Ray Van Horn, Jr. is a veteran entertainment journalist whose writing and live photography has been featured in Blabbermouth.net, Dee Snider’s House of Hair Online, Fangoria.com, Horror News.net, About.com Heavy Metal, MetalManiacs, New Noise, Music Dish, AMP, Hails & Horns, Unrestrained,Noisecreep, Impose, Pit, The Big Takeover.com, Rough Edge.com, Pitriff and others. His blog The Metal Minute won a “Best Personal Blog” award in 2009 from Metal Hammer magazine and he wrote and produced his own hard rock e-zine, Retaliate.

He has contributed essays to UK author Neil Daniels’ Iron Maiden and ZZ Top biographies. Ray’s fiction has been published in various periodicals and anthologies, including his flash fiction piece “Off the Record” for Akashic Books’ “Mondays Are Murder” noir series. His recent short stories “Before the Ball” and “Widow” were featured in subsequent editions of Alex S. Johnson’s Axes of Evil anthologies. Ray wrote serialized original superhero fiction for Cyber Age Adventures and five of those stories appear in the anthology Playing Solitaire. He was the winner of Quantum Muse’s fiction contest in 1999.

Ray is a former NHL game analyst for The Hockey Nut and one-time host of the forum “Comic Books” at ReadWave. He has done beat reporting, photography and lifestyle articles for Metromix, an affiliate of The Baltimore Sun, Carroll Magazine, The Northern News and The Emmitsburg Dispatch.


Sunday, August 17, 2014

Sunday Triple Play - 8/17/14

This week's Triple Play's selections all come from the early nineties, a period of transition in my life also marked by a major transition in modern music.  I don't have any picks for grunge, the most obvious swing away from the commercial dominance held by party metal and hip hop.  Instead, I picked three vibes that got my attention in a big way back then, though an industrial band could've easily made this cut, since I was following that scene pretty closely then too.

However, I'm going with three artists, two who are no longer together, who really ramped up my enthusiasm as heavy metal music was taking a nosedive and I was turning to other styles of music throughout my collegiate years.  Quicksand were still pretty damned heavy and their methodic, slow-rolling Slip album is evidence how minimalist aggression can be a powerful, emotive thing.  It's one of my all-time favorite records and "Fazer" is as good a lead track as any ever put down.

I really miss the hell of Lush.  The UK alternative scene was monster and though I was a late comer to it in the late eighties, I fell in love with this act as they were able to take the shoegazing ether of Ride, My Bloody Valentine and to certain latitudes, The Cure, and frequently turn a melodic dime.  "For Love" is Lush's most accessible tune, even though they strove for a pop-fused blend of punk following their stellar Spooky album.  The ploy worked, but they were gone as fast as they ascended, sadly due to circumstances beyond them.

Sade, what else needs be said?  A divine diva if there ever was one.  Her classy style of soul and jazz hit immediate resonance with me as I started trolling through rap and R&B in this same period of personal music exploration.  I was raised on sixties and seventies soul from my mother, and Sade was the first artist to capture me like those classic singers of yesteryear did, even if her style is nothing like them.  "No Ordinary Love" is, for me, one of the top five sexiest songs ever laid down.  The smooth operator was hardly masculine; it was Sade herself, if you take my intent.


Quicksand - "Fazer"


Lush - "For Love"


Sade - "No Ordinary Love"

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