Torrid Horror – Ghost with a Mouth
Genre: Gothic / Dark Wave, Math Rock, Garage Rock
Bob Forrest told this writer that the only reason his band, Thelonious Monster, sounded the way that it did, and not like The Talking Heads or Joy Division, is because as novice musicians they didn’t yet possess the chops to replicate that sound. The great songs that they were left with were thus both a product of imagination and limited resources.
Things aren’t quite the same anymore. Sure, there are folks like myself who rarely progress above standard three-chord ditties. Kids nowadays though have the tools to learn exotic playing or turn their computers into state-of-the-art recording facilities. It all comes out sounding twisted, confusing, and crisp as a newly minted coin.
Take Torrid Horror. They sound like pros. Also, they sound like a band that has no serious allegiance to any single genre. Ghost with a Mouth sounds like a post-punk singer holding court over an old saloon instrumental, before launching into a metallic assault. It’s supposed to mimic a nightmare, for sure, but not the kind of B-movie, low-budget horror schlock with which audiences are usually presented.
Little Oil – So I Called His Name
Genre: Lo-fi Rock
Halloween, the festivity that’s won the holiday wars, is around the corner. Just like any jubilee, it feels wrong not to celebrate the gloom of Hallow’s Eve without the appropriate accompanying songs. Musical artists are doing their best to accommodate these desires.
Taking into account modern tendencies, as well as the classics, it’s interesting to note just how much of an influence blues and gospel music have had on these would-be Scooby-Doo soundtracks. Is religion this scary? Screaming Jay Hawkins howled like a mad priest about spells and witchery, Jimmy Page used blues riffs to buy Aleister Crowley’s mansion and, more recently, Zeal & Ardor have come up with something that they call gospel-black metal.
Little Oil are convinced that the blues riffs come from the very darkness of the heart and act accordingly. The call and response vocals of So I Called His Name sound like the final days of The Rollins Stones’ time at Nellcôte. There’s a growl to the singing that feels like advancing through quicksand. And, there ain’t a ray of light in sight. It’s the soundtrack of giving up and joining the skeletons in a dance.