Tuesday, August 4, 2009

The Horror Playlist: Matt Schwartz

This month's Top Ten victim is none other than horror superhero, Matt Schwartz, owner of Shocklines.com and teacher of book marketing at New York University. If you've been to any horror conventions in the last fifteen years, then chances are you've seen Matt bustling like a madman to make sure your experience was fun and without hitches. He's an undying fan of all horror and a HUGE music fanatic.

10 Tracks Digging Into My Mind
by Matt Schwartz

Picking 10 favorite albums or 10 favorite songs is impossible for me. Music is such a huge part of my life and my daily routine that it changes more often than I can keep track of. I have a separate MP3 player that I use just for exercise that holds 15-20 of my favorite songs of the moment. So let's look at 10 of the songs on that MP3 player right now....and many of these have videos on YouTube, so you can sample them for yourself.

1) Do the Necronomicon (Original Cast)
One of the genuine surprises in recent years in musical theater was Evil Dead: The Musical, a wild, hilarious, blood-soaked show that was a hit in Canada, then promptly went "splat" in NYC. But it's a soundtrack well worth buying, especially this track that (literally) asks the question "How the hell do demons do their very own special dance?"
Key lyric: Do we bounce like Backstreet?/Not without a heartbeat/Do we grind like Michale Bivens?/Bel Biv Devoe before the living.

2) I Hate the Way by Polly Scattergood
A haunting, quietly disturbing ode to self-sabotage and self-pity. You may not have heard of Scattergood, but she's a bit of a mix of Tori Amos crossed with Veruca Salt (post-Nina Gordon).
Key lyric: I hate the way my stomach aches/and I really hate these loveless mistakes/'cause I’m screaming for my rock who never picks up,

3) Because I'm Awesome by The Dollyrots
Rock with a great sense of humor is hard to find, and The Dollyrots really know how to pull it off. Think of Letters to Cleo with a harder edge and you've got The Dollyrots, whose "Because I'm Awesome" album is full of crazy, mind-bogglingly catchy tracks. The title track is the standout, which is a great "fuck you" song that still keeps its tongue firmly in cheek.
Key lyric: I always tell you how great you smell/"It's cause I'm naturally deodorized!"

4) I Need Some Fine Wine, and You Need to be Nicer by the Cardigans
If all you know of the Cardigans is their classic pop "Lovefool" then you should check out their trip-hop and rock albums of the last decade. This killer track, about a woman who deals with a bad relationship by staying good and drunk, is a biting, hooky favorite of mine that I haven't been able to shake out of my head in 2 years.
Key lyric: Well it's been a long slow collision./I'm a pitbull, you're a dog./Baby you're foul in clear conditions/but you're handsome in the fog

5) Experiment IV by Kate Bush
Regardless of how you feel about Kate Bush (personally, I think The Dreaming and Hounds of Love are both masterpieces every horror-lover should have), you've gotta dig this one-off track done for her best-of album. This is definitely Stephen King territory, about a government experiment to create a sound that can kill someone from a distance - only to see the experiment take on a life of its own. Scary and a great story to boot.
Key lyric: We won't be there to be blamed./We won't be there to snitch./I just pray that someone there/can hit the switch.

6) Fuck You by Lily Allen
Sorry to go somewhat political on this list, but this song is still cracking me up months after its release, and rarely leaves my playlist. Lily Allen's balls-to-the-walls George Bush bashing tune doesn't pull any punches, and is also the hookiest track on her album.
Key lyric: Fuck you, fuck you very very much/cause we hate what you do/and we hate your whole crew/so please don’t stay in touch

7) I Palindrome I by They Might Be Giants
Yet another horror-themed rock track (sensing a trend here?) They Might be Giants has done tracks on any and every subject, always with dark, smart humor. This one is a standout, about a guy who's eager to kill his mother to get the inheritance -- only to realize down the line that what comes around, goes around. A rare full story told in under 3 minutes.
Key lyric: See that bulletproof dress hanging from the clothesline/See the medical chart with the random zig-zag/Now I'll help it decide.

8) Guilty Pleasure by Cobra Starship
I've been a fan of these guys ever since the wacky (and surprisingly awesome) theme song for "Snakes on a Plane." This track is among their most addictive. Nothing deep going on here -- just a great party rock song. Nothing more, nothing less.
Key lyric: And maybe someday i'll believe/that we are all apart of some bigger plan/tonight i just don't give a damn/if the world is ending, i'm throwing the party.

9) The Stalker Song by Charlotte Martin
Martin's piano-driven rock and pop tunes are, by turns, touching, haunting, cutting, and witty. This is one of her funniest tracks, where the title says it all. Sporting a chorus of "I'm normal -- please date me!" it's both hilarious and yet touches on feelings of insecurity that anyone can relate to.
Key lyric: There is no restraining order/that will separate our love that's ever true./Even if I can't convince you,/my probation officer is kind of cute.

10) Blood Makes Noise by Suzanne Vega
Vega is best known for her folk-rock like "Luka" or even the club hit "Tom's Diner" but her album 99.9 Degrees will always be my favorite. She touched and mixed every genre in existence with it, including this chilling industrial-rock track that's barely 2 minutes long. Reportedly told from the point of view of a woman who's just been informed she has HIV, this is a painfully accurate snapshot of your mind doing a brain-freeze when it's been given bad news.
Key lyric: Blood makes noise/And I can't really hear you/In the thickening of fear

(The Black Glove staff thanks Matt for this month's Top Ten)