Sunday, July 28, 2013

Graveyard Calling Releases New Cassettes by TOMMY CREEP and GHOULSHOW (Review)

Ghoulshow and Tommy Creep. We’re here to discuss to releases from Graveyard Calling, a horror music label dedicated to releasing music on absolutely horror-perfect cassette tape with plenty of trimmings, love, ooze and some artwork that one might better associate with horror-themed toys of the 1980’s (think Mad Scientist… TOO GROSS!). This is a double feature review for the two separate albums which I have drastically different opinions on, but we’ll get into that later. This is also a promotion of Graveyard Calling who is doing something pretty friggin’ cool. Collectible? You bet. You like the retro format revival, and maybe you’re a tape head on the VHS scene? This might be your musical counterpart much in the same way that I think of vinyl and magnetic reels are to film print collecting.

Let’s start with Ghoulshow. I enjoyed this album less, but I assure you that it isn’t because it’s poorly written or doesn’t fill a niche in the horror music market. I am not a horror techno guy. I’m an industrial guy. I like music like Ministry, Front 242, anything off the Wax Trax label, Mindless Self Indulgence, My Life with the Thrill Kill Kult. I wasn’t a candy kid. I did my share of substances that can be referred to with only a single letter, but truthfully, I never owned or wanted to own a pair of UFO’s. I dislike pacifiers (but horror pacifiers… work on it people). While I those statements are made to describe the people I remember form the 90’s hitting up late night raves and the NYC scene, it’s really more to let you know that this really isn’t my cup of tea. I wore black nail polish and got beat up every day. I did not sweat to the sounds of the Ministry of Sound.


So when I tell you that the Ghoul Show album Tales from the Netherworld is in fact geared more toward your dark ravers, danceable but with some extremely catchy synth hooks, you’ll forgive me if it isn’t my favorite release of the year. It just ain’t my thing. I will say there’s a market for dark dance music. This album in particular has fantastic melodies that works off horror movie esque themes of the John Carpenter school of soundtrack building. I love the title Nethervator which has a down tempo leaning and plays off some synthetic horn music that appealed to my TTK love. If you want variety with some unique drum beats you might consider and enjoy Jungle Voodoo. Perhaps my favorite work on the album is in tandem with Tommy Creep (we’ll get into why that works in a minute).

All horror fans will enjoy the cassette tape packaging although I reviewed only a digital copy as this release is extremely limited. Artwork filled with purples and neon green with neon green cassette tapes and a variety of promo art that might sell you on this release even if the music isn’t quite your thing. My understanding is that Ghoulshow works out of Canada, loves horror and jazz and electronic music.

Let’s move on to Tommy Creep because when I listened to Vacant Tombs and Full Moons I fell in love. It was easy. Creep appealed to one of my favorite subgenres. Surf and garage rock with his song Death Beach. This song is rich; laden with traditional horror samples, surf rock organ and hooks that are straight out of the 60’s. You could easily place this song behind video from Horror at Party Beach and have a music video. Variations on Creep’s central themes keep the music entertaining and fresh. This praise doesn’t extend solely to this song, but will run the entire length of the album.


Tommy Creep’s style is also horror based (Graveyard Calling is a horror music label after all). It’s electronic. Is it industrial? I’d say it’s borderline, but has roots in glitch, saw tooth synth hits with an extra dollop of healthy bass. I’d go as far to say that it is highly remixable. If some guitar play takes some initiative and plays a chunky melody over top, you might end up with a wholly unique product. Many tracks on the album remind me of what I love about White Zombie and Rob Zombie. Samples upon samples and clever titles like More Zombie Than Zombie. Stiff Wagon has an insanely good use of sample music from a classic horror film used to impressive ominous effect. It’s one of my favorites. The samples in this song are in your face. Haunted House Party is an homage to House on Haunted Hill and includes some of the most iconic quotes from that movie.

Tommy Creep states that he creates horror music sometimes using Gameboys and other such devices. This retro glitch, 8-Bit-ish sound might be what appeals to me the most. This music is perfect for a video game soundtrack or movie soundtrack or, as I discovered, soundtrack to your intense cardio workout routine. Hard enough to push through the last ten minutes of your run, but light enough to keep you from jumping over the front of your treadmill and suckling on the brains of that hottie standing in front of you on the elliptical. You might also consider using this album as your Halloween haunt music. Decorate the house, throw on a couple of strobes and rock the Tommy Creep tape.

Tommy Creep’s album is also an exclusive cassette release per Graveyard Calling’s M.O. Similar packaging and design style to Ghoulshow, collectible and worth of a purchase if just for the packaging. Where as I might stay that Ghoulshow is best served on cassette tape, I believe the pulse bound bombastic thwapping that comes from Tommy Creep’s Vacant Tombs and Full Moons might be just a wee bit better on a digital, hi-fidelity format. Ultimately you have two very different albums with different styles that work together; they guest spot on each other’s release, and I’m not immediately certain of the history or connection between Tommy and Ghoulshow. When they get together the best of their music comes alive… or maybe undead as it were.

Graveyard Calling Horror Records is trying something pretty cool. You can check them out on their blog and website HERE. You can follow Tommy Creep on Facebook or Twitter, Ghoulshow on Facebook or Twitter and Graveyard Calling on Facebook or Twitter. Albums are available in limited quantity HERE.


No comments:

Post a Comment