Horror movie lists: Lin Shaye is the actual Scream Queen

You know, I always disliked the term “scream queen” because I for one do not appreciate the blood-curdling scream of any given woman in any horror movie. Sometimes, it comes from female characters who are not even characterized as being overtly expressive in their emotions. It never comes from men even though men can and do scream just as well, if not louder. Plus, my favorite horror movie heroine, “Ripley” from “Alien” simply doesn’t scream but is still the greatest horror movie protagonist of all times.

So, let’s redefine the scream queen. Let’s make her a queen who makes people scream. Enter Lin Shaye, mostly known for the “Insidious”-franchise by the masses but also beloved in a gazillion independent and B-movie productions from the outright ridiculous to the downright terrifying.

If you want to get to know Lin Shaye as the contender for the scariest scream queen, I present my suggestions for a very frightening Lin Shaye appreciation movie marathon.

(Small spoilers ahead) Continue reading

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Favorite Song: Ivy Sole – “Dream Girl” is a soft cloud of love

I am absolutely floored, how much comfort and warmth this song has. The song is from Ivy’s Album “Eden” and heavily references an innocent, open vulnerability in a relationship, close to the purity that Adam and Eve (and for a short while, Lilith) had back in the Garden.

Her style in this song is beautiful, laid-back old school rap, add to that her lovely singing and a gorgeous stripped-down production and this is a song to start the day, to take a break from things, to soothe your soul.

Cover me badly: The Police and “King of Pain” by Alanis Morissette

First things first: “King of Pain” by the Police, released in 1983 on their album “Synchronicity” is a perfect song. The simple percussion at the beginning, Sting’s voice having this weird echo as if he’s singing from the other side of the room and then this dirty piano and the key change towards the chorus that doesn’t even feel like a chorus before everything gets into focus.

The amazing thing about this song – a real skill of the Police – is a really sad song that at first glance does not sound like a sad song but immediately feels like one. It’s the best example of that weird juxtaposition that so many 80s songs had, with those danceable beats and deep, sad truths.

With that being said, Alanis Morissette’s cover version (recorded for her Unplugged session) is a beautiful cover because it does two things:

It strips the song down but it keeps the structure.

It keeps the melody, my god, it keeps the f***ing melody. Do you know how many musicians cover a song in a “naked” version and then completely butcher up the melody? I’ve written about it over and over again, that’s how many. She plays a little bit with it by the end of it but that’s about it.

I also really like how Alanis manages to turn this specific 80s-sounding song into a song that has a distinct sound of the 90s with the jazzy piano and of course her voice which is part of the 90s musical canon.

Favorite Song: Anna Calvi ‘Don’t beat the girl out of my boy’ is intense!

Whether it’s that late 80s early 90s indie guitar or that banger of a chorus, Anna Calvi’s new single is absolutely mesmerizing. It’s such a statement piece, a true, pure single that takes bits and pieces of older pop but reframes them in ways that place this song steadily in the year 2018. This is alternative post punk rolled up in the pathos of Frankie goes to Hollywood. And that video – well, I am not into sexy videos but this is one heck of a sexy video.

I recommend the whole album (“Hunter”) by the way, because it’s basically this song but different. Everything on this album is super intense, retrograde 80s and brilliant. It is a bop.

Horror movies: Caves and Tunnels are creepy

I am planing this list for a while now because some of my favorite movies involve tight underground spaces. The reason is simple: claustrophobia is wide-spread, darkness is horrible and everything underground always counts as a metaphor for burials, death and hell, so if that’s not enough for horror movies, I don’t know what is.

As usual: I try to avoid heavy spoilers but I will talk about the plot, so there might be some spoilers out of a necessity. “Is good” might be enough for Czernobogh but it’s not enough for me.

Oh and: be careful with the trailers. Usually, trailers have massive spoilers when it comes to horror movies. So watch at your own risk. Continue reading

Cover me badly: ‘Only You’ by Yazoo

Look, it might be that I heard the Flying Pickets first with their version of “Only You”. It might even be that I really loved that version and put it on all my mixtapes. But as soon as on some 80s sampler or the other Yazoo turned up and Alison Moyet drowned everything in her soulful voice, I was done with the Flying Pickets (and you know how much I love a cappella).

Margaret Thatcher supposedly liked this song version.  

This is one of those instances that completely obliterate the popular version as soon as you hear the original. Because Alison sings it so sweetly and the synth-sounds by songwriter Vince Clarke give this the weird 80s polish that exemplified great vocals back then. I really love love songs that cling to the fraying ends of a relationship. There’s so many beautiful songs out there (many of them dealing with metaphorical ghosts) and this is yet another example that the time before the break-up can be just as heartbreaking as the break-up itself. There’s an interpretation of this song floating in the web, that Clarke wrote this mainly as a way to deal with his departure from Depeche Mode but as all great songs go, it is about what you hear and feel when you hear it. And thanks to Moyet, that’s a lot.

That outfit is a statement. I don’t know whether I agree with the statement but it is a statement nonetheless.

PS: At some point I should write about Vince Clarke who is also the main composure of Erasure’s songs since 1985 and therefore has written some of the greatest bops of the 80s including his stint with Yazoo.

The War and Treaty ‚Healing Tide‘ – great voices, much love and so much joy

Ok, first of all: sorry, I haven’t written anything in the past few weeks. It’s too hot to do anything and first and foremost, it’s too hot to work and stream music because my MacBook will turn into hot coals and I can’t risk either the work-fallout when it breaks down as well as my skin being marked by a f***ing MacBook Pro for the rest of my life. 

But this still didn’t keep me from discovering the new album by The War and Treaty that opens with a song („Love like there’s no tomorrow“) that’s like a shout from the rooftops, mixing Soul, RnB, country and Americana and some of the best duet-dynamics you’ve heard in the last 20 years. 

It’s so much fun listening to these two, I actually got reminded of attending live shows where the sheer craft and joy on stage would throw a blanket of happiness over the whole crowd and engulf you like sunshine. Cheesy, I know but something so gorgeous that lacks any cynicism (but doesn’t lack humor) doesn’t deserve detached irony, it deserves the whole cheesy, emotional approval stamp.

Shake it! Shake it good!

Honestly, „Healing Tide“, the albums titular song is something that could have been plucked right from the late 60s but at the same time also feels like that glimmer of joyful, warm hope that we all yearn so much after hours on that cesspit of human foulness called Twitter and daily news. Honestly, if this album were a drink, it would be that ice-cold sip of mint tea after the hottest day of the year. 

This is an album about love. Michael and Tanya Trotter and married and they share all of it for us whether it’s sweet, raunchy („Jeep Cerokee Laredo“) or loud and clear („Are you ready to love me“). Both Michael and Tanya can sing the house down and know exactly when something needs to be powerful or soft or even a little messy. 

(This is so sweet!)

This album is amazing because the lyrics are loving and cheeky, there’s enough honesty and humor to believe when both croon in „Hearts“ and the musical production is straightforward and never takes over the vocals which is important in an album that features vocals like that. 

I might not be as excited about country ditties like „Hearts“ as much as I love songs like „Healing Tide“ or „Are you ready to love me“ but when the triplet with Emmylou Harris comes around („Here is where the loving is“), I am all aboard the country wagon with all the twangy guitars one can muster up. 

Honestly, this is a beautiful, fun, honest album that just makes me happy. It’s just the right thing.