Sep 20 2017

6’+ Episode 209 is Up!

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

“We honor George A. Romero, Tobe Hooper and Haruo Nakajima, three legends who passed away in the past few months. It’s a memorial featuring music from THE HALLINGTONS, SAVAGE REMAINS, THE MOANS, THE BOMBORAS, CALABRESE and more. Monstermatt Patterson shows up and well…zombies occur.”

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 13 2017

Deep One Dave

Autonomous sensory meridian response (ASMR) videos are a very popular genre on YouTube. Such videos are usually filmed from a first person perspective in order to make it seem like you are interacting with the subject of the video you are watching. At first I assumed these were made to help people deal with their social anxieties, but that turned out not to be the case. It turns out they’re supposed to induce a kind of tingling sensation that’s supposed to be pleasant. Since any reference to a tingling scalp immediately makes me want to make a Denorex joke, I’ll let the blog which originally introduced me to these videos explain further.

Once you’re done reading that, I’m sure you’ll be just as eager to check out some Lovecraftian and often comedic ASMR videos from Ephemeral Rift:


Fans of Sticks and 3D Horror-Fi will undoubtedly appreciate the use of binaural sound (also known as “3D Audio”) in that last video. Grab your headphones if you want to experience the full effect!

Sep 08 2017

6’+ Episode 208 is Up!

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

“Grab some cake. Gravediggers Local 16 turns 9 years old on Sept. 8, so join in the celebration with GHOUL SQUAD, THE DIECASTS, THE EVIL STREAKS, HORROR SECTION and more. Monstermatt Patterson winds up on the wrong end of Pin The Tail On The Donkey in a MONSTERMATT MINUTE, while Kraig Khaos whacks the pinata to unleash 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 05 2017

The House with Laughing Windows (1976) An Overlooked Giallo

The House With Laughing Windows - 3

Zombos Says: Very Good

This review was written for the upcoming Unsung Horrors, an anthology of horror movies you should watch, written by the fiends at We Belong Dead magazine. The book should be available at the end of this month.

 

The House with Laughing Windows (La casa dale finestre che ridono) is a neglected giallo.

Directed by Pupi Avati with music composed by Amedeo Tommasi, and a screenplay by Avati, Gianni Cavina, Antonio Avati, and Maurizio Costanzo, you would be hard pressed to find much written about this slowly building suspense movie, shot in Lido degli Scacchi, in the Ferrara province of the Emilia-Romagna region in Northern Italy. Yet, with its mounting dread, a longstanding mystery in a way-too-quiet town where tourists are never seen, and an undercurrent of old evils that may still be walking around, there should be more attention paid to this little gem of terror that builds to a deliberately arguable climax.

The opening credits hint at the madness and horror that have transpired in the town where Stefano (Lino Capolicchio) arrives by ferry. He is greeted by the short Mayor Solmi (Bob Tonelli) and the taller Coppola (Gianni Cavina), providing an odd contrast as the two wait near a red car for his ferry to dock. He has come to restore a fresco in the local church, a painting depicting the martyring of St. Sebastian, at the request of a very nervous friend who is conducting water tests for the mayor.

With a budget that needed to stay lean, Avati uses his camera wisely. There are no flourishy or overtly stylized frames, but three instances, each involving Stefano, are worth noting. Two involve seeing Stefano through an open door, with him standing in the light of the room, but darkness outside that room. This impresses by implying he is surrounded by the unknown and the unseen, a strong foreshadowing element created by his position within the room, the open doorway, and the darkness leading to the camera watching him from a distance.

The third instance is either an aberration of the camera lens or a brilliant toss-away, which, either way, comes at the right moment in the movie to show the uneasiness slowly mounting in Stefano, and the shaky hold he has on the unknown and unseen that is closing in around him. As he slowly walks up a narrow stairway, the camera appears to remain immobile as the walls jiggle around Stefano’s ascent. Perhaps a camera anomaly due to the need for a handheld camera in such a tight space, or maybe it is an artifact from duping the film to DVD. A discussion on IMDb is not conclusive. You will need to decide for yourself. However it happened, it still leaves a strong impression.

The stairway leads Stefano to a large, mostly empty room, where Legnani, the painter who committed suicide, who tortured and murdered local villagers in the pursuit of his madness, mixed his palette with paints and blood. The painter was aided by his two sisters, who shared in and inflamed his insanity. All this ties to the fresco in the church that Stefano is restoring, and as he slowly uncovers more and more of the painting, he begins to delve deeper into the life and death of Legnani and the secret of the house with laughing windows. The priest in the church is non-committal: he can take or leave the restoration. But why? The assistant to the priest is an oddball who does nasty things and is allowed to. But why? Stefano’s nervous friend, who involved him in the restoration, is desperate to tell him something important about the painting, but will he be able to since no one else wants Stefano to know?

Sound and silence help build the mystery and the sense of foreboding throughout the movie. An old wire recorder comes to life as power fuses are blown. The recording is Legnani’s voice describing his ecstasy experienced through the agony of others and his visions from tortured madness. The effect is as chilling and telling as the recordings heard in The Exorcist and The Evil Dead. Threatening phone calls are made to Stefano, warning him to give up and get out; deep-voiced, throaty calls that mean business. And Tommasi’s score provides the convincing atmosphere of danger and oppressiveness, while the silence of townspeople and the quiet countryside establishes a sense of collusion and indifference.

Coppola, bothered by his conscience, decides to help Stefano. How long both of them will live to find the answers is questionable. While the body count is low and people are not murdered in the usual graphic giallo style, House with the Laughing Windows compensates and goes one better, by relying on the slow burn, the unsettling painter of agony’s legacy, and a twisted ending that leaves you with hope or despair, depending on how you want to paint this picture.

 

Lost Sounds and Soundtracks. Pupi Avati's "The House with the Laughing Windows"

This article originally appeared at From Zombos’ Closet.

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

Aug 29 2017

Freaky Tiki Surf-ari: The Creepy Creeps

The Creepy Creeps
Official Site
The Creepy Creeps, Dionysus Records 2016 (Original release date: 2006)

Back when I looked at the music of Creepxotica, I provided a few details about the Creepy Creeps since the two bands are interconnected (more on that later). But to help all you new readers catch up, here’s what I know: The Creepy Creeps were founded in 1999 and played their first show in 2000. Combining their musical talents with go-go dancers, hype men and wearing different masks in various appearances, the Creepy Creeps made a huge splash. Rock legend Robert Plant took notice of them in 2011 and asked them to open for his revived Band of Joy in certain California performances. They won “Best Live Show” and “Best Band” in the 2013 San Diego Music Awards and have played at Tiki Oasis numerous times. On top of that, one of the Creeps (and one of their hype men) even made an appearance in IDW’s Godzilla: Rulers of Earth comic book series! To say they’re a big deal would be grossly understating things.

Who are the Creepy Creeps? I’m actually still trying to figure that out. The profile page from Dionysus Records which I linked to above credits the following:

Dr. Creepenstein: Guitar (electric & acoustic), keyboards and vocals
Creepula: Guitar (electric & acoustic) and vocals
Dia de los Creep: Bass guitar

But in the same page, the band’s founder Creepture is noted separately and I had to look at a different website to see what instrument he plays! On top of that, a group member named Gatos Locos is noted several times on their Facebook page, but I can’t determine if he’s a new member or if he just changed his stage name. Adding to the confusion is how it turns out Creepxotica has 5 members while the Creepy Creeps have 4 (according to publicity images and album covers for both bands), despite many websites treating the two as the same band performing under a different name! I did find some information about the members of Creepxotica, but no stage names are given and some of the names differ from the members tagged in various photographs on the Creepy Creeps’ Facebook page! So although I can’t say who performed on this particular album, I can confidently say they did an excellent job.

“Biffins Bridge” shows the band knows the importance of a good first impression. In this very catchy track, fast and heavy percussion is expertly blended with guitars. You also get to enjoy lyrics about a fight at the most unfortunately named bridge in the world. Seriously, don’t look up that name online if you’re not at home alone. It’s also worth noting how the back cover of Creepxotica’s Haunted Bossa Nova refers to a platform they performed on as “Biffins Bridge.” Since only a handful of tracks don’t have lyrics, I think I’ll only bring up when a track is instrumental from now on. Drums and reverb usher us into “Cleto.” It’s heavy yet bouncy and I also enjoyed how the well the cymbals melded with the tambourine and organ work. “Creepin Round” will blow you away with its classic surf opening and use of percussion. An organ and guitar blend opens the short ‘n sweet “Drop In.” There aren’t any actual lyrics, but there is a chant of “drop in” mixed in with the drums and cymbals. Although clapping joins the mix in “Here We Come,” thunderous reverb and jaw-dropping guitar variations are the stars of this particular song. Guitars blast off and never slow down in “Log Boss.” There are plenty of classic surf touches to be found in this, along with plenty of organ work.

“You Must Fight to Live on the Planet of the Apes” is perfect “get up and dance” music. Not only are there group vocals in this, but there’ also all the profanity you wished Charlton Heston used back in 1967! The instrumental track “Shindig on the 13th Floor” changes things up a bit with its kooky, spooky organ beat. There’s a great powerful end buildup, but sadly the ending is rather abrupt. Perhaps it was meant to blend into the opening of “Solid Ghoul Stomp.” Although it removes the organ work heard in the previous track, it retains the use of drums and guitars. It also has some of the reverbiest reverb I’ve ever heard. I enjoyed the percussion in “Spider Zombie,” but the guitar work made it a personal favorite of mine. The organ backing helps keeps this instrumental number appropriately creepy. “The Wheel” features a Deliverance-style duel between a guitar and banjo at the beginning, but does own thing once the drums join in. The “heys” and howls from singers are great touches as well. finally, things come to a close with “Tiki Mug Shot.” Things start off a bit bouncy thanks to the percussion and organ work, but the cool and creeptastic part about a minute in really livens things up. This instrumental track also features some pretty pickin’ work on the guitar. You know what this means: great song, great closing and great album.

I don’t know if the musical style of the Creepy Creeps can best be described as “horror surf with some punk mixed in” or “surf with horror punk mixed in,” but I do know they give the Ghastly Ones a serious run for their money! Listening to The Creepy Creeps makes me regret putting off listening to the band for so long. It’s not like they haven’t been active since this album originally came out. Fink About It! was released in 2009 and Last to Leave was a 2016 release! I definitely have some catching up to do. The band’s 2017 plans seem to be a split between live performances and Creepxotica. Said side project just released Swinging Sounds From Beyond the Nether Regions on vinyl and Creepxotica Featuring Rachel DeShon on both digital and vinyl. I’ll be checking out both for next year’s Freaky Tiki Surf-ari, so stay tuned!

Special thanks to Dionysus Records for use of the image!

Aug 24 2017

Freaky Tiki Surf-ari: Music From The 6th Floor

Stereophonic Space Sound Unlimited
Official Site (Label)
Music From The 6th Floor, Dionysus Records 2016

It’s been ages since I last reviewed something by Stereophonic Space Sound Unlimited and the group seems as mysterious as ever. In fact, I hadn’t heard anything from them in so long that I had assumed they had quietly disbanded! So imagine my pleasant surprise when I found out about the release of Music From The 6th Floor. Do they still have wait it takes after taking so long to put out a new release? Let’s find out!

Chimes and a 70’s style funk groove take us down “35 Falcon Street.” As was the case when I first heard “Sitar Jerk” upon playing The Spooky Sound Sessions for the first time, hearing it made me realize that I was going to love this album. The drums blend in well and I’m wild about the group’s very different take on guitar reverb in music. “808.7” has both a science fiction and video game feel to its opening. The use of feedback adds to said feel, along with the catchy drum machine beat and interesting little bursts of reverb. A phrase like “energetic relaxation” might seem contradictory to some, but I think it describes this track perfectly. In “Green Bluebird Fly,” the overall feel is closer to traditional exotica than the other tracks. This is thanks to its mellow tone, percussion and tambourine usage. The guitars do pick up the pace a bit, but it doesn’t have same feel as the last track. Piano work makes a surprise (but welcome) appearance as well. “Blues from Pluto” is bouncy neo-exotica featuring impressive guitar work and bubbling notes. “Night Boat to Antalya” seems to be a reference to a populous city in Turkey. Perhaps that’s why bells and bongos are used to create a “Middle Eastern” feel? This track conjures up a sense excitement and intrigue, which is aided by “spy-fi surf” feel of the guitars. “Take Me to Another World” lives up to its name with a peppy, sci-fi synth beat. There’s plenty of chimes sprinkled throughout, along with maracas and soft touches of bongos. I also love tune out effect at the end.

“The Teacher and the Preist” (which is not a typo on my part) features plenty o’ percussion and piano. Its use of comparatively heavy reverb and less relaxed feel must be heard to be appreciated. The title track, “Music from the 6th Floor,” is a reference to the album being recorded in a high-rise building. But let’s get back to the song itself. Its brief heavy and ominous musical build yields to varied drum machine beats. Bongos shine here, while the piano work, touches of reverb and guitars add to the feel. Fans of synth and clapping hands should be sure to seek this out! Those elements can also be found in “Aimez-Vouz Henri?” The name is inspired by the French term “Aimez-Vous” and the title roughly translates as “Do you like to, Henry?” The track itself is an interesting fusion of 80’s synthpop and neo-exotica with a side of surf. In other words, you can expect speedy synth beats, reverb riffs and bongos. “Night of the Jaguar” takes us back to the traditional exotica feel thanks to its steel guitars, maracas and bongos. But there’s still plenty of SSSU touches to keep this in realm of neo-exotica, like the kooky organ work. Heavy and somewhat ominous piano leads us into “Minigolf and Butter Chicken,” but the bongos and other percussion lighten the mood considerably. The organ solos are simply incredible. In contrast, “Spacechild” softer, slower and much more mellow thanks to its bongos and maracas layered over synth work. “Psisurf” combines guitars, bongos, etc. over steady synth tones. I love its touches of bells and dueling guitars, one surf and the other which can only be described as being pure Stereophonic Space Sound Unlimited. Things close out with “Don’t Worry I’m Fine.” It has great reverb and a most relaxing percussive beat. It would be a fantastic closing track even if it didn’t have such a variety of instruments on display.

Music From The 6th Floor is proof positive Stereophonic Space Sound Unlimited hasn’t lost a step. So, yeah, this was well worth the wait. In addition to being available on factory-pressed CD and as a digital download, there’s also a vinyl version. I have the CD version, partly because getting my hands on a record player would inevitably result in my turning it into the guts of a motorized Halloween prop. I also like how the music being on a shiny metallic disc compliments the band’s futuristic sound. This is the first time I’ve encountered a Dionysus release in a cardboard digipack rather than a jewel case. No matter what sort of packaging (or formats) their next album will be available in, here’s hoping we don’t have to wait very long for it.

Special thanks to Dionysus Records for the review copy!

Aug 20 2017

Freaky Tiki Surf-ari: Jason Lee and the R.I.P.tides

Jason Lee and the R.I.P.tides
Official Site
Jason Lee and the R.I.P.tides, Dionysus Records 2014

Hailing from San Diego, Jason Lee and the R.I.P.tides have been active long before the release of their 2014 self-titled debut album. Check out Jason Lee’s impressive résumé if you don’t believe me. With all their touring (complete with live Go-Go dancers) and numerous appearances at Tiki Oasis, they’ve built up quite the fan base. The band’s lineup currently consists of:

Jason Lee: Guitar
Tony Hayse: Bass guitar
Josh Herms: Drums

However, the album’s back cover credits the following:

Jason Lee: Guitar
Tony Hayse: Bass guitar
Shawn McCain: Drums
Ross Harper: Saxophone

As the name suggests, horror movies are a big influence on the group’s work. But that’s not all! Jason Lee and the R.I.P.tides is the only surf band I’ve ever encountered which lists roots and ska as influences on their sound. Let’s jump right into the review to see how much of this turns up in the album…

“Snake Eyes” kicks things off with a sweet, soft reverb buildup. As you can imagine, things get very fast (and very amazing) very quickly. There’s plenty of heavy reverb on display and I loved the use of percussion. The use of rattlesnake noises were a great touch. Like the name suggests, “Speed Racer” has a much faster opening than the preceding track. There’s also lots of reverb variations backed by steady drums. “She Fell Asleep” is fast and heavy, with a surprise saxophone appearance. While many surf bands out there who like to list stuff they like as “influences” despite never having it appear in their work, Jason Lee and the R.I.P.tides aren’t one of them. When they say there’s a ska influence, then you can actually expect ska to make an appearance! “Dead in Del Mar” contrasts its low, slow guitars with speedy percussion. That is, until everything kicks up and blasts your brain with awesomeness! In addition to pointing out how the return to a slow pace at the end has a creepy feel to it, I want to note how this is one of my personal favorites. “The Open Road” starts with a sample of a woman saying “Don’t try to get any closer to me or you’ll be killed. There’s no escape for me, I know it!” Sadly, I don’t know where it’s from. What I can say, however, is how this track’s wonderfully heavy feel creates the feeling of barrelling down the highway.

Guitars are the stars of “Black Tide,” especially during the opening! The touches of reverb and snapping snare drums aid the track’s bouncy feel. It’s a pity it’s the shortest track of the album. If you guessed there would be samples from the Adam West Batman series in “Caped Crusader,” give yourself a prize. Rather than merely covering the iconic theme song, the band opted to create an original composition with some elements which will remind listeners of said theme instead. I think one listen will be all it will take to convince you this was the right choice. “Swamp Shack” combines a medium speed intro with plenty of classic surf reverb spread throughout the track. The slowdowns work to its advantage, along with the new percussive touches. You’ll know them when you hear them. With a name like “Rod Swirling,” you know there’s going to callbacks to the opening theme of The Twilight Zone. If you know anyone who wonders why surf music enthusiasts say reverb has a “wet” sound, play this energetic little number for them. “Creepy Crawly” is another personal favorite, whose bouncy opening feel is carried throughout the track. In fact, it gets even bouncier as time goes on! Low and slow guitar strums start off “Sucker Punch” and speedy drums usher in its quicker pace. I love the use of guitars here, despite their burying the sample. The slow “Funeral Waltz” is appropriately low key thanks to its appropriately melancholy and mournful guitars. The album comes to a close with “The Evil Eye.” Things start out with a sample from the trailer for The Thing That Couldn’t Die. The guitars and percussion are both fast and furious, with no shortage of bold flourishes. It’s a fantastic close to an equally fantastic album.

Surf diehards and newbies alike should immediately seek out Jason Lee and the R.I.P.tides. When I say this, I’m referring to both the album of that name and the band. With a truly unique surf sound and use of vintage equipment, what’s not to love? The album itself is available on vinyl and as a digital download, but doesn’t have a CD release (at least as of this writing). You can even check out Jason Lee’s guitar tutorials over at the RockOnGoodPeople YouTube channel while you wait for the band’s next release. You can also tide yourself over with his side project, Jason Lee and the Black Tides!

Special thanks to Dionysus Records for use of the image!

Aug 16 2017

Freaky Tiki Surf-ari: 6’+ Episode 207 is Up!

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

“Grab your mug and get ready to get lei’d because it’s the FREAKY TIKI SURF-ARI! It’s a journey into surf, exotica, and the best tiki music you can find. Featuring ROBERT DRASNIN, THE KOCONUT KINGS, CREEPXOTICA, THE CRAZED MUGS, KAVA KON and more! Monstermatt Patterson runs into Vincent Price while exploring the island in 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 14 2017

Freaky Tiki Surf-ari: Voodoo III

Robert Drasnin
Official Site
Voodoo III, Dionysus Records 2017

Exotica legend Robert Drasnin had been hard at work right up until his passing in 2015. 2011 saw him working with the Waitiki 7, both on covering his past hits and playing his new composition “In A Dorian Mode.” He was also hard at work on his sequel to Voodoo II right up until his death. The only problem was it was left in an incomplete state! Dionysus Records sprang into action to find someone to finish his work so fans could have one last Drasnin album to enjoy. And who better to finish it than the man who not only pulled Drasnin out of retirement, but also collaborated with him on many occasions? That’s right, the task fell to Skip Heller (who is a highly accomplished exotica musician in his own right). How did he do? Let’s find out!

The opening track, “Appogiatura Exotica,” gets its name from a type of “musical ornament.” It also uses a laid back percussive beat, guiros and beautiful vibraphone work to create an incredibly soothing listening experience. I loved the way it closed out, even though I was sad to have the track come to an end. Chimes bookend “Anna May Wong,” whose use of percussion and vibes is nicely complimented by the occasional appearance of wordless female vocals. Thankfully these aren’t the kind of wordless female vocals that often show up here during the average “Music to Haunt By” review. But it is the flute that is the true star of this tribute to a Hollywood legend. “Song of the Sulu Sea” is a musical journey to the Philippines. A peaceful horn, saxophone, maracas and triangle join the vibes to create an incredibly pleasing musical experience. In fact, I get so caught up in it that I keep forgetting to take notes about it! “Hulabalu” is much more lively than the previous tracks. This peppy little tune brings us guiros a go-go with some flute work and a sax solo for good measure. “Voyage to Vanuatu” is mysterious and a little darker than the other tracks (despite using most of the same instruments as said tracks). This tribute to a real life Pacific island nation also stands out thanks to its inclusion of castanets and a piano. The cooing vocals further draw the listener in. Cymbals crash and notes musically tiptoe as “Hola Samba” opens. Its lively Latin beat is joined by actual lyrics and will definitely shake you awake after so many relaxing tracks. If you’re wondering about the instruments used in it, a saxophone is combined with lots of percussion (including vibes).

Vaguely mystical chimes start off “Jobimiana.” But its opening militaristic drum beats transition to the mellow sax work which weaves throughout the track. Flute work, vibes and maracas also join in on the fun until the drums play us out. “Tiki Idyll” takes things back down a notch. It’s not completely mellow but it’s pretty close. In addition to the occasional wordless vocals and maracas, the listener also gets to experience saxophone work, guiros, tambourine and vibes before the impressive chime-heavy closing. “Farewell to Tuvalu” opens with soft guiros and bongos. The tambourine makes a few scattered appearances before finally settling into place. This is followed by vocals, vibes and a most interesting effect at the end. Oh, and in case you were wondering, the title refers to a Polynesian island nation. The peppy “La Mer Azure” brings us to the Bahamas with a percussion explosion aided by some saxophone work. “Aloha” shows Drasnin and Heller really did save the best for last. Most of the instruments used for this album put in an appearance and even some other aspects of past tracks show up as well. The use of a Latin melody is one such example. As the lyrics tell us of the different meanings of “aloha,” one comes to the bittersweet realization that in this case, it means saying goodbye to Robert Drasnin forever. Thank goodness we can always hit “Repeat” and enjoy his other albums as well!

Skip Heller did Robert Drasnin proud with this release. Not only does Voodoo III stand side by side with its predecessors, but his liner notes about the restoration process are highly informative. Originally issued as a limited edition CD-R release in 2015, Voodoo III is now available on factory-pressed CD, vinyl and as a digital download. According to that link, the vinyl release was “cut on a tube system with a vintage Scully lathe and Westrex 2B cutting head.” I know next to nothing about vinyl, so I’m assuming that’s a good thing. If you’re wondering who’s behind the striking album image, Claudette “Miss Fluff” Barjoud handled the cover art duties this time around. What else can I possibly say? The legacy of Robert Drasnin lives on and this album is a must for hardcore fans and curious neophytes alike!

Special thanks to Dionysus Records for the review copy!

Aug 08 2017

Mummula- The Rise of Mummula vinyl

” In Mummula Manor, when the clock strikes pyramidnight, the mighty Mummula rises from his tomb.

A team of his minions was assembled on Halloween 2012 and sent to Columbus, Ohio from their home of Sandsylvania in order to spread the curse of Mummula. Through their ca-coffin-ous blend of punk, garage, surf, and cartoons they’ll show the world that it’s hip to be scared.”

Last October saw the release of Mummula’s first full length album, The Rise of Mummula. This September 1st will see the culmination of almost a years hard work of bring the album to vinyl format. Limited to only 150 copies on Bubblegum pink vinyl. Pre-orders are available along with special bundle option at: Uncommon Interests

Stream/download or pick up a cassette of the album at: Mummula

Connect with the Mummies of Mummula at: Mummula FB

Aug 07 2017

Freaky Tiki Surf-ari: The Return

Those subscribed to the site’s Facebook and Twitter feeds will undoubtedly recall our behind-the-scenes woes from earlier in the summer. Although I’m happy to report we’re back in the game, I must admit a twinge of sadness over the lost time I could have been spending on getting content done in advance. In addition to having to get all of my Freaky Tiki Surf-ari reviews written in August instead of having them done the month before and being uncertain about when the tie-in episode of the podcast will be released, this also means I won’t be able to work in an extra review like I was hoping to. But since I’m too excited to wait until 2018 to bring it up, I’d like to take a little time to talk about the release of a Hawaiian Spotlighters album called Mauna Kea Breeze. I should actually say “the” Hawaiian Spotlighters album, as Mauna Kea Breeze was their only release! Being issued by a “press on demand” vinyl service back in the 60’s in limited quantities all but guaranteed that the album would become the rarest and most desired album in all Tiki fandom. Thankfully an exotica expert by the name of Jeff Chenult got his hands on a copy and managed to track down one of the band members online. So now it’s officially being reissued on vinyl (complete with a digital download code) by Dionysus Records so everyone can enjoy it!

To distract yourself while waiting for the first review of the 2017 Freaky Tiki Surf-ari, here’s a look back at last year’s installments:

Freaky Tiki Surf-ari: The Return
Freaky Tiki Surf-ari: 6’+ Episode 187 is Up!
Freaky Tiki Surf-ari: Alika Lyman Group
Freaky Tiki Surf-ari: Genki Genki Panic
Freaky Tiki Surf-ari: Maritime Mysteries
Freaky Tiki Surf-ari: Tres Gatos Suave

To further make up for the delay, I found two free Kava Kon downloads for you! The first is a very experimental composition called “doubly​-​even self dual binary error​-​correcting block codes” and the second is the EP Virgin Lava. In addition to a new Kava Kon track, it also features some remixes Kava Kon did with the Kilimanjaro Darkjazz Ensemble!

Jul 31 2017

Music to Game By VII

Similar to what I did last year, I’m going to take a look at the entries from my 2016 “Music to Haunt By” review series with a focus on their use in tabletop role-playing games. The use of music in gaming sessions has changed a lot since the days when people would crank up some Led Zeppelin while playing Dungeons & Dragons and has even branched out into the world of board games. I know I mentioned the soundtrack to Zombies!!! last year, but it’s actually predated by the soundtracks for A Touch of Evil and Last Night on Earth. In somewhat related news, the H.P. Lovecraft Historical Society has produced an officially licensed audio drama based on a Call of Cthulhu role-playing supplement! As you can imagine, there’s plenty of possibilities for working selections of it into a gaming session involving said supplement. But let’s get back on topic and look at material which wasn’t originally intended for use with RPGs. As always, the order of the albums reflects the order in which I reviewed them and does not reflect any personal preference. I had to remove some tracks for spacing purposes but you can find the complete tracks in each of the links.

Psych Ward Psymphony – Given how the band’s self-titled debut album was originally intended to provide a selection of spooky rock music for haunted attractions to use while people waited in line to get in, most of the tracks have a rock ‘n roll feel to them which might not work with your RPG of choice. Especially since many of these tracks also have lyrics. But thankfully there’s a workaround! As I discovered when I had to go answer my front door while listening to the track “Bad Place,” it sounded creepier the further I got away from the speakers. Lowering the volume while playing these tracks results in the creepy music and sound effects being faintly audible and all the lyrics become barely understandable and occasionally screechy. So playing Psych Ward Psymphony on a loop in this fashion is a great way to enhance the atmosphere while playing a variety of horror RPGs. But what if you’re only interested in playing tracks during specific gaming moments? “Jingle Bells PWP” and “Holly & the Ivy” are perfect for modern day Christmas horror scenarios, although the beating sound effects in that last track might limit its uses. Those without any winter plans for their games should skip right to “Turn Back.” A scary organ and traditional Halloween sound effects like a wolf howling and wailing wind join a voice whispering for the listener to turn back while it’s still not too late. But when you hear a vampire welcoming you in with dark piano accompaniment, you know it’s far too late to escape. Just like the poor sap you hear trying to laugh it off as ghostly wails are heard. Having a sepulchral voice mocking him during the guitar segment is an excellent touch, as is the evil laughter which takes us out. This could work as a fun teaser you can play before your gaming group starts an adventure involving a haunted house with a sinister host. The sound of a crackling record brings us into “Death Waltz.” But the static and feedback soon turn into headbanging rock greatness and chilling sound effects. This contrasts nicely with the light (but intense) piano and percussion. It’s just the thing for those wanting to use something a little different when players enter a haunted ballroom. If your adventure involves a haunted museum, you might want to give “The Morrigan” a try. The unnerving (but beautiful) vocals, crying and scary sound effects accompanying the music are also occasionally joined by a voice explaining what the subject of this track is. In other words, it has a built-in tour guide or audio which plays when a player decides to push a button in front of an exhibit. Similarly, players exploring an asylum could have their experience enhanced by your use of “Mama Told Me Not to Come.” The male subject of the track’s moaning and rambling about murders he blames on his mother will provide you with a NPC you don’t have to act out. The same also applies for the doctor who appears at the end. “Hell’s Hell” mixes slow, moody rock with some feedback, static organ work and evil laughter. “The Death Lord” is mostly wailing guitars, screaming and drilling sound effects once the opening musical stingers die down, but the titular character does provide some commentary from time to time. The last of our premade NPC dialogue tracks is “The Survivors?” and it is very effective. Sirens blare and the wind howls as a whispering voice telling us to follow her. Such whispers occur many times under the moody guitars and organ work. It’s so nice to have such a track which isn’t restricted to any particular adventure setting.

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Jul 27 2017

6’+ Episode 206 is Up!

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

“We conclude our review of the best new music from the first half of 2017, focusing on horror punk, garage rock, surf music and electronic tracks. ARGYLE GOOLSBY AND THE ROVING MIDNIGHT, GHOUL SQUAD, WOLFMEN OF MARS, X RAY CAT TRIO & More. Monstermatt Patterson pops up for another MONSTERMATT MINUTE and Kraig Khaos returns with a brand new 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.

Jul 20 2017

6’+ Episode 205 is Up!

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

“Back from the dead and smelling just as sweet, Six Foot Plus offers new music in the first half of its review of the BEST OF 2017. This time around, it’s all psychobilly (with a little bit of GHOULTOWN) as we play RADARMEN, STAGE FRITE, THE RAYGUN COWBOYS and more. MONSTERMATT PATTERSON is here with another groan-inducing 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.

Jul 17 2017

Glowing Fungi

Following up on last week’s post, here’s the finished (for now) version of the glowing fungus prop. Each of the stalks is a length of foam pool noodle slashed with a razor knife and then hit with a heat gun to form the twisting, organic skin. They were then bound into a group using zip ties looped through the foam along the bottom. The illumination is provided by a set of battery powered LED light strings strung through the hole in the middle of each noodle. The entire cluster is roughly two feet high by two feet wide.

On the positive side it looks cool and pumps out a lot of light. Given how bright it is I was surprised how long each strand could keep running on 3 AA batteries. I tested it for ten hours straight and didn’t see any appreciable dimming. Based on that experience the manufacturer’s claim they’ll run for 48 hours seems believable. With that kind of run time this would be ideal for any kind of outdoor LARP or display.

That said, I’m not altogether happy with it. What I really wanted was a cluster of glowing mushrooms with caps, but I couldn’t find a decent technique for creating the tops. The best results were from clear shower caps filled with polyester fiber fill. They looked relatively realistic and provided a nice diffused light, but their size couldn’t be adjusted without a great deal of effort.

This article originally appeared at Propnomicon.

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

Jul 16 2017

It Glows

Remember the heat treated pool noodle experiments from last year?  I’ve been fiddling around with them again, adding a string of LED lights inside the central core of the noodle.  The final prop still needs some tweaks, but the effect is pretty cool.

This article originally appeared at Propnomicon.

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

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