Wednesday, May 25, 2016


Scandinavia, viewed from here at least, is a land of hoarfrost-covered woodlands, smoked meats and pickled fish—tall, hardy folk, with a shared Pagan history—a socially progressive quasi-utopia of great musicians and artists. While I have no doubt a native's view would be less homogenized and naturally less idealized, it's a beautiful American daydream for those like myself who envision a social-democratic landscape where it never gets that hot, the metal is ice-cold, the noise is served up with whips & ball-gags, and the schoolteachers are all hot-wired MILFs.

The reality could never be so simplified, because Scandinavia is nothing if not complex; there's a lot below the ice that is not readily apparent, no matter how many Bergman films you watch. It's this emotional bubbling under that's part of what makes Scandinavian music so exciting; what's unspoken vs. what's evident, technical excellence coupled with somber, Norse gravitas.

And so it was, another year, another Nordic prog-rock special, this time leaning almost as heavily on newer artists as those from the golden 70s. With bands like Circle and Krokofant in the mix (what before punk was called progressive rock, not yet a dirty word) is truly very much alive and relevant in the frozen North.

Listeners also especially liked / commented on: Samla Mammas Manna | Atlas | Jukka Tolonen (see live clip below) ... I quite liked selections from Hebosagil | Kaipa | Rättö Ja Lehtisalo | Haikara (see below) | Neutral

To hear this week's entire Norse-o-phile horrorcast™, click above on the lovely, switch-hitting Kim (from the excellent, mindbending Norwegian thriller Naboer (2005)), to reach the archived audio, playlist with album art, and listener-comments board.

Wednesday, May 18, 2016


Sure, I'm solid, but these older bones don't hold the chassis upright as well as they used to. The whole mechanism is vitally alive, yet undeniably in decline, fighting the good fight against collapse like that tower in Pisa. And I forget myself when I see hard, head-swirling, hi-speed metalpunk played live; the natural urge to stumble into the pit threatens to take over.  Fortunately, WFMU's Studio B has barely enough room for the average man to stand gut-to-butt, let alone mosh. Good thing, because TOXICOLOGY salted the Castle earth with their tight, careening force last night, and a great time was had by all. Thanks again to Devon and the band, personable dudes all, and the boys in Pink Mass for the connect & support (and for commenting on the wrong playlist for a solid 15; oh, how we laughed!)

Lots of playlist favorites noted in our listener comments last night: Sleep's killer 2014 12" single | that super new Graves at Sea album (keeps giving) | 2009 Hellvete (our old friend Glen Steenkiste; hear his new split with Bear Bones, Lay Low) | a recently issued, vibrant rendition of a 1983 Morton Feldman piece | ...and of course lots of love for Toxicology, both in our playlist comments, and on our My Castle of Quiet Facebook group wall.

NEWSFRONT: Our 2016 WFMU Marathon premium CDrs are IN; so if you pledged to get a copy of Anthems (classic video-game themes & misty metal), hopefully that's in your hands soon. Enjoy!
And yes, those sleeves are designed (by me) to look fucked/Xeroxed to hell....

Lastly, as WFMU's Winter/Spring schedule winds down, I felt the urge to get in another Scandinavian Prog Special, last year's being an enjoyable departure from our more-standard fare, as well as one of our more popular/visited archives. Again, here is Scandinavian Prog Special, v.1, from 2015 June. V.2 happens NEXT WEEK, so get out your pointed curly shoes, your pickled sheep face & smoked herring, and start cleaning your dope on that Theodor Kittelsen art book. More Songs by Guys Named Jukka and Bo is upon us!

Thanks as always for your ear & participation!

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Another shootout! 

Remember when your friend sat you down, tried to show you something that they had learned on guitar, making several furtive attempts, each time saying "wait...wait..."? I always thought it was funny that guitar players were so well-versed in asking for your patience ...the word "wait" should be the first page in the Mel Bay chord book.

I was batting high last night, in good form, but I don't want to take all the credit, it's all about teamwork after all. That first set, though! Many listeners commented on the Vinegar track, from a wickedly idiosyncratic 1971 one-off LP by the titular gloom-psych combo....just about as "recommended" as it gets.

Again, second week in a row the new Alkerdeel amazes, this time with an 18+ min. track that runs one through a Badlands-style wheat field, into a police shootout, with several side trips to hell. Still one of my favorites in Western-European black doom death rock etc.; they never seem to do anything half-arsed, and Lede is a very all-in release, one of the best I've yet heard this year.

We also heard what probably amounts to High On Fire's best song, one I never get tired of at least; that and a song from the new Hebosagil CD ...ahh! My first time playing the Finnish band on My Castle of Quiet, but damn I waited too long, because "Melvins-y Finnish Wire" is a band description that speaks to some dark, inner need I didn't know I had until I heard them.  Also remarked upon were: the great new Lumpy & The Dumpers album | Facialmess | Klaus Schulze

The news? A LIVE SET next week from NJ's great TOXICOLOGY. Join us!

Week after, I'm thinking its high time for another Scandinavian Prog Special, you tell me. Here's v.1 from almost one year ago (how time flies in the land of the midnight sun!), one of our more visited archives... Scandinavian Prog Special 3rd June 2015

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

you deserve this bully pulpit

One drunk commenter on one message board is legion, and one redhead per customer, please. (Wait, I didn't get mine!) ...You can't buy evil in a bottle, and People Think They Know Things (myself included), this much I am sure of. Good listeners (may) inherit the Earth, because everyone else is so busy talking; talking "at" and not "to" or "with." ...

I enjoy our weekly meeting; we need only a feast-filled table to make it complete. Some would throw food. Some would be too drunk. Some would be cryptically brief, while others would go on at considerable length like a ticker-tape of personal concerns. It's all pretty alright w/ me. For all our intents and purposes, our playlist IS a real hall, in a real Castle.

New Alkerdeel whipped us out into the field. Very fulfilling to hear a new full-length from the maverick Belgian prototypers of "blackened doom"—they still do it the best and most unpredictably.

Listeners also liked the new Graves at Sea | Order of the Owl | vintage Negativland | Pigs Blood  Absolute Power | Tötenköpf (1978 Swiss Stooge-worship; that said, weird as fuck) ... new tracks from Haley Fohr (as Jackie Lynn) and the unstoppable Cape of Bats also dazzled. Archival live recordings by kraut demi-gods Harmonia closed us out.

I don't recall where this week's pop-art redhead was captured. Help me out? My best guess is Tragic Ceremony, only based upon the image file's dating in my Movie Captures folder. She will nonetheless, take you to the archived audio for last night's horrorcast™ , the informative and colorful playlist (abundant with album-cover art etc.), and the rollicking comments board.

More great, live music on The Castle in two weeks (5/17-18)—NJ once again strafes our polluted earth, with a real-time set from TOXICOLOGY.

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

ye crotch tubes

I like a full, lively group of commenters; always a party. Reminds me of when the guy says, "Big strong line!" in "The Madison" [an overtly instructional dance number, which many of you will think of as a Hairspray reference, haha] ... sometimes the chatter is about what's playing, sometimes tangential, I don't mind (too much); only matters that we gather around The Castle's large, stone table and commiserate.

Last night was our horrorcast™ returning from Noise Bliss-Out territory, all doomed up & pit-friendly ...

Listeners remarked upon:  Twin Stumps | Graves at Sea | Guilt | Massdod | Funeral Art | Isegrim | Morricone / Spasmo OST | Hatchers ...also personally pleased to present selections by: Cadaver Eyes | Rodger Stella | The Repos | Absolute Power | Total Abuse | Nurse | Human Dissention | Vlk | Hunok

Our capture this week (in all the vigorous chat last night, no one asked) comes from a recent film called Ava's Possession's, a horror-comedy that most definitely has its charms, perhaps even more so with repeat viewings. Click up top to listen & eyeball the playlist.

Until next time, people just like to say "Spasmo" ...

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

I like this godawful racket a lot.

When it comes to noise specials, I find I'd rather just listen to them than comment/reflect on them as such. Lots of heavy hitters on last night's playlist (link above; image from The Poughkeepsie Tapes), as well as many friends and creative forces whose work I simply didn't get to in the allotted 3 hrs. We favored long-form, expansive, horizontal freak-outs over short ditties, though we also spent some time with 80s soundtrack music (which informs industrial/noise) and more beat-based, noise-inspired electronics via Religion Recs.

If nothing else, My Castle of Quiet's Noise Bliss-Out #4 made for a colorful and striking array of album cover artwork (see below.) One regret: I had really wanted to finish off the night with Rodger Stella's The Electric Zodiac II, but there's always another show for that. ...

One thing I didn't get to talk about on the air was to heartily recommend the somewhat underrated film Estranged; a gruesome and twisty black-hearted drama, not everyone's cup of tea, but it surprised and/or shocked me at almost every turn, never doing what I expected and going way darker than the typical neo-horror fare. Not really a horror film at all, Estranged is instead grisly drama.

Thanks for listening last night and joining in on our horrorcast™ comments board; the streaming audio is available at the page linked up top, and you can download the podcast (for a limited time) through the WFMU app for iOS and Android.

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

...tonight the irritability knows no bounds!

Thanks to SiHV, whose initial comment—the first on our playlist last night—inspired me to write a haiku for Tony Conrad:

Like nerves are these strings
Loose t-shirt, hat and spectacles
Truly he is wasted

I'm fortunate in that I got to see Tony Conrad perform live a few times over the years, in different contexts, presenting different pieces each time. I had one degree of separation from the composer/filmmaker on several fronts, in the form of WFMU's own DJ Fabio, others as well. Funny now to think that I wrote to the author of this book about Faust, because he didn't have his Conrad facts straight, resulting in a terse email exchange, followed by my offer to fact-check / edit for free any future music tomes by the author.

[We mourn for ourselves, for our loss; never mourn for the dead, especially if they were afforded a full & realized they have moved on (or off) from this sphere of existence, to maybe something, maybe nothing—either way, they know things now that some of us spend long hours wishing we could know.]

As listener blee put it, "Communion always satisfies," and indeed, that monster song that concludes the Helmsplitter / Communion split was a standout of last night's horrorcast™; also inspiring listener commentary were Wet Ones | Swollen Organs | THE NEW TAPE BY WITCHBEAM | Live Urban Sax ca. 1984, CD on Ektro ... as per usual, I exalt it all, selections by Toxicology | Total Abuse | Blank Spell | Verglas | Agrath | Swallowed | Spectral Voice | Matt Berry | White Zombie coming most readily to mind.

To stream this week's My Castle of Quiet audio archive, and to read the playlist & listener comments, click on our captured frame from The Tribe, above.

Tune in next week for Noise Bliss-Out #4 [!!!]

these archives will give you some idea of what to expect:

link to Noise Bliss-Out #3 [April 2015]
N B-O #2 [December 2009, with guest Paul Haney]
N B-O #1 [October 2009]

Final note: Played the trailer audio for The Redeemer last night, reminded me that I must watch it again, 'tis time once more to be redeeemed:

Wednesday, April 6, 2016


Too busy listening to last night's horrorcast™  to really pontificate about it (click above, on the freshly wrapped Mom from Ich Seh, Ich Seh (aka Goodnight Mommy) for streaming audio, the playlist & read listener comments.) Perhaps it's enough to say that much like de Marnac in Horror Rises From The Tomb, a head needs a body. I can be a guy playing records every week, and that's a gas-gas-gas, but last night's evening with Pink Mass and friends was like being held aloft on a BIG, PINK, GAY, FAINTING COUCH OF METAL. Would I ever tire of such bacchanal? I think not!

Pink Mass have made one of the sweetest grind platters of recent years—SLVT KVLT—pure careen, a non-stop necromantic fuck party, and they were our honored and vaulted guests last night. They sure brought the tribute as well, with a fantastic live set, one that some listeners did not even realize was live, most thoughtfully engineered by Castle maestro JP Gautreaux.

Our opening set served us well as a slippery slide into the pink, with songs from Kraut | OFF! | Total Abuse | Chaos UK | Raw Poison | Human Bastard | Teatro Satanico and others ... and the wrap around (reach around?) following our hang outs & metalfag chats with the band included great wallops from Gorduw | Moros | Cadaver Eyes | Spectral Voice | Toxicology | Vlk, concluding with an expansive, ear-close flood of blood-black pitch from M.B.

Thanks for listening, and for joining in on the comment / message / massage board. Salut and thanks again to the boys in Pink Mass, their set was full suited, and fully filmed by our own DJ Stashu; leather straps, fringe and tassles hung in all sorts of places... and if anyone @ WFMU is wondering why our fourth floor still smells faintly like a pile of jock straps, THAT'S WHY!

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

better than death by snu snu?

Soundtracks, noise music, and dark-ambient dirges have always been an important part of the My Castle of Quiet tapestry. Too often uncelebrated, perhaps; I get so excited about the constant flood of great new metal and punk that my noise / ambient records end up coming home with me, the brides unkissed.

Not so with last night, we opened with noise-water-cooler favorites Whitehouse (deservedly so) and that set the tone for further explorations with Kakerlak, Sempiternels, Wilt, Mick Travis, Crowhurst et al., and the piece by France's Terrine was also a standout.

RIGHTEOUS UGLINESS LATER...with the great Cadaver Eyes | Moros | Bretwaldas of Heathen Doom | Vlk | Zmora | Bán Sidhe Dogs | Raw Poison | NEW Total Abuse | a great song by Death Index...lots more.

...and no, this program was not a commercial for bandcamp; the cut they take from the seller is outrageous (20%?) and I think $7—$8 is a lot to ask for a digital "album," especially a short one...that said, it just happens to be where a lot of great musicians can easily congregate and easily share their work.

Back next week with outrageously great, live grind from Pink Mass

Click on this week's horrorcast™ still up top, from Blow-Up, to reach the archived audio / playlist / comments from our show. You can also download My Castle of Quiet for a limited time, through WFMU's app for Android & iOS.

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

My milkshake-uh! Brings-uh! All the boys to the yard-uh!

Last night was the great horror / metal / punk / noise mixtape I'm always trying to make, occasionally stumbling into the light of perfect realization. I'm not modest ok, but nonetheless pretty sure I'm a humble and fair judge of my own performance.

So this ^^^ the crafty and disturbing capture from last night's playlist, pretty much representing the few worthwhile seconds of Hate Crime (notice it's shown in mirror reflection, suggesting that the horribleness is simply too much to view head-on) turned some heads and sparked reaction & discussion. I can't really recommend the movie, unless you like cartoonish, overstated Nazi home invaders pointlessly terrorizing a Jewish family and then leaving. I guess Hate Crime does have a certain dull starkness, a deeply flawed, ham-fisted American Guinea Pig I: Devil's Experiment (and that's a very generous comparison.)

Thanks again to everyone who pledged to WFMU and/or My Castle of Quiet during our two weeks of fundraising, and to the volunteers and hosts and co-hosts. It's the comparatively laborious broadcasts of the marathon that make it continually possible for me to come in and do a program like the one I did last night, a truest-of-the-true black-hearted horrorcast™ in the intended sense of the show. It's that two weeks of intensive contact with my radio colleagues and listener-fan-friends that is heavily factored in inspiring me forward to do the most sanguine programming possible for y'all.

Listener / commenter nods went to:  Moros | Black Cilice | vintage Fall | Sovereign | new! Sentenced For Life ...

Personal highs included all the aforementioned, as well as...well, everything. I can't pick favorites this week, because they're all favorites. You can download the full show as a podcast for a limited time through WFMU's app for Android and iOS, or stream by clicking above on this week's grisly little moment, where you can also view a detailed playlist, listener comments and bits of album cover art.

Back next week, and in two weeks with live music from Pink Mass.