October, The Mixtape

By Martin Cizmar

Today begins the new month, and oh what a month it is. October has everything: football, great weather, my favorite holiday and lots of activities and festivals here in the Valley of the Sun.

To honor this most wonderful of months, I present to you a mix tape, lovingly assembled this morning by me and featuring music that reminds me of the season and what I'll be doing this month. It’s what I’ll be listening to when I’m not getting paid to listen to something else. Enjoy.

Oh, and feel free to leave comments with your picks for the ultimate October mix.

1. Iron Maiden, “Run to the Hills” – October 12 is Columbus Day, the anniversary of Christopher Columbus’s discovery of the Western Hemisphere. Which, you know, altered the course of history in a major way. Anyway, because of a relentless propaganda push (thanks, Howard Zinn!) all I can think of on Columbus Day is that mural in the Heard Museum where an American soldier has the impaled heart of a Native American hanging from the tip of his sword and this song, Iron Maiden’s account of abuses inflicted after “White Man come from across the sea…”

October, The Mixtape

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2. Neil Young, “Heart of Gold” – I’ve said for years, Neil Young’s Harvest, especially “Heart of Hold” is fall, captured on tape.

3. The Geto Boys, “My Mind Playin’ Tricks on Me” – So, long about two Octobers ago, I traded mixes with a girl. The mix she gave me, “Stuff For Martin,” opened with Sufjan Stevens before segueing in to that Camera Obscura song about Lloyd Dobler and, eventually, Sloan’s “Rest of My Life” and that acoustic cover of The Knife’s “Heartbeats.” My response, “A Mix for a Hip Jersey Girl on a Rainy Halloween” opened with Danzing’s “Mother” because, you know, I assumed everyone from New Jersey loved Danzing. Not so, as it turns out. I think she liked a few of the other tracks, but definitely not this one. Fuck it: When it comes to mix making, I keep it real, girls be damned.

4. Misfits, “Astro Zombies” – Most of the tracks of “Walk Among Us” make great Halloween songs, but “Astro Zombies” is my favorite, so it makes the list. Who else but the Misfits could make you wanna bop around to lyrics like “With just a touch of my burning hand/I send my astro zombies to rape the land/Prime directive, exterminate/The whole human race.”

5. Arcade Fire, "Une année sans lumière" – So when I first heard of the band called Arcade Fire with this album called “Funeral” I thought it was going to be pretty dark stuff. Then I listened to it, and thought “this isn’t so dark.” Then I REALLY listened to it and realized it was very, very dark. This song (translation: "A Year Without Light") among the darkest and the best. It’s scary, in an adult way.

6. Dresden Dolls, “My Alcoholic Friends” – I include the Dresden Dolls not because they played their first show on Halloween, or because they’re “dark cabaret” but because something about this band has always seemed very autumnal to me.

7. Joy Division, “Ceremony” – Maybe it’s the Ian Curtis thing, but Joy Division has always seemed spooky to me, especially this song.

8. We Are Scientists, “This Scene is Dead” – This song makes my mix not because it’s Halloween-y, but because it’s one of my all-time favorite songs, and WAS are coming to town in two weeks. Plus, it’s a perfect momentary breather gloomy stuff.

9. Red Sovine, “Phantom 309” – Red Sovine’s story about Big Joe and his rig is a catchy little song and a great ghost story. I won’t say any more, and risk ruining it for you, but it’s something you ought to download if you don’t already own it.

10. Blur, “Beetlebum” – This is on here because I’ve been listening to it a lot lately. Great song.

11. Roger Clyne and the Peacemakers, “Sonoran Hope and Madness” – I’ve been listening to a lot of Roger Clyne in preparation for Circus Mexicus, and this strikes be as a very Halloween song, mostly because it’s about taking your best friend’s ashes out in to the desert (Gram Parson’s reference?).

12. David Bowie, “Scary Monsters (And Super Creeps)” – There’s not much love for early 80s Bowie, mostly with good reason, but my mom used to make me listen to this shit, so it made an impression. If you’re having a Halloween party with dancing, throw this one on the playlist.

13. Television, “Marquee Moon” – I’ve never been able to figure out what this song is about, exactly, but the imagery is so spooky and vivid, I’ve always pictured it taking place in a cemetery on Halloween.

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