Record Review: Midlake – Antiphon

image courtesy of Midlake.net

The first time I heard Midlake was 2007’s The Trials of Van Occupanther. There was something about the way it so effortless evoked the tone of music from the seventies that both unnerved and impressed me. And let me clarify – it wasn’t simply that songs like Young Bride, Roscoe and Branches emulated the instrumentation or affectations of what I’ve heard on the radio my entire life from that era, it was more the sense that all of those nameless, hazy musical backdrops of my early life – rides in the car, parties at relatives’ houses, grainy television themes – had created this kind of archetypal residue in the foundations of my memories for those early, developmental years and these guys were somehow able to tap directly into those experiences by their choice of chord progressions, vocal melodies and arrangements.

Independent Business Interview Spotlight: The Book Frog’s Indiegogo

Being that I worked as a supervisor/manager in the book retail business for the final five years of a certain ineptly-run major franchise that is now two years out of business (run by clowns. Literally…) I know a thing or two about the way the retail business – especially the book business – has suffered at the hands of online shopping, specifically Amazon.com. That’s a whole different discussion though, so let’s just say that for the purposes of this article I feel it would be wrong to lay all of the blame on the online-mega retailer, even though some of their more aggressive tactics show no mercy, no sportsmanship and dare I say it no interest in maintaining common human decency. The blame does not lay solely on one pair of shoulders. In fact, I believe it’s not entirely a blame-game at all. Technology has changed our lives, our brains and our physical relationship with the world around us. We spend so much of our time submerged to varying degrees in a virtual world that mirrors exactly our physical one (Google maps anyone?) that we are increasingly capable of neglecting even our own minds and bodies. So then is it really any wonder that we have fallen into the habit of neglecting our communities as well? And I’m not just talking about the fact that it seems almost alien to say hello to the people you pass as you walk down the street or to the new neighbors in the apartment across the way. No, here I’m speaking specifically about the institutions that make up the cultural underpinning of our interactions with one another. And when I think of “cultural underpinnings” I immediately think of the bookshop as an almost archetypal facet in that greater tapestry of human culture. Books inform, inspire and entertain us. They educate and mesmerize us. And they help us learn better ways to communicate (notice the root there is the same in community – there’s a reason for that) and share our experiences with one another. This in turn helps the overall human organism grow and thrive.

Thee Comic Column #55: Interview w/ the Creators of RUIN

Banger2One of the things I really want to try to focus on more with this column is the world of independent comics. We live in an age when things can be seen and heard without the sponsorship of big, multi-media corporations; no longer are they the gatekeepers. That said, with a leveled playing field across the board how do you make your vision stand out and attract the attention of the millions of web users whose attention everyone else is also vying? It takes everyone who is interested in something, everyone who sees something they think others will like to spread the word and help make these projects happen.

Remember the Monster: Saying Goodbye to Breaking Bad

image courtesy of goldderby.com

SCB: Last year Joe and I did a little article to talk about the end of the penultimate season of Breaking Bad. This year though there’s quite a bit more invested. This year we are here to say goodbye to what is, for my money, the greatest show in the history of shows. If you’ve not seen Breaking Bad all the way through I beg you, click off this article because SPOILERS.

Comic Book Interlude: Kickstarter for The Painted Ladies of San Quentin B&W Edition!

I wanted to post this on our site. Jason Lenox, whose Ugli Studios Presents #2 I showcased in a recent issue of Thee Comic Column (#48) has a new Kickstarter for an off-shoot project of that book and I wanted to help spread the word here’s the site and the video:

Painted Ladies of San Quentin: B&W Edition

Shawn C Baker

Shawn C Baker

Shawn lives in Los Angeles where he co-hosts Drinking w/ Comics, writes screenplays and fiction and has been known to drink quite a bit of beer. Good beer.

Thee Comic Column #54: Al Jourgensen, Super Hero?

image courtesy of the band

There has been a lot of activity coming from the Ministry camp as of late. Admittedly iconic mastermind of the band Al Jourgensen released an autobiography, a new and very possibly final album and now… a comic book?

Yep.

In a press release I received this past Wednesday Uncle Al announced a partnership with British artist Sam Shearon who will write and illustrate Ministry: The Devil’s Chord, a thirteen-issue comic book series that will transmogrify Alain from mere flesh and blood mortal into a comic book character based on the evolution of the band he has helmed for over three decades now.

Album Review: Polvo ‘Siberia’

Polvo_Siberia_LP_11183Of all the recently reunited 90s Alt Rock outfits, the lesser spotted Polvo stake a more valid claim than most to a second stab at existence, having not really been paid their dues the first time around. Unlike most reunions, Polvo’s wasn’t necessarily fuelled by a groundswell of born again devotees voting with their feet for reappraisal, and it might just be this lack of expectation that has them sounding like no time at all has passed between their demise in 1998 and their reformation a decade later. Despite some deceptively pedestrian Indie distortion slinging, the woozy cephalopodic tremolo and angle grinding of Ash Bowie and Dave Brylawski’s intermingling riffs fray at the ends with non sequiturs that distort the space and time signatures of Brian Quast’s beats and Steve Popson’s humming undercurrent.

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