Archive | October, 2013

Music for the Dead

27 Oct

October 31 is fast approaching. Only a few more days until the spooks come out to socialize, and what better way to get in the mood than with Dead Mans Bones Disney’s Haunted Mansion inspired track “In The Room Where You Sleep”

Headed by Ryan Gosling, yes Ryan Gosling, and Zach Shields, “In The Room Where You Sleep” is the musical epitome of everything that Halloween should make you feel as a child. But what makes this track standout is the throwback to the late 1960’s Disney Haunted Mansion theme “Grim Grinning Ghosts” sung in part by Thurl Ravenscroft (AKA Tony The Tiger)

Hand claps, and an unsettling keyboard melody get the tune off to an eerie start. By the time what sounds like a theremin kicks in, one can not help but feel uneasy in the most fun way. Gosling is a vocal magician ranging from a soaring, ghostly falsetto to a Thurl Ravenscroft dark alto chorus warning “You better run/you better hide.”

And let’s not forget the homage to Vincent Price’s spoken word “Thriller” section which ends the song

The lyrics themselves are evocative and chilling without ever being explicit. With this track, the key is letting the listener use their imagination to fill in the blanks.

Undeniably “In The Room Where you Sleep” has enough tricks and treats to make anybody feel like a kid again.

Check out this awesome live version!

Discography: Dead Mans Bones (2009)

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Go Down The Road With The Heavy

20 Oct

The Heavy have never shied away from tackling dark material in their songs, but perhaps their most haunting tune to date is the southern gothic, slow blues track “Lonesome Road.”

The band may hail from England, but they capture the sound of New Orleans soul so well, it’s hard to believe they did not grow up immersed in the Louisiana culture.

“Lonesome Road” relies on sparse horns and percussion, with a bit of electric guitar to set the stage for gruesome lyrics such as

“When it’s over from the start
When it hangs by the nail
When it leaks like a murdered heart
When it’s too sad a tale.”

Kelvin Swalby may be this generations Ray Charles with just enough soul, funk, blues and jazz in his voice to make his a superstar. “Lonesome Road,” with its slow pacing, and dirge like marching sounds is like a modern day version of Charles’ “It’s Alright.”

In both songs, the most effective element is the background echoing vocals. In “Lonesome Road” a ghostly choir wails like banshees throughout the track which is sure to give anyone goosebumps.

If you’re looking for a standout modern track with retro soul to add to your Halloween party playlist, look no further than “Lonesome Road”

Discography: Great Vengeance and Furious Fire (2007),The House That Dirt Built (2009),The Glorious Dead (2012)

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Sleep Tight, Embrace The Fright

13 Oct

Ever notice how in horror films, songs from the 50’s and 60’s are used to signal that terror is lurking just around the corner? This device is used countless times in cinema and it never fails to chill. Tunes that normally sound romantic are suddenly creepy.

“Sleep Tight” by The Creepshow aims to deliver a retro inspired song that would fit right in a modern spook flick. But the content is a far cry from innocent lovey dovey authentic old school tunes. Yes, it delves into a common theme in music. A girl who has been dumped and heartbroken. But there is a twist. She will exact revenge. Taken literally “Sleep Tight” is a straight up horrifying tale of a girl who gets murdered by her love and vows to haunt him from her grave with her “undead eyes.” But it could also be looked at as a figurative killing of a relationship.

Lead vocalist on the track, Sarah Blackwood, helps keep the rockabilly vibe of the band alive with her gritty, innocent voice. But with spot on doo wop backing vocals from the rest of the band, and a 50’s ballad feel, the tune evokes the stylings of retro hits such as The Danleers “One Summer Night.”

With Halloween just around the corner, turn up the volume on “Sleep Tight” and get in the haunting spirit.

Discography: Sell Your Soul (2006),Run for Your Life (2008),They All Fall Down (2010)

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Gone But Not Forgotten

6 Oct

The Tea Party’s darkly, worldly song “Gone” may already be considered retro to some, having been released in 1999, but it obtains the retro aspect for other reasons.

Lead singer Jeff Martin delivers a performance even Tom Jones would be proud of. Slightly dialed back from Jones overly dramatic vocal performances, Martin, with his deep register, still brings plenty of retro drama and passion. Like an updated version of “I Who Have Nothing,” “Gone” delves deep down into a state of loneliness.

The instrumental section in the middle comes off as mysterious and just a bit psychotic with its staccato movements.

Set against an orchestral background of rich sounds and chock full of pained lyrics such as Broken moments in time could still shine, but they’re getting old,” “Gone” gives off a dark vibe that is just downright chilling.

Discography:The Tea Party (1991), Capitol Records Demo (1992), Splendor Solis (1993),The Edges of Twilight (1995)Alhambra (EP) (1996),Transmission (1997),Triptych (1999),Tangents: The Tea Party Collection (2000),The Interzone Mantras (2001),Seven Circles (2004),Live From Australia (2012)

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