The Magicians

A step back to the future this week with Lev Grossman’s homage to and re-imagining of modern fantasy, The Magicians. A pop-cultured urban tale where secret magic and fantastical worlds are real, but so is all of boring old life’s other horrible stuff. And, best of all, the people who do magic don’t handle the real world stuff all that well. It’s a total thaumaturgic train wreck! Think Holden Caulfield does Narnia.

Just don’t call it an “adult Harry Potter mix” here.

“Quentin did a magic trick. Nobody noticed.”: Show the World – Apples in Stereo

Quentin Coldwater:  Danglin’ Feet – Devotchka
Huh, a socially awkward teenager obsessed with child fantasy novels is having trouble getting laid and feels sorry for himself. Go figure. At least he gets to do magic and stuff…when I was that age, I just sat in my basement waiting for AOL to load pics of Kathy Ireland.

Entrance Exam: Prove It – Television
Card tricks, inventing languages, and drawing things that suddenly come to life…now that’s my kind of test.  So much more fun than Christmas treeing the SAT.

Brakebills: College – Animal Collective / Freak Scene – Dinosaur Jr
Hogwarts mixed with Animal House. Okay, where do I sign up?

Elliot Waugh: A Drinking Song – Divine Comedy / Ballad of Big Nothing – Elliott Smith
“If he gets drunk on fine wine and plays Miss Misery one more time…I swear I am going to fireball his mopey ass.” Elliot’s clearly more of a Conor Oberst fan, but we aren’t, so he ain’t getting his dream theme song.

Penny: 30 Century Man – Scott Walker
My question is if one could master space, time, and dimensional travel, why in the world would they sport a mohawk?

Janet Pluchinsky: Because the Night – Patti Smith
Both Patti and Janet could probably bully me into making out with them and have it be the greatest moment of my life. Speaking of which, why does this never happen?

Josh Hoberman: When Jokers Attack – The Brian Jonestown Massacre
Its not such a bad thing to be the comic relief, especially when you are sporting some sort of untapped power within. People are more likely to be laughing WITH you if they know at any moment you can summon a terrifying portal.

Alice Quinn: Wallflower – Doug Sahm
I think it is impossible to read this book and not fall a little bit in love with Alice. I mean, its not like on weekends and most weeknights I sit at home writing several volumes of fan fiction detailing her crazy adventures and boy troubles in alternate universe or anything silly like that. I may have started a Tumblr page about her.

Physical Kids: Bad Reputation – Joan Jett
What?! Just cause we are brilliant, hedonistic, esoteric, narcissistic, recite spells in several dead languages, traverse continents as geese, have pet monster tattoos, and are generally so much better than you?

Life After Graduation: Just Be Simple – Songs: Ohia
Unending amounts of time and money and limitless powers may sound like a recipe for total happiness, but…well, wait. Yup, that really should bring you happiness. What gives?

Quentin & Alice: No Children – The Mountain Goats / No – The Wedding Present
Its always a little rough when the “doing it as arctic foxes” stage of the relationship is over. And who better than John Darnielle to write a song about ensorcelling unfaithfulness? Well, maybe that guy from the Weddoes. I reckon he can conjure up a trick or two about what to do when the magic disappears for a spell.

The Neitherlands: Holes – Mercury Rev
If I had the gang’s all-access magic button pass to any fantasy world I would totally head down to Middle Earth, then Oz, then Donkey Kong world, and finally, for dessert, Candy Land. Just got to make sure I avoid holes for Neverland Ranch, Jar Jar Binks’ planet, and Kansas. Ugh, worst vacation ever.

Fillory: This Must Be the Place (Naive Melody) – Talking Heads
Looks like Narnia. Smells like Narnia. Weird talking critters like Narnia…just has a lot less religion and a lot more booze.

The Watcherwoman: Time is on My Side – Irma Thomas
Halting time forever is such delicious dastardly plot. Why don’t more villains work that angle?
I tried planting some clock-trees in my yard…that was a waste of a perfectly good Indiglo. Just in case you ever try it, remember: Swatches ain’t acorns.

The Beast: Prince of Darkness – Mekons
Classic “Obsessive English schoolboy turns into crazed world-destroying demigod” situation. If I had a quarter…

Alice’s Sacrifice: I Would Die 4 U – Prince
Alright, in full nerd disclosure, technically Alice didn’t die, rather she purposefully turned into a niffin which is some sort of a creature consisting of raw magic energy. Too bad Prince doesn’t have a song called “I Would Turn N2 A Niffin 4 U”.

Julia Wicker: I Don’t Love Anyone – Belle & Sebastian
Nobody wants to know about a magical kingdom and be told you can’t go there. This is basically how I feel about Canada. Also, one time, I heard there was a bar that served mixed drinks in fish bowls, but by the time I finally made it there it was against the law or something. Ergh. Julia’s story in Book 2 is great though. Hang in there.

The Real World Again/The End: You Were Right – Built to Spill
At some point, most of us figure out that even the greatest fantasies and aspirations can often be just sad dreams realized through jarring reality checks. But then again, of course, most of us don’t get to be kings and queens of our fanciful misconceptions, do we?


Lord of the Flies

Things get slightly out of hand this week with William Golding’s brutal reflection on the duality of man. Civility and savagery battle it out on a desert island, giving you second thoughts about those sweet innocent children playing tag at the park. An important reminder that humankind is built of good and evil and those waters can get muddy pretty quick.See what happens when people stop being polite, and start being murderous…here.

“The boy with fair hair lowered himself down the last few feet of rock and began to pick his way towards the lagoon”: Pigs on the Wing, Part 1 – Pink Floyd

Plane Crash: I’m Stranded – The Saints
My! Aren’t we looking mighty spry for just surviving a plane crash?

Gathering: On the Beach – Neil Young / Boys Keep Swinging – David Bowie
Who wouldn’t love a little fun-time beach camping with the boys, am I right? What are the chords for Kumbaya?

Ralph: He’s a Mighty Good Leader – Beck
Like a young JFK. “Ask not what your island can do for you, ask what you can do to not kill each other.” “Ich bin ein Islander!”

The Conch: Let’s Work Together – Canned Heat
Cue the movie montage…building shelters, laughing around a fire, gathering berries and water, long walks on the beach, sharpening sticks, repeated inappropriately stabbing animals, painting each other with blood, ritual dance around fire, repeatedly stabbing each other inappropriately…end movie montage.

Piggy: Piggy in the Middle – The Rutles
Yeah, yeah. I know Nine Inch Nails has a song called “Piggy” that fits pretty well to describe the torturing the book’s husky voice of reason. But a fake Beatles band is just so much more British, flustered, and feminine…also perfect for poor Piggy.

Jack: Evil Urges – My Morning Jacket
The nefarious choir boy. No doubt, when he grows up, he’ll be the CEO of some evil company like Halliburton, Lehman Brothers, Monsanto, or, just maybe, Piggly Wiggly.

The Beast: Heart of Darkness – Pere Ubu
Come on, kiddos! There is almost never really any monsters on remote jungle islands. Well, except for King Kong’s island. And that smoke monster from Lost. That fat dude who kept hitting Gilligan in the face with his hat. Oh, and cannibals (watch out for them too).

The Glasses and The Fire: Smoke Signal – The Band
Thanks for the fire, four eyes. Now, its just a simple task of us kids being responsible enough to complete the menial task of tending the fire until we’re rescued. Can’t foresee any issues there.

“Kill the Pig, Spill the Blood”: Deathtripper – Pig Destroyer
Pig Destroyer might be the best grindcore band name ever, or at least, right behind The Bathtub Shitters. Chop the Pig and Save (okay, okay, sorry, last Piggly Wiggly reference for this one).

The Group Splits: Kids Don’t Follow – Replacements
Bloodlust, barbarism, and bad attitudes! The boys are starting to turn. Truth be told, in a similar situation, I would also probably join the group that wears loincloths and eats meat. Mostly because that’s how I’m living already.

Simon and the Lord of the Flies: Strange – Wire
If you can find a better song to describe the scene where the creepy Christ-like propheteering tween has a lengthy philosophical discussion with a severed Boar’s head on a stick, you just let me know.

Jack’s Savages: Children in Heat – The Misfits
I’ve been to a Misfits show…it is pretty close to a “LotF” situation. Lots of confused youth, painted faces, and idol worship. Oh, and devil locks! Side note: A Misfits concert is the only concert by any band where it’s perfectly acceptable to wear that band’s t-shirt. You do that at any other show, and you’re a dope.

The Fire Dance/Simon Murdered: Frenzy – Screamin’ Jay Hawkins
I’d love to see a reality show that puts all of Screamin’ Jay’s 57 famously illegitimate kids on an island in a “Lord of the Flies” meets “Survivor” meets “American Idol” scenario. The winner would receive the love and approval of their late, great deadbeat dad. And survival, of course. And maybe a recording contract.

Piggy Crushed: Fall on Me – REM
And ask the Sky, And ask the Sky FAAAALLLL ON ME, Ohhh FAA (SPLAT!). This blurb brought to you by an actual semi-feral twelve year old.

Ralph’s Chased:  Run Boy Run – Sanford Clark
Dang, the Jack’s tribe is getting all “hot and bothered” for Ralph. Er, no, no, not what I meant. Um, I mean these kids got a serious case of “jungle fever”. Wait, no, that isn’t the right term either. Ah, whatever, just run!

Discovered: Clowntime is Over – Elvis Costello / Grown Up Wrong – Rolling Stones
What a great “punch in the gut” finale! I don’t know what is better….that the unsuspecting naval officer stops an attempted savage child-on-child murder and simply says that he expected a “better show” from the kids or the fact that he is about to hop on his warship and do the same thing. Bam, juxtaposition in the house…Golding style!

“Ralph wept for the end of innocence, the darkness of man’s heart, and the fall through the air of the true, wise friend called Piggy.”: Pigs on the Wing, Part 2 – Pink Floyd

The Outsiders

This episode we take on S.E. Hinton’s rough and tumble teen gang drama, The Outsiders. Old fashioned class warfare and sensitive bad boys abound in this 7th grade required reading classic. So, grease up your hair, flick open your switchblade, and ponder on your copy of “Gone with the Wind”, here we go.

Stay gold here, Ponyboy.

“When I stepped out into the bright sunlight, from the darkness of the movie house, I had only two things on my mind: Paul Newman, and a ride home.”: Rebel Rouser – Duane Eddy

The Greasers: Bad Seeds – Beat Happening
When one is from the wrong side of the tracks, you better have a cool Elvis haircut and a broken bottle handy at all times.

The Socs: Maintaining My Cool – The Sonics
“Hey, bro! Nice seersucker! You wanna go beat up some poor kids (provided they’re small and/or physically handicapped) and then watch some Vince Vaughn movies?”. Alas, today’s preppie gangs just don’t have the same umphf.

Walking the Streets: Late Last Night – Paul Anka
Paul Anka was indubitably a soc dude, but I imagine he was a guilty pleasure of many greaser gals. And, well, probably Ponyboy too.

Ponyboy Curtis: A Shark in Jets Clothing – Blondie
I would have thought that being known as “Ponyboy” would give you a “A Boy Named Sue”-level toughness. Nope…Apparently just a propensity for reading Robert Frost poems.

Cherry Valence: Cherry Bomb – The Runaways
A rich, beautiful cheerleader named “Cherry”. Yup, that pretty much a textbook “out of your league” chick.

Darry Curtis: The Boss – James Brown
‘Cause I would just feel shameful for subjecting you to George Michael’s “Father Figure” even once more in your life.

Dallas Winston: Black Grease – The Black Angels
I’ve always pictured Dally has kind of an unholy mash-up of John Travolta characters. A little goofy like Vinnie Barbarino, a little violent like the hitman from Pulp Fiction, a little bit of smooth like Saturday Night Fever guy. Oh, a little straight up crazy like that weird scientology-alien from Battlefield Earth.

Fight at the Fountain: Somebody Got Murdered – The Clash
While it is not advisable to bring a knife to a gunfight, it is, in fact, very useful to bring said knife to a knife fight. Good for stabbing and stuff. And while I haven’t been in very many knife or gunfights, I also have never received any kind of message beforehand letting me know what kind of weapon should be used at the upcoming rumble. Who sends out this info?

Johnny Cade: Knife – Grizzly Bear
Poor, poor Johnny. S.E. Hinton’s loyal whipping boy throughout the book. Abused in the beginning. Riddled with guilt in the middle. Dead in the end. Yup, sorry ‘bout that Johnny.

On the Lam: Runaway – Del Shannon
Tangentially-Related Marginally-Interesting Fun Fact: Evil genius singer Tom Waits played the Hank Sr. loving cowboy/criminal Buck Merrill that helped the boys escape town in F.F. Coppola’s film adaptation. He opens the door for Ralph Macchio. Their chemistry is undeniable. Bonus Fun Fact (also involving Waits and Macchio): Tom Waits was all set to play Vinny, in My Cousin Vinny, but had to cancel at the last moment because of an incident involving a camel. Not something you should ever bring up to Mr. Waits, by the way.

The Abandoned Church: (Wish I Could) Hideaway – Creedence Clearwater Revival
Two things to say about this: 1) CCR is way underrated 2) Abandoned churches are kind of creepy places. Wait, even churches that haven’t yet been abandoned are kind of creepy places.

Saving the Kids: Heroes – David Bowie
Okay, I know this song is pretty much the most over-used “Hero” song ever, but dang if this song doesn’t soar! I feel if you get crushed by a flaming pillar whilst saving a school bus load of children from fiery death, you deserve a Bowie memorial song. Off topic – but who decided it was a good idea to take a field trip to the aforementioned weird abandoned church anyways? “Next year, let’s all go to an Indian burial ground!”

The Brawl: Rumble – Link Wray
Really is there any other option for a song to soundtrack a 50’s teen battle royale?

Johnny Dies/Ponyboy’s Case: Your Funeral My Trial – Nick Cave / These Boots are Made for Walking – Lee Hazlewood
Apparently juvenile judges were a bit more lax back in the day. “Well kid, even though you were involved in a fight that left a teen dead and ran from the law for weeks, you are a totally sad sack. Acquitted!”

Dally Gunned Down: I’ll Never Get Out of this World Alive – Hank Williams Sr.
If you are going for a storybook dramatic ending, calling all your buddies to watch you commit blue suicide pretty much takes the cake.

The Family: We’re a Happy Family – The Ramones
This song works…you just have to replace “Me, Mom, and Daddy” with “Me, ‘Pop, and Darry”.

Pony’s Assignment/The End: That’s the Story of My Life – Velvet Underground
Is there a “coming of age” novel that doesn’t end with the narrator reminiscing on their life? Just wait around, son. It’ll get tougher.

Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?

This episode we take on Philip K Dick’s sci-fi-noir masterwork Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?. Faith, consumerism, technology, and morality get thrown into the dystopian blender and comes out a mind-bending humanity-questioning headtrip. I heard they even made a pretty decent movie about it starring the Han Solo guy (Blade Jogger or something).

Go ahead and test your humanness via emotive response to an artificial mix here. It’s a real “Dubious Cube of Margarine”

World War Terminus: Metal Machine Music – Lou Reed / Nuclear War – Sun Ra
It’s a fact that if you subject any non-android to Metal Machine Music, in its entirety, they will become a chickenhead.

Rick Deckard: Satisfaction – Devo
Bit of a Goldilocks dilemma for the Deckard song. Kate Bush’s “Running Up The Hill” is too girly. Iron Maiden’s “Run to the Hills” is too manly. Devo’s just right!

Penfield Mood Organ: Moody Fucker – Lambchop
Man, why can’t we really invent a dial-a-mood machine?  While I am sure its a necessity in a pre-extinction society, it’d still be a heck of a lot of fun in this pre-pre-extinction society. Dial 194 for “Hungry for goat cheese and licorice”. Dial 76 for “Denial of impending baldness”. Dial 93 for “Unfounded self confidence in one’s writing, dancing, and pie-eating skills”.

Iran Decker: Never Make Me Cry – Camper Van Beethoven
Dial 443 for “Make me sadder than Nick Drake”.

Black-faced Suffolk Ewe: Black Sheep Boy #4 – Okkervil River
Well, even though earth is dying, you are deemed unworthy of escaping this death, and your job gives you constant existential crises, at least at the end of the day a man can dream. Of course, my dream wouldn’t be buying a sheep on a 30 year mortgage. But hey, different strokes…

Rosen Industries: Robots – Kraftwerk
‘Cause the “Less Human than Human” slogan just didn’t have the right ring.

Voigt-Kampff Test: Fight Test – Flaming Lips
Question: You’re at a Flaming Lips concert. Fake blood. Animal costumes. Wayne Coyne crushes fans to death with giant bubble. Crowd cheers. (Pupil dilation? Yup, you’re a replicant.) Note: This also applies to GWAR concerts.

Rachel Rosen: You’re Not Real, Girl – The Swans
A fake girlfriend…but still significantly more real than my “super hot Canadian girlfriend from summer camp” in 8th grade.

John Isidore: Are Friends Electric? – Tubeway Army
With electric friends like you, who needs electric friends?

Mercerism: Rainy Day Women #12 & 35 – Bob Dylan
Using this song here means I won’t be using it for any Shirley Jackson books. Shucks.

Buster Friendly: Transmission – Joy Division
Whenever I attempt to picture Buster Friendly, I only ever see Krusty the Klown. “Hey kids! Your religion is a sham! Hoo-Hoo-Hoo-Hahaha!”

Luba Loft: Opera House – Olivia Tremor Control
The way Deckard feels about the mechanized opera singer is close to how I feel about all electronic music. I often wonder how music so pretty and magnificient can be made from a machine, but eventually I mostly just want to “retire” the DJ.

The Police Station: Shot by Both Sides – Magazine
My favorite scene in the book has to be the android police station. It has Hitchcockian tension, Kafkaesque paranoia, Darwinian undertones, and of course Dickish plot twists. Or is that just Dicky twists? Basically, if you combined Hitchcock, Kafka, Darwin and Yogi Berra, you’d have Philip K. Dick.

Phil Resch: Bad Detective – New York Dolls
It’s your usual good cop, bad cop situation. And by bad cop, I mean total heartless sadistic  sociopath cop.

Pris Stratton: In Every Dream Home a Heartache – Roxy Music
Only PKD can take a situation with a human and an android and somehow make the human be the inflatable doll of the relationship.

Roy Baty: Leader of the Pack – Shangri-Las
Can’t you visualize robo-greaser Rutger Hauer (leather jacket and all) riding his motorcycle around Mars just breaking human necks and making the ladybots swoon?…What? You can’t? Simple. Try dialing Moods 48-67: “Rutger Hauer Fantasizing”

The Spiders: Boris the Spider – The Who
Contrary to popular opinion, gleefully plucking off spider’s legs is no longer only a recreational activity  of junior high school psychos.

Retiring the Andys: I Wanna Destroy You – The Soft Boys
Terminating robots hasn’t been so gleefully exciting since Megaman on the Nintendo. Or maybe not since Terminator. Or maybe that scene in Office Space with the printer.

The Toad/The End:  Fool on the Hill – The Beatles 
The only way to truly know you are human is by screwing up so thoroughly and so often that there is no doubt of your humanness. To be a decent human is to empathize with those who screw up because you know your time is coming.

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


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


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.