BOOK: Love and Rockets – The Covers (Fantagraphics)

For the love of quality comics, this (as with pretty much any Love and Rockets book) is an obvious must-have!

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LINKAGE: Saga 10 Years From Now @ Bleeding Cool

tumblr_ma1sa3w31x1rpwufmo1_5001Why We Are Going To Be Even More Obsessed With Saga Ten Years From Now by Hannah Means-Shannon.

Hannah Means-Shannon is the Senior New York Correspondent for Bleeding Cool. She writes blogs about comics for Trip City and Sequart.org. Follow her on Twitter @hannahmenzies.

NEW MUSIC + VIDEOS: Carcass Brings Polished "Surgical Steel"

File:CarcassSurgicalSteel.pngIt’s a good thing I don’t have a whole lot of time prior to making this post because otherwise I would be gushing incoherently, going on and on about how historical and momentous it is that after 17 years those boys from Liverpool, England’s Carcass are finally releasing a new album on September 17th in the States. The legendary progressive metal band reunited for festivals and some touring about five years ago, and there was always the hope for a new album. That finally got officially announced this past spring and was properly teased earlier this summer (see the teaser below).

Guitarist/growler Bill Steer is a guitar god of mine and bassist/vocalist Jeff Walker is legendary in his own right. Since original drummer Ken Owen suffered a stroke a decade or so ago, and second guitarist Michael Amott is too busy with his other two bands, Spiritual Beggars and Arch Enemy, the remaining original members are joined by some new blood: drummer Dan Wilding and touring guitarist Ben Ash.

Long-time fans like myself will be happy to know that Surgical Steel reportedly sounds like the lost relic that could fit nicely between their third and fourth albums, Necroticism: Descanting the Insalubrious (1991) and Heartwork (1993), and some say between Heartwork and Swansong. Judging by what I’ve heard so far, I’m happy with either. Early reviews also say that the advance single, “Captive Bolt Pistol” (video below) is easily the least accomplished song on the album. That is very good news.

Check it out.

 

SHOUT-OUT: Formative Years Roll Call!

Back in 1989 when dinosaurs roamed, 24 years ago this month I formed my first band, a little garage band called Metatrosity (with the C converted to an S for a better looking logo). That little metal band somehow created a 6-degrees of separation kind of family tree that included so many other local Indianapolis, IN bands throughout the 90s and even into the 2000s when a lot of us really started making noise. With such an early start I managed to play in four of those bands before adulthood/fatherhood. Today, we’re all a bunch of old men now, but, hey, those are our roots. So for no other reason than that I want to, I’m sending a shout-out to a bunch ex-bandmates from back in the day:

Christophe Holmes, Pete Gossett, Tony Reitz, Chris Robinson, Jason Fredriksz, Michael Downton, Tom Roosa, Jon-Michael Gioe, Dave Lawson, Scott Manning, Tevlin Schuetz, Lyman Medeiros, Joshua Maloney, Nathan Striedinger, Jason McCash, Karl Simon, Charles R Brown, Paul Fox and honorable mention to Ross Ebert who was one o’ my neighborhood homies from back in the day (I’m talkin’ Cub Scouts, son!). He damn-near became a bandmate too.

Oh, and long live Drop Dead!

NEW MUSIC + VIDEO: THE WEEKND’s "Kiss Land"

One of two highly anticipated new albums for me in 2013 is Kiss Land by The Weeknd (Canadian-born Abel Tesfaye and his array of producers). Coming off the success of 2012’s triple-disc feature Trilogy (and the 2011 “mixtape” albums that it compiles) along with a break-out world tour, September 10th will bring the dark-themed r&b soul singer’s first “proper” release to worldwide fans (raising my hand) starving for more of his seedy tales set to sex-inspired chill-out beats (a la trip-hop and hip-hop), seductive basslines, and haunting melodies — all drenched in smoke, sweat and sin. Aww yeah! It’s The Weeknd, baby, and we ain’t leaving the bedroom until . . . oops, sorry, I got a little ahead of myself there. Although, from what I’ve read in the press, I’m getting the sense that this new album will be somewhat of a departure, though still very much carrying that Toronto-inflected sound that gave the artist his original platform. We shall see.

Recently Tesfaye told Complex Music.com that “The only thing R&B about my [music] is the style of singing. My inspiration is R. Kelly, Michael Jackson, and Prince, for the vocals anyway. My production and songwriting, and the environment around those vocals are not inspired by R&B at all.”

Also, that he “wrote a letter to the producers of Portishead and let them know this album [Kiss Land] inspired by them.”

Personally I can only hope the new disc is a sizzler like previous The Weeknd releases. I had bumped that Trilogy CD set (which consolidated the House of Balloons, Thursday and Echoes of Silence — the first three digital mixtape albums + 3 all-new bonus tracks into one convenient physical package) in my car all this past fall and winter long. It kept me warm. Regardless, it’s good to know that Kiss Land, which Tesfaye has said is yet another concept album, will keep me warm this coming fall and winter.

Advance singles have already been released. Here’s the video for “Belong to the World”.

READER: New To My Bookshelves

So as a person with a severe book fetish and addiction, I’ve been hitting up the library a lot more frequently this summer than the rest of the year. Two easy reasons for that: One – I’m currently unemployed; the body may be somewhat “at rest” at home, but the mind absolutely must stay active. Two – I’m doing research, evident by the stack of non-fiction that’s sitting on one of the shelves.
What am I researching and what’s the research for? I’m researching the history of mankind, particularly the 18th & 19th centuries (recent stuff rather than ancient); diseases and pandemics that have spread throughout human history, and vampires. This research is for the on-again/off-again/on-again novel series I’ve been slowly developing since October 2009. The novel’s concept revolves around a unique kind of “living vampire” I’ve created as my own individual take on the sub-genre of blood drinkers. Why? Well, it started with the realization that my life partner/fiancee/wife-to-be (we’ll get around to it eventually) is an addicted vampire-geek. I thought, how the hell could I as a writer myself just sit idly by while she consumes countless books featuring fanged antiheroes? In that thought was born an inherent challenge for me to write something she could enjoy with her vampire-geek glee (because, sadly she’s just not into the crime and suspense, or even the literary/slice-of-life and experimental stuff I’ve written).
Prior to this I never had an inkling to tackle vampires in my fiction, except maybe once in all my years (I first started writing prose in 1993). And the way my mind works, the only way I would even flirt with the idea of writing a vampire story was if I could do it as uniquely as possible (execution is the key more so than originality). Being that it was the month of October, we we’re indulging in a slew of horror and thriller movies at home in anticipation of Halloween. There were four particular movies we watched in that 2-week span that really got my mind working on a germ of an idea I could run with: I Am Legend (adapted from Richard Mathesons‘ post-apocalyptic classic), and the first three Underworld films.

Ah, yes, the science angle rather than the typical and all-too-prevalent supernatural and Gothic angle. And so the rest of this story I’m sharing here is top secret and still in development with only a few scattered chapters written here and there. But I’m so close to finally getting my mind thoroughly wrapped around this vast canvas for an epic, centuries-spanning story I’ve created. Hmm. I could probably use an assistant as much as an agent.

I also still try to make time for fiction and biographical or documentary stuff, although it’s hard to get to that when job-hunting daily along with working on songs in addition to the researching and writing (and, if I’m honest, spending too much time binge-watching TV series). Perhaps just days prior to his death, I checked out Be Cool (1999) by Elmore Leonard yet again (because my paperback copy got water-damaged some years back). I also checked out, yet again, John Ridley’s Love Is A Racket (1998) because the book is hands-down the best neo-noir that I’ve criminally never owned! I need to just buy this hardcover edition from the library. I really doubt anyone else is checking the book out, as the book is practically in mint condition and Ridley is, criminally, not a bestselling author.
That’s all the new and recycled stuff I have on deck to read. Remember, kids: a literate mind is a valuable mind. Get yer read on!