Saturday, January 31, 2009


If you want to hear "Divinations", the first track to be made available from Mastadon's yet to be released, highly anticipated new album "Crack the Skye", click here. It's the first track on their player. I like what I hear so far...very King Crimson and Coroner inluenced, with a lot more melody in the vocals than previous works. Slightly more accessible, yet still heavy. Check it out.


This is from the pychedelic space rock master's EP "Not Without Sorcery"(2008). The song is a actually a sneak preview of the material that is going to be on Helios Creed's new full length album 'Transparency". I like what I hear. It's an instrumental, very trippy yet cold. It reminds me a lot of his material with Chrome. Anyway, here it is..."The Eye of the Vortex". Very acid drenched video too.


Over the past several days, hackers across the country have been altering the messages on digital traffic warning signs to read "Zombies Ahead! Run for Your Lives!" and other warnings of a zombie apocalypse. As a zombie fan and a reader of "The Zombie Survival Guide" I find this to be highly amusing.
You can read about it here.
You can watch the news story here.


Slayer's South of Heaven"(1988). This the first really heavy metal album that I bought as a teenager. Even to this day, twenty one years later, it holds up to repeated listenings and never sounds old. In fact, "South of Heaven", along with White Zombie's "La Sexorcisto: Devil Music Vol. 1" is my favorite heavy metal album of all time. Slowing things down a tad after their speed metal masterpiece "Reign In Blood"(1986), Slayer lets things breathe a little more on "South of Heaven". Evil, pervasive grooves abound courtesy of the excellent drumming of Dave Lombardo, and there is a bit more melody than on their previous efforts. There is an unrelenting sinister vibe on this album that never lets up. Combine that with the insane, atonal, hellish trademark Kerry King/Jeff Hanneman guitar solos and insane, shock filled lyrics & vocals of Tom Araya that are much more intelligible than on previous works and you have the perfect metal album. This is the way metal should be: unpretentious and chock full of evil grooves.

Here's the opening track "South of Heaven"...

...and here's "Behind the Crooked Cross".

Friday, January 30, 2009


"Muddy and The Wolf". This is the album that introduced me to the work of legendary blues men Howlin' Wolf and Muddy Waters a long time ago, and one that I still have a sentimental attachment to to this day. The title is a little misleading. The first half is tracks taken from Muddy Water's album "Father and Sons" and the second half from Howlin' Wolf's "The London Howlin' Wolf Sessions". Both of these were originally released in the early 1970's. "Muddy and the Wolf" features some of the two's strongest electric material from the 1970's, and is an excellent place for both the uninitiated to start and for the die hard fan to enjoy. Howlin' Wolf's material is especially unique as he is performing with Eric Clapton, Steve Winwood, and Bill Wyman (bassist for The Rolling Stones) backing him. This is not an overview of the two's career, but a great snapshot of their impressive sound at that time. Here's Muddy Waters' "All Aboard" and Howlin' Wolf's "Who's Been Talking?'' Enjoy.

All Aboard - Muddy Waters

Whos Been Talking? - Howlin Wolf

Thursday, January 29, 2009


Ken Nordine's "Colors"(1966). Ken Nordine was a brilliant storyteller and poet of sorts, setting his improvised, stream of consciousness poems to the background of an in improv jazz ensemble. A sort of 'word jazz' if you want to call it that. His spoken word delivery is dry and his voice is deep and booming. The lyrics are sometimes silly, sometimes nonsensical, sometimes profound and always beat. Tom Waits has cited Nordine's work as a huge influence on him.
One of my favorite Ken Nordine albums is the psychedelic "Colors". It is a game of sorts; Nordine and his band gave themselves a minute and a half to improvise on thirty six colors, to come up with music and words to capture what it feels like to be each color. They do an incredible job of pulling off the mood and feel of each color. It would seem like listening to this album in it's entirety would become a bit tedious, but it is not. Every track is enjoyable, and you will find yourself wanting to go back and re-listen, to dig those crazy words and sounds of Ken Nordine. Highly recommended for those of you who are adventurous in your music listening.

Here's "Flesh" and "Burgundy" for your enjoyment.

Ken Nordine - Flesh.wma - Ken Nordine

Burgundy - Ken Nordine

Wednesday, January 28, 2009


The Wizard of Gore(1970), directed by Herschell Gordon Lewis, is an infamous and bizarre artifact of American cult cinema. It is a about a stage magician who inflicts horrifying and gruesome damage to the participants in his stage shows. Brains are fondled and drilled, eyes are gouged, bowels are cut open and played with....all under the unflinching and unforgiving camera of H.G. Lewis. The bizarre twist with this movie is that Montag is a master of illusion. He performs all of these terrible acts on stage, yet when his victims stand up and walk away it appears as if nothing happened to them. That is until after they leave the auditorium and they collapse in a pile of gore. This movie has an hallucinatory quality, as welcome as a bad acid trip, yet you can't take your eyes away. The acting is terrible and overdone, the lighting is freakish and overbearing, everybody is greasy looking through lack of proper make-up. Yet there is something about this movie that I cannot resist. The gore effects are stomach wrenching and top notch for their time and even today. H.G. Lewis had his own stage blood formula that was gruesomely realistic. Montag's character is particularly disgusting and wooden. He is always questioning the very nature of reality in his stage monologues. The real kicker in this movie is the bizarre twist ending that will completely blow your mind and make you wonder "What the hell were they thinking?" The ending questions the very essence of reality, what is real, and what is not, and makes you question your sanity. You've sat through almost an hour and a half of unbridled gore and bad acting for this? The answer is 'yes' and the shock of the ending is what gives this movie it's charm. The overall effect is maddening, and it makes you appreciate "The Wizard of Gore" even more for all of it's badness. This is not your typical H.G.Lewis movie. His works for the most part are looser and more fun. There's something about the wayward experimentalism of this movie that I can't get enough of. One of H.G. Lewis' darkest and best.

Here's a trailer...

And here's the first ten minutes of the movie. Enjoy.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009


Edgar Ulmer's "Detour"(1945) is a gritty, low budget masterpiece of Film Noir. Filmed on a shoestring budget in only six days, the atmosphere of this movie breathes tension and paranoia The movie is about Al Roberts (masterfully played by Tom Neal) a piano player in a seedy New York dive who is hitchhiking to California to meet up with his girlfriend who left him to pursue a career in show business. A car eventually picks him up. The driver is a dark, mysterious person named Charles Haskell, Jr and he has deep scars on his hand from a hitchhiker he had picked up earlier. After some conversation and a meal, Al takes over the wheel so the driver can sleep. It starts to rain so Al stops and gets out to let up the top of the car. To his horror he realizes that the man who picked him up has died in his sleep. Panicking, Al does not know what to do. Surely the police will think he murdered the man for his car and money...that's the problem with being a hitchhiker. So he hides the body, takes the man's clothes, ID, and money and assumes the identity of Charles Haskell. That way no one will find out that the man is missing. "Wait a minute!", you may say. "That makes no sense!" Well you have to be inside of Al Roberts' mind to understand, and this movie does a great job of doing just that. The character of Al Roberts is hopelessly doomed and fearful, with no desire to defy the hands of fate.

He comes upon a woman named Vera (another hitchhiker) who happens be the one who scarred Charles Haskell's hands. She recognizes the car, and wants to know what happened to Charles. Al tells her and she doesn't believe him. She blackmails him into staying with her so she will not call the police. A strange, well-played character Vera is. She is playing Al for a free ride, as Charles had a large sum om money in his wallet a fancy car that they can sell, and a rich, dying relative that is leaving Charles a huge inheritance. All Al has to do is pose as Charles and claim the money. They look similar, and the family hasn't seen Charles since he was a kid because he ran away from home. She holds Al hostage in a hotel room, and he is too fearful of the consequences if he fights his way out. Once again, he is pitifully resigned to his fate. Then something happens. Vera gets drunk and decides to call the police on him anyway. She hangs the phone over her neck and goes into another room and locks the door. In desperation, Al grabs the phone lines from underneath the door, trying to break them. To his horror, the phone chord wraps around her neck and strangles her. Finally, Al has sealed his doom, the darkness has closed in upon him....

And what an ending this movie has! I can't give it have to see it for yourself. The narrative is told in a flashback as Al sits in a seedy diner that is enveloped in gloom. Like I said earlier, this movie oozes atmosphere and tension, and Ulmer uses this combined with a superb, knife-edged narrative to get inside the head of Al Roberts. It is amazing what Edgar Ulmer accomplished with such a small budget and little amount of time. This movie is dark and grainy, and the print is very rough around the edges, but it is worth every second of your time.

I couldn't find a trailer, but you can watch the first ten minutes of the movie here.

Monday, January 26, 2009


The Mummies are an insane retro-1960's garage rock/surf punk revivalist band that came out in the early 1990's. Their sound is brutal and primitive, like the 1960's garage punk legends The Sonics even more hopped up on speed and flooded with distortion. The Mummies' music is pure and unbridled 1960's punk with a Farsifa organ, delivered with a energy that most punk bands wish they could have. Of course The Mummies are a gimmick act of sorts...they perform live wrapped from head to toe in mummy bandages, bludgeoning their instruments. But so what? Performing both deadly instrumental tracks and songs with harsh acerbic voclas and lyrics, the Mummies are my favorite modern day 1960's punk act. Period.

There are numerous Mummies releases out there. Many are hard to find. My favorite is the album "Never Been Caught"(1992), which is out of print. If you can't find that one, pick up "Death By Unga Bunga!!", which is a compliation album of all their 45's. It is in print.
Here's "Stronger Than Dirt" from "Never Been Caught".

Stronger Than Dirt - Mummies

And here's a live performance of the instrumental "The Fly".

Sunday, January 25, 2009


The Truckfighters are a highly innovative band from Sweden that have crafted their own unique brand of stoner metal. Their sound is a cross between the fuzzed out, heavy, monster desert rock riffs of Fu Manchu and Kyuss and the bizarre chords, tunings and guitar melodies of the prog rock band of early King Crimson. The vocals are unique as well, in the vein of Ian Astbury of The Cult. Their songwriting is incredible. Head banging stoned-out riffs that give way to beautiful, mind-bending melodic soundscapes and off kilter guitar work, sometimes at the drop of a hat. What holds it all together is the masterful solid rhythm section. The bass playing brings to mind the heavy, distorted, yet tuneful bass of 1970's King Crimson. The drumming reminds me of the heavy, cymbal laden sound of Kyuss and Fu Manchu's drummer Brant Bjork. The Truckfighters do have a strong affinity for Kyuss, but they take that sound and make it into something completely their own.

Their first album "Gravity X"(2005) is a straightforward and deadly stoner metal masterpiece filled with irresistible hooks that grabs you from the first song "Desert Cruiser" and holds you to the end. It is a must have. Their second album "Phi"(2007) is a more complex and angular album. The songs take a little longer to get used to and the album has an overall darker and more adventurous quality. They take their time and let things build. Still a good album, but it requires a little more patience than "Gravity X". A unique thing about both of these CD's is that the songs bleed into each track leads right into the other seamlessly. The Truckfighters, with their unique blend of prog and desert rock are a refreshing force in the rapidly stagnating world of stoner metal. Go out and get "Gravity X" and if you like what you hear, pick up "Phi". The Truckfighters will not disappoint.

Here's the video to "Traffic" from their second album "Phi'.

And here's the promo video for "In Search Of(the)" from their first album "Gravity X".

Saturday, January 24, 2009


45 Grave were an adventurous gothic punk band that came out in the very early 1980's . Not to be pigeon-holed in the gothic punk genre, they also played devastating hardcore, psychedelic rock, experimental incidental music, and surf rock, held together with a campy love for horror. All of these things wrapped up together formed 45 Grave's sound. 45 Grave were led by the piercing, blood curdling yet addictive vocals of Dinah Cancer and the psychedelic yet brutal guitar playing of Paul Cutler of The Consumers, and backed by the solid bass playing of Rob Graves and drumming of Don Bolles of The Germs. The band broke up in 1985 and reformed in 1990, only to break up again after the death of their bass player Rob Graves. Currently they are re-united, touring heavily, and working on a new album.

Personally, 45 Grave is my favorite punk band next to The Misfits. I love their stuff. The first album I bought by them was "Debasement Tapes"1993), a compilation of unreleased material and bizarre excursions into noise art. It blew me away. I loved the rawness, the anything goes adventurous quality of the music, and the creepy vibe that the whole CD exuded. I went on to get "Only the Good Die Young"( 1990) a live reunion album. Not quite as rough around the edges as 'Debasement Tapes" but infinitely heavier. 45 Grave are a force to be reckoned with live. Lastly I picked up their only full length studio album "Sleep in Safety"(1983). It was strange hearing 45 Grave on a studio recorded album. Much more polished, with some of the edge taken off Dinah Cancer's voice, but just as effective.

45 Grave is perhaps best known for their song "Party Time", which was on the "Return of the Living Dead" soundtrack. Not their best song, but it is what they are most famous for. 45 grave has many great songs, too many to catalog here. I will do my best to bring you the ones that are the most representative of their sound. A difficult task, but hopefully these four songs will suffice: "Riboflavin", "Black Cross", "Violent World", and of course, "Party Time".

Where to start if you want to hear more? Start with "Sleep in Safety" then pick up "Debasement Tapes"(recently brought back into print as "A Devil's Possessions"). After hearing these two you will be addicted and you'll want to track down their live material and other odds and ends. One 45 Grave compilation album I'm still trying to get is "Autopsy". I had a digital copy of it a long time ago and now it's gone.

To learn about what is going on in the world of 45 Grave click here.

Friday, January 23, 2009


The Consumers were a ferocious American punk band that only released one album, "All My Friends Are Dead", in 1977. Their sound is vicious and distinctive, like a cross between The Sex Pistols and The Ramones sped up and amped to deafening volumes with snarling vocals. Almost hardcore but not quite, The Consumers manage to retain the melody of punk through the cacophony of it all. "All My Friends Are Dead" is a deafening, frightening, and addictive blast of energy that knocks you down but makes you want to come back for more. Songs like "Anti, Anti, Anti" and "Teen Love Song" are so good they are practically punk anthems. After The Consumers' short career, gutarist Paul Cutler helped form the gothic/art/punk/hardcore band 45 Grave led by Dinah Cancer. They re-recorded faithfully devastating versions of many classic Consumer's tracks, elevating the Consumers' work to a new, legendary status. Go out and get "All My Friends are Dead" now. Play it loud and scare your neighbors.
Here's "Teen Love Song" and "Consumers". Enjoy!

Teen Love Song - All My Friends Are Dead - Consumers

Consumers - All My Friends Are Dead - The Consumers

Thursday, January 22, 2009


Ryan Webb's "See Jane Run" (2007) is a gruesome, brilliant little horror movie that harkens back to the good old days of gore and exploitation movies from the 1960's and 1970's such as "Bloodsucking Freaks", "The Texas Chainsaw Massacre", and "The Wizard of Gore". Just like these movies, it leaves you in a state of shock, wondering "What will they think of next? How can they top that last scene?" And it does not holds you from beginning to end. And after watching it....well, you may feel like you need to take a shower...but that's all part of the experience. Unlike it's predecessors from a bygone era, however, "See Jane Run", is a very slickly produced movie. It does feature some bizarre camera angles and some old country music in the beginning, along with some familiar plot devices but that's about as retro as it gets.

"See Jane Run" is about a group of teens who pick up a stranger who's car has broken down in the middle of nowhere in Brownsville, Texas. They find an auto mechanic who can fix his car, but it won't be for a while. The mechanic tells them of a great place they can get some barbecue and stay the night. Tired and hungry, the group jumps for it. Once they get to the restaurant, they realize it does not look like a place to eat. It is someone's house, and a very nice, modern, and huge house it is. And the owner, well he seems nice too. Very straight-laced, well-groomed, and well-mannered. He cooks them up some barbecue and everyone loves it. They remark on how different it tastes...

Something isn't right here, but what?

Oh, yeah. It's their host. You see, he really is a bloodthirsty cannibal that loves him some human flesh. "Why leave the flesh to rot in the earth with the rats and worms when it can live on inside of you?" he says. And he has already killed and eaten his family. That's why he lives in such a huge house alone. And he needs more human flesh!

He is very moralistic for a cannibal. Very disdainful about cheating on your loved ones, as our teens do tend to sleep around a bit. And smoking. You can forget it. It taints the flavor of the meat. And he is all about some torture: human dart-boards, a hot iron strapped to the face, etc. etc. The torture scenes are intense and gut-wrenching.

Will anyone survive and will there be anything left of them? You must watch this movie to find is time well spent.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009


Fang were a heavy, sleazy, joyfully obnoxious yet highly addictive punk band that came out around 1982. With the sneering vocals of Sam McBride, politically incorrect lyrics in songs like "Destroy the Handicapped", a snotty, disdainful attitude, and a grungy Black Flag tinged guitar sound, Fang was an intimidating force when they were in their prime. Their best two albums are "Landshark"(1982) and "Where the Wild Things Are"(1983), which you can buy together on one CD. "Landshark" is the catchier and more wide ranging of the two. With the slimy groove of the title track "The Money Will Roll Right In", to the feed back laden "Law and Order", to the Venom-esque metal anthem "Diary of a Mad Werewolf", to the classic psychedelic anthem "Fun With Acid", 'Landshark" will not disappoint. "Where the Wild Things Are" is more straight forward hardcore. They sacrifice most of their melody and inventiveness for pure speed, vindictiveness, and shock value. Still, it is a good listen.

Here's "The Money Will Roll Right In"...

The Money Will Roll Right In - Fang

...and here's "Fun With Acid'. Enjoy!