Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Thanks 2014 - You kept it Weird

As I look back at Thwart, in 2014, the first word that comes to mind is... Immense! Despite a year that started off on a bad foot (pun intended) 2014 has been one of my most creative years EVER. 

In-between doctor appointments, hospitalizations and fifty two-hour hyper-baric oxygen treatments and maybe one of my worse possible bouts of writers block I personally seen, Thwarts 2014 output is something I look at with great pride. Not since my latter Neus Subjex years has such a creative era ever been realized as well as recognized!

Speaking of pride, it's  not something I allow myself to feel that much. You know, I wanna keep it real. I wanna be humble, but a good year is a good year... I feel that I must acknowledge that yet one more time!

I look ahead to 2015, and whereas I dont want to explain any of my plans (and jinx them), just let me say that plans do exist. Great plans... Plans that hinge on me staying foot ulcer and infection free. I realize that statement may come off as a bit odd to many of you that may not know me that well, so just trust me on it.

Right away, I know a year like 2014 wont be easy to top or even best, but Im gonna give it the ol' college try. 

Let the record show... I never went to one day of college. 


Tuesday, December 30, 2014

The Man Who Japed

The Man Who Japed
by Philip K. Dick

Somewhere in another quite evening broken in half from a stellar Value City Furniture commercial, I finished what was, (at least) my 13th full-sized novel by PKD! This estimated number is a conservative number and not accounting, in any form, the five collections of his short-stories that defy any amount of calculation consideration... The Man Who Japed isnt PKDs best book, in my opinion, but isn't his worst either. His best/worst novel ratio is at least 4-1 which may be a conservative estimate. Japed is a middle-of-the-road read and coming from PKD, one of fictions undisputed kings, is saying much more than its not. Yeah, the PKD trademarks are there... The eternal struggles of a dystopic future, ample amounts of paranoia, the questioning of moral fortitude and those special WTF moments that propel the novel from one place to the next with a hurried pace. You read PKD the way he designed and wrote them, in a speed-fever with fast dinners of meat not fit for human consumption. I'm not about to give ya a whole run-down of the plot... Like I said earlier, its not my favorite novel of his and not his worst. If you can find a copy of this book cheaply, and your in the mood, then, by all means, get this and read it.

Struggling to figure out my next read, I had Tetherballs of Bouganville by Mark Leyner and The Sequel of Dangerous Minds by Chuck Barris called Bad Grass Never Dies, both as choices before finally deciding upon the collected limited series b&w graphic novel, The One, from Rick Veitch to switch things up. I've taken to re-reading some of my favorite comics from my youth, again, as an adult. Squadren Supreme, The Watchmen and now The One. Back in my comic book days (first stint) I remember buying copies of the The One as a limited series that, for whatever reason, I remembered being in color... But hey, thats memory for ya! It was the 80's, shit was weird and it's about to get weirder!

2014 - Step In The Right Direction

I really wanted to do a Thwart Top Ten... Really, really, wanted to do one, but when I actually got down to actually doing one, I became overwhelmed. Then, along cames Mick Fletcher of JUST ANOTHER PUNK SONG blog asking for a 2014 Top Ten Songs... The best I could offer was Top Ten releases. So, with Vanderpump Rules playing in the background, I reapproached the idea and in-between my wife and I wondering why Stassi was on the show despite not having a job at Sur, Cassa Blanca or Kenny Halberts fav, PUMP, I got not only Mick's Top Ten done but inadvertently got a Top Twenty done!

So, to find out if your shitty band made my Top Ten, go read Mick Fletcher's JUST SOME PUNK SONGS Blog with the following link and come on back to read 11-20!

20. Betty Machete & The Angry Cougars "Rats" 
19. Black Planet "S/T"
18. Stalin Video "Vivisektion"
17. Miscalculations "Silent Defence"
16. Super Stupid (ep)
15. S.H.I.T.  "Feeding Time" +1
14. Coathangers "Suck My Shirt"
13. Sleeves "Sex Is Stupid"
12. Love Triangle "Clever Clever"
11. Old City "S/T"

Honorable Mention(s):Releasing  TWO full-lengths on 2014, Parquet Courts' Content Nausea hit hard just as the year was closing and would have proly made the top ten, if not the top five , if I had a few more weeks with it. 2014 was also a great year for Lions Care Recordings. Bringing to bear two interchangeable bands, Cvttvnmvvth and Wild Wings, Youngstown is definitely back on the map of dangerzones. Whereas my Top 20 included borderline entries with Kill The Hippies and The Great Dismal Swamis due to my design work being used for both bands, I had to draw the line with lyrical contributions. I know, for a fact, that some lyrical content from World War Wild Wings by Wild Wings was provided by yours truly, I suspect the same concerning Cvttvnmvvth. Currently, Im too fucking lazy and currently rocking some homemade Christmas candies to look that fact up. I'm sure Sweet Starchild will understand... Lots of creative things happening that I must give props to Lo-Fi City who have fielded many great stabs into the gut of Cincinnatis 'music' scene. Look for more of them in the form of 2014 catch-ups on 2015, added well as newer stuff. 

Monday, December 15, 2014


When I listen to The Love Triangle I'm taken back a good ten years (approximately) when The Fuses stop in a Cincinnati basement venue called The Maxi-Pad... Amoung the normal basement fare of washers, dryers, half bathrooms and kitchen sinks, The Fuses ripped thru their set in master form with only minimal breaks for swill or breath. The Fuses brought it in the strongest sense of the phrase. The Fuses 2005 release Eastern Cities on Shit Sandwich was before its time even though The Fuses had mastered its sound before-hand. Static Shock Records 2013 release of Clever Clever from The Love Triangle has everything I look for in punk-rock; Explosive, Confidence, Seering vocals and cryptic allegory spouting danger, uncertainty and the tricky business of mental survival. Clever Clever could be the newest, anthemic Shock Troops-esq release of the past 5 years (maybe more if I really consider it) and, I will confidently say, the next 5 years too! You dig Fuses, Cocksparrer and stop-n-start wanky 00'sGarage-punk? Get on board if you wanna live!

The Love Triangle is available on Bandcamp. Check Dis-Cogs for Fuses

Saturday, December 6, 2014

BIG DUKE SIX.4 - Now With Lower Calories

It seems like a lifetime ago... I think it was 2003, The Socials were hitting Akron Ohios Lime Spider on a short lil' 4/4 tour (4 shows/4 nights) excursion. One of the bands we played with there  was Human Caveman of which I was lucky enough to not only witness, but later became the official holder of a song-title less CD-R (I named the track you hear). Human Caveman were a three piece that included Scott from Sexual Tension, a keyboardess named Dyani and the infamous Rob Radar from Radar Secret Service. In preparing for this episode of Big Duke Six releasing-- as if the eyes of a drone were upon me-- I get a FB message from Rob Radar asking for my current address to [probably] send something to listen to! Shit gets wierd, shit stays wierd!!! I didn't let Rob know what I was planning for this installment, but did ask Elias [Sexual Tension] who was there during thelifespan of Human Caveman for comment. Elias is now a pro-grade busker in Greece (the country, not the musical) and demanded that he bathe in the same springs his ancestors, The Spartans, bathed in before the Battle of Thermopile of which is next to a bus-stop now... Maybe. Elias' assignment is not mandatory so this episode may receive a re-posting at a later date... Just in-case your wondering, You can find Rob as a current, active member of noth-east Ohio band DAVID BAY LEAF.

Breakaways, Piss Test, Human Caveman, Rakes, Grow Horns, Black Frances


Friday, December 5, 2014

Thwart...! - It Is What It Is

I sit on a couch in my boxer underwear and t-shirt, sipping coffee that the coffee-maker assures me that it  will keep the coffee warm for four hours. Oh, I also have one sock on. I just realized that, which, is really not relavent to anything Im planning on saying, nor anything I have already said. All I can say is that It Is What It Is... People like to say that thesedays as an answer acknowledging how futile everything is... As an answer to a not-so-easily answered happenstance... As a way to say "Shut up, I'm tired of hearing your mouth."

"Hey, a cop killed somebody, somewhere."  It is What It Is.

"A tribe of nomads were accidentally killed in an Un-manned drone strike." It Is What It Is.

"Someone stole my lunch from the company break room refrigerator." Yeah, I'm that ducks but It Is What It Is.

In the memorance of the Borg, from Star Trek: The Next Generation, "Resistance Is Futile"... It really, really is! It Is What It Is, is an excuse, not a reason. An excuse saying that you, or someone or something else, is respobsible and free of punishment or reasoning. An escapist attitude is slowly devouring even the most stalwart of its defenders thesedays. The believers have been widdled down to disposable twigs ready to snap and heading for flawed re-education.

I use to say, and even believe, that apathy is a weapon. If nobody cares, then laws and attitudes will naturally change, because nobody believes in them... The truth is, even I-- in my own fictitious world I live inside my head-- is wavering in my own participation of society. Everytime I step out of the house, I'm surfing a violent tide of rage. Everyone has a chip on their shoulder and are nervously waiting for others to knocking that chip off. Everyone is waiting for a battle... Waiting for a reason... A thought pattern that is not only flawed but dangerous. I know this, because I use to be this.

Now though, like many others, Ive been shaved down to a thin tooth-pick ready to break under the weight of society. Maybe Im looking too deeply into things. I'm not closed to the idea that it's all in my head, maybe I still have that chip on my shoulder waiting to be knocked off. Maybe everything isn't futile or completely absurd... I will admit it, maybe it's me and my flawed reasoning. Initially, I was wanting to write something different today... Something about inspiration in forming a band or doing a zine. This 'dispatch' just came up, out of nowhere between two cups of coffee and a good bowel movement... The ever loosening of what I wanted and committed Thwart...! to be versus now, what it has become, has been a natural thing. Despite the digital-ness of blogs, I'm trying to make this blog tangible. I accept that, in the seeking of it all, I have failed to do that, but then again, this post in its spontaneous nature has maybe accomplished this/that. Regardless, It Is What It Is.

Thursday, December 4, 2014

The Cincinnati Cycle - Unabridged

It's July 2014 as I write this. Wedged in-between the second Fourth of July and the third, final, Fourth of July, you got whats called either Memorial Day and/or Labor Day (each are so similar anymore aren't they?) then you got the 'real' Fourth of July... It was just announced on the Cincinnati TV station known as 'Local 12 News at Eleven' (WKRC), of which is my favorite evening news choice at 22 o' clock. Local 12 News at Eleven actually appears on their sister station. An affiliate called Star 64 (WSTR) that doesn't have it's own news cast, so Local 12 News at Eleven shows at 2200 despite the title sequence remaining the same saying "News at Eleven" when it's really just 10'o'clock, I know, thats fucky, but that's how it is in these parts... Then, at it's 'regular' time at 2300, Local 12 News at eleven is shows again.

I suspect that they do the 2200 news then just re-play their tape again at 2300 although I can't varify that. I should varify it, true. It would be easy to do, but yet, I haven't. Why would I want to watch a (suspected) repeat of the news? What would I achieve in proving the point? In Cincinnati (as probably in most American Cities) news basically just repeats in the evening in half-hour increments giving updates small-bite by bite (if there's anything to update) giving you enticing bits of mystery so you will tun in at 1700 and 1800 to learn more about that banister collapse or drive-by shooting or home invasion. Cincinnati has it all when it cones to crime.

So, at 2300, after already watching a Local 12 News at Eleven already, I then turn on Channel 5 (WLWT) in hopes of catching errors or exposing differentiating opinions to my wife? Cincinnati's first TV station, Channel 5 whose affiliation with 'The Big One' 700 WLW-AM 'Talk-Radio' (which should be called 'listen radio') is legendary. 700 WLW boast 50,000 watts of power--as much as the FCC allows--or something close to that--of which (if the atmosphere is just right) you can hear as far away as Atlanta, Georgia... But tonight, July 23rd, I'm not going to tune in to Channel 5 at approx, 2300 because  I'm mad. So mad that the rerun of Seinfeld that follows Local 12 News at Eleven at 2200 on Star 64 is going un-noticed and under appreciated, even if I've seen the episode countless times before. I still laugh at all the same things and even some newer things I didn't notice before, but not now! On Local 12 News at Eleven at 2200, the Sports segment is the final segment of a thirty-minute broadcast. I suspect this is an industry standard, but I don't feel up for fact-checking it right now--the internet is over there a ways... And there's only so much internet left anyway right! So, I will let it be. That is my final answer.

George Vogel, a Cincinnati standard reporter and Sports Anchor for Local 12 News at Eleven announced that The Cincinnati Bengals training camp opens tomorrow. Yeah, I know, this is ZISK, a baseball magazine (not a football one) but the training camp announcement couldn't have came at a worse time. The Cincinnati Reds are at a season low. Everybody... Well, not everybody, but my Dad sez Votto wasn't going to be the same after that knee-thingy and he was right. 

It seems that despite a good attendance on the disabled list, things were looking up before the all-star game. I was actually warming up to the new manager Bryan Price, after the nasty surprise ousting of Dusty Baker that I didn't feel was worthy. Then, in true Cincinnati professional sports fashion, everything falls apart.

You see, with the Bengals Training Camp starting-up, Cincinnatians have/will call it done with the Reds season and get 'all-about' football... That will last until the Bengals fuck-up and then talk of the Reds spring training begins and the vicious cycle begins again. The Bengals are ditched for hopes of The Reds next season. I call this The Cincinnati Cycle. 

I know its harsh, but it's how this cities ran... We Cincinnatians are fair-weather evil bastards that are ready in a moments notice to throw whoever they have to under a bus or fucking street-car.We're  fickle like that. We're not in it for the long-haul. Cincinnati fans are eager for championships! World Series and Super Bowl victories and all it's surrounding hoopla. We mean business.

On this fateful night of July 23rd, even before anyone said anything on the news, you could see it on the Reds faces already! It was over. Channel 12's George Vogel and his announcement of Bengals Training Camp just gave the jar a lid. In an after-game interview Bryan Price hinted at a possible turn-around after an off-day before a series at Great American Ballpark... That turn-around would be nice. That's a nice dream to have and hold onto. That's the sort of dream you build a wall around. Whereas there's  still definitely room for a really tremendously awesome comeback, it's not going to happen. Trust me. Trust my Dad.

I watched the highlights and those Brewers... Those fucking Brewers... Just won the physical victory as well as the mental victory. Price would dare not admit it but he knows... George Vogel knows... My Dad, watching from the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains-- in the back bedroom of an add-on trailer, watching a 15" LED flat-screen knows... I know... Now, you know! Someone's gotta win, and someone's gotta loose. That's where the a Reds come into the equation.

I'm always going to be a Reds fan and will never forget my decision to start watching Cincinnati Reds games so my Dad and I would have something to talk about besides how well my car was running and when I was going to get the oil changed. I'm glad to have made that decision. I don't follow the Bengals the way I like and follow The Reds despite the mental similarities that both teams seem to have. I suppose, that really, truth be told, following the Reds and to a verily lesser extent, the fucking Bengals... The collective we... We are Cincinnati! We are Greater Cincinnati and we have learned the valuable lesson of defeat, failure and more importantly moving-on. 

All of these lessons are hard to face but are essential for living here and becoming a proud, bitchy Cincinnatians. There's only going to be one champion and right off the bat, no ones chances looks good. Everybody is a potential loser wether it's admitted or not. Welcome to Cincinnati, we've been waiting for you.

I realize now, after all these words... I thought I was better than all of this. I thought I was a much bigger fan, a more loyal fan, than to just give up so soon after the all-star break. Long before there's talk of a 'magic number' but truly, I'm not. I admit it! I'm a product of my environment and a slave to my ingrained Southwestern Ohio doom-culture. I'm from Cincinnati! I am Cincinnati! I'm gonna go call my Dad who will agree and solidify my newfound admissions on a phone conversation that will last or under a minute despite talking about the Reds or not. My Dad on the phone, is all killer and no filler. He will verify that for the 2014 season, The Reds are DONE.

So, 'fuck-it'. Let's move-on. We are Cincinnati so you don't have to be.


1.) This version,of The Cincinnati Cycle is the 'demo' version of this article. The 'ZISK' version was edited for its inclusion in the print edition of the zine. 

2.) To much of my surprise, George Vogel is with Channel 5-WLWT, not Local [Channel] 12-WLWT. My mistake but really, it makes very little difference because from one channel to the next, it's all the same, continuous thing.

3.) I sent a cover design along with my article when submitting to Zisk. Steve Reynolds, Zisk co-editor, said Mike Faloon, the other co in coeditor, had a cover idea so I told him it was no big deal. Much to my surprise, my cover was used after-all! The picture is (left to right) Me, My Dad and older brother Dewayne. This photo -- and yes, I was displaying the 'bird' or reference hand-signal to Department-1 (whatever the fucking kids call it) -- before a trip to an English pub and attendance at a home game for The Reds. Later that evening, I would catch By-Products of America at Northside Tavern. A couple days later after that, I got married in Inverness Florida.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Greatness in Many Forms, Babe.

I may have finished ET TU, BABE (by Mark Leyner) not only a day later past my goal time but, none-the-less, the best thing about setting personal goals is the flexability of the goal... Truth be known, I have no logical reason why I set goals, knowing that meeting these goals will neither bring about prizes or punishments in the end. I suppose, for lack of a better term, I amuse myself with goals. Ive done my fair share of stumbling into freelance-writing gigs with a few places, and one thing that hasent been a negative flaw in these jobs were deadlines. I handle deadlines well. Never missed a deadline actually which is more than 'professional' copywriters or reviewers can say.

After all of that, let me just say that I dont activly search out regular freelance writing work. Anymore... I have reasserted myself to writing more. Reading more and Im enjoying the sesults... Im liking what Im seeing. Despite any fragile format Ive experimented with on Thwart...! since its inception, I like what this blog is... Right now... Statistics and monetization aside, A major drop in readers dosent bother me anymore. Those NOT reading this blog is OK. I understand why... But, Im writing for me... Im reading for me, and thats where I come to Mark Leyner and his 1992 novel Et Tu, Babe.

I completed reading this novel on Decenber 1st, 2014 whilst sitting in a medical offices waiting room. I know when I see someone reading a book, I try to see what they're reading. Rarely is it something that looks good or even something that is at least called something good... So in that waiting room, I was that guy reading a book that didn't look good or wasnt given an interesting title but, in fact, is a master-piece! Hitting me like a mix of Burroughs and Chuck Pahlaniuks Fight Club, Et Tu, Babe was a total mind-fuck from one page to the next.

I know when Im reading something I really like, I cant get farther reading than about 10 pages or less before I feel some sort of inspiration from the text. If you ever wondered why I always carry around a lil' notepad nd pen, the reason is, Im not sure when a good idea, or let me rephrase this... A Idea that I think is good, is gonna necessarily hit. My memory is almost completely shot thesedays. As Johnny Horton would say, "I gotta bull by the horns on a downhill slide.." but whereas the song goes from there to "Things arent better than they ever have been..." I cant say the same. In some way, Thwart...! is a testament to my decline. If a moment of inspiration hits me, or if Im reading a book I appreciate, I will write in the books margins for times when someone else may enjoy it, or use it in some unknown way. So if you flip thru my copy of Et Tu, Babe, you will see what resembles 'de-facing' but really, its 'pro-facing' If I own a book and theres no 'pro-facing', well, its just not worthy.

In the movie Southland Tales (2006), which turns out being one of my favorite movies, theres mentioning of a toll-free number. I called the number which ended up being a greeting urging me to leave a message. The voice of the greeting was John Larroquette. So I left an as cryptically message as the movie had inspired. Simmilary so, there was a phone number in Et Tu, Babe that enticed me to call so I did.

The number was a number for a quiz asking my age, if I wanted to go on a vacation and if I would like a Carribean cruise to be part of that vacation. I followed thru to the end of the message thinking that the voice itself may be Mark Leyners... But when it came down to paying my 'port fees' it was time for me and my $.40 bank account to go.

I really, really enjoyed this book. It left a good impression with me and captured my interest which, in turn, led me to focus on this single book rather than reading several books at once.

Given to me by a co-hort partner in mind-crime, Troy T. and his pocket change, he heralded the message at the end of the book and continues to spread the message of Team Leyner which is more than my dead-broke ass can do. I can only use this blog as a carrier of the flame. Go, now, pay the penny and associated shipping charge for this book and get on the plane thats destined to crash into a mountain side...


Monday, December 1, 2014

Its Deep-Rock Dude - Turn It Up

Photo by Tim Combs

Today, Monday. Fuck Monday. Thoughts of THE BUFFALO KILLERS (BK) playing The Canal Public House in Dayton, is still fresh in my head after opening up my CD copy of Fireball of Sulk. As promised, but something you wouldn't immediately catch-on to, is that the six songs from Sulk are accompanied by the entire Heavy Reverie full-length as 'bonus' tracks unmentioned on Sulks outside packaging. Please take that in mind before plopping down any hard-earned minimum wage money for the Heavy Reverie CD that features just Heavy Reverie! I'm not a music industry thinker nor that I really care about what politics goes into where to put whatever where it needs to be. I'm just getting the word out for those who want the basic songs at a decent price. So, Sulk CD versions accumulate ALL of the BK Sun Pedal recordings... No, the Sulk songs are NOT 'out-takes' or 'unused tracks' from Reverie.

The 'Sulk-Six' are six all-new tracks. One of those tracks is an old song wrote by Zach Gabbard from his High School daze, and I emphasize the use of high in any relation of the word high used within a three sentence boundary of the mentioning of school.

Over a three course meal at Bob Evans -- and I must add that their chili on fresh biscuits is really fucking good -- I admitted to the family that there is so much to write about when it comes to the BK that I could write about them almost exclusively on Thwart...! I suppose this, a second BK writing in as many days, is a testament to that. I'm all on-board with the BK and their Un-named genre that goes beyond 'Rock and _______'... Beyond 'Just-Rock'... Beyond 'Classic-Rock.'.. Beyond 'Alternative Rock' or, especially 'New-Rock' of which brings to mind bands that I refuse to give any free blogspot space to... I've decided to declare BK 'Deep-Rock' so fucking take that music industry!

Still yet, here is the almost bothering reminder for you to get your copy of Sulk... Be it a vinyl version as the form of a plastic long-player or plastic version of a compact disc combining Sulk and Reverie together in a 'nice price' combination... Already with multiple-plays of the CD logged, standout Sulk tracks in my opinion consist of not only "Blankets On The Sun" but also includes "Wierd One", which may sound like the rock version of an older Studio One Reggae jam (killer bass guitar) but trust me, it's not... It, along with the accompanying tracks are Deep-Rock Classics...

Photo by Tim Combs