Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Ghouls, witches, and zombies populate Southern Culture's pumped up reissue

In 1998 NC’s Southern Culture on the Skids released an eight-song EP called “Zombified” that paid homage to B-grade horror films that were popular during the 1960s and 1970s. Just in time for Halloween the trio release the disc stateside this week.

The new version is a full-length album that includes five new tracks. It's available as a cd, digital download, or on blood red vinyl that’s limited to 1000 copies (which also comes with a cd). Although zombies are currently at the height of their popularity, “Zombified” pays tribute to a number of creatures of the night – vampires, witches, swamp thangs and the walking dead with minor key menace, zippy surf guitar (it worked for The Munsters), and the weary honky-tonk charm of Bruce Campbell’s “Bubba Ho-Tep” character.

“Zombified” is surprisingly diversified given its subject matter. There’s the early `80s country rock of “Eyeball You Later,” the timeless girl group softness of “Torture,” the horror movie/rockabilly marriage of the title track and “Primitive," and the sad, retro feel of “Undertaker.” It makes me think about the possibilities if Hank Williams, Alice Cooper, and Buddy Holly hung out together.

“Creeper,” with its gritty guitar and restrained pace hauntingly plods at nearly the same speed as I imagine a mummy would, arms outstretched of course (although drummer Dave Hartman never lets the beat truly lag). Rick Miller’s guitar tone and the vintage feel of the material and production easily conjures black and white images of tight sweater-clad beauties on the run from werewolves, romanced by vampires, and stalked by maniacs. Maybe that doesn’t sound like a good time for the busty beauties, but like most SCOTS’ material it’s done with tongue firmly in cheek.

I’m a huge fan of Halloween, horror movies, and camp and am pleased that there’s new music to add to the seasonal playlist (besides, I kind of celebrate Halloween year-round). Several years ago when I managed a SouthEnd coffeeshop I would leave our Muzak station tuned to the Halloween channel throughout the month of October, but inevitably I and the customers would tire of “Purple People Eater,” the Munsters theme, and Peter Murphy. With that in mind, there's certainly a need for this sort of fun musical take on the holiday.

To properly kick-off the release SCOTS is having a “Zombified” video contest. Read more about that here. The band will also play Visulite (1615 Elizabeth Ave.), November 11 ($15-$18, 704-358-9200) - a little late for trick or treat though. “Zombified” indicates SCOTS would throw a kickin’ (chicken) Halloween party.


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