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Archive for May, 2014

We Like: Lovecraft is Missing

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Even though it first begun in September of 2008 Lovecraft is Missing by Larry Latham is something every fan of the dark author should check out. It is still very much active and is updated every Friday

Follow it here: http://lovecraftismissing.com/?p=930

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Read Unlocked: An Oral History of Haden’s Syndrome by John Scalzi

lock-in-series-header

Tor.com has put up the prologue to John Scalzi’s new book Lock In! as well as the first five chapters. This is what they say about the new novel:

In John Scalzi’s newest novel, Lock In, a mysterious illness known as “Haden’s syndrome” has changed humanity forever. Those afflicted with the disease spend their time in an alternate reality called the Agora, and can control robots in order to interact with the outside world. When a horrifying murder rocks the Haden-afflicted community, an FBI agent has to bridge the two worlds to solve it…

Read Unlocked here:

http://www.tor.com/stories/2014/05/unlocked-an-oral-history-of-hadens-syndrome-john-scalzi?utm_source=exacttarget&utm_medium=newsletter&utm_term=tordotcom&utm_content=-na_readblog_blogpost&utm_campaign=9780765375865

and the five first chapters here:

http://www.tor.com/features/series/john-scalzi-lock-in?utm_source=exacttarget&utm_medium=newsletter&utm_term=tordotcom&utm_content=-na_readblog_blogpost&utm_campaign=9780765375865

Looks for a review of Lock in! shortly


Review: Kairos by Sam Brookes


Genre: Folk/Roots
Label: Own
Best Track: Frequency

At a first listen the album Kairos by Sam Brookes can come across as quite dull, especially if one is listening to it halfheartedly through a streaming service. The way to get the full experience is to put it through your stereo or via earbuds. This is when the full scope of Brookes musical range and the depth of the production really becomes evident.
Without a record label behind him Brookes has chosen to release this album on his own through the support of his fans and this may well be his breakthrough into the main stream, he has already been highlighted in Uncut. There is also little doubt that he will find great success out there. He may very well be the next Ryan Adams or to a lesser extent a more successful Shawn Mullins.
Brookes’ music and lyrics are mature and heartfelt; it transports the listener to another place or plane. A dark and ambient wilderness where man and nature battle for control except man may never win since nature in this place is a reflection of the inner being of him. There is sense of storytelling, just not on a lyrical level, it’s the music and feeling one gets from the production that tells the tale.
The music is a blend of soft folk with a tinge of roots, it is quite obvious that Brookes is influenced by the darker side of both these genres and the blending turns it into something that is truly his own. It feels as if T-bone Burnett himself produced this album for the TV show True Detective, it would fit very well, slow moving, deep and filled with sorrow and broken people.
Before you decide to listen to Kairos, make sure you have the time to sit down, put the earbuds in and really listen. You will be glad you did.

C.M. Marry Hultman

C.M. Marry Hultman


Review: Ashes of Chikara

ashes-of-chikara-movie

Producer:Ian Vaflor
Cast: Fire Ant, Green Ant, Icarus, Mike Quackenbush, et al

Season 13 of Chikara was probably the toughest season the roster had ever faced. It all came to a head at Anniversario: Never Compromise when the company was shut down by Condor security and it was left for dead. Many fans were left wondering what was next, was Chikara truly dead or would it rise from the ashes like Phoenix itself. Many questions were left unanswered and if one turns to The Ashes of Chikara for them then there will be disappointment. Not in the movie itself, it is more of the final chapter in what was season 13, but in the fact that it might raise more questions in the end. If one were to analyze Ashes from a broader perspective, it might just be the most indie of all independent cultural phenomena today.

The movie begins after the attack on Chikara by Condor and then centers on Icarus, a heel, looking for answers and help in a world gone crazy. Icarus is driven by the need to bring Chikara back and save the remaining offshoot companies from the threat of destruction. He is the one who seemingly has lost most because of the closing of Chikara; his family.
Parallell to this the tag team of 3.0, Shane Matthews and Scott Parker, are also looking for answers by finding Archibald Peck, who mysteriously vanished a while back. They find out that he is Parts Unknown where he apparently has tried to put the pieces of the puzzle back together.
There are two camps amongst the roster of Chikara, those who have given up or at least made peace with the idea of the demise of the company; Eddie Kingston, Chuck Taylor and Tim Donst, and those who are willing to fight; Icarus, 3.0, Fire Ant and Green Ant. The final showdown is to be National Pro Wrestling Day.

The roster of Chikara are no great actors, there is quite a bit of over acting and the masks make it difficult to emote at times. This is of course not the point of this movie, no one is expecting an Oscar worthy performance from Shane Matthews or AssailANT it is part of the charm.

What is more impressive is the narrative and camera work, one can speculate that this has been the main focus when the movie was produced. What some of the actors might lack in emotional response the camera and score makes up for. For those who have followed the Ashes videos on Youtube most of the story is the same, yet the new footage gives the story an extra dimension and added depth. In addition, one does not have to be a Chikara expert to enjoy the story as is.
As previously mentioned; The Ashes of Chikara might be the epitome of independent culture. It is not only an independent movie about an independent wrestling company. It’s a movie about independent lifestyles, about people making their way in the world against the odds. It’s about David taking on Goliath not only in the corporate world, but on an individual level. Icarus becomes the embodiment of an idea, the idea that is Chikara, the courage to be different in a world of conformity, the bravery to wear jeans in a forest of suits. The Ashes of Chikara has so much more to say than one might initially think.

For the hardcore wrestling fan or the hardcore Chikara fan there is also several hidden gems that makes one smile inside. The movie is also a tribute to the movies of the eighties, from the Stan Bush songs playing in the background to the Rocky-esque montage before the final showdown.

To find out more about Chikara go to chikarapro.com and if you want to see The Ashes of Chikara it is available for download here: http://theashesof.com/

C.M. Marry Hultman

C.M. Marry Hultman


You only live twice Complete card (Chikara)

On the 25th of this month Chikara finally returns in full force. It is the beginning of season 14 and one can be certain that it will be something extra. The full card has now been announced and it is as follows:

Grand championship of Chikara

Icarus vs. Eddie Kingston (C)

The Colony vs. The Colony:Extreme Force

4 Corner Elimination Tag Match

3.0 vs. Pieces of Hate vs. 17/DeviANT vs. The winners of Tag World Grand Prix

Jimmy Jacobs vs. Archibald Peck

The Batiri vs. Sinn Bodhi + The Odditorium

The Spectral Envoy vs. Brudershaft des Kreuzes

Jervis Cottonbelly vs. Juan Francisco de Coronado

The event will be sent live through iPPV go to http://www.chikarapro.com/ and order it…


Review: TNA Sacrifice

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Federation: Impact Wrestling

The build up to Sacrifice felt almost nonexistent, sure most of the matches presented on the night were in one way or another the end of some feud. This being said it felt very disjointed since most of the buildup seemed far away and no longer relevant. On the paper TNA presented a gimmick PPV, almost every single match had some form of stipulation that also felt like a way to make it more interesting. That being said Sacrifice was actually a very good pay per view when it came down to the wrestling, the company has got a strong roster, but suffers from storylines that have little or no urgency to them. The recent cutbacks in wrestlers has also damaged TNA and one can only hope that they have a great plan to recoup those losses.

The Wolves vs. Bro-Mans & Dj Z (handicap Tag Team championship match)

What made TNA so good in the past was that they had a strong X-division, women’s division and Tag division, today this is unfortunately not so. All three divisions run on some form of skeleton crew and this leads to repetitive matches and tired storylines. The addition of The Wolves (Davey Richards/Eddie Edwards) to the roster has been a long awaited boost to the roster and they will thrive much more on Impact than NXT, but the loss of Bad Influence, the split of Aries/Roode, Gunner/Storm, has made the landscape bare.
That being said the match between Bro-Mans and The Wolves was good, fast-paced and with many entertaining spots. The comical aspect of Robbie and Jessie as well as Zema pitted against the hard-hitting style of Richards and Edwards works well. Unfortunately The Wolves have been using the same moves in the last three matches leading up to Sacrifice, but after watching the two following Impact shows they have pulled out others from their arsenal.
The title win was deserved and long awaited, but leaves the question…who will they feud with next?

Willow/Kurt Angle vs. Rockstar Spud/EC3

Not much can be said about this match. Nothing really gets resolved and it seems more to have been added so that the wrestlers would have a spot at the show. It was also obvious that Angle was unable to carry his end by himself and therefore Willow was added. EC3 is a good wrestler and shows a lot of in ring comedy without making it too silly. Spud on the other hand looks a bit too ridiculous amongst the bigger guys and need to enter an expanding X-division, where he could shine. He has been a OVW TV champion, show why.

Tigre Uno vs. Sanada (X-division championship)

Just like the Tag division the X-division is limping like an injured deer. They need to inject some blood in it and they have teased such an injection by bringing Aries and King back to Impact, but nothing happens. A 2 out of 3 matches between Uno and Sanada was unmotivated except to show that Impact has all but abandoned the division. One cannot use One Night Only Xtravaganza or Destination X as justification that the division is still important.
The match between the two highflyers was excellent with alot of back and action and the outcome uncertain. There was innovation and quickness and everything was genuinely enjoyable. The thing to do is to have at least one X-division match per Impact show, not necessarily a championship match, with a variety of stars to bring the relevance of it back.

Mr. Anderson vs. Samuel Shaw (committed match)

One would have thought that this issue had been resolved long ago, but it keeps on coming. The buildup has been slow and entertaining and Shaw and Anderson are both good workers and performers. One can mourn the fact that Shaw has gone from being an X-division athlete to a heavyweight, he is more needed there. The match was good and the Dexter-persona of Shaw well played, the outcome was expected and probably not a surprise to anyone.

“Cowboy” James Storm vs. Gunner (I quit match)

Like Shaw and Anderson this is a feud that one might feel has gone too long. At the last PP V it should have ended, but TNA felt it needed one final bought. Both Gunner and Storm are good workers, the first has got a limited amount of moves, but makes them count and if you were to compare him to any wrestler from the old days he would hold his own. Storm on the other hand has always been evolving, always adding moves, but he isn’t agile enough to sell all the moves and he comes off quite stiff. Gunner has been growing as a wrestler and is absolutely turning into a fan favorite while Storm is now where he is supposed to be, a heel.
The match was everything one would want from an I Quit match and it goes that extra step that TNA has not dared to do on Impact, even though there has been several Monster’s Balls. This was a really solid match with violence and a strong showing from both guys.

Bobby Roode vs. Bully Ray (Tables Match)

Both Bully Ray and Roode are great in ring competitors and I do think that Bully plays a better face than he does a heel. There is something endearing about him that way and he is very good at getting the crowd on his side. Roode just goes from strength to strength, always adding new moves and when you think you know him he adds a dropkick. The match was good and well-paced though the trouble with tables matches are always weird since the match ends when a table is broken. The addition of Dixie Carter felt a bit contrived, but furthers the feud and keeps her relevant.

Angelina Love vs. Madison Rayne (Knockouts Championship)
This would be third division in TNA that is currently suffering, like the X-division there are too few wrestlers in the knockouts division causing matches and feuds to be repetitive and somewhat dull. The introduction of Brittney and return of Angelina Love and Taryn Terell have been welcome. The strength within TNA is that they actually have women wrestlers who can wrestle and it shows. Love and Rayne had a matchup that could rival any of the men on the roster.
Love’s win was expected and in line with the Beautiful People’s heel turn.

Magnus vs. Eric Young (World Heavyweight Championship)
The decision to put the championship belt on EY, no matter the reason, was a good idea. With the absence of Samoa Joe, departure of Sting and A.J. Styles, injury of Kurt Angle, Jeff Hardy’s Willow persona and Storm’s heel turn he is the wrestler who is most over. The fact that he has moved from the goofy persona has left him open to showcase his skills. Young is a tremendous athlete and a wrestler with a high level skill set. It is quite obvious that he can have a good match with anyone. Magnus, like Gunner, is more limited in his moves, but is a strong competitor and plays his role perfectly.
This match was very good, but could have been better with someone equal to EY. What is particularly enjoyable is the how Young has pointed out his history with TNA and the fans really pop for this, wrestling fans love continuity.

In closing, Sacrifice was, despite the gimmicks, very good and the strength was the skill of the wrestlers.

C.M. Marry Hultman

C.M. Marry Hultman


The French Progressives

Lazuli-Tant que l’herbe est grasse
Genre: Progressive World Music
Label: L’abeille rôde
Best Track: Tristes Moités

When one thinks of progressive rock France might not be the first country that comes to mind. World music might be more closely connected to the heirs of Charlemagne. That is not to say that progressive rock is an anomaly amongst the French, acts like Marillion, Gazpacho and Fish remain popular, the latter is even a guest vocalist on this album.

The strength when it comes to progressive rock is that the music itself is the main focus and this is where Lazuli really shines. They sing in French and yet, as this may seem as a downside when it comes to international appeal, the language lends itself well to the genre.

Lazuli takes the style of progressive rock and expertly blends it with the dimensions of world music, while also giving it a mystic and dark edge reminiscent of a darker version of Woodland. The band immerses itself in the mysticism of world music as the artwork of their album and images on the homepage would indicate, maybe giving a false idea of the band’s sound. The imagery gives an air of more advanced musicality than they actually possess.

Lazuli fit well into the growing pantheon of progressive rock and they take it in a different direction than many other bands. If one enjoys the introductory folksy tunes of Opeth’s Heritage or the lilting piano playing of Coheed and Cambria’s intros, then these french garçons are definitely a treat. The production is clean and the sound soothing, the lead vocalist’s voice is nicely in harmony with the music, the lyrics are a mystery to anyone not fluent in french, but those in the know claim that they are filled with wordplay and puns.

Lazuli takes the listener on an exciting and mystical journey, a world close to our own, the magic woods or the misty fields outside our window on a spring morning. They have taken the magic of nature and translated it inot music. It’s a wondrous and seductive journey that you might not want to leave.

C.M. Marry Hultman

C.M. Marry Hultman


The Champions of Gypstep

Molotov Jukebox- Carnival Flower
Genre: Gypstep
Label: Own
Best Track: Neon Lights

I was first alerted to Molotov Jukebox when I saw that they were on the line up of The Beautiful Days Festival in 2013. They were billed as a Gyspy dubstep band and this naturally got my attention. After listening to them through various streaming services I was even more intrigued.
They have now released their first full length album Carnival Flower through the funding site PledgeMusic.com and this may well be the start of something great for the band.
It feels like all eleven tracks of the album take place during the same wild night, there is cohesiveness in the songs that make them pieces of a bigger puzzle. One or two tracks stand out as solo hits, but the album works better as a whole.
To explain this album is near impossible, it is part tango, part ska, part tropical and all eclectic topped off with an extraordinary vocalist. It’s like being in an underground club in the sixties, smoke filled, where anything can happen and frequently does.
It would be easy to compare the band to a group like No Doubt, both have a charismatic and sexy vocalist, horn sections and seemingly boundless energy. This would be an easy and simplified comparison. Molotov Jukebox has got more in common with bands such as Vaya Con Dios than a Californian semi- ska band.
There is something of the underground and rebelliousness to Molotov Jukebox that bands like No Doubt lack. It comes from the very air that the band and their singer Natalia Tena give off; it virtually drips eroticism from every single word in the songs and vibrates from the rhythms echoing through the speakers. Where other bands sing about heartache or teenage angst Molotov Jukebox talk of seduction and lust as if they were entities.
The want to put out an album filled with new material is understandable, but there are tracks out there by the band that would have been nice to include, songs that would have fit well into the canon of Carnival Flower and might have added to or replaced some of the tracks. There is a sense of some of the songs being too similar in there composition and this is the only weakness to this album.
Hopefully this album can be made more accessible to the wider audience by being picked up by a record label and given some good press or maybe Molotov Jukebox continue on their underground path and this is exactly what makes them great, a fan base brought together by sweaty lust, accordions and a wicked horn section.

Carnival Flower is now available to stream, as well as download from the regular places

C.M. Marry Hultman

C.M. Marry Hultman


Things we like: Speculate! Kickstarter

From the desk of fantasy author Bradley Beaulieu it was announced today that Speculate!The Podcast for writers, readers and fans will be putting out a Kickstarter. This will go live on May 13th and in addition to this the 101st episode of Speculate will touch on this.
Check it out!
Speculate-Kickstarter-Image-300x225

http://quillings.com/2014/05/06/speculate-gets-a-kickstarter/


A new video was released by Jeff and Karen Jarrett and their Global Force Wrestling promotion. It does look like this might be a serious contender for the number two or three spot in the wrestling hierarchy, but I would be more concerned for the little indies instead.