The Dope-Ass Guide to Power Pop Vol. 1

A Dope-Ass Hallowe'en Mixtape Vol. 2

Twisted melodies. Haunted beats. Ghostly Halloween treats.

I know it seems like there's something spooky down the hall. But it's probably nothing. The creaking doors and the oddly shaped shadows can easily be explained away.

Maybe you should just close your eyes, put on this Hallowe'en mixtape, and try to ignore what might be but probably isn't skulking around in the dark.

(Also, don't miss A Dope-Ass Halloween Mixtape Vol. 1.)

The Hallowe'en Store

Decor, movies, masks, books, and more.

Side 1

I. French Camp - Day of Dead

Owen Beverly (Indianola) & co. pay homage to Dia de los Muertos, the Mexican celebration of ascention.

2. Bernard Herrmann - Failed Search

Herrmann was a storied curmudgeon, who scored films for some of the most celebrated filmmakers of his time. But is widely known for his 9 collaborations with Alfred Hitchcock, like this snippet from The Wrong Man.

3. Grinderman - Worm Tamer

This Nick Cave side-project was as noisy as it was sexually explicit, and here Nick takes creature innuendos for male organs to new heights.

4. Within Destruction - Danse Macabre

This isn't the Danse Macabre that's widely known (the melody to the H-A-Double-L-O Halloween song), instead it's a creepy piano instrumental by a Slovak death metal band.

5. Tony & the Monstrosities - Igor's Party

Archivist label Numero Group recently unearthed this 1960 track, and it ended up in the new reboot of Are You Afraid of the Dark?

6. Shotgun Jazz Band - White Ghost Shivers

Marla Dixon's traditional New Orleans dance hall jazz group outfits this '20s tune with modern recording sensibilities.

7. Slim Harpo - Strange Love

Slim riffs on a vision from his dreams come to life in his trademark style of laid back, stripped down Louisiana blues.

8. Heavy Trash - Pimento

Jon Spencer & Matt Verta-Ray team up to deliver some of the coolest rockabilly this side of the century mark, and Pimento is a spooky highlight with a deep groove and plenty of guitar theatrics.

9. Southern Culture on the Skids - Voodoo Cadillac

Let's ride! Doused in swampy tremolo, North Carolina's SCOTS reprise this southern-fried Hallowe'en standard for their major label debut.

10. Squirrel Nut Zippers - Hell

Jimbo Mathus' North Carolina-based hot jazz outfit hit it big with this single, accidentally ushering in a dreadful West Coast swing dancing revival that would culminate in a tv ad for Gap khakis that debased Louis Prima's Jump, Jive, an' Wail. But Squirrel Nut Zippers were and remain legit.

11. Jon Spencer Blues Explosion - Bag of Bones

"There’s a short cut to hell through the discothèque." Jon pillories the same old same old in this nightmarish romp.

12. Bessie Smith - Blue Spirit Blues

The Empress of the Blues recounts a nightmare where the devil drags her hell, set to a lonely piano, in 1929.

13. Screamin' Jay Hawkins - I Put a Spell On You

Screamin' Jay's voodoo persona finds its roots in this session, where chicken and beer turned a laid back blues ballad into an off-kilter sensation. The story goes that Hawkins didn't even believe it was him when he later heard the recording.

14. Putney Dandridge - The Skeleton In the Closet

Written for the film Pennies From Heaven (1936) and originally recorded by Louis Armstrong, Putney Dandridge and his band's rendition remains the essential recording, imo.

15. Benji Hughes - The Mummy

"When the mummy gets drunk, he unravels." Don't we all.

16. Television - Marquee Moon (Edit)

Tom Verlaine once described this song as 10 minutes of urban paranoia. I've always thought it would be the perfect soundtrack to a zombie film.

Side 2

1. The Cramps - I Was a Teenage Werewolf

Produced by Alex Chilton (Big Star), the Cramps' Memphis recordings put psychobilly on the map. This track is inspired by the '57 horror flick of the same name.

2. Cake - Strangers In the Night

As the soundtrack to the Stubbs the Zombie video game, this American standard takes on new meaning.

3. Horrorpops - Horror Beach

Danish psychobilly sextet exports finely crafted spooky surf rock.

4. The Meteors - Psychobilly Stomp (The Real McCoy)

Forming in 1981, the British psychobilly outfit continues to carry the torch for the genre.

5. Talking Heads - Psycho Killer

Intended as a joke and inspired by Norman Bates from Hitchcock's Psycho, David Byrne does a better job than he likely intended at inhabiting the mind of a psycho killer.

6. The Jim Jones Revue - Killin' Spree

Produced by Bad Seeds drummer Jim Sclavunos, this is as quintessential a Jim Jones Revue recording as exists. "I wish there was another way around it, but there's nothin' more to say. That's the way it's gotta be. On a killin' spree."

7. Dan Auerbach - The Prowl

Dan lives up to his "The half of the Black Keys worth paying attention to" reputation on his first solo record, which features this haunting stalker ballad.

8. Danger Mouse & Sparklehorse - Dark Night of the Soul feat. David Lynch

It's tough to listen to this record and not filter all of the songs through Mark Linkous (Sparklehorse)'s death, which occurred between the album's completion and its release. But this David Lynch track, which closes the album, seems to illuminate a shared sensitivity shared by all the project's collaborators. "It's a dream world. Dark dream world. Dark night of the soul."

9. Buckethead - Pirate's Life For Me

Buckethead had recorded his own creepy versions of all of the Disneyland ride songs, and for years he'd go to the park with his Walkman, listening to his own versions on cassette as he rode the rides. This one made it onto an album.

10. David Bowie - Please Mr. Gravedigger

Bowie is brilliant in this creepy murder poem, oddly closing out his first record and only made more creepy by the squeaky clean production and illusions to innocence found elsewhere on the album.

11. Federale - Thirsty's Return feat. Meghann Hegna

Federale is a Brian Jonestown Massacre offshoot that seeks to recreate the style of '60s and '70s Italian horror soundtracks.

12. Sam the Sham & the Pharaohs - Li'l Red Riding Hood

Sam ended up becoming a street preacher in Memphis after he failed to shake the novelty act curse, but left us with this haunting seasonal classic.

13. The's - Harlem Nocturne

The's are mostly known as the band from the izakaya scene in Kill Bill Vol 1. But these low tempo brooding tracks are where the band really shines, I think.

14. Tiny Tim - People Are Strange

The Door's original recording was already pretty spooky, but add Tim's haunting falsetto vibrato scatting and the accordion, and it finds new levels of unnerving.

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