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Longtime local music maven Dan Pavelich joins Racine County Eye this week. Look for Dan’s weekly CR and LP reviews, Quick Spins, as well as news about local musicians, gigs, and recordings of interest.

Spooky music picks

The First Rule

Not As Cool As I Thought I Was (TFR)

The follow-up to last year’s What Could Possibly Go Wrong? Not As Cool As I Thought I Was, displays a noticeable maturity. Though The First Rule’s punk hearts are still firmly pinned on their sleeves, the tracks Better Days and High On Your Love boast savvy arrangements that instantly grab your attention.

Vocalist Nicholas O’Malley, in particular, has hit his stride with a new-found confidence that also seems to have inspired his bandmates to up their ante. Though this has always been a tight band, here they’ve discovered that there’s no crime in grooving. Nerd Rage comes alive via a punchy backbeat and fast-walking bass line, showing a band intent on growing. Highly recommended.

Vince Guaraldi

It’s The Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown (Craft)

Having written the music for Charlie Brown TV specials for decades, Vince Guaraldi is almost synonymous with the Peanuts gang. Aside from A Charlie Brown Christmas, The Great Pumpkin is probably his most memorable score. The original session recording tapes were lost, so these recordings are a direct transfer from the TV special.

It’s a Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown

Graveyard Theme and Trick Or Treat are still creepy after all these years, even though they are followed by peppy classics like Linus And Lucy and The Charlie Brown Theme. Aiding in the ambiance is the fact that all of the scary sound effects from the show are heard. Spooky fun for the whole family!

Mr. Singer & The Sharp Cookies

Happy Haunted Halloween (Crumby)

If you’re up for a little Halloween silliness, Mr. Singer & The Sharp Cookies will gleefully add that ingredient to your holiday celebrations. Aiming to provide a trick-or-treat soundtrack that is spooky but never too scary for the little ones, this trio often reminds me of bands like The B52s, that are simply out to have a good time.

Happy Halloween is an irresistible singalong, as sweet as a caramel apple. Going To Ghost Town is a Monster Mash story song that would fit well in a Scooby Doo episode, and How Many Pieces Of Candy exudes the excitement of going through a bulging pillowcase full of candy at the end of the hallowed night. Good fun for kids of all ages!

Recent New Releases of note

  • Lady Gaga/A Star Is Born (Interscope)
  • Steve Perry/Traces (Fantasy)
  • Twenty One Pilots/Trench (WEA)
  • Eric Church/Desperate Man (EMI)
  • John Lennon/Imagine-The Ultimate Collection (Capitol)
  • Behemoth/I Loved You At Your Darkest (Metal Blade)
  • Cat Power/Wanderer (Domino)
  • Lindsey Buckingham/Solo Anthology (WEA)
  • Matt Nathanson/Sings His Sad Heart (Acrobat)
  • T.I./Dime Trap (Epic)
  • Will Hoge/My American Dream (Edlo)

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