Dead Man’s Bones, Shelley Short 

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Dead Man’s Bones, Never Let A Lack Of Talent Get You Down

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I’m not a fan of Halloween. More specifically, I hate dressing up, mostly because I’ve never been good at cooking up a decent costume. So, I typically go back on forth on whether or not I want to disguise myself as something spooky or, ugh, sexy, until Oct. 31 rolls around and I’m stuck with a sheet on my head or some Rite-Aid fake blood drizzled down a Hanes T. Not cool. But! There is something about the foreboding seasonal soundtrack that’s appealing year-round. And this, friends, brings us to Dead Man’s Bones, a project that started out as just a free-time one-off between actor Ryan Gosling (Half-Nelson, The Notebook) and his buddy Zach Shields fooling around on instruments that, for the most part, neither of them knew how to play! They eventually teamed up with the Silverlake Conservatory Children’s Choir (co-founded by Red Hot Chili Peppers’ Flea) and recorded some tunes. The resulting Never Let a Lack of Talent Get You Down is a gem—if only for the month of October. Songs like “My Body’s a Zombie for You” and “In the Room Where You Sleep” are creepy, endearing and as fun as the “Monster Mash.” (Werewolf Heart Records)

Shelley Short, A Cave, A Canoo

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Shelley Short is one of the most underrated experimental folk artists currently touring her heart out in a compact sedan. The Portland-based artist’s voice is chilling, sweet and unnerving, skating across pleasant, slightly psychedelic folk and country melodies like a mischievous china doll or a wood nymph wreaking havoc in the haunted forest. Her followup to Like Water for the Day (2008) once again puts her curious nature on display and further reveals expansive multi-instrumental skills, as on “Hard to Tell,” propelled by slow-moving accordion (live, she carefully plucks her guitar strings to mimic the sighing keys). Alexis Gideon, who also produced the album at Liophant Studios, helps flesh things out with added vocals and wicked guitar. (Hush Records)

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