Music We Love: "Neighborhood Creeps" by Daniel Markham & Claire Morales

Halloween may be over, but that doesn’t mean we have to stop enjoying the spooky things in life. Last year Claire Morales and Daniel Markham collaborated on a collection of foreboding songs called Harmony in Hell, which they released online for Halloween. This year the pair has done it again: Neighborhood Creeps is excellent and—though well suited for short, bright days and cold, creepy nights—just fine for year-round listening.

Neighborhood Creeps was written, recorded, and completed all within the month of October. This is an impressive fact unto itself, but even more impressive given the quality of the record—the album’s lo-fi, echo-laden sound provides the perfect ambiance for a collection of songs about monsters, spurned lovers, and melancholia. Neighborhood Creeps' genre-hopping quality adds to the spook factor, as Markham and Morales take doo-wop hooks and alt-country ballads and tinge them with dread. Guitar pedals, cavernous vocal delays, and the unedited creak of the occasional floorboard or chair make this a truly spectacular listening experience.

Despite being completed in one month, there is not a single weak song on this record. “Creature of the Deep” features an opening melody that could double as the theme to a horror film; Markham narrates the story of the creature while Morales’ eerie siren song floats in the background. The gorgeous vocal harmonies on “Pomegranate”—a track that sounds somehow ancient in its beauty—are offset by a warm, bright drone. “Always Be Mine (Blue Rose)” is a 1950’s love song gone evil, complete with “ooh-ahs” and snaps, and Morales’ voice alternately shudders and ascends above Markham’s baritone. The titular “Neighborhood Creeps” might be the most fun track on the album, with a decidedly catchy guitar hook, plenty of wailing and ghastly howls, and a macabre organ in the background. Overall, the entire product is fabulous: it’s moody, contemplative, and maybe best enjoyed by candlelight.

If you haven’t listened to it yet, you can stream Neighborhood Creeps below! You can also buy the album here (this is most definitely worth adding to your collection.) Give this album a shot and join us in hoping that Markham and Morales decide to perform it live as soon as possible.

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