The 1940’s and ‘50’s boast such an enormous archive of atomic bomb scare songs—most of them lovingly compiled onto the Atomic Platters (“Cold War music from the Golden Age of Homeland Security”)—that it feels a little tired to loop them all into a mix that would probably end up being kind of hard to listen to. I went for apocalypses of mind and body instead, with tunes ranging from totally explicit (Elvis Costello’s “Waiting for the End of the World”) to personal disaster, the girl group Heartbeats’ self-released, organ-laden heavy-hitter “Cryin’ Inside.”
In the hopes of mixing these songs into something that sounds like an atomic explosion, this mix is a little out of my usual Big Sound Saturdays fare. Apocalypse Sound!! is loaded with garage rock, punk, riot grrl, afrobeat, rock ‘n’ roll, R&B, and some big tunes from Italy, Indonesia, and Thailand. I Giganti’s “La Bomba Atomica” is a 1960’s patchwork of low register swamp sounds and earnest falsetto, bombs in the night, and the ever-irrepressible Screamin’ Jay Hawkins’ “Frenzy” is to the tune of frantic disorientation that I’m hoping the mix will bring you, the listener, into. Barring Chance Halladay’s “13 Women”— a heavy, huge, hilarious apocalypse, like the Twilight Zone’s “Time Enough At Last” in Big Man fantasy space—everyone on here is pissed off. I even rounded it off with a song that The Red Elvises wrote for the post-apocalyptic rock ballad-cum-samurai film Six String Samurai, a furious ska boogie that dances itself all over Leonard Nimoy’s cautionary “Visit To A Sad Planet.” No holds barred in any of these songs. Paint them on your body, carve them in your walls!