Halloween Horror Marathon: House By the Cemetery

Posted in movies, reviews, streaming audio / video, video on October 3rd, 2014 by Nick – 1 Comment

poster - House By the Cemetery
It’s best to think of the Gates of Hell trilogy as something unofficial, rather than a planned thing. Catriona MacColl is in all three films, under three differently-spelled version of her name. She’s the heroine in each, but a different character each time, but always fighting creatures from hell. One would like to think Fulci planned this to create some sort of through line, but’s far more likely just because she was available.

The other two films in the trilogy are absolutely sane, compared to House By the Cemetery. I’ve seen it half a dozen times and read the plot summary on Wikipedia, and I still have no idea what this is all about. It doesn’t help that I have a pretty rough copy of the film, likely edited all to shit. However, I’ve little faith that a better DVD release would make even the slightest improvement.
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Halloween Horror Marathon – The Beyond

Posted in movies, reviews, video on October 2nd, 2014 by Nick – 1 Comment

poster - The Beyond
The Beyond is Lucio Fulci’s best-known film, and a legitmate cult favorite. It was re-released into theaters by Quentin Tarantino’s Rolling Thunder Pictures a few years back, and finally saw uncut release on DVD through Grindhouse Releasing, after years of only being available in the States as a heavily edited version under the title Seven Doors of Death.

That said, watching The Beyond for the marathon is only the second time I’ve ever seen it. Somehow, I’ve seen City of the Living Dead way more, and tomorrow’s movie — House By the Cemetery — even more than that.
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Halloween Horror Marathon: City of the Living Dead

Posted in movies, reviews, video on October 1st, 2014 by Nick – 3 Comments

poster - The City of the Living Dead
A Lucio Fulci movie is something I enjoy watching quite a bit. Understanding, not so much. This marks my fifth viewing of City of the Living Dead, and it still makes no sense whatsoever. I can’t explain why most things in the movie happen, only that they do, and look really cool as they occur.

The basic plot is that a priest kills himself, opening a gate to hell, and it has to be closed before All Saints’ Day or the dead will never rest peacefully again. Everything that happens around that is due to the open gate, and you just have to accept it.
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The Halloween Horror Marathon returns tomorrow

Posted in movies on September 30th, 2014 by Nick – 3 Comments

terror tuesdays 01Last year’s Halloween Horror Marathon kind of fell apart. Longtime readers may have noted that it stopped after nine movies, less than halfway through the month. Long story, but it involved me having a mental collapse and quitting my job.

ANYWAY. This year, we’re doing it up properly. In addition to trying to tackle some of the classics — Lucio Fulci’s Gates of Hell trilogy, Mario Bava’s Bay of Blood, Dario Argento’s Suspiria — as well as some more recent classics like The Conjuring, You’re Next, and House of the Devil.

You may also notice that awesome poster. We’ll be skipping movie reviews on Tuesdays because we’ll be showing them instead! Every Tuesday at 7:00 and 9:00pm at Frank’s North Star Tavern here in Lawrence, Kansas, we’ll be doing free screenings of classic horror flicks. We’re starting with Tom Atkins Rules! That features The Fog and Halloween III. Future installments will be announced soon. In the meantime, save your pennies for $2 tallboys.

Big thanks to Zach Trover for making the poster.

“Geek Rock” doesn’t exactly cover its titular subject

Posted in books, indie, novelty / humor, reviews on September 24th, 2014 by Nick – Be the first to comment

book cover - geek rockGeek Rock: An Exploration of Music and Subculture, the new essay collection edited by Alex DiBlasi and Victoria Willis, succeeds on only one half of its title. It explores the geeky aspects of music, but as far as being a collection of essay about a rock subculture, it fails abjectly.

The blurb on the book’s back cover explains geek rock as “forms of popular music that celebrate all things campy, kitschy, and quirky,” but the editors then present a procession of essays wherein the musical approach is geeky or the lyrical obsession is geeky — it seems that the essay authors, despite the desire to make geek rock a thing and name-checking in the introduction artists like Weezer, Jonathan Coulton, and Frank Black, chose instead to reframe the discussion in a way that reflects their particular interests.
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Aaron and the Burrs, “Release the Bats” 7-inch

Posted in garage rock, reviews, vinyl on September 23rd, 2014 by Nick – Be the first to comment

cover - aaron and the burrsSurf trio Aaron & the Burrs does an excellent job of keeping everything short and sweet on their “Release the Bats” single. With instrumentals, it’s difficult to know where to stop, but both of these tracks had me repeatedly flipping the 45 to listen to it over and over. While absolutely standard in terms of genre, it’s loaded with flourishes and detail that reveal a new delight with every repeated play.

As I said, both cuts on this 45 aren’t breaking any new ground. Aaron & the Burrs play sunny surf-rock, the same as has been purveyed since the ’60s. This still sounds absolutely wonderful, though. The songs are short, catchy, and well-executed. The a-side, “Release the Bats,” has a nice workout somewhere in the middle that really brings it to life, and ends with a fantastic bit of revved up guitar.

“Oh No, More Bats” is the more sonically interesting. It changes up the tempo several times as it goes, and works a much more complex interplay between the guitar and bass, with the bass at times even doubling the guitar line for a much more full sound.
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Podcast #117, “Sadder Slower”

Posted in podcast on September 22nd, 2014 by Nick – 1 Comment

sad-cat
My mood, as of late, has been horrendously mercurial. I’ve been an emotional wreck, prone to fits of raging anger and crippling sadness. Needless to say, the new podcast reflects both that and the Audio Reader benefit sale from the weekend before last.

Podcast #117, “Sadder Slower”
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33 1/3 editor Ally Jane Grossan talks about the series’ past and future

Posted in books, interview, upcoming events, upcoming release on September 10th, 2014 by Nick – Be the first to comment

333 spines
For those who love music and books, there’s nothing finer than Bloomsbury’s critically acclaimed 33 1/3, which examines individual, seminal albums, in pocket books that pack a punch. The 33 1/3 series celebrates its 100th book, on Michael Jackson’s Dangerous, on Thursday, September 11 and will be having a party for its 10th anniversary on Thursday, October 2, at the Powerhouse Arena in Brooklyn.

Ally Jane Grossan is a commissioning editor at Bloomsbury. She edits academic books in the realms of pop music and sound studies and is editor of the 33 1/3 series, taking over from founding editor David Barker in November 2012. She is also co-editor of the forthcoming textbook, How to Write About Music. We spoke with Grossan via e-mail about the series and its history.
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Podcast #116, “Short and Frickin’ Sweet”

Posted in podcast on September 8th, 2014 by Nick – Be the first to comment

munchkin cat
Maybe it’s due to a lengthy week, with a lot of mileage in it. Maybe it’s due to the weather, which went from hot and humid to rainy to seasonally-appropriate. Maybe it’s because I drank a can of FourLoko last night, got spectacularly drunk in a very short period of time, and then immediately crashed at 10:00pm.

Who’s to say? All I know is that there’s a shorter set of tunes than usual, but they’re absolutely rock-solid.

Podcast #116, “Short and Frickin’ Sweet”
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Apache Dropout’s Seth Mahen and Sonny Alexandre on “Heavy Window”

Posted in garage rock, interview, punk, streaming audio / video on August 21st, 2014 by Nick – 1 Comment

apache dropout flier
Indiana garage trio Apache Dropout just released their latest album, Heavy Window, via Magnetic South Recordings this Tuesday. The album’s much darker than their last record, Bubblegum Graveyard which was released in 2012 on Chicago’s Trouble In Mind. We’ve been enjoying the hell out of the LP, so we reached out to the band’s Seth Mahern and Sonny Alexandre to ask them about how Heavy Window came together.
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