Mixtape: Boo Wave-The Hellish Sound Of Halloween! 0

Guest mixtape crypt keeper Chris Rooney returns with a selection of spooktacular proportions!


Looking to pair the right “Boo Wave” song with the perfect Halloween treat whether you are hosting a party on October 31st or need some background music while handing out candy to trick-or-treaters? Look no further than these carefully selected sugary recommendations to complement this frightful mixtape.

“Dead Man’s Party” Oingo Boingo (1985)
Just prior to the release of Oingo Boingo’s best-known song, “Dead Man’s Party,” frontman Danny Elfman’s career in film and TV soundtrack composing took off with Tim Burton’s directorial debut, Pee-Wee’s Big Adventure. It began a long-term music score friendship with the cinematic auteur of such dark, quirky horror and fantasy films as Batman, Beetlejuice, Edward Scissorhands, The Nightmare Before Christmas, Sleepy Hollow and Dark Shadows.
Recommended Halloween treat pairing: Lifesavers

Bauhaus, “Bela Lugosi’s Dead” (1979)
Often credited with releasing the first Gothic rock record, Bauhaus’ debut single got greater attention in the opening credits of the 1983 cult vampire film, The Hunger, starring David Bowie, Susan Sarandon and Catherine Deneuve.
Recommended Halloween treat pairing: Wax Fangs

Ghost Town” The Specials (1981)
The ska revival band The Specials scored their biggest hit with their 1981 single, “Ghost Town,” a vivid snapshot at the time of the inner city decline in Thatcher’s England.
Recommended Halloween treat pairing: Skittles

Ministry, “(Everyday is) Halloween”  (1984)
With its opening lyrics, ‘Well, I live with snakes and lizards and other things that go bump in the night’, Ministry’s 1984 12″ record, “(Everyday is) Halloween” was a goth club favorite. Eventually the Al Jourgensen-led band became more of an industrial metal outfit by the late 1980s and abandoned their earlier Gothic synthpop sound.
Recommended Halloween treat pairing: Candy Cigarettes

The Police, “Spirits In The Material World”  (1981)
So much for the motto “All for one, one for all” from this trio. Having written the song on a synthesizer, Sting wanted to record it that way instead of having Andy Summers play it on guitar. After a considerable argument between the two of them, they compromised by recording on both instruments. The end product had the synthesizer drowning out much of Summer’s guitar. Seems like the lyrics’ commentary on the nature of man’s existence and the failure of our institutions goes hand-in-hand with the band’s conflicting egos.
Recommended Halloween treat pairing: Three Musketeers

Bollock Brothers, “Horror Movies” (1983)
Numerous references to classic Hollywood and Hammer Studio horror creatures abound as the Bollock Brothers share their love of watching them on the big screen every Friday night with their girlfriends.
Recommended Halloween treat pairing: Popcorn Balls

The Comateens, “Ghosts” (1981)
Epitomizing “New York City cool” whether it is 1981 or now, the new wave trio built a small cult following with their brittle, deadpan pop.
Recommended Halloween treat pairing: Pop Rocks

Fred Schneider, “Monster” (1984)
With a silly delivery, silly lyrics, and even sillier claymation, how could anyone take the solo single from B-52’s singer Fred Schneider so seriously? Apparently, MTV wouldn’t play it on the air because of its over-the-top double entendre references to the monster in Fred’s pants. Fred did get some love though from his B-52’s bandmate Kate Pierson who provided backing vocals in addition to appearing on its music video along with Tina Weymouth of Talking Heads, artist Keith Haring and drag queen Ethyl Eichelberger.
Recommended Halloween treat pairing: Charms Blow Pops

Siouxsie & The Banshees, “Halloween” (1981)
Who better to embrace the haunted holiday, than Siouxsie Sioux, the Queen of Goth, with her tousled jet black hair and signature cat-eye makeup?
Recommended Halloween treat pairing: Black Licorice

Mental As Anything, “Spirit Got Lost” (1983)
Drawing comparisons to their British contemporaries like XTC, Squeeze and Nick Lowe, the Australian band delivered their brand of new wave with a quirky, ironic sense of humor and a decidedly suburbian local flavor.
Recommended Halloween candy pairing: Violet Crumble candy bars from Down Under

The Psychedelic Furs, “The Ghost In You” (1984)
Richard Butler’s voice and style has often been compared to David Bowie, one of his major inspirations, and it’s most apparent on The Furs’ 1984 light and fluffy song, “Ghost Inside You”.
Recommended Halloween treat pairing: Milky Way candy bars

Kate Bush, “Waking The Witch” (1985)
One of the songs on the more experimental second side of Kate’s album, The Hounds of Love, “Waking The Witch” is the spine-tingling pinnacle of her character’s nocturnal journey drifting alone at sea.
Recommended Halloween treat pairing: Kit Kat bars

“Scary Monsters (And Super Creeps)” David Bowie (1981)
Bowie welcomed in the 1980s and the third act of his career with his album of the same name as this track. Concurrent to the album’s release, Bowie was doing a three-month run on Broadway starring as the lead character in The Elephant Man.
Recommended Halloween treat pairing: (Life On) Mars Bars

“All You Zombies” The Hooters (1985)
Perhaps the high point of their careers, The Hooters performed their mystical, Bible-referencing minor hit, “All You Zombies” at the Live Aid benefit concert in their hometown of Philadelphia. Live Aid organizer Bob Geldof has publicly stated that he didn’t see the Hooters as a high-profile band suitable for Live Aid, but that the band was forced on him by Bill Graham, the legendary American concert promoter for the Philly venue.
Recommended Halloween treat pairing: Really old, shriveled-up Sun-Maid raisins

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Anne Lennox: Why I Won’t Get Plastic Surgery 0

A couple of months ago I had the pleasure of interviewing one of my idols, Annie Lennox. Sitting in a spacious, all-white office with a view of the Hollywood Hills, she regaled me with colorful anecdotes about the Eurythmics, including the story behind their breakout hit, “Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This).” Hopefully you’ll read all about it in Mad World: Book 2.

With a new album of melancholic cover songs (think: “Strange Fruit” and “I Put a Spell on You”) on the horizon — not to mention her 60th birthday this December — she was in a contemplative mood. Since that record, Nostalgia, is out today, and since those provocative new photos of Renée Zellweger are inescapable at the moment, I thought it apt to share a few of the things that she had to say about aging, plastic surgery, and why she didn’t want to Photoshop herself on Nostalgia‘s album cover (shown here):


 I’ve had my picture taken many, many times over the years, from when I was in my twenties right up to now. There’s a challenge when you are photographed, as a woman particularly. You get older, you get more wrinkles, obviously. I’m almost 60, and I was like, “How do I do this — because I don’t want to be so Photoshopped that I look like a wax-work dummy. I want to show my age, but I also don’t want to look so harsh that I look really old.” Everybody’s sensitive to pictures of themselves. Everybody wants a nice picture; nobody wants a harsh one. Also, when people talk about me, they think about the eighties and the nineties. But [I’m] not 27 anymore. But if you’re in the public eye, you get kind of stuck that way in people’s minds. I still think of the Beatles as the mop tops.

So I tried to get the balance right. I thought, “Maybe this has caught the truthfulness of where I’m at now.” There was something about the expression that [photographer Robert Siberry] caught in my face; when I looked at it I thought, “It’s like my whole life’s experiences coming out through my eyes.” I really felt that.

I haven’t had any plastic surgery — no Botox, no nothing. Honestly, I would go to the plastic surgeon tomorrow if he could make me just a little bit . . . maybe give me a little bit of this and a little bit of that. But that’s not going to happen. They’re going to do something, and I’m going to walk out of the office, and it’s going to look really obvious that I’ve had plastic surgery. I don’t want that.

We’re all sensitive about how we look — all of us: male, female, some more than others. And women are vulnerable. But what I see happening is that people have a dysmorphic sense of how they look. You can see it from miles away — somebody walks up towards you and instantly you see the work that’s done. What kind of butcher allows women to go out of their surgery looking that way and feeling happy about it? They’re not allowing themselves to age gently. Don’t get me wrong: If people had plastic surgery and it was done in such a subtle way that it just made them look a little bit better, fantastic. Nothing wrong with that. But the majority of time, they have plastic surgery and it looks like a really distorted mask. And they’re going about with these bloated lips and these kind of pulled back foreheads. I look at that and that disturbs me.


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Mixtape: New Wave R&B 2

The black influence on eighties music is well-known. Just like Lennon & McCartney and Jagger & Richards spent every hour and every penny down the import stores buying every new American R&B record, so the likes of Duran Duran, Spandau Ballet, Wham! and the Pet Shop Boys filled their formative years with disco, funk and rap 12-inchers. But did the influence bleed back to the source? Did any black act of the eighties soak up even the slightest new wave inspiration? Here’s some songs that offer evidence that they did. (To listen via Spotify, or follow any of our playlists there, click here.)

“Warm Leatherette,” Grace Jones

An iconic figure without an iconic soundtrack, Grace Jones place in the firmament changed when Island boss Chris Blackwell came up with the bright idea of sending her off to Jamaica to work with deadly rhythm section Sly & Robbie on an incredibly eclectic collection of songs. The Pretenders, Tom Petty and Sting covers were somewhat predictable. This one was not. The Warm Leatherette album and it’s two sequels were three of the most influential records of the decade.

“Dead Giveaway,” Shalamar

Jeffrey Daniel of Shalamar debuted the moonwalk on Top of the Pops while promoting his band’s “I Can Make You Feel Good.” The result: Shalamar’s “Friends” album became a hit machine and the trip spent a lot of time in the UK. When they embarked on their follow-up album, The Look”, their leathers and relaxed hair were a thing of the past. The band now sported an image not a million miles from The Thompson Twins and their hooks had a little more edge.

Somebody’s Watching Me,” Rockwell

One-hit wonder paranoid classic. The little-heard follow-up actually referenced adam Ant and Culture Club.

“Jump (For My Love)”, Pointer Sisters

I’ve written about my undying love for the Pointer Sisters Breakout album before. “Automatic”, “Neutron Dance” and, especially, this song are R&B synthpop classics.

The Belle of St. Mark,” Sheila E

It’s tough to track down even Prince-affiliated clips but there was an insane New Romantic/ funk crossover going on with a lot of his early-to-mid eighties productions and the songs he did for his right-hand woman on this and her Romance 1600 album are enduring gems.

I Sweat (Going Through the Motions),” Nona Hendryx

The most flamboyant member of Labelle, which is no mean feat, Nona Hendryx never quite managed to find the perfect combination right song and the right look but she came close a few times, such as this one.

“Bustin’ Out,” Material ft. Nona Hendryx

Bill Laswell of Material produced the Nona hendryx song above but this was their most astounding collaboration.This one track justifies the concept behind the entire concept. One of the first Ze records I ever bought, but certainly not the last.

“There But for the Grace of God Go I,” Machine

Not strictly Ze, but co-written by August Darnell later to find fame as Kid Creole. Brilliant record with a biting, Not In My Backyard lyric that hasn’t aged a day. Someone needs to do an inferior cover of this like now!

“Alligator Woman (Secrets of Time),” Cameo

When interviewing the founder members of Devo for Mad World:The Book, I never got around to asking them about their influence on eighties r&b but it’s right here in this Cameo hit.

“L is for Lover,” Al Jarreau

Dentist office smooth jazz perennial Al Jarreau may not be your idea of a new wave r&b crossover giant but this particular song was written by Scritti Politti and produced by Nile Rodgers AND it gives a shout-out to my home town of Glasgow so it more than qualifies!

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