If you’re not familiar with Tim Armstrong’s ongoing project, Tim Timebomb and Friends, I highly recommend it. Armstrong explores and reinterprets a wide array of music spanning the past century covering numerous genres like blue grass, zydeco, folk, punk, blues, early rock, reggae, ska, and early country.
Armstrong, along with his band of rotating members for this project, recorded a series of three murder ballads. These are actual folk songs from the early 1900s about horrific acts, one of which is my pick for today: “On the Banks of the Old Ohio.” It sounds like a pleasant song, but the lyrics paint a dark portrait.
If you’ve read any of my short stories, you would understand my draw to a song like this. It left a such an impression that I referenced it in my dystopian short story “The Last Gun,” available to read for free on Section 8 Magazine’s website. Please check it out, if you would, I enjoyed writing it.
“Dice” is one of those songs that evokes autumnal mood. The ethereal tones by William Orbit, the melodic guitar motif, and swelling vocals of Finlay Quaye and Beth Orton create an environment few other songs can achieve. “Dice” feels like an artistic departure for both Quaye and Orton in terms of style, but it works beautifully.
This #30SongsForNovember project has reinvigorated my love for music. I’m digging through playlists of my favorite bands to pull out songs that have resonated with me over the years. Since I have been writing so heavily as my primary source of business, I tend not to listen to any music while working; I save it for car rides and housework.
Today’s pick comes from one of my all-time favorite bands, the Dropkick Murphys. The song “Your Spirit’s Alive” was written in 2004 in memoriam of a friend the band lost to a motorcycle accident that year. I think I partially identify with the song’s message because I lost my brother the same year. There is more to it, though. The song has this rapid pace, an incredible energy that makes you feel great to be alive. You cherish every moment. Invigoration is the essence of the song. What more appropriate song for today, Los Dias de los Muertos, Day of the Dead?
I thought I would try something new for the blog to see where it would lead. Possibly some new inspirations for myself and others. November has always been a special month for me. It starts immediately following the fun of Halloween and segues into the holiday season while autumn peaks here in Connecticut. A time of transition and reflection of the past year, and celebration of my birth, though I’m thinking it’s time to pass on that as I get older.
My first pick is “Welcome to My Nightmare” by Alice Cooper, released in 1975, a staple in his live shows today. The album by the same name marks his debut as a solo performer. The band Alice Cooper were together 1968 until 1974 producing four unforgettable albums Love It To Death, Killer, School’s Out, and Billion Dollar Babies.
I remember watching Alice on TV when I was really young not knowing who he was, but the songs and stage theatrics stuck with me, definitely an early inspiration leading to my foray into dark fiction and horror. He had some crazy evening TV special for Welcome to My Nightmare I happened to catch and I loved his Muppet Show appearance at that time. I rediscovered him in my early teens and have been a fan since.
Here’s a live concert performance of the song circa 1990, during the Trash era.