Friday, June 23, 2017
Someone recently referred to My Castle of Quiet as a "legendary" program; I mention this because going back, reviewing and assessing my accomplishments, and the history thereof, is something I don't really do. I do enjoy a comment like that, of course, but quietly. It's not as if praise or support or sincere appreciation of what I do, both on and off the radio (as with the Prison Tatt Records label) is something I don't soak up like a Brawny towel, I do indeed, though I am most often stymied for a personal response of any kind. Praise makes me look at the floor and go silent and not know what to say. Which brings me to the Rise William Rise digital collection on Opposite Records.
Some of you may know that I suffered a stroke late last year, and/or that a host of other health issues were unleashed by that incident. The whole house of cards of my health came crashing down in one day. Since then, I've had short-term kidney failure, upper & lower back pain and numbness, trouble holding my head upright, chronic hiccups, and worst of all, ongoing gastrointestinal issues that led to surgery just over one month ago. I'm very much on the mend from most of this now, but there were multiple hospital stays, a crazy amount of tests, and so much blood extracted from me that I could have stocked a Harassor tour.
Shortly after my first hospital stay, Don Sigal, longtime friend and supporter of my My Castle... and Prison Tatt Records, organized and compiled a benefit compilation to help with my medical expenses, and the contributors' list honored and moved me in a way that's so personal, I won't even attempt to describe how I felt. Contributions from good friends, many of whom have been live performers on the show, and/or artists whose music has been featured, even celebrated on the program, add up to a very satisfying compendium of sound art/rock-noise/what have you—a great compilation that I'd like and promote even if its purpose was not to benefit me personally in a time of poor health and unanticipated financial stress.
You can view the contributors and track list, and stream the collection in its entirely here, and I'll embed the bc player below, just to make it easy for all. I'm somewhat restricted, by WFMU's not-for-profit norms, from drawing special attention to the release, a perhaps unfortunate catch-22, though both playing the occasional selection, and promoting/encouraging listeners to buy via the Web are within my prerogative, and most importantly, I'll say again that it's a compilation I'd enjoy and purchase regardless of whether or not it was created in my name. Special accolades to Don, who not only seized upon the most-appropriate title, but also grabbed an image from Beyond The Living, aka Nurse Sherri for the cover (the film that supplies most of the audio for MCoQ's much-beloved weekly show-opening.) I'm humbled, and send tremendous gratitude and love to all involved.
On this week's horrorcast™, praise for: pretty much my all-time favorite Sonic Youth song (that's a great live version @ that link) | yet more Butthole Surfers | Brazen Gate | Bašmu | Samantha Glass | MindSpring Memories | Hijokaidan | Burnt Hair ... other highs included Hypnos (left off our Seed Stock black-metal special last week due to time constraints) | Ungoliant | NEW Nuit Noire | NEW Abstructum
Now, the best movie I watched this past week, perhaps in months, is The Wailing, an anything-goes South-Korean horror epic from the director of the great The Chaser (an absolute classic among Korean thrillers); dark magic, horrid disease & death, demonic possession, occult & demonic forces at war, and one terrifying reanimated corpse (pictured up top) all feature in the crazy quilt of The Wailing's greatness. Click there, on our weekly screen capture, to stream this week's horrorcast in full.
Next week (maybe, still juggling ideas): Noise Bliss-Out #6
Friday, June 16, 2017
M. del Rio is a champion collector / archivist of black metal, and his visits as guest-DJ to My Castle of Quiet are always invigorating. This was visit number four, perhaps one of the most stimulating shows of Seed-Stockery; with artists that will send myself and listeners (one presumes) into weeks of research, hunting and Discogs purchasing.
Each of his mixtapes (and yes, these were actual mixtapes) was devoted to a different nation: Svensk, Norge, and Hellas, and though we ran out of time on the Greece tape, materials were left in my care, such that we'll be hearing selections from that one in the weeks to come on MCoQ.
Every song was essentially a "hit"—wild, creative and complex, a must for enthusiasts of the genre, though standouts included: Svartsyn, Arckanum, Wulkanaz, LIK, Azhubham Haani, Armagedda, Unpure (!), Sorhin, Helheim, Troll, Kvist, Virus, Legion of Doom... see that's nearly the entire playlist. And just look at the encapsulating rundown of black-metal tape and record sleeves! A heaven for the eyes, naturally for the hell-minded.
Can't thank M. and Ning Nong enough for stopping by; the on-air selections were prime, and the off-mic discussions also a treat for me, just to be in the company of those who have an "investment" in black metal, such that discussion-in-depth flows naturally.
Films that resonated strongly with me over the past week were L'autre Monde (English title Black Heaven), a film directed by the writer of two great French mind-fuck classics, Harry, He's Here To Help and Lemming; and Among The Living (Aux Yeux des vivants), a bloody, fast-paced horror thriller that nearly defies adequate description. Trailers below.
Thanks for listening and for your comments, back next week.
Friday, June 9, 2017
Anyone out there remember how I've said in the past, "once you care, you're fucked"? Well yeah, that ship has sailed—many times obviously—but this time, things are a bit different.
What I'm caring about this time is free speech, which has taken so many hard hits recently, you'd think it was married to Ike Turner. See, I think we can all agree that spousal abuse is not in the least bit funny, but my point here, in this context, and context is crucial, is that I have the right to make that joke, and you in turn have the right to chuckle at it, or not.
62% of American University campuses would really rather that you NOT have that choice, and that's where I'm headed here.
Harvard admissions are being rescinded over students' use of "offensive" memes; careers of ordinary people, and celebrities alike, are being forestalled or ruined outright—over words, written or spoken, simply because someone would prefer not to read or hear them. You have the choice, always, in a free society, to simply LOOK AWAY, or to use your free speech to publicly disagree. This is serious shit, and I could never have predicted, even 10 years ago, that these hits to our freedoms would come from the Left, that is to say, the collective social-media hive mind of the Liberal and Left-leaning, the so-called politically correct.
The rules against free expression of unpopular ideas, on the majority of college campuses, right now, are even more restrictive than outside of academia. This is the opposite of what I grew up believing, as a child of the 70s, because college was the place where critical thinking and free-spirited debate was not only supposed to happen, but widely encouraged. Higher education was where you tweaked your identity and began your path to adulthood, a "safe space" for all—feminists, Black Panthers, Communists, yes, but also the Young Conservatives, Randians, literally everyone...and no book open on your lap on the quad would be ever questioned, or even open to criticism, whether it was Mein Kampf or The Female Eunuch.
As someone who's been in broadcasting since 1984, I pay special attention to censorship, FCC rulings and the like, and I have always been hard-line anti-censorship, because I want to assume that the public is free, intelligent, and discerning enough to disseminate any and all information, be it written, spoken, or in the form of visual or performance art. Seek out the ideas you find relatable and palatable, and leave the rest, or even better—find people you disagree with, those who are saying what you don't want to hear, and engage them, in open, respectful debate.
People like to say nowadays that "1984 is happening right now," the problem with this notion usually for me is that it's automatically assumed that this control of what we say and ultimately think will come from the corridors of power, from government, from the idiot in charge, the Right wing essentially; but what we see happening now is individuals in our free society being bullied into apologizing and kowtowing to popular opinion—neither via regulation nor legislation—and many of us (myself included) are simply self-editing, so as to not lose friends, or have our livelihoods or creative pursuits questioned, boycotted or denied.
Make no mistake, this war on free speech is a tragic and urgent matter, and it's coming from places you might least expect, like Twitter and BuzzFeed. As Simpsons bartender Moe Szyslak once sang, "Sorry Marge, the mob has spoken." Indeed, the mob has spoken, and it does not want hear words, or see pictures, or experience your irreverence, lexicon and conditions notwithstanding. I for one am scared. Free speech, protected by law, is not being curtailed or limited by the authorities, but by every Dick and Jane with a social media account.
Rant over, but I implore you reading this to consider my words, and to not simply follow a narrative, but to truly and always be a free thinker, rather than a media parrot. Seek out those with opposing beliefs and opinions and humanize them.
I also did a radio show this week! Popular tracks came from Mortuary Drape | The Frogs | The Stranglers | The Dead Boys | Krieg | Devil Master | J. Soliday | Blank Spell | Nurse | Oven | Black Urn | Tony Conrad ... and special high marks to new work by Hatchers, my personal high point of the horrorcast™. You can stream the whole thing by clicking on our weekly still, this time from the elevated zombie trash of 1981's Burial Ground, known both for its simply awful, low-effort special effects, and for one very-memorable character, an underdeveloped manchild that just looks a whole lot like Mark E. Smith.
I return next week with a total blackout—our fourth guest-DJ visit from M. del Rio of Seed Stock Records, Raspberry Bulbs, et al. Should be a great time, as black as we ever get at My Castle of Quiet. For more information, to comment or join, please visit our Facebook event listing.
Friday, June 2, 2017
"We're calling to arms, and it's shields and swords people." —me
And if you don't have iron, make a torch, grab a pitchfork. Arguably, those who are driving the spaceship set the tone for the behavior of the crew at large, and all I see when I make the mistake of leaving the house is bad behavior. Tampons (used) on the ground in the parking lot; if that doesn't say (scream) "I don't give a fuck," what does? We have a Chief Executive who tweets utter nonsense at 3 a.m., unchecked by any staff or family, offending the global community daily, and that now-perpetual instability is empowering every idiot with a bad idea, a selective memory, and nothing positive to contribute. That's my real objection to Trump, the celebration of stupid and proud.
I try most often to make My Castle of Quiet a glory-filled, horror-movie fantasy escape, free of social politics or otherwise, but it just seems to get more difficult over time. The herd feeds on propaganda like McDonald's, their senses are dulled to the extreme but I'm sure they feel sharp; "fucking dumb" is to be celebrated, "ghosting" is the new etiquette, and even the good people are pulling inward, playing the "look at me and my problems" game at the expense of anyone else's real, non-social-media-shared feelings—it's the me, me, me generation, and even stepping outside, I check the bushes for personal slights.
Half a tear for Manchester, and right back to hobnobbing the complexity of midgets talking backward in the new Twin Peaks. Jim Morrison's "You're all a bunch of slaves!" from the ill-famed Miami concert comes quickly to mind. You're familiar with how the NRA aggressively campaigns in regions that have just experienced a mass shooting? That's how I see the cries of "Islamaphobia!" in the immediate wake of a terror attack. I'm only asking that if you truly consider yourselves to be Leftists, Socialists, collectivists, that you traverse in actual facts rather than follow the narrative. Not everything on the Left is right, not everything on the Right is wrong.
Also, I did a radio show this week...the horrorcast™ careens into summer, and listeners seem to be enjoying the less-predictable eclecticism of more-recent Castle playlists.
This week, we started off with electronic cinema scores from Goblin and Chris Burke, heard more from Angel Marcloid's Fire-Toolz, danced in YET MORE Butthole Surfers fetish territory, lapsing into mind-melt from new releases by Haare and Incapacitants. Later on, Anasazi, Drezden, The Stranglers ... holy aggression from Special Breed (M. del Rio, our guest DJ in two weeks, visit no. 4), Dauðyflin, Toxicology, Ancestors, and Psychic Limb, among many others. Our final noise-punch was made up of tracks from Stroker, Blood Rhythms, and an excerpt from the nothing-less-than-astounding new Peter Brötzmann-Heather Leigh.
Thanks for listening & partaking. Fighting the good fight against widespread stupid, I shall return next week.
Friday, May 26, 2017
Yes, I went for it and chose a praiseful headline from this week's listener comments, because well, I don't get those every week; a real connection with some listeners is always assumed, but it's great to hear. I'm forever trying to raise the station of what I do, never sleeping on the job, trying to listen to myself, to my gut, and have a more-natural flow, rather than do a "metal chunk," then a "punk chunk," then a "space chunk" ... which honestly gets unchallenging for me too, and I can see by listener reactions this week, that leaning a little bit toward the past, toward the style of The Hip Bone show (my weekly stint on WFMU from 1984-1999) is a good thing, and I can still maintain the integrity of the My Castle of Quiet filter while doing so. I never want to just come in and play records, because hey, we can all do that at home. In brief, thanks for listening and liking!
Much of our first and second sets were singled out for praise, notably: Crazy Dreams Band | yet more 90s-vintage Butthole Surfers | black-space mess from Arkhtinn | pre-"dungeon synth" classic occult organ blobs from Jacula | new Pharmakon | newly released late-70s gems from Ju Suk Reet Meate | SIRE [again and again!] | Forteresse | Cult of Eibon... and heavy, heavy praise for our old friends Metal Rouge, with whom I admit I lost touch a bit, and was excited to find that yes, they've been working consistently since our two shows together in the earliest years of the horrorcast™. Their linked name above will take you directly to their bandcamp page, with lots of releases since the one we heard [from 2010]; I'll be there exploring, and you should be too.
Our last hour was all big chunks; more from the new 8-cassette Âmes Sanglantes box, and a full tape side by Warden, looming and quiet and draped in mystery, from a split cassette on Tour de Garde, still available. More great improvised sounds from Arrington de Dionyso & San(s) Kazakgsacar next week, as our time wound down and only a brief excerpt was heard.
I could comment on world affairs certainly, but since almost everyone does these days, why would my comments be a revelation? Better to just title this week's show I Dream of a Secular Utopia, as I do quite earnestly. "Religious" thugs have been running roughshod over the world and its populace for centuries now, and we are still early in the dawning of the Age of Aquarius (Hair soundtrack aside); I won't live to see The Age of Reason sweep the planet, but hopefully my son can enjoy a taste of the world as based on empiricism, science, and humanism—rather than arcane theology from old books, woefully misinterpreted over and over....
In film, what impressed me most memorably this week was an intricate horror-drama called The Blackcoat's Daughter, originally released in 2015 under the title February; I'll watch it again and like it even more I'm sure.
My Castle of Quiet stays with you through WFMU's summer schedule, at its current night and time. Lots of special programming still in the planning stages, but I can tell you for sure we'll be treated to another visit by M. del Rio, of the Seed Stock and Personnel Records labels, founder of Bone Awl and Raspberry Bulbs, on our June 13/14 show. An upper-echelon black metal collector, M. has joined us before, but not since 2014, so if you'd like to brush up, you can find those programs here, here and here.
Friday, May 19, 2017
"Hold on to something that'll hold on to you."
In 1993, Gibby Haynes already had "the answer," and those Capitol-era, ascent-to-fame Butthole Surfers albums have a value that I didn't fully appreciate at the time; solid, crafty rock records that in their way still channel the bacchanal of earlier masterpieces. The continual thread of Haynes being a master songwriter could provide me with horrorcast™ openers for a few months at least, and maybe I'll go for it. ...and though at this point in history, the Butthole Surfers have become recognizable, they are not "ugh" recognizable, and I doubt they could ever be.
We also heard a moldy slab of funeral doom from Germany's Frowning | 1982-vintage M.B. stirred hungry souls | the SIRE full-length gets better every time I listen to it | ...also: Necroscythe | Pill Hag excellent 2-song demo | outstanding solo noise from Stroker | I'm only just cracking the surface of Crackdown, Âmes Sanglantes' massive, 8-cassette box on Hospital Productions (with similar offerings from (past Castle guest) Lussuria (already sold out!) and Dust Belt making a set, and for those who had $255 to drop, I'm sure quite worth it) | ...our show finishing on your belly with a great new piece from The Gate, and a new Alga Marghen LP of Ju Suk Reet Meate (Smegma) solo works from 1975-1980.
Probably the most worth-talking-about horror film I watched this week was Nathan Ambrosioni's Therapy, though not quite the jarring amazer that is the director's more-recent Hostile (discussed here previously), I'm just peripherally rapturous that someone with ideas carries on the tradition of 21st century French-language horror cinema; both features are well deserving of your time.
Take a break from the relative horror of the news, and envelop in something fantastic—pop out of your lock box, and DON'T BE GUTTED. Back with another My Castle of Quiet next week.
Friday, May 12, 2017
Pretty much the same thing, friend.
Vengeful ghosts, vengeful ghosts, VENGEFUL GHOSTS! If one believed classic Japanese literature, and the over-hammered plot trends of post-Ju-On J-horror (ugh), they are EVERYWHERE! No innocent soul is spared, doesn't matter what you've done or haven't done, these spirited spirits are pissed!!
And another thing—long, lustrous, black hair—nearly all of their women are born with it, so why is it so easily transmuted to the ABSOLUTELY TERRIFYING?!? I'm not scared of the hair. Maybe Japanese men are scared of their women. Hmmm?
At least with Kwaidan (1964), you know you are getting the OG Japanese terror, though even then, long hair is still not as scary as a tribunal of a dead clan and their attachment to one blind Biwa player. ...
This week, we heard black, mucky tons of new metal, from Cold Fell | SIRE | Cult of Eibon | A Pregnant Light | DARGAR | legendary snarl from Villains | new punk from Iron Bars | Special Breed | Life Stinks | beaucoup crust 'n' grind from Toxicology | Escuela | Ground ...and a loverly last hour with Burial Hex | Magas | Magical Power Mako | new GAS, and more...
There was a lot more too, music and er, TALK, but nothing I could say or play now would match or challenge the in-the-moment. AND ANOTHER THING...
When did the Conservatives take even our opiates away?! Father Burroughs would be A-PALLED. Now, a good old pain slog is the province of West Virginian unemployed coal miner/Trump supporters? I think not. This week's Castle was brought to you by 10/325 Percocet and Bubble Kush, so fuck that noise. NO political subset has a commodity on any escape from the world-at-large, especially in its current, new state of FUCKIN' DUMB is the currency/rule of law.
In movies I wish you would see: Applesauce (we heard the trailer this week), Onur Tukel's 2015 Woody-Allen-meets-severed-limbs horror comedy; Always Shine (I've got two sisters, I love 'em both the same, sort of identity-politic horror); and not for nothing, but The Visitor (1978) is newly streamable on Shudder and still kicks ass, in both visually glorious and unintentionally funny ways.
Back next week, and hoping to stay with you through WFMU's summer, we'll see, as I'm already racking up the tentative special programming for same.
Meanwhile, click on "The Woman in the Snow" above, from the aforementioned Kwaidan—blue lipstick, yah!...to enjoy this week's horrorcast™ archive.
Thursday, April 27, 2017
The shortest of nods today, as tomorrow, I go "under the knife" for real, in the early a.m. ...
Standout selections from Basarabian Hills (the pastoral and the black) | Scorpion Violente (their new 12" EP a mix of Giallo-film and Suicide essence) | two songs from They Feed At Night (thanks to Bobias B. Borris for the recommendation!) | a classic Warsaw track | new Jute Gyte | new Blue Sabbath Black Cheer Witch Hunt 7" | Sick Llama | new music from The Gate | Fire-Toolz (!!!) | new Richard Pinhas ...
Listeners seem to appreciate the expanded, perhaps more-adventurous horrorcast™ playlists that have honestly just naturally occurred in more-recent months, that "Quiet side of the Castle" traditionally reserved for our last hour, and sometimes receiving the greatest accolades, I'm spreading out that material more intuitively, trying to roll forward with what I really want to hear in the precise moment, worrying less about genre blocks.
Hope you like our playlist-topper image this week, not a screen capture, but a b&w production still from The Loveless (1981)—one perfect little moment not actually in the final film. Katherine Bigelow's first feature is most often discussed as an homage to The Wild One; for me, I see nods everywhere to Anger's Kustom Kar Kommandos and Scorpio Rising.
My Castle of Quiet returns in two weeks; thanks as always for lending your ears.
Friday, April 21, 2017
This week saw a Cabaret Voltaire-minded opening, the premiere of a new Kenneth Anger / Brian Butler's Technicolor Skull track (tape out on Walpurgisnacht from Arcana Machine), new Rope Sect, old Sixx, new Snakehole, and Bauhaus holding up exceptionally well as it has. More new Cult of Fire and Black Cilice, Vanyar, Deathgod Messiah and Barghest, and unearthed greatness on 7" from Curved Blade. New Skullflower (!), Jason Lescalleet, and krautrock dreams with Planes rounded off our last hour.
Still in ill health, I remain not terribly verbose, but I can tell you these:
1. What to know about the Unicorn frappucino at Starbucks? You can't get one. Not at any location I tried. Starbucks is poison; don't go there.
2. From theoretical poison to real poison, a new study shows diet soda TRIPLES your risk of stroke and dementia. I told you so. Have a little of the real thing; always better than a frivolous dose of the laboratory-derived imitation.
3. Dollars to donuts the Paris shooting was perpetrated by a follower of Islam.
I-I-I-I-I-S-S-S-S-L-L-A-A-A-A-M! "The Religion of Peace," the only one globally that still kills people in its name.
4. Someone should do a double-feature screening of the great Living Doll (from 1990) and Love Object (newly added to Shudder.) Trailers below.
Friday, April 14, 2017
Much obliged to IDES, who brought a more intense/focused version of the band I loved just as much in 2012 (their first appearance on The Castle); their songs and arrangements are great, their fury and sheer enjoyment intense. I only wish I could have provided more room for singer Jillian K. to tear it up! Treat yourself to their late 2016 cassette & digital album Born To Run In Place, and keep an eye here for upcoming live performances.
Other than our live guests, horrorcast™ torrid treats included a new track by Pharmakon, from a great new album on Sacred Bones | new Cult of Fire, an Untitled EP and probably my favorite work of theirs to date | ...more new black metal from Ride For Revenge | Black Cilice | Verwoed | Curved Blade ...
Rounded out our three precious hours with two new experimental releases; selections from Lea Bertucci's great All That Is Solid Melts Into Air, and Incapacitants' Survival of the Laziest.
This post comes two days late, as I spent most of Wednesday and Thursday couch- or bed-ridden, in pain, not your problem but by way of explanation there it is; I was pretty much incapable of doing anything. Now I know what people mean when they say, "at least you've got your health." Is that idiom ever really appreciated until one doesn't?
Other than that, my viewing week included several pleasures, mostly thanks to the Shudder streaming service; an oddball, low-cost-but-very-enjoyable sex-doll fetish horror/drama called Love Object (with none other than Rip Torn is a supporting role!), and if you want to be scared, and I know you do (so rare for me, and a distinct pleasure for me when a movie can get under my skin), see Hostile, a Frenh film from 2015; both trailers below.