Monday, 28 October 2013

10 Great Songs By Masked/Costumed Bands

YES! Halloween is a mere few days away, so in spirit of the occasion and a continuation of yesterday's list i'm about to hit you with 10 songs by bands that act like it's Halloween 365 days a year. Here they are 10 great songs by masked/costumed bands or artists.

1. Slipknot - "Psychosocial"

On a list like this there is really only one place to start: Iowa's Slipknot. I feel many people fail to give Slipknot a chance simply because they choose to wear masks in their videos and when they perform, which is a shame because of the vast number of great songs they have. Their masks have evolved from album to album and have become more sophisticated. Why the masks? There are many answers, but honestly it's fucking cool, so don't worry about it.

2. Mushroomhead - "43"

When a band gets as big as Slipknot there are always other bands that fans and critics mention to draw comparisons to, but in Mushroomhead's case the similarities start at the appearances. Though they got their start in 1993 Mushroomhead really didn't find a mainstream audience until people started to notice the masks worn by Slipknot resemble those donned by Mushroomhead (who initially had the idea to differentiate members from the other bands they were apart of). I'm not hear to start any band-wars and regardless if the idea was ripped off (which I doubt) both bands kick ass and have carved out their own corners of the metal world.

3. Ghost BC - "Monstrance Clock"

Easy now, that says CLOCK. Ghost BC (known as Ghost outside of North America) are relatively new on the scene and have been getting attention at festivals like Coachella and recently Rock in Rio with Alice In Chains and Metallica. The most notable thing about the Swedish group is their members (known only as Nameless Ghouls) wear dark robes and hoods while performing and the vocalist, Papa Emeritus paints his face like a skull and wears the robes of a bishop. The true identity of Ghost BC's musicians has yet to be revealed, if it ever will be.

4. Mudvayne - "Dig"

Why is it only heavier bands seem to do the "lets wear crazy shit when we go on stage" routine? I guess it's not only them, but for the most part. When Mudvayne hit the scene they quickly became known not only for their raw and relentless metal sound, but the different costumes they'd wear while on stage. Fans would be left guessing until the curtain rose. Would it be the alien costumes? The satanic rabbits? When they won the MTV Award for best Hard Rock performance in 2001 they accepted the award in pristine white suits and each member had an oozing bullet hole through their foreheads.

5. Mr. Bungle - "Squeeze Me Macaroni"

Mr. Bungle were a band that never saw much commercial success, though i'm sure they could all be arsed about that. Getting their start in the mid 80's Mr. Bungle were know for their experimental style of music, often combing different sorts of instruments into a single song to achieve the desired effect. Like kazoos, banjos and death-metal drums. They were also known to wear jumpsuits and masks on stage. Or just full blown Halloween costumes. Singer Mike Patton would also go on to take lead vocal duties for Faith No More.

6. Buckethead - "Jordan"

If there's only one thing Buckethead wants to do for the rest of his life it's release albums. To date he's release 62 records. The guy loves playing guitar, and by damn can he ever play it. Though he typically remains a solo artist or studio musician he did agree to become part of Guns n' Roses during the pre-Chinese Democracy days. Some say he stood out like a sore thumb because of his play style...or maybe because of his desire to wear a plain white mask and a KFC bucket on his head while he performs. Either way, he didn't stay caged in GNR for long was soon back on his bucketheadin' album releasin' ways.

7. Deadmau5 - "Ghosts n' Stuff"

Taking an internet screen name that sounds like "deadmouse" came to Joel Zimmerman after he found just that in his home computer when he attempted to clean out the tower. It's a name he continues to use to this day as one of  Canada's most well known and acclaimed House Music producer and performer. Oh and he just happens to wear a giant mouse-like head at his live events.

8. Sleep Party People - "I'm Not Human At All"

I forget where I heard of these guys, but I remember the video distinctly. Everytime I try to describe it always boils down to "The one with those guys in bunny masks". Great song, but i couldn't find much info on the group.

9. Alice Cooper - "Wicked Young Man"

If you don't know Alice Cooper he sort of began the whole Shock Rock musical style in the 70's and 80's. Though his act was not totally original (see Arthur Brown) his was the one that media ate up. Cooper (born Vincent Furnier) claims the soul of a long dead witch named Alice lives inside him and makes him do these horrible acts. Acts that make it on to his stage show (which he thankfully is still putting on to this day). Decapitations and skewerings are common occurrences at an Alice concert. Some acts have gotten him into hot water however, like tossing a live chicken into a rabid crowd...the poor fowl was torn to pieces within seconds.

10. GWAR - "Let Them Slay"

It\s kind of unfair to include Gwar on this list. They aren't humans in costumes. In fact they aren't humans at all. They came from the planet Scummdogia and arrived on our planet when their ship crashed into the Antarctic. There they remained frozen for centuries before a sleazy producer unthawed them and saw their amazing musical prowess. The rest is basically factual history. Other amazing Gwar songs? "Saddam-a-go-go", "Immortal Corrupter" and "Bile Driver". Check them all out though. Do it.

What are you guys dressing up as?

Again Happy Halloween!

JZ - @jonnyzhivago

Sunday, 27 October 2013

10 Great songs for this Halloween

Maybe you've already had your Halloween party, but it's not the end of October yet. There is still plenty of opportunity to let the creepy music ring through the house or workplace. And just in case you're sick of "The Monster Mash" here\s 10 songs that will fit in nicely to any Halloween playlist.

1. Misfits - "Scream!"

Really any song by the Misfits would work on a Halloween playlist. With titles like "Pumpkin Head", "Astro Zombies" and even "Halloween" picking from their catalog is a non-brainer (heh heh). "Scream!" was intended to be used on the soundtrack for the movie of the same name, but the director foolishly decided not to use it. The video was directed by zombie flick legend George A. Romero. Have a peek.

2. Horrorpops - "Walk Like A Zombie"

Though it might not be a particularly frightening tune "Walk Like A Zombie" definitely has the elements and themes that rise from the earth around Halloween. The HorrorPops come from Denmark and have found a modest amount of fame in the recent years. Given the popularity of zombies all year round, this one should fit right in.

3. Cradle Of Filth - "Her Ghost In The Fog"

From horror-punk to goth-metal. This one isn't as much about scary, creepy ghosts as it is about avenging lost loves and helping restless souls find eternal peace. The lyrics paint a lovely picture and weave a fantastic tale, all told on the backdrop of dark misty forests and burned down churches.

4. Type O Negative - "Wolf Moon"

Type O Negative is known for their unique blend of doom and goth metal set beside traditional rock and roll melodies. Like the Misfits, most songs in their library could be used to flesh out a Halloween mix. Since we already have zombies and ghosts, here is "Wolf Moon".

5. The Damning Well - "Awakening"

On the surface "Awakening" sounds like a typical (if not excellent) nu-metal track, but listen closely and you'll realize the song is sung from the eyes of a vampire. A little more digging reveals that this song was featured on the Underworld soundtrack. The Damning Well is actually a supergroup comprised of members from Limp Bizkit, Nine Inch Nails, Filter and Devo.

6. King Gordy - "Lucifer's Apology"

King Gordy is an american horrorcore rapper who is known to collaborate with fellow Detroit rapper Bizarre. "Lucifer's Apology" is a slow brooding tale of a relationship long since dissolved. While it's told through the eyes of Satan yearning to make amends with God, it can also be used as an analogy for many terrestrial relationships as well.

7. The Cure - "Lullaby"

Though a lullaby isn't what jumps to mind when one thinks about being scared, The Cure's Robert Smith has crafted a song about being lulled to sleep only to fall into a nightmare. He based the description of the nightmare on an actual one that had affected him as a child: being eaten alive by a giant spider. If thats not a terrifying thought I don't know what is.

8.  Siouxsie & The Banshees - "Scarecrow"

Legendary horrorpunk group Siouxsie & The Banshees crafts another creepy song. This one seemingly about talking to a Scarecrow in the middle of the night as if it was a real person. And perhaps that Scarecrow convinces Siouxsie to do something unspeakable. Great spooky song.

9. Dave Matthews Band - "Halloween"

Perhaps one of DMB's rarest songs to be performed live "Halloween" has become something of a legend among fans. The only song on Before These Crowded Streets to not have it's lyrics printed on the inside booklet and when it is performed live it's never sung the same way twice. Draw your own conclusions to this one, but it's one of the only songs i've ever had someone tell me that it scared them. Dave kind of wears a Tom Waits mask in this one too. Neat.

10. Arthur Brown - "Fire"

To end off this list i'll give a preview of my next Halloween list which will be released this week. Before Lady Gaga, before Marilyn Manson and even Alice Cooper there was The Crazy World Of Arthur Brown. Yes he is wearing a hat that is on fire. Happy Halloween everyone!

Thanks everyone for reading!

Come back soon for my next Halloween list!


Wednesday, 2 October 2013

10 Songs With Titles That People Often Get Wrong

Not everybody remembers song titles and lyrics like it's the driving route to their place of work. Often times when describing a song they heard people go by the most sung lyric, and even then it's not rare for some to get those wrong too. Here's a list of songs that have been plagued since their release by being called by the wrong name.

1. "Baba O'Riley" - The Who

This is the granddaddy of them all. Even people who pass themselves off as Who fans still call this one "Teenage Wasteland". The lyric respsonsible for this doesn't even appear until around the 2:20 mark, though it does appear frequently throughout the rest of the song. "Baba O'Riley" is actually a combination of 2 early demos by Pete Townsend. The name came from his spiritual adviser Meher Baba and experimental, minimalist composer Terry Riley, who Pete admired.

2. "The Rockafeller Skank" - Fatboy Slim

This song was part of the late 90's revival of electronic and techno music. Maybe it was because audiences at the time weren't used to hearing such amplified, catchy albeit repetitive music that they often mislabeled this one "Funk Soul Brother". Those are the only lines in the song and they are repeated quite often. I guess  audiences at the time weren't used to hearing such amplified, catchy albeit repetitive music.

3. "Sliver" - Nirvana

Speaking of repetitive, Nirvana's "Sliver" is perhaps the most repetitious song in their whole catalog. Not sure if it's typos or inattention to detail that gets this one penned as "Silver" instead of "Sliver", but it is indeed "Sliver". Fun fact: the Nirvana clone band Silverchair named themselves after this song and combined it with You Am I's "Berlin Chair" only to have the same phenomenon occur and it was misread as "Silver" instead of "Sliver". Great song from a great band though.

4. "D'Yer Maker" - Led Zeppelin

There were a few Zeppelin tunes I could have included here, but I had to write about this one. First off i'm sure many audiences don't even know which Zeppelin song this is...they could hear it on the radio and never know the name of the song. It gets often mispronounced as "Dear Maker" or "Dye Er Maker". The reggae influence in the song should be a hint, the proper pronounciation should sound like "Jamaica". It's a pun people! Bad example: "Hey Polly is on an island holiday!", "Jamaica?", "No it was her choice". ZZZiiiinnng!!

5. "Closer" - Nine Inch Nails

I guess the general population isn't overly addicted to song names and artists when it comes to what they like listening to. When a song gets super popular and even transcends genre and jumps into a world that isn't familiar with the rest of the artists' work it just becomes another song. Nine Inch Nails' "Closer" became one of those songs. Instantly popular among youths in the 90's who were interested in pissing off their parents, NIN fans or not, mainly because of it's most memorable line....the line that gets substituted for it's title even to this day "I Wanna Fuck You Like An Animal"

6. "Vincent" - Don McLean

Known mainly for his song "American Pie" Don McLean might be enjoying a little more success today if people were calling his other famous song (and searching for it online) by it's correct name. "Vincent" gets wrongly called "Starry Starry Night" because, I guess, those are the first lyrics in the song. Nevermind that it's a name of a famous painting by Vincent Van Gogh whom the song is about.  See! Even on Youtube it has "Starry Starry Night" in parenthesis. That wasn't there on the album sleeve.  I had American Pie on cassette tape in my younger days. It's awesome. Both sides. I recommend it.

7. "Rainy Day Women #12 & #35" - Bob Dylan

What was Bob on about with that title? This song became an anthem for an entire generation and became known by it's most prominent line "Everybody Must Get Stoned". Though Dylan himself has stated it has nothing to do with drugs and claims he will "never write a drug song". The official story of how the song got it's name was two women came into the recording studio to get out of the rain and Bob correctly guessed their ages at 12 and 35. You can believe what you want and just for squeaks and gigs go ahead and multiply 12 by 35.

8. "Bodies" - Drowning Pool

This one might night seem like a huge reach or an unforgivable sin, but to a music stickler like myself there is a difference between calling a song "Bodies" and calling it "Let The Bodies Hit The Floor". That difference? One is the song's title, the other is not.

9. "Bonzo Goes To Bitgurg" - The Ramones

This song is the only one on the list to actually change it's title the often mislabeled one. It was written about Ronald Reagan's trip to Bitburg, Germany. You see Reagan was once an actor and starred opposite a chimpanzee in a movie called Bedtime For Bonzo. Depending on which version of the story you hear the band changed the song's name or simply added the extra title "My Brain Is Hanging Upside Down" because Johnny Ramone actually supported Reagan and wanted it changed or simply audiences were calling it that anyway because of the song's refrain.

10. "Fightstarter Karaoke" - The Dropkick Murphys

I'm even guilty of this one. For the longest time I thought this song was called "Riot Tonight". I guess it's one of the many downfalls of the digital music era. Not owning the album, holding it in your hand. You get second hand music everyday, and unless you know better, many of the songs you download are either given the wrong title or credited to the wrong artist. Honestly, how many of you have "Walking In Memphis" by Bruce Springsteen in your collection? How about "She Sells Sanctuary" by The Cure? It's a trend that happens constantly and sadly, in the foreseeable future I can only feel it will get worse.

Thanks again all!

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