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Our Top 5 Favorite Creepy Songs

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Yeah, there’s the monster mash, “Thriller” and all of the standard holiday songs that you’ll likely dance to or sing along with at least once this Halloween weekend. Nothing is scarier, though, than getting the creeps when you least expect them. It’s best then to watch out for these non-Halloween specific but still very eerie jams. Just like a distant howl in the night, the sound of them can be chill-inducing indeed. “Red Right Hand” by Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds “Take a little walk to the edge of town, go across the tracks, where the viaduct looms, like a bird of doom, as it shifts and cracks” advises Nick Cave in his gothic 1994 creeper “Red Right Hand,” which was inspired by John Milton’s Paradise Lost. Here, he says, you’ll meet a “tall handsome man, in a dusty black coat with a red right hand.” Actually, Nick, no thanks, we’re just going to head on home. “Bang Bang, My Baby Shot Me Down” by Nancy Sinatra “Bang bang, he shot me down. Bang bang, I hit the ground. Bang bang, that awful sound,” goes this 1966 hit by Nancy Sinatra. Um, yikes. Poor Nancy also seems to reference a playground romance and doomed marriage. Although it’s unclear what exactly happened, whatever it was that went down, went down bad, baby. “House of the Rising Sun” by The Animals “Hey mama, tell your children, not to do what I have done,” warns this tale of damnation and ruin in the Big Easy. This doom-laden classic was popularized in 1964 by English rock act The Animals and warns again the dangers of drugs, booze and easy women. Some interpretations of the song say that the titular ‘house’ is actually a brothel. Watch for similarly foreboding versions by Nina Simone and Dolly Parton. #1 Crush by Garbage Singer Shirley Manson’s passion is clear in Garbage’s 1996 hit. “I would die for you” she growls, before backing up her offer with the threatening promise that she “will never be ignored.” Makes us want to back away, slowly. Every Breath You Take” by The Police “Every breath you take, every move you make, every bond you break, every step you take, I'll be watching you” warns The Police’s 1983 stalker anthem classic. “It sounds like a comforting love song,” front man Sting once said. “I didn't realize at the time how sinister it is.”

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Pump Up The Volume: Ten Songs For Anyone’s Playlist

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Not only can music bring people from different backgrounds together, but those from different generations as well…the best way to come together may be over music.

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Top 10 Most Anticipated Releases of 2010

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Music is a funny thing, like water and insanity it comes in waves. Remember that whole boy band thing in the late 90’s? What was that all about? How did that even happen? Either way 2009 was an okay year in music, though some may say it was “meh” and 2008 was better, etc. Well, this year holds a lot of promise for amazing new music, and here are some of the best albums in store for us in 2010.

10. Joanna Newsom “Have One On Me” (release date: 2/23)

I like Joanna’s whimsical style, and the recent announcement of this being a TRIPLE album just makes me even more interested in hearing it. Plus the couple of tracks that I’ve heard on her label Drag City’s website are quite good.

9. Fleet Foxes “TBA” (release date: TBA)

“Ragged Wood” was a CD that instantly grew on lots of people. Something about those sweet, bearded voices coming down from high on a mountain just seemed to ease us all into a pleasant, Rip Van Winkle-like slumber. I can’t wait for that to happen all over again.

8. Arcade Fire “TBA” (release date: TBA)

Supposedly this album is pretty much done, being mixed/mastered. While their last album was good, it was no “Funeral” and maybe that’s a good thing. But where can Win Butler go now? As long as they can still put everything into their live shows, we’ll all be in a good place.

7. Broken Social Scene “TBA” (release date: 5/4)

It’s been awhile since the last BSS album, but you wouldn’t know it because they’ve been all over the place the last few years, either putting out “solo” albums and touring as a collective, or just popping up in odd places. Either way, looking forward to another BSS experience.

6. Frightened Rabbit “Winter of Mixed Drinks” (release date: 3/9)

I love this band, the heartbroken lyrical play and the solid instrumentation makes me think that 2010 is the year they really break out. Keep an eye on these guys as they near the sun.

5. She & Him “Volume II” (release date: 3/23)

I love me some Zooey Deschanel, as I’ve said before, but I really enjoy the classic Carpenters-style musings from her and M. Ward. It’s probably the best summer tunes for a nice drive in the hills.

4. The Dillinger Escape Plan “Option Paralysis” (release date: 3/23)

Still the most intense live band on the planet, any year that this band releases material is one I want to live through. Each record gets more and more diverse without losing the math influenced metal touch that puts a smile on my face each time.

3. Gorillaz “Plastic Beach” (release date: 3/9)

Anything Damon Albarn touched in the last 10 years has been gold, and his Gorillaz project has been the most commercially successful and universally loved. There are very, very few successful acts that have combined rock and hip hop well, and Gorillaz might be the only one that lets cartoons speak for them.

2. Radiohead “TBA” (release date: This year?)

Through the Thom Yorke??? band’s time in LA playing a series of shows, we’ve all heard some new material that’s aimed at Radiohead’s new album. I’ve been reading reports on the blogosphere about Radiohead spending the last few weeks in LA recording at some mansion that the Rat Pack used to hang out at. Supposedly there was a wrap party there the other night. Does this mean what we all hope/pray it means? Hopefully all will be revealed soon.

1. LCD Soundsystem “TBA” (release date: TBA)

I don’t know about you, but I still put on “All My Friends” to get pumped up for any type of occasion. The one time I got to see this band, they upstaged Arcade Fire. What does that say? The anticipation is building… Honorable Mentions: Ted Leo and the Pharmacists “The Brutalist Bricks” (3/9) Erykah Badu New Amerykah, Part II: Return Of The Ankh (3/30) Battles “TBA” (TBA) Amy Winehouse (TBA) (TBA obviously… if at all)

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Top 10 Songs By New Artists that Should Be Covered By Older Artists

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While the common practice is for new artists to cover old ones, I find it much more interesting when it’s the other way around. In fact, there are a lot of old crooners that are doing contemporary cover albums lately, look at Johnny Cash’s last few records before he died. Here’s a list of some crazy matchups that could be amazing.

10. Stars’ “Look Up” covered by Joni Mitchell

Joni’s sultry voice is a good fit for this Amy Millan led song off Stars’ album Heart. Hell, anything Joni sings is good enough for me, really.

9. LCD Soundsystem’s “All My Friends” covered by Earth, Wind, and Fire

This song is an intense dance anthem that gets more insane by the verse. Imagine if this group funked the hell out of it? That pounding piano track with some brass and some booty shaking? Yes please…

8. Radiohead’s “Bodysnatchers” covered by Prince

When Thom Yorke’s falsetto comes in near the end, when it gets really into swing, that’s when Prince would step in with some sexiness. He’d probably add like a 10 minute solo to the end of this. If he did one hell of a job with “Creep” why not this song?

7. Arcade Fire’s “Intervention” covered by Stevie Wonder

This song works well with the organ of course, but what about some clavinet? Stevie can sing anything with some intensity, and this bible-based reflection would be a good fit for his touch.

6. The Decemberists’ “On the Bus Mall” covered by Paul Simon

Paul Simon liked to tell stories, just like the Decemberists’ Colin Meloy, though Paul’s were somewhat contemporary. Colin prefers pirates and powdered wigs. Still, this gentle song would be a good place for Paul’s poetic musings.

5. Wilco’s “I Am Trying to Break Your Heart” covered by Tom Waits

Part of the magic of this track originally is Jeff Tweedy’s rough sounding voice, it’s like he just cried for 3 hours and then came in to record. Such a feeling could be duplicated ten fold with Tom Waits stepping in.

4. Hot Chip’s “Boy From School” covered by Sly and the Family Stone

If someone could coax Sly out of his hole long enough to play some music, this Hot Chip standout could get serious funk under it. Hot Chip with a live drummer always gets the heads shaking, as proven each time they steal LCD Soundsystem’s drummer for a show.

3. Iron and Wine’s “Sodom, South Georgia” covered by James Taylor

This song has such an old feel to it that you’d swear it was a cover already. James Taylor could give this song is personal touch by pretty much playing it straight, it already feels like he could have wrote it.

2. Dirty Projectors’ “Stillness is the Move” covered by Aretha Franklin

The Amber Coffman led standout from Bitte Orca already feels like an old R&B classic. Let Aretha get up there and show you how it’s done, Amber. Don’t worry, she’ll kill it.

1. Bon Iver’s “Re: Stacks” by Bob Dylan

While Dylan’s voice isn’t quite as quality as days gone by, the closer to Bon Iver’s beautiful For Emma, Forever Ago is made for Dylan. It’s sparse, but very rhythmic and lyrically driven. The best part is that Dylan would make it a new song altogether, adding his own brand of genius to the already solid track.

Honorable Mentions Anything by Grizzly Bear covered by The Beach Boys Jenny Lewis’ “Rise Up With Fists” covered by Loretta Lynn My Morning Jacket’s “Librarian” covered by Fleetwood Mac Ida Maria’s “Oh my God” covered by The Violent Femmes

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Top Ten Covers of 80's Songs In The Last Decade

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Ah the 80’s, you simultaneously shame me and make me want to break out into dance. 80’s covers have always sort of been horrible, why is that? I’m guessing that has to do with the overall quality of music in that time period. No one seemed to know what the hell was going on (except Michael Jackson). Here’s a list of some odd covers coming from some odd bands in the last 10 years.

10. Dinosaur Jr. “Just Like Heaven” (The Cure)

Every band has covered this song, but no one makes it their own like Jay Mascis. The amount of distortion and sloppy shredding going on before the lyrics come in is truly inspiring. It’s the most ballsy a Cure song has ever sounded.

9. Kings Of Convenience "Free Fallin’” (Tom Petty)

This is one of those songs that guy at the party who brought a guitar always plays. Luckily, these guys do it so well, that you’re free to smash that guy’s guitar and play this instead.

8. Postal Service "Against All Odds" (Phil Collins)

The first time I heard this cover I almost thought it was an original until I heard the chorus. Postal Service does it so well, adding a good amount of desperation in a way only Ben Gibbard can.

7. She & Him "Please Please Please, Let Me Get What I Want" (The Smiths)

I’m admittedly not a fan of sad British pop music from the 80’s, but I do love me some Zooey Deschanel and I very much enjoy this cover that was set to 500 Days Of Summer’s soundtrack.

6.  Band Of Horses "You Make My Dreams Come True" (Hall & Oates)

Come on, you knew I wouldn’t make a list like this without some Hall & Oates, the king and queen of the 80’s (I’ll let you decide who the queen is).  This song makes me want to get up and just kick the air.

5. David Byrne "I Wanna Dance With Somebody" (Whitney Houston)

David Byrne makes this song funky, not that it already didn’t have a good rhythm for dancing. I remember my sister all scrunchied up dancing to this song back in the day.

4. Gnarls Barkley "Gone Daddy Gone” (Violent Femmes)

Hearing Ceelo sing this song works, but it’s really all about the xylophone, and Danger Mouse does the Femmes proud here. Yes he can play instruments, no he’s not just a DJ anymore.

3. The Lemonheads “Skulls” (The Misfits)

This is one of my favorite covers of all time, and I’ve spent many weeks attempting to find it after it disappeared from my iTunes. While most of the Lemonheads’ other work doesn’t quite hit me, hearing Glenn Danzig’s song about mounting skulls on his wall sung so sweetly is just perfect.

2. Gary Jules "Mad World" (Tears For Fears)

Thanks to Donnie Darko, Gary Jules came under most peoples’ radars with his whisper soft cover of this totally 80’s hit. This version just makes a bit more sense to me without a lot of overused synthesizers.

1. Tori Amos "Raining Blood" (Slayer)

Yes, this really happened. I actually don’t like Tori at all, she’s very much a diva and is not polite to those she doesn’t know. But, behavior aside, this is one of the more interesting covers of any band ever. I wonder if Slayer enjoyed it? Honorable Mentions: Gossip "Careless Whisper" (Wham!) Boy Least Likely To "Faith" (George Michael) The Flaming Lips “Borderline” (Maddona) The Arcade Fire “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun”  (Cyndi Lauper) What are your favorite covers of songs from the 80's?

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Top 10 Best Albums by Bands Named After Animals in the Last Decade

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In recent years, the amount of bands that have adopted names of animals is quite staggering, which leaves one to wonder if people are just getting lazy or if our animal brothers have begun to inspire us even more. I’m more apt to think it’s the former, but either way here are the best albums from bands in the last ten years named after our furred, finned, and feathered friends. 10. Noah and the Whale “The First Days of Spring” Noah and the Whale “The First Days of Spring” So when you’re in a band with your girlfriend, and she decides to leave to become even more popular than your band, and she breaks your heart, what’s a guy to do? Write a breakup record and wow people with how deep your songwriting chops can go… obviously. 9. Cat Power “You Are Free” cat power you are free While most people didn’t really hear Cat Power until she released “The Greatest,” I prefer her darker days where she’d suddenly lose her mind on stage in the midst of playing these very personal songs. 8. Frightened Rabbit “Midnight Organ Fight” frightened rabiit midnight organ flight Another very intense, personal record that doesn’t really provide anything new to listeners in terms of innovation, but focuses on very solid songwriting and heart-on-sleeve lyrics. 7. Caribou “Andorra” caribou andorra Daniel Snaith, known as Caribou, won the Polaris Prize for this 2007 release that shows hints of early Pink Floyd among other influences. Overall, it’s a perfect record to listen to on a long train ride. 6. Tortoise “Standards”  Tortoise Standards Their best in the last ten years, Tortoise has done a lot for instrumental music since the band’s inception in 1990. Standards is more of a rock album than the band’s others, but it’s got some great songs. 5. Panda Bear “Person Pitch”  panda bear person pitch Animal Collective’s Noah Lennox gave everyone a glimpse of where his band would be heading when he released this album in 2007. It still sounds like the Beach Boys went into the studio and mainlined acid, but who wouldn’t love to hear those results? 4. Gorillaz “Demon Days” gorillaz demon days Damon Albarn and Jamie Hewlett’s virtual band really hit the mark with this album, a perfect mix of dark dub and rock-based hip-hop that had some great hits. While I usually skip “Feel Good, Inc.” because the radio ruined it for me, the album is a great one to listen to front to back. 3. Fleet Foxes “Ragged Wood” fleet foxes ragged wood Robin Pecknold and his band seemingly came out of nowhere and won people over with their beautiful live shows and recordings that sounded like they were singing on a mountain, overlooking some pleasant valley with their righteous beards. 2. Grizzly Bear “Veckatimest” grizzly bear veckatimest Grizzly Bear really hit a songwriting stride on their recent album. While at times these guys can sound also like the Beach Boys, though more on amphetamines than hallucinogenics, the talent of each member is astounding when witnessed live. 1. Modest Mouse “The Moon and Antarctica” modest mouse the moon and antarctica There are few bands that have worked as hard as Modest Mouse to get their music out to the masses. While their recent work has seen much commercial success, and for good reason, this 2000 release really sees Isaac Brock at his best, mixing dark lyrical poetry with a sound that would foreshadow future releases and solidify the band as an inimitable force. Honorable Mentions: Bowerbirds “Hymns for a Dark Horse” Freelance Whales “Weathervanes” Mastodon “Blood Mountain” Pelican “City of Echoes” Them Crooked Vultures “Self Titled” Band of Horses “Everything All the Time”

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Top 10 Bands That Should Reunite

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Reunions are all the rage in the last few years, and bands are coming out of seemingly nowhere to take any high paying offers to do one-off shows or entire tours. Any band that has had a mild hit has pretty much reunited, unless a member has died. Luckily, there are still many great bands that have resisted the color of money to reunite, but here’s to hoping they still see the light.

10. The Fugees

Who doesn’t remember watching the video for “Killing Me Softly”? These guys did have a way with words, and Lauryn Hill is Roberta Flack’s long lost sister.


A great DC band that retreated once they began getting a bit of recognition. Both guys were amazing multi-instrumentalists that inspired a lot of bands today.

8. The Kinks

Will the Davies brothers ever reconcile and do a reunion? They both say it’s very bloody unlikely.

7. Fugazi

Another hugely influential DC band that has been on an “extended hiatus” for quite some time now. I think after 8 years we can safely say they are no more, but what a reunion that’d be.

6. The Smiths

The king of broody music, Morrissey, wouldn’t be caught dead on stage with Johnny Marr and the rest of the Smiths, not for millions of dollars. All the pre-emo children will rejoice if this ever happens, so keep that mascara handy.

5. Talk Talk

Most people remember this band for their hit “It’s My Life” that No Doubt covered many years later. The fact is, these guys basically started the post-rock movement and did some amazing things when everyone was still stuck listening to INXS.

4. At the Drive In

If you’ve ever caught video of an old ATDI show, you’ve seen how dangerous it was to be a spectator. There is no band that even touched these guys in ingenuity and energy. This reunion could happen someday, but Jim Ward and the Mars Volta guys will need to play nice.

3. Godspeed You! Black Emperor

In an era of financial ruin and war at every turn, what better soundtrack is there than a series of symphonies spelling the end of days? No one did it better than this Montreal collective.

2. Neutral Milk Hotel

Jeff Magnum may never feel the need to play in front of a crowd again. If he ever wakes up one day with a desire to let hipsters everywhere die happy, he could gather the other Elephant 6 guys and play “In the Aeroplane Over the Sea” from front to back.

1. Talking Heads

David Byrne doesn’t need the rest of the Talking Heads, at least that’s what he’s shown in the past 10 or so years since they’ve disbanded. But the magic that Stop Making Sense shows when all four of them played together is undeniable, though the reunion may never happen. Honorable Mentions: Wham! Mr. Bungle Uncle Tupelo The Dead Kennedys Velvet Underground DFA 1979 The Postal Service Sleater-Kinney

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