[Photo via Sk8er_ernie's Flickr]
If you scare easily or have a heart problem, this mixtape may not be right for you. Side effects include freaking out, sweating, and a strong urge to leave the room before you are murdered. Consult your doctor before choosing the T.G.I Mixtape Volume 38.
That is right, music fans! This week is spooky song themed, because it is All Hallow's Eve, and mischief is everywhere tonight! And then again tomorrow, but instead of giving toilet paper to your neighbors tree, you receive mini Snickers bars for dressing like True Blood/Michael Jackson/Where The Wild Things Are (just some guesses as to this years stereotypical costumes). Anyway, I won't talk on and on because I am scaring myself putting this mix together. Turn off all the lights and light up a candle and start praying for your life. It's the Mixtape Halloween edition! Help us! -joe puglisi
scroll through this player to listen to all tracks on the mixtape
1. "We Will Suck Young Blood" - Radiohead - Hail To The Thief
Goodness, of all places to begin, we had to go with implications of vampires by one of the most terrifying and ambient bands of our generation. Everyone LURVES vampires these days, and they have always loved Radiohead, so this song was a natural. Plus, choosing a creepy Radiohead song is like taking candy from someone who is offering you candy. But this sticks out as not only a scary blood sucking premise with a shifting, unsettling tempo. This song even has a terrifying slow clap. Really, we need new pants already.
2. "This Devil's Workday" - Modest Mouse - Good News For People Who Love Bad News
Modest Mouse lead singer Isaac Brock already has a "creepy growly" voice in every other song Modest Mouse song, but instead of the affecting musings on life, "Devil" just creeps us out. The subject matter and the general tone of the song come together for some seriously mood altering feelings. The Dirty Dozen brass band plus some particularly wicked banjo lend a devilish tone to the discussion, which involves a whole lot of death, and comparing floating bodies in a river to logs. It kind of adds a new dimension to "We'll All Float On," doesn't it?
3. "Minnie the Moocher" - Cab Calloway
Minnie the Moocher is literally the eeriest song ever recorded. The opening of Calloway's wailing, the storyline of poor Minnie and her whale sized heart and her heroine addiction sandwiched between the infamous hi-de-ho chorus and sexy brass section makes you realize why this song is so immortalized. But what really makes Minnie the Moocher perfect for this time of year is the "music video" which boasts the first video footage of Cab Calloway and his literally otherworldly performace. To make matters even creepier, the video stars Betty Boop and a cast of skeletons and ghouls. Fun fact, the ghostly walrus is actually a primitive animation technique of Cab Calloway's actual dance moves; watch it and tell me Michael Jackson didn't steal all his moves from this guy.
4. "Shankill Butchers" - The Decemberists - The Crane Wife
This lovely little track, named after a loyalist gang in northern Irland notorious for late night abductions and torture, is set up as a creepy lullaby that basically threatens little children everywhere: if you don't mind your mother these criminals are going to come and get you. The Decemberists have a number of creepy songs, one could argue their regular cast of mariners, courtesans, and little boy prostitutes inherently make them creeps anyway. Shankill Butcher is by far their most blatant attempt at a spooky song. "Lesley Anne Levine" is a close second starring a singing child's corps at the bottom of a well, petticoats and all.
5. "High Times" - Elliot Smith - New Moon
Elliot Smith already had a sort of "weird poet" vibe about him, with his strange lyrics and airy, falsetto vocals. His songs often took us places we weren't sure about; depression, loneliness, despair. Revisiting his work and b-sides on the post-humous New Moon
, it was clear that he was a tortured artist. "High Times" really catches you off guard in this respect; while it's not really a terribly scary song with Elliot alive, upon re listening, his cries of drug abuse and "man, I feel fine" is just terrifyingly creepy when echoed from the grave. "Don't pick me up/I'm fine right where I am/I don't go/Where I'm supposed to go." GOOSEBUMPS!
6. "One For The Cutters" - The Hold Steady - Stay Positive
OK so that Elliot Smith one was pretty depressing. Let's pick it back up again, shall we? It just isn't Halloween without that spooky harpsichord sound in the background! The Hold Steady tell a classic pseudo-horror story about a midwestern murder caper. For this one it is important to pay attention to the lyrics - a despicable yarn is being woven. Townies? The young girl who gets mixed up with the wrong crowd? Lying about murder? "If one townie falls in the forest/does anyone notice?" The scariest part in my opinion is the part about getting nailed next to dumpsters behind townie bars, but OK Craig Finn, the image of the murder torn college girl coming home for Christmas and "seeming distant and different" is pretty spooky too.
7. "A Christmas Camel" - Procol Harum
Don't let the title fool you, this ain't no Christmas carol. Procol Harum released this spooky gem on their 1967 self-titled debut album, and it's always been my favorite of their oh too brief discography. The band's flavor of pshyedelic/prog rock with classical overtones and black humor gave them a distinct identity in the late sixties shuffle. A Christmas Camel opens with an ominous piano riff and slips into an organ-clad epic about escaping a murder scene with his amazon six-trigger bride. Throw in a few images of padded cells, madmen, and a red-cross ambulance and you've got yourself a prime Halloween track.
8. "Demon Host" - Timber Timbre - Timber Timbre
If you've had your eye on the site this week, you know we've sort of lost our minds for an apocalyptic blues trio out of Canada called Timber Timbre. Will they be the band on the tips of everyone's tongues a few months down the road? Hard to say. But the authenticity and emotion haunting the songs of their recently released self titled album is undeniable. Undeniable and spooky. This track may be the perfect song to quietly go bump in the night to this Halloween season.
9. "Oh The Vampyre" - AA Bondy - When The Devil's Loose
Vampire's are everywhere this year...True Blood, Twilight, The Vampire Diaries, The Vampire's Assistant, Vampire Weekend. Dear lord these gnarly neck biters are in vogue. To the love fest add this reverb soaked ode to the lifestyle from Count AA Bondy's When The Devil's Loose (an equally freaky sort of title). It's mellow, but there is something sort of terrifying about it.
10. "I Put A Spell On You" - Screamin' Jay Hawkins
This outrageous, theatrical screamer is a Halloween staple, and with good reason. The most famous piece of recorded voodoo he ever recorded, Hawkins sort of loses his mind here, lamenting for a no good woman the only way he knows how. Screaming desperate, urgent lines like "I don't care if you don't want me, I'm yours right now", Hawkins' works a red hot flash of classic, psycho blues and soul for your enjoyment. Honestly, are there any songs as exciting as this one? No way, no how.