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Matt Pucci "mattpucci.com" (Here, there and everywhere)
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Patricide
Patricide
by D. Foy
Edition: Paperback
Price: £14.72

5.0 out of 5 stars A page-turner of a different kind, 17 Mar. 2017
This review is from: Patricide (Paperback)
A couple of years ago, I took an online writing class with an author named D. Foy, based on a mode of writing he’d dubbed Gutter Opera. I’d already read, and loved, his first novel, Made to Break: a fantastic, beautiful book, which captured the chaos and yearning of misspent youth by way of some the most startling, “purple” prose I’d read in years, and the class turned out to be just as inspiring. Fast forward a year or so and an ARC of Foy’s latest opus, Patricide, popped through my letter box. As soon as I tore open the package, I knew this was set to take things up a notch. The image on the front cover, for a start, which depicts Icarus, as derived from The Four Disgracers by Hendrick Goltzius (1588), is an utterly striking one, and so I immediately set aside the three other books I’d been dutifully ploughing through in order to get going.

A couple of things you probably need to know: first of all, this is not a novel in the way many readers might think of a novel. Instead of chapters, for example, Patricide is divided into several parts—twelve, to be precise—each of which is given its own title, each of which (save for the opening and closing sections) contains the definite article: “The Father”, “The Boy”, “The Drunk”, “The Fable”, and so on. Nor does Patricide follow a “typical”, plot-driven structure; rather, it leads with the voice of its narrator—a voice that had me hooked from the very first line.

“I was ten years old, and I was stoned,” declares the deftly-named Pat Rice, on the opening page. What follows is a rollercoaster ride of a novel; an unflinching account of neglect and abuse; of pain and confusion; of addiction and ennui; and of the search to find an identity in the face of these afflictions. Rice describes, in vivid detail, being beaten by both his mother and father, as well as the other struggles and scuffles that defined his adolescence and young adulthood. At the same time, he reflects on the multitude of shortcomings he sees in his father, which provide the blueprint for his own failings as a man, later on.

Given the narrative thread that it follows, comparisons to Ham on Rye—Charles Bukowski’s semi-autobiographical story of the early years of his alter-ego Henry Chinaski—seem, initially at least, apposite. However, as the full scope of Patricide’s vision unfurls, such comparisons quickly fade into insignificance. Other names, such as Henry Miller, Samuel Beckett, or James Joyce—to mention just a few of Foy’s literary forebears—may crop up in the reader’s mind as she tears through this, but really this is an entirely unique piece of work, devastating and beautiful in equal measure. This is largely due to Foy’s prose, which is breathtaking in its dexterity: pitiless and punitive one moment, lavish and luxuriant the next; and yet, always—unfailingly—charged with the indomitable spirit of its creator.

But it’s not all about the prose. Patricide also successfully tackles some very big issues—not least those pertaining to responsibility, and owning the truth. It’s about the responsibility of being a father, sure—something Foy achieves by showing us a man for whom the concept simply does not exist—but it’s also about taking responsibility for one’s own actions. And not just one’s actions, either, but one’s thoughts and feelings, too—toward yourself, and others, especially those closest to you. It’s also very much about finding your place in the world; about rejecting the precepts of the old order and replacing them with what Bukowski might have called “new truths”. Foy leaves no stone unturned in his quest to do this, and that he does so in a language that leaves the reader utterly exultant makes this an essential addition to every reader’s collection. Yes, there are passages that go on for pages without any paragraph breaks. Yes, there are lengthy bouts of brutal self-analysis and scathing criticism. And yes, there are sentences that require a second, third, or even fourth reading. But there is a generosity of spirit that underpins it all; a gleefulness that makes Patricide an absolute joy to read. “I didn’t give a fat rat’s ass,” states Rice, two-thirds of the way through. “I gave heart.” And quite frankly, nothing encapsulates Foy’s writing better than this line. Go read.

Matt Pucci


Mastermind [Digipak]
Mastermind [Digipak]
Price: £15.62

8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A decade too late, perhaps, but a return to form nonetheless, 27 Dec. 2010
This review is from: Mastermind [Digipak] (Audio CD)
For me, this album came out ten years too late. But then, better late than never, as they say, and this is an absolute gem of an album from everybody's favourite stoner-rock-pioneers-turned-cock-rock-uber-lords, and certainly a reward for long-term fans who feared the worst following frontman Dave Wyndorf's overdose a few years back.

At the turn of the century, Monster Magnet were poised for world domination, riding on a wave of commercial success and critical acclaim created by 1998's superb Powertrip. Then they released God Says No, which is by no means a bad album - it just wasn't the right record to enhance their burgeoning superstar status. Mastermind is the album Dave Wyndorf and co should've released back then, as it contains some of the catchiest, heaviest, ROCKING-est tracks the band has ever written. It's big, it's dumb but my, oh my, it's so much fun. "Bored for a thousand years/You gotta get me outta here/I don't wanna rape the world today!" bellows Wyndorf on second track, 'Bored of Sorcery'. It's been said many times before that it takes some sort of warped genius to create something seemingly so dumb, and herein lies Monster Magnet's appeal. After all, how else do you explain the enduring, ahem, magnetism of music made by a fifty-something year-old former acid head? On 'Gods and Punks' - one of the album's many stand-out tracks - we get a line that neatly encapsulates this appeal and tells you all you really need to know about this band in 2010: "I'm a stoned jet-fighter with a heart of gold/Well, I'm really mad and I'm really old!"

So, Monster Magnet are back to doing what they do best: kicking out the jams in ridiculously OTT style, with more than a flash of self-deprecatory humour and some comic-book wisdom about the big wide world. But Monster Magnet's records have always housed darker, introspective moments alongside all the anthems, and Mastermind is no different. Penultimate track, 'Ghost Story', is a particularly fine example of this - an honest, heartfelt lament, which sees Wyndorf lambasting himself for "put[ting] you in the darkness and shut[ting] that door."

There can be little doubt that Wyndorf's post-overdose experiences and the lessons he learned in the period since has informed much of the material here. Whether or not it could've been written without these experiences, ten years earlier, is something we'll never know. It's just good to have the New Jersey boys back, and in such fine form. Roll on the next record!

Matt Pucci
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jan 10, 2013 5:25 AM GMT


Samsung B3410 black
Samsung B3410 black

24 of 24 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Chic little phone that fits in your fist, 3 Jan. 2010
This review is from: Samsung B3410 black (Electronics)
This is not a bad little phone - it certainly merits more than one star! It combines touchscreen and QWERTY keypad to good effect, both of which are straightforward and easy to use. Function/profile-wise it has the same design as the Tocco/Tocco Lite, although it's on a slightly smaller scale, since the screen is just a bit smaller. The QWERTY keypad pulls out on the left of the phone as you hold it and the screen automatically rotates 90 degrees when you use it. Nice. The camera is only 2 mega-pixel but on a phone this size it's more than sufficient and the picture quality is, again, as good as you get with any Samsung or indeed standard phone camera - if not better. It also features MP3 player, google and access to the internet - again all easy to use thanks to Samsung's no-nonsense menus.

Overall, this is a great handset for those who prefer to type using a QWERTY keypad for texting and composing emails, but also like the tactile pleasures and ease of use of a touchscreen.

Matt Pucci
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: May 3, 2010 1:10 PM BST


The Death of Bunny Munro (Canons)
The Death of Bunny Munro (Canons)
by Nick Cave
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £16.99

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Unpleasant, disturbing... yet unputdownable, 3 Dec. 2009
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Bunny Munro is one bad dude. A cheating, unscrupulous salesman of beauty products to bored and lonely housewives, Bunny has his world turned topsy-turvy when his long-suffering wife suddenly dies. After a brief period of uncertainty over his future and that of his young son, Bunny decides to carry on doing the only thing he knows how and get back on the road to ply his wares. However, this decision does little for Bunny's sanity as a series of increasingly bizarre experiences befalls the loathsome lothario; his son, Bunny Junior, meanwhile, with the aid of his trusty encyclopedia, attempts to make sense of it all from the passenger seat of his dad's car...

The mind behind this tale is Nick Cave, best known as a recording artist and musician, whose career spans over 30 years, from his early outfit The Birthday Party, through the Bad Seeds, to his most recent incarnation, Grinderman. Let's not forget his numerous contributions to the world of film and cinema, either - as both a writer of soundtracks (The Road) and screenplays (The Proposition) as well as the odd cameo performance (The Assassination of Jesse James...). Or indeed the fact that this is actually his second novel, following And The Ass Saw The Angel, which was published back in 1989. It would be nigh on impossible to sum up such a diverse - and let's be honest, staggeringly impressive - body of work in just a few words, but if there's one term that characterizes Cave's artistic output (besides "unique") it's haunting. Because, whether it's in the lyrics he's written for any one of his aforementioned bands, or the stark soundscapes he creates for the equally barren movies he attaches his name to, Cave succeeds in consistently conjuring up images that linger in the mind long after the CD has stopped, or the film has ended. For better or worse, the same can be said about his prose, too.

Reading Nick Cave requires nerves of steel and a strong stomach. Mixing sex and sordidness, death and destruction, as well as humour and humanity, this is not an easy dish to digest - certainly not in one sitting. Essentially a tale of one man's descent into his own, self-imposed hell, The Death of Bunny Munro at times recalls the likes of Hubert Selby Jr's The Demon, but Cave has a style and a vision all of his own. There are some simply masterful strokes of the pen within this novel, but they are interspersed with stabs of almost comedic crudeness, making it at once a compelling and repulsive read. Bunny's twin obsession with real-life pop stars Avril Lavigne and Kylie Minogue, for example, is so dogged, so unrelenting, and so BASE, that it borders on harassment on the author's part - and yet it's one of the book's funniest motifs. (In fact, Cave makes apologies to both Lavigne and Minogue in his Acknowledgements). The unflinching narrative, meanwhile, which skillfully straddles the blurred line between reality and fantasy, keeps the reader on his toes right up until the final pages.

It's safe to say that this is a novel guaranteed to turn off as many readers as it engages. But once you've accepted - to quote one of Bunny's many conquests - that things are only going to get worse, really, the only option is to read on and bear witness to Bunny's inevitable demise. Thankfully, there are frequent moments of tenderness throughout the book - especially in the passages concerning Bunny Junior and his memories of his mother, and Cave's portrayal of the loyal and loving son gives the story a much needed measure of pathos.

Matt Pucci
Comment Comments (3) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Nov 4, 2010 6:46 PM GMT


Articles
Articles
Offered by davidw_1212
Price: £5.00

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fear and loathing... in Guildford?, 23 Sept. 2009
This review is from: Articles (Audio CD)
If, like me, you find yourself still craving the insalubrious sounds made (in)famous by the likes of The Icarus Line, then you will absolutely freakin' love this. In fact, you might just have found your new favourite band, as this Guildford mob have created something similiarly dirty, devilish and really rather special with this, their debut album. That is, you would have... if they hadn't gone and split up.

This minor inconvenience shouldn't, however, detract from your enjoyment of front-man Stephen Sitowski's snarling vocal delivery, which channels the fury of American hardcore through tales of English small-town life over throbbing bass-lines and riffs that could give you rabies. Needless to say, this would already make for essential listening. But the band up the interest levels even further by creating a sound that could've been dredged up from the swamps of N'Awlins rather than the streets of Surrey, which - let's face it - can only be a good thing.

So, defunct they may be, but Outcry Collective have left behind a distinct and self-assured record brimming with ideas, each track as fresh and exciting as the last. Buy it now and rejoice/lament.

Matt Pucci


Pine/Cross Dover
Pine/Cross Dover
Price: £11.21

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars More songs from deep in the hole, 23 Sept. 2009
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Pine/Cross Dover (Audio CD)
It's been eight years since the last great studio album from Messrs Goss and Leamy, but such is the nature of the music contained herein, it would appear that the mere passing of time is of little consequence in Masters of Reality's universe. With the assistance of some of their friends (the names of whom will be familiar only to long-time fans of the desert rock scene) this dynamic duo has crafted another wonderfully weird collection of songs and extended jams that are as difficult to pigeon-hole as they are enjoyable to listen to.

Pine/Cross Dover is by turns haunting and hypnotic, with Goss's warm, floaty vocals and cleverly vague lyrics lending it an ethereal, timeless quality. Queens of the Stone Age is one, more obvious reference point (Goss has collaborated on numerous Josh Homme-related projects, and vice-versa) and the repetitive, robotic riffing on the likes of 'Rosie's Presence' and 'The Whore of New Orleans' is as alien as it is addictive - and as good as anything recorded by the Ginger Elvis and co in recent years. While everyone else gets excited about the prospect of Them Crooked Vultures, I'll be happily playing this, over and over.

Matt Pucci


SLOW HOLE TO CHINA: RARE AND RE-RELEASED
SLOW HOLE TO CHINA: RARE AND RE-RELEASED
Price: £14.00

4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Old-but-new stuff from hard-rockin' heroes, 7 July 2009
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Hey, you - Clutch fan. You should get this. This is AWESOME. Seriously. Previously only available in the US, from the band's website, Slow Hole to China is chock full of classic Clutch cuts dating back to Elephant Riders-era. Some of these tracks are as good as anything on their nine other 'proper' albums; highlights include 'Guild of Mute Assassins', 'Easy Breeze', 'Nickel Dime' and 'Hoodoo Operator'... in fact, there is not a duff number on here. Regardless of what you think of their more recent stuff, this is guaranteed to get your booty shaking and remind you of why fell in love with the groove-monsters from Maryland in the first place.

Matt Pucci


Holy City Zoo
Holy City Zoo

4.0 out of 5 stars Warrior Soul meets Killing Joke, 7 July 2009
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Holy City Zoo (MP3 Download)
This is a band that the late Paul Raven of Killing Joke put together a number of years ago. Completed by erstwhile Warrior Soul frontman Kory Clarke and guitarist Mark Gemini Thwaite, it's filled with caustic riffs, Raven's sledgehammer basslines and Clarke's rasping, cyanide vocals. Clarke paints a bleak picture, his uncompromising, insightful lyrics lambasting a depraved, delusional and corrupt society, while the music is similarly discordant and dark. But it's not all doom and gloom, with the druggy haze of 'New Paradigm' and, er, atmospheric closer 'Atmosphere' offering some respite; the hilarious, emo-baiting 'Wambulance' meanwhile (also presented here as a remix, complete with that infamous Christian Bale rant) shows that the band both have a sense of humour and can rock like absolute monsters. And with the positively uplifting 'This One's For You', the message seems to be that in troubled times as these, you're just as well standing by your buddies and having a good time as you are getting all angry and depressed...

A fitting tribute to legendary musician and a great album in its own right.

Matt Pucci


25 Years
25 Years
Offered by RWL-123 FAST POST FROM UK-majority NEW are SEALED Expedited Delivery available
Price: £4.31

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Sacramento two-piece make a racket, 7 July 2009
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: 25 Years (Audio CD)
This is the first 'new' band I've been excited about in ages. Comprised of guitarist/vocalist Zack Lopez and drummer Sean Stockham, Middle Class Rut have been championed by Kerrang! magazine (among others) as 'the other MCR'... but don't let that put you off. Middle Class Rut share a sound with perpetually reforming alt-rock legends Jane's Addiction, coupled with some QOTSA-esque, robotic riffing and there's even a dash of Rage Against The Machine to the vocals in places. However, there's far more going on than a re-hashing of ideas and this EP exudes an air as fresh and invigorating as an Original Source shower. A very promising start.

Matt Pucci


Crack the Skye
Crack the Skye
Price: £4.95

5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A moving, musical masterpiece, 7 April 2009
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Crack the Skye (Audio CD)
Crack the Skye is Mastodon's fifth album and musically it picks up where the highly acclaimed Blood Mountain (2006) left off. Once again we are served with an abundance of dazzling, technical playing and mind-boggling lyrical concepts, but this time the band also succeed in capturing a degree of emotion hitherto unheard on a Mastodon record.

The writing of this record was informed by some troubled times for all four members of Mastodon, and the title itself was conceived in homage to Brann Dailor's sister, who tragically died at the age of 14. It also ties in themes of astral travel and Tsarist Russia. As you would expect from an album of such poignancy and scope, Crack the Skye is not an easy record to get your head round, perhaps even for long-time Mastodon fans who are used to unexpected left turns and constant progression - often within the space of a single track. Only opener 'Oblivion' - a fairly straightforward verse-chorus, verse-chorus track - is what you might call 'catchy' and yet it still manages to be unfathomably affecting. The album's first single, 'Divinations', meanwhile, is instantly recognisable as a Mastodon track - all chaotic time-signatures and Dailor's awesome drumming. However, almost all subsequent tracks include more measured, restrained passages, coupled with greater subtleties than before. The opening notes of 'The Czar', for example, are exquisitely haunting, while the title-track features long-time Mastodon collaborator Scott Kelly of Neurosis, to superb effect.

Ultimately, this is prog rock at its finest; it's also a thoroughly modern and vital-sounding record that deserves your attention. Yes, it will take repeated listens to fully appreciate, but I for one am certain I'll be listening to this for many, many years to come.

Matt Pucci
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Oct 20, 2009 3:03 PM BST


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