Sunday, March 19, 2017

The Best Band You've Never Heard

by Anthony Servante

On January 21, 2012, I saw Nightwish in concert at the Gibson Amphitheater. Opening the show was a band called Dommin. It was love at first hear. The group had a sound that echoed the Rock and Roll purity of the 50s mixed with the Progressive Rock drive of the 70s. The fact that this was a Millennial band blew my mind. The songs soared. The melodies were edgy and catchy, a pleasant contradiction. The vocals chewed on the tough lyrics and spat them out with the swagger of a broken-hearted hit man. The guitar work thundered and lightninged. There was unity in the music. The band played as one. The music and the musicians were inseparable. I was on my feet for every song. I knew this band was on the cusp of leading Rock and Roll into a new century. 

Dommin at the Gibson Amphitheater 2012

Dommin at the Viper Room in Los Angeles

At home, I purchased "Love is Gone", Dommin's first LP. The songs were perfect renditions of the live music (or vice versa, if you like). The selection played out like an extended piece of songwriting. Like classic LPs Supertramp's "Crime of the Century" or King Crimson's "In the Court of the Crimson King", "Love is Gone" could be listened to from beginning to end as if it were one song with classical transitions. It's hard to imagine this LP without any one song omitted. It is whole as is.

"My Heart, Your Hands" (The band's recommendation).

"New" (My personal favorite).

Needless to say, I couldn't wait for their second LP. Man, it was a long wait. Three years later, Dommin released "Rise". The 50s innocence of the band's sound evolved into a more driving beat with a stronger sense of urgency. Whereas the first LP brought love's cruelty and kindness to the surface, the second LP strove for redemption at the cost of love. These songs do not present a unified whole; each song presents its own message as a standalone anthem. Listeners may be tempted to rearrange the order of the songs to greater effect, but I strongly suggest you listen to the LP as is a few times. There is a subtle momentum not found in the first LP, but it's there and the crescendo builds from each of these songs to maximum effect. Although the urgency may seem overblown, the totality of the experience attained from the group of songs as a whole still packs power that seems more explosive with each listening. 

"The Girls" (The band's recommendation).

"Rise" (My personal favorite).

By Dommin's third LP, "Beautiful Crutch", the band seems to have found their voice. Bringing together the best of both the first and second LPs, the timeless Rock and Roll beat and the relentless drive of immediacy, Dommin has nailed the direction of their sound's evolution. They owned it on the first LP and searched for it in the second LP; now they have found the right combination that keeps the Rock and Roll sharp, whether it's in the 50's or the new Millennium. It's both a return to the greatness of simplicity while amplifying the beat that maintained a subtle momentum that roared louder with each listening. In "Beautiful Crutch", does not come full circle. Forget that. It incorporates the first two great LPs into a new and evolving sound. Each song stands alone in its own rich music, while the total group of songs create a complex unit that, once again, sounds like one long song with a thematic unification that grows richer with each listening. 

"Desire" (The band's recommendation).

"Madly" (My personal favorite).

Note: With the passing of Lemmy, Motorhead's manager continues to represent the interests of the two remaining members of Motorhead in addition to one other band. The manager and I talked about his seeking new talent since he knew I was always writing and following new bands on the Rock scene. Needless to say, I have forwarded Dommin's contact information to him and expect some news any day now. I will keep my readers up to date on any developments. I believe that Dommin's desire to tour their new LP and my manager friend's desire to feel the void left by the great Lemmy might lead to some great Rock and Roll shows in the near future. 

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Women in Horror 
March 2017
Profile: Jaime Johnesee


1. Your biography?

JJ: I’m just a regular ol’ author beating out stories on the keyboard like the rest of the writing monkeys on this planet. I’m probably known best for my horror comedy series featuring Bob the Zombie. I prefer to write short fiction and I am currently working on several short stories for various anthologies I’m excited about. I am also working on the third novel in my Samantha Reece Mystery series and the first in a new series that is attached to Bob.

2. What are the challenges/rewards you face writing horror?

JJ: Well, there have been so many amazing things about working in this genre that I’m having a difficult time narrowing it to just a few, but I did it anyway.

Here are the rewards that stick out the most; the friends I have made and how much it helps me personally. Firstly, the people in the horror genre are some of the friendliest and most compassionate people I’ve ever met and the friends I have made here are ones that I hope last my lifetime.

As for helping me personally, it serves to exorcise (or occasionally exercise) my demons. Horror allows me to come face to face with my dark side and decide where to go with it. That is also where the challenge in writing horror lies for me, how deep do I go? Do I let everyone see that darkness that is so personal?

3. What does the future look like for women writers in general?

JJ: I think the future is bright for women in all manner of career. I think that as time goes on society at large continues to equalize and grow. What we all need to keep in mind is that equality is good for everyone.

4. Your work?

JJ: Well, I have my Bob the Zombie series. (I recommend The Misadventures of Bob the Zombie if you’re just getting started.) There is also my Samantha Reece Mystery series.

(Shifters is the first book in the series, Risk is the second.) I also coauthored a series that I adore with Lisa Lane and Christine Sutton titled Revelations.

The Misadventures of Bob the Zombie

"Bob is an ordinary guy. He likes classic rock, a good party, and tacos. It's too bad that he is dead. Well, technically speaking, Bob is undead. After an accident claimed his life his mother couldn't bear to bury him. A quick call to a necromancer fixed that problem and, voila…he was reborn!

Armed with a quick wit, a sharp intellect, some good friends, and his trusty stapler, Bob embarks on some crazy adventures that will make you laugh, make you cringe, and --most importantly-- make you cheer for Bob to have a happy ending."

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"When a serial killer begins leaving remains of victims in hotel bathtubs all over town FBI Agent Samantha Reece makes it her business to stop him.

This detective's got an ace up her sleeve in the form of her ability to shift into the guise of a were panther. As she tracks down the cold-hearted murderer she also has to contend with an anti-shifter group determined to destroy her.

Not to mention the black jaguar who turned her decides to come sauntering back into her life."

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"Neck-deep in the hunt for members of Americans for a Were-Free America, Sam discovers she's not the only one on the prowl.

The horrific crime scenes the FBI stumble across tell Sam that whatever is pursuing her enemy is more vicious and cold than even this most extreme of hate groups.

Forced to protect the very people responsible for training murderers, like the infamous Grisly, Sam uncovers a nefarious plot wherein AWFA has been trafficking shifters and vamps into the sex-slave trade.

Can she save the very people crying out for her blood?

It's a risk she's willing to take."

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Revelations Series Books 1-3:

"Book 1: Cast In Blood: An unknown force threatens Heaven and Hell, along with every soul on Earth. Three unlikely heroes join together to restore universal balance. Will their shared adversary initiate an Apocalypse before they're able to uncover the truth, or will they rise to a calling that has, from the beginning of time, been Cast in Blood?

Book 2: Cast In Fire: Chaos has taken over, wreaking havoc not only across the globe but also throughout Heaven and Hell. The next apocalyptic seals have been breached, and the leaders of the ethereal realms are paying the price. With tensions high and defenses at an all-time low, Polly, Lenny, and Drew continue to hunt down the evil behind it all. Millennia-old secrets rise to the surface, testing friendships and pushing loyalties to their breaking points. With the clock ticking and uncertainty in the air, will enough time remain to unravel a curse that the darkest of forces have Cast in Fire?

Book 3: Cast In Shadow: The final seals of the apocalypse are within the enemy’s grasp. Our trio—the demon, the shapeshifter, and the succubus—continue to battle the djinn hell-bent on world domination. With God and Lucifer missing, Heaven and Hell are more vulnerable than ever, while Earth has been reduced to a battleground of famine and despair. Will Lenny, Drew and Polly be able to unmask the Master and stop their evil plan? Or will the djinn succeed and our heroes find that their world has been forever Cast in Shadow?"

Revelations Box Set (Books 1-3 Available on Amazon only)

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Single books:

Cast in Blood (Revelations Book 1)

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Cast in Fire (Revelations Book 2)

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Cast in Shadow (Revelations Book 3)

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