Rudy Panucci On Pop Culture

Month: September 2022 (Page 1 of 3)

Very Cool October Events From The WVMHOF, plus New Episodes of MIRRORBALL and Sydney’s Big Electric Cat

The PopCulteer
September 30, 2022

This week we have great new episodes of MIRRORBALL and Sydney’s Big Electric Cat to tell you about, but first, The West Virginia Music Hall of Fame, at their Charleston Town Center Location, will be hosting cool Spooky Scavenger Hunt musical events every Saturday in October.

Rather than re-write and mangle a press-release, how about i just run their cool graphic right here?

And speaking of cool graphics for things that the WVMHOF is doing, just as I was preparing this post, the following very cool event graphic indeed wound up in my Instagram feed…

That’s a chance to see one of my artistic heroes, Ann Magnuson, in two different corners of the state. Who could pass that up? I’ll tell you more about Ann’s shows as the dates approach.

And now, On The AIR

The last day of September (somebody go wake up Billie Joe Armstrong) brings two great new episodes of our music specialty shows to The AIR.  Friday we offer up shiny new editions of MIRRORBALL and Sydney’s Big Electric Cat.  The AIR is PopCult‘s sister radio station. You can hear these shows on The AIR website, or just click on the embedded player found elsewhere on this page.

At 2 PM, Mel Larch uncorks a new MIRRORBALL! The AIR’s showcase of classic Disco music presents a wild collection of classic Disco tracks from the classic era of people dancing in dark rooms on cocaine.

For one hour you can go back to the Golden Age of Disco, where the clothes were made of petroleum, the dancefloors made of glass and the jewelry was made of spoons.

Check out the playlist…


The Biddue Orchestra “Summer of ’42”
The Three Degress “The Runner”
Harlold Melvin & The Blue Notes “Satisfaction Guaranteed”
Diana Ross “The Boss”
The Motors “Forget About You”
Patsy Gallant “From New York to L.A.”
Boney M. “Belfast”
Johnny Mathis “Gone, Gone, Gone”
Andrea True Connection “What’s Your Name, What’s Your Number”
Kool AndThe Gang “Get Down On It (live)”
Lief Garrett “Feel The Need”
Amanda Lear “Follow Me”
The Real Thing “To Me You Are Everything”
Wild Cherry “Play That Funky Music”
MECO “Star Wars Theme/Cantina Band”

You can hear MIRRORBALL every Friday at 2 PM, with replays Saturday at  9 PM (kicking off a mini-marathon), Sunday at 11 PM, Monday at 9 AM, and Tuesday at 1 PM  exclusively on The AIR.

At 3 PM, it’s Big Electric Cat time as Sydney Fileen delivers a special mixtape edition of her show that presents a time capsule of the year 1980, one of the key years in the history of New Wave Music.

Over the course of two hours you will hear such artists as The Police, Gary Numan, The Beat, Talking Heads, The B 52s, DEVO and more, all with music released in 1980. 1980 was the year when we vowed to whip it, at least once in a lifetime.

Also, we must take our hats off to the whole crew at Haversham who delivered new installments of their shows this week, despite several weeks of working long days for the past several weeks covering some kind of major news story that happened in England. Also, Kudos to Sydney for cracking me up with her description of the first song in this week’s show. .

This is musical history at its most fun, so check out this playlist…

Sydney’s Big Electric Cat 096


Ultravox “Vienna”
Jim Carroll Band “People Who Died.”
Siouxsie & The Banshees “Paradise Place”
DEVO “Whip It”
Talking Heads “Once In A Lifetime”
Kate Bush “Violin”
Joe Jackson “Mad At You”
Gary Numan “I Dream of Wires”
Lene Lovich “The Night”
Units “Warm Moving Bodies”
The B 52s “The Devil’s In My Car”
The Cars “Gimme Some Slack”
The Beat (English) “Twist and Crawl”
The Clash “Somebody Got Murdered”
Adam and The Ants “Dog Eat Dog”
The Buggles “Kid Dynamo”
Martha and The Muffins “Echo Beach”
Spizz Energy “Where’s Captain Kirk”
Oingo Boingo “I’m So Bad”
Mi-Sex “A Loser”
The Plasmatics “I Want You Baby”
The Ramones “Do You Remember Rock’n’Roll Radio”
The Pretenders “Tattooed Love Boys”
Quincy “Roamin’ Catholic”
Split Enz “What’s The Matter With You”
Elvis Costello “5 Gears In Reverse”
Berlin “City Lights”
The Vapors “Spring Collection”
Toyah “Vision”
Models “Two People Per Square Kilometer”
Joy Division “Isolation”
Echo and The Bunnymen “Stars are Stars”

Sydney’s Big Electric Cat is produced at Haversham Recording Institute in London, and can be heard every Friday at 3 PM, with replays Saturday afternoon, Monday at 7 AM, Tuesday at 8 PM, Wednesday at Noon and Thursday at 10 AM, exclusively on The AIR.

That’s what’s on The AIR Friday, and that’s some cool stuff from the WVMHOF, so with that we wrap up this week’s PopCulteer. Check back every day for fresh content and loads of regular, irregular and constipated features.

September/October STUFF TO DO

We have some suggestions for STUFF TO DO in Charleston, and points all over WV for the next few days. Hardly anybody made graphics this week, so we’re going to start with a plug for a TV event that begins Saturday.

Halloween has been Svengoolie’s season for years now, but this year on METV the party is busting out of the coffin all month long, and it all begins Saturday.

It starts with a shriek on October 1st when the month kicks off with a movie that still haunts the nightmares of MeTV viewers to this day… Trilogy of Terror. This is the horror anthology with the freaky Zuni Doll that terrorizes Karen Black.

The night is going to be so packed with spooky goodies that starting the party an hour early. Svengoolie on Oct. 1 will be showing Trilogy of Terror starting at 7 PM Eastern.

Following the classic horror anthology, tune in for Svengoolie’s biggest adventure yet in Svengoolie Uncrypted. In his first-ever one-hour primetime special, the coolest of the ghouliest escapes his dungeon to journey far and wide, meeting new friends and having new adventures along the way. You won’t want to miss this look at Svengoolie’s career over more than four decades… and especially the crypt-shaking special reveal at the end! Catch Svengoolie Uncrypted Saturday, Oct. 1 at 9 PM Eastern.

Filmed all over Chicagoland, maybe even in…BERWYN! They even hired Mitch O’Connell to do a poster for it (that’s it up there, to the right). They’ll replay this special Sunday at 5 PM eastern.

Following the special, the red tuna of terror swims back to the screen with the Sventoonie season two premiere! Sventoonie and his “blob of the macabre” co-host Blob E. Blob are celebrating the season with a special one-hour premiere episode starting Saturday, Oct. 1 at 10 PM eastern. There will be cool spooky stuff on ME TV all month. You can read about it HERE.

Live Music is back at Taylor Books. There is no cover charge, and shows start at 7:30 PM. Friday it’s Johnathan Sartin. Saturday sees Gary Hays at Charleston’s beloved Bookstore/coffeehouse/art gallery institution.

Please remember that the pandemic is not over yet. Many people who have very good reasons are still wearing masks, and many of us, understandably, are still nervous about being in crowds, masked or not. Be kind and understanding  while you’re out.

If you’re up for going out, here are a few suggestions for the rest of this week, roughly in order.

Since we’re running this feature early this week, there’s bound to be more cool things pop up…





The Beatles Get Jazzy and Broadway Goes Marxist on The AIR Wednesday.

Wednesday afternoon The AIR brings you brand-new episodes of Beatles Blast and Curtain Call!  You can tune in at the website, or if you’re on a laptop or desktop, you could just stay right here and  listen to the convenient embedded radio player lurking elsewhere on this page.

At 2 PM Beatles Blast returns with a new show that’s a cool mix of curiosities and covers, and it begins with new tunes by Juian Lennon and Ringo Starr. After a cool start like that, and a few lesser-known songs written by Paul, John and George, we launch into a mini-mixtape of jazzy/funky covers of Beatles songs, and end the program with a brief show of respect from the roof of Apple Corps.

Just check out the playlist…

Beatles Blast 084

Julian Lennon “Every Little Moment”
Ringo Starr “Let’s Be Friends”
Mary Hopkin “Goodbye”
John Lennon “Move Over Ms. L”
Doris Troy “Ain’t That Cute
Ella Fitzgerald “Hey Jude”
George Benson “Because/Come Together”
Oscar Peterson “Yesterday”
Paul Lamb “Norwegian Wood”
Wes Montgomery “Eleanor Rigby”
Stan Webb “She Loves You”
Dr. Sin “Dig A Pony”
Monty Alexander “Let It Be”
Jane Duboc “Across The Universe”
Fred James “I’m Down”
The Beatles “God Save The Queen”

Beatles Blast can be heard every Wednesday at 2 PM, with replays Thursday at 11 PM, Friday at 1 PM,  and Saturday afternoon.

At 3 PM on Curtain Call, Mel Larch starts off with a preview track from Almost Famous, the new musical based on the Cameron Crowe 2000 movie, which starts previews on Broadway next Monday.

For the remainder of this week’s Curtain Call, Mel  presents one of her favorite shows, one that debuted on Broadway in 1980, but hasn’t had a Broadway revival since.

A Day in Hollywood / A Night in the Ukraine is a musical comedy that’s made up of two basically independent one-act plays, with a book and lyrics by Monty Python-associate Dick Vosburgh and music by Frank Lazarus. Additionally, songs by other composers are incorporated into the score. The musical premiered in the West End and then ran on Broadway, and it’s a real gem.

The first act, A Day in Hollywood, is a revue of classic Hollywood songs of the 1930s performed by singers and dancers representing ushers from Grauman’s Chinese Theatre. Jerry Herman even guest-composed the opening tune.

The second act, A Night in the Ukraine, is loosely based on Anton Chekhov’s one-act play The Bear, but it’s presented in the style of a Marx Brothers movie. We follow Serge B. Samovar, a lawyer based on Groucho Marx, as he attempts to collect a 1,800 ruble fee from Mrs. Pavlenko – a wealthy widow. Other characters in this act include Gino (a Harpo Marx-inspired character), Carlo (a Chico Marx-inspired character), Nina, and Constantine (arguably a character inspired by Zeppo Marx).

It’s a bit of Marx Brothers-inspired madness, one that led the estates of the famed comedy team to sue the producers and win, only to have that decision overturned on appeal. It’s a landmark publicity rights decision that is an intriguing footnote to a show that is a loving tribute to the comedy of the Marx Brothers.

Curtain Call can be heard on The AIR Wednesday at 3 PM, with replays Thursday at 8 AM, Friday at 10 AM, Saturday at 8 PM and Monday at 9 AM. A six-hour marathon of classic episodes can be heard Sunday evening starting at 6 PM, and an all-night marathon of Curtain Call episodes can be heard Wednesday nights, beginning at Midnight.

Also on The AIR, Wednesday at 11 PM, a new edition of The Comedy Vault features more legendary standup comedy from Bob Newhart. The Comedy Vault can be heard every Wednesday at 11 PM, with the new episodes replayed a couple of weeks later, Monday at 8 PM.

RFC and The Swing Shift are NEW Tuesday!

It’s a fun day on The AIR  as we premere new episodes of The Swing Shift and Radio Free Charleston! You simply have to point your cursor over and tune in at the website, or you could just stay here and  listen to the cool embedded player elsewhere on this page.

We’ve created another new/old hybrid for you this week that you can hear at 10 AM and 10 PM Tuesday. The first hour is filled with new, local and independent music, mixed with a few classic tracks and some stuff that looks weird on paper, but sounds great (like The Manhattan Transfer covering an XTC song).

Check out the playlist below to see all the goodies we have in store (live links will take you to the artist’s pages where possible)…

RFC V5 104

hour one
The Company Stores “Old Dog”
Jared Rabin “Tunnel’s End”
Annie Neely “Big Old Moon”
The New Relics “MIles To Go”
J Marinelli “Hate Your Freedom”
Wanda Jackson “I Gotta Know”
Paul Callicoat “Hillbilly Star”
David Synn “Jazz Hands”
The Bob Thompson Band  “The Swamp Stomp”
The Manhattan Transfer “The Man Who Sailed Around His Soul”
Dr. John with Aaron Neville and Katie Pruitt “End of the Line”
Jim Lange“Call Me Tonight”
Corduroy Brown “Leave It To Me”
Billy Idol “Cage”
Nixon Black “Human Satellite”

hour two
Peter Garrett “The Great White Shark”
Jon & Vangelis “Far Away In Baagad”
Kansas “The Voyage of Eight Eighteen”
King Crimson “Epitaph”
Regina Spektor “Obsolete”
The Who “A Quick One”
Toyah Wilcox “Let The Power Bleed”
Ultravox “I Can’t Stay”

hour three
Deadknot “Losing All My Dreams”
Simple Minds “New Gold Dreams (German Dance Remix)”
Paul McCartney “Secret Friend”
Oingo Boingo “Insanity”
Frank Zappa “Bogus Pomp”
Kate Bush “The Big Sky (Meteorgical Mix)”
Dukes of the Stratosphere “Mole Of The Ministry”

You can hear this episode of Radio Free Charleston Tuesday at 10 AM and 10 PM on The AIR, with replays Thursday at 2 PM, Friday at 9 AM, Saturday at Noon and Midnight,  and  Monday at 11 AM, exclusively on The AIR. Now you can also hear a different episode of RFC every weekday at 5 PM, and we bring you a marathon all night long Saturday night/Sunday morning.

I’m also going to  embed a low-fi, mono version of this show right in this post, right here so you can listen on demand.

Then at 1 PM we have MIRRORBALL, followed at 2 PM by Curtain Call.

At 3 PM a new hour of The Swing Shift arrives  with a show that ventures into the outer reaches of Swing, running the gamut from Big Band to Guitar Blues to Western Swing and more. Check out the playlist…

The Swing Shift 132

Buddy Rich “Groovin’ Hard”
Tyler Pedersen“Swinging Beyond (Enhanced version)”
David Campbell “Mack The Knife”
Zeb Turner “Traveling Boogie”
Daniel Glass Trio “It Could Happen To You”
Nat “King” Cole “Bring Another Drink”
Kenny “Blues Boss” Wayne “One More Time”
Black Jesus Experience “Oromo”
Maria Mudair & Tuba Skinny “Delta Bound”
The Gentlemen’s Anti-Temperence League “Under The Knife”
Johnny Guitar Watson “Highway 60”
Louis Prima “White Cliffs of Dover”
Marcella Puppini “Non Saro Mai Doris Day”
The Speakeasies’ Swing Band “Sinner’s Advice”
The Hot Jamalaya “Egyptian Ella”

You can hear The Swing Shift Tuesday at 3 PM, with replays Wednesday at 8 AM, Thursday at 9 AM, Friday at 8 PM and Saturday afternoon, only on The AIR . You can also hear all-night marathons, seven hours each, starting at Midnight Thursday and Sunday evenings.

Monday Morning Art: Vortexting

This week we have a bit of an experiment. I created a simple vortex-like design on the computer, then printed it out, spray-adhesived it to a thin wood plank, and painted over it with acrylics. I was getting a little Van-Gogh-y here…or at least that’s what I was attempting.

I did this a few weeks ago, and it was finally dry enough to put in the scanner without glooping things up. I used to create digital designs like this all the time for PopCult, but I wanted to take a shot at transferring one to the real world. Once scanned, I did just a little digital cropping and color-balancing.

Originally I was going to call this “Vortex Ritter,” but it turns out I’d used that pun on a different piece more than ten years.  Instead I made it an inside-joke because, as all my firends know and complain about, I don’t text.

To see it bigger try clicking HERE.

Meanwhile, Monday at 2 PM on The AIR, we bring you new episodes of  Psychedelic Shack, and then at 3 PM a new edition of Herman Linte’s weekly showcase of the Progressive Rock of the past half-century, Prognosis.  You can listen to The AIR at the website, or on the embedded radio player elsewhere on this page. I don’t have a playlist for either of today’s new shows from our friends at Haversham. It seems they’ve been really busy with some kind of big news story or something over in the UK for the past few weeks.

On Psychedelic Shack, Nigel Pye offers up an hour-long collection of the Psychedelic music of Mr. David Jones, released before he changed his last name to “Bowie” and altered his musical path., It wouldn’t be the first time Bowie shifted gears, but his pre-fame music is still pretty wild, and the spark of his creativity is on full display.

Psychedelic Shack can be heard every Monday at 2 PM, with replays Tuesday at 9 AM, Wednesday at 10 PM, Friday at 1 PM,  and Saturday at 9 AM. Classic episodes can be heard Sunday at 9 AM as part of our Sunday Haversham Recording Institute collection.

On Prognosis, Herman Linte presents a two-hour career retrospective of the underrated virtuoso guitarist, Allan Holdsworth. You’ll hear music ranging from his first solo album in 1976, to music released in the years before he passed away in 2017.

You can hear Prognosis on The AIR Monday at 3 PM, with replays Tuesday at 7 AM, Wednesday at 8 PM, Thursday at Noon, and Saturday at 10 AM. You can hear two classic episodes of the show Sunday at 2 PM.

Tonight at 8 PM you can hear an hour of musical comedy from The Simpsons on The Comedy Vault. Wednesday evening at 10 PM, we’ll have another new episode of The Comedy Vault.

Then, at 9 PM we bring you an overnight marathon of Sydney Fileen’s New Wave extravaganza, Sydney’s Big Electric Cat.

Sunday Evening Video: Sectaurs Return!

Tonight we have a video presentation (by our friend, Scotty Slasher, no less. Go subscribe to Scott’s Slasher World on YouTube for tons of cool Pop Culture content, much of it local) of a Book-and-Record storybook starring the Sectaurs.

Unless you’re of a certain age, you may have no idea what the Sectaurs are.

Sectaurs: Warriors of Symbion was a line of action figures released by Coleco in 1985. Created by Lawrence Mass, Tim Clarke, and Maureen Trotto, the Sectaurs world blended humanoids with insects and arachnids. Marvel Comics released a limited series of Sectaurs comics, and the characters were also adapted for an animated miniseries and a series of Book-and-Record strories, which were illustrated by famed comic book artist, Pablo Marcos. You’ll see one of those come to life above.

As toy-franchises of the 1980s go, Sectaurs was was way less stupid than Masters of the Universe, but still not exactly world-shatteringly excellent. The concept was that of a world where insects and arachnids had evolved into sentient beings instead of mammals, due to genetic experiments that had gone strangely off-track.

The characters connect via a hive-mind type of telepathy and their civilization is in a sword-and-sorcery kind of era.

The toys are highly collected, and Zica Toys, after years of Kickstarter campaigns, has released new Sectaurs figures in a 4″ scale. You can find those HERE.  Another company is taking pre-orders for new versions of the toys in a larger scale, closer to the original size. If this sample of the toy line interests you, check out THIS PAGE with a complete history of the concept, comics, toys and animated series, and then if you’re really hooked, go HERE to pre-order the new toys from NaCelle.

The RFC Flashback: Episode 27

From September, 2007, comes RFC 27 “Trust Me I’m A Doctor Shirt.” Highlighted by music from Comparsa, Doctor Senator and Stephanie Deskins, this show also features animation by Stephen Beckner and a creepy toy commercial.

Episode 27 of Radio Free Charleston was remastered and posted to YouTube about seven years ago, but since the surrounding episodes were MIA, I decided to run this one again, with a bonus video at the bottom.  This installment, titled “Trust Me I’m A Doctor Shirt,” is crammed full of a diverse assortment of excellent music, plus just a dash of animation and mind-hurting weirdness. We were all over town in this show, at LiveMix Studio, The Sound Factory, The La Belle Theater, and even on the South Side Bridge.

We have great songs from Stephanie Deskins, and Doctor Senator and Comparsa, plus a cartoon by Stephen Beckner and a really creepy toy commercial (about which we will not speak again). Hosted by yours truly from the South Side Bridge, the iconic gateway that leads from downtown Charleston to up where all the user fee money goes to pave roads. The original production notes can be found HERE.

In the above episode of the show we had to do something that we really hate to do on RFC.  We had to edit one of the songs for time constraints.  Comparsa’s wonderful tune, “La Buena Comparsa” wound up missing about 90 seconds, including a way-cool bass and percussion solo. So here, in all its unedited glory, is “La Buena Comparsa,” recorded live at the La Belle Theater in South Charleston.  t

More Cool Stuff From Moundsville

The PopCulteer
September 23, 2022

As you may remember from last week and earlier, your PopCulteer took an anniversary trip up North that included a stop at The Grave Creek Mound Archeological Complex, which is one of West Virginia’s state museums.  It’s been almost a month, and I haven’t even posted half of the photos I took that day yet.

So to correct that, here is a quick photo essay of the exhibits at the Grave Creek Museum that pay tribute to some of the cool businesses that have been based in Northern West Virginia.

The plan is to run a couple more photo essays next week, but the original plan was to have run almost all of these before last week, so who knows what will actually happen.

Stick around for a radio note at the end of today’s post.

Right now, once more into the Mound…

There is a huge display of Ron Hinkle Glass, which sadly I didn’t get an in-focus photo of for this essay. Maybe next time. Meanwhile, check out these cool close-ups.

This stuff looks so amazing, it’s hard to do justice to the way the light plays off of it in photos.

Gotta love the psychedelic feesh

You had to know I’d graviate to the Marx Toys exhibit, on loan from Francis Turner and The Marx Toy Museum.

And of course I had to get a picture of Johnny West and friends as they pretend not to notice the giant pony.

More classic Marx Toys.

One of these days PopCult will take their cameras (still and video) to Marble King in Paden City. Until then, this exhibit will have to do.

I had no idea that the marbles in Hungry Hungry Hippos were made in West Virginia.

This gigantic mural made of marbles was maybe twenty feet wide, and is understandably roped off.

One photo of the cabinets filled with Fostoria Glass.

Mrs. PopCulteer’s favorite part of the museum, the FiestaWare section.

This whole corner of the museum is one long display of the tableware made by Homer Laughlin Company, in Newell, WV (renamed The Fiestaware Tableware Company recently).

My photos did not capture the long table laid out in a vivid spectrum of china. This is just one small section.

We end this essay with a glance across the street at the former West Virginia Penitentiary, complete with digitally-manipulated sky.


Last week’s new MIRRORBALL was not heard in its regular timeslot due to The AIR having a rare service outage, so we’re running the show again this week, and re-posting the notes on it here.

You either love ’em or you hate ’em, but Friday at 2 PM you’re going to get a full hour of Stars On 45 on MIRRORBALL. Mel Larch uncorks a new MIRRORBALL!  The AIR is PopCult’s sister radio station. You can hear this show on The AIR website, or just click on the embedded player found somewhere on this very page.

Friday afternoon The AIR’s showcase of classic Disco music presents ventures into the 1980s when the folks holding down the Disco fort were a Dutch novelty band that never gave up on the Disco sound, even when they were putting together medleys of Beatles songs, or bizarre collections of songs that blend the theme from Star Wars with Ennio Morricone, The Who’s Tommy, Jeff Wayne’s War of the Worlds and Carl Douglas’ “Kung Fu Fighting.”

Disco might have ducked in the alley and out of the mainstream, but one group of artists kept the radio hopping with slick production, chorus vocals like the Bee Gees and the requisite 120 beats per minute.  Stars on 45 was led by a former member of Golden Earring and featured vocalists who could mimic everyone from The Beatles to Donna Summer. The “Stars On” group took hit songs by The Beatles and other pop groups, and strung them all together with a strong Disco beat. And they managed to top the charts all over the world at a time when the anti-Disco backlash was stronger than ever.

For one hour you can go back and hear this Disco-fied artifact of 1980s excess. Just check this odd playlist…

“Beatles Medley”
“Long Play Part Two”
“Sixties Medley”
“Bad Girls Medley (12″)”
“Get Ready”
“ABBA Medley”
“Star Wars Medley”

You can hear MIRRORBALL every Friday at 2 PM, with replays Saturday at  9 PM (kicking off a mini-marathon), Sunday at 11 PM, Monday at 9 AM, and Tuesday at 1 PM  exclusively on The AIR.

That is this week’s PopCulteer. Check PopCult for all our regular features, with fresh content every day.

PopCult Music Review: David Synn “A New Dawn”

David Synn-A New Dawn
Available from Bandcamp and all other streaming services

First off, I have to admit that I’ve been a friend, collaborator and fan of Charleston’s virtuoso keyboard wizard, David Synn, for over a dozen years. I’e already played a couple of tracks from his new album/EP A New Dawn on Radio Free Charleston, and this review is coming from the perspective of someone who loves this type of music.

Disclaimers out of the way, A New Dawn is an instrumental prog-metal tour de force. David was a fine musician when I first met him, but his continued musical growth as a composer and musician is impressive. The six pieces of music on this album take him to new heights.

David is joined on A New Dawn by Jamie Skeen, who produced the album and provided bass and guitar, and his contributions on all fronts add quite a bit to the project.

The opening track, “The Island of Gorgo,” is a crunchy rocker that straddles the worlds of Metallica and Rick Wakeman, bouncy from pure metal to pure prog, and winding up with an evocative cinematic piece that stirs the imagination.

Next up with have the contemplative “Killing Time,” which alternates between metal instensity and an almost pastoral calmness. The end result is a vivid aural painting that shows off a tremendous amount of depth.

“Jazz Hands,” Is a jazzy piano-based number, with David showng the influence of Dave Brubeck, Vince Guaraldi and Keith Emerson in different places. Tossing in an organ part-way through only adds to the late 1960s vibe that this tune evokes. The false stops are a great diversion, as well.

On the opposite end of the musical spectrum, we have “Inside These Walls,” with a repetitive synth line that wouldn’t be out of place in a slasher movie, and a solid hard-rock beat leading to grungy guitars that duel with wailing synthesizers before every stops for a quick piano interlude before the song starts rocking out again. Like most of the songs on this album, this track has a real cinematic feel to it.

“Conception of Aries” is another conceptual track with a very cinematic feel. Skeen’s guitar and bass support layers of keyboards to create the type of music you can just close your eyes and imagine making trips to other planets to. If ends with a snippet of Synn’s infant child laughing, just to bring you back to Earth.

The album closer, “Dali’s Kaleidescope,” is a sprawling, epic nine-and-a-half minute tune with hints of Pink Floyd and Dream Theater, while transitioning through several changes that show off Synn’s musical prowess (as well as Skeen’s) and take the listening a wild musical journey. Give it a listen…

One of the coolest things about A New Dawn is that it’s instrumental but you never miss the vocals. This is a complete musical statement, imaginatively composed and constructed, and it makes its musical point without words.

A New Dawn would be highly recommended by me even if I didn’t know David personally. It’s a strong musical statement that deserves to be heard by any who likes daring, intelligent music.


STUFF TO Kickstart and DO

Okay, it’s time once again for your guide to things you can do in and around Charleston as summer turns to fall. In this week’s edition of STUFF TO DO, we’re going to start off with four cool projects you can Kickstart, and in the first case, you’d better act fast.   

First up, and with less than two weeks to go in this short campaign, we have RRParksCARDS Ninth Annual Halloween Trading Card Event,  Now the thing is, I can’t go into great detail here about this cool trading card set because I wrote about it in the just-published latest issue of Non Sport Update magazine (seen right and available at bookstores now, or you can order it online).

I have an agreement not to write about the same things in the blog here that I do for Non Sport Update. So go read the article for an in-depth look a the history and future of this fun Halloween card set, and then go kick in. It’s already met its goal, some twenty times over.

Check out the graphic below…

Next up we have another Kickstarter campaign for a trading card set, and this is another entry in the Fearsome Weirdos line by Robert Jimenez.  Ghouls Of Yule is the 4th Fearsome Weirdos set. This set of 18 trading cards features a mash-up of Monsters and the Holidays, written and illustrated by Robert Jimenez, with help from Wacky Packages writer Paul Harris. This is the perfect thing for folks who love Halloween, but also want to get in the Christmas spirit.

The set is made up of a Wrapper/Checklist card, 13 Characters and 4 Vintage Holiday Ad Parodies. Also included with the set is a Tuck Box, 2 Promo Cards and a Lenticular Card.

Add-On Rewards will include original art, extra discounted sets, extra sketch cards, past Zerostreet Trading Cards and more!

This looks like loads of fun for fans of the macabre and the holidays. You can find the Kickstarter campaign HERE,  and buy more cool stuff (including previous Fearsome Weirdos sets) HERE.  This project is also totally funded, so you know you’ll get your rewards. Check out the video below…

Our third Kickstarter recommendation today is for a graphic novel written by the Charleston-area creator of Pinpricks and other cool projects, Jason Pell. Flickering Lights is an erotic horror tale set in outer space. The crew of the space vessel, the Demeter, have been mysteriously transported across the universe.

As if being lost and unable to ever reach home wasn’t bad enough, strange lights have begun following the ship. With each visit, the lights leave behind lust and madness. The crew is caught in the wilds of the universe, and there is nowhere they can run or hide. The lights are coming.

Flickering lights is haunting 34 page erotic/horror comic with art by Emilio Utrera and story by Jason Pell. Edited by John MacLeod. Ths one is for Mature Audiences ONLY- it includes Nudity, violence, and sex, which automatically makes it WAY COOL!

The project is already fully-funded, with three weeks left in the campaign. You can find the Kickstarter campaign HERE, where you will have your choice of multiple cover variations in “nice” and “naughty” versions.

Our final Kickstarter recommendation is over 70% funded with four weeks to go, and it looks like a great project.  Frankenstein the Unconquered is set  500 years in the future as arctic thaws and the Beast awakens to a bombed out post-apocalypse as hideous and hostile as he is.

Seeing an opportunity to reinvent himself and live the peaceful life he always wanted, the Beast attempts to settle down and live simply with villagers who are unafraid of his ghastly appearance. But when soldiers come to collect their due, violence is the only answer the Beast can come up with, and his dream of living simply is ripped away.

Having followed his war path to its bloody conclusion, the Beast was exiled to the stars, his legacy tarnished, his family flayed before his eyes. For thirty years, the world has known an uneasy peace, but the Beast never stopped fighting for control and now, on the dawn of the 200th year, the sky explodes and the Beast, bathed in the cosmic blood of stars and comets, has returned. God help anyone who stands in his way.

Chapter One shows Frankenstein monster’s return to the Earth after his exile in the stars and explains how he ended up in this post apocalyptic future.

Chapter Two introduces two pivotal characters, The Wolfman and The Bride. In the present, Frank discovers a massacre and a lone survivor welcomes him into his home, offering the beast food, comfort and hospitality…until the sun goes down and the full moon rises. Meanwhile, in the past, Frank is attacked by a warlord and must work with his Bride to fight his way out. They’re outnumbered, but far from outmatched. Carnage, anger, and loss permeate comic with consequences that will walk with the Beast for the rest of his unnatural life.

You can visit the Kickstarter page and get both chapters HERE.

This serously sounds like a pretty incredible comic, with a combination of Frankenstein, John Carter of Mars, Conan, and maybe the finale of Ken Russell’s Lisztomania.  I’ve kicked in, and if that sounds really cool, you might want to as well. Check out the video…

Meanwhile, in and around Charleston

Live Music is back at Taylor Books. There is no cover charge, and shows start at 7:30 PM. Friday it’s The Carpenter Ants. Saturday is as-yet-unscheduled at Charleston’s beloved Bookstore/coffeehouse/art gallery institution.

Please remember that despite what some folks are saying, the pandemic is not over yet. Many people who have very good reasons are still wearing masks, and many of us, understandably, are still nervous about being in crowds, masked or not. Be kind and understanding  while you’re out.

If you’re up for going out, here are some suggestions for the rest of this week, roughly in order.

Since we’re running this feature early this week, there’s bound to be more cool things pop up…







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