Grassroots independent record label Graveface wants to restore your childhood.
While the music offered by the bands on the label isn’t the most child friendly, there’s a whimsical quality to the labels aesthetic, both on and off wax, that naively throws caution to wind in a very childlike way. Take their annual Halloween release for instance.
Opening this year’s edition of The Marshmallow Ghosts’ 7” is like reliving the excitement of opening a cereal box and scrambling to grab the toy hiding below.
In this case, however, there’s a bevy of treats that you wouldn’t expect.
Last September, the Chicago label announced the creation of a special Halloween themed project aptly named The Marshmallow Ghosts. Consisting of the label’s four most notable bands (Black Moth Super Rainbow, The Appleseed Cast, Casket Girls, and Dreamend), the result was a cluster of analogue post rock noise perfect for scaring off children. However, it’s the extras included with the limited edition 7” that made this release even more valuable.
One year later, Graveface was ready for round two, with even more goodies in store. With only 500 hand numbered, glow in the dark pressings made, the second installment of the collaboration is rare in physical form, and is only available through Graveface’s website.
Opening the small UPS package, items reminiscent of those found in a child’s pocket fall out. Mixed puzzle pieces, stickers, magnetic words, odd comic clips, Bazooka bubble gum, raffle tickets, a Graveface trading card, a coloring sheet and an accompanying crayon greet you before the disk. All the items included are related to Halloween, and every one of the 500 copies comes with it’s own unique variations of goodies. There is nothing adult about this, and while one may be too old to go candy hunting on Halloween, these treats make it easy to restore the holiday’s childlike wonder.
The real treat, of course, is the actual 7”. The cover shows a classic Halloween image of children draped in bed sheets, posing as ghosts ready to find their own treats. The reverse shows the end of the night, as the ghosts sit around a pile of sugary bounty. All hand printed on a textured, heavy paper, it’s just one more addition to the record’s charm.
Musically, the collective has progressed, moving away from the five minutes of creepy ambient fuzz from last year, in favor of songs that are a little easier to decipher and even include a hook or two. The accompanying digital download offers two remixes (one for each track) that are arguably better than the originals. Overall, with all four tracks provided, the production is much cleaner, and with this new installment, the collective is moving away from being an annual novelty and toward something rather exciting. Just listen to “Trick,” and its remix “Trick (666 GACY 666 Mix)”.
Graveface’s unique packaging not only evokes childhood feelings, it creates a personal experience in the form of a stellar collectible. Not many bands or labels do this without turning the release into an elaborate box set. Here, Graveface allows one to relive a simpler time, when all it took was a sticker and a crayon to be content. Looks like Halloween isn’t just about candy and costumes anymore.