“Halloween” b/w “Halloween II” by the Misfits

October 31, 2008

While there were plenty of other choices, what other Misfits song was I going to pick for our inaugural Halloween Theme Week?

The single “Halloween” was released on October 30, 1981. It and its B-side, “Halloween II,” appear on Collection II, although old-school fans are likely more familiar with the overdubbed version from the 1985 compilation Legacy of Brutality.

This day, anything goes
Burning bodies hanging from poles

Here is a fan-made video featuring not-terribly-appropriate but cool footage from The Nightmare Before Christmas.

And here’s the B-side, “Halloween II”

According to Wikipedia, the Latin translates as:

Ancient formulas of exorcisms and excommunications
that witches and those made wolves believe
I maim now the demon clothed in wolfskin
Having to hide in the hollow of a tree
I say werewolves can change shapes.

Happy Halloween!

“Obama Be Thy Name” by Makadem, plus Vote or Die!

October 31, 2008

Yet another in an endless stream of songs about Barack Obama.  The difference is <gasp!> this one actually displays musical talent.  The culty-messiah thing is something that bothers me about Senator Obama’s more enthusiastic supporters, but one expects a certain amount of messianism with reggae, so in this instance it’s only a minor demerit.

So far as I know, this is by Kenyan musician Makadem, although details are hard to come by (OK, I didn’t put a whole lot of effort into researching the topic).

I prematurely declared the best Obama song to be “Obama is Beautiful World.”  I did this before Election Day!  As a Republican hoping for a miracle, what was I thinking?  I, of all people, need to believe that it ain’t over ’til it’s over!

In order to promote democracy worldwide, let’s vote on it.  Vote or Die!

OK, you busted me.  I’m only doing this to try out the new WordPress poll thingamajig.  Be forewarned, if you vote for “Some other Obama song” and it out-polls one of the two candidates, I’m going to have to have a runoff.  And you have no idea what awful Obama song I might bring to the table as the competition (I’m leaning “Dear Leader” by the Children of the Corn, although Boy George is tempting).

And since I’m only doing this to try out the thingamajig, I won’t be insulted when there are exactly three votes.

In other musical election news, Aerosmith’s Joe Perry has endorsed John McCain.  Alas, no campaign song.  Say it ain’t so, Joe!  Since I insist on posting these damned things, I’m sure our readers would appreciate more songs from musicians, who are, ya know, competent.

Rick Roll’d… in Binary

October 30, 2008

Not to go WAY overboard with MTV related posts, but I couldn’t resist blogging about this one.  Apparently a Rick Astely fansite came across some binary code embedded in the countdown site to the MTV Eroupe Music Awards show.   The source code just so happened to translate to Astley’s lyrics: “We’re no strangers to love / You know the rules, and so do I.”


I don’t know who’s the biggest dork here… the MTV Europe website guy for putting the binary lyrics in the site… the Rick Astley uber-fan for combing the internets for mentions of Astley AND translating the binary to text… OR me for thinking it’s hilarious and photoshopping the above pic.

Re: Mr. Show – “Monster Parties: Fact or Fiction?”

October 30, 2008

Some may be skeptical as to the existence of Monster Parties, but I have evidence that they are real.

I want to believe.

Mr. Show – “Monster Parties: Fact or Fiction?”

October 30, 2008

In keeping with the Halloween Week theme, here’s an awesome clip from Mr. Show that skewers goofy novelty recordings like “Monster Mash” as well as their champion, Dr. Demento

Pitchfork Be Stealin’ Yo Thunder, G Winslow!

October 29, 2008

I was perusing Pitchfork this morning, and I found an article on their website that raises some suspicions of perhaps a few shady dealings.  Marc Hogan has written an article titled “You Can Vote However You Like,” which outlines several songs from the campaign trail, including many that have been mentioned by Gordon on this here blog.

Because I am smart, I have come to the conclusion that Mr. Hogan and Pitchfork Media have knowingly lifted the idea from this website, and as such I have hired an esteemed attorney to pursue a civil case against these thieving members of the liberal media elite on Gordon’s behalf.

Also, they apparently did not agree with my review of Blitzen Trapper’s new record, so they deserve any suing that they get!

P.S.  No, Pitchfork, I’m not really suing you.  Have a sense of humor, already!

Finally! “Sarah Smile” by Lloyd Marcus

October 29, 2008

I’ve had quite a few posts this election cycle on campaign songs.  Most of the songs were about Barack Obama, but I did manage to dig up a couple about John McCain.  However, there were no songs about the polarizing and hot Republican vice-presidential nominee, Sarah Palin.

Until now.

Introducing “Sarah Smile” by Lloyd Marcus, a black conservative artist and musician.  Yes, such a person exists.  What a great country!

I hate the Hall & Oates song on which this is based, so it’s no shocker that I think this is horrible despite my proud membership in both the VRWC and the Sarah Palin Fan Club.  But hey, there was simply no way I wasn’t going to post the only Sarah Palin song I could find (well, other than “McCain-Palin Tradition” but she got second billing on that one).  Obama’s had more than his share, and this is still worlds better than that frightening Children of the Corn ditty.

Still no luck finding a Joe Biden song, and yes, there really is a Sarah Palin Calendar.

And yes, just under a week until my campaign-song posting madness is over.

“Suspiria” by Goblin

October 28, 2008

Halloween theme week continues.

Here is the main theme to the classic Italian horror movie Suspiria, directed by Dario Argento, from 1977.  Argento directed a number of classic or near-classic horror films, including Deep Red (Profondo Rosso), and Phenomena.  Even his lesser efforts are often fascinating for genre fans and film buffs of all stripes.  Although not a household name in America, his work has been hugely influential  on filmmakers worldwide, and he is revered by lovers of horror movies (like me).

Goblin composed soundtracks for several Argento films, and sold many albums in Europe.

This is a marvelously effective theme, accompanied by a similarly effective fan-made video of clips from the movie.

Actress Asia Argento is Dario Argento’s daughter.

MTV Music Puts Their Entire Video Archive Online

October 28, 2008

That headline sounds like complete bullshit, no?  Regardless, the improbable and dumbfounding claim appears to be true.  MTV Music, I suppose in an effort to reduce the multiple oxymorons contained in their name, has purportedly posted every music video in their archive on their website.  Crazy, no?

If you don’t hear from me for the next few weeks, call the paramedics.  I will likely be malnourished and stuck to my computer chair.  I might also need a bath.

Don’t know if WordPress has caught up with embedding yet (not likely).  If not, get on it, WordPress!

Album Review: Blitzen Trapper – Furr

October 27, 2008

Portland based band Blitzen Trapper have been on my radar since the 2007 release of their third album, Wild Mountain Nation.  That record was chock full of Blitzen Trapper’s revisioning of southern hippy rock, and it contained two great sing along singles in the title track and “Country Caravan,” although the latter wandered dangerously close to Eagles territory.  Those two songs were incredibly catchy and accessible, and they helped to temper some of the more experimental pieces on the album, such as opener “Devil’s a-Go-Go,” which sounded like someone took a razor blade to it, and the mostly instrumental “Woof & Warp of the Quiet Giant’s Hem,” among many others.  The mix of catchy, familiar-sounding hooks and stop/start time signature tomfoolery created an unsettling but overall highly satisfying record.

Apparently, somebody in the band thought it would be a better idea to stick to the catchy and toss out the experimenting for their latest record, Furr.  The result is largely disappointing.  Without the manic jumpiness and where-will-they-go-next unpredictability of their previous record, all that’s left is pretty much a hippy dippy rolling out of various country and classic rock riffs that we’ve heard a million times before.  As mentioned above, we’re venturing into Eagles territory here, and who wants to go there?

From the very onset, the name of the game for Furr appears to be “Who Can We Sound Like Now?”  Opening track “Sleepytime in the Western World” immediately drops almost the exact the same organ riff heard at the beginning of Bob Dylan’s “Positively Fourth Street.”  Next up is “Gold For Bread,” which sounds like a lesser Tom Petty castoff.  The acoustic sparseness of the title track “Furr” wanders back into Dylan territory.  “Fire & Fast Bullets” steps a little more into the present, passably aping a rock tune from Wilco’s “Yankee Hotel Foxtrot.”  I could keep going, but I’m sure I’ve made my point. 

I think I’m being a bit too harsh on this record, but it just seems like such a step backwards from their previous release.  Rather than expand their sound and continue down the path of deconstructing southern hippy rock, they’ve decided to just make a straightforward hippy rock record, chock full of so many Skynnyrd/Allman Bros. riffs that they all begin to bleed together after a while.  Still, there are times when the songs work, such as the disturbing murder ballad “Black River Killer,” that is if you can ignore the similarity to Petty’s “Mary Jane’s Last Dance.”  I guess what irks me most about this release is how familiar it all sounds.  On Wild Mountain Nation, I was hearing familiar sounds presented in a disjointed and almost entirely unfamiliar way.  On Furr, I’m hearing sounds I’ve heard before presented in ways I’ve heard before, and better. 

“Midnight Blue” by R.E.M.

October 27, 2008

Man, I gotta tell ya, it took me a lot of work to track this one down.

I think I read about this in Rolling Stone, oh, about 20 years ago (wow, I feel old).  R.E.M. had taken to covering “Midnight Blue,” by Foreigner’s Lou Gramm, in concert.  While it seems like an odd choice, Michael Stipe pointed out, quite correctly, that it was a terrific song.

I looked for it for years, and finally, through the magic of the Internet, I found it through an R.E.M. web ring.

Why did I do this?  Because this is the sort of thing record geeks do.  At least this record geek.

This performance is from a November 5, 1987, concert at the Circle Pavilion at the University of Illinois at Chicago.

It interpolates bits of “Heartbreak Beat” by the Psychedelic Furs and “I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For” by U2.  I bet it was a blast live.

Yeah, it doesn’t sound all that great, but I’m happy to have it at all.

Here’s the criminally underappreciated original.  I heard this over the PA at Walgreen’s the other day and it immediately put a smile on my face.  That’s probably what triggered me to take another stab at finding the R.E.M. version.

You can hear it sans ’80s video but with better sound here.

According to Wikipedia, Lou Gramm has left Foreigner (again) and is recording an album of Christian music with his brothers as The Lou Gramm Band.  R.E.M. has not been heard from since “E-Bow the Letter,” although there seem to be some imposters running about.

New Releases of Note: 10/28/08

October 27, 2008

Via AMG.

Ryan Adams – Cardinology

The Cure – 4:13 Dream

Pink – Funhouse

Eagles of Death Metal – Heart On

Snow Patrol – A Hundred Million Suns

Dave Alvin – The Best of the Hightone Years

Bloc Party – Intimacy

Toby Keith – That Don’t Make Me a Bad Guy

Jesse Malin – On Your Sleeve

Buddy Miller – The Best of the Hightone Years

Hank Williams – Unreleased Recordings

Full list here.


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