The Mighty Blowhole Guide to Vinyl Preservation

He-ey Everybody!

There's a right way and a wrong way to store your beautiful records. Then there is the Mighty Blowhole way... Consider this scenario - Late at night, everything is quiet, and you're blissfully asleep, then... BAM! The living room bursts into flames and your record collection is in peril!

At great risk, you would have to brave the flames attempting to retrieve your wonderful collection! And probably miss one or two LPs on the way out!
... Let me tell you, this possibility does not sit well with us here at Mighty Blowhole and so we present to you, faithful reader, our solution to this horrific problem...

You need to have the right tools, people...hole diggers, box tape, and plastic bags. Pick out a suitable place in your yard that is free from most major catastrophes. This is what you would call the 'safest part of the yard.'
Using your hole-diggers, proceed to dig a decent-sized hole in the 'safest part of the yard.'

The many features of a well dug hole are shown above. Try to duplicate this when creating your own hole. Don't forget to put some gravel in to help with drainage! With a hole properly dug, it is time to prepare the precious records for safe-keeping. You'll need to have your plastic bags and boxtape at the ready.

Carefully double bag each record and use plenty of box tape all around the seam.

Continue wrapping your precious vinyl and place into the storage box and close tightly. Try to use a box that will resist all known corrosion and temperature extremes. This will assist in preserving the wonderful records.

A critical finishing step is enveloping your wondrous collection in a large garbage bag; it has the added advantage of hiding the true shape of the box. For optimum protection, make sure the open end of the bag is twisted shut and all balled up. The all balled up part is very important, don't skip that part!

To help relieve any shock effects from natural or unnatural catastrophes you should simply drizzle fine rock over your sublime vinyl until it is completely buried.

(For Advanced Archivists only) Place a cat on top of the dirt mound to help mark the storage location. Refer back to the cat as needed to provide clear direction during any retrieval process. Cats are known to move from place to place (a security feature that obscures the true location of the vinyl), but will always return back to the same spot.
We hope this guide to vinyl preservation has been helpful!


Recommended reading...

Black Hole - Charles Burns

This striking + powerful graphic novel was originally released in comic book form, over an agonizing ten-year span. Waiting for each new issue was always frustrating... and always rewarding. Presented in a very stark black and white, Black Hole eerily implies a John Hughes teen-flick script rewritten + produced by David Lynch and directed by Tod Browning. Heavy use of black on the pages and thick lines reminiscent of scratchboard add uneasy weight to Burns' story as it rounds the curve into full-fledged horror.

It's the '70s in suburban Washington state and the teenagers are being suburban teens: hanging out, screwing, getting loaded... catching a sexually-transmitted disease that causes (usually grotesque) physical mutations. An excellent metaphor for the isolation + alienation of teen angst, these physical changes make runaways + outcasts of the afflicted teens. And there's no cure. And then... murder.

Now being adapted to film, with director David Fincher and Brad Pitt as producer. Neil Gaiman was working on the screenplay, but has reportedly now left the project. I've heard no word on Burns' level of involvement or his thoughts on the film adaptation... the people involved have done some great stuff in their careers, but that's no guarantee. Hopefully, Burns is getting a great payday from it!

Check out the artwork here!

Unrelated note: Pin-up queen Betty Page has been hospitalized after an apparent heart attack!
More here


Carving the bird...

Please enjoy the pictures in this post, which show the damage to my windshield incurred in my car's head-on collision with a hawk in mid-dive. We were coming home from visiting family in Mississippi and, roughly 50 miles before we got to Tuscaloosa, POW!


Future Rock of the 1970s...

...reads kinda like an oxymoron, but the genre brought us two incredibly influential bands with sonically disparate but conceptually similar visions of the dystopian Future-Is-Now that loomed large in the noƶsphere during the late 20th Century: Chrome and Tubeway Army.

Tubeway Army's sound incorporates early Moog technology into what starts out as a fairly traditional snotty-punk-rock vibe complete with some riff-heavy guitar work (My Shadow in Vain, Listen to the Sirens), augmenting the sound with a machine-like precision + presaging the synth-laden new wave of the early 1980s (Down in the Park). Chrome, on the other hand, creates a much more paranoiac soundscape with trippy-ass guitar-driven psychedelia (SS Cygni) + the same snotty-punk vibe (TV as Eyes, Chromosome Damage) that Tubeway Army has mostly discarded by the end of their first album.

Chrome's overall effect is much more organic than that of Tubeway Army; while Tubeway Army often sounds like the danceclub music of a droog-infested future, Chrome sounds more like the raw rebellious punk-rock of a future society oppressed by technological masters.

Without sounding similar at all, each band achieves a powerful sound and evokes comparisons to the druggy futurescapes of both Philip K. Dick and William S. Burroughs, as well as Anthony Burgess' brilliant A Clockwork Orange.

Post-Tubeway Army releases by frontman Gary Numan continue the development of their sound, as does after-Chrome work by guitarist Helios Creed.

Recommended Tubeway Army releases:
Tubeway Army (1978)
Replicas (1979)

Recommended Chrome releases:
Alien Soundtracks (1978)
Half-Machine Lip Moves (1979)

As I was writing this post, a commercial for some materialistic bullshit came on the television... using Marvin Gaye's brilliant A Funky Space Reincarnation (from his final Motown release Here, My Dear), another excellent piece of future-rock of the late 1970s - this time focusing on future-sex...


Schizophonia... Same Silly Storage Schism

...or "That Fuckin' iPod!"

I am screwed... my friggin' iPod is full at 60Gb, but I am still importing my collection into iTunes. So far, I'm roughly 10Gb over capacity, and that's before importing all of my music collection or adding any other media... and I am not getting a new iPod for Christmas this year. Santa already emailed me + it's all switches + ash for me this time... (sadly, that's all I deserve...)

While I take a shoehorn to my iPod in a last-ditch effort to stuff in a few more gigabytes of space, please dig this mildly risque' video...

The song is "My Baby" by Figplucker. Figplucker is me, and often also includes drummer Matt McKinney.

Eric Beetner crafted the video (evidently from old stripper reels), which was immediately yanked from MySpace + YouTube for adult content violations. So screw those guys, we're hosting it ourselves. Let us know what you think!

Watch the video here!


Oops! Had a small dork-gasm just now...

Posters teasing the upcoming Watchmen film project were released today!
Though I doubt the movie will do the graphic novel justice (see the DVDs of From Hell, League of Extraordinary Gentlemen and V for Vendetta for strong arguments against filming the comicswerk of Alan Moore), I'm having a small fanboy-moment in spite of myself. Like getting a hard-on in pre-algebra, I s'pose...

Anyway, see all of the posters here


Recommended Reading...

Voice of the Fire - Alan Moore

The first novel by magician, comics legend + pop-culture icon Alan Moore builds on some of the same foundations as Moore's excellent script for From Hell - which are, in turn, based at least in part on Iain Sinclair's concepts of psychogeography, by which the storyteller can imbue the location of the tale with its own personality + history.

The tale spans roughly 6000 years, but the setting remains the same: Northampton, England. As Moore himself has related, his use of psychogeography often reveals an underlying pattern that bolsters the direction of his work. There's a pulse inherent in this book, one that returns again + again to violence and subterfuge... resulting in a slowly-unfolding vision of Time's gyric nature. And Moore's clever research brings this pulse to the forefront.

Told in 12 chapters, the novel is narrated from a different first-person perspective in each chapter, presenting the peculiar authorial challenge of crafting a dozen individual internal voices, each with its own vocabulary, mindset, tics, etc... For the most part, Moore succeeds incredibly at this, especially in the first two chapters which present prehistoric parables about trust + truth, and the final chapter, narrated in first-person by Moore as himself.

This is a good, solid read + an excellent first novel. Highly recommended.

Used + new copies available here...

Here's a bonus list of recommended comics-work written by the always-entertaining Alan Moore:
  • Miracleman (out-of-print, but there are collected editions)
  • Swamp Thing (available in collected editions)
  • Watchmen (available in a single collected volume - read it before you see the film, OK?)
  • From Hell (available in a single collected volume)
  • Promethea (available in collected editions)
  • The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen (available in collected editions)
  • Lost Girls (available in a three-book slipcased edition)


F.U.C.T. - Dimensional Depth Perception

F.U.C.T. was a brutal band when I saw 'em live in Birmingham circa 1988, and this recording lives up to their live show! This is very reminiscent of Corrosion of Conformity, at least their early stuff (Eye for an Eye, Animosity, Technocracy)... Spastic time-changes, jazzy chords + Voivod-esque gearshifts, insanely fast drums... Highly recommended!

Track listing:

  • infectious world
  • lost
  • ripen
  • technikilation
  • suekoesng
  • my define
  • screen
  • infraction
  • demeaning
  • dimensional depth perception
  • ungratical

These guys burst forth from the Deep South around the same time as some other wildly different but strangely complementary bands like Lastregus Nosferatus (thrash metal / Atlanta), Clockhammer (post-hardcore / Nashville), Loppybogymi (post-hardcore / Nashville?), Vacation Bible $chool (post-punk / Birmingham), G.N.P. (hardcore / Birmingham), Cafe des Moines (indie-rock / Starkville), Bone Dali (post-hardcore / Auburn), Skeleton Crew (post-punk / Starkville), Vomit Spots (hardcore / Mobile), Flinghammer (funk-punk / Jackson), Guiltmonkey (post-hardcore / Hattiesburg), Compound Fracture (crossover metal-hardcore / Birmingham) and Black Like Vic (post-hardcore / Memphis), among others... These bands were actively gigging throughout the late '80s and provided a lot of excellent live music to scenester kids all over the Deep South!

I found this one on eBay for $10 (shipping included); another release - Into the Aggro - is available on iTunes. The band has reformed (though founding guitarist Brooks passed away in 2001) + has a song-laden + informative MySpace page.

When I got this in the mail on Friday, I threw it right into the CD player in the car... The first thing I noticed is how weird listening to an album in order + in its entirety seems to me. My iPod is almost always set on 'shuffle' + can provide some utterly bizarre playlist material... Click the playlist image for a peek at my Recently Played list (most recent at the top). Ain't no other mailman rockin' his delivery route like I do!!!


Recommended Reading...

Crooked Little Vein - Warren Ellis

(Paperback ISBN: 978-0-06-125205-1)

This is the first novel by Warren Ellis, best-known for his top-notch comics writing (Transmetropolitan, Global Frequency, Planetary and The Authority, to name a few), and it does not disappoint! Crooked Little Vein is a post-modern hardboiled detective novel; a 21st-Century beatnik road novel, though neither description quite does it justice...

Without giving away too much, down-and-out P.I. Mike McGill is hired by the White House Chief of Staff to find a very important book. Sounds simple + straightforward, but instead, McGill is dragged through disturbing + eye-opening spins on the American Dream... sliding deeper + deeper into depravity on his way to finishing this freaky job.

Ellis' clever story + dialogue are spot-on, somehow creating real characters from some very surreal circumstances. (And McGill at one point refers to his balls as his "dadpaste factory" - which might be the most disturbing and hilarious thing I've read in months...)

Absolutely recommended!


Skeleton Crew is now on iTunes!


Skeleton Crew "...And We'll See All of History Again." (2008) is now available on iTunes... and CDBaby... and directly from the band...

18 tracks from 1989-1993, finally collected on disc!

Includes 11 unreleased recordings from 1991-93, as well as 6 tracks (including Starkville radio hit + crappy-quality college mixtape classic U.V.A.) from the 7-song Rage EP (1990); excluded is When I Grow Down, which is instead represented here off of the Parallax Records comp The Sound and the Fury, Vol. 1: Mississippi's Best Unsigned Rock (1991).

Here's the track listing, including four tracks to check out:
  • when i grow down
  • u.v.a.
  • paging dr. mengele
  • something completely different
  • amy as a stimulant
  • bowhead
  • prime mover
  • circus
  • rader, fish + kermode
  • veritas
  • what ryan said...
  • speaker implies, listener infers
  • study break
  • ointment
  • apocalypso
  • quiet
  • innard yank
  • blister my soul

For more info, check out the band's myspace page: myspace.com/skeletoncrewsouth