Sunday, June 28, 2015


All hands on deck! This exciting new project has only 22 days left to close it's budget gap on Indiegogo!
Beyond The Living sounds like it's going to be pretty mind blowing and exciting; part horror/ creature feature part art house flick, it tells the story of Brandon, who has a hard time adjusting to society and spends a summer hiking in the south east with a couple of friends. As their journey goes on and Brandon's anxiety heightens, the veil between our world and the world of death begins to breakdown, until the three friends are fighting for their lives!
If you go the Indiegogo page (HERE) you can read more, see some test footage, a message from director William Hoppins, in-progress monster designs, and posters and t-shirts which are perks for donations. 
I met Hoppins for beers last night and after hanging out for a couple of hours and hearing about where he's coming from and who's influenced him, I feel very confident in calling all you fiends who can contribute to go do so. I'm really looking forward to seeing the finished film, because it sounds like the exact kind of movie I like to watch. 
Hoppins name checks Ken Russell, Gus Van Sants, and HP Lovecraft on the page, but he's also a fan of Cronenberg and Lynch and the test footage he's already shot looks really good. To me it sounds like a project we could expect from Glass Eye Pix and Dark Sky Films, who've released some of my favorite movies of the last decade. 
So I seriously encourage all of you dear, dear readers to at least go check out the Indiegogo page and give if you can! And you can follow the film on Twitter @BEYONDtheLIVING. 

Tuesday, June 23, 2015


I don't even know where to begin when it comes to Black Flag! The whole reason I started publishing my own books, making the covers myself, and dedicated myself to hustling my words on my own, was because Black Flag did it with their music. My early book-zines were all an attempt to be literary Black Flag, to some extent.
Thanks, probably almost entirely, to the iconic artwork of Raymond Pettibon's (brother of guitarist/founder Greg Ginn) artwork, Flag's albums look like they need to be owned. There are plenty of great album covers, but Pettibon's work held some magic and it perfectly represented the music found within. I still find it exciting to come across Flag albums at the record store, even though I already own them.
My first two Flag albums were My War and Slip It In. I loved War, but I think Slip should've been an EP with the title track, Rat's Eyes, and Obliteration left off. I'm far less critical of the rest of the discography and can put on almost any of those albums any time. The one album though, that I find to be Flag's most consistent, well written, with the highest replay value is In My Head.
In My Head was the last studio album until the ill received What The? from a couple years ago. As a front man, Henry Rollins had really come into his own and Ginn, bassist Kira Roessler, and drummer Bill Stevenson (Descendents/ALL) had really gelled after a few years of constant touring. The previous album, Loose Nut, made a big promise that In My Head fulfilled. So it's too bad that the '86 tour to promote that album was the end.
Flag had long outgrown the narrow confines of hardcore punk and had been experimenting with slower, more metallic music since Dez Cadena (who Rollins replaced) was the band's singer, which accounts for the majority of their recorded output. By the time they were recording In My Head, Ginn had figured out the formula for mixing the Stooges, Black Sabbath, and jazz influences while still being able to sound like the same band that recorded Nervous Breakdown, which is quite an accomplishment when you consider that from beginning to end Ginn burned through like fourteen members, including four singers!
In My Head continues to influence and inspire me. It's a damn fine album for the band to end on and we're lucky to have it.  
Out Of This World
title track
Drinking and Driving
Retired At 21

Wednesday, June 17, 2015


When I first came across The Flesh Eaters' Drag Strip Riot and Forever Came Today on vinyl on a trip to Boston, all I knew about them was they were a punk band that had been on SST Records. Which was reason enough to buy both albums. I wound up loving both, but I had no idea how much I'd love them.
I had been a huge fan of X for a long time and just gotten into The Blasters (on a related note, Los Lobos's La Bamba soundtrack was my favorite 11th birthday present) so I was totally primed for A Minute To Pray, A Second To Die which featured members of all three bands backing up singer Chris D. Unfortunately, finding that album took years (pre-internet).
I started a doom-punk band called The Hostiles, back in Boston and my singer had the album on CD. I borrowed it, put in my Sony disc man and before I even got to the subway, I was almost tripping on my jaw. Digging My Grave put chills up my spine in a way very few other songs ever had. The interplay of Steve Berlin's sax and DJ Bonebrake's marimba turned the punk blues into a swirling voodoo ritual. You won't often come across musical moments this exciting and unworldly. Chris has said his lyrics were inspired by various films, the books of Jim Thompson and James Cain, and a need to exorcise some demons (check out the great article/interview from Dangerous Minds). In eight tracks Chris D, John Doe, DJ Bonebrake, Steve Berlin, and Dave Alvin created a musical document that few have heard since it was released in 1981, but one that blows away so many other rockers.
And not taking anything away from the other line ups/albums. Flesh Eaters fans will tell you; this is a great damn band and they proved themselves over and over. A Minute To Pray, A Second To Die just has an x-factor that exists because of this magical mix of talents. And now that it has ben rereleased on CD and vinyl from Superior Viaduct and also on iTunes, it's time to get this album in your life if you've never experienced it before.
Digging My Grave
River of Fever
See You In The Boneyard



From the press release;
Good friends for 30+ years, these two bands have finally come together in the form of a split 7″. 2014 saw both bands embark on touring across the U.S, with both also planning overseas touring in 2015. THE RIKK AGNEW BAND come hard and fast with two ferocious punk covers handpicked by Agnew. With SYMBOL SIX bringing two new professionally recorded live tracks to the table. RIKK AGNEW has been legendary in not only the OC/L.A scene but internationallly since 1979 as a member of some of the most influential bands to this day including D.I, THE DETOURS,ADOLESCENTS, SOCIAL DISTORTION, CHRISTIAN DEATH, as well as two notable solo albums. SYMBOL SIX are likewise stalwarts of the Orange County/Los Angeles scenes, having been active since 1980 in their own band as well as in early incarnations of FASTER PUSSYCAT, GUNS N’ ROSES, among others.
This is the first recorded output from THE RIKK AGNEW BAND and the first new recorded output for RIKK AGNEW in over 10 years. This is a vital piece of wax for fans of both bands, and is pressed on three different colors, and marks the beginning of more to come.
This release is fantastic, seriously. You punks need this 7" in your life.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015


Alice Cooper's Dada, from 1983, is one of three albums that he has no recollection of writing and recording and he believes it's the scariest album he's ever recorded. It also happens to be my favorite of Cooper's entire discography. Since I got it from my friend Jase a few years ago, I've listened to it more than any other album. At work, I've let Dada play through as many as ten times on my phone in a day.
Cooper claims he has no idea what the album's about, but it often sounds like a conversation between the artist/entity Alice Cooper and the host personality Vincent Furnier. Take the song Former Lee Warmer; if you insert Vince into the role of narrator and Alice into Lee and consider Alice's world at that time (declining career, relapse into alcoholism) the song is near autobiography. And again, No Man's Land, Alice as a mall Santa or I Love America, Alice as a car salesman? These aren't favorable views of himself or where his career has taken him. Pass The Gun Around is probably the most naked, emotional, autobiographical song on any Alice album about his weird lonely world of touring and alcoholism. Other songs like Scarlet and Sheba and Fresh Blood are pure horror show Alice, but with subtext that could make them metaphors that line up with the aforementioned tracks.
Dada doesn't sound like a cry for help, though. The tone is set with track two, Enough's Enough. A defiant anthem about a young man standing up to his evil father in the wake of his mother's suspicious death. Scared, defeated, humiliated, broken, but defiant, on track after track. Even on the snarky I Love America, with it's redneck spoken word tangent, there's Alice aping the image of every parent's worst nightmare who'd been tamed to the point of appearing on The Muppet Show and even hosting The Grammys.
Musically, the album is a bit dated. The keyboards and compressed drumming is very '80's, but it doesn't hurt the playability of the album. In fact, I prefer Dada over the classic rock sound of some of the original Alice Cooper Band and definitely more than the overproduced Lace and Whiskey and Goes To Hell. The next time we see Alice is in '86 with Constrictor where the Devo/New Wave influence of the last three albums are replaced with a more focused metal approach and the beginning of a long line of great albums.
Dada is the weird middle child album that no one loved or understood, but probably had more to say about the relationship between Alice and Vince than any other album he's ever recorded. It's too bad he has no recollection of making the album, because I'd love to hear what was going on in his head when he was writing these songs.
Enough's Enough
Fresh Blood
Scarlet and Sheba
Pass The Gun Around

Sunday, June 7, 2015


Fabbio Frizzi...City Of The Living Dead
Fred Myrow and Malcolm Seagrave...Phantasm
Ivor Slaney...Death Ship
John Carpenter and Alan Howarth...Halloween III
Howard Shore...The Fly
Richard Band...Re-Animator
Fan made tribute to Ennio Morricone's Giallo film work

Saturday, June 6, 2015


Adrian Garcia Bogliano stunned me with his last film, Here Comes The Devil, an art house possession flick that dealt head on with a crumbling family unit, sexual abuse and incest. It's a jarring and unforgiving film with one of the best endings I've seen in a horror film. The Spanish director's follow up is an even smaller, more intimate story of a blind war vet being dumped in a retirement community to wait for death, but not the death he expects.
Late Phases wastes little time getting to the horror. Only a few minutes in we get our first glimpse of our werewolf pass by a window and the sight made my wife scream a bit. Like the demons in Here Comes The Devil, the werewolf sets the movie up and then takes a backseat, while Bogliano delivers a moving character drama about fatherhood, death and estrangement. Nick Damici (Stake Land) is perfect as Ambrose, a widowed Vietnam vet who's gone blind along with dealing very poorly with his disintegrating relationship with his son. Ambrose is a course and stand offish man who gets on the wrong side of some of his neighbors while charming others. He finds a sort of friend and confidant in Father Roger, played by the always fun to watch Tom Noonan (House of the Devil, Manhunter).
On the horror side, Late Phases does not let viewers down. It's a scary, gory, and tense film that defies expectations, doesn't dumb things down, and goes for the throat with very cool creature FX and action. It's yet another win for Dark Sky Films and Glass Eye Pix, who will be remembered in film history as fondly, if not more, as Hammer or Universal. Late Phases works, not because its a good werewolf movie, but because it's a good movie with werewolves.


If you could hug music and give it a big girly kiss, then the music of Wolfmen of Mars would probably sue me for sexual harassment-or at least get a restraining order. This band gets a big stamp of approval from Stranger With Friction and their new album GAMISU does not disappoint.
If you're unfamiliar with WoM, they are an instrumental synth rock band who's music is heavily inspired the great horror movie soundtracks of the 70's and 80's. Not to be confused with the equally cool Werewolves In Siberia, the Wolfmen have a more fuzzed out driving rock sound.
GAMISU (which apparently means 'fuck off!' in greek) finds WoM innovating and evolving their sound, while still sounding like WoM. Particularly, the first five tracks sound exactly like what fans would expect, but following track six, Hurricane Season on Monster Island (a quieter more atmospheric track than the title suggests), the Wolfmen take it up a notch with the bi-polar-tempo Electric Snakeskin, the driving synth workout No English, fuzzy mosher Machines With Warpaint, and the demonic Morricone-esque Pazuzu Sunrise.
Making this near flawless release all the more delicious is that frame-worthy cover by Patrick Sparrow; monster hands reaching down from the the stars to destroy suburbia...pretty good description of the music there in! While the album became available on Bandcamp June 2nd, vinyl fetishists will get their fix in July when GAMISU takes on it's 12" physical form. Hit their Bandcamp page HERE  and give your day the proper soundtrack it deserves!