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.