The Dope-Ass Guide to Power Pop Vol. 1

A Dope-Ass Hallowe'en Mixtape Vol. 1

Ghouls, goblins, & grooves. Get spooked out by these sweet jams.

There's no better time of the year than the cool, crisp evenings of early autumn. The abrupt changing of the leaves, coating the pavement in reds and yellows and oranges. The early sunsets. The long shadows. The inevitability of blood-crazed, knife-wielding psychopaths.

That looming threat of razor-laced Granny Smith apples. The wafting scent of freshly gutted pumpkins. The seasonal return of surf rock.

Nothing highlights the dull, aching terror of October like a good hallowe'en soundtrack, and these 25 tracks are guaranteed to raise the hair on the back of your neck. So grab a bowl of Boo Berry cereal, and maybe a flannel blanket, and get yourself spooked.

(Also available: A Dope-Ass Halloween Mixtape Vol. 2.)

The Hallowe'en Store

Decor, movies, masks, books, and more.

Side 1

I. The Cramps - Fever

The Cramps took Little Willie John's 1958 rnb hit to Memphis, stripped it down, and tweaked it into this hallowe'en standard.

2. Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds - Red Right Hand

Honestly, what's scarier than capitalist society? Nothing I can think of. (Also, don't forget to buy some crap you probably don't need through this website.)

3. Sqürl - Funnel of Love

This droned out Wanda Jackson cover scores the opening of Jim Jarmusch's vampire flick, Only Lovers Left Alive.

4. The Jim Jones Revue - Eagle Eye Ball

Perhaps the most underrated rock n roll band of the modern era, this stalker confession anchors the Revue's final album, the Savage Heart.

5. Los Straitjackets - Rockula

Basically any minor key surf rock is hallowe'en music. But few hallowe'en surf rock jams spook like this Straitjackets tune.

6. The Coasters - The Shadow Knows

Few bands were ever as fun as the Coasters, and the embellishments on this track prove it. Mind your Ps and Qs, because the Shadow knows.

7. Vincent Price - Don't

House On Haunted Hill. House of Wax. Edward Scissorhands. It's not hallowe'en without Vinny P. (I actually stole this from my girlfriend's playlist.)

8. Tom Waits - Little Drop of Poison

Really can't get enough of the interplay between the theremin and the clarinet in this classic.

9. Timber Timbre - Bad Ritual

Poltergeist? Check. Levitation? Check. Creaking floors and some dead dude? Check.

10. Danzig - Bodies

Glenn Danzig's goth metal fever dream about moonlighting as the angel of death is a suitable soundtrack for anything you might do in October.

11. Ramones - Pet Sematary

This was Dee Dee Ramone's last recording w/ the Ramones, and he wrote it in Stephen King's basement. Then he became a rapper named Dee Dee King and that was basically the end of the Ramones.

12. Southern Culture On the Skids - Undertaker

A southern-fried invitation to take a permanent nap from North Cackalacky's finest.

Side 2

1. The Ventures - The Twilight Zone

This 1964 surf rock take on the Twilight Zone theme is, as far as I'm concerned, the definitive take. (The theremin sounds are actually Red Rhodes on the pedal steel guitar.)

2. The Ghastly Ones - Spookmaster

This might've been the best release from Rob Zombie's short lived but super duper cool Zombie-A-Go-Go record label.

3. Karen Elson - The Ghost Who Walks

You can't have a hallowe'en mix without a murder ballad. And Karen kills it here. (Pun intended.) Also, Jack White is best at playing drums.

4. Fleetwood Mac - Black Magic Woman

People know the Santana version of this song, but the Original Peter Green version is the only one we ever needed. Green had a bad LSD trip in 1970 that led to a schizophrenia diagnosis, ending Fleetwood Mac's blues era.

5. Lauren O'Connell - House of the Rising Sun

It's actually tough to top the Animals' rendition of this track, but Lauren's haunting voice and the prominent cello really bring the spook.

6. Tom Jones - Evil

Yeah, that Tom Jones. This Howlin' Wolf cover slays. And Jack White's guitar is the chef kiss.

7. Koko Taylor & Willie Dixon - Insane Asylum

This Koko and Willie duet about a love gone so wrong that someone ends up in an asylum features Buddy Guy on guitar. From Koko's legendary debut record for Chess.

8. Santo & Johnny - Sleep Walk

I've always felt like there was something super spooky about this type of doo-wop. @ me if you agree. Unfollow if you don't.

9. Daniel Johnston - Devil Town

This is actually a song about bi-polar mania and religious fundamentalism. See: The Devil and Daniel Johnston documentary.

10. Robert Johnson - Hellhound On My Trail

Robert Johnson traded his soul to the Devil in Clarksdale, MS for the ability to outplay everyone else in the delta, they say. "Blues fallin' down like hail and the days keeps on worryin' me. There's a hellhound on my trail."

11. Morricone Youth - Barber Twist

This was written as the score to an old black and white film called Sunrise: A Song of Two Humans, which is about a farmer who tries to drown his wife.

12. Phantom Planet - Quaratine

Phantom Planet's Raise the Dead is a concept album about joining a cult. And this is the song where the narrator leaves his former life. "Realize it's not to keep me in, but to keep all the sickies out. Quarantine."

13. Procol Harum - A Whiter Shade of Pale

The extended version of this song ends with the narrator and the girl throwing themselves overboard and into the sea, paying off the foreboding Hammond organ.

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About the author
Jon Cole is the proprietor of My Dope-Ass Apartment. He likes fried chicken and socialism.