Monthly Archives: August 2012

The Great Gatsby

This episode of Tape on Book we take on F. Scott Fitzgerald’s study of the hypocrisy, impossibility, and failure of the American Dream (fun stuff, right?). Booze, cars, bootlegging, dancing, parties, wealth, and heartache…what more could you ask for?

Like giant fading eyes on an ophthalmologist’s billboard, the mix watches over you here.

Nick Carraway: Yesterday is Here – Tom Waits
A moral-ish, vanilla country kid moves to New York and finds himself corruptingly surrounded empty miserable materialistic people…essentially every NYC story ever.

Tom Buchanan: High Society – Enon
FSF creates the blueprint for every 80s teen movie rich bully preppie villain. Where is Ralph Macchio when you need him?

Daisy Buchanan: If You Got The Money – Lefty Frizzell
Now I ain’t saying she’s a gold digger…well, yes, I suppose I am.

The Parties: Party Out of Bounds – B-52s
Just once I would like to go to a extravagant flapper mansion party where Fred Schneider bursts in whilst inquiring about the fridge situation. Now that is the real American Dream!

Owl Eyes: Blank Generation – Richard Hell and the Voidoids
I remember my English teacher saying this guy was FSF’s representation of the Lost Generation.  I mostly just think it was cool that he was trying to sober up by lounging around a library (that doesn’t work, by the way).

Jay Gatsby: You Only Live Twice – Nancy Sinatra
Okay, yeah, so I totally cribbed this from Mad Men. But it is really only fair since Don Draper is pretty much a rip off Gatsby. Basically, they’re the same dude. Well, except one can’t live without one woman and one can’t live with one woman.

Jordan Baker: Liar, Liar – The Castaways
…with your lady-golfing pants on fire.  Really Nick, I know you might prefer the masculine sort (wink), but is the best we can do?

Myrtle Wilson: Delilah – Tom Jones
This lady is several shades of crazy with just the right dash of mean as hell. You kind of get the feeling that FSF may have met a few ladies like this in his life who he wished he could run over with a car.

Daisy’s Child: I’m A Stranger Here – Lambchop
“Wait! I still have a child?”

The Green Light at the End of the Dock: I Want You – Elvis Costello
Hands down the best “I TOTALLY LOVE YOU/I TOTALLY HATE YOU” song ever. Unfortunately, it won’t likely be used in the upcoming Baz’s adaption which I fear is going to be one of those horrific singing movies again.

Daisy and Gatsby Together Again: Do You Remember the First Time? – Pulp
You ever hear that Woody Allen 60’s bit about how he was hanging out with Scott and Zelda in Paris? While discussing Gatsby, Woody told FSF that he didn’t need to write Great Expectations because Charles Dickens had already wrote it. So, Hemingway punches him in the face. Yeah, I guess that lost something in translation.

“Can’t repeat the past? Why of course you can!”: Summer Days – Bob Dylan

Meyer Wolfsheim: Gangsters -The Specials
“I am Mr. Wolfsheim. I solve problems. Nick, I thought I smelled some coffee back there would you make me a cup? Lots of cream. Lots of sugar.”

Daisy Decides: Best of Both Worlds – Scott Walker
Old money? New money? West Egg? East Egg? Who cares as long as there are money and eggs involved….am I right?

The Car Accident: Car Trouble – Adam & the Ants
Okay, “a little car trouble” might be an understatement when you are describing running over your husband’s lover and then letting your wannabe lover take the blame. But I am pretty sure that is precisely how Daisy really felt about all of it.

George Wilson: Pardon Me, I’ve Got Someone to Kill – Johnny Paycheck
A sad redneck song for a sad redneck dude. Cuckolded, confused, and packing heat is almost always a recipe for disaster.

The Funeral: I Hope It Rains At My Funeral – Tom T. Hall
Truly could second as a bio-song from Gatsby…Born poor. Work hard. Fall in love. Get nowhere. Make money. Fall back in love. Get nowhere. Get killed. And then no one shows up at your funeral.

Nick Leaves/The Ending: Hit the Ground Running – Smog
In the end, I guess sometimes the best thing you can do is leave and remake yourself…again and again and again. You’d either eventually get it right or get so good at changing that you’d never need to.

Game of Thrones

This week’s mix covers the first book of George RR Martin’s mega-fantasy series, Game of Thrones. Thrust out of the loving grasp of portly bearded geeks into pop culture lime light by HBO’s ultra bloody and sultry adaptation (brothel scenes for everyone!), GoT is an epic fantasy hit. Hopefully, this mix will lessen the sting of seven and a half year wait for book six.

Listen to the head-flying, back-stabbing, direwolf-mauling mix here.

“Winter is coming”: Listen, the Snow is Falling – Yoko Ono

Robert Baratheon: The Chase is Better than the Catch – Motorhead
It was between this song and Sir Mix-A-Lot’s “Baby Got Back”. Amazingly, King Bob manages to live like he is continually in an 80’s rap video despite existing in a fantasy novel.

Cersei Lannister: Femme Fatale – Velvet Underground
Malicious, rich, and beautiful are a dangerous combination (I would know). I’ve always imagined Cersei to look a bit like VU-era Nico (that was until HBO showed me exactly how she should look). One would hope Cersei to be a far superior equestrian than Nico was a bicyclist.

Jaime Lannister: Riding – Palace Music
The twincestous king-slaying child-defenestrating knight who we all love to hate! Or is that hate to love. I forget.

Tyrion Lannister: I’m Not Like Everybody Else – The Kinks
Seemingly everyone’s fav, Tyrion is a difficult guy to pin down with a song. Grandiose and small. Cocky and pitiful. Hilarious and philosophical. Altruistic and selfish. Here is the unworthy best I got for you good folks. Also, George RR, if you are listening, please don’t kill off Tyrion. Thanks.

Catelyn Stark: Our Mother the Mountain – Townes Van Zandt
The solemn pillar of the Stark family, Cat seems like the most reasonable of ladies in the seven kingdoms of crazy. I, for one, am hoping for a GoT spinoff, Real Thronewives of the Westeros.

Sansa and Joffrey, Part 1: Small Heads – Lisa Germano
Ah, young love! What could possibly go wrong for this fairytale betrothal?

Daenerys Targaryen: Happy and Bleeding – PJ Harvey
Yet another sister in this book who’s maybe had a little too much of her brother in her. By the end, Dany takes her brother’s bold wackiness and combines it with her husband’s sheer contempt of fear and pragmatism. I assume we’ll be having more dragon-suckling loopy-headed antics with her in book two.

Arya Stark: Little Trouble Girl – Sonic Youth w/ Kim Deal
Good advice in many matters….use the pointy end. Using the pointy end of a needle has been a Kim Deal specialty for going on two decades now, or the length of a short GoT winter.

Bran Stark: Horses – Sally Timms and John Langford
I got good news and bad news, Bran. Bad news: you are permanently crippled, will never be a knight like your awesome older brothers, and are going to be plagued by freaky prophetic dreams. Good news: free piggy-back rides from Hodor forever!

Littlefinger and Lord Varys: Shadowplay – Joy Division
One of my favorite aspects of the book is the political intrigue by these two. The constant  sneaking about, lies, and betrayals…a medieval soap opera. If these two were related and both had functioning genitilia, they’d clearly be screwing each other, right?

Jon Snow: Dressed in Black – Shangri-Las
This “know-nothing” bastard-born with boyish charms dresses like Johnny Cash, looks like Johnny Depp, and swings his sword like Johnny Bench (ugh…sorry). Unfortunately, his pent up rage and hormones take a few books to be fully unleashed. But when they do, watch out!

Robert Arryn (the boy): Uncorrected Personality Traits – Robyn Hitchcock
Attachment parenting gone wrong wants to see the little man fly. (Shivers)

Eddard Stark: Ed is Dead – Pixies

An ode to GRRM’s propensity to suddenly kill off main characters. A little like Lost…except they don’t come back (well, mostly).

Khal Drogo: Goodbye Horses – Q Lazzarus
Okay, so this song is undeniably linked to Buffalo Bill, but it happens to also describe the Dothraki horselord perfectly. Plus BB and KD have a lot in common: killing all the time, awesome long hair, and undying devotion to their precious (it rubs the horse blood on its skin).

Sansa and Joffrey, Part 2: Bruises – Lisa Germano
Yeah, so, it turns out young Joffrey is a bit of a psycho. Well, I am sure unmitigated evil is just a stage that he’ll soon grow out. (Cough)

Robb Stark: The Payback – James Brown
Robb running Winterfell is kind of like taking over your old man’s hardware store . . . after he’s been viciously beheaded by a boy-king. Stark revenge is a dish best served cold. Wait, that might be gazpacho I’m thinking of.

The Wall, the Wildlings, and the Walkers: Winter – Ein Heit
Its a hard life for a man with no wife…Its a harder life when you’re permanently serving on freezing 100 foot ice cliff fighting barbarians (on good days) and ice zombies (on bad days) and still have no wife.

The War of Five Kings: Forever – Titus Andronicus
A preview of things to come in the next book. Spoiler alert…more people die.

Fahrenheit 451

This week’s Tape on Book is Fahrenheit 451. The late great futurist writer Ray Bradbury’s grim reminder that knowledge, intellect, and books might just be useful in years to come.

Check out the mix here.

America in the Future: Strange Times – Black Keys
Living an existence under a government that is constantly on the verge of war, creates policies that limits freedoms and access to information, and supports a society of blind apathy and consumerism. Whew, I am glad this is science fiction, eh?

“It was a pleasure to burn.”: Books are Burning – XTC
XTC uses powerpop power in defense of the printed word. Well done, boys.

The Firemen: Search and Destroy – The Stooges
“I’m a Street-Walking Cheetah with a Heart Full of Napalm” maybe the single most intimidating line in all of rock n roll. Perfect motto for fascist firemen who revel in burning down homes.

Clarisse McClennan: She Lives in a Time of Her Own – 13th Floor Elevators
Don’t we all wish we had a mind-opening free-thinking gal living next door? My neighbor is an ornery cuss with a pitbull.

Guy Montag: I’m Set Free – Velvet Underground
Meathead turned intellectual and political refugee. I love this Guy!

Mildred Montag: Sound and Vision – David Bowie
In defense of Montag’s wife, I might be tempted to not care about the outside world if all I had to do was watch Bowie videos on my room-sized television all day.

Captain Beatty: See No Evil – Television
Beatty was a particularly heinous antagonist because he was obviously a well-read book burner. You just want to punch him in the face everytime he makes a Bible reference. He totally “gets it” and still destroys with glee and vigor. At least he finally got his flame-thrown comeuppances, I suppose.

Faber: Gates of Steel – Devo
English professor to the rescue….sort of: “So now do you see why books are hated and feared? They show the pores in the face of life. The comfortable people only want wax moon faces, poreless, hairless, expressionless.”

Poetry Party: Brainwashed – Kinks
Montag reads Dover Beach to his wife’s shallow and clueless friends eliciting tears, rage, and nausea. Of course, I’ve been to parties where someone’s poetry has had similar effects on guests.

The Plan: No Surprises – Radiohead
Plant books on the firemen so they get in trouble…then nobody can burn books, right?
Okay, it was probably the worst plan ever to try and overthrow the government. “A” for effort though.

Mechanical Hound: Hellhound on My Trail – Robert Johnson
Simply terrifying spider-dog machine that hunts and kills with no regard…like the terminator without the cheesy catchlines.

Granger and the Book People: Memories Can’t Wait – Talking Heads
Revolutionary revolutionaries. No violence. No protest. All you gotta do is memorize a few books  to change the world.

Book Of Ecclesiastes: Turn, Turn, Turn – Nina Simone
With respect to Mr. Seeger and The Byrds, a more soulful and wavering version was required to capture to power contained in Montag’s charge.

Bombs/End: New Day Rising – Hüsker Dü
It was quite a task to find a song that could soundtrack the image of bombs leveling a city while still somehow carrying a spirit of hope for the future. Thanks, Hüskers!

“People ask me to predict the future, when all I want to do is prevent it”
– Ray Bradbury (RIP)

The Lord of the Rings Trilogy

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This week’s Tape on Book is for The Lord of the Rings Trilogy. High fantasy’s high point gets the mixtape treatment. (Official disclaimer: No Zeppelin allowed for this one. That would be just too easy…kind of like using the giant Eagles to simply fly over Mount Doom).

One mix to rule them all…here.

The Shire: Happy Homes – Kevin Coyne
Kevin Coyne’s inclusion is automatic as he is, in fact, a direct descendant of the hobbits.

Hobbits: Wasn’t Born To Follow – The Byrds
3 feet of ring-toting raw power. Elevenses anybody?

Gandalf the Grey: Magician in the Mountain – Sunforest
A carefree pipe-toking, peace-loving bearded fellow who loves to hang out with lil’ folk would most certainly listen to heavy psychedelic funk, right? That totally makes sense.

Tom Bombadil: Sing a Little Song – Desmond Dekker
TB was always my favorite character. Whimsical enough to always be tro-lo-loing and wear giant yellow boots, but rough enough to slap down the barrow-wights and score a river nymph.

The Ring of Power: Ring Thing – Pearls Before Swine
Dissonant bagpipes and tape effects…and one creepy songwriter to in the darkness bind them.

Rivendell: The Magic Place – Julianna Barwick
I imagine that if the Elves made indie music, it would pretty much sound like this.

The Fellowship: All The Right Friends – REM
“…And you have my jangly guitar!”

The Mines of Moria: In the Hall of the Mountain King – ELO
“When in doubt, Meriadoc, follow your nose….or listen for the sweet PROG-ROCK”

Gollum: Creep On Creepin’ On – Timber Timbre
The movies made Gollum a lot more CGI-y lovable than he really was. Shame…he was so damned horrid in the books.

The Ents:  Invoke the Throne of Veltheimia – Botanist
Why did it take years before someone figured that they should write songs exclusively about how plants will rise up to put an Ent-like crushing on everything. Thanks to Botanist, the wait is over.

Gandalf the White: The Wizard – Black Sabbath
Gandalf’s second edition was considerably darker and meatier. Apparently, smiting the Balrog and returning from the infinity does great things for your self-confidence.

Sauron: Iron Fist – Motorhead
If Sauron’s evil flaming eye was actually a evil flaming mouth, then it would sing with Lemmy’s voice.

Return of the King: Rise Above – Black Flag
So, Greg Ginn probably wouldn’t appreciate his song being used to represent a fictional King inspiring his peoples to come together to defeat an imaginary orc army to preserve a rather sexist, racist, and radically right society. But who knows…he might be cool with it.

Mordor: Black Smoke Rise – Wooden Shjips
“One does not simply rock into Mordor.”

Sam and Frodo: You’re My Best Friend – Queen
I don’t use the term “Bromance” lightly…but when Sam carries Frodo, I want to hug someone.

Prequel Bonus! The Hobbit: Ballad of Bilbo Baggins – Leonard Nimoy
Never has a story been so perfectly told in a horribly spectacular 2.5 minute pop song.

The Catcher in the Rye

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This week’s Tape on Book is Catcher in the Rye. Everyone’s favorite adolescent misanthrop reminisces about a pre-breakdown excursion to NYC filled with red hunting hats, cigarettes, broken records, nuns, and ducks.

Check out the mix here.

“If you really want to hear about it…”: I Had To Tell You – 13th Floor Elevators

Pencey Prep: David Watts – The Kinks
Losing the fencing equipment, preppies scoring with your favorite gal, and underachievement. You’re right, Holden. High School was horrible.

Dorm Room: I Just Want to Have Something to Do – The Ramones
Who doesn’t?

Phonies: I Don’t Want to Grow Up – Tom Waits
Every adult in CitR was a bit weird, unpredictable, and off-putting, even if they were (mostly) well meaning. I love that English teachers have continued to use Salinger for years to fuel their students’ cynicism.

New York City: City Sidewalks – Maffitt and Davies
NYC seems like a terrible place to go if you are lonely and depressed. But on the flip side, it seems like the perfect city in which to have a good freakout.

Girls: Stupid Girl – Rolling Stones / Brilliant Boy – The Rentals
Really, the Stones’ album Aftermath can act alone as a soundtrack for the book, but apparently there are still three people who don’t like the Rolling Stones. For you folks, The Rentals will have to do.

Sunny and Maurice: We Can Talk – The Band
Could have been another classic “let’s just talk, okay, prostitute with a heart of gold” scene, until she gets her pimp to clock you and steals your money.

Sally Hayes: Girlfren – Jonathan Richman / Don’t Let Our Youth Go To Waste – Galaxie 500
Innocence, longing, loss of innocence, then heartbreak…Jonathan provides the entire cycle of gut-wrenching teenage romance. Ugh.

Central Park: Hazy Shade of Winter – Simon and Garfunkel
Both this song and the book manage to capture the greyness, chill, and bitterness of the season. And please try and stop worrying about the ducks.

Natural History Museum: Museum – Donovan
I think we all would like to be frozen in time once in awhile.

Going Home: Misunderstood – Wilco
It’s tough when you realize that alienation and avoiding reality isn’t going to stop aging, pain, and death. Wilco, do you have any thoughts on this topic?

Carousel/Sister: Fare Thee Well, Miss Carousel – Townes Van Zandt
When I first heard this song, I was sure TVZ wrote it about the carousel scene…He didn’t.

“Don’t ever tell anybody anything…”: Place to Be – Nick Drake
Much like this song, I can never decide whether the ending at the hospital is happy or sad. I suppose that is exactly as it should be.