There is most definitely something about the electronic music I like that induces in me an ‘altered state’. I suppose the same can be said about any music – well, okay, not any; certainly not most pop – but the deep, bass-driven, keyboard covered drones of a hybrid artist such as Moderat and an album such as II absolutely carries me into a lighter, calmer state. This state is not extraneous – it is not “outside” my head. They are inside, the places where I go, where this record takes me. Moderat is very similar to several other artists I listen to, chief among them perhaps Underworld, in that the music they make brings down an easy veil of night even in the midst of the day (definitely need to drape the windows for that, but I’ve long maintained, in my most goth-like moments, that night, like Halloween, is a state of mind more than it is an actual physical time.
For this particular piece I feel as though I should change the name of the column to “For the Love of Negan” because, well, today I want to talk about how much I LOVE Negan’s character in The Walking Dead.
Spoilers: Some spoilers for the comic continuity lay ahead so if you’re not caught up stop and come back later. Also, I am NOT talking about the show here. I don’t watch the show and feel fairly certain – perhaps unjustly but oh well – that the neutered portrayal on AMC’s show is only going to frustrate me (as a rule I have avoided watching the show since its third season but my girlfriend is a huge a fan and I will most likely see some of the episodes this season. Wonderful what we sacrifice for love, eh?).
Yup. Rick Remender’s new book Seven to Eternity is out today. And guess what? If you didn’t realize it, if you hadn’t already read this, it’s Mr. Remender once again teaming up with Jerome Opena, the artist that, to me, best captured the awesome scope of Rick’s run on Uncanny X-Force a few years back. So I am PSYCHED!!!
Also, should be noted, there are several awesome variant covers (I don’t normally go for that kind of thing and I’ll still only buy one, but it’s nice to see so much great art on the book’s face!) and if you live in southern California Mr. Remender is signing the book and probably anything else over at Manhattan Beach’s The Comic Bug. Still the best damn shop this side of Chicago for my money…
Well howdy! Welcome to the NEW comic column. If you used to read the precursor column to this one – Thee Comic Column – you’ll no doubt remember that I dropped off penning that column all the way back in December. Holy cow! I had no idea it had been that long. The impetus for stopping Thee Comic Column – other than that particular name never really gelled with me; it was meant to be an allusion to Genesis P. Orridge’s Thee Temple Ov Psychick Youth but mostly I feel just made it sound as though I had a wantonly high opinion of my thoughts on our favorite periodical industry – was that after going for 150 mostly weekly iterations I had reached a point with my writing that no longer saw a focus placed on discussions surrounding the mediums I love. I’d already pretty much given up writing about film after leaving Chud.com, so abandoning something I had created was not without precedent in my life. And honestly I’d realized some time before December 2015 that the column was just one more way to distract myself from finishing the novel I’d been working on tooth and nail for four years. So, I jettisoned the column, my podcast Drinking with Comics (which may return at some point) and knuckled down on my own story.
A little over a month ago I finished the novel I’ve been working on for four years. It was a great feeling to finally nail the ending exactly how I knew it was supposed to be, and to celebrate I took a few days off from writing, watched and read a bunch of stuff I’ve been perpetually behind on and then began to access the next project. There are at least two sequels I have planned for Shadow Play book 1: Kim & Jessie, but before I start down that road I gave kindle-ready copies to two of my best friends and asked them to give me feedback. This works perfectly, as I’m attempting to employ the method Stephen King discusses in his book On Writing. Brass tacks: once Mr. King finishes something he puts it in a drawer for three months and works on other ideas. This gives him one of the most important tools a writer can have: perspective. This is something I am all for at this point. Having been submerged inside something for so long, well, I’ve lost the ability to see the forest for the trees. So, with Shadow Play tucked away into the hands of friends I decided to go back and give a nice dust up to a novel I finished in 2010.
I’m not sure how or why I ended up with Rollins Band, The End of Silence as my pick for this week’s edition of the Joup Friday Album. I was set to do the album Death Reflects Us by Helsinki band BeastMilk, a kind of modern embodiment of what a Misfits-meets-the-Smiths scenario might sound like. It’s a fantastic record my friend Joe Kohler only recently turned me onto and I’ve listened to it enough to drive a normal man (or woman) insane. But youtube didn’t have that. Then I was thinking about Anthrax, because I broke out my vinyl (!!!) copy of State of Euphoria last Saturday night and subsequently purchased Among the Living on iTunes (@$5.99 for the non-remastered deluxe folks it’s quite a steal!) – a replacement for the cassette that time destroyed – the following day. Then, on the way to writing about Anthrax I sat down and killed a few beers while watching Better Than Something, the Jay Reatard documentary. It affected me a considerable amount, but then The End of Silence popped into my head and I knew I was going with it. Because The End of Silence is that kind of album for me – when it comes up, it takes over.
I’m going to do something different this week. I’m going to post an album here that I do not know at all, that I in fact am hearing for the first time Wednesday night as I lay down the first draft for this piece. The Ex have blipped in and around my radar for a damn long time but I’ve never managed to pin them down. Don’t ask me how; in 2002 I wrote briefly for an online magazine called Prefix and through them I had the chance to interview one of my favorite bands at the time, Erase Errata; the interview went down at Chicago’s Abbey Pub before they opened for a band I don’t think I’d ever heard of at the time – The Ex. During the interview the members of Erase Errata talked very highly of The Ex and their excitement became so contagious that by the time my first live Erase Errata experience was over I was as excited to see The Ex as I was the band I’d gone there to interview. Well, maybe not, but it felt that way. And they took the stage and I was an instant convert.