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Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Fantastico!

http://wfmu.org/playlists/shows/59168

The media frenzy over Snowpocalypse 2015 resulted in a whole lot of nothing, unless you work or invest in the supermarket industry, as is most often the case; the ever-susceptible, with a will to embrace the panic, will say, "but hey, Hurricane Sandy!" and that being the singular exception, aren't you even a bit tired of being manipulated? I performed my habitual, bi-weekly round of grocery shopping, even grabbing a few extra things to drink and snack upon Sunday night, but in my gut, I knew the resulting 1/4-to-1/3 of what was predicted for snowfall would be what would likely happen.
Stop being so READY for disaster! People in Canada are laughing at us....

THAT SAID, due to the predictions and warnings, my brain was very much in hibernation mode, and I thought it possible that instead of a live Castle program, you'd all be treated to this, my special with director Frank Henenlotter from 2011 (a great show to stream if you've not yet heard it, and more than a bit removed from "standard" Castle fare.) Alas, my interview / discussion with the Basket Case / Brain Damage / Bad Biology auteur will have to wait until the next regional disaster for a possible on-air repeat.

Personal highlights from last night's horrocast™ included new selections from new releases by Caïna (new on BLR) | Vorde (great album!) | Nekromantiker | and NightBitch, who we'll be hosting for a live set NEXT WEEK. The Shaved Women > Night Bitch span got a "Brilliant set!" from listener Frito Puente, many thanks!

Listeners seemed to really groove to our last set / hour, typically where "dark" meets "esoteric," with great selections from Edgar Froese (R.I.P.) | Spettro Family | M Dwinell, and others.

Click on the over-helmeted, murderous knight, above, from the first scene of Michele Soavi's The Church (a long time personal favorite) to reach the audio archive, playlist and comments for last night's program. Thanks for listening.

NIGHT BITCH live next week, Facebook event here

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Special Victims Team

http://wfmu.org/playlists/WB

Last night's live set by Couch Slut was so gloriously heavy, it had a blast radius—which means I'll be thinking about it, musing on it for weeks, months to come. It was without question the most anticipated, in sheer numbers—the most talked-about and keenly discussed of all our live My Castle of Quiet sessions. The Castle is at its very best when there's a real-time sense of community and open exchange, via our playlist, event page and Facebook group. That the band themselves turned out to be awesome, relatable individuals was / is one of the great benefits of doing what I do at WFMU. Don't miss the chance to pick up their album, via handshake inc., and if you're in the NY area, catch them live this Friday @ Saint Vitus, their record-release show.

Much love on our playlist also for The Frogs | Guilty Feelings (an amazing album for $1!) | and sets that included Young and In The Way | the legendary and under-appreciated Cherubs | Alucarda | Shaved Women | Deformity | Ivy | Energy Vampires | Contact | Zombies Under Stress (great Netherlands eerie-electronics project, still active! The track we heard was from 1987.) | and a terrific new 7" by our friend and former guest Lea Bertucci.

Not much to add at this point, as I'm still recovering from last night's seminar of heaviness.

Click on this week's screen capture, the ghostly final scene from Bob Clark's Black Christmas (1974; a personal favorite, and the first ever "the calls are coming from inside the house" movie) to reach the streaming audio archive, brisk and lively discussion board, and playlist from last night's horrorcast™.

In two weeks, we'll have live music again, with guests NightBitch!

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

lets build a palace .... and drag our shit through the halls!

http://wfmu.org/playlists/shows/58970

And here I was, thinking that there should be a metal band named "Tipper Gore," turns out there already is. No worse a name for a band than Form A Log, or Personal and The Pizzas.

We were very much in expected Castle territory last night, starting off with the most-unholy quartet of tracks by Ancestors (grimy, horror-basement "bonus material") | Abruptum (antique 10") | Swallowed | The Body and Thou. Followed in short order by a set that included comment-worthy tracks by Pest | the ever-present Orthank | Smorzando (anyone else notice that the signature riff recalled "Another Brick in the Wall"?) | Lalo Schifrin | Young And In The Way | Ivy | the ever-present Raspberry Bulbs | Shaved Women (new album!; band link is to live 2012 MCoQ set) | the ever-present Impalers | and the trailer audio for Jerzy Sklimowski's great film The Shout.

Lots more followed; including new tracks by Luciferum Penis | Bog Oak | the ever-present R. Nikolaenko | ex-WFMU staffer and supergenius John Schnall | Excepter | and the welcome surprise of a great 1968 Philip Glass recording, new on LP / CD / mp3.

Thanks to artist Gea Philes for finding / sharing this week's screen capture, from Leos Carax's Pola X. A love-dance slog through tomato soup! Click there to reach the playlist, audio archive, and your always-appreciated Castlehead commentary.

NEXT WEEK! LIVE MUSIC FROM COUCH SLUT!!!

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Yay! I know injustice!

http://wfmu.org/playlists/shows/58870

So, the buoyancy of the holiday break comes crashing back down to reality. I fell for it, maybe more than most. Too bad that all our lives cannot be more in general like that week or so of relative quiet, and joyfulness. "Reality" isn't just a bitch, this year at least, it's more of a cruel mistress.

...I liked doing something a little different, opening the show with a few more seasonally gloomy selections, easing in to the expected burst of high-energy roust, grind and blackness. ...I enjoyed very much the triumvirate-opening of C93, Bad Seeds and Weyes Blood (excellent new album, The Innocents, with thematic ties to the great 1961 film; the band is currently on North American tour), leading into the playlist-notable selection of Mogwai's central musical theme from Les Revenants (a simply enthralling French TV series, known here as The Returned, and based on the noteworthy film They Came Back (2004, written and directed by Robin Campillo.) Mogwai are a highly evolved instrumental combo, that for all their years of varied, excellent work, deserve more of my attention in general.

What else did we do? We talked about I Spit On Your Grave, (the most talked-about, if far from the best rape-revenge film; I personally prefer both Ms. 45 and Baise Moi) and how despite the claims of the original trailer, that "there isn't a jury in this country that would convict her," listener JakeGould noted that, "I think there is a jury in Ferguson that would convict her. How dare she fight back!"

We also touched on the burden of work, the kind you don't necessarily enjoy but do solely for pay, and how people tend to "blossom" during those few days to a week or more of respite some of us enjoy during the holidays. Case in point that last week's comments / chat was one of the most active, lively and brisk The Castle has seen in many a month.

Also, video-game music once again infiltrated our show, with selections from Super Meat Boy and The Binding of Isaac, and I again have my son to thank for directing my attention to these most-Castle-friendly of selections.

Releases by Bog Oak | Bleak (also currently on tour!) | Human Bodies | J. Soliday | Sale Freux | Contact | and the ever-present Zavod' also thrilled.

Click on our eerie capture from You're Next (which, though it did not resonate with me quite enough to make The Castle's end-of-year film list, warranted two views and was very enjoyable) to reach the archived audio, playlist and comments for last night's horrorcast™. Thanks as always for tuning in / joining in.

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

My reasons for not playing video games and not doing cocaine are nearly identical.

http://wfmu.org/playlists/shows/58774

Great time last night! Confirms my feeling that it's ALWAYS a good policy to have low expectations; I went in last night, feeling like my energy was low, and the show was going to be so-so, middling. 'Twas not the case! Folks were enjoying the music, and the commentary, and that always seems to make for a lively, enthused discussion on the playlist. Last night's playlist comments scrolled to the floor like a Medieval decree. We went from pro sports, to police brutality, to Bob Clark's movies, to Barney Miller, to great teen movies in general, to Repo Man, to mall culture, George Carlin, Lenny Bruce, classic video games, on and on. At its best, The Castle feels like I'm hosting a great party.


I'm still tired, slept five hours approx., trying to gear up for festivities tonight, but I really want to thank everyone for their energetic participation! The tangents were sharp, the comments ranged from astute, to nostalgic, to very funny! Tracy - I'm still laughing about "Ferrero Rocher"! (see above.) ...And who is the mysterious "Denizen," the "rotting corpse"? Always intrigued by those who are drawn in by The Castle's dim, flickering light.


Seemed as though people were really enjoying all the music, I'd say personally that the entire playlist was a "favorite," but some that jumped out were:

Human Bodies | Raspberry Bulbs | Enbilulugugal | Cannibal Movie | music from The Legend of Zelda | Blood Rhythms | Lars Greve | Bog Oak

Wishing everyone a great, better year in 2015, Castleheads and artists alike.

Click on the ruminative, metalized face up top, from the great The Boxer's Omen, to reach the archived audio, playlist and comments for last night's horrorcast™.

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

...less enforced cheer

http://wfmu.org/playlists/shows/58673 

Bowie, Bowie, Bowie. When strangers ask me what I like in music, I state all the obvious Castle choices, but Bowie is always in there, too. At least up to and including Scary Monsters, his albums were groundbreaking, way ahead of anyone's "time," the ideal melding of rock, pop and art. As I eagerly received each new release as a lad, every one was a dazzling, innovative, cold fish slap in the face of music-industry expectations; I reveled in his "Berlin phase," Hunky Dory, Aladdin Sane, Diamond Dogs, all of it. Glad that our opening selection of "Where Have All The Good Times Gone?" made an impression.

Going to try and keep this short, been blogging my fingers off, but there was listener appreciation for many selections last night, and I wholly concur:

Doomsday Student new! | Fear (my singular nod to the holiday) | Swallowed | Couch Slut (live on our show 1.20-21) | Dope Body | ZepulkrAxnaar | Durazis | new Dhampyr | Choke Thirst Die | new Alraune | Orthank | ...and an absolutely great, new tape side from Australia's Half High.

Tracks by R. Nikolaenko, Grasshopper, and Antonius Rex were also personal highs. ...

I'm not much for the "enforced cheer" of the holidays, as listener SeanG put it, and our playlist topper (see above), by Lulu Cipher, sums up my general sentiment. Some people are nicer this time of year, kinder to one another, to strangers, while many more seem to pull inward, looking after their own interests even more than usual, stealing packages right off my porch, and driving like maniacs across our area, to secure every stocking-stuffer, and make sure Aunt Tillie has her Diet Sprite.

Take care of the ones you love, hold them close, remind them that you love them. Reach out to a lonely friend.

Click on Lulu's Darkwave Holiday Card to reach our archived audio, playlist and listener comments for last night's horrorcast™.

Monday, December 22, 2014

Women, In Power and In Peril; film highlights from my 2014 (plus a music list)

The Internet is full of lists; end-of-year, top 10s, top 20s and 25s, often just a collection of line items laid bare, sometimes hyperlinked, sometimes not, and it's often left to the reader to do their own research. The Internet is also full of opinions (and we know what gets said about those), and it's made it way too easy to surf in, say your bit, and beat a hasty retreat, without laying down any sufficient backup data.

With music, I get it, a list is a list is a list—you have the artist name, the release title, and if you like what I like in general, you may already know about it and agree, if not, you'll look it up when time allows. But with film, there's way too many "authorities" out there, who do little more than hand out a bare-bones plot description, call it a review, call it "writing," and I think it's a big part of the reason people say, "Another film list, great. Haven't seen one of those in 5 minutes!" There's a lot of crappy, tossed-off film commentary online, and in some cases it completely sidesteps what I think is the very critical element of WHY this writer liked this film. Film criticism is the place for opinion, a more-than-apropos venue to make it personal; but here in the USA, where we're used to getting a heavy slant in our news media, with maybe, if we're lucky, a side dish of factual information, it's all ass-backwards. I'll continue to work against this tide, with gratitude to those whose pay attention, read instead of skim, and have looked forward to these film lists of mine for however many years I've been doing them.

When I looked at my notes for this year, one common element became abruptly apparent—women. Almost all the films on my list featured a female protagonist, in many cases also an antagonist, and I found this striking, both for the indicated shift in cinematic storytelling (especially in genre and horror stories), as well as the impossible-to-ignore lack of a significant other in my own life, a void that becomes more gaping with time, which may have led me to "favorite" these excellent tales of the female—in power, in conflict, in subjugation and in madness.

King KellyKing Kelly (2012) - This movie gets billed as a drama, but to me it's a thriller, as horrific as any genre film, and maybe that's because I remember a time before the online world filtered, dictated, and straight-up controlled our daily existence. It's an ultimate indictment of the look-at-me generation, where more than ever, women are worshipped solely for their appearance, for "hot pics," where Instragram likes matter infinitely more than the ability to make good conversation. Whether women are more, or less empowered by these circumstances is arguable, and a topic for a whole other post. King Kelly is a webcam girl—the focus of modern, straight-male idolatry—and in her self-crafted universe, which extends into the physical world almost immediately in this harrowing piece of hand-cam cinema, she's for sure empowered, if not in control; like a steamroller with no driver, Kelly creates havoc and destruction for all who hover near her flame. She's just trying to be the hot girl, get some shit done, while engaging in some moderate-to-severe manipulation, and it all flies horribly and tragically out of control. Some may laugh as this movie; I found it to be anxiety-inducing entertainment, loaded with a mounting paranoia. In the Cold War era, we had The Manchurian Candidate, in the Internet age, standards duly lowered, we have King Kelly, and her potential for casual, callous trampling on human life; for me, more frightening, and less comprehensible, than Frank Sinatra's hypnotized assassin. King Kelly is all too real, and just a click away.

Mandy LaneAll the Boys Love Mandy Lane (2006) - A bit older, but new to Netflix, this is going to seem at first like a very standard, teens-on-holiday-getting-picked-off-one-by-one B movie, but don't be fooled. The plot thickens rapidly, like social tar, and I'm perhaps giving away a minor spoiler to say that there is no outside killer, no masked, machete-wielding antagonist preying on innocents, but that's a change for the better. Mandy Lane and her "friends" are far from blameless cannon fodder, and again we find ourselves in the midst of a bitter, no-punches-pulled indictment of American youth, twisting and perverting their entitlement into scheming, murderous intent. What seems at first like some light competition over the girl voted most crushworthy, spins rapidly into a classic tragedy, with a body count to rival Hamlet. My own son is now just entering his teenage years, making this more-than-it-appears tale of twisty teen murder all the more palpable and provocative to me personally.

Alyce KillsAlyce Kills (2011) - Get ready to leap forward a near-generation, as Alyce is Mandy Lane and King Kelly's big sister, a New York City girl of opportunity, who gets a taste for homicide. The city is unnerving, shaking to the core, even (or especially) for a pretty white girl—it's competitive, and riddled with constant temptation to bad behavior. In NYC, there are more reasons to spin deliciously and unrepentantly out of control than to maintain even the appearance of doing the right thing, and Alyce's fall is as grandiose and fascinating to watch as it is inspirational. Having not lived in the city since 1998, I'm now what film writer Thom Andersen would call a "low tourist," in that I delight in depictions of my former home's flaws and hypocrisies. Alyce kills, indeed she does, but she's also a heroine, a "fuck it" icon, for those who know firsthand how NYC can hammer any semblance of a moral code out of a person. One of my favorites on this list.

Nymph()maniacNymph()maniac (2013) - Lars Von Trier has once again made a film I can sink my teeth into, after a few films where, as a fan of his work generally, he lost me, with stories too figurative, symbolic and esoteric to have much impact. I like Von Trier at his most gritty, critical and mean-spirited, and to call his films "sexist" is an oversimplification that entirely misses the point; the men come off no better, often worse, and Von Trier at his best is holding up an unflinching mirror, saying "this is how shitty we are, look at how we treat each other." In my view, the director must worship women, because he can't keep himself from telling obsessive stories about them. Charlotte Gainsbourg absolutely shines, as does Uma Thurman (in one brief but intense scene), while the male characters in Nymph()maniac, though crucial to the story flow, are scummy, transparent wallpaper, not worthy of the complexity and gut-wrenching humanity of Von Trier's women. If anything, the director hates MEN, and I felt shame, even horror, at my own fellows, while watching this epic of human degradation. And is Gainsbourg's sex maniac a victim by chance or a victim by choice? A bit of both, provocative enough to have the film scholars flapping about what this film "means" for decades.

FluktEscape (Flukt) (2012) - The literal translation of this film's Norwegian title is Flight, and fly it does, an action / adventure depiction of the struggle between two women; one a teenage girl, grappling for survival after witnessing the barbaric slaughter of her parents and younger brother, the other a Norse warrior woman, brutal and possessed by forward movement and survival in its rawest form, with a tragic, dark past of her own. Capturing the teen, the warrior, fiercest in her band  (comprised otherwise of formidable males), intends to use the girl as breeding stock, and as one might imagine, the girl does anything and everything to escape her fate as the tribe baby maker. Such ensues a ragged pursuit through pre-industrial Norway, over land and water, arrows and rocks flying, bodies falling, and that's the movie. Simple, but not predictable, and raucously engaging.

The MachineThe Machine (2013) - All films, genre / sci-fi stories especially, should inhabit their own, idiosyncratic world of production design, and The Machine does this with stunning accomplishment—the computers, comm systems, labs, and the titular android itself—all impressive, and quite second nature to the film's character inhabitants. I think of The Machine as a sister film to Beyond the Black Rainbow, if only for their shared moody framing, and roots in 70s sci-fi classics, all achieved with a comparatively small budget to the CGI-dominated blockbusters. In brief, a team of talented AI scientists is broken apart when the woman, a new hire, is assassinated by higher ups for spying; the man, in his grief and frustration with their cruel, crooked bosses at the MOD, designs a powerful AI android, The Machine, with the likeness and basic personality profile of his dead colleague. (He hadn't time to fall in love with her, though he almost certainly would have.) A struggle between the altruistic scientist, his machine, and the evil government ensues, a familiar theme for sure, but this story is done with incredibly meticulous camera work, script, and design; not a single shot is wasted, and the film is engrossing from scene one, and never stops to breathe. A remarkable accomplishment for a first-Internationally-distributed feature, and I can't wait to see what director Caradog James does next.

Comforting SkinComforting Skin - A drifting, aimless, Vancouver hipster is frustrated with her restless life of drugs, shitty boyfriends, and partying. She's in quiet love with her asexual roommate, an impossibly repressed nerd, who loves her but isn't helping, too wrapped in his own head. In an effort to shed her past, and achieve some big catharsis, she gets a very unique tattoo from a mysterious local shop. The sunless, overcast drapery of the city perfectly shrouds this story of 30-something angst, a beautiful woman (especially on the inside, as that's the point of the character) and her search for deeper meaning and yes, love. Her tattoo begins talking to her, and an ecstatic, though perilous, symbiosis ensues, and while this might sound ridiculous, it's not played for laughs; much more like I Stand Alone, but with a delicate woman in emotional turmoil at its center, rather than Gaspar Noe's viciously misanthropic, violent Boucher. I can relate to both characters, Comforting Skin's Koffie, as well as Le Boucher; my internal dialogue is rich, and definitely not for publication, and it's the relatability of the character (a fearless, stunning performance by Victoria Bidewell) that really sold this film to me. This 2011 feature is newly streaming on Netflix, and will delight those who enjoy small-scale, women's stories, with a hefty infusion of the psychological-supernatural.

MonstersMonsters - A magnificent sleeper of a scrappy, sci-fi road movie, set in a post-alien-invasion contaminated zone between Mexico and the US. The aliens don't necessarily mean us harm, they are simply so large, and non-humanoid (the latter a favorite personal theme, as it's arrogant of us to assume that aliens would be humanoid; shades of G. Roddenberry's invention circa classic Trek.) A rough, opportunistic, press photographer is tasked with escorting his publisher's somewhat spoiled, runaway daughter through this "infected" area, where quick death is the order of the day, every day, simply by way of accidental brushes with these gigantic aliens, not to mention desperate bands of individuals who occupy the zone. Where at first, the daughter acts as though it's incumbent upon the photographer to help her survive—a rich brat who's above such dire circumstances—and for his part, the photographer responds with sardonic condescension, their struggle and necessary conciliation is experienced by the viewer in a visceral, believable, and non-episodic fashion. When we finally do see the alien invaders it's a glorious scene; I usually cringe at CGI, but these massive, colorful aliens are quite inventively rendered, and in the course of Monsters' climactic scene, we learn by seeing, that these intruders experience togetherness, even love, much like the duo whose survival we've been tracking for the entire film. Monsters never panders, dumbs down, or takes a single cheap or melodramatic shot, as bare bones as a science-fiction tale could possibly be, having quietly slipped past most of us back in 2010.

The PackThe Pack - Another film from 2010, The Pack is one of the more lurid and straight-up horror features on this list, bloody and shocking to the extreme. I've seen it twice, enjoyed it so much as to buy the DVD (which these days is really saying something), and filed it away, its previous absence from this list a mere oversight. The story centers, for the second time on this list, on the struggle between two women—a beautiful, young, mysterious traveler played by Emilie Dequenne, and her captor, simply known as La Spack, played by the excellent Yolande Moreau, more known for her starring roles in French dramas like When the Sea Rises, and Séraphine. La Spack is a loving mother, a doting one, both to her "normal" son, and his arguably less-fortunate brothers, who live underground, emerging only at night, to um, feed. The scenes of The Pack rising from the earth are striking, and this is a filthy, grimy film, with all sorts of awful things to say about human (and inhuman) nature. The Pack climaxes with a siege, where a few survivors / potential victims are holed up in a barn, trying in vain to keep the carnivorous golems at bay. Exciting, shocking, original and clever, with a "gotcha" ending to boot—all the elements of a great horror tale.

Starry EyesStarry Eyes (2014) - Hollywood is built on a foundation of evil, we all know that by now, yes? And that evil exists both in its higher ups—the execs, casting directors and producers—and its lower downs—the aspiring actors, actresses, and wannabe filmmakers, all of them ambitious, brutally competitive and hoarding a lot or a little power, whatever they can get their hands on. Starry Eyes is the story of a woman caught between these two tinseltown subsets, spending most of her time with her crummy, judgmental, backbiting "friends," when she's not working at her degrading food-service job, or weeping in a pile after blowing her latest audition. An opportunity arises, seemingly our girl's shot at the big time, but there's a hefty price to be paid, and several very difficult decisions to make, moral hurdles, each more difficult than the last. Sarah's ensuing transformational ordeal, and several brutal murder scenes, are some of the sickest splatter I've seen on screen in years, and to be honest, I'm somewhat immune at this point, but Starry Eyes had me reversing the film to see its several "money shots" again. This film shows the ugliness of L.A.'s film industry (and again, I'm "low touristing"), exaggerated to Rosemary's Baby extremes and beyond with grisly effect. The saying, "I'll do anything for this role" is taken to new, horrible heights, and Starry Eyes is a bent-back-spring of tension, building to a bizarro, 80s-style climax.

Honorable mention:

Darknet - A very well done, Canadian horror-anthology series, with plenty of clever twists, some repeating characters, blood and sex aplenty. Looking forward very much to a second season.

Shrooms - Another oversight / unintended omission, Paddy Breathnach's smartly done 2007 story mixes psychedelics, murder and the supernatural on an island off the Irish coast. A good bad trip.

Witching & Bitching - Alex de la Iglesia finally makes a new film worthy of his legacy and the excellent early features, Day of the Beast and Acción Mutante. A fast, funny, explosive thrill ride, bursting with black humor.

Acts of Random Violence - Similar to Alyce Kills above, though from a male perspective, and a bit more sardonic, cheap and cheerful. A Manhattanite hipster, a British expat, buys a gun and stops giving a shit.

Oculus - A larger-budget Hollywood horror feature, but good is good. A toxic, haunted, antique mirror, with a century of death and destruction behind its glass, a beautiful woman determined to get answers, and a family tragedy, the story played out in shifting time bursts, with subtlety and "blink, you missed it" scares.
Music list:  Top tens are not for me, voracious consumer of music that I am. Reduction to a choice ten, or even 25, would shortchange too many of the releases that made my year livable. If you don't see your release listed here, it's more likely an oversight than an intentional slight. Much gratitude to all the artists and labels. ...

Unicorn Hard-On - Weird Universe | De Hel - In De Hel | Yellow Eyes - The Desert Mourns EP | Cirrhus - s/t LP | Moonknight - Senmorta | Intolerant - all | Grue - Casualty of the Psychic Wars | Richard Youngs - Live on WFMU's Airborne Event | Korgonthurus - Ikuisuuden Arvet | Dan Peck - solo LP | Death Factory - Invisible Aggressor | One Master - Live in the Castle of Quiet | William Hutson & Jonathan Snipes - Room 237 OST | Morgirion - None Left To Worship | Vardan - all | Oppressive Light - Life Hates Me... | Triebtat - Der Weg in die Depression | Patrick Cowley - 2LP retrospective | Nostalgic Darkness - s/t | Avulse - I Am The Liquor | Venowl - all | Haat - Opgegraven en Misbruikt | Folteraar - lathe 7" & CS set | Alberich - Live on WFMU's Distort Jersey City | Vulcanus 68 / Thomas Carnacki - split LP | Hexis / Tenebris - digital split | Hexis / Primitive Man - 10" | John Carpenter - Prince of Darkness LP reissue | Spettro Family - La Famiglia Spettro 10" | Witchbeam - Tales of the Ghede Zodiac | Mister Matthews - 10 Cuba Libres | Pest - Tenebris Obortis | Cacasonica / Malveillance - split CS | Apotokia - Kathaarian Vortex | Deathstick - s/t demo | Deathcircle - all | Cave Ritual - all | Egoism - Demo I | Grasshopper - Dark Sabbath: Symbols of Evil | Black Hat - Thought of Two | Void Prayer - s/t CS | Cloud Rat - all | Recreant - Still Burn | Harassor - Into Unknown Depths | Ides - digital split w/ Inertia | Заводь [Zavod'] - Крізь коло і п'ять кутів | DiE - Vexed EP | Ghast - Dread Doom Ruin | Kreig - 7" | Bleak - EP | Black Cilice - reissues | Rodger Stella - Kosmische Dub & One Dark Eye | Josh Millrod - Seeking the Millenary Kingdom | Black Whispers - Negative Ways of Life | WOLD - Postsocial | Forgotten Spell - Opening the Skies of Sulphuric Paradise | Raspberry Bulbs - Privacy | Lussuria - Industriale Illuminato | York Factory Complaint - Lost in the SpectacleEnergy Vampires - Energy Vampires | Laster - De Verste Verte Is Hier | Uniform - 12" | Nocnitsa - Reveling of Foul Spirits | Ahna - Empire 12" | Swallowed - Lunarterial | Dope Body - Lifer | Planning For Burial / Liar in Wait - split 7" | Husere Grav / FRKSE - split LP | Couch Slut - My Life As a Woman | R. Nikolaenko - YouTube channel | Sixx - Sister Devil | Black Magic SS - Panzerwitch | Alraune - The Process of Self-Immolation

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Pass me some of that dumbass!

http://wfmu.org/playlists/shows/58570

I'm going to try and keep this one brief, for two reasons...working on my year-end "best of" film and music list, trying to put writing energies there, and...if I get going with "thoughts and feelings," I'll be hitting the everything-is-shit buffet hard, and nobody needs to hear more of THAT. ...The world is currently in a horrible state, I've got my own mini-mess going over here, too, and don't want to add to the rampant negativity, nor do I have any solutions to offer. ...

Playlist faves included:  "classic" Birthday Party, Butthole Surfers, bed music from The Queen of Black Magic, and the films of Michael Findlay, always a worthy topic in The Castle.




Personal highs included, but not limited to:  Swallowed | Doomsday Student | Couch Slut (live set coming on our 1.20-21 show!) | Axnaar | Death Factory

Our screen capture this week comes from the almost-final scene of the UK series Broadchurch, a downer, but a very-well-done downer. The hatch on a cell door, seemed appropriate. Click there for audio archives, playlist and comments for last night's horrorcast™.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

here comes the honey


Swans' "Cop," -brutal, and plainly stated, and 30 years on, it's sad but not surprising to observe that it still applies. Not much has changed in the good ol' NYPD in all that time. They still shoot to kill, rarely if ever to apprehend, they murder with guaranteed impunity. I view the police, in their way, as even more oppressed than the rest of us, perhaps because of their universal blindness to their lot. As the street army of the wealthy establishment, they are given a job, a pension, some power - but economically, they are kept in check, and are only of value to their masters as long as they continue to suppress, brutalize and murder the restless horde. Will there be room for them in the bunker? I think not.

People are finally getting angry in the US, angry enough to act, to tear down, if not literally at least philosophically, the fix that's been in for decades now. It all has to go, ultimately - the two-party system, the rule of the wealthy and their institutions, the squeezing out / sucking dry fiscal oppression of the middle class and working poor. These ideas need to be spread constantly and with regularity, and no punches pulled, like advertising - let's use one of their most-foul means of hypnosis and oppression against them. One great thing about social media is that it puts a great potential power in the hands of the public; so don't waste that opportunity making "let's play" videos, playing pranks, regurgitating information culled from Wikipedia, or vlogging about your day. There should be plenty of time for fun, once the icons of power in this nation have toppled, so stop navel gazing and fight the fucking power. (We can all find a way to contribute; taking to the streets in outrage is one excellent option, but far from the only one.)

Chatting about my radio program feels a bit frivolous at this moment, but I / we all need some enjoyment, some reveling in art, or we'd all go mad; I know music is one of the few, significant things in my life that keeps me from ending up behind bars. ...in that spirit, Castleheads REALLY enjoyed our selection from Sale Freux, fiercely spirited and singular underground, crow-obsessed black metal from France. A great artist, worthy of much deeper exploration on my part. Thanks to Castle live-session engineer and obsessive black-metal enthusiast Jean Paul for contributing.

The murky, homemade grim musings of Zarach 'Baal' Tharagh also grabbed some attention on our playlist; ultra-personal, men-in-a-room black metal always being one of my favorite subsets of the genre. The music of NYC's Couch Slut also made its WFMU premiere, and we look forward to a live visit from the band on our show in January.

Other than what I've already said, I can tell you that my 2014 list of films, etc. will be a mighty one, still in the works, as I keeping adding and reshuffling things, as well as pulling in some great recent views, like the Canadian series Darknet, for example.

Our screen capture this week comes from perhaps the worst / least-worthy "horror" film ever committed to DVD - metal muscle-dork Thor's Rock and Roll Nightmare, a true piece of cine-garbage that I think even Joel Hodgson would have trouble framing as "bad for good." Still, it gave us that one great image of a demon arm reaching over to turn off the tape deck. Click there to reach the accu-playlist, archived audio, etc. for last night's horrorcast™.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

EyeHateEmoji ... Now this is how to start a freakin' show.


"Lies, Placidils..." I don't kick off The Castle with The Jesus Lizard nearly often enough; they're one of those bands that never fail to get the heart pumpingsort of the perfect combination of decadence, underachiever wisdom, killer riffs, and testicular fortitude that define My Castle of Quiet—hell, define ME.

I remember that in their day TJL were impressive to me, but not overtly so...they weren't a personal favorite then, in the early 1990s, when every popular indie band was screaming at me already; I had to live, endure, suffer a bit more, gain some traction, accumulate more failures, and give less of a shit in general, to embrace a deeper appreciation of The Jesus Lizard, and they've endured, where so many of the celebrated bands of that time have faded nearly into ash. Honestly, who talks about Surgery anymore?

...and Dope Body, who take up the shirtless gauntlet that David Yow laid down? They make damn-fine records, a band on the constant rise or so it seems, and are a real goddamn treat; they write great songs, and more than fill the sloppy plate of someone who has no new Jesus Lizard records to look forward to.

The new Laster album, De Verste Verte Is Hier, is excellent, flawless—firmly footed in great black metal, while redefining and challenging genre convention all at once—a late-breaking favorite of my year. (cassette on Broken Limbs Recordings; vinyl on Dunkelheit Produktionen)


New / 2014 releases by Grasshopper, EyeHateGod, Alraune, Raspberry Bulbs, the 12" by Ahna, and the cassette by Nocnitsa have all made my year's end a good one, shining brightly in the bluish light that reflects off the Castle moat.

Thanks for listening, and for your color commentary. My Castle of Quiet is, among other things, a radio show about film, and I always enjoy our discussions / debates on the playlist.

Our still this week is culled from the opening of Brian DePalma's classic Sisters—click there to reach the archived audio, playlist and comments for this week's horrorcast™. ...And I must add:  "I HATE football on TV, shots of Gena Lee..." ...hanging with my friends, and twins, both ok.