Friday, September 30, 2016

Josh Alan's Lick of the Day (No. 3)

Counting down to the Sixty, Goddammit album release party/concert at Sons of Hermann Hall (Oct. 8th), one lick at a time:



Josh Alan's new album is Sixty, Goddammit.


From Black Cracker Music/New Texture

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Josh Alan's Lick of the Day (No. 2)

Counting down to the Sixty, Goddammit album release party/concert at Sons of Hermann Hall (Oct. 8th), one lick at a time:



Josh Alan's new album is Sixty, Goddammit.


From Black Cracker Music/New Texture

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Josh Alan's Lick of the Day (No. 1)

Counting down to the Sixty, Goddammit album release party/concert at Sons of Hermann Hall (Oct. 8th), one lick at a time:



Josh Alan's new album is Sixty, Goddammit.


From Black Cracker Music/New Texture

SIXTY, GODDAMMIT CD Release Party/Concert, Saturday Oct. 8



KNON-FM 89.3 presents a CD Release party for Josh Alan’s new album, Sixty Goddammit—rated number one on KNON’s Texas Blues Radio Living Blues Report.

"A CD so good, we play it even though we can’t say the name of it on the radio."

Now see Josh Alan perform the new album live. The Sixty, Goddammit CD Release Party will be Saturday, Oct 8th at the Sons of Hermann Hall.

Opening the show will be Miss Marcy & Her Texas Sugar Daddys. (Miss Marcy is recognized by the Dallas Observer as a Best of Dallas Blues artist.)

Free dinner while it lasts from Chef Ivan Pugh’s new restaurant, Bucky Moonshine’s.

Doors open at 7 pm, show starts at 8 pm. 

Tickets available now at KNON.org and this Friday at Bill's Records, Forever Young Records, and Top Ten Records.

This is a KNON benefit event


Josh Alan's new album is Sixty, Goddammit.

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Josh Alan at Poor David's, Saturday Sept. 24



Josh Alan joins Kinky Friedman this Saturday, September 24, at Poor David's in Dallas.

Click HERE for tickets and directions.


Josh Alan's new album is SIXTY, GODDAMMIT.


From Black Cracker Music/New Texture

Friday, September 9, 2016

Map of the Moon Debut EP Out Now


We’re pleased and proud to welcome Atlanta-based Map of the Moon to our roster, and to offer their self-titled debut EP on the New Texture label.

Map of the Moon delivers a volatile mix of zero-gravity noise pop and moon rock. Blissed, hazy shoegaze transmissions from space, synth rock and direct hi-energy indie pop, with uptempo rock and roll coming through on re-entry.


The 4-song EP is available as a CD and download here, with a vinyl release to follow. (To pre-order the vinyl edition, click here.)

track list:
1. give/you something 04:38
2. caught in the middle 02:54
3. little mistake 02:35
4. freedom from passion 04:25

Keep up with Map of the Moon:

Facebook
Twitter
Bandcamp
YouTube

Here’s a music video for their first single, give/you something:

Friday, September 2, 2016

BARBARIANS ON BIKES Unleashed in Two Full-Color Editions


"Sex Rampage of the Cycle Savages" ... "Big Mama's Killer Cycle Army" ... "Cross-Country Blast With 'Satan's Riders'" ... "Cycle Queens of Violence" ...

The headlines in classic men's pulp adventure magazines sure could paint a picture ... and so could the masters of pulp art who illustrated them. The latest installment in the Men's Adventure Library shifts gears to focus exclusively on men's adventure magazine artwork in a new, oversized (8.5" x 11") format designed to show off these explosive pulp illustration masterworks to maximum effect.

Barbarians on Bikes rounds up three decades of vintage pulp magazine covers and interiors depicting rowdy motorcycle action and outlaw biker gang attacks, most unseen since their original publication. A unique archive of biker illustration art at its most savage, with history and context by editors Robert Deis (MensPulpMags.com) and Wyatt Doyle (Cryptozoology Anthology), and an afterword/reality check by crime novelist/top cop Paul Bishop. And the deluxe hardcover includes an additional 20 pages of belted and booted biker pulp art. Barbarians on Bikes is big, bad, and untamed. Can you handle the ride?

Barbarians on Bikes is available in two editions. The deluxe hardcover is designed for the collector, boasting superior paper and print quality, an alternate arrangement of images, plus those 20 big bonus pages packed with even more unforgettable artwork. For the merely curious, the trade softcover edition delivers the full-color punch of the hardcover at a lower cover price.

Barbarians on Bikes is a high-octane visual archive, the first of its kind...read it like you stole it!

Preview 35 knuckle-dusting pages of the Barbarians on Bikes softcover via Issuu:

Thursday, August 25, 2016

New Texture at the Readers and wRiters Fair This Saturday


This weekend marks the first annual Chattanooga Readers and wRiters Festival, to be held this Saturday, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at City Hall. Stop by the New Texture table, where we'll have a bunch of great books for sale, including advance copies of the upcoming release from the Men's Adventure Library, Barbarians on Bikes. We'll also be selling Crypto koozies, featuring Cryptozoology Anthology's Ape-Man Monster of Tennessee!

It's going to be great day for readers in Chattanooga. For more details, visit the event's Facebook page, HERE.

Monday, July 4, 2016

SIXTY, GODDAMMIT: Josh Alan's New Album Out Now!



Josh Alan’s first album in 15 years. Atomic acoustic blues-funk-rock. Can you dig it?

SIXTY, GODDAMMIT? Ya damn right.

Track list:

1. This Radio Don’t Play Nothin’ but the Blues
2. Theme from Shaft
3. What’d I Say
4. I’m Blacker Than You
5. Cat’s Squirrel
6. Born Under a Bad Sign
7. Tush
8. Street Fight
9. Down Home Girl
10. Mystery Train
11. Deep River Blues II

Download it from Amazon

Download it on iTunes

Download it from CD Baby

From Black Cracker Music/New Texture

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

June 18th: The Untempered Festival of Dissonant Arts!



Musician-composer Stanley J. Zappa, together with pianist and musical theorist Andrew Wedman have created The First Annual Untempered Festival of Dissonant Arts, an event celebrating sonic adventures and musical exploration.

One of the highlights of the festival is an appearance by legendary guitar genius Peter Walker, whose performance will blur the boundaries of raga, flamenco and folk. Walker, who was a fixture of the Greenwich Village folk scene in the '60s and studied under greats including Ravi Shankar, has recently come out of retirement to tour and release new recordings. His music is being discovered by a whole new generation.

The festival will also feature The Jooklo Duo, Virginia Genta and David Vanzan. Cosmic free jazz giants from Italy, they will perform along with Stanley Zappa as Jooklo Zappa. Together, their frenetic approach is propelled by unhinged dual saxophones and primal drumming, creating musical transcendence, chaos and cacophony.

Festival founders Zappa and Wedman will perform improvised sonorities unique to Wedman’s bass piano (a piano de-tuned one octave) in combination with Zappa's clarinet and saxophone. Their work rarely complies with principles of tonality dominant in western music. Their focus on so-called “untempered” and “dissonant” tones was the inspiration for the festival.

Wedman and Zappa hope that the Untempered Festival can be a part of a larger circuit. According to Zappa, “There are a number of BC music series that feature improvised and sonically adventuresome music. Casse-Tête in Prince George along with Skin and Bones in Kelowna get world class musicians to perform. I want them to come here, too, so that we can open up to more experiences of the truly new music these artists are creating.”

The First Annual Untempered Festival of Dissonant Arts will be held at the Shatford Centre on Saturday, June 18th. Performances begin at 7 p.m.


The Shatford Centre
760 Main Street
Penticton, BC (parking entrance on Eckhardt Avenue)

Saturday June 18th, 2016
Doors at 6:00 p.m.
Concert 7:00 – 11:00 p.m.
$10

Tickets available at the Shatford Centre office and at the door.

Stanley J. Zappa's new album, Sing-Song Songs, is available from New Texture.

Monday, June 13, 2016

Stanley J. Zappa + Jooklo Duo = Jooklo-Zappa on Tour!



The Jooklo-Zappa West Coast Tour 
The Jooklo Duo (Italy)—Virginia Genta on saxophone and David Vanzan on percussion
+ Stanley J. Zappa (Oliver, BC), saxophone

June 
17 Kelowna BC / Habitat / Skin and Bones Music Series
18 Penticton BC / Shatford Center / First Annual Untempered Festival of Dissonant Arts
22 Calgary AB / Wine Oh’s / Sled Island
23 Edmonton AB / Ortona Armoury / Point of Departure
24 Prince George BC / Exploration Place / Casse-Tête Festival
25 Prince George BC / Exploration Place / Casse-Tête Festival
28 Vancouver BC / Merge
29 Seattle WA / 1214 Gallery / with Greg Kelley
30 Seattle WA / Blue Moon Tavern / with Hound Dog Taylor’s Hand

July
1 Portland OR / Alice Coltrane Memorial Coliseum
3 Portland OR / Turn! Turn! Turn!

Italian giants of Free Jazz Virginia Genta and David Vanzan, together known as the Jooklo Duo, have combined forces with Okanagan single-reed quester Stanley J. Zappa to create Jooklo-Zappa, an arresting trio of like-minded musicians dedicated to dismantling tonality.

Through their mutual friendship with Kevin Reilly, proprietor of Relative Pitch Records and all-around friend of improvised music, the Jooklo Duo and Stanley J. Zappa, along with Steve Leffue and Jim Hobs, met at the JACK performance space in Brooklyn, NY for an initial performance.

Jeremy Stewart, director of Casse-Tête: A Festival of Experimental Music, (held in Prince George) responded enthusiastically to the performance, and booked the Jooklo Duo and Stanley Zappa as headliners for Casse-Tête. Jooklo-Zappa was born.

 A small tour took shape. Upcoming Jooklo-Zappa performances include radio station CSJW and the Sled Island festival in Calgary, the Point of Departure music series in Edmonton, the Skin and Bones music series in Kelowna, The First Annual Untempered Festival of Dissonant Arts in Penticton, and The Merge Gallery in Vancouver. In the United States, Jooklo-Zappa are performing at the Blue Moon Tavern in Seattle, as well as the Alice Coltrane Memorial Coliseum and Turn! Turn! Turn!, both in Portland.

The music is improvised—no two shows will (or can) be alike. Listeners can expect repeated challenges to their expectations in the form of carefully and not-so -carefully crafted melodies, harmonies and rhythms, designed at that very moment in time.


Stanley J. Zappa's new album, Sing-Song Songs, is available from New Texture.

Thursday, June 9, 2016

Stanley J. Zappa's SING-SONG SONGS CD Available Now!



If you enjoy _________

A. loud noises
B. broken machinery
C. free jazz
D. Charles Gayle
E. Albert Ayler
F. Frank Wright

and __________

A. Jimmy Lyons
B. Marco Eneidi
C. Arthur Doyle
D. improvised music
E. the sound of glass shattering
F. ice cubes in a blender

Sing-Song Songs is the new album by Stanley J. Zappa.
Get it on CD and download HERE

Preview the CD's artwork:
artist photo: K. Molloy

Thursday, May 5, 2016

Rainbow Gospel Hour on CD From Kendra Steiner Editions!



THE RAINBOW GOSPEL HOUR ... ON THE AIR! by Reverend Raymond Branch,
from Kendra Steiner Editions. KSE #335 (CD-R album)
$8 US postpaid / $12.00 elsewhere postpaid
Send payment via PayPal to django5722(at)yahoo(dot)com


“If I can help somebody as I pass along... If I can cheer somebody with a word or song... If I can show somebody he's traveling wrong... Then my living shall not be in vain.”*
—frequent program closing


FOR YEARS, Reverend Raymond Branch of the Heavenly Rainbow Baptist Church in South Los Angeles spent Sundays after services traveling to local rest homes and hospitals. Together with his wife Jean, they’d sing and pray, offering comfort and fellowship as they visited as many forgotten members of the community as the day allowed. Feeling called to do more but unsure how, inspiration struck when Rev. Branch noticed the one thing each of the people they visited kept at their bedside: a radio.

And so, in 1971, he began leasing the 3 a.m. timeslot on Inglewood’s KTYM-AM each Sunday morning (after midnight, the station diminished their signal, and rates were cheaper), and The Rainbow Gospel Hour was born, with most installments opening with the dedication:

“This program is designed for the sick and shut-inin the sanitariums, hospitals, and penal institutions. We want you to know that we love you! And we care for you.”

 At first, the show was recorded live in the KTYM studio, where he was usually accompanied by Jean.

“She would be with me when I’d be (rehearsing) at the house, before we went to the studio. Then, when we were at the studio, she’d be right there singing.” When the late-night schedule began to take a toll, they switched from live to prerecorded programs, with Rev. Branch providing cassette tapes to the station.

A barber by trade—and for decades concurrent with his community service, a barber by profession—Rev. Branch endeavored to keep business separate from his ministry, and today he remains a man of modest needs. A place of refuge, not judgment or dogma, the Heavenly Rainbow has always handed out more than it’s taken in, and Rev. Branch has never sought tax-exempt status for himself or the church. Though the Rainbow Gospel Hour enjoyed occasional sponsorship by local businesses over its four-decade run, most of the show’s broadcasts were financed entirely by Rev. Branch.

He put the shows together working with what he had. Initially a guitarist, he’d plug in and play and sing into a dual cassette boom box’s built-in mic, sometimes joined by Jean (she can be heard accompanying her husband on “It’s No Secret What God Can Do” and “Milky White Way”), sometimes joined by guests and members of his small congregation (“the faithful few”). He’d piece each show together on cassette and submit it for broadcast. Then he’d reuse those cassettes, using the dual deck to cut in and out, sometimes abbreviating and lengthening performances by recording new verses onto the tape, patching in relevant announcements and prayer requests by taping over outdated ones, and dropping in performances from other tapes. No masters were preserved, and tapes might be reused this way again and again over the years, resulting in sonic irregularities, volume jumps, and bleed-through mutations that, over time, became part of the aural texture of the broadcasts. While some adjustments have been made for this release in order to provide a consistent listening experience, this disc provides an otherwise accurate presentation of the broadcast as it aired.

The program saw changes in Rev. Branch’s choice of instruments during its long history.

“I started off in 1971 at the studio with the guitar. Then when I contracted arthritis real bad in my fingers, I couldn’t play the guitar anymore. So I went and got me an Omnichord, and I played that. I was playing the guitar and the Omnichord for a while, but my fingers were going bad. It had to be in the ‘80s—82 or 84—that I started putting the guitar down.”

The Omnichord introduced a traditional church organ sound to his recordings, but around 1997, a neighbor expressed interest in learning to play it. Rev. Branch passed down his Omni, and replaced it with a QChord, a similar instrument that lends an ethereal character to his music. This disc includes music from each of those periods.

***

This broadcast is also notable for the inclusion of a trio of lively duets with Roland Payne. But the energy, spirit, and palpable joy evident in the performances stands in contrast to the two men’s poignant history: Payne was a childhood friend from the rough-and-tumble backwater of Bayou Black, Louisiana, where he and Rev. Branch made up half of a young gospel quartet, calling themselves Branch Brothers. “Roland,” he explains, “was just like my brother.”

“I fought for Roland. A lot of guys tried to fight Roland; he couldn’t fight good, physically. I was a fast fighter. Even when I wasn’t sure I could whip ’em, I’d whip ’em anyway! When somebody messed with him, he came to me. I took care of him. That’s just how close we was.

“Roland always wanted to be a preacher. He was raised by his grandfather; his grandfather was a minister. When he came to California, I had been here two or three years. I left Louisiana and came here in 1949. Roland came here about ’52 or ’53.

“He always went to other churches. I believe that Roland was thinking that I was trying to be a preacher because he was trying to be a preacher.

“He should have been a minister when I became a pastor, but he didn’t come and work with me. He had got to a place where he was doing sinful things. I’d call him out about it, and he’d get shook up. That’s why he and I weren’t as close as we should have been, later.

“After we went down the line,” Rev. Branch says today, “I misplaced Roland.”

“But I remember he came by one Sunday—I think we did that right in the church, those three songs. He was visiting, and I taped three songs and put them on the radio.”

***

The Rainbow Gospel Hour ceased broadcasting in 2014, when KTYM was sold and a format change was announced. Despite the program’s historic four-decade run, the broadcast ended without fanfare. Attendance at the Heavenly Rainbow has fallen off, as former congregants pass on or shift allegiances to bigger, glossier houses of worship that now dominate the landscape. But Rev. Branch’s commitment to his ministry remains undiminished, and he maintains daily hours at the church building while continuing to offer a musical service each Sunday, where all are made welcome.

“I feel like God can do anything. If a guy is rich in money, and you’re rich in believing, you’re just as rich as that guy. There’s richness on the Devil’s side, and there’s richness on God’s side. I prefer being poor and loving God to being rich and loving the Devil.”

Twice a widower at 85, times are tougher than ever for Rev. Branch. But it’s never an easy road for those who choose to sincerely heed the call to service, and Rev. Branch has known tough times since he was a child on Bayou Black.

“When they were fighting and cutting and shooting, I was sitting in the corner, looking in the sky, trying to find out where God was.”


* From the hymn, “If I Can Help Somebody” and quoted by Martin Luther King Jr., in his sermon “The Drum Major Instinct,” delivered at Ebenezer Baptist Church in February 1968.

liner notes by Wyatt Doyle © 2016 all rights reserved

CD TRACK LISTING

1. Station Introduction

2. It’s No Secret What God Can Do

3. Welcome

4. The Lord Will Make a Way Somehow (w/Brother Roland Payne)

5. Hebrews 11/Psalm 27

6. On the Right Road Now (w/Brother Roland Payne)

7. I Want My Crown

8. Remember Me

9. Precious Lord, Take My Hand

10. Sponsor’s Message

11. Is It Well With Your Soul?

12. I Must Tell Jesus All About My Troubles

13. The Lord Will Make a Way Somehow (solo QChord)

14. The Lord Will Make a Way (Yes He Will) (w/Brother Roland Payne)

15. Step by Step

16. Waiting for Me

17. So Soon

18. I Have a Radio Television in My Heart

19. I Just Can’t Keep It to Myself

20. When the Saints Go Marching In

21. You’ve Got to Take Time Out

22. Sponsor’s Message

23. Dedication

24. I’m Troubled

25. Milky White Way

26. I Want to Be Loved

27. Closing/Ten Commandments of Maturity

Some of these songs were rerecorded for Rev. Branch’s 2015 CD, I’ve Got Heaven on My Mind. For Rev. Branch’s thoughts on those songs, follow this link to read that album’s liner notes: http://bit.ly/RevB_Heaven

Friday, March 11, 2016

CRYPTOZOOLOGY ANTHOLOGY Ebook Available Now!


Our highly acclaimed Men's Adventure Library collection focused on tales of man's encounters in the wild with the Yeti, the Loch Ness Monster, Bigfoot, and other weird beasts, is now available as full-color, fully illustrated ebook!



Edited by Robert Deis of MensPulpMags.comDavid Coleman (The Bigfoot Filmography) and Wyatt Doyle (Stop Requested), the book includes contributions from luminaries such as Sir Arthur C. ClarkeJohn Keel, and many others. 

Cryptozoology Anthology is packed with 13 biting tales of creatures notorious and obscure, and the limited hardcover includes bonus material exclusive to that edition, including an additional wild story rescued from obscurity. Don't leave civilization without it!

ORDER THE EBOOK FROM AMAZON HERE!

Cryptozoology Anthology is also available in paperback and limited edition hardcover!

Monday, February 15, 2016

Preview 60+ Pages of A HANDFUL OF HELL!


Preview over sixty action-packed pages from A Handful of Hell! This latest full-color release from the Men's Adventure Library collects the finest stories of conflict and adventure by Robert F. Dorr originally published in men's adventure pulps of the 1960s and '70s.

 From Wyatt Doyle, the book's co-editor (with Robert Deis) and designer:

 “Dorr communicates his characters' fears, their uncertainty, and the terrible losses fighting men suffer in deeply human terms, putting readers not only in the scene, in the moment, but inside these men's thoughts. His accounts of these heroes drive the point home time and time again that these are not warriors, gladiators, or super-humans. These are our brothers, our buddies; they are us. It's a powerful sentiment, and one that can't be expressed enough. Reading these stories today, they have lost none of their potency.”

Read more about author Dorr and his remarkable life in this profile by Kevin Knodell.

 A Handful of Hell is available now as a 304-page trade paperback and as a limited edition hardcover with alternate cover art and 40 additional pages of material. An ebook edition is forthcoming.

Monday, February 1, 2016

DEVIL MAY CALL on Chiller's "Don't Watch Alone" Feb. 6


Devil May Calldirected by Jason Cuadrado from a screenplay by Cuadrado and New Texture's Wyatt Doyle, makes its US television debut on Chiller this Saturday, February 6, at 9 pm ET. The film is part of their Don't Watch Alone series, which also includes Neil Marshall's Dog Soldiers and Roman Polanski's The Ninth Gate.

From Chiller's site:

Chiller invites viewers to truly interact with the movie we're showing. While watching, follow along on our Facebook page (and if you haven't liked us, what are you waiting for?) or on Twitter. We'll be using #ScarySocial - and want you to as well! Throughout the night, we'll share lots of juicy extras about the movie, including Q&A's and live tweeting with the cast or crew, behind-the-scenes videos, quizzes and more. And, of course, we'll be providing commentary.

Devil May Call stars Corri English (Holliston), Tyler Mane (X-Men), Traci Lords (Cry-Baby), Van Hansis (Occupant), and Daniel Hugh Kelly (Cujo). From Angel & Bear Productions and Esperanza Productions.

Buy Devil May Call on DVD here.

Thursday, January 28, 2016

A HANDFUL OF HELL Available Now!

New from The Men's Adventure Library:


“These stories were being read by men who’d been there, done that. I had to have the personalities and the details right. They wouldn’t tolerate having men like themselves overly glorified, or to have war made glamorous.”

Aviator, diplomat, and historian, Robert F. Dorr was uniquely qualified to write for men’s adventure magazines, bringing sweat-and-blood, nuts-and-bolts authenticity to his stories of risk, combat, and sacrifice. Best known today for his highly regarded historical works, Dorr’s stories for the men’s pulps also drew from jaw-dropping true accounts,  as action-packed as any imagined by his hard-boiled peers.

In this tense, gritty collection, the master storyteller drops readers squarely into the action’s fiery crucible, both in the cockpit and on the front lines. Each story includes full-color reproductions of the explosive vintage art from the stories’ original publication by some of the greatest names in illustration.

A singular collection in the author’s vast bibliography, A Handful of Hell highlights the best of Robert F. Dorr’s vivid, gripping tales of aerial conflict, battlefield heroism and action—some fact, some fiction, all adrenaline-fueled, white-knuckle adventure.

“Robert F. Dorr sets the standard for writing about aviation and adventure.”
— Walter J. Boyne, 
author and former director, 
National Air and Space Museum

Robert F. Dorr is an author (since 1955), an Air Force veteran (1957-60) and a retired American diplomat (1964-89). His latest book is the novel Crime Scene: Fairfax County, and features characters introduced in his 2014 alternate-history novel, Hitler’s Time Machine.  

Author of more than 70 books on military and aviation history, Dorr has served as a columnist for Air Force Times and Aerospace America. Many of his early published writings were in  men’s adventure magazines in the 1960s and 1970s.

Bob and his wife Young Soon are the parents of two grown sons with families and live in Oakton, Virginia with their Labrador retriever, Autumn.


A Handful of Hell is available in a softcover trade edition and as a limited edition hardcover with over 40 pages of additional content. Purchase the softcover here and the limited edition hardcover here.

Monday, January 4, 2016

Kendra Steiner Editions Features Wyatt Doyle's Photos


"One of the qualities I admire most in Wyatt Doyle’s work is his eye for the unexpected juxtapositions of detail among the seemingly mundane, juxtapositions of detail that provide a window of insight into life, into society, into truth. This quality is as strong in his fiction as it is in his photography."
—Bill Shute, Kendra Steiner Editions

A selection of Wyatt Doyle's photos is showcased as part of the Visual Art Spotlight series on Kendra Steiner Editions' site, here. Wyatt's photos have previously been featured on the covers of the KSE releases Dusk With Carol by Doug Draime and the CD Modern Architecture by FOSSILS.

Thanks to Bill Shute and KSE for the honor!

Sunday, January 3, 2016

"Motherless Children" by Rev. Raymond Branch



Rev. Branch in a slightly different mode. This was my last visit with Rev. Branch before I left California in 2014. We'd retired to his office to chat and unwind after recording a day's worth of performances in the church when he broke into this almost spontaneously, while I raced to set up the camera. I'm glad I did.     —WD

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Out Now: DOLLAR HALLOWEEN by Wyatt Doyle!


Dollar Halloween
is a new book of photographs by Wyatt Doyle, focusing on the glut of cheaply manufactured Halloween decorations, toys, and knick-knacks created for and sold in American dollar stores. Preview the limited edition hardcover in its entirety via the Issuu embed above. 

Doyle's introductory essay to the book follows: 

Los Angeles is a dollar store town. With significant blocs of its population composed of recent immigrants, low-income laborers, and entertainment-industry cannon fodder—all working for peanuts—dollar stores help ensure the continued survival of the working poor by offering grocery essentials at a buck apiece. If you’ve got a dollar, you’ve got a dinner…or something, anyway, until a dinner comes along.

The ubiquity of the 99 Cents Only chain makes the brand the Starbucks of their weight class (at least in Los Angeles), and their high-ceilinged, well-lit interiors provide familiar and reassuring echoes of their more expensive cousins (unlike most smaller, ethnic, or independently owned discount shops). 

When a medium-sized 99 Cents Only in my old neighborhood outgrew its location, the company opened a much larger store, barely a block south—only to retain the original location as well. Even with the roaring success of the new superstore, there was no discernable drop in business at the old location, just a few yards away. Both stores continue to thrive.

*     *     *

Halloween decorations are curious items to begin with. The trappings of the holiday are so deeply ingrained, so traditional, they’ve all but lost their meaning. A date or the time of year is enough to move us to festoon our homes with make-believe rotting corpse parts and an ever-growing variety of sparkly death totems.

And where there’s a need, or even a mild desire, a dollar store stands ready to fill it, for whatever you’ve got in your pocket. Come autumn, their aisles swell with an onslaught of flimsy window decorations and off-brand Halloween tchotchkes. Most made in China, few sturdy enough to survive a single use.

Plastic jack-o’-lanterns and fastener-hinged cardboard skeletons are familiar, but the uncontrollable compulsion to foist more and more stuff on each other leads to the introduction of dozens of ultimately disposable decorating ideas to the seasonal shelves each year. And if Walgreens wants to sell you their version for $9.95, you’d better believe there’s a factory in China crapping out something like it that’ll wholesale for pennies and still turn a profit.

The haste, disinterest, and cynicism in the products’ manufacture are often reflected in the product. At times the low production standards and cheap molds add a layer of unintentional deformed menace to an expression, or lend an accidental resemblance to some obscure movie monster; other items, the process renders unrecognizable. Thin, plaster skulls crusted with cheap sequins, possibly topped by a bat- or spider-shaped glob…plastic severed limbs, heads, and masks, their spray-on painted details applied out of register…armies of gaudy Grim Reaper figurines, familiar year-round from the windows of the city’s many Santeria botanicas…and occasional malformed, misshapen rejects that appear to have collided with another product somewhere down the assembly line. Most of it dusted with glitter, all of it junk. When you handle one, it leaves paint on your fingers. Throw it away, and bits are left behind.

copyright © 2015 Wyatt Doyle

Purchase Dollar Halloween in limited edition hardcover here.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Sunday, August 2, 2015

"I'll Go," From Rev. Branch's New CD



Purchase I've Got Heaven on My Mind, the new album from Rev. Raymond Branch:
CD: bit.ly/RevBCD      Download: bit.ly/RevBdownload

All proceeds go directly to support Rev. Branch and his ongoing community work at the Heavenly Rainbow.

Album recorded and mixed by Todd Burke; produced by Wyatt Doyle and Mike McGonigal

Visit www.RevBranch.com for more

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Monday, July 20, 2015

Rev. Branch Sings the Velvet Underground



As another sneak preview of his new album, enjoy Rev. Branch's heartfelt interpretation of the Lou Reed composition "Jesus," originally recorded by the Velvet Underground in 1967. This stirring rendition appears on Rev. Branch's LP, I've Got Heaven on My Mind, now available on CD and download.

Rev. Branch frequently asks for song recommendations, and the Velvet Underground's "Jesus" was a composition I thought might speak to him. Though Rev. Branch is 84, he's never followed rock or popular music, and the Velvet Underground (and the song's composer, the late Lou Reed) were new to him. Still, he recognized a familiar dynamic at work in the songand in his covering the track. As he explains in the liner notes of the new CD:

"With this song, rock and roll took the message from the Christian family, and made rock and roll out of it. But when I was a little boy on Bayou Black, we got our radio broadcasts from TennesseeNashville. (In those days, we didn't have much radio in Louisiana.) We took what they called hillbilly songs and changed 'em around our way, made them spiritual songs. We put 'em together.

"It seemed to me that's what I was praying when I was 3 or 4 years old: Help me in my weakness...and right down the line."

The album was recorded and mixed by Todd Burke (Fitz and the Tantrums, Ben Harper) and was produced by Wyatt Doyle of New Texture and Yeti's Mike McGonigal.

Join Rev. Branch for a live performance to celebrate the release of the CD at the Heavenly Rainbow this Sunday, July 26 at 3:30 pm. For more details and to RSVP, visit the event page on Facebook. Copies of the CD will be available for purchase at the event.

Out-of-towners can order copies of the CD here: bit.ly/RevBCD

Watch "Rest," another clip from I've Got Heaven on My Mind, here.



Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Friday, July 10, 2015

From Rev. Branch's new CD: "Rest"


I first heard Rev. Branch in the 1990s. I was living in Hollywood, where his signal barely reached. On a late night crawl through the AM band, I landed on what sounded like some ethereal border radio broadcast: A lone guitar buzzed, crowed and sighed a rudimentary progression looped like a mantra. The raw, shouted voice of the singer sounded distant and disembodied, bleeding in from another room. A low whistle of interference drifted in and out in ghostly accompaniment. At times the broadcast faded entirely into aural snowdrift, only to gradually re-emerge. What I heard had the timeless quality of a field recording, with aspects of the cut-up tape experiments of Burroughs/Gysin. It was like nothing I’d stumbled across previously on the radio. I was transfixed.

Rev. Branch’s Rainbow Gospel Hour could be heard on KTYM-AM out of Inglewood for over 40 years, financed with income Rev. Branch earned from his trade as a barber. Rev. Branch assembled each program with care, using the tools he had. Initially Rev. Branch accompanied himself on guitar, even self-releasing a handful of now-prized gospel singles in the 1960s as "Ray Branch and his Guitar." But in the last few decades, arthritis has meant putting down the guitar. For some time he played the Omnichord, an instrument similar to an electronic autoharp. Currently he plays a QChord, a next-generation Omnichord with an ethereal character.

With a portable, dual tape deck boom box perched on the podium of the Heavenly Rainbow Baptist Church in South Los Angeles, he’d dub in and out of previous episodes, recycling cassettes. He'd record performances live to tape, timing inserts by the second hand of the clock on the church wall. Ghosts of previous recordings inevitably bled through, adding sonic texture and patina that would only become more layered and enigmatic once transmitted by KTYM’s diminished after-hours broadcast signal. (KTYM powered down its signal after midnight and lowered its airtime fees accordingly, making late-night hours affordable.)

Even Rev. Branch couldn’t always say for certain exactly who was tuning in at 3 am on Sunday mornings, though he began each show with the welcome, “This program is designed for the sick and shut-in…in the sanitariums, hospitals, and penal institutions. We want you to know that we love you! And we care for you.”

After a historic 43 years, Rev. Branch was surely among the longest serving broadcasters in Los Angeles radio; four decades on air is a rare achievement by any criteria, But Rev. Branch retired the Rainbow Gospel Hour in 2014 without fanfare when KTYM announced plans to change ownership and format. He remains active, and today, at 84, he continues to hold a musical service every Sunday, and keeps daily hours at the church building assisting the community, welcoming all who arrive at the Heavenly Rainbow’s door.

I love Rev. Branch's music, and I'm constantly inspired by his tireless efforts on behalf of the community, and by his no-nonsense, D.I.Y. approach to life, music, and helping each other out. I'm proud to be a part of releasing this new collection. I’ve Got Heaven on My Mind, his debut full-length release, and his first in high fidelity. was recorded and mixed by Todd Burke (Fitz and the Tantrums, Ben Harper) at the Heavenly Rainbow. The twelve tracks include a selection of hymns and spirituals that will be familiar to longtime listeners of the Rainbow Gospel Hour, as well as Rev. Branch’s stirring new interpretation of “Jesus,” written by Lou Reed and originally recorded by the Velvet Underground in 1967.

We’ll be celebrating the album’s release with a musical service and celebration at the Heavenly Rainbow on Sunday, July 26 at 3:30 pm. First copies of the disc will be available there, but out-of-towners can purchase copies of the CD here and the download edition here. Sales benefit the Heavenly Rainbow and Rev. Branch’s continued good works there.

—Wyatt Doyle

Here’s a preview from the album, the poignant “Rest.”