Monthly Archives: September 2010

Freaky Tiki Surf-ari: Don Tiki

Don Tiki

Official Site

South of the Boudoir, Taboo Records 2009

I first became hooked on Don Tiki after hearing the spooky Tiki track “The Natives Are Restless.” Further research on the band led me to discover that they had done other songs with kinda creepy titles, such as “Axolotl” and “The Hypnotizing Man.” Their debut album, The Forbidden Sounds of Don Tiki also depicts creepy idols, green fire and a human skull (carrying over aspects from the cover of The Exotic Moods of Les Baxter). Not that it effects my enjoyment of the band, mind you. Don Tiki could have never done any of those things and I’d still love ’em.

The booking agent for Don Tiki had an interesting observation about Ritual of the Savage, the same album whose cover art inspired the creation of the Freaky Tiki Surf-ari. He said that the spooky idol images were “…meant to stir passions within the safety of suburbia,” or as the band likes to say, “where sensual fantasies exist…especially after that third mai tai.”

Sex is an aspect of Tiki culture (that link is NSFW, by the way), although said aspect is often toned down in general pop culture. Don Tiki has embraced this aspect of Tiki, as evidenced by this album’s title and Skinny Dip With Don Tiki. Speaking of the album, they’ve really gone all out and have assembled quite a selection of talent. In addition to the core members:

Jim Howard: Flute
Sharene Lum: Harp
Hai Jung: Lead & backing vocals
Sherry Shaoling: Lead & backing vocals
Delmar deWilde: Lead & backing vocals
Carlinhos de Oliveira: Brazilian percussion
Perry Coma: Keyboards percussion & backing vocals
Noel Okimoto: Vibes, marimba, drums & percussion

They also brought in:

Ryoko Oka: T’rung
Dean Taba: Basses
Jason Segler: Drums
James Ganeko: Congas
Starr Kalahiki: Backing vocals
Rockford Holmes: Saxes & flutes
Yo Ma-Ma (Jimmy Borges): Lead vocal
Lopaka Colon: Jungle percussion (of The Waitiki 7 fame)

The album’s opening track is actually a cover of the exotica classic, “Friendly Islands” by Ethel Azama. Bird calls lead into guiros, vibes, and keyboards under female vocals singing of a tropical paradise that’s perfect for love. The drums and cymbals are very soft and low and add to the song’s soft smoothness. There’s a vaguely jazzy vibe and guiro interlude at one point, and more calls appear as the singer takes us out. There’s a very “Bali Hai” feel to this.

The instrumental “Odd Man Out” uses congas and vibe strikes to form the main beat. A harp soon joins in and the vibraphone use gets more involved, as do the guiro and piano-like keyboards. Light bass is also used at points and then the vibes liven things up again with percussion, which leads us out. There’s a definite jungle feel to this one.

Despite the name, the light vibes and fast congas of “Turkish Delight” provide more of a tropical feel as they play over the occasional keyboards and harp. It only feels vaguely “Middle Eastern” later, where some exotic percussion is also added to increased keyboard use.

The very catchy “The Forbidden Finger” starts with male vocals which join congas and vibes, and female vocals and flute soon follow. Keyboards, congas and vibes make up much of the song, but the flute gets some decent roles at times. In classic Don Tiki style, the singing cheekily implies both the “shh” usage of a finger and another possible meaning for the title.

The band’s interpretation of G. Lane’s “Bla Bla Cha Cha” has a very Latinesque, Arthur Lyman feel. A piano-style keyboard openings things while a female singer explains (in a low and sultry voice) that the tune has no lyrics that could fit, so she’ll say “bla bla cha cha” instead. After a brief pause, it suddenly bursts into lively singing backed by a saxophone, drums and light vibes. This leads to a brief instrumental segment that’s very tango-like at times. I love the ending sequence of this track.

I thought “Tinfoil Hats” would be one of the album’s horror-related songs due to the possible alien connection, but I was wrong. The keyboard, t’rung, marimbas that sound like cartoon mice running, soft cymbals and vibes all come and go at different times and sometimes overlap. This creates the effect that the song is taking place in a madman’s head.

Cymbals and ringing bells softly open “In Thailand (Yo-Ma-Ma Mix),” as funky keyboards, congas and saxophone form a great soft beat. Sadly, the (in my opinion) awful lyrics ruin it for me. It’s a shame, as the sax and keyboards get a great solo at one point. I just wish this had been an instrumental…

“Chinatown Bar Cha Cha Cha” has a tango-like keyboard and percussion opening, then male vocals sing of evening at a Chinatown bar and his flirtations with a female patron over the course of a few weeks. Light vibes and flute use comes into play and we later hear an interesting pick-up line of sorts about buying her clothes to pose in while he takes pictures. Drumroll, keyboards and camera clicks cleverly give way to vibes. Percussion and others pick up as vocals return to sing of the relationship’s progress.

“Pussyfooting” is another instrumental that uses light, slow percussion and keyboard to give the impression of carefully tip-toeing. The keyboards are the star of the show, as they’re the only instrument to stray from main beat. The vibes get an interlude too, though. The use of bird calls returns in “Jungle Julie,” soon followed by congas and bass. Keyboards and cymbals aren’t far behind and get Peanuts-like at times. Flutes also appear, as do harps. Said harps give this a far more Middle Eastern feel than “Turkish delight” had. More calls get layered in briefly and the music slows down for a keyboard solo of sorts, later joined by cymbals and flute. There’s a return to form and then more harp use. Light marimba use takes us out with harps and light, soft bird calls.

“Billions of Brazilians” begins with wild Brazilian percussion and organ-like keyboards. Mixed male and female vocals sing of the wonders of Brazil. The “Ya ya ya ya ya ya” chorus is very catchy, you will be whistling, humming or singing this after hearing it. This is followed by vibes and speedy cymbals. The singing returns again, but there is drum solo after the and chorus returns with keyboards and vibes. I love the wonderful instrumental outro.

Congas and light keyboards form the beat “Pajama Tops,” which are soon layered under the vibraphone and flute. A female voice gives humorous explanation for the title at the end. Horns, congas and crowd sound effects give “The Palanquin” the feel of a Middle Eastern bazaar. Female vocals act as spice before male vocals over keyboard and congas sing of a search for Don Tiki’s hidden bar in an ancient catacomb. The keyboard and harp outro nicely leads into the next track.

“Pagan Lust” is the sole co-production by Don Tiki song scribe Kit Ebersbach on South of the Boudoir, which he did with Lauritz Hasenpusch. I honestly thought this would be about what the title implied and that I could discuss how such lust appears in both Tiki and horror culture. Instead, it turned out to be the name of a fictional drink! Funky keyboards and male vocals (plus several female vocals) sing a warning not to order said drink. Light vibes appear, as well as drums. They explain that the drink is dangerous and provide humorous descriptions like “red hot lava in a cobra skin.” After a Middle Eastern horn and drum interlude, followed by vibes and light wordless female vocals, it returns to the original style for the end.

The first of two bonus tracks, “Rapture of the Deep,” is both the longest track and the surprise horror connection of the album! Bubbling sound effects increase in volume while congas and “Music from the Heart of Space”-style mystical keyboards follow. Processed, whispering female vocals that sound like a sea witch tells a tale of seduction called “The Age of Love.” The overall effect is like sinking deeper and deeper into the ocean, especially if you listen in a dark room. The vocals can be hard to understand at times (Did she actually use the term “member” like I think she did?). A heartbeat effect is added over the soft keyboard solo, followed by the occasional congas and gong usage. Maracas and more bubbling lead us back to the story (over more bubbles). Be warned, though: The sea witch’s orgasmic moans towards the end will have anyone playing this at a party making a mad dash to the stereo’s off switch.

The second bonus track, “In Thailand (Delmar’s Deluxe Mix),” is a repeat of track #7 with new material added to to intro and outro. Said material is mostly vocals and the sound of a bottle being uncorked. Sadly, the lyrics are still there.

My issues with that one song aside, I highly recommend both Don Tiki and this album. Just be sure to leave your inhibitions at the door…

Special thanks to Don Tiki for the review copy!

Freaky Tiki Surf-ari: The Surf Zombies

The Surf Zombies

Official Myspace

Something Weird, Oasis Manufacturing 2009

The Surf Zombies first came to my attention by the way of a “Rock and Roots” CD sampler. The split second I saw the song title “El Funebre (The Hearse)” and the band’s name on the track listing, I knew I was in for a treat. Listening to it confirmed my expectations and immediately got me hooked on the band’s work. So when the Freaky Tiki Surf-ari started, I knew I just had to include them.

Formed in 2005 by lead guitarist Brook Hoover, the Surf Zombies originally consisted of Hoover, Jim Viner on drums and Doug Roberson on guitar. But as the notes for their second album Something Weird (the subject of this review) explain, tour issues led to their replacement by Erik Marshall on drums and Kyle D. Oyloe on guitar. Fender jazz bassist Joel McDowell has also been a constant in the group’s changing line-up and wrote many songs for the album(along with Hoover and Oyloe). The album’s complete lineup includes:

Brook Hoover: Fender jazz guitar
Joel McDowell: Fender jazz bass
Kyle Oyloe: Fender jazzmaster & danelectro baritone guitar
Jon Wilson Drums: Drums on track 19
Charles Hasson: Drums on tracks 16 and 20
Erik Marshall: Drums on tracks 2, 3, 7, 11, 12
Ryan Hoagland: Drums on tracks 1 4 5 6 8 9 10 13 14 15 17 18

But enough about the band, let’s get to their music…

“El Funebre (The Hearse)” opens with a few Spanish-sounding chords which lead to a classic-sounding surf opening. The build-up drums signals the coming of a fast, rocking beat with occasional pauses for a reprise of the opening chords followed by numerous guitar variations and the buildup to more cords. Wavy cord leads to the big (but brief) finishing fadeout.

“Dead Man’s Alley” kicks things off with a powerful guitar beat backing another guitar and rattlesnake-like percussion. Cymbals come into play sometime later, as do echo effects at the end. I want to make a spaghetti western, just to use this song as the theme! “I Fell In Love With A Teenage Vampire” makes great use of two guitars after the fast, medium volume guitars and drums get things going. It gets especially rocking near the end. Twilight wishes it could be as cool as this song.

A few select cords lead to heavy, steady guitars and drums in “Road Rage.” There’s also a fake “ending,” then it gets going again with one guitar going wild. This track evokes the feeling of a long trip down a desert highway, and how butts will be kicked when the destination is reached. “50cc” starts with a single, heavy guitar and drums (with occasional cymbal) that builds in speed and intensity, all backed by an organ. It’s like someone or something closing in on its destination or prey. A wavy guitar appears before the organ returns in order to lead to a classic surf ending.

The guitar work of “The High Rip” is somewhat lighter than that of the above song, but it’s must faster and cymbals play a more active role here. Things get lighter and slower at one point, but soon speed up and the guitars then show a rock influence. This becomes a recurring part of the song and helps reinforce the sense of speed and urgency. I particularly enjoyed how the organ was used to simulate an idling motor at the end.

Heavy medium guitars and drums give “The Buzzard Hop” a sinister, but danceable feel and a lighter guitar appears about two minutes in. These seemingly contrasting elements actually go very well together. This track feels like a fusion of the band’s Kustom Kulture and horror surf style songs.

The titular track, “Something Weird” (named for the famous-or is it infamous?-cult video company, which is named for the odd film of the same name) has a heavy introduction with reverb and slow drums, then guitars kick in over the drum beat. They go through several variations and later return to drum break of the opening for very mysterious feeling. Reverb punctuates the guitar notes to great effect, and pounding drum beats are used for “breaks” of sorts. Things lighten up a bit towards end, but then gets faster and the guitars start really wail.

Fast percussion and peppy guitars form the intro of “Don’t Let the Admiral Out,” with both the drums and guitars sometimes slipping into quick, infectious breaks. A sense of power enters song after the second go at the opening style, plus the guitars get to crank things up. In contrast, “Candy Cigarettes” is very sweet and light in its use of guitar and drums, which are soon coupled with an even sweeter heavy-pitched sound. It stops for fairly “normal” guitar and drums break, but soon gets sugary sweet again and the guitar eventually reasserts itself at the fadeout. It’s definitely an interesting and fun change of pace.

The lone guitar of “Alien Eyes” soon gives way to a faster beat of guitars and drums. It slows down and adds cymbals at one point, only to get faster and more rocking for the remainder of the song. There’s very familiar “surf” feel to this, especially the guitar riff used with the pounding drums. Speaking of surf, “Surfin’ Ghoul” uses fast percussion to evoke building waves. This is soon followed by medium guitars and (of course) plenty of reverb. Cymbals added in as well to complete the mix.

In “Extended Tour,” brief drum bursts and guitars bring us into a cool surf beat. Said guitars get to really shine here and often work their reverb magic. The organ pops in to underscore certain points, but mostly blends into the background just under the drums until it takes over for the final part of the song.

“Leonard” uses a heavy, slow guitar to lead into similar-sounding drums and further guitar work. The surf influence soon makes its presence known and makes for a pounding, catchy whole. Medium guitars and fast percussion have exotic feel to them in a fast-paced, pounding tune called “Mind Worm.” There’s a very 60’s-sounding feel to it at times, which alternates with rocking guitars and steady drums. Spacey sounds get layered for the end, which is appropriate given that most mind-controlling, wormlike beings tend to be of alien origin in horror and science fiction tales.

“Crawl Space Crawl” has slow and heavy guitars and drums, but with a “bouncy” feel emphasized by the occasional use of reverb. Cymbals and guitar variations are used to great effect here, especially at the ending slowdown. Fast drums and guitars underscored by other percussion gives “Incognito” a decidedly sneaky feel. 60’s style guitar work appears at times here only to be engulfed by fast, heavy guitar and drums. There’s a rather downbeat feel to reverb here, presumably due to the seriousness of spy work.

The slow guitar start of “Electric Skull” speeds up somewhat and light, steady drums are soon added. The two guitars get a little more adventurous as things progress. Similarly, the reverb opening of “Rockabilly Boogie Man” gives way to fast rockabilly/surf guitars and drums. The awesome drum solos are followed by even more fast guitar goodness.

“The Zombie Stomp” use slow, medium volume drums and guitars, with the two contrasting guitar styles making things more interesting. Likewise, “Aqua Waltz” uses slow, heavy percussion and sound effects joined by very slooooow guitars. This gives the feel of dreaming or floating in ocean waves and is a great way to close out the album.

Effectively shifting through and combining various styles and genres, the Surf Zombies have put together one hell of an album. Although several of the CD’s 21 tracks are relatively short, they’re all amazing and never wear out their welcome. So if you’re looking for something new in horror surf, I highly recommend that you look into the Surf Zombies. You won’t be disappointed!

Special thanks to The Surf Zombies for the review copy!

Freaky Tiki Surf-ari: Robert Drasnin

Robert Drasnin

Official Site

Voodoo II, Dionysus Records 2007

Martin Denny. Les Baxter. Arthur Lyman. They are the greats of the classic exotica world. However, I think there’s a name missing from that list: Robert Drasnin.

Granted, he’s only released two exotica albums, Voodoo and Voodoo II, but I think their quality and importance more than makes up for the lack of quantity.

The Voodoo series actually has an interesting history. Back in 1959, Drasnin composed Voodoo for Tops/Mayfair Records. Tops re-released it a year later with new cover art and under a new title: “Percussion Exotique.” It wasn’t until 1996 that it was reissued onto CD by Dionysus Records. That same year, Pickwick Records (then owned by the now-defunct video company Simitar) released a CD called Exotic Excursion which was made up of 10 of the original album’s 12 tracks. However, while the Dionysus release was mastered from a previously unplayed record, the Pickwick release used the original master tapes from the 50’s. Why two different companies released CDs of the same material using different masters (and why the one using the master tapes didn’t use two tracks) is a mystery to me.

After the original release of Voodoo, Drasnin performed as a musician in numerous other albums, did work on television shows like Lost in Space and The Man From U.N.C.L.E. He even became CBS’ Director of Music in 1977! According to the liner notes, the idea to create a sequel to his hit exotica album came in 2005, after the tremendous response to his liver performance of selections from Voodoo at the Hukilau Tiki festival. Two years later, Voodoo II was released.

Not only did Mr. Drasnin compose, conduct and arrange the entire album, but he also played the clarinet, flute and saxophone! One top of that, he recruited:

Mike Lang: Piano
Jim Hughart: Bass
Billy Hulting: Vibes
Amy Shulman: Harp
Peggy Baldwin: Cello
Howard Greene: Drums
John Sawoski: Keyboard
DJ Bonebrake: Marimba
Stephanie Bennett: Vocals
Bobby Shulgold: Alto flute, flute
Brad Dutz and Scott Breadman: Latin percussion

As you can see, this was a true labor of love and not a quickly slapped together cash in. In fact, the resulting sound is so rich (thanks to the use of so many instruments) that my write-up can’t cover them all!

“Habanera In Blue” opens with claves, bongos, quick vibraphone beats and sirenesque female vocals. Light keyboard notes play, then the piano takes us to vibes layered over cymbals or maracas. The cello joins in, along with a harp and more wordless vocals. We hear the piano again, along with the ever-present claves and bongos. The vocals reappear with cymbals, only to be temporarily replaced by the saxophone. They return with the harp, while claves, bongos, piano, chimes and gong form the ending.

“Moorean Moonbeams” starts off with bongos and guiros, then the piano brings in the female vocals (with lyrics) that give this track a beautiful, otherworldly feel. Bongos, drums, cymbals guiros, cello and vibes are added as the vocals and piano disappear and reappear. The guiro, bongos and vocals are “on top” after the piano. The cello is layered as well, then later goes solo until the gongs and quick guiro at the end.

As the title might have you guess, “Sambalerro” has a distinctly “Latin” sound. Our old friend the piano is mix with maracas, marimba, vibes, cello and maracas at first. Later, a flute or clarinet joins the piano, drums and vibes and this transitions to a sax over maracas and cowbell. Drums and piano turns into a piano solo and the like TV show end logo-type finale featuring a gong and light chimes.

In “East of Xanadu,” the cello and light bongos are quickly followed by vocals, piano and marimba. Vibes transition to bongos, cello, marimba, and clarinet. The returning vocals are sung over vibes, drums and cymbals that to lead to a saxophone over maracas and bongos. The vocal join in and compliment the beat, then takes everything over. Piano flourishes are layered atop vibes, cymbals, bongos, and cello before the piano and harp outro.

“Kahluha Mist” has a catchy “bongos and clave” beat layered under a piano, light cymbals vibes and cello. It might look like a mess on paper, but they actually go really well together. The piano gets more varied before the sax appears over bongos and percussion, which gives way to piano, vibes and cello.

“Polynesian Bolero” starts off with chimes and drums, with dash of vibes and light vocals that form a slow march of sorts. The vibes get larger role with drums, then the track becomes more like a Latin dance. The saxophone and percussion beat make things jazzier before the march resumes, only to become a jazzy sax version of march layered on top of vibes.

The slow vibes of “Luz de la Luna” merge with claves and cymbals (or is it maracas?). The cello plays very lightly under vocals, and drums briefly appear. These drums then give way to vibes and piano notes over bongos. Light sax notes drift in and then we get a piano solo. Bongos, sax and vocals return over the occasional bongos before the jazzy ending.

The energetic exotic percussion opening of “Puente Doble” forms the track’s beat and is joined by a marimba cameo of sorts. The cello and vibes transitions to piano and keyboard breaks. Speaking of which the keyboard offers varied sounds throughout this song. There’s a neat “Peanuts exotica” feel at times to this. The marimba gets a larger role accompanied by the piano and cello and everything gets more dramatic and drum-filled towards the end.

“La Mer Velours” has a wonderful piano opening with cymbals and claves, followed by vocals going in and out of the song. Bongos play in background at first, but vibes replace them later for a nice solo of sorts. The harp appears from time to time, as do the vocals.

The bongos, claves and flute of “Reminiscence” are soft, slow and light. The occasional vibe work is followed by piano and is very evocative of memories. Cymbals and the cello pick things up a little bit with the vibraphone Some light, magical-sounding chimes sometimes pop in and vanish as quickly as they appeared. The cello and vibes over the back beat goes well with the piano work.

“Siren Song” opens with a piano and claves backed with soft, but steady cymbals and vibes. Vocals follow soon after and are joined by the cello. It’s easy to see why Odysseus begged to be untied from the mast of his ship if this is the sort of singing he had heard. Vibes take over and the beat picks up. A quick cymbal hit takes thing back to normal and vocals return, along with a vibe flourish. Before you know it, the beat picks up again and we hear some fine cello work. Light harp strums and vocals come in, then the piano takes over but eventually yields to those it replaced.

“Tahitian Dream” begins with slow cymbals and bongos. The piano and vocals join in, along with vibes, cello, and slow, smooth vocals. The piano takes the reigns again, then the vibes and cello take over. The saxophone jazzes thing up until it’s replaced by the vocals. Light gong strikes and cello bring the song (and the album) to a close.

Many of you are probably wondering, “Why is the album called “Voodoo” if it has nothing to do with Africa or Haiti?” In fact, I thought something similar back when I first saw a scan of the album’s original cover art years ago. At first I wrote it off as someone suffering from cultural confusion, but that seems to not be the case. You see, during the time period the album was released, the term “voodoo” had long since been catch-all slang for the exotic and forbidden. This is evidenced by the rather unfortunate lyrics of the song quoted here. Thankfully, Voodoo II has none of that example’s potential offensiveness and is instead a wonderful listening experience.

Special thanks to Dionysus Records for the review copy!

Freaky Tiki Surf-ari: Man Or Astro-Man?

Man Or Astro-Man?

Official Site

Live Transmissions From Uranus , Touch and Go Records 1997 (Original release date: 1995)

Founded in Auburn, Alabama during the early 90’s, Man Or Astro-Man? soon rose to fame for both their excellent surf music and various gimmicks. Not only did they base songs on horror and sci-fi movies (even including samples from some), but all the members of the band use pseudonyms and claim to actually be aliens from outer space!

As a fan of surf music, Godzilla movies and Mystery Science Theater 3000, it was inevitable that I would repeatedly hear about the greatness of Man Or Astro-Man? Not only were they extremely talented musicians, but they did a cover of the theme song for Mystery Science Theater 3000, and included references to Godzilla movies in much of their work, from songs like
“King of the Monsters” to albums like “Experiment Zero” (Monster Zero) and “Destroy All Astro-Men!” (Destroy All Monsters). In fact, my love of Japanese monster movies led to my figuring out where the band got their name. While reading a book on Toho films, I noticed that the tag line on the US poster for The Human Vapor read “Is He Man? Or ASTRO-MAN?” Sadly, the band’s releases were all but impossible to obtain in my year and it was only due to my doing the Freaky Tiki Surf-ari that finally lead to me hearing their work.

“Live Transmissions From Uranus” is a recording of a 1994 concert in Gainesville, Florida that mostly consisted of material from the albums “Destroy All Astro-Men!” and “Project Infinity.” The performers consist of the founding members “Birdstuff,” “Coco the Electronic Monkey Wizard” and “Star Crunch” (their membership has changed many times over the years). As this is a live show, the majority of the tracks have spoken introductions by the group and constant interaction with the screaming audience. However, my review will only make note of the particularly interesting or funny bits.

“Intro Sample” is actually an audio sample from the trailer for The Leech Woman. The first real song is “Transmissions from Uranus,” which opens with a guitar strum and space sounds followed by a band member interacting with a sample from It Conquered The World. The fast, heavy guitar intro adds in some drums and slows down a little afterward. Cymbals pick things back up and we get some lyrics or comments. It slows down a little more, only for the amount of reverb to increase in turn. This song alone is enough to justify their reputation.

Next up is a cover of Avengers VI’s “Time Bomb.” Clacking drum sticks lead to fast guitars and drums, along with subdued Hammond organ use and cymbals. There’s definitely a sense of power and urgency to this, just like a time bomb. I found the profanity-filled interaction between the band and the audience preceding “Special Agent Conrad Uno” to be especially humorous. We get drumsticks clack again, then medium guitars (with occasional reverb)and drums form the beat. It builds up until the guitars fade and let drums take over, only to return soon after. The track has a very classic surf feel to it, although some parts have sneaking feel to them.

“Sferic Waves” starts with a sample discussing lightning strike victims, followed by guitars and cymbals. They’re fast paced as (thankfully) usual, but this has a different overall feel from the other songs. The guitar styles meander and get a solo at one point, only for the drums to return. It’s not subdued drum use, which is fine by me. Climbing guitar riffs get layered over samples, until they overwhelm said samples as we’re taken out by instrumentals. In case you were wondering, the song title refers to a type of atmospheric phenomena.

“Destination Venus” is another cover, this one is by Jo Callis of The Rezillos. Before they start playing, the band jokes about not being an instrumental group and how they usually sing in range so high that humans can’t hear it. So this time, they’ll throw us a bone and lower it to a level we can hear. After launching into plodding drums and medium-light fast guitars, we soon hear them sing about love and going to Venus. The lyrics cleverly refer both to the planet and the legendary love goddess of same name. They pause for the crowd and seem to have ended the song, only continue up until the true ending.

The guitars and drums of “Names of Numbers” are fast and full of reverb. The drum beats get quite varied here, with the guitars being just as varied. “A Mouthful of Exhaust” starts with a fairly long and humorous band introduction about rhymes. This track has a very different guitar sound compared to the other songs, which goes very well with the drums. It’s kind of a hybrid with standard rock at times. The band pauses and a member coughs at one point. This is later followed by a sample from game show with low guitar underneath, but things pick up soon after.

“Cowboy Playing Bombora” is their unique take on “Bombora” by the Original Surfaris, prompted by a fan wearing a “sneaky space cowboy hat.” Cymbals and wild guitars, coupled with cries of “yee-haw” get things going. There’s lots of interesting variations in this; drums get backed by guitars and vice-versa. It can be somewhat march-like at times, but gets back to “normal” later. It’s very “rock” like at another point, followed by classic surf-style bits.

“Mystery Science Theater 3000 Love Theme” is, as you’ve probably guessed, a surf version of the theme from the cult TV series (more specifically, the version of the theme used for the “Joel years” on Comedy Central), complete with “la la las” and “Crooooooow!” Hilariously, the band’s introduction claims that this is the theme to their favorite show…Matlock. If they ever revive MST3K, Best Brains need to use this version as the theme at least once. Trust me, they know about it. Not only did creator/former host Joel Hodgson appear at a 1996 concert to sing along, but his character on the show was said to have done pyrotechnics for the group in his reappearance in the first episode of the show’s final season.

“Gargantua’s Last Stand” opens with a sample from the Japanese kaiju classic, War of the Gargantuas. guitars cymbals drums.. cymbals get a good workout here, but also plenty of breaks for the guitars to work their reverb magic. Personally, I feel that the “heaviness” at points in the song is supposed to remind the listener of the marauding green gargantua the song is devoted to.

“Surfari” is another cover of a song by the Original Surfaris. The guitars and drums have an appropriately old school feel and sound to them, and the hammond organ returns and practically takes over at one point. However, the guitars eventually reassert their dominance. You’ve got to love the classic reverb outro.

“Rovers” starts with long talk about technical issues and a person who got up on stage. A slow intro sample stops things, which soon speed up after. Drums and cymbals take center stage while the guitars back at one point in the song, but as we all know, it wont (and doesn’t) last. starts familiar but gets into a very different song and style after.

The Pixies’ “Manta Ray” is the first of the final two cover songs on the album. Light guitars and singing make up the intro, while drum beats and cymbals creep in only for the guitars to pick up later. There’s a very unique guitar solo in this track as well.

Jerry Goldsmith’s “Man from F.U.C.K. Y.O.U” marks the last of the album’s cover songs. The Hammond organ and guitars open things, followed by drums. It’s very fast-paced with special riff used whenever the band sings the title organization’s name. The organ is heard the most in this song.

“Eric Estrotica” is fast and feels like a road trip. Drums and cymbals are soon joined by a space sound. More precisely, it sounds like something tuning in onto a signal. It really picks up (in terms of both instruments) towards the middle. The sound changes up a bit after the guitar climbing cords, which leads to the drum-heavy ending.

The final track, “Nitrous Burn Out,” uses a sample about the Indy 5000 and the use of nitro in cars as its opening. We hear a car revving, then fast guitars and percussion. After a drum solo, the guitars return and join again to reform the speedy feel. The music gets heavier and faster after further more revving sound effects. Loads of space sounds get piled on…the kind you hear on cheap electric toys and keychains. Cymbals with the occasional drum strike are also backed by revving, only for the guitars to return. There’s also plenty of yelling, but I can’t tell if it is band or crowd. After the final revs and ending beats, there’s huge applause and the audience chanting for more. I certainly can’t blame ’em, as I feel the same way. But all good things must come to an end…

Thankfully, Man Or Astro-Man? itself has not come to an end. After ceasing from touring or releasing new material in 2001, the band made a surprise return for two performances in 2006 and the group’s Facebook wall has mentioned new shows for both this and next year. Here’s hoping we’ll be hearing even more great things (and music) from them in the continuing future!

Special thanks to Touch and Go Records for the review copy!

Tuesday uEtsy: Niswander Ceramics

[’s tagline is “Buy, Sell, and Live Handmade.” Coincidentally, there’s a lot of spooky on Etsy, and each Tuesday, we highlight one of the sellers. If you’re looking to spruce up your look, redecorate your tomb or get a gift for that special something in your afterlife, is a place for spooky econo.]

Niswander Ceramics (
Gulko was visiting today. He wanted to drop off some invitations to his annual Octoberganza, which runs around his birthday sometime near the 13th.  It’s not really Oktoberfest but there is similar amounts of drinking and plenty of grilling going on. Gulko busts out a cask of some specialty brew for the adults with birch and root beer for the kids.
“You both should come along,” he said to Weird Jon and Strange Jason, both hanging about as they prepare for the upcoming season. They seem to get along with Gulko, since everyone seems to get along with Gulko. Can’t say it’s that hard, since Anthony Gulko’s a jolly type, one who is very content with just a few things in life. We’re grateful for him and we look forward to when he visits. Give the man a good amount of sandwiches and a full mug and he’ll be pleased for days. If he knew of Niswander Ceramics, he would probably special order some steins for the Octoberganza. 

Nevermore Ravens on Wrought Iron Fence Stein

Laurie J. Niswander produces some rather fantastic pieces of ceramic steins and mugs. Like the crow on the Raven on the Iron fence above, Niswander has some crisp and clean designs that express a haunting, spooky sense with effective use of imagery.

Jolly Roger Stein

Similar to that, you can find this Jolly Roger stein, expressing how much of a corporate pirate you are or how your grog will kick the butt of PBR on any day of the week.  Bust out this Niswander Ceramics badboy around the coffeemaker at work and people will probably speak to you with a more audible tone of respect. Or they’ll say ‘arrrrr’ a lot, which in our eyes, is a win/win scenario.

Franken’ Stein

In addition, you can find mugs with as much character as Gulko. Sure, Frankie’s Stein here won’t be belting out some classic big band singing when you fill it up with some Belgian ale like you would with Gulko, but this mug would be easier to take home after you’ve had a few. No electricity needed.

Bitty Batty Mug

You’ll find a lot of characters at Niswander’s store, like this bitty monster mug. His face holds a surprise, a mystery – does he contemplate mischief or the great puzzling enigmas of the universe? Or is it the face of a monster who just farted in your hot cider? Perhaps all three or none at all.

Jolly Roger Stein

On top of fantastic mugs and incredible steins, Niswander Ceramnics offer some ceramic jack o’lanterns for those who don’t want to waste a pumpkin (or perhaps are too far from a pumpkin patch.) This jaunty jack makes for a great decoration that can be saved much longer than any rotting gourd. Consider that if you’re allergic to vegetation or hate the feel of pumpkin guts on your hands.

Check out Niswander Ceramics Etsy site here and their website here. See what you can see and make sure you have your stein ready for Octoberganza. And be sure you’re back here next week for another Tuesday uEtsy. 

2010 Contest Page Update

We’re almost three weeks away from the deadline (October 16th, 2010) for our Gravediggers Local 16 2010 Halloween Contest. We’ve already received some incredible entries so far! And we’re accepting entries until One minute until Midnight (11:59pm EST) on October 16th. Remember, you can send three (3) limericks and one (1) artistic expression.  Remember, every entrant who includes a mailing address gets something neat and spooky. It won’t be much but it’ll be our way of saying ‘You entered our contest. You rock. Seriously, you do.”

Last week, we announced an entry to the PAIN IN THE NECK grand prize pack. So this week, OUT OF YOUR GOURD gets an addition with….

Zombie Pumpkins ( is site in it’s 8th year of operation, providing up to 220+ carving pattens for the pumpkin enthusiast. You will have the pleasuring of picking 25 out of  over-two-hundred designs when you win a Break Ground membership.

If you’re someone who is going to have their pumpkin carved well ahead of the October 23th announcement date, don’t fret. Zombie Pumpkins memberships are good for 9 months and the site provides ideas on how to apply the designs for other occasions!

Note – Zombie Pumpkins is not affiliated, sponsoring, endorses or is responsible for this contest in any way. Winners will have an account purchased by Gravediggers Local 16. Any gripes about the contest can be sent to frontoffice [at] If winning contestant is currently a ZombiePumpkins member, the ‘break ground’ account will be purchased at the end of the current, existing ZP membership. This is a disclaimer. This has been a disclaimer.

Update: Patchmaster General Ryan at has graciously offered to donate a ‘Break Ground’ membership to the winner! We want to thank Ryan and for such a generous offer! Let’s all give a big Halloween Thank You to Zombie Pumpkins (here on TwitterFacebook and even on their YouTube channel!)

Remember how we’re going to announce who wins what this week? We still are. Come back in a few  hours days for the news. Or follow us on Twitter (@GdL16) or Facebook for early scoops.

Enter today in our contest! Deadline is 10/16.  

Freaky Tiki Surf-ari: Stereophonic Space Sound Unlimited

Stereophonic Space Sound Unlimited

Official Site (Label)

The Spooky Sound Sessions, Dionysus Records 2009

After Kava Kon, we have one more stop in our Freaky Tiki Surf-ari side trip through the world of neo-exotica, which also takes us further into the world of space age pop.

Stereophonic Space Sound Unlimited is something of a mystery to me. They don’t have any official website or social networking pages that I can find and what few tidbits of information about them I managed to find online are very brief. Their Wikipedia entry refers to them as a “Swiss instrumental band” that’s been releasing albums since the late 90’s, along with references to some projects that have used the band’s music on their soundtracks. This calls them a “Swiss instrumental/exotica/space age duo,” which makes the mention of a third musician on the CD’s back cover a bit confusing. Are they a new member or a special guest? I honestly can’t say that I know. All I do know is that these people are credited are:

Karen Simpson: Guitar and percussion.
Markus Maggiori: Bongos, congas, and percussion.
Natz Maeschi: Guitar, bass, organ and keyboards (He also wrote the music).

Reading the CD also resulted in my realizing that the album’s title was due to the music being recorded at the “Spooky Sound Studio.” This initially did have me worried that this wouldn’t be a good fit for Freaky Tiki Surf-ari but as soon as I played the first track, I knew everything was going to be all right…

“Sitar Jerk” starts with magical-sounding chimes that lead us into a spacey, sort of Middle Eastern beat. More chimes are sprinkled throughout the space sounds, laser effects and funky beat. True to its name, a sitar does make numerous appearances and there’s even a Hammond organ coupled with more space sounds at one point. It only slows down before the final fade out. Overall, this sounds like what would play in the background of a porno starring George and Jane Jetson.

In “Do The Lurk Around,” a rocking, wailing guitar and organ open things and said things get funky fast. The organ builds up to hand claps, which reappear throughout the song. The organ usually is the main instrument used in the track, but the guitar occasionally fills that role as well.

In “Robotheque,” chimes lead into keyboards and a funky beat. Said chimes reoccur throughout the track. Guitar and cymbals soon join in, along with robot-like, beeping keyboard notes. These “beeps” are often the focus of the song, followed by guitars (both of which are backed by the previously mentioned funky beat).

“The Whistler Returns” starts with eerie bongos and guitar riffs, which gives way to a funky cymbals and organ beat. The beat feels like a lonely, mysterious walk which I suspect is an intentional tribute to the old radio series The Whistler, which opened with the sound of the spooky host’s footsteps. Although it was mostly a mystery show, there were the occasional horror aspects in it and the spin-off film series. More wailing guitar riffs follow the “walk” segment and more percussion appears toward the end.

“Gilera Baby” has a surf guitar opening with a slight Italian feel and congas further add to the beat. The rest of the song alternates between the surf riff and back beat until the reverb-heavy ending.

“Record Shop” starts off with chimes and percussion, along with a clacking sound of some kind over a keyboard beat. A vibraphone occasional cameos throughout the song, as do the chimes and knocking claves. “Contract Killer” offers a funky space beat with occasional, minor chimes. However, it also has serious undertones conveyed through the keyboards. Organ parts occasionally appear as well.

“la fille dans le train” gets things going with wild use of congas, a funky keyboard beat and minor use of some surf guitar (and a touch of mystery). The guitar gets louder and more focused later on, but it’s still only a small part of the song. It’s also coupled with keyboards, but goes back to the original style (and musical companions) soon after until it echoes out. “Re 307” has cymbals, congas and keyboards coupled with space sounds and the occasional use of chimes. A guitar later joins in with a somewhat subdued, but loud, performance. This cycle repeats itself but never bores the listener.

The guitars which start “Action Scope” have a Latin feel to them. Organ music and guiros join them, while the guitar gets more downbeat in tone and light conga use occurs throughout the track. Later, the guitars get a Latin, vaguely Carlos Santana feel to them. The opening of “November Morning,” which is comprised of maracas, chimes and keyboards, feels like a cold early winter morning until the guitar spices things up. Said guitar’s surf riff can be downbeat at times, as can the beat itself (the majority of which is formed with maracas).

The title “Chicken Skin” is slang for goosebumps, and the use of guitars and the accompanying springlike effects remind one of such bumps appearing. The guitar riff is a constant factor, as is the vaguely Middle Eastern at times beat. Congas and keyboards also play roles in this, as do the mysterious theremin-like parts.

The name “La Casa Gialla” means “The Yellow House” and is bound to remind horror fans of giallo films with titles like The_House with Laughing Windows. Organ music and guitars, followed with light congas and chimes, open the song. The interesting organ work is combined with both a loud and slow guitar for great effect. The two guitars make their use the most noticed in this particular track, with one light and in background while other is louder and more focused on by the listener.

A funky conga beat starts “Sad City,” the album’s final track, which sounds like toned-down version of first track at times. An organ and keyboard combo forms beat, chimes sometimes show up and keyboards also play a role. Although the keyboard use is often layered under the other instruments, it does get a chance to shine on own later. Similarly, the guitar riffs get solos of sorts at times. Just as the title implies, the song does have a touch of sadness to it at times.

As one of the Amazon reviewers here wisely noted, the music feels very cinematic and fits a variety of genres (including horror and science fiction). However, words only scratch the surface of this album’s greatness. It’s amazing how its unique, space age pop sound makes very little use of computers and is instead the result of the artists’ talent with “regular” instruments. You simply must listen to it in order to truly understand what I’m trying to get at. Hopefully, this won’t be the last we hear of Stereophonic Space Sound Unlimited.

Special thanks to Dionysus Records for the review copy!

Tuesday uEtsy: Raise Your Fist

[’s tagline is “Buy, Sell, and Live Handmade.” Coincidentally, there’s a lot of spooky on Etsy, and each Tuesday, we highlight one of the sellers. If you’re looking to spruce up your look, redecorate your tomb or get a gift for that special something in your afterlife, is a place for spooky econo.]

Raise Your Fist Inc (

The adage ‘Youth is wasted on the young’ was a way to express how the energy, invincibility and overall attractiveness of those prime years are often saddled with minds lacking a good chunk of common sense and stable emotions. If you had the ability to function at the levels of 16-21 while maintaining the humility and patience of a 30+ year old, you’d be invincible. This is why Doc Killian gets contracted out every November by Mr. Fallingard.

It’s also why we’re glad to spotlight Raise Your Fist Inc. this week on Tuesday uEtsy. Because we don’t endorse any kind of ingestible substance to somehow facilitate an idea of youthful exurberence. But we do think you can supplement your mature life with some little patches of youth sewn on to rejuvinate you.

Unlike the medical experiements in age-regression that Mr. Fallingard has Doc Killian conduct, Raise Your Fist Inc. specializes in accessories to make any outfit spooky, radical or downright punk. Which is good, because sometimes you need a little excitement but your work  won’t allow anything over 1″. But if you’ve got a messenger bag, an old jacket or a pair of jeans you want to turn spooky, you can’t go wrong with a cloth patch from Raise Your Fist Inc.. Take a look at the famous monster of filmland above. Slap that on an old Dickies jacket and show someone some undead pride.

Or perhaps you want to demonstrate some feminism – being created by men for a man, rejecting your place and chosing your own fate – of the spooky kind. Or perhaps you dig the hairstyle of Elsa Lanchester?

What we like a lot about the patches offered by Raise Your Fist Inc. are some of their original designs. This zombie patch has a quiet sense of horror to it, with how the exposed jawbone just blends in to the profile shot. It’s a nice way to demonstrate how death will catch up with all of us, which is something that Mr. Fallingard has been denying ever since he retired from the freight shipping business. Poor Doc Killian runs in circles trying to come up with some kind of way to either prolong Fallingard’s life or turn him back into the 20-something of old.

Our Ghoul Jenn thinks these chrome skull earrings are “perfect for a first date, when a ghoul needs to show who is boss.”

She knows. Our Ghoul Jenn knows. She’s left more broken hearts than Van Hellsing on a good day so when you need to know what to wear on that first date, job interview or just going to the store to get the freshest produce, she’s got the low-down. And these are of many earrings available at Raise Your Fist Inc.. So when you want to hang something impressive from your ears, you know where to go. Raise Your Fist Inc. is your hook-up for what to wear to hook-up, snack down or rock out.

But as we mentioned before, sometimes you’re only allowed one inch of personal space to rebel. We don’t want you to lose your job, especially in this economy. That’s why Doc Killian goes to work for Mr. Fallingard every November, to secure enough money to help pay for his family’s needs for the entire year. Sometimes, we have to lie in wait before we can conquer the world.  If you’ve got an inch to spare, Raise Your Fist Inc. has a button set for you. Seven buttons for three bucks a pop – you cannot get a better deal anywhere else. Here you see their ‘Night of the Living Dead’ set but everything you could want – from anarchy to hand grenades to owls – is there. Sometimes, all you need in an button or an earring or a patch on a jacket to help remind you of who you really are, no matter how old or what job you’re doing to make sure the lights are on when you come home.

You’ll find Raise Your Fist Inc.’s Etsy store here, and you can check out their main site at Raise Your Fist Inc dot com. From there you’ll find their Ebay store, with items you may not see on their Etsy shop. Plus, a blog that they’re going to get back up and running soon. Check ’em out and see what you can see. We’ll keep an light on you for you when you come back next week for another Tuesday uEtsy.

Freaky Tiki Surf-ari: The Mission Creeps

The Mission Creeps

Official Site

Dark Cells, Refractory Records 2010

The Mission Creeps aren’t your typical horror surf band. Brandon Specktor of the Arizona Daily Wildcat described their unique style as “gothic/garage rock,” ReverbNation called it “reverb-drenched guitar, psychotic theremin and velvelty…” and one Frankie Estelle calls them a “Cramps-style surfabilly band.” The Creeps themselves have used the term “CreepDamageRock” while I personally define it as “dark surf crossbred with various other genres and styles.”

I suspect their ever-evolving style has some times to the group’s history. Back when the band was founded in Tucson, Arizona by singer/guitarist James Arrr, it had around 5-6 members and a constantly changing parade of drummers. This continued into their 2007 debut album In Sickness and In Health and their 2008 Ghouls Among Us EP. But Dark Cells marks a new direction for the Mission Creeps, as the band has been pared down to three members: The previously-mentioned James Arrr with Miss Frankie Stein on bass and newcomer Jeff DiDay on drums.

A heavy medium guitar and drums form the very 60’s-style opening of the first track, “Boneyard Scene.” Things pick up when the singer does, and we get a mix of surf music with blues and other stuff. I especially liked the cool guitar riff used in it. Mr. Arrr has lower voice than most singers on the Surf-ari, which gives things a very effective, serious feel. The best way to summarize this song to anyone who hasn’t heard it is that it’s like something that would play in a chase scene from an impossibly awesome, parallel universe version of Scooby-Doo.

“Monster (Massive Return)” has very rocking opening drums and guitar. The lyrics describe a Frankenstein-like stitched and surgically altered person who is unaware of how they’re seen by others. Even if it didn’t have the great (but short-lived) guitar interludes, it would still be incredibly catchy. The guitar and drums work extremely well together and the reverb fade out was an interesting way to close things out.

The soft opening guitars of “Dark Cells” are rather slow, but steadily increases in volume while the drums and cymbals are somewhat faster. Soon Arrr sings of isolation and darkness between the instrumental segments and wailing guitars nicely complement the subject matter.

The funky, slow opening drum (or bongo) beat of “Cannibals In Love” is occasionally backed by a and metallic-sounding guitar. Said guitar picks up a bit at times, but the overall feel is still slow. The drums ever-present throughout the song except during chorus, where the title is whispered. The interesting guitar use during the instrumental segment is also worthy of note. Despite what the name might make you think, is not an “obvious romance song parody.” It’s a serious tale of two cannibals stranded on a desert island whose lyrics discuss the inevitable um…”rationing” that must be done. The vocals ask what good are certain body parts if the singer can’t or won’t do certain things. For example, why keep a leg if you can’t leave the island anyway? Their haunting delivery will stick with you long after the song is over.

In direct contrast to the above track, the surf opening of “These Horror Twins” features a fairly fast guitar backed by rapidly-hit drums and cymbals. Reverb comes into play a lot over the course of the song. Somehow, it still works ever when the singing comes in. Just as the song before it ends with them, “Night Vision Eye” starts with drums and cymbals, along with the occasional guitar strum. The singing style and some other elements of the song bring “Riders on the Storm” by the Doors to mind. The guitar use increases during the solo, but this is mainly a drum-driven song with the guitar acting as a spice of sorts.

The rockin’ guitar opening and drum use of “Lucky Stiff” echoes the album’s opening track and also evokes the feel of a long road trip. The lyrics appropriately tell of a runaway who accidentally kills someone. Certain points are punctuated with guitar twangs. What starts as fast, medium volume guitar work becomes light and fast in background while drums and cymbals get the focus with the singer. It turns into the occasional riff and then goes back into full use (like the others) for ending.

“Dead to Me” starts with light, medium guitar work coupled with some drum beasts, and then gets slower when singer appears and sings of his “momma”. There’s a biker or “Kustom Kulture” feel to this song’s surf style, with the guitars building up during chorus and softening guitars (along with the drums) temporarily give way to singer alone. However, they return and build up to the reverb-heavy ending.

“They Look So Good In Black” opens with what sounds like a sample followed by fast, heavy guitars and drums. The singing is somewhat more peppy and upbeat, as the song is sung from the point of view of is a proud agent who is more eager to do his dirty work (and torture). It’s apparently based on true stories of the Bulgarian secret police during the days of the Soviet Eastern Bloc. The subject matter is nicely reflected during a very rocking, fast guitar interlude with faint drum use and snatches of monitored conversations.

“Nano Machines With Intent to Kill” opens with a heavy-sounding sound effect, then launches into cymbal strikes and light guitar use with the occasional drum strike. The guitar gets louder and more complicated; it’s vaguely “Wipe Out” like at points and mysterious and somewhat Middle Eastern sounding at others when it’s not doing its usual thing. Although it’s mostly an instrumental piece, there are some processed, echoing female vocals at times (presumably provided by Miss Frankie Stein).

“Arsenal of Charm” is the slow dance track of album, but the guitars and percussion do rev up at times. The slow guitar opening features an occasional drumbeat, which then becomes a full drum use appears the singing starts. Although it gradually goes into an instrumental part, the singer returns and things go back to the way they were, save for occasional “oooh” that’s sung up to the ending.

“Skull City Mine” has a much different feel than title would have you think. It’s an acoustic guitar ballad that tells of man dying in a mine and how it effects his family. Some parts of it vaguely call Creedence Clearwater Revival’s “Who’ll Stop the Rain” to mind. Some interesting touches that come in later include a melodica joining in and faint female vocals that are used when the lyrics have the now widowed wife talking to her son (both of which are provided by Miss Stein). If the name sounds familiar to you, that’s because the name (and the song itself) appear in the 2009 horror film The Graves

Although some might be put off by the changes in song styles on the album, I feel that it makes for a unique, pleasantly varied listening experience. Apparently others feel the same way, as the Mission Creeps’ ventures into various musical genres has led to them playing everywhere from film festivals to the eighth Tiki Oasis festival. So whether you want some great new music to get into or just want a twist on surf music, get into the Mission Creeps ASAP!

Special thanks to The Mission Creeps for the review copy!

2010 Contest Page

CLICK HERE for the Gravediggers Local 16 2010 Halloween Contest.

We are officially within the countdown to the October 16th deadline for the 2010 Halloween Contest here at the Local. That’s a long sentence, but it sums everything up: submit your three (3) limericks and/or one (1) artful expression demonstrating the theme of this year’s contest – ‘something spooky is happening at the Local’s Halloween Party’ – by October 16th.

We’ve already announced that the grand prize winners will receive some spooky soap and either a DVD of ‘Perfect Creature,’ a neat New Zealand vampire movie or a CD of ‘Halloween Hootenanny,’ featuring original music by The Ghastly Ones, Deadbolt, Southern Culture on the Skids and more. 

We’ve already received entries and we’re still thirty days away! Remember that you are not required to include a mailing address with your entry (if you win, we’ll contact you) but if you do, you’re guaranteed to get something spooky and neat from us at the Local. 

Since we have thirty days to go, we’re going to leave you with a little tease for this Week’s Prize announcement. Next week, we’ll tell you what’s going into the OUT OF YOUR GOURD package but for this week, an addition to A PAIN IN THE NECK….


Blood Gel, realistic and close to the genuine product without having to puncture a vein. The winner will be up to seventh heaven someplace else when they win this fine specimen of holiday horror Hollywood magic.

Fantastic! Keep your entries coming in!

OH – one more thing!

Since we believe in democracy, and perchance to encourage you to enter knowing that you had a hand in picking your prizes (and not your nose), we’re taking an informal poll. Follow us on twitter – @GdL16 – and by Sunday at Midnight EST, tweet at us with either “Neck for Art” or “Gourd for Limerick” or vice-ah-versa. Next Friday, we’ll announce the grand prize designations for each contest and another addition to the prize pile.

Keep it spooky!