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Lockets

Sweet Sounds

By Michael Aronovitz

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I have always been a metal-rock guy, as I came to age in the 70’s and always made assessments based on guitar speed and drum tricks. It was a neighborhood hero sort of a deal, where the kid in his garage or basement could sound like the big boys if he got a flying V, plugged into a Marshall, and practiced his scales until he was slick as Skynyrd and his best friend’s kit made thunder like Bonham. From a listening standpoint, it wasn’t about the way the music made us “feel,” but more about making tile. You saw people go down in the forge and practice their asses off so they could play someone’s keg party and be a rocker for the night. It was a blast…a grass-roots spectacle based on manual labor and sweat.

But I also liked the sweet stuff, and I’m not just talking about Gary Wright and Leo Sayer. Queen started out seeming a bit girly and inconsequential, but wound up making the most diverse album in history with A Night at the Opera. Foreigner had pretty backing vocals, but rocked the living shit out of us with “Hot Blooded” and “Long Long Way From Home.” Boston would seem sugary by today’s standards, but no one can deny the crunch and sustain Tom Scholz manufactured with his axe, and even though Kiss helped start metal with Sabbath and the Coop, they did, after all, have a mega-hit with “Beth.”

A lot of popular music gets translated through street poets and rock gods, showboats and master technicians, but another crucial part of the equation is the soul of the listener. Some fans open their hearts by raising their fists and banging their heads, studying the scales and analyzing the breaks, but others want the music to simply consume them. To paint pictures. To make them feel.

I had the opportunity recently to get to know one of the founders of a synth-pop band from Philadelphia called Lockets. His name is Todd Mendelsohn, and he was a student of mine in a continuing education fiction class I teach at The University of the Arts. Todd is a big presence, outgoing, gregarious, and his fiction is bold, atmospheric fantasy horror. When he told me that he had a synth-pop band in which he played all the instruments and programmed the drums, partnering with a female singer (Dani Mari, who by 2015 was replaced by Melissa Ricca, yet to record) I was rather surprised. It didn’t seem to fit. Todd was the life of the party, the guy everyone wanted to sit next to at the bar, the one who told stories in a booming voice that held us spellbound, and the idea that he was the soft-spoken master-magician behind some kind of docile mood music seemed hysterical.

Still, I listened to the Camera Shy album and the Surrender EP, and was astounded, not only by the depth of the production and the breadth of the instrumentation, but also the way it affected me through emotional channels I wasn’t used to acknowledging. I tied to rebel. I tried to analyze the rhythm tracks, the guitar layering, the vocals, the breaks. And while the execution of all of the above would be appreciated on anybody’s stat sheet, the music finally didn’t filter in that way.

It painted pictures. Beautiful ones.

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When I listened to Camera Shy, I was initially reminded of The Cranberries, but that faded by the 3rd track titled “Violet.” The counterpoint of the building guitar and the immediate presence of the harmony vocal merged with the idea that I started seeing myself in my mind’s eye on a beach. There were waves and a sunset, warm breezes and memories. By the time I got to track #6, “Crush,” the beach had gone abstract to colors, and “Winter Light” made me smile.

“He changed the season,” I thought. “Clever.” I suppose a criticism of synth-pop in general might be the idea that the music has a linear construction as opposed to a climactic one, but what Lockets kept consistent in terms of instrumentation, they made sure to broaden with theme. The album has a “spreading” effect if you will, not only growing on you, but growing with you, supplying oils and brushes for your evolving inner mural.

The EP Surrender is brilliant. Concluded with two rather dark (and odd) remixes of the title track, the Lockets version is mesmerizing. It contains a phenomenal arrangement of keys and drums, and the harmonies are simply outstanding. The second track, Girl, is more upbeat, and demonstrates a subtle diversity, especially in the instrumentation and sound effects in the spaces.

Most of all, however, all of the music paints pictures. They don’t hang on walls, and they don’t prance around the stage.

The pictures are in your own head.

And they are aesthetic masterpieces.

 

Link for Vinyl version of Camera Shy / UK

https://beautifulstrange.bandcamp.com/album/camera-shy

Buy link for digital copies

https://itunes.apple.com/us/artist/lockets/id548765294

Michael Aronovitz is a horror author who has published three novels, two collections, more than thirty short stories, and a number of horror and metal reviews. His first novel “Alice Walks” will come out in E-book form through Cemetery Dance Publications this summer. His latest novel “Phantom Effect” can be seen on Amazon here: http://tinyurl.com/jcg59wo

 
 
Read our guest post, “A Recipe for Gothic Horror:” http://www.editingpen.net/authors-thorne-cross-gothic-recipe-horror/ 
 
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To celebrate the release of THE WITCHES OF RAVENCREST, its prequel, THE GHOSTS OF RAVENCREST is on sale for $0.99 in ebook 7/10 through 7/17 at: https://www.amazon.com/Ghosts-Ravencrest-Saga-Book-ebook/dp/B015NMZC6Q/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1445132159&sr=8-1&keywords=the+ghosts+of+ravencrest 
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“The Ghosts of Ravencrest delivers on every level. Delicate, creepy, detailed, and beautifully crafted, this reinvention of the gothic ghost story into a sexy, sleek modern chiller is a marvel of suspense and atmosphere. A knockout of a horror yarn!”
 
-Jay Bonansinga, the New York Times bestselling author of The Walking Dead: Invasion, Lucid, and Self Storage.
 

The Witches of Ravencrest, book 2 in the Ravencrest Saga, goes LIVE on July 15th and is available now for pre-order.  

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Dark and Unnatural Powers
In a remote part of California just above the coastal town of Devilswood, Ravencrest Manor, imported stone-by-stone from England more than two centuries ago, looms tall and terrifying, gathering its dark and unnatural powers, and drawing those it wants as its own.

Murder Lurks in the Shadows
Governess Belinda Moorland has settled into life at Ravencrest and, as summer gives way to autumn, romance is in the air. She and multi-millionaire Eric Manning are falling in love … but powerful forces will stop at nothing to keep them apart. And as the annual Harvest Ball is set to begin, evil abounds at Ravencrest. Murder lurks in the shadows, evil spirits freely roam the halls, a phantom baby cries, signaling a death in the mansion, and in the notoriously haunted east wing, three blood-soaked nuns, Sisters Faith, Hope, and Charity, tend to the demented needs of a maid gone mad.

Vengeful Spirits
Ravencrest has come to life. In the gardens below, granite statues dance by moonlight, and a scarecrow goes on a killing rampage, collecting a gruesome assortment of body parts from unwilling donors … But Belinda’s greatest danger is the vengeful spirit of Rebecca Dane. Once the mistress of Ravencrest, Rebecca Dane has a centuries-old ax to grind with the powerful witch, Cordelia Heller – and Belinda becomes her weapon of choice.

The prequel, The Ghosts of Ravencrest is available as well.

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This week on Thorne & Cross: Haunted Nights LIVE!, we’re joined by Cody Meirick, director/producer of the upcoming documentary, Scary Stories.
 
Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark is a series of children’s books published in the 1980’s and 90’s written by Alvin Schwartz and originally illustrated by Stephen Gammell. Many of us who love horror likely read the beloved and often controversial collection of folk stories and legends as children. The books will be honored in Scary Stories, the upcoming documentary directed/produced by Cody Meirick, which will feature interviews from Schwartz’s family members, folklorists, scholars, and notable horror authors such as R.L. Stine. And as an added bonus, Q.L. Pearce, multi-award-winning author of Spine Chillers and the iconic Scary Stories for Sleep-Overs, will be hosting this special YA edition of Thorne & Cross: Haunted Nights LIVE! with us.
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To listen in, just click the link at 7 pm EST on Thursday, June 15th – or you can listen any time after showtime: http://www.blogtalkradio.com/authorsontheairradio2/2017/06/15/directorproducer-cody-meirick-joins-thorne-cross-haunted-nights-live
 
Click here to see the full guest list: http://www.alistaircross.com/guests
 
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About the Show:
 
At Thorne & Cross: Haunted Nights LIVE! horror authors Tamara Thorne and Alistair Cross talk all things horror with the biggest names in the business. From fiction writers and paranormal investigators to haunted spots and true ghost stories supplied by listeners, Haunted Nights LIVE! features fact, fiction, and that indiscernible gray area in between … so polish your fangs, sharpen your claws, and come take a bite out of the dark side at Thorne & Cross: Haunted Nights LIVE!
 
Like Thorne & Cross: Haunted Nights LIVE! on Facebook or follow us on Twitter. You can also listen in at iTunes.
 
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Our live interview with the master of horror, Tom Monteleone! Just click the link to listen: http://www.blogtalkradio.com/authorsontheairradio2/2017/06/08/tom-monteleone-joins-thorne-cross-haunted-nights-live
 
Click here to see the full guest list: http://www.alistaircross.com/guests
 
Join our newsletter to find out about upcoming guests: http://eepurl.com/ckaBrr
 
About the Show:
 
At Thorne & Cross: Haunted Nights LIVE! horror authors Tamara Thorne and Alistair Cross talk all things horror with the biggest names in the business. From fiction writers and paranormal investigators to haunted spots and true ghost stories supplied by listeners, Haunted Nights LIVE! features fact, fiction, and that indiscernible gray area in between … so polish your fangs, sharpen your claws, and come take a bite out of the dark side at Thorne & Cross: Haunted Nights LIVE!
 
Like Thorne & Cross: Haunted Nights LIVE! on Facebook or follow us on Twitter. You can also listen in at iTunes.
 
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On June 29th at 7 pm EST, Tamara Thorne and I will be live on Thorne & Cross: Haunted Nights LIVE!, talking about The Witches of Ravencrest, the soon-to-be-released second novel in the Ravencrest Saga. We’ll be answering questions about writing, Ravencrest, and all things Thorne & Cross.
 
For a chance to win a free ebook copy of The Witches of Ravencrest, call us during the show at: 347-884-8266. We’ll be giving away three ebook copies to the first three callers.
 
 
Be sure to join our newsletter for sales, excerpts, upcoming releases, and more: http://eepurl.com/ckaBrr 
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