Song #8: The Cold Night Air-Saturnalia

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It is hard to find anything about this goth/new wave/punk United Kingdom band. Their music is a real undiscovered gem. They only had two singles released in 1982 on Burning Worlds Records. Their discography is only four songs. The covers are pictured up top. It doesn’t help that there was a prog rock band in the 70s called Saternalia that also had a song called “Cold Night Air”.

Song #9: I’m Living In A Grave-Billy Childish

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Billy Childish is from England and does it all: writer, painter, poet and musician. Born in 1959 in Chatham, Kent, due to dyslexia that was never identified, he left school at age sixteen and started doing masonry. The prolific artwork he did at that time helped him get into art school, but was expelled due to his controversial views and poetry. He then became a true independent artist, always working on his own, outside of the system, never having been signed to a record label, yet producing over 120 records. He is the true definition of someone who has followed the punk ideal do it yourself .

Song #10: Basket Case

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Everyone is always asking Dwane, “What’s in the basket?” The answer is his murderous conjoined twin, Belial, who looks like a rubber head on a mass of tissue with two arms sticking out. They are in New York City to get revenge against the doctors who botched their separation.

This radio promo, with its surgical mask given to all attendees, reminds me of famed b-movie director William Castle, who was known for his gimmicks in movies, like shocking audience members during The Tingler, or having the audience vote for the fate of the main character in Mr. Sardonicus.

Song #11: Scream-Ralph Nielsen & The Chancellors

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This band, from Metuchen, New Jersey, was put together by the suggestion of a high school teacher that they do Buddy Holly and Elvis style music together. They recorded this in a small basement studio near Princeton, New Jersey. This song and the song “Little Demon” on the b-side were the only songs ever recorded. They have a very raw emotional energy. A month after the song came out, they broke up due to the job requirements of the band.

Song #12: Ghost of Stephen Foster-Squirrel Nut Zippers

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1993, in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, Squirrel Nut Zippers formed. They are often lumped in with the late 90’s swing revival, but unlike all the bands that do fit into that genera, they are really purveyors of earlier music: gypsy jazz, klezmer, and Delta blues. Their sound is often reminiscent of Django Reinhardt, King Oliver (The opening track on this year’s mix), Jimmy Dorsey, and Billy Holiday. To me, they have always felt a large cut above the rest of the bands they were lumped in with. They lasted until the early 2000s, leaving five amazing albums. A mix of original and new members are touring right now in support of the 20th anniversary of the Hot album.

The song has many connections to reality. The real Stephen Foster was a songwriter in the 1800s who wrote “Camptown Races”. He fell from fever and cut his neck, which led to his death a few days later. Perhaps his ghost haunts the hotel.

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Still from animated music video

Song #13: The Shining-Michale Graves

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Michale Grave was Glenn Danzig’s replacement in The Misfits. But that is too simple of a common description. There has been a lot of negative press about the post Danzig Misfits, but it has nothing to do with anything between Danzig and Graves. Graves has even opened for Danzig. The truth is that he is a great performer who should be judged on his work alone. After joining the Marines in 2005, he would go solo and play benefits for Damien Echols of The West Memphis Three, which if you don’t know the story is very important for those who judge others based on superficial myths. The album Illusions, that this recording is taken from, has Echols on accompanying guitar. Hopefully, we live in a more enlightened age, though it is hard to tell at times. Anyway, a quick check of Youtube, can find some awesome versions of this, one of the best songs Graves wrote while with The Misfits.

Song #14: Mr. Ghost Goes to Town-The 5 Jones Boys

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Released in 1937, The 5 Jones Boys were Jimmy Springs (lead tenor vocals), William Hartley, Herman Wood, Louis Wood, Charles Hopkins. There is not a lot to report about this band. From Carbondale, Illinois, they seemed to have only existed for only a few years. They toured with Duke Ellington and appeared many times on the popular radio program, The Laff Parade.  Great song; fun, spooky, and talented.