Sep 30 2016

6’+ Episode 191 is Up!

2013 Logo IconTo quote the description given at the new listing:

“It’s a Misfits-tastic episode, but we’re only playing one song — over and over again. Strange Jason is going out of his mind as he plays covers of this one song by THE CRIMSON GHOSTS, RIPSNORTER, ROMERO’S NATION and a very special WORLD PREMIERE of WEREWOLVES IN SIBERIA’s version of “Skulls.” The only thing not about skulls on this show is Monstermatt Patterson, though you might wind up a numbskull at the end of THE MONSTERMATT MINUTE!”

Remember to email 6′+ (contact at 6ftplus.com) or leave a comment below about the show, whether you liked it or not. Tell your friends, leave a review on iTunes, but above all – enjoy.

You can find all episodes of 6′+ over at the official site as well as on iTunes and Stitcher. They’re also on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Sep 25 2016

Wolfmen of Mars- Warped Suburbium

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Just in time for the Halloween season, Wolfmen of Mars drop a new E.P.
Warped Suburbium. And let me tell you, this instrumental sonic blast of 6 songs is garunteed to put you in a spooky mood.
This outing for the Wolfmen of Mars feels like Halloween to me. Songs like these could be a score to your favorite creepy horror film.
And that’s not to say the music sounds like generic movie scores, because it is anything but. There are unique sounds being explored here.Wolfmen are the masters of instrumental horror psyche music. Imagine John Carpenter with a few more interesting ideas thrown in.
Over the past few years, WMOM have been building their fanbase and reputation with a steady stream of unique and consistantly awesome releases. Warped Suburbium is definetly a testament to that fact and is quickly becoming my favorite outing by them.
Go download this for “name your price” at Wolfmen of Mars I’m told a physical release will be coming coming soon. And if you want a cool 13×13 print of the wicked album art to frame and put on your wall like I did, you can go straight to the artists’, Mister Reusch, Etsy shop at Mister Reusch
You can also get various editions of physical vinyl copies of their latest full length, “The Witch,The Goat and The Malevolent Spirit”, from Poisoned Mind Records

Sep 18 2016

The Fungi From Yuggoth, Part Two

Here are the construction details of the flying Mi-Go created by Mark Jones. It’s a clever, inexpensive method for creating large-scale props using expanding foam over a PVC armature. I’ll turn things over to Mr. Jones:

Body: The body parts are made from Expanding Foam used in packing. I traced a shape of the body part onto cardboard, laid a 3’x4′ piece of plastic over it. Traced the shape with hot glue, and put another sheet onto that. Thus, I have a plastic, semi-balloon-like mold. I sprayed the foam in and it expands to fill the shape I outlined. I did this for 3 upper body parts, and 3 abdomen parts. I sort of based the shape on wasp bodies.

The fast foam from work is very fragile. You can press your fingers into it very easily. Great Stuff foam insulation from Home Depot is stronger when it dries. I coated all the body parts with a layer of Great stuff and smeared it around. This gave a nice lumpy surface, and a harder protective outside. I’ve used this technique on many projects.

Skeleton:
I used 1/2″ cpvc pipe for the basis of the rest of the skeleton. The upper body has a rectangle shape aligned vertically to the body. The top bar is the attachment for the wings, the bottom bar is the attachment for the legs, the front for the head, and the back is for the tail.

I attached two tubes to each side of the upper skeleton. These are where the wings would set into. (more on wings later). From the front bar of the rectangle, there was a T fitting. I drilled a 1/2″ hole in the juncture, so I could slide it onto the vertical front bar. Thus I had one fitting facing forward (for the neck) and two going left-right (for the arms).

I have a hot-wire foam cutter I made and sliced the upper body and tail vertically from front to back. I then carved out the shape of the space where the plastic pipes would fit inside. I used Great stuff as “glue” to put it back together with the appropriate parts stick out.

Legs:
I wanted the legs to be springy and tried 3 or 4 designs before I found a simple solution. The leg sections are the same pvc pipe. each section is cut at an angle for the bend of the legs. Two holes are drilled and the top of each joint. Two sections are attached at the joints with two small tie-wraps. There is 1″ piece of pipe with a 45 degree connector on each side. This is the leg “hub” for each pair of
legs. 3 sections make up each leg. The claw is a salad fork. You can find them cheap at Party City stores. Each section has a 3-foot piece of bungee cord running through it, to the hub, and through to the next section. The cord is pinned at the end of each leg. This gives the sections the bounce and the tie wraps keep them bending just one directions.

Wings:
The wings are made up of three rods of 1/4″ Plexiglas and iridescent cellophane wrapping. Rods were bought from a plastics supply company I frequent. The wrapping was from Party City, and it took two rolls, counting trial and error. The rods were cut into 3-foot lengths. A heat gun was used to put a curve into each rod. A bend 6 inches from the end was put a one end, to act as the mounting point. 3 rods were taped together at this straight mounting end, and fit into the vertical tubes in the back of the migo body. The three rods were kept spread apart by a springy piece of wire from an old Car window shade. Small loops were bent into the ends of the wire, and it was tie-wrapped to the wing-rods. With the shape in place, the cellophane was cut into strips, crumpled up, smoothed out and hot glued to the wing rods. This gave a torn, ragged, ethereal look to the wings.

Head:
This part I was never happy with the results. I did a lot of trial and error and finally settled on this design. They looked a bit better in real life than in the pictures. I started with a foam ball shape about 6″x4″ in rough shape. I had found some LED lights, battery opperated, each one color changing. I embedded the lights randomly around the foam core, and hot glued them into place. I crumpled a ball of cellophane and glued it over each light to diffuse it (this did not work as well as I would have liked.) I then covered the whole head with bubble wrap to simulate the “brain-like” nature of the Migo head.

The antenna came out well. I took pipe cleaners, smeared the Great Stuff foam on them and allowed to dry. These were painted with red fluorescent paint. I stripped about 1 inch of the end, applied hot glue and stuck it through the bubble wrap into the core foam. Those came out well. The “neck” part of the skeleton was an 6″ pointed piece of pvc, so I just stuck the head on. The batter pack (4 AA batteries) was embedded into a slot cut in the upper back of the body section. Since the migo were hanging in the air, and it was dark, it could not be seen.

All of the parts except the wing were painted with Krylon Ultra Flat black paint. I used Wildfire fluorescent yellow in a type of highlighting technique to paint the lines on the body. I kept the brush kind of flat, and drug it over the lumps the foam made. This produced a nice effect.

Each of the migo had three attachment points for lines to hang them on. One at each shoulder and one just before the tail section. Wire then ran to a large, bamboo pole with a cross piece. This allowed my minions to dangle them off the roof during the presentation.

This article originally appeared at Propnomicon.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 License.

Sep 17 2016

The Fungi From Yuggoth

This is what Halloween should be like.

Mark Jones was kind enough to send over some pictures and background material from the Lovecraftian presentation he created for his Halloween get together. It not only featured a Mi-Go brain cylinder, but an entire swarm of the Fungi flying overhead.

I host a big Halloween party every year, and in the last few, there has been a more theatrical presentation in addition to the decorations I usually do. This year, it was based around the Migo and the Brain Cylinder…

The Migo were painted flat black, with UV paint on them to give an interesting look to them. They were lit by 4’foot black lights, three units, set on the roof of the porch. The 3 migo were suspended like marionette puppets from long pole by my minions.

You’ll find the narration and presentation notes for “An Investigation Concerning A Brass Cylinder” over here on Google Docs. Here are a few snapshots of the airborne Mi-Go under blacklight illumination:

Tomorrow I’ll have some pictures of the marionettes under construction along with the very clever techniques used to bring them to life. My sincere thanks to Mr. Jones for sharing his work.

This article originally appeared at Propnomicon.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 License.

Gravedigger’s Local 16 is not to be held responsible for the content on or anything that may occur (be it good or bad) as a result of visiting or downloading from any links on those sites (or constructing a project that was originally detailed on them). Attempt at your own discretion.

Sep 09 2016

6’+ Episode 190 is Up!

2013 Logo IconTo quote the description given at the new listing:

“Happy Birthday, Gravediggers Local 16! It’s been 8 years since the Weird Jon, Strange Jason and the rest of the Front Office debuted online. So, we’re throwing a party! Hear tracks from GHOUL SQUAD, THE SPECTRES, THEE GRAVEMEN and more. Monstermatt Patterson takes a turn at the Piñata but ends up tangled up in another MONSTERMATT MINUTE. It also wouldn’t be a party without gifts, so Kraig Khaos has another KILLER KUT.”

Remember to email 6′+ (contact at 6ftplus.com) or leave a comment below about the show, whether you liked it or not. Tell your friends, leave a review on iTunes, but above all – enjoy.

You can find all episodes of 6′+ over at the official site as well as on iTunes and Stitcher. They’re also on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Sep 06 2016

12 Interesting Things About Godzilla

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With a monster as famous as Godzilla, it’s hard to follow the format I set in up my previous articles about Hedorah, Gigan and Mothra. So much about Godzilla is already known and discussing things like height and weight changes would result in getting too bogged down in details. My having already used a lot of the really obscure stuff in other articles hasn’t helped, either. But I think I’ve managed to assemble a respectable amount of relatively obscure trivia for you:

1. Godzilla’s skin texture is supposed to remind viewers of the keloid scars seen on some of the survivors of the Hiroshima bombings.

2. Godzilla, King of the Monsters was not the original title the American distributors of the first film were going to use. The earliest reference to the film’s upcoming American release simply referred to it as “Gojira” and the title Godzilla, The Sea Beast was considered at one point.

3. Toho filmed new live action footage of Godzilla (and other kaiju) for the pachinko game CR Godzilla 3S-T Battle.

4. Although the original plan for Godzilla Raids Again was to release the film under that name in the US, the producer of the American version changed the name to Gigantis, The Fire Monster in order to keep people from thinking it was just a reissued version of the first film. Considering how the 40’s Captain America serial was put back in theaters under the name The Return of Captain America in the 50’s, he wasn’t wrong to think there could be some confusion.

5. Godzilla fans are very familiar with how the name “Gojira” is a combination of the words “gorilla” and “kujira” (Japanese for “whale”), which apparently was the nickname of a Toho employee. However, all evidence seems to point to the employee having never existed.

6. The musical composition most commonly referred to as Godzilla’s theme was actually supposed to represent the Japanese military!

7. There’s a line of Japanese watermelons which are marketed as “Godzilla eggs.”

8. The first piece of Godzilla merchandise ever released in Japan was a 1955 target game. It took America until the 60’s to get their first Godzilla product, which was a board game.

9. Thanks to the use of different costumes in numerous films, Godzilla’s appearance has changed over the years. But if you don’t pay enough attention, you might not notice how Godzilla lost a toe on each foot (among other details)!

10. Have you ever wondered how Godzilla returned for all those sequels despite having been killed by the Oxygen Destroyer in the first movie? According to the Japanese version of Godzilla Raids Again, the Godzilla in that film is actually a similarly mutated member of the same species and not the original monster. This was further confirmed in a proposed 90’s film where the ghost of the first Godzilla battles the Godzilla of the Heisei films and later in Godzilla Against MechaGodzilla.

11. The first time Godzilla appeared in a Japanese film using only computer effects was in a dream sequence from Always-Zoku San-Chome no Yuhi (which means “Always-Sunset on Third Street 2” in English) in 2007.

12. Godzilla is both an official citizen and cultural ambassador of Japan. On top of that, he also has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Not bad for a fictional character!

Sep 06 2016

6’+ Episode 189 is Up!

2013 Logo IconTo quote the description given at the new listing:

“Labor Day? Strange Jason is busy at work, recapping some creepy music shows he saw over the past summer — including catching FORBIDDEN DIMENSION at the Midnite Monster Hop. It’s a walk down memory lane, but memories can’t be trusted so it gets a bit messy. Watch your step as we stroll past THE MESSER CHUPS, THE VOODUO, SCREAMIN’ REBEL ANGELS and more. Speaking of things that can’t be trusted — Monstermatt Patterson returns with another MONSTERMATT MINUTE.”

Remember to email 6′+ (contact at 6ftplus.com) or leave a comment below about the show, whether you liked it or not. Tell your friends, leave a review on iTunes, but above all – enjoy.

You can find all episodes of 6′+ over at the official site as well as on iTunes and Stitcher. They’re also on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Aug 31 2016

6’+ Episode 188 is Up!

2013 Logo IconTo quote the description given at the new listing:

“TIKI OASIS 2016 is over but we still are celebrating the huge event that saw a supernatural line-up of music, monsters and tiki culture! In this long-awaited (long delayed) episode, hear tracks from CREEPXOTICA, THE LAMPSHADES, THE MISSION CREEPS, THE PRIMITIVE FINKS and more. Monstermatt Patterson enters sin a surfing contest in THE MONSTERMATT MINUTE and Kraig Khaos discovers a new recipe for the Zombie drink in KILLER KUTS. Big shout out, once again, to Dionysus Records for tracks featured on this episode.”

Remember to email 6′+ (contact at 6ftplus.com) or leave a comment below about the show, whether you liked it or not. Tell your friends, leave a review on iTunes, but above all – enjoy.

You can find all episodes of 6′+ over at the official site as well as on iTunes and Stitcher. They’re also on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Aug 30 2016

Groovie Ghoulies-Born In The Basement Vinyl Reissue

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Eccentric Pop Records has been doing some great work on their Groovie Ghoulies reissues. After putting out the collection of the Ghoulies first 3 7″s for the “Flying Saucer Rock N Roll” LP, repressing it, releasing Kepi Ghoulie and the Accelorators reworking of Fun in the Dark, releasing and then repressing the Kepi Goes Country record , then releasing the reissue of the first Groovie Ghoulies record, “Appetite For Adrenochrome”, Eccentric Pop now brings you the reissue of the Ghoulies 2nd album, “Born In The Basement” on limited edition red vinyl.

Born in the Basement is the album with some of the Groovie Ghoulies best known songs, such as “The Beast With Five Hands,” “I Wanna Have Fun,” & “Hypergenerate”. Lots of pop-punk spooky fun on this album.

Limited to 500 copies on red vinyl. The CD version of this reissue has been out for about a month or so and is also available. As with the other GG reissues on Eccentric Pop you get awesome new cover art and insert art by Tom Neely.
And as of now, while supplies last, every order gets a free copy of Eccentric Pop’s new fanzine. Chalked full of interviews with Kepi Ghoulie,a look into the new Putz record and so much more.

So head on over to http://eccentricpoprecords.storenvy.com// and grab this before it’s gone.

 

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Aug 29 2016

Freaky Tiki Surf-ari: Tres Gatos Suave

The Turbosonics
Official Site
Tres Gatos Suave, Self-release 2015
VFW Surf, Self-release 2008

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When I last discussed the Turbosonics, I expressed hope the (then) upcoming release of Tres Gatos Suave (“Three Cool Cats” for those who you who didn’t take high school Spanish) would lead to more spooky stuff by the band. Did I get my wish? Let’s look at the album and find out!

“Ricochet” kicks things off with a literal bang and the same sound effect occasionally returns throughout the track. The rollicking surf music is comprised of numerous cymbal strikes and varied guitar work. “Sand Devil” is the first example of the band delving into the scary side of things on this album and I was not disappointed. It’s fast, but not frantically so. “Frozen Surf” is much slower and mellower, but the percussion and well-timed appearances by reverb keep it from ever getting repetitive. There are some excellent guitar variations on display as well. The seagulls which come in at the end nicely lead into the soothing retro melody that is “Jennette’s Pier.” I love the drum work in “Dune Burger.” There’s plenty of classic surf touches can be found in this, along with hand claps and samples of Samuel L. Jackson’s character from Pulp Fiction. It definitely sound like the sort of thing that could have been on the film’s soundtrack, especially given the traces of surf favorites “Miserlou” and “Rumble” in its musical DNA.

“Meat Slicer from Outer Space” is the longest track of the album, not that you’ll mind thanks to the bongos, maracas and reverb (along withe lots of sound effects thrown in for good measure). It’s sure to become one of your favorites. “Skip Jack Strut” has a peppy feel thanks to its use of tambourines, along with plenty of reverb and percussion. The “Hey ho” chorus makes it especially infectious. The opening of “Black Spoon Fuzz” is wonderfully dirty and gritty. It’s why “fuzz” is in its title, after all. The insanely catchy garage rock feel and the amazing bongo section just blew me away. “Marcellus Waltz” is, just as the name implies, a waltz. A surf guitar waltz with a “Latin” feel, but a waltz none the less. At least until things get kicked up a notch or two later in the song. I love the percussion work here. It’s a brilliant idea for the album to end with several attention-grabbers in a row. That said, the waltz segments also help the listener calm down and cool off after listening to so many such tracks. Gosh, given the other Pulp Fiction reference on this and the “Hattori Hanzo” song from their last album, I think they just might be Quentin Tarantino fans!

The Turbosonics have hit it out of the park once again and I urge all surf fans to pick up this album ASAP. But since the album was somewhat shorter (track-wise) than the other releases being covered in this year’s Freaky Tiki Surf-ari, let’s move from ASAP to VFW. VFW Surf, that is.

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Not only does this special Bandcamp freebie feature the band’s original lineup, but it consists entirely of classic covers! Covers of songs by the Gamblers, Dick Dale, the Pixies, Link Wray and Big Ray and the Futuras to be precise. Speedy drums lead to lots of varied reverb guitar goodness in “Moon Dawg.” The Turbosonics’ take on “Miserlou” is much longer here than it was on Live At Howlers – Pittsburgh, 2010 thanks to it not having been paired with “Maleguena” like it was there. It’s a bit more subdued than one might expect from a cover of this iconic surf track, but it still conveys all the power of the original. “Cecelia Ann” is awesomely heavy and I love the use of percussion in the opening of “Jack the Ripper.” It’s somewhat shorter than their version from Live at Howler’s – 2012, but that doesn’t make it any less awesome. As someone who used to play the drums in school concerts, I always love an opening which features the clacking of drumsticks. But there’s so much more to love in “Horrorscope.” There’s also numerous guitar variations, speedy percussion and, yes, even the overall feel! Every single one of these covers is worthy of standing alongside the originals and I feel 100% confident in saying this. But you don’t have to take my word for it, as all three of these albums are available as free downloads over at their official Bandcamp page. So go on and treat yourself to some surf excellence. Your ears will thank you for it!

Special thanks to the Turbosonics for use of the images!

Aug 26 2016

Freaky Tiki Surf-ari: Maritime Mysteries

Kava Kon
Official Site
Maritime Mysteries, self-release 2016

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It’s been a long time since we last heard from Kava Kon. Although the proposed EP Virgin Lava has yet to materialize, I can’t complain since we got a full album instead. That’s right, Maritime Mysteries is the band’s third album and the wait was completely worth it!

Right off the bat, “Maritime Melodies” makes it clear this is going to be a very different Kava Kon album. We start off with bird calls, which lead into vocals and music which screams “vintage psychedelic rock” (right down to the distorted guitars). It’s not what you would expect, but is still enjoyable. I especially liked the whistling outro. “Lili in the Land of giants” has a more classic exotica feel to it. To be specific, it sounds like the opening theme to an old Hollywood movie set in the South Pacific from the 60’s. There’s our old friends the piano and chimes, along with some great guitar and string work. Just as first track showcased the differences of new album, this track reassures fans of first two albums that they haven’t been forgotten. Mellow reverbing guitars and exotic percussion define “The Boat Man.” I love the chanting and lighter touches which are woven into this. The relaxing drums can easily lull you into sleep if you’re not careful. “Escape from Bermuda” opens with slightly spooky tones which leads to elegant piano work, but there’s other intriguing touches as well. It’s fairly dark and has quiet the interesting closing. In “The eel charmer,” maracas and wordless vocals meld with bouncy, vaguely Indian music. Are those snippets of vibes I detect? I’m too busy marveling over the guitar and groaning, droning finish to be sure.

Soft guitar work and percussion start off “Pink Morning Blues,” but are soon joined by other musical touches, including people singing! According to Kava Kon, the lengthy “Zodiac Trance” is “hypnotic & psychedelic neo-exotica inspired by classical indian drone music.” I can’t describe it better than they did. It also explains several elements from the previous tracks. “Piper of the Tongan Harvest” is a personal favorite of mine. There’s a slow organ buildup, chain-like clanking and female vocals which take the listener to faraway lands. “Dark Side of the Canoe” is, just as the name implies, inspired by Pink Floyd. It also features some flute and saxophone work by M. Lawrence Abrams. This particular track is much more upbeat and lighter than past tracks. It’s perfect soundtrack to a lazy island day. “King of the Ocean” opens with a sample reading of Sylvia Plath’s “November Graveyard” and other such samples occasionally pop up throughout track. Drums, bird calls, guitars and so much more combine with female vocals for a most interesting experience. It makes for a unique close to a unique album.

Kava Kon has done it again and Maritime Mysteries is proof how doing something differently isn’t necessarily a bad thing. When I first listened to this, I feared their fans would be divided similar to what seems to happen ever other time Daft Punk releases a new album. Thankfully everyone seems to love it! But the good news doesn’t end there. Over on their official Facebook page, the group has discussed releasing unused material from past albums as part of future releases. Although the album is only available on Bandcamp as of this writing, there has been talk of physical media releases (including vinyl) and having it appear elsewhere online. It sure sounds like the best is yet to come!

Special thanks to Kava Kon for the review copy!

Aug 16 2016

Freaky Tiki Surf-ari: Genki Genki Panic

Genki Genki Panic
Official Site
Ghoulie High Harmony, Canker Bay Records 2015
Spooky Fingers, Canker Bay Records 2016

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The Japanese word “genki” is hard to translate thanks to its many potential English meanings. A quick online shows people romanizing it as “energy,” “happy,” “energetic,” “lively” and “enthusiastic.” It’s apparently also used in Japan as a quick way of asking how someone is doing. After much time and consideration, I have concluded the best translation of “Genki Genki Panic” is “a kickass mix of horror punk and surf from Tennessee.” But just who are these mysterious men in lucha libre masks?

The story of Genki Genki Panic starts in Chattanooga, TN. It was there in late 2014 that guitarist Carlos Satana (then known as “Chanco” ) and drummer El Fatsquatch first teamed up. Sometime after recruiting the bassist Larde, Fatsquatch had to leave the band due to health issues. A new drummer known only as Diazabaal joined for a few months in 2015 and his departure led to fill-in bassist El Dorido the Bionic Vaper Boy switching over to the drums. I also understand they have plans to add a new bassist and percussionist sometime as well! But don’t let the departures fool you. They’re all still friends and former members are free to (and have) return for special appearances.

For those new to the group, let’s go back to the original lineup with Ghoulie High Harmony. Although they had released some practice room demos and the Vaya Con Diablos EP prior to that particular album, its status as their first full release makes it a perfect introduction to the sounds and style of GGP. “The Munge” has a wonderfully creepy surf opening with great percussion work. It later kicks up with a more a rockin’ feel at times (but still retains the creepy vibe). Don’t look up the song’s title online. Trust me on this. The guitars really shine in the speedy opening of “Drag The Lake (The Afterlife Aquatic).” The track has the feel of something nasty hiding just beneath the surface, watching and waiting for its next victim. Named after Robert Englund’s directorial debut, “976-EVIL” blasts out the gate with breakneck speed and effortlessly melds classic surf touches with a distinct modern surf feel. “Swamp Hands” 02:24 gives you the surf you crave with the reverb you need. The the slowdown segment and awesome ending making this required listening. The opening drumroll of “HPV Lovecraft” sets the stage for a most interesting beat which later transitions into a vaguely eastern European folk surf tune. In “Camp Crystal Lake,” the guitars set up a lurking, vaguely 60’s spy music feel for the bulk of the track and “Sexting The Dead” is like frozen preserves. That’s right, it’s a solid jam! “Slaughterhouse ’69” has a somewhat similar tone to first track. But that’s where the similarities end. I love the bursts of reverb and haunting musical wailing provided by the theremin. You could easily get away with blasting this on Halloween or in a homemade haunted house. “Your Body Is A Wasteland” may be incredibly fast, but it’ll never make you feel like they finished too quickly. The bouncy feel reminds me of waves, so this could be the perfect track to play to someone who’s having trouble understanding why this sort of music is called surf music. “The Spectrophiliac” has a very 60’s rock feel, right down to the use of percussion. There’s also plenty of eeriness to go around, so everything is just perfect.

Listening to Ghoulie High Harmony made me realize something very important. There’s a big difference between horror surf and surf groups who occasionally tackle horror and sci-fi themes. Although both are great, listening to Genki Genki Panic has reminded me just how different they are and how I’ve been missing out on horror surf for far too long. I’ll definitely be making a more concerted effort to seek out true horror surf for future installments of the Freaky Tiki Surf-ari. But seeing as how the band has changed its lineup since then, let’s check out their most recent release (as of this writing): the Spooky Fingers EP.

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The heavy but fast “Werewolf By Night” is named for the Marvel comic. But despite its namesake being a super hero, the opening scream and guitars really crank up the menace. “Two Girls, One Casket” has a soft and eerie opening which reminds me of a haunted music box, but it soon becomes the speedy surf we know and love. In addition to the dueling guitars and pipe organ, there’s a very Danny Elfman feel to this track. Try to imagine the sound of a cartoon character running around and you’ll have a good idea of what I mean. “Desecration” provides appropriately moody and soft instrumentation while “Phantom III ’37” opts for the speedy and (relatively) subdued. At least until the drums and cymbals cut loose at the end! In “When Bats Cry,” a Rob Zombie’s “Dragula”-style opening buildup leads to a bouncy reverb beat which shapes most of the song. It’s one hell of a closing number, that’s for sure. It’s also a tribute to both Prince and John Carpenter. Check their Facebook page if you don’t believe me!

This album is proof positive Genki Genki Panic is not afraid to change their style up. But even with the changes, fans of the first album are sure to love this too. With a selection of influences ranging from the Ghastly Ones to Ennio Morricone and the skills back it all up, you’re sure to find something to love about their music. So pick up their albums and prepare to let the spooky surf goodness wash over you!

Special thanks to Genki Genki Panic for use of the images!

Aug 08 2016

Freaky Tiki Surf-ari: Alika Lyman Group

Alika Lyman Group
Official Site
Leis of Jazz, Vol. 2, Dionysus Records 2014

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For those not in the know, the original Leis of Jazz was released by the legendary exotica artist Arthur Lyman back in 1959. Leis of Jazz, Vol. 2 is the creation of his great nephew Alika. I can’t claim to have my finger on the pulse of the exotica community, but I think it’s safe to assume news of this release was probably first met with a mixture of interest and suspicion. It wouldn’t surprise me at all if some initially wrote the album off as a lazy cash grab from someone trying to make a career for themselves. But anyone who felt that way couldn’t have been more wrong!

Alika Lyman has been honing his musical skills since middle school and has studied under accomplished professionals in order to expand his knowledge outside of his chosen instrument (the guitar), including none other than Randy “The Waitiki 7” Wong. If you can name the genre, he’s probably studied it. He also has enough experience to teach other budding musicians! After performing in numerous bands, Lyman formed his own in 2009 and released two albums in 2013: the band’s self-titled debut and a spin-off jazz/funk project called MANCHiLD3. It wasn’t until the following year that he decided to play tribute to his great uncle. Given his interest in jazz music, which goes back to his school days in Hawaii, such a project was only natural. Rather than just do covers of his famous relative’s standards, he has opted for a mix of original material and covers from a variety of sources.

One such cover version is “Swingtime in Honolulu,” which features many of the instruments you’ll be becoming very familiar with over the course of the album. The sounds of clanking drumsticks open up a peppy world of cymbals, bongos, vibes and guitar work. Soft vibraphone work is the star of “Poinciana,” followed by the equally soft (but energetic) bongos and guiros. It’s incredibly relaxing and I was pleasantly surprised at just how well the guitar work blends in. “Night Orchid” brings us the bird calls and animal noises we expect from any exotica album. A steady bongo beat forms the backbone of this track, which is further enhances by dreamy chimes, maracas and some outstanding musical variations from the guitar and vibes. I love the bongo work of “Kauai Rose.” It all goes so well with the bird calls and quiet buildup of chimes and percussion. “Kaimana Hila” is bouncier than the other tracks, but admittedly not by much. But that should not be taken as a complaint. Although the guitar gets the spotlight here, there’s plenty of exotic percussion to go around. “Hukilau” is comprised of super soft cymbal strikes mingling with guitar work and stretches of vibes. It only sounds like there’s so much more thanks to the melody (and expert playing). I understand “Lei Kukui” is a traditional Hawaiian song for weddings and anniversaries and I can believe it thanks to the soft, soothing guitar work and vibes.

As you might expect from the name, “Arthur’s Line” was a song written for (and performed by) Arthur Lyman. You’re sure to be in absolute awe over the guitar work here. But don’t let its presence make you think it still doesn’t retain the classic exotica feel, because that would be incredibly inaccurate. “Theme from ‘Bewitched'” is just what the title says. And you know what? The theme from Bewitched works surprisingly well as an exotica track. You would swear the song was originally written for the vibraphone. The performance really is that good. If a Tiki bar patron heard this without knowing what it was, it’s easy to imagine them puzzling over what exotica album they heard it on before the realization dawned on them. It also flows nicely into “Guiding Stars,” which is somewhat moody despite being laid back. guitar, cymbals, vibes. In contrast, “Bobo” is more energetic than last track and must be heard to be truly appreciated. “Hilo Hattie Blues” serves up quiet percussion and piano work (among other instruments). It’s a modern day original composition, but you’d swear it was an old standard. As much as I hated to hear it stop, I simply loved the closing. “Pua Lilia” means “the lily flower” and the music making it up is just as soft and gentle as the petals of the flower which inspired it. It’s the perfect close to the album.

Alika Lyman has done his great uncle proud with this delightful album. Had I not used a streaming digital copy to write this review, I would have had access to the liner notes so I could properly praise the other performers. Perhaps those of you with copies of the CD or vinyl releases of this album could help me? Whoever they are, they all did an amazing job. I’m not the only one who feels that way. In addition to its widespread praise and positive reviews, it was nominated as “Best Jazz Album of 2015” at the prestigious Na Hoku Hanohano awards! After having listened to the original Leis of Jazz, I can safely say this second volume is a worthy follow up. Playing the two albums one after the other was quite interesting. The first volume seems more energetic and boisterous while this album was comparatively more mellow and dialed back on the use of piano work in favor of the guitar. However, the choices used for the other instruments matched up nicely. The original, like numerous other vintage exotica albums, has a little something extra which I can’t quite describe. But what I can say is Leis of Jazz, Vol. 2 has it too. The choices made by Alika Lyman Group shows their commitment to paying tribute without being a soulless imitation. This is also reflected by the album’s cover. It has enough similarities to the original so people can make the connection between the two (right down to recreating the sticker which appeared on numerous classic Arthur Lyman LPs), but there are also enough differences to let it stand on its own. Here’s hoping this isn’t the last we have seen of this group.

Special thanks to Dionysus Records for use of the image!

Aug 06 2016

Freaky Tiki Surf-ari: 6’+ Episode 187 is Up!

2013 Logo IconTo quote the description given at the new listing:

“Clean the blood off your favorite Hawaiian shirt because it’s time for our yearly excursion into creepy and cool surf exotica music. With music from JASON LEE AND THE R.I.P TIDES, GENKI GENKI PANIC, CREEPXOTICA, THE TURBOSONICS and more! Monstermatt Patterson learns how to hula in a MONSTERMATT MINUTE that’s not safe for the soul. Big shout out to Dionysus Records for tracks featured on this episode.”

Remember to email 6′+ (contact at 6ftplus.com) or leave a comment below about the show, whether you liked it or not. Tell your friends, leave a review on iTunes, but above all – enjoy.

You can find all episodes of 6′+ over at the official site as well as on iTunes and Stitcher. They’re also on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Aug 01 2016

Freaky Tiki Surf-ari: The Return

Dionysus Records recently gave me some great news about this year’s Tiki Oasis. Not only is the theme going to be “Party on Monster Island,” but there is going to be a TON of live performances from bands like Creepxotica, Jason Lee and the R.I.P.tides and Alika Lyman Group (among many others). Don’t worry if you don’t recognize that last group, as I’ll be covering them very soon. It’s scheduled for August 18-21 in beautiful San Diego, California and you know what that means: act now if you want to get your tickets! For more information about the event, please visit the official Tiki Oasis website. Even if you can’t attend, you should still visit the site just to admire the amazing artwork of Derek Yaniger.

So whether you’re waiting to attend the event or want to distract yourself from the agony of missing it, here’s last year’s Freaky Tiki surf-ari:

Freaky Tiki Surf-ari: The Return
Freaky Tiki Surf-ari: The Crazed Mugs
Freaky Tiki Surf-ari: The Turbosonics
Freaky Tiki Surf-ari: Space Fezcapade
Freaky Tiki Surf-ari: The Vulcanos
Freaky Tiki Surf-ari: 6’+ Episode 154 is Up!

Let’s not forget the now traditional free exotica download! This year it’s “Goonkacha” by the Martini Kings. It’s a limited time offer, so you had better act fast! Those who miss out on snagging it can console themselves by joining the mailing list for Mr. Ho’s Orchestrotica in order to get 6 free tracks (along with plenty of news about the band).

Jul 25 2016

6’+ Episode 186 is Up!

2013 Logo IconTo quote the description given at the new listing:

“We conclude our six-month retrospective with a look at some of the best psychobilly that has come out in 2016. With tracks from SPELLBOUND, THE SPASTIKS, THE HELLFREAKS, THE GO GO CULT and more, this episode will definitely leave you wreck’d. If the music doesn’t make you want to dance, Monstermatt Patterson will definitely get you moving as you run from another MONSTERMATT MINUTE.”

Remember to email 6′+ (contact at 6ftplus.com) or leave a comment below about the show, whether you liked it or not. Tell your friends, leave a review on iTunes, but above all – enjoy.

You can find all episodes of 6′+ over at the official site as well as on iTunes and Stitcher. They’re also on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

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