In my mind, all of Europe resembles the set of a 1930s werewolf movie. This is probably because The Dead Milkmen once toured what was formerly Yugoslavia: which was basically…well the set of a 1930s werewolf movie. My point is that Europe is spooky. Europeans really need to embrace that spookiness. Romanians gave us Dracula. The French – the Phantom of the Opera. The British – well, just look at their food. It’s something I like to call The Brotherhood of The Spooky.
I’ve been involved in the music industry (it’s called an “industry” because of the usually high number of job-related deaths) for over 30 years – the majority of which I’ve spent bitter and disappointed. In in perfect world (ie. MY world), Tex and The Horseheads would’ve been bigger than Madonna and “The Fab Four” would refer solely to Throbbing Gristle.
That said, every now and then a music trend bubbles up that gives me hope for the future and one of those trends is taking place at this very moment right under your earbuds. Finally, after over a decade hipster lumberjacks and what I’m just assuming are those big-eyed paintings come to life dominating every corner of the industry, darkness has returned to the world music! OK, maybe not all of music world, but it has firmly entrenched itself in Europe. And Europeans are really good at making dark music. Exhibit A: Ash Code.
Ash Code are from Italy and that’s really all I know about them despite have purchased many of their songs and played them pretty regularly on my radio show. Since I’m unfamiliar with their biography, I’m just going to make one up: Ash Code live in an abandoned villa high in the mountains of that part of Italy where most missing persons cases are not mob-related (that should narrow it a bit). Ash Code have never toured in America because they have to rest on their native soil.
Remember those Halloween sound effects cassettes and records from when you were a kid? I loved those things. Probably because my family would often blast them on random days thought the year just to keep our neighbors on their toes. To be fair, the only other form of audio entertainment we possessed was a CCR 8-track.
My desire to reconnect with noises that can lower the property values in a 15 mile radius brings us to entry number five on our list: Heilung’s live performance of “Alfadhirhaiti”. This song seems to exist for the sole purpose of convincing the Neighborhood Watch that a werewolf walks among them.
My favorite horror move has always been 1963’s “The Haunting” (although “Hereditary” is running a close second). To people who were raised on Freddy, Pinhead, or Chucky, The Haunting might seem to be very dull as the film is 100% free of jump scares. But this is why I love it. The makers of The Haunting understood that true horror is created by a tense, unnerving atmosphere. That’s why the “Give him the camera” scene in “Ordinary People” is much more frightening than anything in “Friday the 13th”. It’s something the people behind the people behind the 1999 remake of The Haunting (people totally undeserving of love) never understood. And that’s Liam Neeson and I have never spoken (that and the fact we’ve never met…and if we did, I’d most likely be VERY polite to him as he has a certain set of skill which include being able to beat the shit out me).
Much like a good horror movie, a song doesn’t need to be loaded with monsters and murder to be scary. It just needs the right atmosphere. Which brings us to our fourth entry – Echo and the Bunnymen with “The Killing Moon”. Nobody gets decapitated; no ghostly lovers haunt their former paramours, yet this song remains one of the creepiest tunes ever recorded. So much so that, years after its release, “The Killing Moon” would inspiration the creation of Donnie Darko.
“I’d mentioned somewhere that The Killing Moon was about pre-destiny, and he wrote the whole fuckin’ film about it. Cheeky bastard! He gave us this pittance one-off fee for the use of the song, saying it was just a little indie film, but forgot to mention that Drew Barrymore was behind it, who had more money than Howard Hughes. Great as it is, he should at least have given us a credit for the idea.”
– Ian McCulloch
There are only three holidays which involve candy and a possible encounter with someone in a bunny costume: Halloween, Easter, and Valentine’s Day. Of the three of these, only one stirs up images of flesh-eating, blood-drinking corpses rising from their graves.
Maybe it’s because Vienna & I were married in the middle of the month, but Halloween will always be the real Valentine’s Day for me. And it should be for you as well. Just take a minute to think off all the great love stories which revolve around Halloween. There’s The Bride of Frankenstein, The Phantom of the Opera. and hundreds of slasher flicks in which camp councilors total get it on before being impaled by a rototiller.
In the recognition of the amorous side of Halloween, I give you today’s song – “Corpses (A Zombie Love Song)” by those gleeful purveyors of romantic ballads God Module.
Oh, and here’s 40 goddamn minutes of Halloween commercials from the 70’s & 80’s because that’s the way Crazy Eddie would’ve wanted it.
There’s a good chance that, at some point this month, you, having grown tired of smashing your neighbors’ pumpkins, will find yourself consumed with an eerie wanderlust and a strong desire to smash the pumpkins of complete strangers. At this point, you will make plans to depart depart upon a spooky road trip.
It might be drive down New Jersey’s highly overrated Clinton Road, or Buck’s County’s genuinely creepy Crossart Road, or the elusive search for each of the Seven Gates of Hell (I’ve only ever managed to rack up a trip to the one in Downingtown, PA). For those of us, here in Stocksbridge, a quick jaunt down the A616 will do the trick.
And while you won’t encounter any ghosts (for the same reason you won’t encounter any leprechauns), you are very likely to encounter something far more frightening in the form of drunken teenagers, meth-fueled rednecks, dickheaded ghost hunters, or a combination of all three.
I can’t talk you out of your creepy road trip, but I can give you some advice: take along some appropriately creepy music. And by “appropriately creepy music”, I mean all seven minutes and eleven seconds of Numb’s “Stalker”.
This is some of the straight-up spookiest music you could possible hope to fill your ears with while cruising down a dark country road.After all, the gawddamn song is called STALKER, for Christ’s sake! And it’ll be the perfect score to your inevitable dismemberment by a coven of toothless Norwegian Black Metal enthusiasts who are pitching a “paranormal encounters” show to the Travel Channel.
It’s October! I’m hoping you knew that already, but – in case you don’t own one of those calendar thingies that all of the kids seem to be agog about these days – it’s October!. Last October, on Facebook, I recommend a different horror movie every day for the entire month. Then Facebook sold our data to Nazi pricks Steve Bannon and Bob Mercer, so screw them and the shitty cartoon frog they road in on. Anyhooooo, this year I’ll be using this very site which you are currently gazing upon to provide a different Halloween-appropriate song every gawddamn day from now until November (October’s less popular kid brother).
And, boy howdy, let me tell you fer sure by gum that this will not be your typical parade of Halloween-themed songs either. Every year some lazy music critic tells you to go listen to “The Monster Mash”, a randomly chosen & certifiably crappy Rob Zombie tune, and the Ramones'”Pet Sematary”. Then they turn that shit over to an editor at Slate who adds a few Beyonce songs to the list because…well…Slate. This happens EVERY DAMN YEAR!
So, just to show you that I’m on the level, here’s our first track. It’s the perfectly creepy “No More Nightmares” by Dead When I Found Her off of their brilliant 2012 “Rag Doll Blues” album. Damn. 2012 was a great year for music. Dim the lights and enjoy! I’ll be back tomorrow with another disturbing song.