The Music Guy

With Halloween approaching, it’s not too early to get your “creep” on with a pair of spooky CDs perfect to shake out the cobwebs or lure trick-or-treaters to your lair. Lurking over his pipe organ, Theremin and other noisemakers like a heinous villain from a “Scooby Doo” episode, Eban Schletter summons the fog with Witching Hour on the Oglio Records imprint, easy work for a composer who’s work includes “SpongeBob Squarepants” and “Mr. Show with Bob and David.” Plenty of friends show up to sip from his caldron, including Grant Lee Phillips, Jill Sobule and comedians Paul F. Tompkins and Dave Foley. One highlight features the voice of SpongeBob, Tom Kenny, welcoming victims to his “Haunted Carnival.” Looking for something a lot more rocking? Little Steven Van Zandt has combed the record collection in his Underground Garage for Halloween A Go-Go on his Wicked Cool Records label. From surefire hits “I Walked with a Zombie” by Roky Erickson & the Aliens to the Fuzztones’ “I’m a Wolfman,” the personally selected timeline of hair-rising rock ‘n roll also features Carl Perkins, Howlin’ Wolf, the Electric Prunes, the Minus 5, Tegan and Sara, and the late night “Cool Ghoul” himself, John Zachere, with his “Dinner With Drac (Part 1).”

Television Alert:  

“The Tonight Show with Jay Leno” welcomes Kenny Chesney tonight and the Black Kids on Friday; “Late Night with Conan O’Brien” hosts Ray LaMontagne this evening and Nikka Costa on Thursday overnight; Tavis Smiley chats with TI on Thursday; and “Saturday Night Live”’s musical guest this weekend is Adele.

New Releases:

AC/DC — Black Ice (Columbia) all new, yet forever damning their souls by making their return only available at Wal-Mart

And You Will Know Us By the Trail of Dead — Festival Thyme (Richter Scale/Justice Records) CD EP in advance of next year’s So Divided album, also available in a limited-edition 10-inch vinyl edition with a bonus cover of the Replacements’ “Within Your Reach”

The Bridge — Blind Man’s Hill (Hyena) funky r&b grooves from Baltimore with a country road/railroad cadence and a satisfying New Orleans spice

Cedric Burnside & Lightnin’ Malcolm — 2 Man Wrecking Crew (Delta Groove) comprised of RL Burnside’s grandson and a young guitar slinger raised on Muddy Waters and Junior Kimbrough, this is authentic, full moon, backwoods roadhouse slow-grind and shake-it-loose magic that your parents warned you about

Kenny Chesney — Lucky Old Sun (Blue Chair) with guest Dave Matthews, a two-CD “deluxe edition” is also available with three live tracks and guests the Wailers on the album’s first single, “Everybody Wants To Go To Heaven”

Cirque du Soleil — All Together Now (EMI) DVD documentary of the performance group’s Love production in Las Vegas that debuted in 2006, sampling over 100 Beatles songs into 27 musical pieces

The Deep Vibration — Veracruz (Dualtone) given their name by Lou Reed after a performance at Nashville’s Ryman Auditorium, this rockin’ and relaxed five-song EP is in good company with guests Gillian Welch and Spooner Oldham

Electric Six — Flashy (Metropolis) on tour later this month with Local H, this new album is the ultimate kick-start morning and throw-your-fists-all-night-long decadence, bristling with heavy-hammer funk guitar, glitter-preening vocals and strobe-light horns

Frances — All the While (Gigantic) with a background in classical music, Paul Hogan spins a sophisticated pop with a playful array of instruments and melodies

Frightened Rabbit — Liver! Lung! FR! (FatCat Records) with guest James Graham of the Twilight Sad, this is a live and acoustic companion to their Midnight Organ Fight album

Sebastien Grainger — Sebastien Grainger & The Mountains (Saddle Creek) all new solo album from the former drummer of Death From Above

Michale Graves — Illusions Live: Viretta Park (Screaming Crow) unlikely, but powerfully strong, solo acoustic album from the Misfits’ former vocalist, featuring 17 tracks recorded live in Florida earlier this year and six demos recorded in Romania

Herman Dune — Next Year In Zion (Everloving) perfect sunny, wistful, unforgettable pop from the French duo with nods to Jonathan Richman, this week begining their stateside must-see tour with Jolie Holland

Jake One — White Van Music (Rhymesayers) terrific debut from this member of the G-Unit production team and stoned-cold beat collector, rolling out 22 tracks with guests Black Milk, Brother Ali, MF Doom, Busta Rhymes, Blueprint and Little Brother

Katy Mae — You May Already Be a Winner (Maggadee Records) five-song CD EP from this Brooklyn quartet spinning in bold, overdriven guitars and alt-country vibes

Kiss — Ikons (Mercury) four-CD set featuring a disc representing the best of original members Gene Simmons, Paul Stanley, Ace Frehley and Peter Criss

Long Blondes — Singles (Angular Recording Company) with drum-and-bass covers of Pulp’s “Love Is Blind” and the Cure’s “Lullaby”

Gary Louris — Acoustic Vagabonds (Rykodisc) produced by Chris Robinson of the Black Crowes, six songs from the Jayhawks founder’s recent solo album are given the sparse, intimate treatment

Magnetic Morning — AM (Friend or Faux Records) debut from Adam Franklin of Swervedriver and Sam Fogarino of Interpol

Matisyahu — Shattered (Epic) four-song EP featuring guests Sly & Robbie and members of Fishbone

McCarthy Trenching — Calamity Drenching (Team Love) hot off tour with the Felice Brothers and Justin Townes Earle, these home recordings with guests from Azure Ray, Cursive and the Good Life play like barroom closing hour memories as the lights dim out

The Mint Chicks — Crazy? Yes! Dumb? No! (Milan/Flying Nun) all-boy trio fittingly calling their sound “troublegum, this is the domestic issue of the album of the year, best group and album cover of the year at last year’s New Zealand Music Awards

Mörglbl — Toons Tunes From the Past (Free Electric Sound) two-CD reissue of the French trio’s first two albums from 1997 and 1999, a borderless mental expansion of instrumental jazz fusion built from heavy metal riffs and soaring guitar flight that would make Frank Zappa smile

Of Montreal — Skeletal Lamping (Polyvinyl) anticipated new CD in a 32-panel foldout package, also available in a two-LP 180-gram vinyl set with a die-cut poster and bonus digital download

OhGr — Devils In My Details (SPV) all new from Mark Walk and Skinny Puppy’s Ogre

Parts & Labor — Receivers (Jagjaguwar) reportedly using hundreds of responses to a mailing questionnaire from this past spring as segues between the songs

RTX — JJ Got Live RTX (Drag City) all new from Jennifer Herrema of Royal Trux

The Sea and the Cake — Car Alarm (Thrill Jockey) their eighth full-length album in 15 years, the quartet is tighter and more driving than ever

White Lies — “Death” (Fiction/Geffen) CD EP featuring a bonus remix by former touring partners Crystal Castles

Hank Williams III — Damn Right Rebel Proud (Sidewalk) featuring a 10-minute manic hayride dedicated by GG Allin, the album’s deeply honest “Candidate for Suicide” is the kind of good ol’ dark n’ pensive country that’s lost to today’s shiny radio blandness

various artists — Eccentric Soul: The Young Disciples (Numero Group) fantastic collection of 21 tracks from East St. Louis’ wrong side of the tracks in late 1960s, when a talented young music teacher hired by a neighborhood community center rescued and groomed troubled youth into soul powerhouses that rivaled superstars of the day

various artists — Love Train: The Sound Of Philadelphia (Philadelphia International Records/Legacy) four-CD box set collecting 71 hits from Teddy Pendergrass, Patti LaBelle, Lou Rawls, the Delfonics, the Spinners and other artists that were guided by the hands of Kenny Gamble and Leon Huff

various artists — Mushroom Jazz 6 (Om Records) 20 stellar tracks of sexy downtempo fantasia collected and weaved by DJ Mark Farina, highlighted by the Jazzual Suspects, Rubberroom, J-Boogie’s Dubtronic Science and Super Smoky Soul

John James can be found via cyberspace at