Julia Michaels has an album out. Not In Chronological Order, released in April this year, is a short but sweet affair in pop and displays the singer-songwriter’s many strengths. If talent is a blessing, she’s blessing us with it on this, her first full-length album.
Julia Michaels has an illustrious past. That past includes five EPs, a handful of singles including the hit “Issues” (2017), co-writing credits for many of today’s biggest stars from Demi Lovato and Pink to Maroon 5 and Linkin Park, guest appearances with Shawn Mendes and Rita Ora, opening for Keith Urban, and racking up numerous…
The Roman Stoic philosopher Seneca wrote in his Letters that death both precedes and follows us. Thus the Shores of Null are where we arrive and where we depart. The band’s album Beyond the Shores (On Death and Dying) is a single track, one long meditation on psychiatrist Elizabeth Kübler-Ross’s five stages of grief, and it was released last year at a time when many thousands were dying each day because of a novel coronavirus. Ultimately, nothing can make sense of death, but we try through science and art, and that includes the art of heavy metal.
WARNING: The following work of fiction based on a fairy tale by the Brothers Grimm contains references to graphic violence that some readers may find upsetting, disturbing or otherwise objectionable. Reader discretion is advised.
Brummer dragged the children to the cutting house. He placed a tin bucket on the floor at the head of the worktable and looked around for his tools. As he found each one, he hung it from a nail protruding from the underside of the table. When he had assembled them all, he put his hands on his waist and took a deep breath.
The battle between the United States Army and Modoc Tribe raged across the lava beds, leaving behind the flotsam and jetsam of war. Moaning horses lay in troughs of churned earth. Dead hands gripped fallen standards. Bodies lay in a litter of spilled cartridges, bayonet shards, fragments of clothing, and bits of photographs and letters from home. And onto this field stepped three gunmen in black.
Bo “Bronco” Riley hit the dirt. The hell’d they come from? he thought as he wriggled behind the body of a dead horse and peeked around for another look.
All three of the figures…
From his cover in the darkness, Bishop Diclux watched the witches cavort in the light of their bone-fire. Breasts shook and trembled. Sweat flew from tossed hair. Mouths ejected grunts and spewed wild ululations. Within the flames, a massive form hunkered, turning its shaggy, horned head from side to side in slow, baleful arcs. Diclux, Christian priest in public and diabolical warlock in secret, wrapped a hand around the hilt of his sword.
This was going to be a hunt to remember.
Diclux’s companions this night were his Hammer, eight warriors chosen from his enclave for their loyalty, cunning and…
Identifying a “lesser-known classic” is difficult these days. Almost everything is online, bands unheard of by the general populace make successful careers through regular releases and constant touring across decades, and a quick Internet search shows even the smallest acts have a loyal following. Yet the feeling, perhaps misleading, persists that even in this excess of music, some of the best work remains underappreciated. One such album that I spin regularly is Åsmund Frægdegjevar by Lumsk.
When it comes to classical music, I prefer opera, and when it comes to opera, I prefer Wagner. I’m not the kind of fan who can argue minutiae in comments sections online — bloody gladiatorial pits, those — but I do enjoy opera and have grown to love certain works, performers and recordings more than others. Wagner isn’t for the faint of heart, but I invite you to join me in a walk through the recordings that have defined my experience of the Old Sorcerer’s music.
“Perceval, take Excalibur. Find a pool of calm water. Throw the sword into it…
Sometime while everyone was watching, George Clooney went from being a young hunk on TV to being one of Hollywood’s biggest movie stars and directors. The American (2010), based on novelist Martin Booth’s A Very Private Gentleman (1990) and directed by Anton Corbijn, is one of my favorite films starring Clooney, and one scene in particular has lodged in my brain and demanded attention. With a little recourse to philosophy, and none to film theory, let’s unravel — or try to — a stunning moment of truth during the film’s climax.
The American is full of brooding suspense. Clooney plays…
A few months ago, from one day to the next, I stopped listening to metal. After years of diving down the maw of extreme metal, I suddenly needed — like Drax spilling from Abilisk or Ace Ventura emerging from a rhino — to get out. I explored genres I’d been neglecting, then worked my way back into metal with a little metalcore. When the need for more abrasive listening returned, I turned to what was for me the must-listen album of 2021: Crypta’s debut album Echoes of the Soul.
Note: The following post was originally published almost ten years ago at http://gleamingsword.blogspot.com on August 20, 2011, soon after the birth of my son. It begins with a couple quotes:
“The major impact of this theory [pragmatism] is to shift talk about truth to talk about knowledge, and talk about knowledge to talk about the achievements of human powers and practices. . . he [William James] temporalizes knowledge and links it to human satisfaction and success.”
— Cornel West, The American Evasion of Philosophy
“Hello, Jack? I’m Annette. You’re doing it wrong.”
— Mr. Mom
A little while back, when…