End of the Beginning: The Dystopian Halloween Party Guide to Black Sabbath

There are several reasons why we’re opening this year’s (belated) Dystopian Halloween Party with a guide to the discography of Black Sabbath. First is the most obvious one: while pinpointing the precise “invention” of heavy metal (or any genre) is a fool’s errand, Sabbath were pretty much indisputably the architects of metal’s most Halloween-friendly strain. Plenty of artists in the late 1960s had dabbled in the occult, of course (most notably the Rolling Stones), and bands like Blue Cheer, Iron Butterfly, Led Zeppelin, and Grand Funk Railroad were earlier in developing a plodding, high-volume, post-psychedelic take on heavy blues. But Sabbath were the first to marry Satanic anxieties and Gothic horror aesthetics with truly monstrous minor-key riffs, spawning whole generations of future headbangers in the process. Second, on a more personal note, there’s this: Sabbath’s “Iron Man” was one of a small handful of songs that actually scared me as a child, to the point that I had to curtail my habit of listening to classic rock radio after dark (the other songs, in case you’re wondering, were Neil Young’s “Hey Hey, My My” and–don’t laugh–Jethro Tull’s “Aqualung”).

There’s also a good reason why we’re looking back at Sabbath this year in particular: because the original lineup (minus drummer Bill Ward) is currently nearing the last leg of what has been advertised as their final reunion/retirement tour, billed under the appropriately ominous name “The End.” It is, of course, wise to treat any rock band’s retirement announcement with a healthy dose of skepticism (how many times has KISS promised to call it quits, again?). But let’s be honest: this probably really is the end for Black Sabbath, a band for whom it is no exaggeration to say it’s a miracle that the original members are still alive, much less capable of playing together. It’s only fitting for a group as death-obsessed as Sabbath to be present at their own wake; and even if they do, somehow, lurch back to life in the future–well, zombies are a Halloween staple, too.

So please, as they take their final bow, join us in this exhaustive overview of one of the most important groups in popular music history. And I do mean exhaustive: while the current Sabbath lineup is hitting only the band’s highlights from their tenure with original singer Ozzy Osbourne, we’ve trawled their whole career: including the oft-overlooked period(s) with Ronnie James Dio in the frontman spot, and even their little-discussed wilderness years in the mid-to-late 1980s. I’ll be the first to admit, not all of it is great. But I think what we’ve come up with is a solid mix of recognizable hits, lesser-known gems, and noble failures–and yes, it will provide the perfect soundtrack for your next Halloween party and/or drive through the suburbs in an airbrushed stoner van.

Continue reading “End of the Beginning: The Dystopian Halloween Party Guide to Black Sabbath”

For the Rest of October, Dystopian Dance Party Becomes Dystopian Halloween Party

Every October, a foul wind blows over this blog, transforming us from the happy-go-lucky goofballs known as Dystopian Dance Party to the vengeful creatures of the night that are Dystopian Halloween Party. This year…well, the foul wind came a little late. But we still have plenty planned for the rest of the month: including a guide to the discography of Black Sabbath, a special Dystopian Video Game Party dedicated to Castlevania: Rondo of Blood, a video documenting Dracula‘s most stylish moments, a Dystopian Dance Mix of songs about witches, and a podcast dedicated to the 1986 rocksploitation classic Trick or Treat. This may be the shortest Dystopian Halloween Party to date, but it will also be the best. See you next week!

2 Chainz at the Globe Theatre, Downtown L.A., 10/1/16

I am an unabashedly huge 2 Chainz fan, and have wanted to see him in concert for a while. So, I can’t imagine it was anything but divine intervention that he happened to be playing at the Globe Theatre, directly across from the loft where my brother and I were staying, on the exact weekend I was in Los Angeles. That’s nothing but God.

Doors opened at 8 p.m. Generally I don’t show up to shows on time since shows rarely start on time, and this one was no different; but we had nothing else to do, so why not get there early and secure a place near the stage? Upon entering, the venue was practically empty. Most of the people in line went up to the balcony, and only about six other people were out on the floor with my brother and I. Two of these were some chunky older-looking white dudes in button-down shirts, and I kept my eye on them as they talked and laughed and danced goofily to the trap music that the DJ was playing. 2 Chainz’ biggest fans? I soon realized that they kept talking to the bartender and going backstage and onstage to speak with the DJ, which meant they probably were working with the club somehow; that sort of ruined the joke. I still like the idea of those two guys being 2 Chainz groupies who follow him to every stop on the tour, though.

Continue reading “2 Chainz at the Globe Theatre, Downtown L.A., 10/1/16”

Vlog: Dystopian Dance Party in Los Angeles

Last weekend, Zach and Callie met up in Los Angeles, California to see Callie’s art on display at the Amber Rose SlutWalk. So here to chronicle the trip is our very first vlog: featuring SlutWalk footage with performances by Dancehall King Chrissy, DJ Duffey, Kap G, and motherfuckin’ Trina, plus clips from a 2 Chainz concert later that night, followed by the unofficial (and belated) launch of this year’s Dystopian Halloween Party with visits to the Guillermo Del Toro: At Home with Monsters exhibit at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art and Aahs! gift store in West Hollywood. Then we go to the Walk of Fame and see fat Spider-Man. Basically, what I’m saying is, there’s something for everybody here. Music by the Egyptian Lover, the Gun Club, and Bilal.

Next week, we kick off Dystopian Halloween Party for real with the beginning of Zach’s playthrough of Castlevania: Rondo of Blood. See you then!

Dystopian Dance Mix Vol. 26: Cat Fancy

We’re both pretty big cat lovers here at Dystopian Dance Party; and, with all the trouble out there in the world these days, sometimes we just want to chill out, look at cute cat pictures, and listen to songs about our feline friends. That’s all this month’s playlist is about: no snark, no thinly-veiled political subtext, just a selection of tunes for and (presumably) by the discerning cat fancier. We hope it will be one that can be enjoyed by every member of the family–even the furry ones.

Continue reading “Dystopian Dance Mix Vol. 26: Cat Fancy”