Tag Archives: thugbrarian

Review: GOYA-Obelisk (STB Records)

Here we go. Like clockwork, the burgeoning Boutique label STB Records will be squeezing out a limited amount of CDs and cassettes of the new GOYA release Obelisk on Saturday August 1st at Noon sharp. If you have listened to the many brutal and magnificent GOYA releases, such as Satan’s Fire, 777, and the limited edition  45rpm eps Nothing but Dead Things, and the Split they did with Wounded Giant (both released by STB Records), then you will know that this is very good news.

GOYA, from Phoenix, AZ., is Jeff Owens – guitar, vocals, Nick Lose – drums, and Ben Clarkson – bass. Three guys that sound like ten.

read my Full review on Core of Destruction Radio @ http://coreofdestruction.tumblr.com/post/125485338164/goyaobelisk

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Review: Wolfmen from Mars-Gamisu

wolfman1

Wolfmen From Mars-Gamisu (May 2015)

So, I was just turned on to Wolfmen from Mars a little while ago, and on the chance that you never heard of them, I am paying it forward. If you like garage, surf, electro-new Wave, industrial and metal, you will probably like these guys. Think Man or Astroman meets Throbbing Gristle, smothered in a thin gooey sauce of doom.

They have a whole bunch of releases available to download on their Bandcamp pageAlong with Gamisu, you will find Wolfmen of Mars vs The Mangled Dead (Pontiki Records). I really love this band, and my only wish is that they would put out some vinyl, cassette, or at least CDs of their catalog, because it needs to be heard by the unwashed masses. Like now! Wolfmen of Mars may be great.

read my full review on Core of Destruction Radio @  http://coreofdestruction.tumblr.com/post/125016150809/gamisu

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July 25, 2015 · 2:23 pm

Review: Shots on the Bridge: Police Violence and Cover-Up in the Wake of Katrina

shots on the bridge

Shots on the Bridge: Police Violence and Cover-Up in the Wake of Katrina

by Ronnie Greene
Beacon Press (Published 08/08/2015), Hardcover, 256 pages

Nearly 10 years after Hurricane Katrina pummelled the Gulf Coast, all but destroying the city of New Orleans, Shots on the Bridge by Ronnie Greene revisits the Danziger Bridge shooting, the outcome of a police action gone terribly wrong days after Hurricane Katrina battered the city into submission. The result left 2 innocent people dead riddled with bullets, and 4 critically injured, including one woman having her arm literally blown off by NOPD  officers, who were answering an erroneous emergency call claiming that an officer was under fire.

Utilizing thousands of pages of court documents, including transcripts of the hours of testimony, and interviews with key subjects, Ronnie Greene is able to vividly describe the incident, the cover-up, and the trial, as well as the intricate political climate of past decades- a political climate that some claim  contributed to the events of Sept. 4th 2005.  The author offers the reader a biography of each of the participants- from the NOPD officers accused of gunning down unarmed hurricane victims, to the lawyers, judges and politicians, as well as the victims and witnesses (real and manufactured).

Greene’s storytelling ability combined with his scholarship meld effortlessly, leaving us an exciting read, as well as a complete report of this heinous crime committed against desperate, disaster victims who were in the wrong place at the wrong time. The crime itself, the killing of two and wounding of four, as explained by the defence team, can be attributed to the conditions the police were left in during the aftermath of the storm. No equipment, no supplies, no vehicles or communication, and most importantly- no leadership. Mayor Ray Nagin, and Police Commissioner Eddie Compass dropped the ball during Katrina and it’s aftermath- they had no viable plan for this eventuality.

This is troublesome on many levels, especially when the history of major hurricanes in the region goes back many decades. You would assume that a well thought out plan would be in place. We know now that this was not the case. Having said this, the segment of people who claim that the Mayor, and the Commissioner are just as responsible as those who pulled the trigger may have a valid point.

The fear and isolation experienced by the police, some of whom had lost everything in the storm, paired with the many false claims of rape and murder throughout the city, put forth by none other than Mayor Nagin and Eddie Compass, may have indeed contributed to the atmosphere that brought about this incident. That argument is not that far fetched when you examine all of the elements involved.

It is the second crime committed by the NOPD that should damn them. That crime was the attempt (a poor attempt to be sure) to cover up their terrible mistake. This is what this is all about-the fact that the officers involved conspired to hide the truth, while branding the victims as criminals who fired first,which was an outright fabrication. If it can be believed, this case is still ambling on to this day, even though some officers have come forth to tell the truth. If this erases your faith in Karma, consider the fact that former Mayor Ray Nagin is currently in jail serving 10 years for bribery and conspiracy, among other crimes. Small consolation for those impacted by this unfortunate experience.

With the 10 year anniversary of Hurricane Katrina on the horizon, Shots on the Bridge is a timely reminder of how leadership in our cities can disintegrate rapidly during  major disasters. It is also another example of police violence against the people they are sworn to protect.  Greene presents a well written account of the events, as well as the issues responsible for the outcome on the Danziger Bridge in East New Orleans, and the effects that are still being felt by many today. Highly recommended to all readers.

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July 9, 2015 · 8:08 am

Review: Motherslug (NoSlip Records)

Read my review of Motherslug (Australia) on Core of Destruction Radio Blog

http://coreofdestruction.tumblr.com/post/121970198514/motherslug

Motherslug

Motherslug

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June 20, 2015 · 12:11 am

Music Review: Sunstone-Sunstone

Follow the link to Core of Destruction radio for my review of the Debut release from British Doomsters Sunstone HERE

sunstone

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New Review for Iggy Pop and the Stooges-Let’s have some fun: Live at Unganos.

Check out my new review of the RSD 2015 release of the Live Stooges album Have Some Fun: Live at Unganos. It’s on the Core of Destruction Radio music blog right HERE

2015-04-30 17.31.11

 

 

 

2015-04-30 17.35.52

 

 

 

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May 18, 2015 · 6:43 pm

Book Review: The Marauders by Tom Cooper

Show your all-American face. Smile your all-American smile. Commiserate. Apologize, promise, lie. Anything. As long as they take the money and sign on the dotted line.

marauders

The Maruaders

by Tom Cooper

Crown (2015) Hardcover, 320 pages

Set in the Bayous of Louisiana during the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina and the BP oil spill, Tom Cooper offers up a gritty, realistic, yet surreal portrait of the people involved in the shrimping business, as well as the oil company sharks intent on getting away with the ruination of a centuries old way of life. The battle for compensation is the backdrop behind the many smaller, yet equally important stories that weave across each other throughout the book.

Cooper has developed characters that are complex and believable, – from the one-armed shrimper who has wasted half his life in a search for fabled pirate treasure in the Barataria, the two hapless pot-head day laborers who think it a great idea to pilfer the harvest of the murderous twin Tchoup brothers, to the oil company executive who comes back home in order to rob his former neighbors and family out of their rightful compensation. All of these characters will eventually cross paths with varying results.

The story is reminiscent of Elmore Leonard, with a touch of Faulkner-chock full of violence, as well as pathos. The climax leaves many broken and ruined, with a bright spot that even Norman Rockwell would enjoy. The Marauders is one of my favorite reads of 2015 thus far, and I look forward to reading more by Tom Cooper in the future. Highly recommended.

*****

Thugbrarian Set-List: Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds- The First Born is Dead

Nick cave

I can’t think of a more appropriate album to listen to during my time reading the Marauder by Tom Cooper. the Southern Gothic vibe, the reverb drenched guitars, and the dark subject matter make for a fitting soundtrack to the story. This is a recent repress of the original on 180gm vinyl. A truly amazing album.

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April 12, 2015 · 3:39 pm

The Thugbrarian Review Top Ten Books of 2014

Welcome to the first Thugbrarian Review Top 10 Books of 2014 list. Since I am the lone writer for this blog, I can only speak for the books that I have personally read this past year, because there were a load of great books published that I didn’t get to read. I was able to read 60 books from cover to cover, another 15 that I skimmed through, and about 20 that I just couldn’t bring myself to finish- the latter are what we here at TR call poopers. I have picked the 10 books published in 2014 that I liked the best, for one reason or another.

I  have a mix of mostly fiction, and some Non-Fiction (all History), with one graphic novel; some I read as E-book arcs, with the rest being advance galley editions furnished by LibraryThing, Goodreads, Netgalley and directly from publishers and authors. Be sure to follow the links under each book cover to read my reviews. Feel free to use the comment section to name your favorites of the year, or even to deride my choices.

I am looking forward to the new books I will be reading throughout 2015, so follow the blog and read my reviews. Lastly, once you have gone through the list, check out the Thugbrarian Review Top Albums of 2014 List in the music section of the blog.

 

Last Winter we parted

1. Last Winter, We Parted – by Fuminori Nakamura (Soho Press)

Nakamura is one of the newer master storytellers to come out of Japan. The ending is what made this my favorite book of the year. Japanese crime-noir at its best.

Read my review from September 17th HERE

 

 

cry father by benjamin Whitmer
2. Cry Father – by Benjamin Whitmer (Gallery Books)
Cry Father delivered a dark, and tense story of fathers and brothers, alcoholism and violence. A lot of violence. If Cormac McCarthy and Flannery O’Connor had a child, it would be named Benjamin Whitmer.

Read my review from September 7th HERE

 

Harry August title

 

3. The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August  -by Claire North (Redhook)

I love a good time-travel yarn, and this one had it in spades- action, history, the occult and great storytelling make this a sure bet for an excellent read.

Read my Review from June 9th HERE

 

Fame Whore by Mike Hudson
4. Fame Whore – by Mike Hudson (Power City Press)
Written by Mike Hudson, singer of  early Punk Icons The Pagans,  and packed with insights into the Los Angeles Twitter culture, alcohol abuse and delusion, wrapped inside a twisted story of true love. I found Fame Whore to be entertaining from the first page to the last.

Read my review from August 11th HERE

 

Latticework by Libby
5. Latticework – by D.B. Libby (Createspace)

A quirky science fiction crime story with a bit of awkward romance. I’ve said it once, and I’ll say it again, the ending is what really makes a great book to me, and Latticework’s final pages will blow you away with shock and surprise.

Read my review from September 22 HERE
Love Me back
6. Love Me Back-by Merritt Tierce (Doubleday)
This book surprised me, as I was expecting a weepy “Girly” book. What I got was a gritty, brutally honest view into the life of a waitress at a steak house. Teirce does not hold back, the tale of drug and alcohol abuse. oblivious sex and depression will grab you from the first page.

Read my review from December 20th HERE

 

 

Broken Monsters
7. Broken Monsters – By Lauren Beukes (Mulholland Books)
Broken Monsters is a captivating mix of Horror, Crime/Thriller and the Occult. A tough Detective, who balances being a single mom and the search for a serial killer with an artistic streak is the center of the story. The final pages will leave your head spinning.

Read my review from August 25th HERE

 

 

The Harlem Hellfighters
8. The Harlem Hellfighters – by Max Brooks & Caanan White (Broadway Books)
This beautifully illustrated Graphic Novel tells the story of the all African-American 369th Infantry regiment during  WWI. Caanan White‘s black ink illustrations are some of  the best art I have seen in a graphic Novel, somewhat reminiscent of  Frank Miller’s style. Max Brooks‘ (World War Z, The Zombie Survival Guide)  story is riveting as he tells an accurate, historical account while keeping it entertaining.

Read my review from May 26th HERE

 

 

Glorious War

9. Glorious War: The Civil War Adventures Of George Armstrong Custer – by Thom Hatch (St. Martin’s Press)
While most of us are all too familiar with Custer’s last stand, there is more to George Armstrong Custer than his one failure (as huge as it was). Glorious War chronicles Custer’s rise through the ranks, as well as his multitude of heroic acts during the Civil War. You may well see Custer in an entirely different light.

Read my review from May 26th HERE

 

 

Hanns and Rudolf
10. Hanns and Rudolf: The True Story of the German Jew Who Tracked Down and  Caught the Kommandant of Auschwitz – by Thomas Harding (Simon & Schuster)

There have been many books written about the Holocaust, and I have read quite a few of them; Hanns and Rudolf by Thomas Harding adds a new dimension to the bibliography, in that it chronicles the lives of two Germans in parallel-one a German Jew who along with his family, barely made it out of Nazi Germany alive, and the other the Kommandant of Auschwitz. What makes this story unique is that it offers the personal perspective of each man’s experience, allowing the reader to view the horror in detail through the eyes of each man.

Read my review from June 30th HERE

As always, I thank the small, but elite group of people who have followed and supported my blog, it means a lot to me. See you in 2015.

Go to the Thugbrarian Review Top Ten Albums of 2014 list HERE

 

 

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December 28, 2014 · 11:53 am

Book Review: The Future, Declassified by Mathew Burrows

I am slowly getting back into my routine, and beginning with this post, I will be putting up some reviews every other day or so. Look for some music reviews as well, like the split vinyl release of Goya/Wounded Giant, 2 excellent bands out on STB records, a label that has been getting some attention due to the limited edition, tricked out records they have been putting out, featuring some of the best underground Doom Metal bands that seem to be multiplying like rabbits. After the review for The Future, Declassified, scroll down a bit and listen to what I have been listening to this week, which happens to be Portishead-Third. There is a great live clip of them performing The Rip on the Jools Holland show.

declass
 
 

The Future, Declassified: Megatrends That Will Undo The World Unless We Take Action

by Mathew Burrows

Palgrave Macmillan Trade (2014), Hardcover, 288 pages

When I receive books that promise to read the future for me, I tend to sneer a bit, as I eyeball the book suspiciously. Even the great seer Rasputin himself did not see his untimely demise coming. Having said that, Mathew Burrows, a former counselor for the National Intelligence Council, gives an excellent overview of why geo-political, economic and military forces , as well as the balance of power, are shifting at a steady clip. He goes over the rise of the BRIC countries (Brazil, Russia, India and China), and the transition from a G7 centered world,  to a G20 world, and the resulting implications these developments produce.
 
The topic of individual empowerment, and social media’s role in making it available is mentioned of course , along with the issues connected to an aging society, medical and technical advances, and the booming business of making war. While I find the author’s understanding of current events and history respectable, the predictions he makes are nothing new; pundits have been predicting the rise of China as an economic powerhouse for years, as well as the “Rise of the Rest”, chipping away at the United States’ economic superiority – furthermore, the effects of religion, and ecological issues did not make it into the conversation, which I feel diminishes the authority of his predictions.
  
Burrows presents an array of fictional scenarios that depict the future as he sees it, based on his opinion of where current trends are headed. Predicting the future is a tricky business, anything can happen in a split second- I have been alive long enough to see how unintended consequences, and squandered advantages can alter the best of plans. A nuclear war here, an overthrown government there, and all bets are off. This is an excellent appraisal of where the world is today, and how we arrived here, and many of the ideas that Burrows has concerning the future of earth are certainly compelling,  however, they are not new ideas,as most of these issues have been in discussion for many years.

 
This is a well written book that was an interesting read, and I think that many people who are not exceptionally knowledgeable of global politics and future trends would get a good synopsis of the subject in The Future, Declassified. Just don’t expect any groundbreaking revelations.

*** (3 out of 5)

 
 
Thugbrarian Set-List: Musical Accompaniment: Portishead- Third

third

 
 
About the time that I was reading The Future, Declassified, I was playing Portishead‘s last album Third in the car stereo on continuous loop. I love their self-titled, and Dummy albums very much. But Third is darker, and has a grittier edge to it. A lot of big, angry beats, tempered by Beth Gibbons‘ baleful vocals. the lyrics are sad and beautiful, while the noirish guitars come off eerie, and mysterious. In 20 years they have put out 3 studio albums, and the live at Roseland disc. I pray that they put out one more album, although it has been about 8 years, I am hopeful for one more release.

Watch a live performance of the song The Rip on Jools Holland HERE

 

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November 25, 2014 · 7:36 pm

Book Review: My Pearl Harbor Scrapbook 1941 by Bess Taubmen, et al.

harbor

 

My Pearl Harbor Scrapbook 1941

by Bess Taubmen, Ernest Arroyo, Edward L. Cox (Illustrations)
Mapmania Publishing Co (2014) Hardcover, 98 pages

I was happy to receive this book in the mail- I love military history, and I am always pleased when a WWII book comes my way. In this particular case, I was doubly pleased, because My Pearl Harbor Scrapbook 1941 is indeed a facsimile scrapbook of the Bombing of Pearl Harbor by the Japanese on Dec 7 1941.  First of all, the illustrations and the general design of the book are excellent; archival photos, personal letters, memos, telegrams and newspaper clippings enhance the historical information it contains. Separate facets of life on Pearl Harbor before, during and after the bombing are explained, in many cases using news stories , personal accounts and above average photographs, which offers the reader a better understanding of everyday life on the island during the tumult. All in All, this is a visually stunning, informative account of the Attack on Pearl Harbor.

Someone who has vast knowledge in WWII military history will enjoy this book as much as someone who is just starting their inquiries. For the historian, there is a wealth of archival material, ephemera, and personal correspondence which I for one have never seen before. The novice will receive a good overview of the major points of the period, giving the reader a basic understanding of the who, what, where and why surrounding the bombing, as well as visually stimulating design. This would be a great gift for almost anyone on your list. Tags: Military History, WWII, Pearl Harbor, U.S. Navy, Japan, United States, Hawaii, History, scrapbook, photographs, archives, primary resources

Starting with now, Thugbrarian Set-List will also be included at the end of my book reviews. basically just a shout out to whatever I was listening to parallel to what I was reading at the time. I will still be doing some music reviews, this is just  lagniappe (something extra).  It can be anything from Punk Rock to sacred Turkish taffy-pulling  music, I listen to all kinds of stuff. If you think there is a band I should be listening to, based on my post, let me know in the comments section, I am always looking to hear good, new music.

SET-LIST:  

Avengers

 

Avengers

AVENGERS

When I wasn’t reading My Pearl Harbor Scrapbook 1941, I was listening to one of the best Punk Rock records ever made, the debut by Avengers, by way of a 1983 compilation of their music. The fact that people still love this record over 30 years later is a testament to its greatness. What is even cooler is that, like myself, singer Penelope Houston also works for a Public Library.   You can hear the full album on YouTube HERE 

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November 10, 2014 · 6:47 pm