On the Radar: Night Riots, Halloween, RIP Pete Burns, + more

Halloween candy

Another week means more music. What am I thinking about this week? Halloween, Night Riots’ new album, and Record Store Day. Find out what else is on my mind on this week’s On the Radar.

Night Riots


Ever since I saw this California band open for Blaqk Audio back in May, I’ve been hooked. I follow the band all the time, constantly checking up on new music and shows. Last week, they finally dropped their debut album, Love Gloom. Featuring songs like “Nothing Personal,” and “Contagious,” the LP is a melancholic walk through the world of love, desire, and pain. The band already proved they know how to make a fun, irresistible songs with their previous singles. But this album lets listeners another side of the band; one that’s brooding and broken.

In past interviews, the band said this album will represent who they really are. The album achieves this by letting listeners hear the band in another light. Songs like “All For You,” “As You Are,” and “Tear Me Apart” show off the band’s slower side. This where their influences of The Cure and Depeche Mode come through loud and clear. Savvy listeners will pick up on this, but it never sounds like a ripoff. Rather, you can tell they’re great fans of these iconic bands. The album isn’t all dance centered and upbeat as their previous material would suggest. Instead, it’s a slow burning, soothing, yet heartbreaking experience fans are sure to enjoy. I can’t wait to hear these new songs live.

Pete Burns


It shouldn’t be such a shock when a celebrity dies. After all, they can’t live forever (yet). But no matter what, it’s always a surprise when the next loss is announced. That was my reaction when I learned of Pete Burns’ death earlier this week. Burns was 57 years old and died of a cardiac arrest.

Burns was the frontman of 80s pop group Dead or Alive, most well known for their hit “You Spin Me Round (Like a Record).” While the band never got another a hit as big as that one, Burns continued recording under the name. Their last album, Fragile, came out in 2000. Later in his life, Burns became known for his antics on reality TV. He made notable appearances on Celebrity Big Brother 4 and Celebrity Wife Swap. He made his final appearance this year on Channel 4’s Celebrity Botched Bodies to talk about his infamous botched lip procedure and how it almost killed him.

But what will, unfortunately, outlive Burns is his ever changing physical appearance. He’s apparently had over 300 procedures since the 1980s. Burns even admitted to his addiction to plastic surgery saying: “The number of surgeries I’ve has is probably 300. I hope when I’m 80 and I get to heaven God doesn’t recognize me.’ He continued saying “What I’m trying to achieve with my surgery, is my own personal satisfaction. It’s narcissism.”

His changing features were often the topic of derision in the press as he continued to shock fans with his looks. Yet, at a time like this, we should remember the music. Burns had his share of problems, but at least he lived life on his terms. He will always be remembered not just for the hit song, but for being someone who didn’t play by the rules. His androgynous looks and one-of-a-kind style proved he was a unique soul. Now, put on “You Spin Me Right Round” and dance once last time for Pete Burns.

ABBA reunites…as holograms?

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Oh, here we go with the holograms again. It looks like this cryptic trend isn’t going away anytime soon. Usually, holograms are reserved for reviving dead celebrities. Remember Tupac at Coachella or Ronnie James Dio earlier this year? Those were creepy enough. Now, there’s a new development to reunite Swedish sensation ABBA as holograms. The messed up thing is none of them are dead. The band is teaming up with Simon Fuller for a holographic reunion in 2018. It’s a bit bizarre. The band has turned down several offers to reunite. They didn’t even perform together for their 2010 Rock N Roll Hall of Fame induction. So what made them change their mind?

“We’re inspired by the limitless possibilities of what the future holds and are loving being a part of creating something new and dramatic here,” says ABBA’s Benny Andersson. “A time machine that captures the essence of who we were. And are.” So fine, at least the band is actually involved in the project. But it’s still weird. It seems easier to actually reunite in person, even if it’s just for one performance. Hopefully, this doesn’t lead to other bands “reuniting” in this fashion. Imagine Led Zeppelin teaming up again but as holograms.

As past performances have shown, the holograms are unnerving, creepy, and just feel a little wrong. Let’s hope these holograms go away soon.

Record Store Day Black Friday

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Record Store Day

Record Store Day comes back for a second time this year for its Black Friday event. This week the exclusive releases for the sale were announced. Albums include offerings from The Raconteurs, Prince, David Bowie, The Ramones, Iron Maiden, and GWAR to name a few. Admittedly, there are some cool items up for grabs, but RSD always leaves me conflicted. The event started as a way to promote record stores and keep them alive in communities. But over the years it’s turned into a cash cow for resellers. These are people who buy as much as they can and price gouge on eBay. There’s nothing that says that can’t do this, but it becomes unfair for fans and collectors.

It honestly takes the fun out of RSD. This was meant as a way for music lovers and collectors to show their favorite record stores some love. Plus, you got some cool exclusive releases from your favorite artists. Instead, chances are slim you’ll actually get what you want unless you get up at four in the morning to stand in line. This practice seems like it’s preying on those who are so desperate to get a record, they’re willing to pay the price. Some stores have done their best to curb this practice, but I doubt it’ll come to end. It’ll most likely be the same practice with the Black Friday event. It’s just a shame an event that started as a way to enjoy music and local record stores is turning into something greedy and exploitative.



The spookiest of holidays is only a few days away. I love Halloween. The spooky atmosphere, the excuse to dress up, and of course, the free candy makes it a highlight of the year. And sometimes it’s fun to be a little scared, that’s why we have horror movies after all. Musicians like to get in on the fun too. Muse just released a new cover of the Cramps’ “New Kind of Kick” for Halloween. There are also countless songs dedicated to All Hallows Eve.  What are some of my favorites? Check out the playlist below and get properly spooked!

Halloween Playlist:

“This is Halloween” – Marilyn Manson

“Spookshow Baby” – Rob Zombie

“Thriller” – Michael Jackson

“Lullaby” – The Cure

“Halloween” – Siouxsie and the Banshees

“(Every Day is) Halloween” – Ministry

“Bela Lugosi’s Dead” – Bauhaus

“Black Sabbath” – Black Sabbath

“I Walked with a Zombie” – Wednesday 13

“Bloodletting (The Vampire Song)” – Concrete Blonde

“I Put a Spell on You” – Screaming Hay Hawkins

“Mr. Crowley” – Ozzy Osbourne


Ashley Perez

Ashley Perez

Ashley Perez is a freelance music journalist based in Chicago. Her work has appeared on Examiner, The Crypt 1331, Chicago Innerview, Kitty Whipp, and Reality-Comics. She also runs her own music blog at Radio Not Found. Some of her favorite bands include Nirvana, The Cure, Muse, Marilyn Manson, and Green Day.