Wednesday, August 31, 2005


How did we get from Black Sabbath (inventors of “doom metal”) to Khanate?

Doom is at this point nearly as wide-open as metal itself. The label encompasses everything from outright Sab clones like Saint Vitus to bad-trip soundscapers like Esoteric and Electric Wizard, from Southern-rock-infused purveyors of filthy noise like Eyehategod and Sourvein to the Japanese experimentalists Boris, who’ve done everything from semi-ambient drone pieces to rifftastic monoliths of roar. But Khanate is the band doing the most with the doom concept, or anyway, the most doomed-sounding band ever.

Sure, Khanate steals from Sabbath. But their brilliance is in what they choose to steal. Khanate are all about space. Each huge chord, each snare crack or cymbal crash, is allowed to decay into silence before the next arrives. They’ve heard the word “riff,” but don’t believe it applies to what they’re doing, and they’re right. Guitarist Stephen O’Malley can’t be bothered with Iommi-esque crunch; he’s imitating the church bells that opened Sabbath’s debut, while drummer Tim Wyskida’s cymbals recall the ominous rainfall. Vocalist Alan Dubin doesn’t sound like Ozzy as much as what that creepy woman on the Black Sabbath album cover might sound like, in your worst nightmares. Bassist Jim Plotkin isn’t nearly as nimble-fingered as Geezer Butler, but he looks like a 19th century serial killer in band photos; Butler just looks like an old hippy. So, points to Plotkin.

Khanate’s new single (never mind the 43-minute running time, two songs isn’t an EP) is the best thing they’ve released yet. Awash in echo, “Capture” and “Release” find Dubin portraying some combination of Gollum and The Silence Of The Lambs’ Buffalo Bill. “Who says I can’t have?/closer come closer/…strapped and tied/sing with me/…someone’s treasure crush,” he screeches. “Release” is even more disturbing, if that’s possible. Dubin, or the character he’s playing, doesn’t mean “release” in the sense that the victim captured in the first song will be freed; he means releasing blood from veins, releasing soul from body. The music perfectly supports the lyrics and vocals, too; some of the pauses between chords are so long that when the guitar does return, you’ll jump like the ceiling just fell in. This, more than any half-assed indie “noise” crap (fuck a bunch of Wolf Eyes and Black Dice), is the sound not of music itself, but of music’s death. Khanate have created a truly hopeless diptych, taking their sound, and doom as a genre, to what seems right now like its ultimate extreme. Hard to imagine a more desolate record being released this year, or anytime soon. I can’t wait to see them live again. (The last time I saw them, Plotkin fried a bass head, so they stopped after just over a half hour. I’m hoping for a longer set this time.)

Wednesday, August 24, 2005


Spotted a couple of articles about online music sharing and whatnot.

This one is smart, informative, and very much worth reading.

This one is empty-headed crap. (Gee, from the New Republic? You don't say! I know; I was shocked too.)

Saturday, August 20, 2005


As should be obvious by now, I don’t sneer down my nose at teevee, or many other aspects of so-called “mainstream” culture. Lots of stuff made for and sold to reg’lar folks is simply more pleasurable, and rewarding, than the one golden truffle that can maybe be found after weeks of snuffling through nine hundred achingly “independent” releases (whether in print, on film, or on disc). Every Friday, I get my nerd on watching Battlestar Galactica on the SciFi Channel, and three of the shows being broadcast by the FX network (The Shield, Nip/Tuck and Rescue Me) rank with the best stuff that’s ever been broadcast, anywhere.

But I’m here today to talk about a show I first watched nearly a decade ago, and which has bubbled at the back of my brain ever since, in that very special zone labeled “What the fuck were these people thinking?” I’m talking about Profit, a Fox drama from 1996 that just became available on DVD from the fine folks at Anchor Bay Entertainment.

Profit is the story of Jim Profit, a sleek predator played with empty-eyed malevolence (and the tiniest hint of a smirk) by Adrian Pasdar. He’s rising through the ranks at corporate titan Gracen & Gracen, mostly by manipulating, sleeping with, and/or murdering people who have the job he wants, or are otherwise keeping him from some goal. But it’s weirder than that. His evil father kept him in a cardboard box when he was a child, with only a hole in one side so he could see the tube. As an adult, he lives in a deluxe apartment in the sky, but every night, he crawls naked into the same box, secreted behind a panel where no one can see.

The show is terrifically amoral. In fact, while re-viewing it, I found it impossible not to speculate – did Mary Harron, who directed the movie version of Bret Easton Ellis’s American Psycho, watch this show? Did Christian Bale, the star? The world through which Jim Profit moves seems very like the hallucinatory universe of Patrick Bateman. The tone of black comedy is the same, too. Profit is funnier than most comedies, and suspenseful, given that most people can’t conceive of behavior as soullessly vicious as the title character’s, so his moves frequently come as a total surprise.

The creators describe their initial pitch to networks as “Richard III as a series. The hero is a psychopath, but only the audience knows it.” They were thrown out of CBS right after telling the executives there that, in the pilot, Profit tongue-kisses his stepmother. Even Fox, the channel that finally agreed to air the show four years after it was initially pitched, pulled it after only four episodes. That’s what makes this DVD release so fantastic for those, like me, who watched that initial mini-run in wide-eyed wonder, punctuated with barks of wild laughter: four episodes that were only ever aired in France are included here, reaching American eyes for the first time.

Profit is a truly badass show. The term “corporate shark” has never been more apt.

Thursday, August 18, 2005

Wednesday, August 17, 2005



1. Place about half a roll of paper towels in your lap.
2. Click this link. Scroll down to "John Coltrane at Rudy Van Gelder's Studio."
3. Read the whole thing.
4. Discard the giant sopping wad of drool-soaked paper towels. Attempt to go on with your life, knowing as you now do that all this material is in the hands of the label, to eventually be released on wildly overpriced super-deluxe boxed sets, and that none of it is on any file-sharing network. See how well you sleep tonight, and what you dream about.

Thursday, August 11, 2005

Monday, August 08, 2005


Got the new Agoraphobic Nosebleed double-disc, Bestial Machinery, in today's mail. It gathers all their compilation and EP tracks from before their Relapse Records debut, Honky Reduction, in one handy package. It's only about 75 minutes of music, but it had to be split between two discs because there are 136 tracks. And of course, as always with the Nosebleed, the titles are absolute classics. Here are some of the best ones.

El Topo
The Executioner Vs. The Sodomite
The Newlyweds Are Raped
Morphine Constipation
Fat Fucking Chance
My Life Is A Money Pit
Debilitating Headache
Glade, A Straw, And A Sandwich Bag
Black Ass, White Dick
Death Takes A Shit 2
Hooker Bomb
Baby Cannon
Inappropriate Response
Recovering Contraband From A Constricted Airway
Pediatric Burn Unit
Hate Disguised As Legislation
Gratuitous Wound Photos
Ritalin Attack
Bloated And Complacent
Fuck Your Soccer Mom

Wednesday, August 03, 2005


This being post #100 to this here blog, I might as well give you a Top 100 list. Someone asked me to list my 100 favorite movies. Here they are.


1. Affliction
2. Aguirre, The Wrath Of God
3. Alien
4. Alien3
5. Amelie
6. American Psycho
7. Apocalypse Now
8. Bad Lieutenant
9. Bad Santa
10. Battle Royale
11. The Beguiled
12. The Big Heat
13. The Big Red One: The Reconstruction
14. The Blackout
15. Blade Runner
16. The Brood
17. Bully
18. Casino
19. Chinatown
20. Cockfighter
21. The Conversation
22. Cool Hand Luke
23. Cube
24. Dawn Of The Dead
25. Day Of The Dead
26. The Decline Of Western Civilization
27. Demonlover
28. The Dentist
29. Dirty Harry
30. Dirty Pretty Things
31. The Driver
32. The Edge
33. Extreme Prejudice
34. The Fashionistas
35. Fela: Music Is The Weapon
36. The Fifth Element
37. Gerry
38. Ghost Dog: The Way Of The Samurai
39. Glengarry Glen Ross
40. The Golf Specialist
41. GoodFellas
42. Happy Gilmore
43. Hard Times
44. Heat
45. Heist
46. High Plains Drifter
47. The Hills Have Eyes
48. House Of Games
49. Invasion Of The Body Snatchers (Kaufman)
50. It’s A Gift
51. Kagemusha
52. Killing Zoe
53. King Of New York
54. Lancelot Of The Lake
55. Mad Max
56. The Matrix
57. Miller’s Crossing
58. Mishima
59. The Naked Kiss
60. Near Dark
61. Nosferatu The Vampyre
62. Once Upon A Time In The West
63. Pi
64. Pickup On South Street
65. Point Blank
66. Prince Of Darkness
67. Raging Bull
68. Ran
69. Repo Man
70. Revengers Tragedy
71. Rififi
72. Road House
73. The Road Warrior
74. The Royal Tenenbaums
75. Seconds
76. Shock Corridor
77. Sorcerer
78. Southern Comfort
79. The Spanish Prisoner
80. Starship Troopers
81. The Steel Helmet
82. Straight Time
83. Straight To Hell
84. Stranger Than Paradise
85. Straw Dogs
86. The Swimmer
87. The Texas Chain Saw Massacre
88. The Thing
89. Thief
90. To Live And Die In L.A.
91. Two-Lane Blacktop
92. Unforgiven
93. Vampires
94. Videodrome
95. The Warriors
96. Weapons Of Ass Destruction
97. White Dog
98. The Wild Bunch
99. The Wonderful, Horrible Life Of Leni Riefenstahl
100. X2 (X-Men 2: X-Men United)