OUT NOW! Song of Co​-​Aklan by Cathal Couglan

Cathal Couglan, Indie, Linear Obsessional, Music

Limited to only 50 copies, this is the official cassette release of Cathal Coughlan‘s new album.
Released as part of the Linear Obsessional Cassette imprint, featuring full colour insert, red cassette shell, and clear case. Approved of and encouraged by Cathal Coughlin and Dimple Discs.

Includes digital pre-order of Song of Co-Aklan. You get 1 track now (streaming via the free Bandcamp app and also available as a high-quality download in MP3, FLAC and more), plus the complete album the moment it’s released.

Out NOW! Death by Punk

Anthology, Art, Flash Fiction, Indie, Poetry, punk

Dumpster Fire Press unleashes its first anthology…DEATH BY PUNK a tribute to the spirit of punk rock, DIY and counter culture, intermingled with good old fashioned writing about death with a bit of existential dread thrown in (ah, poets)Featuring poets, writers and artists from around the globe! Whether you want to relive glory days, looking to explore or even seeking ways to unfetter yourself from past lives to the here and now DEATH BY PUNK is a hell of a read! OI , OI, OI!

GRAB DEATH BY PUNK HERE!

The Deadlands by Tom Leins

All Due Respect, Brit Grit, Close To The Bone, Flash Fiction, Indie, Short Stories, Tom Leins

THE DEADLANDS

By Tom Leins

The burn is horrendous and I struggle to look him in his good eye.

His only eye.

His face hasn’t healed, and he smells charred – like he has crawled out of the belly of hell itself.

Virgil is a tall man in a rust-brown suit. The severed nub of his thumb protrudes from the soiled looking plaster-cast on his right arm. He scratches his ruined face. 

“Will you be able to get her back?”

I nod, and he wheezes with relief. He removes a creased photograph from his wallet.

The girl has hair the colour of melted caramel. She flashes the camera a tight smile, which never quite reaches her eyes. Her collarbone seems to be tattooed. I pick up the photo and squint. It looks like a flatlining heartbeat, with the words ‘Do Not Resuscitate’ tattooed underneath.

“Can I keep it?”

He grunts.

“I don’t need the photo back, Mr Rey. Just my daughter.”

***

I survey the hellscape in front of me. The horizon is a jagged blur of burned-out, skeletal-looking houses and abandoned office blocks.

The Underworld looms large in the middle: a labyrinthine subterranean nightclub presided over by an elderly tycoon named Harry Hades. It’s only a year old – built on the site a notorious crime scene. Ten boys were found in the vacant lot – their bodies entirely drained of blood. People said that the Bone Daddy did it, but I don’t believe in ghosts.

‘The Underworld’ is spelled out in lurid, neon lights. Underneath, in smaller lights, are the words ‘Abandon all hope, ye who enter here’.

I step past the expressionless, gargoyle-esque doormen and into the vestibule – my boots crunching on a bloody mixture of maggots, lice and dried pus. The grinding bass is so low it makes my guts churn.

There are nine doors, evenly spaced out. A word has been carved onto each door: Limbo. Lust. Gluttony. Greed. Wrath. Heresy. Violence. Fraud. Treachery. The Nine Circles of Hell.

I pause next to Lust. The door opens a crack and sultry laughter oozes through the gap.

I turn abruptly as Gluttony swings open. The room disgorges a tide of putrid slush into the lobby.

I choose Violence. One way or another, I always choose Violence.

***

The door opens with an infernal creak. A wave of evil, reeking heat takes my breath away. It’s as hot as hell and twice as ugly. The men drinking themselves into damnation are the worst of the worst. Child murderers. Spree killers. Degenerates. The violently unhinged. Sickness comes off them in waves. They rub shoulders, careful not to look one another in the eye – or spill each other’s pints. Their names are tattooed on their foreheads, their crimes inked on their knuckles.

My armpits feel rancid with sweat. Perspiration stings my bloodshot eyeballs. As I pass through the crowd, hushed voices rasp like flame. Yellow eyes glare at me from the gloom.  Pale, naked girls drift around the room, drinks trays in hand. I grab a drink to try and alleviate the blast-furnace heat, but it tastes hellish, so I spit the fiery liquid back in the glass and place it on the next tray that passes my way.

At the back of the room, Harry Hades slouches in an obscene gold-plated wheelchair. A girl – Beatrice – performs a private dance for him. There’s a choke-chain wrapped around her throat – fastened to his wheelchair. Her movements are weary, her feet are calloused. She has been condemned to perform a relentless slow grind by a bored sadist.

***

Harry Hades is old. Not frail, but old enough to have lost his fear of death. He jerks the chain and the girl falls at his feet. He removes his tinted sunglasses. His eyes look dead.

“How can I help you, young man?”

His dentures are so big that he can’t close his mouth when he grins at me.

I hold the photograph up for his inspection.

He shrugs.

“If you think she was here, she probably was.”

“I’m going to need her back.”

Another shrug.

“I care little about what happens outside The Underworld, young man. I have everything I need down here. But no one steals a soul from my realm.”

I don’t have the energy to talk to this rotten old motherfucker – especially in this heat – so I throw a brutal right hook at his elderly face – crumpling his bone-structure like a scrapyard hatchback.

Streaky blood leaks from his broken mouth. He spits a mouthful at my feet and speaks in a nasal whine.

“How about I let my hell-hound off his leash?”

It’s an idle threat, and I let it hang in the air – like the stale smoke from his high-tar cigarettes.

“Do your worst, Hades.”

“Cerberus.”

Crouched behind the wheelchair, attached to a second choke-chain, is a lean, tattooed guy with a flick-knife sneer and a mangled ear. Hades yanks his leash. He scampers across the floor on his hands and knees, before springing to his feet.

I forget his real name, but he’s a Scottish ex-bareknuckle fighter who was banned for life after killing two men in the cage. His torso is layered in clumsy prison ink: skulls, daggers, obscenities. In the middle of his chest is a brand-new tattoo of a three-headed dog with a serpent for a tail. It’s so new, the tattoo is still wrapped in clingfilm.

Hades unclips the chain, and I see the man’s muscles bunch and harden.

I don’t give him the time to make a move – I grab his leash and wrench his pale face towards my fist. Once. Twice. Three times. On the floor, he whimpers like a kicked hell-hound.

Hades attempts to scramble away from me, but his slip-on shoes look skittish – like hooves on a blood-slick abattoir floor – and his withered legs give way immediately. His forehead hits the concrete and blood as thick as mould oozes from his ruptured skull.

I place Beatrice on the vacant wheelchair and move towards the exit.

Cretinous faces leer at me, but no one makes a move to stop me.

I retrieve a complementary matchbook from the table next to the exit, strike a match and drop it in the pocket of one of the nylon bomber jackets hanging on the coat-rack.

Kick up the fire, and let the flames break loose.

I doubt these rotten bastards will even notice.

The End

Bio: Tom Leins is a crime writer from Paignton, UK. His books include Boneyard DogsTen Pints of BloodMeat Bubbles & Other Stories (all published by Close to the Bone) and Repetition Kills You and The Good Book: Fairy Tales for Hard Men (both available from All Due Respect). For more details, please visit:

https://thingstodoindevonwhenyouredead.wordpress.com/

Out NOW Wrong Way by Scarlet

Frank Duffy, Horror, Indie, Music

Scarlet – Wrong Way [Official Music Video] Video Made by Osomly in Letnica / Zielona Gora – Poland Director / Script / Screen Writer – Frank Duffy Production manager / Costumes / Makeup – Aga Ejsmont Photography and editing – Michał Koźba Starring – Aga Ejsmont / Oliwia Chilińska Storyboarding – Krystian Seredyński Marionette made by – Artur Endler

Out NOW! Summiting by Bill Thompson and Richard Sanderson

Bill Thompson, Indie, Linear Obsessional, Music, Richard Sanderson

Summiting by Bill Thompson and Richard Sanderson

Professionally duplicated audio cassette in light blue shell and design by David Little. The cover image is a 3D anaglyph and the cassette comes with a pair of 3D glasses to get the full effect.
Sleeve printed in full colour, with clear plastic case and download coupon which allows access to a third bonus track and PDG booklet of notes and images. Includes unlimited streaming of Summiting via the free Bandcamp app, plus high-quality download in MP3, FLAC and more.

LinOb’s latest release is a cassette of two long, immersive improvisations by the Texan guitarist/composer Bill Thompson and amplified melodeon player Richard Sanderson. Exploring a slo-mo environment of sustained tones and mysterious incident, the tracks are enveloping and compelling. The download includes a third bonus track “First Ascent” a recording of the first meeting of Sanderson and Thompson at 100 Years Gallery, London.. The found cover image is a three dimensional anaglyph, the cassettes come with a free pair of 3D glasses, and a download coupon.

Bill Thompson – Moog guitar, live electronics, found objects
Richard Sanderson – Amplified melodeon

All music © Sanderson/Thompson (PRS)

John Wisniewski interviews Bill Baber

Bill Baber, Flash Fiction, Indie, Interviews, John Wisniewski, Poetry, Shotgun Honey, T Fox Dunham

When did you begin writing, Bill?

I took writing classes in high school as well as Journalism. Wrote for the school paper and continued that in college. I wrote for small newspapers for many years before switching to fiction, which is much more enjoyable! The deadlines are much more manageable!

Any favorite crime authors?

How much space do you have? JamesCrumley is the reason I write crime fiction. To me, “The Last Good Kiss” is the best crime novel ever written. James Lee Burke is a close second and I really enjoy Don Winslow and Dennis Lehane.

Then there are all the writers who are part of the online community and that is a long list- Joe Clifford, Tom Pitts, Rob Pierce, S. A Cosby, Brian Panowich, Chris De Wildt, Greg Barth, Bruce Harris, Chris McGinley, Jim Shaffer, and Johnny Shaw (Love the Jimmy Veeder Series.) Lately I have read a couple of books by Andrew Rausch-not for the faint of heart. Then there are the chaps from across the pond, Paul Brazil, Tom Leins, Ken Bruen and on and on-I hope they all know who they are!

Lastly, T. Fox Dunham wrote a book a few years ago called The Street Martyr. It is damn near perfect.

This is a partial list as there are a number of other great writers that deserve mention!

What makes a good crime novel?                                                                                     

Tough question. The reason I like Crumley and James Lee Burke is because they bring a literary side to the genre. Dialogue is important, it has to be believable. And a little humor helps. Lately, I have been drawn to stories featuring characters that are hard core criminals. Tommy Shakes by Rob Pearce and American Trash by Andrew Rausch are great examples. Pearce’s book should come with a warning- “Do Not Read With A Full Stomach!” It is disturbing- and about as real as crime fiction gets. When I wrote a review of American Trash I said I didn’t know if I should be outraged or entertained. I felt a little guilty that I liked it. Both were like reading Edward Bunker- dark and disturbing but real crime fiction.

You write poems as well as crime fiction. Could you tell us what interested you about poetry?

Back in the 70’s I was enamored with the writing of Richard Brautigan. I read all his novels and short stories. All that was left was two volumes of poetry. I was not a fan of poetry-until then. His was very easy to understand as was stuff written by Gary Snyder. I thought I could do similar stuff. I was in my twenties, living in a cabin in the redwoods of northern California. I still have those poems floating around. They weren’t very good. It was thirty years before I started writing poetry again.

The poetry I write is mostly spontaneous prose. Something pops into my head and I write it down. It requires very little in the way of editing. When I was first published, I was living in Central Oregon which is big, wild country. It was “nature” poetry because I was surrounded by raw beauty every day. I just wrote what I saw. Had a book of poems published in 2011.

A few years ago, I discovered a crime poetry site, The Five-Two. I was fortunate enough to have a number of poems appear there, two of which were nominated for “Best of the Net” consideration.

Could you tell us writing “Betrayed “? What inspired you?

 “Betrayed” was an anthology about domestic violence that was put together by Pam Stack, the woman behind “Authors on the Air.” My contribution, “No One Heard” is a story about multi-generational abuse. It might be the darkest thing I have written but it was what the subject called for. The title is still out there, and proceeds go to survivors of domestic violence.

How do you create such gritty characters?

 I am an observer of people. And it helped that I spent fifteen years working as a bartender in a small town. I got to know some real characters who had criminal tendencies. Many of my characters are based on them or guys I knew growing up in San Francisco. Now, I look at people and see if I could imagine them a s a criminal, you know, do they have larceny in their heart? And if you walk around Tucson or Phoenix there seems to be no shortage of people you could imagine as characters in a crime story.

How have you managed to be so prolific a writer, Bill, publishing nearly fifty stories? 

I need to update that; it is well past fifty now. My first crime story was published at “Out of the Gutter” back in 2010. Writing is a hobby for me- and a release. I work long hours for corporate America, so it is difficult to stick to any kind of a schedule. Most of those stories have been flash fiction at sites like OOTG, Shotgun Honey, Close to the Bone and Yellow Mama. Maybe a dozen stories that have been published have been longer, I’m trying to force myself to go more in that direction.

What will your next story be about?

I have a story in the just released “Coming Through in Waves” Crime Fiction based on the songs of Pink Floyd. It is titled Arnold Layne and is named for the bands first single. The story is about a million-dollar jewel heist that is interrupted by Arnold’s strange hobby.  This collection was edited by T. Fox Dunham and has some incredible stories by a bunch of great writers. It was an honor to be included!

I am currently working on a story that starts with an armed robbery and a bunch of meth in Tucson and ends with a triple cross and lots of bodies in Albuquerque.

Could you tell us about writing “Sleepwalk “, an award-winning short story?

For the record, it was nominated for a Derringer award by John Thompson, the editor at Dead Guns Press where it appeared. It was set in Tucson. I walked around the barrio where the late Isaac Kirkman, who was well known and loved in the writing community lived. It was during the monsoon season. A thunderstorm was brewing, and it was easy to picture the city fifty years earlier. Tucson has that timeless feel about it. It’s an easy place for a noir tale to take hold.

A son kills the man who murdered the father he never knew. And the fathers best friend lives with guilt and regret for not doing it himself. It was different than anything I had written before. If I had to pick a favorite story of mine, “Sleepwalk” might be it

Moll & Zeis by David Long & Shane O’Neill

David Long & Shane O'Neill, Indie, Music, The Beautiful Music

Both of these musicians were the singers and main songwriters in two separate Irish 80’s post punk / indie / rock bands. David Long was part of ​Into Paradise​, who released two albums and a few EP’s on the legendary British independent label Setanta Records and the major label, Ensign. Shane O’Neill was part of ​Blue In Heaven​, who released two albums on Island Records.

They both come from the same part of Dublin and have known each other since they were about 6 or 7, when they knocked over Shane’s TV set, rolling underneath it, fighting over which channel to watch. Their first band was a three piece group called “amuse” (small a), David on bass and vocals, Shane on guitar, and Dave Clarke (now Hothouse Flowers) on drums. They played some gigs around Dublin, including one gig where David put down his bass and walked out the main door and got the bus home. After playing on for five minutes, the other two realised he was probably not coming back. For some reason, after taking up a fan’s offer to come stay with her in Oxford for a few months, the band split up. They both did their separate thing, and later around 1996 they recorded an album as Supernaut. This is their return to working together.

Review: January Sounds – Cannell & Ellis by K A Laity

Indie, K A Laity, Music

Brawl Records has begun a new year long series These Feral Lands, growing out of last year’s release of the same name.

Brawl Records is proud to present JANUARY SOUNDS from UK and Ireland based musicians Laura Cannell and Kate Ellis. Featuring Cannell’s signature evocative overbowed violin alongside Ellis’s deeply expressive cello playing.

This release is the first in a series of twelve as part of a major new project:

THESE FERAL LANDS – A Year Documented in Sound and Art. An ambitious and exciting creative documentation of 2021 from two innovative and highly acclaimed instrumentalists with new music released monthly, and bespoke films published at Caught by the River.

Cannell has been on my buy immediate list for some time and this EP is a good showcase of why that is. January Sounds features three tracks by Cannell & Ellis that capture those twin threads of strangeness and beauty that arise from the land. Folk horror has become such a powerful trope in recent years across so much media, but folk beauty has sometimes been more elusive. These two extraordinary musicians manage to convey both.

‘Wastelands’ captures that windswept bleakness with all the surging power lying under it, waiting to break free in something unexpected. Violin and cello have long been a beautifully expressive pair whether in folk or classical music but there’s something so knit together in the sound here that it’s mesmerizing.

‘Sea Tower’ conveys the liminal coastal space so evocatively that you will swear you can smell the salt water and wind. It sends me back to Galway but you’ll doubtless have your own windswept memories evoked by this track.

‘Harts Blood’ conjures up medieval tales for me; hunting has so much lore and tradition and, often in the stories, magic involved with it. The hunt was a matter of prestige as well as valour. But there’s also a blood red dahlia called Harts Blood so it might just as well be a tribute to those vivid petals. This is the kind of music that lets your mind soar.

The cover art captures the mood too: inspired by medieval graffiti, simple and stark. I wholeheartedly recommend the entire catalogue of Brawl Records and I can’t wait to see what February brings.

https://brawlrecords.bandcamp.com/album/january-sounds

Out NOW! Pax Victoria by Liz Davinci

Euro Noir, Indie, International Noir, Jim Shaffer, K A Laity, Liz Davinci, Music, Paul D. Brazill, post punk, Punk Noir Magazine

Pax Victoria is a concept album about a fictive character named Victoria whose mundane Californian life was interrupted by an all-consuming love affair that led her into the world of underground crime and having to choose between right and wrong.

The songs describe Victoria’s struggles as she faces realities she doesn’t want to believe possible and finds a strength she never knew she had.

Credits

Released January 23, 2021

All tracks composed by Liz Davinci except “10:23”, “The Club” and “Deserted”, which were composed by Underhatchet. All tracks recorded at Liz Davinci’s house. All tracks mixed and produced by Liz Davinci and Underhatchet except for “Oh God”, which was mixed and co-produced by Simon Bartz and “10:”3”, which was mixed by Liz Davinci and Simon Bartz.

Thank you to Underhatchet, K.A. Laity, James Shaffer, Mark McConville and Paul D. Brazill for providing beautiful and inspiring texts for the five album trailers. Thank you Underhatchet , K.A. Laity and James Shaffer for your additional contributions to the mini-chapters (which can be read here and comprise the whole story of Victoria: www.lizdavinci.com/blog).

ACID ZOO EP – Bomb Sniffing Dogs by K A Laity

Brit Grit, Indie, K A Laity, Manchester, Music, post punk

Artwork by Jason Vaughan

From the press release:

Through the bars of ACID ZOO you will hear 3 tracks – THE ICKE AGE, BLACK POOL & THE NATIONAL + – and 4 remixes by Leyland Kirby (The Caretaker), Richard Fearless, Lille Cykel (Posh Isolation) and Christoph de Babalon.

Tragically fractured like the screen of a dropped phone, THE NATIONAL + is a 7-minute symphony of absurdity and raw imagination set outside WILKO and inside TESCO’S CHAINSAW MASSACRE. 

Around the day in eighty worlds, we have caught the wrong train to a new neurotic terrain.

Come back to bed. We won’t make love. Love will make us.

Review:

From the wilds of Salford, land of bards, poets, and other non-conformists springs this EP that offers a collage of words, music and sounds that you might imagine muttered by a character from a lost Ballard novel who has gone in search of Blake’s Jerusalem only to find themselves shoved into lockdown in the midst of the spreading virus. We’ve all been discombobulated by the quarantine life but this EP speaks to fractures that were already there. Late stage capitalism blows (meet me at the meat queue) and people who find solace in paranoid fantasies of lizard overlords (is this Cafe Latte/the work of the Illuminati?) have only themselves to blame but they poison the world for the rest of us, too.

Neither waving/Nor drowning/Nor swimming/Into the world of the future.

Liam Power is the main songwriter and Austin Collings also has a hand in all the songs, co-writing ‘The Icke Age’ with Nick Power AKA BEAT LES, and ‘The National’ with Eleni Poulou & Sophie Sleigh-Johnson. ‘Black Pool’ is all Collings own and offers up a tone of reminiscence without sentimentality. In contrast to the opening track with its scathing observations of the follies of those who seek easier answers producing idiot winds, ‘Black Pool’ creates a collage of memory that captures that sense of dislocation childhood leaves behind: Everything was forever/Until it was no more.

‘The National’ is a textured soundscape that bottles the strangeness of 2020 and all its betrayals and lies and death and horrors while keeping a sense of humour about it all: the bold will define the new normal/like a load of paracetamol, falling from a drone. It spins and reels between images and ideas and voices, Collings alternating with Poulou: The revelations of the conversations I have daily/ are so different/nobody does small talk anymore. While the title invokes both the French anthem and the self-harming isolationism ripping through COVID-infested Britain, it’s really an international piece that works to evoke the strangeness we all recognise even living in our isolated spheres.

The remixes are great, highlighting passages and bringing them to new prominence in the mix as well as taking different paces and rhythms. Kirby’s remix in particular has a truly chilling effect with its lugubrious pace and manic laughter.

Or maybe I’ve just been in lockdown too long…

Buy the EP at Bandcamp and find the band’s social media links and other recordings there.