Friday Music

Playlist for August 26, 2022

Another week, and another entry for Friday Music. Here we go…

In the late 70s/early 80s, WBAB on Long Island had a regular show called “Homegrown,” which played local bands. That’s where I discovered the power trio, Zebra, who did a Zeppelin-esque prog-pop-metal. A lot of the Homegrown demo tracks would be featured, re-recorded, on their 83 debut album, but they’ve recently re-released some of the demo tracks, including one of my favorites — “One More Chance.”

“Govinda” is a track from the late-90s debut from psychedelic indie band Kulu Shaker, an Indian devotional chant often used by the Krishna Consciousness group. The lead singer of Kula Shaker, Crispian Mills, is the son of 1960s-70s Disney actress Haley Mills, interestingly enough.

A brand new track from Billy Idol! “Cage” is the title track of the EP of the same name. He and guitarist Steve Stevens still bring it, 40 years on.

A song which was featured (in an altered form) in the latest season of Westworld. The original track, “Everything In Its Right Place,” was the lead track of Radiohead’s album, Kid A. I cannot put into words how much I love the sound of this.

“Alone Again Or” is one of my favorite tracks from The Damned, which is actually a cover of a 1967 track from the band Love. The Spanish guitar makes the song.

Caught the film “Spiderhead” on Netflix, where Chris Hemsworth plays a pharma-bro who has an iPod full of smooth-chill music (like Chuck Mangione, etc.). This track was included in the soundtrack, and I’d completely forgotten about it. Released in 1979 at the height of the disco era, “Rise” was the last charting single from Herb Alpert. Play it. You’ll remember.

Lastly, a recording of the classic folk tune “O Death,” by my favorite folk singer, Rhiannon Giddens, accompanied by Italian percussionist Francesco Turrisi. No matter who does this song, it always sends a chill up my spine.

So there we go, folks — I hope that you’re enjoying these!

The Final Spooktober

The best laid schemes o’ Mice an’ Men gang aft agley.

Or so said Robert Burns.

I’d planned on watching more spooky stuff this month, but I got so busy, it sorta fell apart there at the end. Alas.

So for my final Spooktober entry, I’ll cover another Netflix show that Laura and I watched this month, which was on-theme, but not originally intended to be part of my Spooktober viewings: The 10-episode Netflix series, The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina.

To clear up some misconceptions: This is not a “reboot” of the mediocre 90s sitcom, Sabrina The Teenage Witch. I’ve seen folks online reacting to it as such.

It is based on a 2014 comic book series from Archie Comics’ phenomenal “Archie Horror” line, which, like the sitcom, was a riff on the early-60s Sabrina the Witch character. For folks not aware: the Archie line has been doing some experimentation alongside their usual “mid-century wholesome teenagers” main line. (This is one of the reasons why the Riverdale show wasn’t what you were expecting, either). In fact, the title sequence of the show uses the amazing Robert Hack artwork from the covers of that series (like the image above, for example).

Interestingly, the series is actually a bit LESS dark than the comic. There were sequences in the comic which were stunningly horrific, which the series lightened considerably. In the end, the Netflix series comes off more like a PG-13, Halloween-themed Harry Potter than the genuine horror of the comic.

That said, the performances are good, the casting is good, the production design is excellent, and it’s nice bit of dark fantasy which combines teen melodrama with the occult. Give it a shot.


The Spooktober Doll

Another disappointing one last night, I’m afraid — Annabelle, the first spin-off of the CONJURING series.

Even worse, it wasn’t horrible. It was just “meh.” At no point did it get bad enough for me to turn it off, I just kept waiting for it to become something other than mediocre, and it never did. Unfortunate.

I hadn’t seen this one yet, but I went into it with high hopes. I love The Conjuring films — I grew up reading accounts of The Warrens’ investigations in the seventies. I knew about the doll (although the actual Annabelle is a hand-made Raggedy Ann, not a creepy porcelain doll). And I’d heard that this film was a period piece, set in Los Angeles in the late 60s, a period ripe for cult-y shenanigans (what with Manson, et. al.).

And yet, with all that going for it, the actual film ended up as a wet squib. A shocking lack of good scares, even. I honestly don’t understand how you can have all of these great ingredients: a spin-off of a great property, an interesting period setting, hippy satanic cults, and a FREAKIN’ POSSESSED DOLL… and still not manage to make something so entirely unengaging. At least if it was actively bad, I would’ve given them credit for trying and failing. This was just… there.