Freebie Throwndown #1

Every so often when I’m attending a festival, some dude sees my media pass and presses a free CD into my hands. Since these people obviously want a review, (and since I usually have a long drive home) they’re gonna get what they asked for. No bullshit, no sugarcoating, no punches pulled.

Round One:
At Times of Madness
S/T
Self-Released
Canada
2009

Spazzy songwriting. Whiney ex-boyfriend clean singing/talking. Fred Durst apologetics. We listened to this CD on the way home from Armstrong Metalfest and my buddy Mike looked at the tracklist and asked incredulously but I’ll say diplomatically, “they made eleven of these?” This album is pretty edgy; I’m glad the band had the presence of mind to slap a Parental Advisory logo on the cover. Vocalist Josh Pym sounds like he’s got serious issues on his mind. Either that, or his V-neck is too tight. The band thanks “God” but I’m pretty sure that if there was a god, he would have smote these kids with a hail of Manowar records before they ever hit the studio. Real talk: Everything about this release is fucking atrocious. The only mitigating factor would be the inclusion of titties on the inside cover, so at least I had something to jerk off to while I was listening to this garbage.

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Books + Brekky

This is how I start my Tuesday

This is how I start my Tuesday

Breakfast of semi-scrambled eggs (which is what I get when I fuck up sunny side up eggs) seasoned in Garam Masala, plus banana, strawberries and toast w/honey peanut butter.

Yesterday I started reading Imaro by Charles R. Saunders. Really fun sword and sorcery with an African setting. The stories were originally published across the 70’s and 80’s, this is the first of three books. Imaro is often compared to Robert E. Howard’s Conan. Howard is an obvious influence on Saunders, but where Conan is an adventurer with lofty aspirations who does pretty much whatever the hell he wants, Imaro is a troubled young warrior, hated by his kinsfolk for something his estranged mother did. Saunders, being of African descent himself, injects tribal warfare and a vivid re-imagining of the Dark Continent (Called “Nyumbani” in the books) with a character who is an outcast among his own people. Shit, there’s even a prophecy involved! The prose is fifty shades of fockin’ purple and there’s enough adverbs to give pause to a herd of stampeding gazelle, but so far the stories are a grand time in the Schoole of Olde.

I’m working on a fantasy novel and series of short stories about a mercenary captain and his ship, so I picked up Scourge of the Seas for a little research on buccaneering history to help myself out with ship anatomy, battles on the high seas, naval politics, period dress, life on the water and all that fun stuff. This is a great, high-quality book that works through The Golden Age of Piracy, providing historical background and dispelling some of our favorite sea-faring myths along the way. Isn’t learning fun?

What’chu reading on this glorious Tuesday?

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Tuesday Reads

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I like to have one non-fiction and one fiction book going at any given time. I’m about halfway through both of these, as of 8:00am on this rainy morning.
“Days of Grass” is a sci-fi novel documenting the lives of a colony of humans hiding beneath the ground from alien invaders who conquered the Earth nearly 150 years ago. Think what “War of the Worlds” might have been if the aliens didn’t get sick and die like a bunch of wimps shortly after invading. Protagonist is a plucky lass who walks the talk and likes to break the rules.

South American Mythology has been an interesting read thus far. They separate the continent into seven regions based on the distribution of myths. There are a handful of myths that permeate (almost) the entire continent and many of their “heroes” are bungling tricksters who seem to create the Earth by tripping over their own feet and making a great goddamned mess of things. Some of the legends aren’t anything special, but a few have made me laugh or say “holy shit, that’s crazy” out loud. Some of these myths get pretty sexual, more so than your average Greek/Roman/Norse myths.

What are your Tuesday reads?