Spooky Tunes

Halloween doesn’t have nearly the amount of music it deserves.

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I had a realization the other day that Halloween really got the short end of the stick when it comes to music. I think it’s safe to say that Halloween is easily the #3 Holiday here in the US right behind Christmas and 4th of July in terms of a) people who give a crap that its coming, b) celebrations held and c) decorations put out. Don’t get me wrong, the other holidays are great. Personally, Halloween should be #2, but it is really tough to get around how much Red, White and Blue gets scattered all over right when June rolls around and Halloween doesn’t feature thousands (millions?) of people literally launching explosives into the sky to celebrate. And thus, Independence Day probably earns that #2 spot.

“What about Thanksgiving,” you might be asking. Oh, you mean pre-Christmas? The truth about Thanksgiving is that for quite some time (much longer than the twitter armies think) it has really just been this launching point for the “Holiday Season,” that wintery zone of various Holidays that actually mean something beyond “people with buckles on their shoes ate turkey and we don’t talk about the rest of the colonization stuff.” It’s the starting gun for a season of caring and sharing; a season of love and peace. Granted, that season for most people is more selfish and Capitalism-hungry than any other month of the year, but that’s not the season’s fault. Anyway, I LOVE Thanksgiving, don’t get me wrong, but as a Holiday it’s always felt more like a turning point than a big day to eagerly anticipate. People don’t go to football games specifically for the initial kick-off and then say “oh man, that was the best one yet.” Just saying. Don’t @ me, Thanksgiving people (or do, I need more interaction for my Google metrics).
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Nobody Watching

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Keep your meditation and yoga, I’ll take private dance parties every day.

So there’s that phrase everybody knows: “Dance like nobody’s watching.” Ultimately this just means have confidence in yourself on the dance floor and that dancing should be about YOU and not being concerned about if your moves are good enough or how you look. I’ve talked in the past about how beautiful music is when you just let it consume you. It’s true, when you get to that point where you just gotta dance, you definitely SHOULD forget everything around you and just let go. It’s more than just dance-specific. I believe whoever originated this phrase really meant that whatever it is tugging at your passion, you should just let go and not be concerned about what everyone around you thinks. For me that concept most often manifests when I’m playing the drums. Getting into the music and just letting go, flailing like a madman. It’s a magical experience.

However, I honestly wonder how many people know what its like to ACTUALLY dance when nobody is watching. I think the prequel to the opening phrase should be “you by all means SHOULD dance when nobody is watching. You should take every chance you can to throw on some music and boogie. Shake parts of you that you don’t often shake.” But I guess that doesn’t roll off the tongue as well.

Honestly, if you have never just had a solo dance party, you’re missing out. It is honestly one of the easiest ways to get hyped before a day of work. It is relaxing and refreshing. It fills you with confidence to approach challenges and energy to approach creativity. If you take it in the right direction, it can even be a good work out. I mean hell, why do you think there are so many dance-focused video games. The benefits of just absorbing some music and letting our bodies go is astounding. I don’t frequent dance clubs, but you best believe when I’m home I’m getting my Risky Business on.

I love it, to be honest. I never approach a day stronger than I do when I’ve let myself have a moment to just listen to some loud music and boogie, however that may manifest. And by all means, let your dance be specific to you. Wanna just bang head to some heavy metal? Tear up, satanicus! Maybe you feel like a private hoedown. Well then, do-si-do it to it, pardner! The music doesn’t matter, the moves don’t matter. All that counts is that you let the music grab you right in the emotions and you move the way it tells you to.

Like I said, I always find that getting a little groove in is great way to clear my mind and charge up for the day, but it’s not just me saying it. There have actually been studies that look deeper into the mental health benefits of regular or occasional dance, as well as groups that use dance as active therapy. There is seriously a ton of literature out there about different effects dance and music have on the mind as well as the body, and while the full effects are still being recorded and re-recorded, the overall consensus is that dancing both freely and as part of a organized group is one of the most beneficial activities you can take part in. It explains why we as humans are always so drawn to it. Hell, our modern concept of popular music is almost exclusively driven by the ability of a song to be “danceable.” We have had dancing and rhythm focused video games for literally decades. Popular group exercise programs like jazzercise and Zumba have been popular for literally as long as I can recall. We as people WANT to dance, however that movement might manifest, so if you haven’t just let go in the safety of your own home, then you’re severely missing out.

I invite anyone who reads this to dance. By yourself, with a friend, with a significant other. At a club, home alone, in the street (maybe not). Dance while running on the treadmill (carefully). Dance while vacuuming. If your jam comes on during the pre-show at a movie or in the waiting room at a mechanic or while you’re trying to find the ripest honeydew at the farmer’s market, then dive in and boogie-oogie and also oogie.

I also think if it’s something you’re interested in, consider finding a class or group and start doing that. Not only are you getting the benefits of regular dance, you’re getting the benefits of socialization and meeting a bunch of people with the same interest. You don’t have to be the next lead background dancer in the next [Insert Popular Music Personality Here] video (gotta keep these blog posts relevant for years to come). You just have to let go and get your groove on. Dance for yourself and follow where your body wants you to go.

Just dance like nobody is watching.

Some of my dance jams:

Genghis KhanMiike Snow
Pork SodaGlass Animals
WowPost Malone
Check Yo SelfIce Cube
PARAD(w/m)ESylvan Esso
LazarettoJack White
SuperpositionYoung the Giant
Something for your M.I.N.D.Superorganism
bad guyBillie Eilish
Wintergreen – That Handsome Devil

[Hardest part about writing this post was not making this longer than 10 songs. Honestly, it just gets less relevant and weird the longer it gets.]



Sometimes I have people say to me:

“Hey, you watch a lot of movies and read a bunch and stuff. Maybe you should use that blog thing to do some reviews.”

Well, imaginary person, I just don’t know if that’s something I can do.

I actually have a serious problem with many, if not most reviews. I think the main problem is that there exists this idea among people who choose to review things that having a negative opinion somehow makes your opinion smarter. There is a hoard of nearly mindless contrary zombies groaning out whatever sound-bite they’ve decided to latch in on regarding a particular film, and though that is the only real negative aspect they might be able to focus on, they do so with fervor and completely negate any good that may be remaining in the film.  Continue reading

Your Super Helpful Band Name Master List

From time to time, my group of friends and I will say something and go “Jeepers! That would make an excellent band name!”

We then form that band and play as Moose and Midge win the jitterbug competition. We then get a large trophy for having the “Swingingest Band in Riverdale,” but all Jughead cares about is the prize for All-You-Can-Eat sundaes at the Chok’lit Shoppe.

Oh Jughead…

Anyway, from time to time I actually write these band name ideas down. I found a bunch of them, and here they are. Enjoy:

  • Lyndon B. Zombie
  • Steak-knife Samurai
  • Butter Suit
  • Giggle Me Timbers
  • Pickle Sticklers
  • Cookies and Milf
  • Batman and Loggins
    •  NOTE: This could either be a Kenny Loggins cover band where you rework his lyrics to be about Batman or where you just sing Kenny Loggins songs like Christian Bale’s Batman.
  • Booty Pebbles
  • Hilary C. and the Benghazi Sensation
  • Zombie Gift Givers
  • Women’s Libido
  • Grave Lincoln
  • Dan Aykroyd
  • Spilled Ilk
  • Polychronic
  • Foie Gras
  • Spud & the Gravy
  • Chocolate Silk
  • Hymen Says
  • Corridor and Grain
  • Rainbow Ninja Parade
  • Captain Punch
  • Clark’s Super Panties
  • Dive Bar Swag
  • We Can’t Afford Real Instruments
  • Camera Angel
  • Bromatic Scales
  • Snape Kills Dumbledore
  • Thank You, Come Again!
  • $¥$₮€₹
  • Discotheque Tape Deck
  • String Cheese Bikini
  • Hedgehog and the Polysonics
  • Jersey Turnpike
  • Red Wedding Caterers
  • Crowdfunded Tater Salad
  • Dick Schlongstein
  • What Barack is Cookin’
  • Aroma Parody
  • Burt Peart’s Dirt Shirt
  • Santa Says I’m Poor
  • Disappointing Relations
  • Kaitlin and the Pile-Ups
  • It’s Not a Tuba!
  • Kafkaesque Burlesque
  • Scrambled Dregs
  • Wesley Crusher Fan Club
  • nononononononononononononono
  • Twerk du Soleil
  • Occupy Valles Marineris

There you go. Get out there and rock the socks off some unsuspecting dive-bar patrons.

Hope you enjoyed the Archie references. (Seriously though, #TeamVeronica)


Music: The Great Equalizer

I love music. Always have and always will. I was raised on it: My mom used to sing me Beatles tunes when I was a baby, and my parents used to always have the radio going when driving around places. I think this let me develop my tastes and knowledge of music early, leading to a hefty attachment later in life. My parents kept a very open mind to my connection to music, never actively telling me “hey, you can’t listen to this” or “this is garbage, turn it off.”

I love music, but I love even more what music can do for people. Music can bring people out dark times by providing them motivation or simply the proper atmosphere to handle their emotions. Music can attach itself to memories, sparking vivid nostalgia with just a few notes. Music can pull out our emotions and passions in a way where we can actually lose ourselves in its presence, lose ourselves in the moment that it reaches us, as if it belongs to us and we refuse to give it up (Hm, that would make a solid rap song All rights to Eminem and Mars, Inc). All of these qualities show music as this rooted, primal thing in our psyche, as if it triggers all these raw, instinctual synapses in our brain that lie in wait for that one particular Shakira song (don’t lie).

However, I think one of music’s most fascinating and tremendously abused qualities is its ability to bring people together. Music draws from us a passion, and we direct that passion as an outspoken love for the music that we attach ourselves to. Whether you’re writing a thesis on Romantic Era Sonatas, or just simply at CVS during a late night munchies run shouting “this is my JAM,” you’re exhibiting a response to the passion that music has built up inside you. The act of sharing this passion and love is truly one of the best things about music. Some of the quickest friends I’ve made have started from a discussion of music, realizing we both appreciate the same genre/band/artist/style (from here on “G/B/A/S”) , and sharing that passion. Playing music at work and someone recognizes a song and gets excited. Walking around somewhere and notice that multiple people get a little happier when a certain song comes on. I find so much delight in watching just how happy music can make people and how much happier they are when they find someone to share it with. They just light up, as if someone complimented their child or just handed them a signed copy of The Room (signed by Greg Sestero, not Tommy).

As with many things, there is a dark side to this passion. People often use their own personal passions as reasons to despise certain types of music and even hate on the people who like those genres or simply don’t like their own adopted genres. It happens all the time. For example, Jim likes country and hates metal, while Roy loves metal and hates country. Jim is indifferent to Roy’s tastes, but Roy now decides to not associate with Jim simply because they have opposing tastes. Plot twist: those two guys are brothers and they grow old and die never knowing anything about the other’s life all because Roy had to go and be a total dick about it.

Okay, that might be a bit extreme…

But it truly does happen, and I know you’ve either had a friend who felt this way or even possibly felt this way yourself. The type of person that dramatically acts disgusted whenever a certain G/B/A/S comes on the radio or possibly is even brought into conversation. The kind of person that actively considers the contents of someone’s CD/MP3 collection as qualifiers of their date-ability (I’m looking at you, Lorelai Gilmore). The type of person who would totally go to a record shop and actively try to sway the opinions of strangers who happened to express interest in a G/B/A/S they were opposed to. This kind of behavior is bad and just kind of dumb.

And as with a lot of things like this, if you’re thinking “I don’t know anyone like that,” than it is very likely that it’s you. Seek help.

Or you have no friends. In which case, sorry…

Now, I myself honestly and truly like/appreciate all forms of music. I honestly do. I have my go to genres, but I will sit and actively listen to anything of anywhere. I don’t expect everyone to be this way. For most people with more refined tastes and who are not indecisive jerks like yours truly, certain things will just be hard or even impossible to enjoy. Some people will never like pop music, while others may just never truly understand dubstep. It’s all good, dudes. It doesn’t matter if you actually don”t like a certain G/B/A/S, you do you. What matters is how you react and treat people when in proximity to that G/B/A/S, and I think this comes from an acceptance of the one fundamental truth of music: There is no bad music. What I mean is as long as someone’s perception of that music is good, then it is good music. Now, obviously there is music that might not qualify as “good” on a scholarly level, and that’s fine if you want to bring up death metal or pop or whatever else in your class essay on “The Death of Complex Melody: or why I’m such a pretentious douche,” then you go right ahead. But the real purpose of music isn’t melody, it isn’t complexity, it isn’t danceability, it isn’t resonance or cadences or fifths or harmony or lyrical quality or key changes. It is one simple thing: to trigger an emotional response. To make someone happy. To tap into your ennui. To help you rage against some kind of tool containing one or more parts that uses energy to perform some kind of action. To entertain us. To plug into our emotions in whatever way. Even songs considered “bad” on a scholarly level succeed in entertaining at least someone somewhere, and thus there is no bad music. A “bad” song would be something like one sustained, mechanical tone played over the sound of Styrofoam being rubbed together while a man with a goiter recites the script to Face/Off and arrhythmically slaps the growth on his neck with a spoon covered in mayonnaise, but EVEN THEN there would probably be some subculture somewhere that found that awesome. Websites would start popping up, subreddits would be formed. It would still illicit a response.

Bad music is a myth we create in our own minds because we don’t want to accept that someone gets something that we don’t. That someone out there likes a G/B/A/S that we just can’t wrap our heads around. That doesn’t trigger the response we desire. That we can’t feel passionate towards. It’s egotistical and envious. And thus, the concept needs to stop. So I challenge you, if there is a particular G/B/A/S that you are completely opposed, and you happen to find someone who loves it, strike up a convo. Ask them what they like about it. Tell them you just can’t get into it and why. Because I guaranty, in doing so, you’ll find common ground. Some G/B/A/S that you do both like, or even something they appreciate in music that sparks in you a G/B/A/S that you can share with them. And then their knowledge and appreciation of music is a little bigger. And the world is a little brighter.

So what do you guys think? Is this overly pretentious or just underly intelligent? Would you say you have any friends that hate on other people’s music? Are you gonna try this challenge with a G/B/A/S that you aren’t fond of? Let me know!


NOTE: Any Genres I used in examples were simply because they are usually the most common to get referenced in arguments of that nature. The examples don’t reflect my personal opinions. Just clearing that up.