WWWINGS - PHOENIXXX: This album was actually released a while ago for free on Soundcloud (and then Plant Mu signed them and reissued this album on a physical 7”), but as this is spooky season, and everything I’ve reviewed thus far has already been a little spooky, I felt the need to really spook things up.
Please meet WWWINGS. At the time they released this, the electronic trio from post-Soviet countries was made up of Lit Internet, Lit Daw, and Lit Eyne. Lit Eyne has since left the group or disappeared or perhaps never truly existed in the first place. WWWINGS now consists of GXXOST (fka Lit Internet) and AWRWSW (fka Lit Daw).
PHOENIXXX is punishing, it is abrasive, it is haunting. At times, it feels like sound is crushing you into the earth and then down into hell and then beyond that into some deeper void. Honestly, there isn’t anyone out there I know of who sounds like this. They absolutely have their sound down to a T. Its clearly under their control, and it's vastly more extreme than anything else in their musical neighborhood. I would do a track by track breakdown, but that just doesn’t need to be done; I’m afraid it might take away from your first listening experience. Just please do me a favor and do yourself a favor. Please listen to this.
(The album also has features from some other super spooky electronic artists like Chino Amobi, Lao, and Endgame, so if ur into those types you now have an obligation to listen to this). CAMERON
Recommended: 1, 2, 7, 8, but tbh all of them.
RIYL: Dystopian Clob Tunes, Evian Christ cubed, Chino Amobi, Kuedo, post-Soviet muzak.
The Caretaker - An Empty Bliss Beyond This World: So basically this album is the ballroom scene of The Shining in music form. Its creator is the British producer James Leyland Kirby, but he goes by the name "The Caretaker." Even the artist’s name, The Caretaker, is a reference to the popular 1980 horror film by Stanley Kubrick.
The album was inspired by a 2010 study suggesting that Alzheimer’s patients remember old memories and information better when it is accompanied by music. If you ever want to go back in time to the 1920s and pretend you’re at a swanky ghost ball, put on this album and let it take you there.
This album consists of samples of old 78rpm gramophone records, which were only made between 1898 and the 1950s. This gives the songs a crackling fuzzy sound that adds to the haunting dark ambient sound of the album. CHRISTINA
RIYL: The Shining, spooky jazz and ragtime from the 1920s, nostalgia
Recommended Tracks: 1, 2, 3, 4, 6, 8, 12, 13, 14, 15
E = m*c^Zane - NoOSInstalled: So E = m*c^Zane was a group recommended to me by a friend. I was a bit hesitant at first but I trusted my friend and after listening to their first and only work, NoOSInstalled, all I can say is that it blew my fucking mind. It might be a stretch to call these guys Jazz but their music has such a reverence for the past while still having a conviction to destroy what’s come before and rebuild anew in a glorious display of divine violence that I’d dare say these cats are Jazz AF.
Not since Ornette Coleman’s The Shape of Jazz to Come or Miles Davis’s Bitches Brew has an album challenged my preconceived notion of Jazz on such an apocalyptic level. The best way to describe this album is by saying it’s as if Daft Punk, Stanley Clarke, and Dave King got together in a garage with the shittiest equipment known to man and decided to create a sonic Jackson Pollock.
The album reaches its climax during the two-part suite, “Homeless Thor,” which will transport you into a mood of pure existential dread; it almost becomes soothing. It’s not A Love Supreme, but it’s certainly a good soundtrack for those nights when you start your homework at 3 a.m. I give it a solid four stars out of five. JATIN
RIYL: Ornette Coleman, Miles Davis, Happy Apple, Pharaoh Sanders
Recommended Tracks: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5
Parliament - Clones of Dr. Funkenstein: With election season right around the corner, I can’t think of anything spookier than the current state of affairs in America (lol! topical! but seriously…). When the political landscape is so disheartening, especially for marginalized groups, it can seem like the only solution is to get as far away as possible. This is where we see the origins of Afrofuturism, as a means of transcendence and escape, for a community that has been continually marginalized throughout American history. In Clones of Dr. Funkenstein, (and really all of George Clinton’s projects) we’re taken on an intergalactic journey that’s funky, and straight up out of this world.
I’ve always been a fan of more obscure Holiday soundtracks (quick s/o to James Brown’s Funky Christmas), and while Clones of Dr. Funkenstein is definitely not your typical spooky Halloween record, it should be! It’s mad fun to listen to, and the arrangements are incredible… probably because every single collaborator on this project is crazy talented. Did anyone else know Fred Wesley did all the horn arrangements? Seriously, it’s no coincidence that this shit grooves so hard.
Clones of Dr. Funkenstein is so funky, you can easily miss the more serious political undertones, but that’s kind of the point. Released less than a year after the heavily politically-charged Mothership Connection (super rad and highly recommended as well), Clones of Dr. Funkenstein is significantly more groovy and lighthearted. It feels like George Clinton made his point on Mothership Connection, and the group just wanted to have some fun with this one. The deeper meaning is there, for sure, but this record really does take you somewhere else for a little bit, and sometimes that’s exactly what we need. ZOE
RIYL: George Clinton, Funkadelic, Stevie Wonder
Recommended tracks: 1, 3, 4, 5, 6, 8
The Rocky Horror Picture Show Soundtrack: What a wonderful time of year, pumpkins and fishnets galore. In honor of this wonderful time of year I have decided to steer the music department towards the “spooky” and “scary.” This opens the door for one of my personal favorite albums and films of all time: the iconic Rocky Horror Picture Show.
Originally filmed in 1975, the film has lasted 40 years of cultural significance, not because of the excellent filmmaking, casting, or even dialogue. It is in every sense a B movie, low budget and by the end of it a bit of a confused mess of a story. The film isn’t really scary either, especially in today’s far more accepting culture. In 1975 however, a few mothers and father would be absolutely horrified by the film. It deals with themes of sexuality and transexuality in such a sultry and audacious manner that truly speaks to people of all walks of life, a sort of unifying piece of the puzzle that draws all those . . . curious in some form or another.
I saw the film for the first time in middle school when my older brother watched it with his friends, it was my first time seeing bisexuality, transexuality, and the exploration of sexuality unfold before me, and I definitely didn’t understand any of it. Now I can understand (and even practice) the things displayed on screen. Looking back, I have begun to see how this film shaped me and many, many others by showing us this lovely world where anything goes, where exploration wasn’t castigated but accepted.
The songs themselves are simple musical show tunes, nothing crazy, the lyrics however, really get into the nitty gritty. In "Sweet Transvestite" I probably heard the first mention of the words transexual or transvestite, I don’t even think I really understood what they meant, I did understand that Tim Curry looked fucking good in fishnet, and more importantly learned that a man could look fucking good. In ‘Toucha Toucha Touch Me’ Susan Sarandon loses not only her clothing but her innocence, doing away with any preconceptions of immorality, her vocals on the track themselves depicting her journey on screen.
Pleasure is king in Rocky Horror and the characters each seek and embrace pleasure throughout. Most importantly, nobody suffers any repercussions from this search, it's all in good fun after all. The general premise, a transvestite Doctor Frankenstein who creates his own personal Adonis built for sexual pleasure, is really quite wonderful.
Get a few friends and watch it if you haven’t, or listen to the tracks, they’ll tell a story all on their own. As a personal recommendation, try to watch it on the TV of your childhood home after your parents go to sleep. Find some innocence to corrupt, maybe put on some red lipstick - really play it up and have some fun with it. RAMIRO
RIYL: Red Lipstick, Tights
Recommended Tracks: 2, 3, 4, 5, 9
Brotha Lynch Hung - Season of da Siccness: Season of da Siccness by Sacramento rapper Brotha Lynch Hung is one of the pillars of horror-core rap. Word has it that mans straight inspired some poor boy to murder three of his friends.
Written around the time of his cousin Q-Ball’s death, Season of da Siccness approaches typical gangsta rap subject matter (murder, drugs, gang violence) through a macabre lens. Expect graphic, unsettling depictions of murder, torture, and mutilation. Brotha Lynch Hung often casually drops lines about cannibalism and killing babies — straight up comparing himself to Jeffrey Dahmer and calling himself “the baby killer”. It’s a little over the top, I won’t front, but almost comical in that way. I mean, the last track is a fictionalized smoking session with the Devil.
That man can rap tho, often switching up his tempo and playing with different melodies, very much like Krayzie Bone. Season of da Siccness is chock full of left coast groovy synths and basslines, while at the same time incorporating creepy ass pitched down hooks, dissonant sounding keys, samples of moaning, and inaudible whispers.
Shit is tight. Happy Halloween. JAISON
RIYL: Fighting People
Recommended Tracks: 2,4,7,13-1
Top Tracks of the Week:
Injury Reserve - All This Money
Great video and track, an easy favorite
LSDXOXO - Cold Wintour ft. Cake Da Killa
Subtle hardness, pervasive attraction
Action Bronson - Durag vs Headband
Slick lyrics in the sense that Action always looks pretty slick with sweat
Common - Home ft. Bilal