Let’s not say this wraps up the greatest mix tape of all time. Because we know that’s not true, there’s another two whole cassettes to come, maybe next year. Who knows. But we will say this wraps up our mix-tape memories of Hell….the long walk on the shore of the Styx, the pony rides but they were angry centaurs. The chilly wind wafted by Lucifer’s endlessly beating wings. You and me, together, against the underworld.
Thirsty? Have a bromance. This is a two-glass operation involving citrus vodka and lager beer. It’s probably as good as you think. Maybe better in hindsight.
Some hell news to start out the year! We talk about Ronald Hunkeler, the inspiration for the Exorcist, and don’t particularly endorse, but will point out, the somewhat successful “Bat Out Of Hell” kickstarter and the Bat Out of Hell pilot episode.
WE have a momentary lapse of sense trying to pronounce Grand Guignol, and completely got it wrong. It’s sort of “Grahn Geen-yall.” More about the Theater of the Great Puppet on Wiki.
Before we get started with Tape #2, we were distracted by Elvis Costello’s “This Is Hell,” It didn’t make the mix tape this time, but maybe for some future heaven-and-hell project. We’ll see.
#1 8- “Common Disaster” by The Cowboy Junkies
The Cowboy Junkies are an Ontario country/folk-rock band that started recording in 1985, and are still going on tour today. The album “Lay it Down” was an experiment – the band went to a remote island with a single house on it, and took a week-long retreat to find music that would come to them in this altered state of geology. Common Disaster, and the other songs from that album, came from that experience, or at least flowed from it over the next few years.
Since we mention it like 12 times this episode, you may also want to relive the ending of Thelma and Louise. This was released a bit before “Common Disaster,” so maybe it wove itself into that song as well as this episode?
#19m – “Antichrist Television Blues” by Arcade Fire
Huh, two Canada bands in a row! When Victoria said AF was a little bit Wes Anderson, this paragraph from Wiki backs it up: “The band has been described as indie rock, art rock, dance-rock, and baroque pop. They play guitar, drums, bass guitar, piano, violin, viola, cello, double bass, xylophone, glockenspiel, keyboard, synthesizer, French horn, accordion, harp, mandolin and hurdy-gurdy, and take most of these instruments on tour…” Love the massive pipe organ in the background of this concert video!
So far as “inclusion in mixtape” goes, while it’s dancy, its subject is farming one’s children out to the entertainment industry, but with some weird twisted religion notes. We think it fits for the “panderers” malbolge, and with other themes running through the poem.
#20 – “Sacrilege” by the Yeah Yeah Yeahs
The Yeah Yeah Yeahs were (are?) a pop-punk band from New York, active from 2000-ish to 2011, with a five-year hiatus and some recent performances in 2018. they almost performed in 2017 in our home town of Austin, but that particular festival was cancelled. Jacob doesn’t know if their song “Maps” was huge, or just on the Rock Band game.
The song, “Sacrilege,” wraps up with the Broadway Gospel Choir, which was added to a later version of the song when the earlier one didn’t really work out.
#21 – “I Predict” by Sparks
Contrary to popular myth, this video wasn’t directed by David Lynch. But it was done after his style. Sparks are known for very smart lyrics with literary references. They’re one of those special bands that actively avoids choices that would help the song break into something resembling popular success. Maybe that’s too snarky. “I Predict” is our offering for the diviners and false prophents.
#22 – “Dark Carnival” by Frenchy and the Punk
A bit steampunk, rock, folk, filk, caberet, goth, it’s hard to pin down Frenchy and the Punk’s genre. Their website only suggests “post-punk,” but that doesn’t fill in all the gaps. “Folk-Punk” helps.
“Dark Carnival” filled the need for something dark, driving, and predatory, for the demonic chase scene and the gloomy and just a bit comedic chaos around Canto 25.
#23 – “Palladio” by Tempus Quartet
“Palladio” itself is a fairly recent development, a concerto for strings composed in 1996ish. The name references 16th century Italian architect Andrea Palladio, a celebration of Renaissance harmony and order.
It wasn’t directly based on a De Beers diamond commercial, but the composer Karl Jenkins based the first movement on his earlier “A Diamond is Forever” work.
The Mexican band Tempus Quartet, while definitely a product of the post-reality TV “Big Cello” industry, is surprisingly geeky. At this very moment, Jacob is jamming to their cover of the “Pokemon” theme, and they’ve got a lot of anime, video games, Disney, and pop. But instead of listening to their cover of “This Is Halloween,” check out their Palladio.
#24? – “Sinner’s Prayer” by Lady Gaga
It’s whistful and leaves her seeming vulnerable. It’s not at all a breakup song, but gaga theorists suggest that it’s at least informed by her breakup with her fiance Taylor Kinney. About him? No. Touched by that part of her life? Probably.
#24? – “Missionary Man” by Eurythmics
This song was designed to fill up an auditorium.
The video is awesome, with some great stop motion and so much 80s energy. The song is complicated. It doesn’t seem like it’s safe to say it “is about” any one thing. A dangerous love affair with a false-religious person using god-talk to control people? Recognition of one’s own flawed creation? Celebrating original sin?
Symbols are complicated…
#26 – “Thick as Thieves” by The Jam
Running from the early 70s to right around the turn of the 80s in England The Jam was iconically British. Strange little connection within the extended universe of this mix tape, Rick Butler, the band’s drummer, went on to form a band with Martin Gordon, bassist for Sparks. Small world. “Thick as Thieves” was recorded in 1979, the Jam’s 1982 breakup came as a complete surprise to even many members of the band.
More notes coming soon…