Lola’s Musical Halloween Countdown: Part Two

Following up on my introduction to Lola’s Musical Halloween Countdown, here is the second installment of seasonally appropriately and carefully curated music from my buddy Lola. Get cozy beside a cackling fire with a nice mug of butterbeer (or the closest approximation you can get your hands on) and enjoy!

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October 11: Our second Soundscape Sunday has arrived, and with it a piece by the constant target of the shaft at the Oscars–Thomas Newman! His gorgeous music has backed classics such as The Shawshank Redemption, Finding Nemo, American Beauty, and WALL*E. Yet another example of a nomination that went nowhere for the poor man was his work on the underrated film adaptation of Lemony Snicket’s a Series of Unfortunate Events. So be drawn now into a world of grotesque villains, mysterious acronyms, and an overall feeling of doom. I present for your listening displeasure: Verisimilitude!

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October 12: Damn it all, the workweek has returned once again. Time for another Mundane Monday. For the life of me, I still cannot remember why this category exists … none of its entries have even the slightest thing to do with Hallowe’en! Take today’s example …. what’s so scary about meeting the neighbors? Nothing, I tell you!

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October 13 … good number! We’ve arrived at another TV Tuesday, and, y’know, it just doesn’t feel right to host any sort of Hallowe’en celebration without a piece by this classic early Y2K rock band that sold the concept in everything they did. From Coolsville to Crystal Cove, the Hex Girls’ trademark Witch’s gathering shtick has attracted countless listeners to the truly talented trio. But why stop at just one piece when you can have all of them? Here’s the incredible concert that they’ve been giving continuously since 1999; for all we know, it hasn’t even ended yet! For those not in the know, The Hex Girls is a fictitious band hailing from the Scooby Doo Universe that keeps popping up in more and more projects. Their music really rocks, minus some moments of cheese or ear-grating interjections from members of the Mystery Inc crew. I would not actually ask you to listen to the full half an hour of this, which I have shared due to my deep amusement that someone actually went the trouble (though you certainly could and might not regret it at all). However, if you’ll listen to any of it, PLEASE check out their incredible “Trap of Love”, which I will post below. Hailing from “Mystery Incorporated”, a recent series with incredible animation, humor, character development, plot, and even scares (I’ve watched through it twice, I’ve outgrown scooby and yet Mystery Incorporated ranks in my top ten shows); “Trap of Love,” in addition to sounding really slick, is actually an early moment of crucial character development for, of all people, Daphne, who sings its lead vocals under the stage name “Crush” due to certain relationship issues. But don’t take my word for it, let the Hex Girls themselves put their spells on you!

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October 14: Who Knows? Wednesday knows how to ask the truly important questions in life. For example, when the robots do inevitably overthrow the earth, what will be the catalyst? And will any of them feel bad about it? Of course, we all know they won’t. They have no emotion, right?

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October 15: Disney Donnerstag! Not everyone knows this, but Donner means Thunder in German. Similarly, our Thursday comes from Thor, god of lighting. Allegedly, there will be actual lightning today. Nice, eh? Something else not everyone knows? Disney actually sanctioned an official cover of “Heigh-Ho!” by, of all people, Tom Waits, and it’s creepy as hell. Much has been said of its reminding people of slave work in mines, and playing to the idea of a soul run ragged by the 9 to 5. I’ll leave it to you to decide how much stock you give any of that. This is from an album titled ‘Stay Awake’ (as in, the song from Mary Poppins) and all of the tracks have some weird reinvention. Waits would later re-release this song on another album, but for reasons beyond anyone’s comprehension, layer an additional instrumental solo over most of the entire track that many fans agree takes away some of the power. Here is the original, with its absence of said layer. Amazing what one can….DIG…up, eh? Eh? EH???

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October 16: By the pricking of my thumbs, Fearful Friday this way comes. Remember this little Macbeth-inspired ditty from Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban? Not this version! Here it is arranged for concert by Williams himself, performed by the City of Prague Philharmonic Orchestra. There’s really not that much to say here, so let the glorious music speak for itself!

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October 17: Good evening, friends and companions. By the hollowness of the wind as it drags its body reluctantly across the landscape, I judge that we have arrived yet again at a Storytelling Saturday. Today, to transport us into a world of story and song, we call once again upon a capella metal band Van Canto, who so graciously performed our first Fearful Friday. With the release of their fourth album, Break the Silence, came news of a new, exciting project combining their songwriting and performing talents with artists and a digital production company to produce what was to be a semi-interactive app detailing through animation and opera a new take on the story of Peer Gynt, with additional chapters released episodically. The album’s book of lyrics and musical credits folded out into one big poster, with a massive visual teaser for the work on the back side, and the final bonus track on the disc was the audio of the very first episode. News of the project bubbled slowly at first. The band encouraged its fans to vote for approval of a stage production of the work in a German theatre’s contest, and it actually ended up taking second place–which, according to the contest’s rules, meant that it still had earned a showing of some sort. An article on the theatre’s website featured tiny snippets of music from the story, even music beyond what was featured in episode one. And then came the fiasco of the theatre holding out on their promise, despite the contest results. News of the app, or even stage play, came slower and slower, until it finally lay dormant, with even the project’s website completely disappearing. Van Canto has never come out and officially said the project is dead, but all signs point to it being so. However, before it vanished completely, the band uploaded a youtube video of the first episode, perhaps as much of it as we’re ever going to get. The story is unfinished, and it is hard to follow. But damn, is it sexy! Here’s one of the more visually-unsettling works the countdown will feature. I hope you enjoy the auditory glory that only something this bizarre can produce!

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October 18: Somewhere deep in a forgotten crevasse, which fondles a memory you didn’t think you’d ever be able to taste again … there’s a feeling there of discovery, of importance that you believed in so defiantly as a child but which seemed to fade away with age as the calling you felt towards an almost supernatural force never came. Maybe once in the greatest while you’ll be hiking and discover a secluded glen, or a song will play when you’re half asleep and the moon is too drunk to pay attention…and the feeling returns. Is the feeling like this? And if it is, do you even dare to follow? Time’s running out … better catch the moment befo–

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October 19: *sigh* Another Mundane Monday … I feel so deeply unprofessional with this category. What on earth was I thinking with this song? It’s a tough economy, somebody’s gotta do the dirty jobs. Considering someone to be subhuman just because they work a blue collar job … I ought to be ashamed of myself.

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October 20: Ladies, Gentlemen, and All Else Who I Have Not Covered Already, TV Tuesday is here yet again! She heard about our previous feature on the Hex Girls, and is here to take the stage back from, and these are her words, not mine, “those posers who have no idea how a REAL supernatural force brings the house down.” We are proud to present the starlet who died and went to show business, Ms.! Ember! McLain!

This pop idol of your tween years, hailing from NickToon series “Danny Phantom,” has never sounded better. Supposedly, her hit single was never released very honorably, being masked by editing and other sound in her premiere episode, and being stripped of effects that really helped it sparkle and shine the one time it was ever actually released as a standalone. Here, finally, is the track as it was always meant to be! You can read more about that in the description of the actual video, but for now, give it up for Ember McLain!

Look for the third and final installment of Lola’s Musical Halloween Countdown at the end of October!

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