VINYL VIEWS: WEEK OF 10/18/21
“Hello, Boils & Ghouls! SPOOPY VINYL VIEWS is our CREEPY blog where we feature album recommendations from our “SCREAM TEAM” – SHAYNE “THE SKINWALKER” & JAXON “STILL AT LARGE”, and also from our GUEST UNDERTAKERS. This week we get some “DARK ENTRIES” from HAYLEY RICE.
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Hayley is a Chicago-area theatre director and actor. She is a graduate of Illinois Wesleyan University with a BFA in Theatre Arts. She’s been seen at such theaters as The Factory Theater, First Folio Theatre, AstonRep, The Mammals, Focal Point Theatre Company, Illinois Theatre Center, LiveWire Theatre, Prairie Fire Children’s Theatre and Rogue Theater, among others. She has also directed at First Folio Theatre, Babes With Blades Theatre Company, Focal Point Theatre, and others. She is the Artistic Director of Babes With Blades Theatre Company and Advising Artistic Consultant for First Folio Theatre where you can see her directing work on The Jigsaw Bride right now!
She’s an odd, loud soul who loves Halloween, gothic makeup looks, her spouse Scott Leaton and her dog, Special Agent Dale Cooper.
Artist: Kay Lande
Album: Halloween: Games, Stories and Songs
Scary, atmospheric stuff is always good, but like Wu-Tang, Halloween is also for the children. This record was emblazed on my brain-meat when I was 6. Every Halloween my grade school music teacher would play this record for class, and we’d all sing along, warbling each in our own key.
Our poor music teacher.
When October hits, and the weather turns chill, the opening track rises from some dark place in my skull and just rattles around in there all month. I know it’s just a whimsical version of Camille Saint-Saëns Danse Macabre with some lyrics thrown on, but because of early childhood conditioning, this album will always be the sound of Halloween to me. Plus, I’m a sucker for some earnest 60s kitsch, especially when holidays are involved, and this record has that covered. And wow, do they really work that marimba for some of those tracks. Or maybe it was a vibraphone?
I can’t find much about Kay Lande. It appears this was one of a number of albums she released targeted towards a very young audience. Also, it appears that she was in a studio recording of Carousel in 1960, so I’m guessing she’s got some 50s/60s Broadway credits in there somewhere. Either way, she looked EXACTLY how I always imagined her:
Check out the track Halloween
Artist: Sinoia Caves
Album: Beyond The Black Rainbow
I HOPE YOU ALL LIKE ORGANS AND SYNTH!
This fun-yet-flawed 2010 psychedelic horror movie (written/directed by Panos Cosmatos of Mandy fame) would not be half as intriguing without this atmospheric AF soundtrack by Jeremy Schmidt, AKA Sinoia Caves. When not playing with his other band, the psychedelic/space/prog outfit Black Mountain, Jeremy uses the Sinoia Caves moniker to record exclusively with vintage synthesizers and organs. Synths and organs are, to me, the sound of almost all the horror films that traumatised me the most as a child. Each track is oozing with ominous chirps and thumps, somehow aurally echoing the visual art direction of the film. I don’t know how you get a song to sound like an ominous orange crystal emitting fog, but Sinoia Caves does it. Half the tracks sound like you’re about to be chased or pounced upon by some unknown assailant of the 80s, and if that ain’t a Halloween mood, I don’t know what is. Check out the track Run Program: Sentionauts, let that initial organ blast wash over you, and try not to shiver in fear.
Check out the track Run Program: Sentionauts
Artist: Murder By Death
Album: Like The Exorcist But More Breakdancing
This feels like a most appropriate band to list, because I discovered them in a record store. Specifically in a live performance in the “back room” of a record store in Bloomington/Normal in fall of 2003. I’d tell you which store, but, well, apparently my brain ejected that info over the last 18 years.
I will admit that I have not kept up with them over the ensuing two decades, but this album (their first as Murder By Death, previously known as “Little Joe Gould”) and their lineup at the time really appealed to me. It was played on loop by my roommates and I all that fall (and I know that at least one of said roommates is buddies with this band to this very day). This was while MBD still had keyboard in their songs. Said keyboardist used to light the keyboard, the cymbals, and himself on fire (briefly, safely) during live shows in terrifying small venues. I had no sense of self-preservation at 21, so I loved it.
I feel like it is almost cheating, halloween-style, when you add a cello to a song – there’s just something automatically mournful and haunting about the sound (which is why this slot was almost taken by Rasputina). While the title seems to allude to scary movies, I don’t think most of the lyrics reflect that. But the sound is for sure pumpkins and cold nights and full moons and sometimes shadows that might be following you. At least to me.
I haven’t kept up with the band much beyond their early work. I’ve heard they’ve progressed to a more polished, almost indie-folk or alt-country sound and gained a lot more popularity. Good for them! I remember them all being really nice folks. For selfish (and perhaps nostalgic) reasons though, I personally miss the slightly-spoopy goofs in the back of the tiny record store setting shit on fire and jamming out almost proggy tunes of doom with titles like “You Are the Last Dragon (You Possess the Power of the Glow)”
Check out the track Those Who Left
One can only sit idly by in their parallel timeline silently for so long! Who does my counterpart think he is huh?! Where I come from Tardigrades are the dominant species for God’s sake! Granted they effortlessly mastered space travel and we only have one streaming service to worry about, but I digress. Talk to me about existential cosmic horror (or “Spoopiness” as you call it) when you’ve peered through The Void and discovered you’re little more than a knockoff of a so-called “Prime” variant who never even worked in the algae mines.
Artist: Charles Bernstein
Album: A Nightmare On Elm Street
Let’s start with the obvious. The pretender is apparently on a mission to use every bit of music related to Freddy Krueger and has not mentioned the original iconic score?! Unacceptable. Instantly recognizable and still effective even after decades of parody (that “Shayne Prime” seems to revel in) this theme deserves it’s spot among the all-time greats.
Check out the track Main Title
Album: Hausu (House)
Where to even start with this? If you’re unfamiliar nothing I say will do this film justice, suffice to say you’ve never seen anything like it! Created by a full team of people whose experience was mainly in commercials, mandated to be Japan’s answer to Jaws and inspired by a child’s (likely embellished) nightmares, the result is truly something to behold! I encourage you to pick up the Criterion blu ray which includes a feature length documentary about it’s production, it’s truly fascinating. As for the music, the soundtrack was actually recorded and released before the film was shot, and the bands sudden success actually helped to secure the funding to bring it to life. If it doesn’t sound immediately Halloweeny to you just know my Mee-Maw was eaten by a piano.
Check out the track Cherries Were Made For Eating
Check out the trailer HOUSE
Artist: Magnetic Fields
One thing I’ll give my otherwise lame duplicate credit for is having championed this album here a year ago. His version of the store is evening raffling off tickets to their upcoming show! On my Earth Magnetic Fields only play command performances for the “Water Bear Muckity Mucks.” Y’all don’t know how good you got it. At risk of welcoming any further comparisons, I have to echo his sentiment that this is an unsung masterpiece in an incredible catalog. Besides, how could I resist warning my other to be careful what he wishes for?!
Check out the track I Wish I Had An Evil Twin
Jaxon is switching it up this week with a custom playlist! Check it out here or come into the store and listen to it in our Sounderator (tricked out 1940’s refrigerator that you sit in while enjoying a tasty selection of tunes).
TRICK OR TREAT!
How Do I Order Music (Or Other Things)?
Val’s is now open again (safely)! Bring a face mask and we will sanitize your hands on the way in. Social distancing, of course. Val’s halla has worked hard over this quarantine period to launch its Online Store which has thousands of titles for you to choose from. We will continue to add inventory everyday, but just let us know what you are looking for! We are happy to look through our off-line inventory of over 50,000 titles to see what we have for you. Also, we place orders with our distributor every Monday which means we see them in our store by Tuesday (most of the time). We sell records (as well as turntables), CDs, cassettes, 8-tracks, DVDs and more. To get started, you can Click Here to access the Online Store, or fill out the form below to let us know what you are looking for.
What About Delivery?
Val’s is offering Curbside Pickup and No-Contact Delivery Service to customers who live within a 5-mile radius of the Oak Park Arts District. Orders can also be shipped to customers outside that radius for a flat fee of $5. Order as much as you want – still $5 shipping! Stay safe and be well!