Wednesday, November 25, 2015

i was listening to this while trying to sleep, it was great

The Female Chimera
was the title of last night's horrorcast™. Chimera? "...a fire-breathing female monster, usually part lion, goat, and serpent. Because of this derivation, chimera and its adjective, chimerical, came to mean something illusory, fantastical, hoped-for but impossible." Sometimes I don't know what I'm saying or writing really, until sometime later when I reexamine my choices. Inspired by that beguiling screen capture above from Spring, I plucked the title from the air, true significance to be filled in later.

Last night's show was certainly female, and serpentine; the path clear for a while, only to suddenly spur off elsewhere. I say this with deference to Hercyn, whose live set was delayed some 20+ minutes (and no, they were not standing right there, waiting to play—I'm not that much of a bastard) by organic, free-flowing conversation with our guest Tiffany Minx, the formidable / former proprietor of Apop Records in St. Louis, a store with a history of great taste, integrity, celebrating music's farthest fringes, and hosting many a memorable live show. WE GOT TO TALKIN'...things happen; and we hope some or all or most of our banter was engaging for those listening.

When you meet another high-ranking member of your tribe, so much simply being understood, conversations happen—not necessarily on the radio, of course...but Ms. Minx and I found ourselves quite engaged and engaging, hoping that some of you did too.

Then came Hercyn's mighty, barely contained exuberance. "That was superb stuff" as one listener commented.... I'm finding more and more that good, thoughtfully rendered rock music is just good rock music, that definitions are not at all important, and that genre reductions only attempt to corner something that's just happening, because the right players got together in the right room at the right time (Couch Slut also come to mind, as in "what do they do? Who cares, it's amazing (live set from MCoQ, January at that link ^) ...

So, Hercyn, riffs and arrangements that, at least at first, take me to wispy thoughts of prog heaven, perhaps something like Anekdoten—then suddenly I'm riding an air-chariot with forgotten gods, screaming at the wind that yes, we're coming. It's rich, heady stuff, perhaps not for short-loud-fast-type attention spans, but there's a lot of reward for those who listen, raw-but-baroque shanties that recall perhaps Enslaved, or vintage Wolves In The Throne Room. Maybe I'm reaching, but regardless, I admire the romance of what they do and its many layers. Hercyn's set is slated for release on cassette, sometime soon.

Other playlist nods went to Tyrants of Hell (Wohrt Records) | Cape of Bats | Black Aura | while personal highs included new popnihil cassettes, from Warground / Hithaeglir, Crowhurst, and Burnt Hair; Leash; Cuntz; Infernal Stronghold; Unspeakable; and an excerpt from one of my year's favorite releases on cassette, a sprawling, hypnotic piece of articulated gloom by Ateh Gibor Le'olam Shaitan.

Thanks for listening, regards to Hercyn, and Tiffany Minx.
...back next week with more face-punching diversion.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

...the darkness which just exudes all around

No, I do not have a captivity-torture setup in my basement, but I'd build one for the right gal! I'm adaptable; one of the benefits of aging is that some at least become more capable of growth.

Glad to be back on air after a week off, recharged and with the music cup running over as always.

Pretty intrigued by that Invisible Guest cassette, of which we heard a side...came to me with no info, and is quite good—just the kind of languid, eerie instrumental music I'm listening to a lot of late—so whomever you are, Invisible Guest, perfect timing!

Other personal highs included, but were not limited to:  Unspeakable (St. Louis) | new Yellow Eyes (pre order) | Grip | new punk LPs from Soft Shoulder & Cuntz | Moonspawn | the Warground / Hithaeglir split cs on pop nihil ...

Much listener enthusiasm for: the great Cape of Bats (recently heard them for the first time, an immediate favorite, just dripping with all the things I love) | vintage PiL | vintage Birthday Party (I realized that I play The Birthday Party & Nick Cave about as often as Matt Warwick plays Can, and that's just fine | Vorpal Sword (coming soon, here) | great new DA LP (DA shop)

Another still this week from Catherine Breillat's Bluebeard; I've yet to see a film of hers that I didn't deeply appreciate, all of them human stories, grim, yet artfully composed, almost painted.... Click there to reach the archives and playlist for this week's horrorcast™.

Next week: a LIVE SET from HERCYN ... (FB event)

Wednesday, November 4, 2015


Much to my surprise, and to my knowledge, no paper exists entitled The Apotheosis of the Antiheroine in Literature and Cinema. Why? The answer, all too obvious: Because I, Wm. Michael Berger, did not complete my higher education! How I would have basked in the indulgence of my professors, had I seen that idea through. Nothing stopping me from doing it now, of course, and were I to, Alice Morgan from the Luther series would be my cover girl. Pitiless, arrogant, brilliant, over-proud, loyal to a fault, controlling, easily wounded, irresistibly sexual. I can only hope that some flawless parallel of the Alice Morgan character actually exists, somewhere in the world, and that I stay on her good side, preferably on her very good side. (Alice Morgan so deliciously and enticingly portrayed by Ruth Wilson; credit where credit is so very much due!)

Every boy, then, needs an Alice Morgan; a truth-teller, defender, fly on the wall, perpetual vigilant ally, and lust / love object, hovering eternally at a (very near) distance. What an exciting life that would be! Simply waking up every morning would be a fresh dive into the abyss!

When I listen back these My Castle of Quiet archives every Wednesday, I sometimes think, as I do this week, that I really like my show—I grok the reverence and energy I put into it, revel in the selections, et al.—it'd be a bloody fucking waste if I didn't. That said, I'm a fan first, a person with fans second, and perhaps that's why I never tire of the gratification of knowing that there are those who also like my radio program, for their own reasons perhaps, but still. Every enthused, encouraging, positive and/or wholly irreverent comment on the weekly playlist is appreciated, and donations, well—wasn't I surprised to see that once our program-specific goal had been achieved, listeners continued pledging (including one pledge that came in mid-program last night)—thereby surpassing our goal. Sometimes I feel like Sally Field at the 1985 Oscars...a bit incredulous, humble but definitely very pleased!

Playlist hails last night went to Spiteful Urinator | Grausamkeit | Nuit Noire | Psychic Anomaly

...We heard lots of black metal vinyl last night; LPs and singles (selections of mine left over from Singles Going Steady week on WFMU two weeks prior); I'd mention some personal highs, but I pretty much loved the whole show last night (clearly stated above, but we old men tend to repeat ourselves...)

New, excellent releases did abound from Castle friends and familiars The Communion | Halloween5 (aka Enslaved By Owls) | Yellow Eyes | DA | the aforementioned Nuit Noire... ...and that Mauthausen Orchestra 4xCD box on Urashima is no slouch. Back next week.

Thanks again for your donations and support!

Wednesday, October 28, 2015's all white boy bongo music to me so far.

France, with its built-in, cultural-aesthete position in history, with centuries of art appreciation, and particular obsessions with existentialism, death and the macabre, was bound to be a place where black metal would flourish, a fertile ground for generations of uniquely satisfying music.

There's no substitute, then, for a band with a decade-and-a-half's endurance in the genre coming over to the U.S., reminding us that our indigenous black metal, as great as it often is, is distinctly American, and comes from a different dark corner of the soul. ...and with the best French bands, crafting this music comes as naturally as eating snails, or killing off one or more protagonists at the very end of a film.

Mortífera were the indisputable stars of our night, inasmuch as their set was truncated by circumstantial necessity. Those three songs, for myself, were a hearty bowl of black soup, a savoring of what would come the next night, with Mortífera onstage at full force.

We then heard an older track from Celestia; both bands are comprised of nearly the same personnel (adding Ghaast on guitar), yet present so very differently. I'm particularly attached to the song we heard, "Immortal Floating Shadow."

Castlehead-playlist cheers went to Ateh Gibor Le'olam Shaitan  (here's another piece; YT link) | gorgeous grind—one half of a split release by Trepanation | ...and some Stooges-inspired, Swiss, ritual-style electric weirdness from 1978 by Tötenköpf



Our screen capture this week, a personal favorite, comes from Catherine Breillat's Bluebeard (2009), a wonderful, beguiling film that I can't recommend highly enough.

Thank you for a fantastic October, with Halloween still to come!

Friday, October 23, 2015

Greetings friends, Castleheads, Castle haters, et al. ...

Pos or neg, I appreciate your participation in the ongoing "radio
experiment" that is My Castle of Quiettrying always to bring those darker emotions and unsavory music to the airwaves. WFMU is hoping to raise pledges / funds all October, $ we really need in advance of our more official 2-week yearly marathon in March 2016. And yeah, we're running out of October, with the program holding @ 50% toward its *very modest* fundraising goal of $900 for the month.

This month-long "fun-raiser" is low impact; that said, our building needs all kinds of urgent, ridiculous repairs, we have two new t-shirt designs we're offering for your pledge, and you can enter a photo of your pet in our Mascot Contest v.2 when you pledge.

See the white, rectangular, "WOOF-MOO" Flash pledge widget above to make a donation, or go to my playlist-archive page @

For more information, or to donate to WFMU at large (or another WFMU
program) see here.

Hails and thanks to those who have pledged already, those who will pledge,
and those who are unable to donate but just listen and engage My Castle of Quiet with enthusiasm! I'm eternally grateful for your support!!

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Essence indeed.

The inherent value of doing a radio show based solely around the 7" format is many-fold—to herald the labels that continue(d) to champion the format, in a non-hit-based musical underground, in the 1970s, 80s and 90s, as well as those post-2000 vinyl fiends, who continue to produce and purchase singles to this day. ...It's also damn hard for even the most mediocre of artists to make a BAD single. Almost everyone who at least attempts to make music has at least two good sides in them.

The format itself necessitates the immediate, strong statement, so WFMU naturally sounds different during Singles Going Steady week; each DJ is still doing their own, particular thing, but the listener gets more "booms" per set, in fact, it's almost all booms, which I guess is the idea. I should note that this is the first year I've participated in the annual, optional week-long fest, and I'm sorry for all the years that I stuck firm to my standard weekly plan, rather than diving in with zeal, as I did last night.

Castleheads spiked to selections by Drunks With Guns | Wretched Worst | Skullflower | Royal Trux | Scritti Politti | Haare | Atrax Morgue | Necrovulva ... and I'm surprised that no one asked about our atypical playlist image—not a movie screen capture, obviously. I received this picture of a ripe young gal, axe in hand, provocative glare in eyes, by way of a unsolicited phishing email, a "romance scam" if you like, and for some reason I saved it, and thought it had visual entrancement properties, and was somehow appropriate for this show; accompaniment for the program title Pitiful Portable Picnic Player, a phrase I often think of when I think of singles, A Clockwork Orange at this point encoded into my DNA.

Join us again next week for live music from Mortífera, a rare and special black-metal event not to be missed. Please also remember that WFMU is "silently" fundraising this month, and we're swiftly running out of October; My Castle of Quiet now @ 50% toward its modest goal. Huge thanks to those who have already pledged!

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

make me cry!

Paper towels, tear with ease at the perforation...or F E E L  M Y  W R A T H ! ! !

On occasion, My Castle of Quiet takes on spontaneous form, a swirlie of pre-planned and unplanned elements; such was last night's show, with engaging conversations forming a centerpiece, surrounded by mostly lovely, haunting music.

As I intentionally festooned the program around Rene Nunez' soulful and many-textured Horoscope performance, that lapsed into a chat, give or take as long as the set itself, rare for McoQ, but Rene and I fell in quite naturally, an extension of our off-air talk that preceded the program. The live set itself was rich with engaging and varied approaches to solo sound manipulation, using circular musical figures and compelling spoken extracts, and I'd imagine Horoscope's available and soon-to-be available recordings reflect that same singularity and heart.

A bracing chat ensued as well with music writer and Castle friend Mike Rowell, mostly about the SF Fabio Frizzi concert, some other brief music and film tangents as well. Mike's reports from the left-coast field will likely become a recurring segment.

Castleheads loved "Demon Loaf," from the new cassette and digital album Chuck by former McoQ live guests The Gate, as well as selections in our opening set by David Bowie (from Low), Vond, and the supreme new double LP by Kawabata Makoto on vhf.

PLEASE REMEMBER THAT WFMU IS FUN-RAISING ALL THIS MONTH! Find out more about the drive, new t-shirt designs and mascot contest here. To contribute directly to support My Castle of Quiet, please see the white dog-and-cow pledge widget above this post.

Next week, my singles, going steady (or at least liking you as a friend), live music from Mortífera the week after. Click on the gloppy, green mummy from Charles Band's Petrified, above, to reach the playlist and archived audio for this week's horrorcast™.

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Needs more Gutterals.

WOULD YOU RATHER...? Be Father Merrin, or Father Karras?

A few more questions: Where is my Women of The Huff Post calendar? ...and if, from my receiving end, that request seems to minimize women, why then do I feel so aroused every time I watch a Huff Post Live report by Logan Tittle, Caroline Modarressy-Tehrani, or Alyona Mink? It certainly can't be the content; the way they belabor those important issues, yammering on and on with "experts," through shaky Skype connections? Someone there at HuffPost is up to something, and I am merely the libidinous male having my brain and hormonal surges tinkered with.

Also... Why can't the U.S. and Russia team up to defeat ISIS, the way Goku and Vegeta aligned against the more-powerful Frieza? We'll deal with Assad later, and besides, we've supported plenty of ultra-shitty Mideast dictators in the past. MAKE MY LIFE INTO A HAWKISH ANIME PLOT! PLEASE!

Can't say enough good things about Throaat, our live guests on last night's horrorcast™. What I expected and got was raw black metal; what I didn't expect was a lesson in great songwriting and classic metal chops. It was a real exercise in intensely controlled chaos; a well-heeled, but also wild presentation by a band in their prime. Just great metal music.

Also garnering appreciation in our first, pre-Throaat set were Royal Trux (the topic of a recent behind-the-scenes difference of opinion involving myself and several of my radio colleagues, so I've naturally been revisiting their catalog) with one of my most-fondly recalled songs of theirs (and I come down very much on the "YES" side, having long appreciated Neil Hagerty's angular, avant-Stones approach to making music); and Heavydeath, from their latest much love for a first-set doom track, that hopefully the ripple leads to Caligari Records selling a few tapes—whup—"5 remaining"—better jump on that.

Also among the noteworthy last night were: Voqkrre | Grausamkeit | Rid | Orodruin | great new Drew McDowall LP | Black Leather Jesus | new GX Jupitter-Larsen with The New Blockaders LP

Yes, we (My Castle of Quiet and WFMU) are FUN-RAISING for the month of October (see the white, rectangular WFMU logo-widget above this post) and we here at MCoQ appreciate deeply your generous donations toward achieving our very-modest program pledge total for the month. Those not thanked on-air this week will be thanked next week, where we'll have more live music; this time a real-time set by Horoscope (music embeds in that post from Italian noisey; Horoscope on Facebook) .

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

I don't hear any slobbering.

So...last private party at The Castle for a while, as WFMU gears up for Crunch Time: our stealthy, low-impact, October stopgap fundraiser. Fun times last night, more fun to come.

I learned a few things this week; a) you can buy ridiculously inexpensive desktop-printer ink off-brand that works FINE; b) living in the moment as often as possible will always serve you best; and c) Netflix's contractual situations don't care if you want to spend October watching great movies, great SCARY movies, etc.—Oct. 1, what a day to remove The Exorcist, Invisible Invaders, Invasion of the Body Snatchers, Blue Velvet, Bloody Sunday, Yesterday Today and Tomorrow, Going Places, Justine, Nightmares Come At Night, and Schoolgirl Hitchhikers (see above) from their streaming universe. Ah, first-world problems!

Had my usual blast last night, starting off with "Stolen Police Car" by King Tears Bat Trip, sounding like Albert Ayler backed by Boredoms 77, and receiving much approval on our playlist. What followed was a flood of black-ish metal, including the newest (and apparently final) tape from Canada's Putamen Insula, a band I've followed with great interest (featuring members of Oppression and Verglas); wild punk-black from Brasil's Velho; a great, split-single A side from Ancestors Blood on Tour de Garde; also on T-d-G, one whole tape side of creepy, funereal ambience from Old Tower; a classic speed track from Germany's Running Wild (have been playing their first album, a 2015 WFMU Record Fair acquisition, to DEATH at home); and yet another track from Bloodfucking Freaks by Throaat—our special, live guests on next week's program! [Facebook event announcement]

Our final hour was an electronic festi, with tracks from Slenderman, Alexandra Atnif (crunchy, beat-based, home-cassette goodness!), Long Distance Poison's new LP (not to boast AT ALL, but I wrote the liner notes, and WFMU's own Michele Colomer did the design and layout), Golden Retriever, et al.

Click on officer pigtails above, to reach the archive and playlist for last night's horrorcast™, and please join us @ WFMU & My Castle of Quiet next month for live music, Singles Going Steady week, and more. Info tc.

I must dash, and rewatch Curtis Harrington's Night Tide before it's too late.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Sounds like the swinging pendulum over the pit.

Ah, blissful coverage! A lined hoodie, long pants (ok, sweats...yes I wear sweats in public because I just don't give a shit) a crisp breeze across my face, and my desire to leave the house all mark the coming of glorious Autumn in the Northeast. Everything seems possible, my temperament goes from "hair trigger" to "safety on," music sounds better, films and photos look better, my olfactory sense tingles, and hell, I may even get kissed before the year is out (though I hedge no bets.)

This is when traipsing to WFMU to do my weekly program becomes a real joy—may sound pretty much the same—feels renewed, rebooted, to me. That lusty breeze that fuels through Jersey City at the Hudson's edge is simultaneously invigorating and deeply relaxing. Hint: Once you turn the corner of 50, you tend to take not a damn thing for granted.

On to last night's horrorcast™, surprised no one asked about our screen's the lovely Christina Hendricks, of Mad Men fame, peeling off her face in a less-than-Grand Guignol of sorts, in the Ryan Gosling-directed Lost River, a gloomy, Lynchian, neon-lit fable set in a ruined American town, that the more it resonates, is fastly becoming one of my favorite views of the year. Also starring Barbara Steele (!) in a non-speaking role, and the entrancing Saoirse Ronan.

Playlist comments went to a thoughtfully reissued 1981 Heldon single (pop-orange vinyl; on Souffle Continu); Darvulia's great, last gasp; vintage Pussy Galore covering The Stones; prog-black weirdness from Murw; more vintage, New York Dolls' full-throttle cover of Bo Diddley's "Pills," always a personal favorite (live clip 1974), and our opener, a Nurse With Wound single, from their Dada-exotica phase ca. 1995.

Personal highs included the theme from Night Train to Terror; Human Bodies; vintage Piledriver; Red Dragon (on Tour de Garde); one side of the Nembutal cassette on Yamabushi Recordings; and new releases on Midwich by Magas and Moon Pool and Dead Band.

Lots of live music coming in October on My Castle of Quietsets next month from Throaat (10/7); Horoscope (10/14); Mortífera (10/28.) More info tc. Thanks for tuning in!