One of the best things about Welcome to Night Vale, the creepy and creepily funny podcast I touted here a couple of weeks ago, is that the weather segment of each episode is actually a song, generally by artists I’ve never heard of before. That’s how I discovered Mystic.
While I’m not a huge Rap/Hip-Hop fan, I am always interested in finding out about quality artists. Mystic is fierce and smart, with a soulful, genre-hopping style. I don’t know if she’s still active as a recording artist; her one album, Cuts for Luck and Scars for Freedom, apparently came out in 2001–even though the music sounds brand new. (Of course, it might seem brand new to me because I’ve never heard it before. I am not up on current trends in Hip-Hop.) I bought this one on itunes, and I hope that some of you jukebox listeners will be intrigued enough to shell out a few cents for her (or bucks; the whole album is pretty darn good). I think a voice this good needs all the support she can get.
Okay, I’ll be honest. The choice of song today doesn’t really matter; it just had to creepy. I could’ve gone with the classic Mike Oldfield tune “Tubular Bells”, which was used as the theme for The Exorcist (and still gives me the chills every time I hear it). I also thought about using “Haunted House Blues” by Bessie Smith. But those didn’t have quite the same resonance as Donovan’s “Season of the Witch.” This one builds up nicely to a sufficient level of uneasy paranoia. It never used to freak me out, until it was used over the end cards and credits of Zodiac (a great film about the journalistic search for one of the most deeply unsettling serial killer cases ever). Now I can barely listen to it.
But like I said, today’s song isn’t as important as the reason I wanted a creepy tune. I want to pimp out a podcast to y’all. If you have itunes (and, really, who doesn’t these days?), then you have easy access to hundreds of podcasts, which are fantastic free entertainment. You don’t have to pay a penny to subscribe to most podcasts, and you can find something on virtually any subject you’re interested in. While trying to catch up on Pop Culture Happy Hour* episodes (I’ve fallen behind again since Daddy died), Glen Weldon recommended a podcast that was making him happy a few weeks ago. I’m glad I checked it out, because it’s making me very, very happy indeed.
Welcome to Night Vale is a weird little show that has bimonthly episodes that run between 20 and 30 minutes, on average. Night Vale is a decidedly disturbing little place that makes Twin Peaks look like downtown Normal-ville. There are hooded figures, creatures of indefinite shape and size, and glowing lights in the sky. You hear all about Night Vale from the soothing voice of the local radio announcer. (The conceit of each episode is that it’s a broadcast delivered on the local radio station; they seem to be losing a disturbing number of interns.) It is by turns funny and creepy, and just perfect for a little late night listening. The podcast seems to be based in part on the writings of H.P. Lovecraft, picking up on themes and imagery that frequented his work. I admit that I’ve only listened to about 5 of the 25 episodes available, but I am giving it an unequivocal thumbs up. You can find Welcome to Night Vale through itunes, or visit the Commonplace Books site (where they also have t-shirts for sale). I promise, you won’t be sorry.
Or maybe you will. Goodnight, dear listeners. Goodnight.
*Another fine podcast that everyone should be listening to.