! Wow.

And lastly, the new Brubaker Phillips Reckless GN! Rejoice! These have become among my favorite things in life. 

31 Days of Halloween:

1) VHS 94 (don't waste your time)
2) The Mutilator
3) Demons 
4) Vortex
5) Possession
6) The Black Phone
7) Slumber Party Massacre
8) Antlers
9) No One Gets Out Alive
10) A Nightmare on Elm Street '84
11) A Nightmare on Elm Street 2010
12) A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors
13) Satan Hates You
14) Night of the Demons
15) Lamb
16) The Company of Wolves
17) There's Someone in the House
18) A Nightmare on Elm Street 4: The Dream Master
19) Titane
20) A Nightmare on Elm Street 5: The Dream Child


The Final Cut - Consumed
Dennis Michael Tenney - The Beast Inside (single)
Various - Apple 80s Hard Rock Essentials
Skid Row - Eponymous
Slayer - Decade of Aggression
Pretty Maids - Red, Hot and Heavy (terrible album title)
Trust Obey - Fear and Bullets


A new, solid foundation for moving forward. 

Friday, July 23, 2021

New Zeal and Ardor!

How long do we have to wait until this new Zeal and Ardor album drops? The correct answer is too f*&king long! 


This has been a strange year, because over halfway through, and I've read very few actual novels. Instead, all my reading time is spent reading comics. Not a bad thing, and this certainly isn't the first time this has happened, but between starting the A Most Horrible Library podcast, and the brief resurrection of Drinking with Comics, I've fallen back in love with the medium in a way I haven't felt in years, specifically Marvel Comics, which I thought I'd left behind me after the 2015 Secret Wars event tapped us old-timer Marvel Zombies on the shoulders and whispered, "The old continuity you cling to is gone. Rest easy, this is for a younger generation now."

I've been digging in back issue bins for the first time in at least 15 years. I've also been seeking stuff out on eBay, both in attempts to fill in long-forgotten gaps in series I'd thought I'd given up on. It's made me realize I've come to regret giving away or selling back so many comics over the years. And I've been re-reading a bunch of old-school series as I acquire these missing pieces.

I remember seeing a full-page ad for this book back when I was a kid and thinking it looked troubling. A mutant kid killing one of his friends/teammates? Wow. I only read New Mutants here and there as a kid, so a lot of the character development was lost on me when I did pick up the book, and I never quite understood how Fallen Angels fit into the overall continuity of the ongoing Mutant Books, most penned by my beloved Chris Claremont still at that time. Now I know.

Fallen Angels was a New Mutants spin-off mini-series that ran back in 1987. A couple years ago I found issues 5-8 somewhere and picked them up, but it wasn't until two weeks ago I tracked down 1-4, and now completed, I've finally been reading this weird little adventure that features Roberta DaCosta AKA Sunspot and Warlock - always a character that made me go "WTF?" when I was a kid. Like a lot of comics from this era, this is a bit over-written, however, once you adjust to the difference in style, it's pretty fun.

This is a more recent title. A five-issue series by Jason Latour, Robbie Rodriguez and colorist Rico Renzi. Robbie and Rico are the visual team responsible for the short-lived but fantastic Vertigo series FBP, aka Collider. I fell in love with their style on that book, and when they came up with the initial design for Spider-Gwen - a character I shouldn't have really cared about at all at the time based on my reading habits - I gushed. 

I love this character's design. 

At the time of the series, and when it came out, I bought issues 1 and 2 and then stopped. Recently, I found 3-5 in the bins at The Comic Bug and started reading through it. Pretty cool alternate universe set-up, where Peter Parker is dead, Gwen was bitten by the radioactive spider, and Frank Castle is a cop! Also, MJ and Gwen play in a band called, what else? The Mary Janes, and have a hit song called "Face it, Tiger."

I don't know that I'll go back and read anything after this small series, but these five issues are bringing me great joy at the moment, so who knows?

With my recently reestablished love of Spider-Man, I've been going back in and just snatching rando issues from the three 80s series I would read off and on, and which I'm realizing I am missing so many issues I once had. In particular, I've been finding quite a few issues of Peter Parker: The Spectacular Spider-Man, most issues in the 130s and 140s. Here's a recent acquisition that ties together several other disparate issues I had, so I can now read a short little stint. Remember: back in the 80s and before, trade collections were next to non-existent, so the editorial edict for these books wasn't for the creators to do 5-issue arcs. What we'd get is one-offs, larger threads that played out amidst the monthly stand-alones, and, in Spidey's case, arcs that ran across all three of his titles at the time (Web, Spectacular, and of course, Amazing). 

The good news is, almost all of these books run between $2.99 and $3.99, so it's not like I'm breaking the bank. And sifting through the back issue bins has been a strangely calming routine. I can get all stressed out at work, stop by the bug and spend 30 minutes flipping through issues, and all that bad shit is gone when I walk out the door.

Also, motivated by the "Book Club" section on the latest episode of the Marvel's Pull List podcast, I decided it was finally time to re-read Grant Morrison's New X-Men run, so I dusted off the first of my three hardcovers and blew through the first arc E is for Extinction, as well as the 2001 annual that introduced Xorn. Oh, reading this is making me remember just how much I love Morrison's take on the X-Men.


Anthrax - Among the Living
Dio - Holy Diver
Chicago - 25 or 6 to 4 (single)
Black Sabbath - Paranoid
King Woman - Celestial Blues (pre-release singles)
Jethro Tull - Benefit
Ministry - Animositisomina
Godflesh - New Flesh in Dub Vol 1
Zeal and Ardor - Stranger Fruit
Mastodon - Crack the Skye 


I'm back on the journey into Shadow Play, Book Two, and for the first time since last year about this time, I am IN! The book is occupying a lot of my thoughts and time, and what's more, I finally found the voice for a new element I'm adding. Also, there is way more written than I thought, and it's way better than I remembered. So while I'm still letting a new nosleep series idea percolate, my main focus has finally shifted back to where I need it to be!

Wednesday, June 2, 2021

New Zeal and Ardor!!!

FUCK YES! I'm a little late with this one, as I've been so preoccupied with the new Perturbator that I forgot Z&A dropped a new track and announced an album coming out sometime in early 2022. I think; I swear I saw a February date when I first went to this song, but I can't find that any longer, so maybe I'm wrong and we'll get the album sooner. That would be fantastic!


Super psyched that my cohost on A Most Horrible Library, Chris Saunders and I got to interview comics legend Glenn Fabry this past week. Check out the episode on Spotify, Apple Music, any other pod-platform, or just right here on youtube:

If you're unfamiliar with Glenn, he's best known as the man who did every single cover for Garth Ennis and Steve Dillion's Preacher, still my all-time favorite comic. To say this was an honor would be an understatement indeed.

While talking to Glenn, we found out he has a Big Cartel shop, and I had to throw up a link. Glenn doesn't make royalties on almost anything he did cover-wise, so he's not exactly sitting on top of the world like Mr. Ennis is (deservedly so, but still). I picked up a couple awesome prints from Glenn's shop, and wanted to spread the word. 

Glenn's Big Cartel is HERE, and his Creature From the Black Lagoon is NO JOKE.


Seriously, I think there was like a week this month without a Spider-man book and I felt the void! What has become of me?

And I guess because we had a week off, two spidey books this week!

Wrapping up what has been a fantastic series that truly is unlike anything else I've ever read. The solicitation logline, "Breaking Bad meets The Sandman" isn't exactly right, but it gets you in the ballpark, and I'd never take issue with such an over-the-top comparison because it did its job - it convinced me to take a chance that I do not regret.

Somehow I missed issue three of Dead Dog's Bite, so I'll be holding off reading this until I can pick that up, too.

YES! Issue 45 was my favorite comic of the year so far, so I can't wait to see what else the 90s has in store for Marcus and crew.

Cool series, but another one that I hiccuped and missed a few issues of. I'll remedy that by next week though. So glad to be reading some Larry Hama again.

This book continues to impress me, despite its over-the-top, almost classic Image feel.


Perturbator - Lustful Sacraments
David Bowie - Hunky Dory
Harakiri for the Sky - III: Trauma
Silent - Modern Hate
Siouxsie and the Banshees - Tinderbox 
Zeal and Ardor - Run (Single)
Zeal and Ardor - Stranger Fruit



Super appropriate - Opportunites revolving past me in several areas, leaving me dizzy, uncertain and confused. Fighting to stand atop my decision and look at it all with a meticulous and discerning eye.

Monday, December 7, 2020

My Top Ten Albums of 2020

 While the world around us went to Hell, I used a constant influx of awesome music to stay sane. There were A LOT of great records this year, here are my favorite ten.

Manuel Gagneux has proven he's not going anywhere, and on Wake of a Nation - an EP with a more robust run-time than some albums - he's begun to shift his work from clever Alt-History to a poignant contemplation on current global events to chilling, heart-pound results.

I've never cared too much about RTJ's other albums - none of it's bad, but none of it is irreplaceable to me - but THIS! Partially because of when it dropped, partially because of how it dropped, partially because they refuse to participate in all the Hip Hop tropes that make me skeptical of the genre, and especially because it's just that good. Killer Mike and El-P can both rhyme like madmen - a lost art if you do a quick who's who of the 'name brands' of rap at the moment - and on top of it, they can actually do so eloquently on pretty much every urgent topic of the day.

Two years ago, when I fell in love with Ms. Rundle's music, it never would have dawned on me how well it would mesh with Thou's. Imagine my pleasant surprise then when the first track from this album dropped. To Thou is one of those "Beautifully brutal" bands that transcend any genre or classification for me, and something about their stoic sonic textures meshes perfectly with Emma Ruth Rundle's dark, contemplative musings.
The most 'balls out' record I heard this year. Infinitely repeatable and perfectly balanced between hooking you and punching you in the goddamn face.

I can't even believe the range on display here. One might have thought Greg Puciato's first solo record would have come out sounding a bit like Black Queen and DEP in a blender.

One would be perfectly incorrect. This is... an evolution not many metal frontmen could ever pull off. I remember the days when I could see Mike Patton's influence on Greg Puciato. Now I only see his own personal creative resilience. 

Recontextualizing so many different sounds from Heavy Music's last twenty-five years: I hear Alice in Chains, I hear Fear Factory, I hear Bungle, I hear Slipknot. Only, that's not all I hear. I also hear a template for a band that sounds like none of those things exactly and nothing like anything I've heard before. And I want more.

The first Bungle album in twenty years is a redux of their demo - which I never gave a shit about listening to even at my most rabid Bungle fan stage - and it's being re-worked and performed with Thrash Icons Dave Lombardo and Scott Ian? There was simply no way this one didn't make it onto the list. Also the best concert of the year, although of course, there haven't been any concerts since about three weeks after I saw them, so that may be slightly skewed.

This band reminds me so much of the kind of bands I couldn't get enough of in the late 90s. I loved the first Exhalants record, then they went and deepened their sound into this and I had to do a double-take. These guys are for fucking real and I will follow them to the ends of the Earth. Which, incidentally, might not be that long to follow them for, but still. 

Another band that just can't do anything wrong. The Deftones continue to push the edges of their sound in unexpected directions, and while there's no mistaking this for anything but a Deftones record, ain't nothing wrong with that at all.

And actually, as my friend Jacob pointed out, there is at least one passage that could easily lead one to believe the tracks had unexpectedly rotated over to a Vangelis song.

I guess I needed some beauty in my life this year, and Fleet Foxes Shore definitely qualifies as the most beautiful new album I heard in 2020. 

It was a weird year, and some of these records I didn't even listen to as much as you would think for them to make such an impression on me. But I've begun spending a good deal of time on narrative podcasts and audiobooks, as well as a fixation on a lot of music that predates 2020. Maybe then, the less-listened to entries on this list won their spot by making such a large impression in so few listens? 

Friday, October 23, 2020

8 Days 'til Halloween - New Zeal and Ardor Out Today!


New Zeal and Ardor dropped today! Six songs and Manuel Gagneux continues to evolve this project in ways that keep it feeling anything but stagnant or gimmicky. Love this band. Buy HERE.

31 Days of Halloween:

Last night I went up to Hollywood and visited my friend Keller for the first time since early March. Hollyweird is not exactly a place I want to be at the moment, but tucked away in his apartment, the petri dish of the streets is far removed, so it at least felt safe. We talked, played each other a bunch of music we'd been into or found since our last palaver, and then rounded out the night with my DVD copy of Filmrise's Texas Chainsaw Massacre: A Family Portrait. Keller had never seen this, didn't even know it existed, and what's more, he had only days before just watched the original TCM for the first time. He's a brave man, and a student of film, so he did the scholarly thing and watched the original with the 2003 remake. Full disclosure: While there are a few small things I liked about that remake, it is a film I abhor. I hate Jessica Biel's 'acting' and the film's and its denouement's insistent on plying her character with enough water to soak her white shirt to her flesh. I hate the way the extremely impressive scene that follows the bullet through the hitchhiker's head and out the back becomes transparent in the final frame and you can clearly see the actor has been replaced with a dummy (otherwise, it's an awesome shot). I know there's more I hate about the film, but that's what I remember and I've thankfully put the rest out of my mind. 

But I digress. The original TCM is a classic, and we spent a good deal of time talking about its charms and strengths, then I showed him A Family Portrait - all in-depth interviews with the primary film's villains - Edwin Neal, Jim Siedow, John Dugan, and of course, Gunnar Hansen. They tell stories about the film's set, and the absolute insanity director Tobe Hooper used to sculpt the set, mood, and performances of the cast. 
Texas Chainsaw Massacre: A Family Portrait will blow your mind, and it is definitely the film that helped grow my appreciation of the original film into the holy reverence I hold it in (it's not a film I watch often, and I'm not a card-carrying, memorabilia-collecting fan, but when I do find myself in the mood to watch it, I do so in quiet reverence every time). I consider A Family Portrait and essential companion piece to the original film, and lo and behold, the entire thing is on youtube:


1) Tales of Halloween: Sweet Tooth/The Wolf Man (1941)
2) From Beyond/Monsterland: "Port Fourchon, Louisiana"/Tales of Halloween: "The Night Billy Raised Hell" & "Trick"
3) Mulholland Drive/Creepshow (1982): "The Crate"
4) Waxwork
5) Synchronic/Bad Hair
6) Dolls
7) Lovecraft Country Ep. 8/Tales of Halloween: "The Weak and the Wicked" & "The Grim Grinning Ghost"
8) 976-Evil
9) Repo! The Genetic Opera
10) Firestarter/George A. Romero's Bruiser
11) The Haunting of Bly Manor episodes 1 & 2/Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2
12) The Haunting of Bly Manor episodes 3, 4, and 5/House of 1000 Corpses
13) Masque of the Red Death/Creepshow (2019) Episode 7/Creepshow (1982)
14) The Haunting of Bly Manor episodes 6 and 7
15) The Haunting of Bly Manor episodes 8 and 9/Roseanne (88) season 2 and 3 Halloween Episodes
16) The Mortuary Collection/Roseanne (88) season 4 Halloween Episode
17) Ginger Snaps Back: The Beginning
18) Lovecraft Country episode 9/The Haunting/Roseanne (88) season 5 Halloween Episode
19) Lovecraft Country episode 10/Tales From the Crypt season 1 ep. 5 "Lover Come Hack to Me"
20) George A. Romero's Season of the Witch
21) The Omen
23) Texas Chainsaw Massacre: A Family Portrait/Masters of Horror: "Sick Girl" (Lucky McKee)

New Creepshow animated special hits Shudder THIS Thursday, 10/29 - just in time for Halloween!

While season on of Shudder's Creepshow started out with a bang but kind of became a series of diminishing returns, I'm still of the opinion that any Creepshow is better than no Creepshow. Can't wait!


My Life with the Thrill Kill Kult - Confessions of a Knife
Ministry - The Mind is a Terrible Thing to Taste
Joy Division - Still
16 Horsepower - Low Estate
Crystal Castles - II
Miranda Sex Garden - Fairytales of Slavery
The Misfits - Earth A.D.
The Rollins Stones - Hot Rocks 2


Grandiose ideas and the Will to transmute them from intangible to palpable.

Saturday, October 10, 2020

New Zeal and Ardor!


Wake of a Nation EP out October 23rd, pre-order HERE.

31 Days of Halloween:

Last night's viewing was an unexpected one: Darren Lynn Bousman's Repo! The Genetic Opera. It'd been probably six years since I saw this one last - I remember because that was a communal viewing in a cemetery with a shadow Cast! At any rate, I had to dig my DVD out of storage, but it was well worth it. I love this flick so much, especially Anthony Stewart Head's character. Here's one of my favorite scenes:

1) Tales of Halloween: Sweet Tooth/The Wolf Man (1941)
2) From Beyond/Monsterland: Port Fourchon, Louisiana/Tales of Halloween: The Night Billy Raised Hell/Tales of Halloween: Trick
3) Mulholland Drive/Creepshow (1982): The Crate
4) Waxwork
5) Synchronic/Bad Hair
6) Dolls
7) Lovecraft Country Ep. 8/Tales of Halloween: The Weak and the Wicken/Tales of Halloween: The Grim Grinning Ghost
8) 976-Evil
9) Repo! The Genetic Opera
Oh! And I did attempt to watch 976-Evil II, but within 30 minutes deemed it unwatchable. I do not believe this is Mr. Wynorski's fault; quite the contrary. Within the film there is an evident barren feeling due to what I would imagine is a limited budget and a complete misuse of the funds they did have. The sets are often barren, as with the hotel room George "Buck" Flower's Turrell finds himself in after being taken into protective custody by the police. I don't know if I'm simply still adjusting to having a 4K television and how it highlights shortcomings in older productions, but the sparse contributions by the Art Department, and the ridiculous explosions (a toilet? Really? You spent production money on an exploding potty?), combined with the limited lighting, made me feel as though I was watching this one through the view screen on a camcorder.

Also, the gratuitous Spike-with-Machine-Gun scene was just lame.


After I finished re-reading Clive Barker's iconic The Hellbound Heart, I picked up the Kindle edition of The Toll, a novella written by Mark Miller, who works with Mr. Barker at his production company, Seraphim. 

From the author: "Hellraiser: The Toll is a novella that bridges the events of The Hellbound Heart and The Scarlet Gospels. We thought it would be fun to see what kinds of hell Pinhead had been raising before we saw him in The Gospels. In Clive's novel, there's mention of a lot of mayhem Pinhead has been getting into in preparation for his hostile takeover of Hell. So there was lots of room to dive into what exactly that mayhem might look like. And in that conversation between Clive and me, it seemed to make sense that he'd visit Kirsty and that he'd also want her to be a witness for him, since their fates are tied together. "It's a short book, but Kirsty goes through a lot along the way. And we also get to see who she's become since her time with the legendary hell priest. I'd written for the comic, which was an incredible experience. And having worked so closely on Gospels, and also with Clive all these years, when he gave me his blessing to take them into the world of prose, I hit the ground running and never looked back. A lot like Kirsty in the story. But you'll have to read it to find out exactly what that means."

I liked The Toll, but I didn't love it. It's cool to see a literary sequel to the Hellraiser film, as opposed to a sequel to The Hellbound Heart. There are definite differences between the two, primarily that in Hellbound, Kirsty is not the daughter of Julia's husband, and he is not named Larry. Instead, Julia's bough is Rory, and Kirsty is merely a friend. Barker's original novella is, of course, well worthy of its iconic status, however, being that he wrote and directed the film, the book has always seemed to me a first pass at what he eventually perfected on camera. 

How often does that happen, eh?

At any rate, I liked catching up with Kirsty, and I loved the story's utilization of the defunct Devil's Island prison as a gateway to The Wastes. That said, the story seemed a bit rushed and under realized, and I could have done with a more fleshed out Pinhead (pun intended), not the mostly perfunctory one we receive instead.

Either way, Barker's The Scarlet Gospels looms on my horizon. First though, I once again find myself in the mood for a Halloween-timed re-read of Bret Easton Ellis' Lunar Park.


We're in full Autumnal musical territory now:

NIN - Pretty Hate Machine 
Joy Division - Still 
Bauhaus - In the Flat Field 
The Final Cut - Consumed
Darkness Brings the Cold - Devil Swank, Vol. 1
Naked Raygun - Raygun... Naked Raygun 
Skinny Puppy - Too Dark Park 


The watery aspect of fire, or the ability (and experience) to know when to temper intellect with emotion. Also, clear insights and the fresh perspective of adopting the perspective of another and cutting your own head off long enough to truly experience that other perspective. 

Saturday, March 23, 2019

2019: March 23rd - Zeal & Ardor release Live in London!

I should have realized that, a few days ago when they released We Never Fall, that it would be a harbinger of the band's first live album. I can NOT wait to dig into this today.

K and I saw Jordan Peele's Us last night. Despite one of the worst crowds I've shared a theatre with in recent memory, and me being a bit too high to let all the random conversations not affect my viewing, the film is outstanding. Peele is one of the most original filmmakers out there today, and seeing him interviewed recently on both Horror Noire and Eli Roth's History of Horror, it excites me to no end that he embraces Horror as much as he does, and wants to continue to create inside the genre.

Also, that second trailer for Pet Sematary that I had been avoided was foisted on me before the movie last night, and it looks scary as hell.

Playlist from 3/22:

Talking Heads - Remain in Light
Canadian Rifle - Peaceful Death
Thought Gang - Eponymous
Stan Getz - Focus

No card today.

Thursday, March 21, 2019

2019: March 21st - New Zeal & Ardor Track!

This showed up in my youtube feed last night and frankly, listening to it was so exciting I had a bit of trouble falling asleep afterward. This band continues to amaze me; while this track obviously bears more than a little passing resemblance to the standard 'Zeal & Ardor Sound,' there's more than enough that's 'new' here to show that Manuel and crew are continuing to stretch that signature sound in new directions, without eschewing the core ideas that made them so awesome in the first place. Not an easy thing to do, but they're doing it. So coupled with Baphoment, the new track K and I saw them play at the Roxy back in August, that's two new tracks. Let's hope we get another new album sooner than later. That said, don't rush it guys. Just keep doing what you're doing.


Tuesday night after work I drove up to Hollywood, and my friend Keller and I attended something of a dream event - Harmony Korine's 1997 film Gummo in 35mm at the Egyptian Theatre, with Korine present after the film, interviewed at the front of the room by a long-time friend.

It was magnificent.

Gummo has, since shortly after I first saw the film back in, oh, probably '99, occupied a spot in my top-five favorite films of all time. And while the movie disgusts many folks, this screening cemented my observation that it is both one of the most ugly and simultaneously one of the most beautiful films I have ever seen. There is such life here! After the movie, Korine talked about casting, and how he wanted to put people in the movie that you normally would never see in a movie. You can argue that there's an element of exploitation here, but to that I'd counter that Korine documents and puts himself in the film, which to me dissolves the barrier between filmmaker and subjects. He's one of them, not above them, and I think he makes this very clear. I feel real love in Gummo, and while there's definitely some terrible stuff contained within, it's documented objectively, not celebrated or diminished.


Because I was out late Tuesday, I'd already secured yesterday off from work. The caveat to myself though, was if I stay home, I have to work. So, I spent the entire day, from about 10:00 AM to 6:00 PM working to finish Shadow Play, with only the distraction of the occasional break to read a comic and several loads of laundry between sessions. There was some major dialogue sculpting I had to do in some of the final chapters, and one serious flaw in a certain character's logic that caused a massive reassessment and overhaul of the last ten chapters. Nothing plot-wise, but all the tiny nuances that go into this disparate collection of characters' lives and machinations all coming to a head in a penultimate moment needed to be massaged something fierce. You know, you change something here, you have to follow the ripples through to the end and make sure they all gel. And although I was exhausted and in need of an ice cold Sierra Nevada by 6:15 PM, I am quite happy with the work. Four more chapters to record and I'm ready for that final go-through. Can't wait.


I worked with such focus yesterday, that I was able to ignore two major trailers that dropped and had everyone talking. I'll post them here now as I watch them for the first time.

Wow. Kudos on the use of Baba O'Riley. Also, that's quite the monster near the end, right? And this one, well, I just can't wait for this one:

Playlists from the past few days:


John Carpenter and Alan Howarth - Prince of Darkness OST


Talking Heads - Remain in Light
The Mars Volta - Deloused in the Comatorium
Finn Andrews - One Piece at a Time
Kevin Ayers - Bananamour
Canadian Rifle - Peaceful Death
John Carpenter and Alan Howarth - Prince of Darkness OST

Card of the day:

I keep seeing this one. There's definitely something more below the surface here, something I don't have the time to research at the moment. Deep dive later on.

Saturday, October 13, 2018

2018: October 13th

The closing track from Windhand's Eternal Return, my current musical obsession.

Zeal and Ardor tonight at the Roxy! Can't wait. Normally I'd show up a bit later and hang at the bar, but K wants to get there early, grab a spot by the stage and hang there all night, so it'll be front-and-center for one of her favorite bands. We saw them last year at the High Hat and hot damn! what an awesome show. Not a huge fan of The Roxy, but I'm happy as hell to see them growing into bigger venues.

31 Days of Horror continued with George A. Romero's Day of the Dead, primarily because I ordered the bare bones, director's cut Blu Ray for Land of the Dead - a movie a saw opening night in '05 and did not like very much. In spite of this, I've decided it's time for reassessment, and my friend Anthony swears the Theatrical was unlikeable because of studio edits which the director's cut corrects. We shall see...

31 Days of Horror:

10/01) Summer of 84
10/02) Rope
10/03) Dreams in the Witch House
10/04) Crash
10/05) The Fly
10/06) Re-animator
10/07) Night of the Demons
10/08) Species
10/09) The Roost
10/10) The Convent
10/11) Killer Klowns from Outer Space
10/12) George A. Romero's Day of the Dead

Playlist from 10/12:

The Final Cut - Consumed
In Solitude - Sister
Alice in Chains - Eponymous
Sisters of Mercy - Floodland
Steve Moore - The Mind's Eye OST
Windhand - Eternal Return
Zeal and Ardor - Devil is Fine

Card of the day:

Probably because the prospects of doing any real writing this weekend are slim. Boo social activity!

Saturday, June 9, 2018

2018: June 9th

Well, Stranger Fruit by Zeal and Ardor is shaping up to be the best album I hear this year; pretty sure this is one of those albums that each song will take a turn rotating in as my favorite. Well done lads (and lady), can't wait to see you at the f*&king ROXY in October. Moving up.

Playlist from 6/08/18:

Ghost - Popestar E.P.
Lauryn Hill - MTV Unplugged 2.0
Underworld - 1992-2002 (disc 2)
Underworld/Iggy Pop - Bells and Circles
Ghost - Prequelle
Zeal and Ardor - Eponymous E.P.
Zeal and Ardor - Stranger Fruit

Card for the day:


Tuesday, April 10, 2018

2018: April 10th 8:23 AM

I kind of need this album right now:

Playlist from 4/09:

The Ocean - Heliocentric
The Red Chord - Clients
Myrkur - M
Butthole Surfers - Locust Abortion Technician
Blut Aus Nord - Memoria Vetusta I: Fathers of the Icy Age

Card of the day:

Change because something big has changed with my approach to Parish Fenn, and something bigger with our lead character. And now, I finally feel like I get her.