Xander Harris : Villains of Romance

There’s a really dark, palpable mood that emanates from Xander Harris’ new album Villains of Romance. His previous records all carried with them a heavy air and brooding stare, as if you walked into an underground club that seemed to lead directly into some Gothic alternate universe. A place where leather was a coat of arms and communication was limited to circuit-driven thoughts and indifferent stares. Always teetering the line between dark beauty and bent light skewed through stained glass.

But with Villains of Romance there’s a coalescence to these songs that give this record a narrative through line. Maybe it’s the fact that the album was released before Harris had intended to release it, or the fact that the mixture of trance-like beats, heavy synth, and dance floor aggressiveness come together perfectly. With every Xander Harris album there’s been a progression forward, and Villains of Romance might be the biggest progression yet.

Xander Harris, aka Justin Sweatt, had planned Villains of Romance as a double LP that spanned all his interests and influences. An epic release of light and dark. An accident in New Orleans led to a stall on the progression of the record, so in frustration he released Villains of Romance at just the halfway point. I’m certain that the double LP version would have been amazing, but as it stands this leaner version of the record has an urgency and at times a crazed paranoia to it that is far more revealing and engaging than a double LP could ever be.

“Bleeding Meridians” is slinky and sexy in a Catherine Deneuve from The Hunger sort of way. It’s methodical and pulls you in with its electronic beat and pulsating synth. You can’t deny it. You’re at its mercy. “First Taste of Hate” feels like a panic attack put to music. It’s quick pace and frantic synth line sounds as if something menacing is just around the corner, whether it’s real or just in your head. “Individual Outs” has a Nine Inch Nails feel to it. With its lone piano line and distant synths wavering in the air above it all, there’s an exquisite melancholy and pained solitude here. It’s a gorgeous track.

The propulsive “Stranger Danger” is like classic Depeche Mode. It has an instant familiarity to it, as if some lost memory from 1982 appeared out of nowhere to remind you to get lost in the rhythm. Of course Harris adds his own dark lean to that DM formula giving the track its own unique language. “Mall Walk” instantly puts me into some old, abandoned behemoth of a complex from the Reagan-era. A monstrosity of capitalism and waste with an ice rink in the middle, now with weeds and trees growing through the foundation. The simple rhythm and subtle synth touches makes me want to strut and swagger past a Chess King or Musicland and nonchalantly stare at the occupants. Of course I was never cool enough to fit anywhere, but this excellent track makes that awkwardness a little easier. “Feral Stare” seeps with attitude and ominous tones with piano and what sounds like real drums. The bass line pulsates and moves. “Wither Lace” closes out the album on a beautifully ornate note. With vocals by Nicolas Nadeau, the track sounds like a monumental Euro pop ballad from the 80s drenched in mountains of glorious reverb. This would’ve sat nicely on Vienna by Ultravox.

The through line I take away from Villains of Romance is solitude with something slightly sinister. Late night gambles in less than safe situations; mall walks alone with nothing but a pack of cigarettes and an Orange Julius.  It’s you in a room elegantly ornamented, candles flickering, with just your thoughts there to haunt you like a 200-year old specter staring at you from the mirror on the wall.

Villains of Romance is gorgeous, desolate, and exquisite.

8.1 out of 10


<p><a href=”https://vimeo.com/275620330″>Xander Harris – Villains of Romance</a> from <a href=”https://vimeo.com/hauntlove”>Justin Miller</a> on <a href=”https://vimeo.com”>Vimeo</a&gt;.</p>

Protomartyr : Consolation E.P.

Joe Casey sounds like a man on a mission. He’s like your college professor that finally said the hell with the system and one day during class had his Network moment of “I’m mad as hell and I’m not gonna take this anymore!” He’s a prophet in a rumpled suit and sunglasses who spits barbs and damnations against society, an in turn you and I(we deserve it.)

Casey, along with the rest of Protomartyr(which includes Greg Ahee, Alex Leonard, and Scott Davidson) are the premier Motor City prophets of doom. They’ve continued the work their post-punk fathers started back in the mid-to-late 70s. The Fall, Joy Division, Wire, The Birthday Party, Gang of Four and Mission of Burma all are present in Protomartyr’s angular and jagged diatribes. Over the course of four albums, the Detroit noise makers have upped their game each time out, coming to a head with last year’s excellent Relatives In Descent. 

Thinking 2018 might be a quiet year for the band, I was pleasantly surprised to hear that Protomartyr was releasing an EP. Consolation EP is a mere 14 minutes long, but what they accomplish in those 14 minutes takes some bands years to get to. It may be short, but they make every second count.

“Ironic t-shirts wet with blood/An argument over aesthetics/That would be my guess” Casey sings over a wall of angst and shards of guitar noise. He ends with “Keep me above this filth”, and you feel the desperation. It’s one hell of a way to get things going. Protomartyr keeps that feeling going with “Same Face In A Different Mirror”, but with a lighter touch in the guitars. It’s a blast of musical persecution where society is being lambasted for their bloated excess and complacency to what is going on around it.

Consolation EP has a guest in the form of Kelley Deal. “Wheel of Fortune” stews and burns at the hypocrisy of America’s elite and how they wield their money as power. Deal adds backing vocals which make this bitter pill a bit easier to swallow(but not by much.) “Emergency manager/An angry ex-husband/Late with his payments and needs to cut costs/Inept gov hacks pump poison through pipes/A rising tide/I decide who lives and who dies” Casey seethes as the song rolls along like a freight train set ablaze. “You Always Win” closes the EP with more of Deal in the mix. Less fang, but still plenty of bite.

We’re lucky to have a band like Protomartyr. We need this kind of vitriol in our art. Casey and company are not comfortable with complacency and with the current state of the world. They’re holding up the mirror to it, and Consolation is them bashing it over our head.

7.9 out of 10

King Tuff : The Other

So I may have been wrong about Kyle Thomas, aka King Tuff. I know he’s been around for a few years now and that he’s got connections to Ty Segall and that whole crew of prolific garage/punk/pop artists that seem to be readying new albums every couple months. Around 2012 Thomas seemed to  be all the talk amongst those guys and gals in the know. I was told I needed to check out the King Tuff album, which I did. Musically it was a fun listen. Very pop-oriented with some punk rock energy, but I just couldn’t sign on because his vocals didn’t jive with my brain all that much. He’s a perfectly fine singer, don’t get me wrong. But it just wasn’t agreeing with me personally. I even tried the stoner metal outfit Witch that Thomas plays in with J Mascis and Dave Sweetapple. Still no dice(the vocals again, sadly.)

I was told King Tuff had a new album coming out so I figured I’d give it a listen. Well I can say that either King Tuff has expanded his sound or I’ve changed since my last outing with him. The Other, Thomas’ newest record as King Tuff is a dense, beautifully ornamented pop record that feels very personal and deep and easily the best King Tuff record yet.

On 2014s Black Moon Spell, Kyle Thomas hadn’t changed up King Tuff’s sound more than he refined it to the ultimate fuzz guitar sound and pop hook. He shaved it down to the most necessary garage rock vibe needed. On The Other, the sound has been rewired and reimagined as a Jon Brion album, complete with melancholy power pop hooks and earnest songwriting. Album opener and title track “The Other” is pushed along with a dreamy synth and Thomas’ very adept and restrained vocals. The production is damn near eloquent, sounding more Beach House than Beach Slang. It’s an eye and ear opening listen to start out with. “Raindrop Blue” keeps the newfound restraint in full swing. The track; with keys, horns, falsetto vocals, and distinct 70s groove, sounds like Walls and Bridges-era John Lennon. The Burger Records days seem but a distant memory here(like it or not.) “Thru the Cracks” floats along on ethereal background vocals and a symphonic pop vibe. Thomas seems to have come into his own as a vocalist here. The nasally tone he possessed before seems to have been traded in for a more Marc Bolan swagger here. Thomas also seems to be pulling from a more personal place on this album, which makes the record that much more endearing.

Elsewhere, “Psycho Star” keeps the T. Rex grooves going with a hefty dose of Alan Parsons’ Project thrown in for good measure. “Birds of Paradise” goes full-on 70s rock and soul with big grooves and big horns and “Ultraviolet” brings some of that fuzz rock goodness back with a well-produced slab of rock and roll groove. “Neverending Sunshine” is absolute spaced-out bliss while album closer “No Man’s Land” ends the album on big production and power pop dreaminess.

King Tuff has grown up a bit I suppose. Kyle Thomas has taken his musical moniker from rough and tumble poppy garage rock to something that more resembles big-eyed power pop. The Other is a huge step forward for Kyle Thomas and King Tuff. It’s an ambitious pop record that stands to be one of the best pop rock albums you’ll here this year.

8.2 out of 10

Wye Oak : The Louder I Call, The Faster It Runs

I came across Wye Oak around the same time I came across Phantogram. I’d heard their album The Knot right around the same time as I’d heard Phantogram’s Eyelid Movies. I was impressed with the whole guy/gal dynamic in both bands. They weren’t doing the whole garage rock thing which I really wasn’t into. Wye Oak was folksy and almost slowcore, while Phantogram had this indie electro pop thing that I really dug. Both had songwriting and self-producing chops, too. But with each successive record, while Wye Oak seemed to keep pushing their sound out of where they began, Phantogram just took the formula they’d begun with and turned it into something shinier and more expensive sounding. Jenn Wasner’s lyrics and melodies reflected growth and deeper reflection, where Phantogram seemed more about sound, production, and dance floors. Nothing wrong with any of that, but Wye Oak has remained an ever-growing and intriguing band(and without collab albums with Big Boi.)

Like I said, with each successive album Wye Oak’s Jenn Wasner and Andy Stack seem to want to push themselves sonically. On 2014s Shriek, they moved from the indie folk sounds to something more electro/dream pop. Though with the addition of synths and electronic beats, the songwriting remained strong and the main focus. They are back with The Louder I Call, The Faster It Runs, and though the indie folk vibes and slowcore grooves are few and far between, Wasner’s ever-engaging voice remains intact. And with that, so does Wye Oak’s true magic.

Even with side projects like Dungeonesse and EL VY, the main focus of Jen Wasner and Andy Stack is Wye Oak. That’s apparent on album openers “(tuning)” and “The Instrument”. Piano bouncing up and down in pitch leads into the glitchy and bouncy “The Instrument”. Wasner’s voice is a classic one. It’s a voice you will always recognize, like Stevie Nicks or Joni Mitchell. And Andy Stack has gotten to be quite the sonic wizard in the studio. There are looping synths and a manic rhythm that brings to mind more experimental fare that pushes this song into something more cathartic than your typical pop. Title track “The Louder I Call, The Faster It Runs” almost has a Talking Heads feel to it at first, but the vocals come in and elevate everything into the clouds. Even with all the electronics and beautiful noise, there’s still this element of earthiness here. Wye Oak still retain this organic beauty, whereas a lesser band might get lost in the white noise. “Lifer” captures some of that Civilian vibe. It’s a restrained track that feels immediate, intimate, and close-up. It’s like a conversation with a good friend; eye to eye and breathless in conversation. “It Was Not Natural” is elegant with piano and heady electronics that swirl around. This could be a Haim song, or a St. Vincent song. Lucky for us it’s a Wye Oak song.

Elsewhere, “Symmetry” is grooving electro 80s only the way Wye Oak can do it. There’s elements of synthwave here, but a few notches added thanks to the skillful songwriting of Wasner/Stack. Jenn Wasner does sound a lot like Annie Clark in the chorus, which is not a bad thing. “Over and Over” is a dirge-y track that would sound just as good with jugs, acoustic guitars, and an out-of-tune upright piano. Album closer “I Know It’s Real” is the calm after the storm. It brings to mind later-era Walkmen with the pomp and circumstance of The xx.

Wye Oak seem to keep doing the right thing when it comes to their music. They’ve never forgotten where they began; keeping the spirit of those first couple records intact, while constantly pushing themselves each time out. The Louder I Call, The Faster It Runs continues that trend of forward motion. It’s a beautiful pop album that if there were any justice in the world would be on constant rotation throughout the FM dial. There is no justice in the world(typically), so that probably won’t happen. But put Wye Oak in your ears anyways.

7.9 out of 10

My Lifestyle Determines My Deathstyle

When Metallica’s St. Anger came out the hoopla around it was pretty overwhelming, which once everyone had heard it reversed to underwhelming. “Trendy”, “no solos”, “that snare sound” were a just a few of the many things that were mentioned as part of the overall indictment of the long gestating, long drawn out, post-rehab, post-therapy, and post-Jason Newsted record. The San Francisco speed metal kings seemed to have left tradition behind, and instead went the path of modern heavy music. “Nu-Metallica”, as their sound was dubbed by me just now. What the hell were our big bros that created “Metal up your ass” thinking? Were they so lost that they had to jump on some musical bandwagon in order to rekindle those flames that seemed to have been quashed by years of pent up resentment at each other?

And really, that snare sound? Did you not hear that guys?

Well, here’s a little secret for you. You see, St. Anger wasn’t as bad as you remember it. In fact, St. Anger was a damn good album(yes, even with the snare thing.) All the bands that Metallica were blamed for copying? Those trendy new(nu) metal bands? Well they were copping Metallica’s sound, while morphing it into something of their own. System of a Down, Slipknot, Deftones, Korn, and all those other late 90s/early 00s bands that brought the heavy music drama to popular music in a heavy way grew up with James, Kirk, Cliff, Jason, and Lars. If anything, Metallica were just inspired to go a different route by these bands. St. Anger is still very much a Metallica record, both lyrically and musically. And its probably their heaviest record since …And Justice For All.

Let me explain this…

Every year since 2006 I will watch Some Kind Of Monster at least once. It’s just as much therapy as it is entertainment. From the first time I watched it I was completely enthralled with seeing this band that I grew up with not act like the mega rock stars they are, but human beings. Human beings with egos, anger issues, self doubt, fear, and just generally being like you and me(albeit with a ton more dough.) There was a lot said for how they came across as whiny and spoiled and just generally not rock star-like. That’s the whole point of it all, isn’t it? We know what these guys look like in magazine spreads, on stage, and on record. We get the persona that’s built for us. I think the genius of the movie was that Joe Berlinger and Bruce Sinofsky captured one of the greatest metal bands ever at the point of complete implosion, and despite what the popular consensus is I think the band handled it pretty well.

You see James Hetfield, the prototypical front man that exudes machismo and tough guy,”fuck yeah, dude!” righteousness turn into this guy trying to rebuild himself after years of alcohol abuse and running from his feelings. Lars Ulrich seems to get the most flack for being, well, Lars. But here’s the thing, I think he comes across pretty earnest. He’s not putting on a show here. He’s got an ego and that’s that, but he’s not being anything else but himself. He seems generally concerned for his longtime band mate, friend, and long time band. Can he be self-absorbed? You bet, but that’s just Lars. And really, I think history has proven he was on the right side of the whole Napster thing. Sure he’s a millionaire, but does that mean it’s cool to steal from him? I don’t think so. Poor Kirk Hammett. He’s still like the little kid stuck in the middle of two battling parents. He seems like a genuinely sweet guy that wants to just keep playing with his big bros and tour the world and buy horror memorabilia. You say anything bad about Kirk and I’ll take you out back and introduce you to Jack Johnson and Tom O’Leery.

The rest of the players? Well there’s Bob Rock, the mega rock producer that turned Metallica into MTV darlings thanks to The Black Album. He seems genuinely confused and uncertain of the band’s future. He stepped up here to get the album finished, and in the end it seems to have finished his over 10-year residency as the fifth member of Metallica. Phil Towle, the therapist/performance coach brought in by Q Prime Management to help Metallica deal with all the internal and personal strife. He’s a hired hand, and his job was to dig deep and get to some core issues that had been long festering between the group. There is some cringe-worthy stuff here with Dr. Towle, I have to be honest. The Dave Mustaine session? Ugh. Dr. Phil arguing about trust issues between him and James? Seemed like the doc was trying to manipulate the most vulnerable guy in the group to me. I think he did help the band overall, but he seemed a little too cozy by the end. Robert Trujillo. I love this guy. I think he was and is a great fit in the band. I think he makes Metallica work harder and think outside the box, honestly. And thank Christ they didn’t go with Twiggy Ramirez. Jason Newsted, the man at the center of the movie, really. He was the earthquake that brought the Metallica Corporation down. Can you blame him for leaving? I can’t. And Torben Ulrich? What an interesting dude he is. He’s like a Tolkien character come to life. His “screaming in the echo chamber” comment makes me laugh every time. The honesty of a parent is undeniable and hilarious, regardless how painful it can be.

Some Kind Of Monster is one of the best documentaries about music I’ve seen. It’s up there with Dig!, Don’t Look Back, The Devil and Daniel Johnston, 30 Century Man, and I Am Trying To Break Your Heart. I’m sure part of that is because I love the band so much. Some people probably hated this movie because of precisely the reason I loved it: it humanized Metallica. Some people don’t want to see their heroes vulnerable, broken, and well, human. For me, seeing Hetfield, Ulrich, and Hammett struggling to figure shit out is exactly what I need to see sometimes. It makes me feel not so bad in my own daily struggles. One of the greatest metal bands of all time nearly fell apart because they couldn’t deal with their emotions, so I think I might be able to get thru this whole “oldest kid going off the college” thing. Also, I love that inside look into the making of music. The scenes in the Presidio, regardless of how uncomfortable they were, were still fascinating. The process of hashing it out together as a band and seeing where things go is something I love. And the HQ sessions were equally engaging. The little moments where a lyric clicks and a melody emerges from spitting words into a mic is just fascinating. Hetfield stumbling onto “Some Kind Of Monster” while trying to figure out what the song is about, I love it.

There are so many little bits in this that keep bringing me back to it.

So St. Anger may be your least favorite Metallica album, and there may not be anything I can say to change your mind. That’s perfectly acceptable. For me its a therapeutic thing that happens every year. I will watch Some Kind Of Monster, extras and all, then I go into a St. Anger death spiral that lasts for a couple days and then it gets shelved for another year. Lars said it best, that they wanted to prove that you could make an angry album out of positive energy(I’m paraphrasing here.) I think the creative process started in a very negative energy space, but by the end that energy had gone 180 degrees in the positive. There’s nothing more therapeutic than cranking up a record full blast and letting massive amounts of pent up rage come down on you. It’s like a dip in a hot spring, or surfing waves of hot lava while shooting devil horns to the world. There’s nothing like it.

St. Anger and Some Kind Of Monster are some massive waves of hot lava, baby.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Forty-Four

Today I turn 44 years old. I don’t feel much different from 43. Some days I feel like I’m 26. Other days I feel like I should be retired and taking chondroitin with my prune juice and egg whites in the morning. Tomorrow I’ll probably feel feeble and in my 80s because I worked in the yard today.

So it goes.

I’ve got no complaints about aging another year. Maybe if it could slow down a bit, I’d like that. I’m getting grayer and more sore quicker than I like. My kids aren’t so small anymore, either. Nap time, trips to the Children’s Museum, and that crazed look of glee on Christmas Eve have faded to quiet indifference and sleeping past 9am on Christmas morning(I’m okay with that  part.) Time, it’s a fickle beast. Jane can’t stop this crazy thing we call life. It keeps moving whether you’re ready or not.

Every birthday makes that all the more clearer.

I remember as a kid on birthdays I’d have at least one set of grandparents show up for cake and awkward glances as I’d run around the house in Superman Underoos(c’mon grandpa, you’ve never seen a 16-year old boy run around the house in just his underwear. You were a free mason for God’s sake.) I remember my 7th birthday party and the neighbor girl came over with her mom and I hid behind my mom for the first hour. I guess that was my first taste of dealing with the opposite sex. Birthdays were a learning ground for so many things. My 12th birthday party was the best. Me and 4 of my best friends went to Pizza Hut and then came back to my house where they all spent the night. We stayed up watching lousy horror movies and playing with GI Joe figures and Transformers. I think three of us stayed up till close to 4am that night.

My 21st birthday I bought my first new vehicle, a 1994 Nissan pick-up. My parents and older brother drove me to Fort Wayne to pick it up. My brother drove home with me and afterwards we went to the Ye Old Pub in North Webster and ate fried fish and I had my first official “of age” beer, which was a Michelob on draft. Two years later I spent my 23rd birthday in our new home. We’d only been in the house for less than a week so it still had that “empty, we’re new to this homeowner thing” feel. I’d gotten the flu and spent the day between my bed newly minting the toilet.

I have lots of birthday memories. Most of them good. Maybe a couple not so good. But the one thru-line is that you better enjoy ’em as they come because one day you’re hiding behind your mom as she lights the candles on your Boba Fett birthday cake while a confused 8-year old girl looks on, and the next you’re sitting on the couch, newly minted a ripe old 44-years of age typing on the couch as your wife of 21 years and your 12-year old son are in the kitchen making you a pineapple upside down cake.

To another year of learning and loving. To another year of figuring out the difference between relief and joy. To another year of enjoying these days as they come. As they slap you right in the kisser.

 

Hell Raisin

Clive Barker’s Hellraiser is one of those films that stands as a horror pillar in my early teen years. I remember reading all about it in Fangoria and seeing the pictures of those Cenobites. Those visuals were unlike anything my teen brain had ever come across. It felt foreign, alien, new, and disturbing in a way I’d never seen. What were these vile creatures in black leather with the chattering teeth, grotesque features, and nails sticking into their skulls? I wasn’t even 14 years old when Hellraiser was released, yet I knew I had to see this movie. Fortunately for me, my parents dug this kind of shit so they were cool with taking me and my best friend to see it on a Saturday afternoon.

Up to this point, my horror was of the more American-made kind. I was a Romero and Carpenter nerd and dug movies like Fright Night, Silver Bullet, The Howling, An American Werewolf In London, and of course those flicks where horny teens get slaughtered one by one by a hulking man-child with mommy issues. Hellraiser felt decidedly European to me. It felt very foreign and dirty. It was a weird one to see in the theater with Ma and Pa Hubner(as I’m sure it was weird for them as well.) But man, it was a hell of a flick. Very visceral and to the bone. I’d never seen a movie with such Gothic vibes before. Of course I’d later learn just how sexualized Barker’s work was in books like In The Flesh and The Damnation Game, but being a newbie to Barker in the theater on a Saturday afternoon in 1987 I sort of felt mentally violated. This was horror, but there was this dark sensuality I couldn’t quite compute with my 13-year old highly hormonal brain. The leather, the chains, the pain and pleasure,…the Cenobites were dominatrix’ for some netherworld sex club and I was invited to watch their purgatorial peep show. I thought this was supposed to be a horror film of blood-stained sights and terrifying worlds? What are these new “feelings” I was feeling? Are there any female cenobites looking for a date to the 8th Grade Formal? And isn’t that guy the same one who was in Dirty Harry? There was in fact a female cenobite, but she wouldn’t show up till Hellbound: Hellraiser 2(she was already going to the formal with “chattering teeth” cenobite), and that was indeed the Scorpio serial killer Andrew Robinson that played Larry Cotton. As for those weird feelings? What’s wrong with you, ya freak!?

Hellraiser was a one-of-a-kind movie experience, especially for an impressionable, greasy teen. It did open new doorways into art and cinema for me. The best pal I went to see it with got into graphic novels and bought up a bunch of Barker’s books that I would borrow often and read. That whole world led to stuff like Gaiman’s Sandman series, James O’Barr’s The Crow, and even into musical rabbit holes like The Cure, Depeche Mode, Joy Division, and Cocteau Twins. It was very much a British pit of doom, gloom, and goth girls that you wanted to make smile with a stupid joke.

Thanks to the nostalgia bug I recently separated from $29 and in return came home with a copy of the Hellraiser S/T by Christopher Young. Lakeshore Records recently reissued it on a pretty sweet gooey red-colored vinyl. Until a few months ago I hadn’t seen Hellraiser in over 20 years. My son and I watched it one Friday night and I was really impressed by how well it held up. The look put me in mind of Bernard Rose’s excellent Paperhouse. It was another very British film with a weathered, Gothic feel that stuck with me for years. Rose would go on to direct the film adaptation of Barker’s Candyman, which I absolutely loved(and if you haven’t seen his Immortal Beloved with Gary Oldman as Beethoven, you ain’t livin’ Bub.) Back to the cenobites, one thing that really struck me was the score to Hellraiser. As a teen I didn’t really take note of it, but now it really stands out as a beautiful musical work. I’d read that Barker originally wanted Coil to do the soundtrack, but the movie company said they wanted something more traditional. I’d like to see a cut of the film with Coil’s music, but I’m glad that they went with Christopher Young. It’s nuanced, low key, but has just the right amount of melodrama to give the film an almost classic feel, as opposed to the darker, S&M feel of its themes. And apparently Young re-worked some of Coil’s music into orchestral pieces to go into the film. So there’s that.

So are you still bloated from yesterday’s Thanksgiving stomach bludgeoning? Are you contemplating grabbing that turkey leg from the fridge and eating it sans pants in your chair Henry the VIII-style? Well I’m not going to stop you. Hell, I’ll encourage you to do so. But instead of watching some holiday blech on the boob tube, why don’t you cue up some Hellraiser for old time’s sake? It’s okay, do it. Everyone’s out Black Friday shopping. You’ve got the house to yourself.

We have such sights to show you.