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"Cowboy Serenade" (1989) by Winston Smith
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I don’t know about you, but I have been feeling rather hopeful lately. It seems like forever ago… but it was only a couple years back that the world was in the throes of the dark ages, the infamous and brutal reign of King Bush II. Yet, no matter how scary things got in those days, the topical music of Jello Biafra’s legendary independent label Alternative Tentacles made me aware that I was not the only one struggling to keep my head up.


Their music was a beacon of hope. It showed me that I could make a difference every day, even if it just meant buying a fair trade coffee or signing a petition. Alternative Tentacles proved that revolutionary activity could be more than another of life’s grinds. You can change the world, and have a fun time doing it.


Part of my goal for this mix was to present a sort of time capsule of the way things were. Aside from the few ‘80s and ‘90s tracks, these songs represent many milestones in the struggle for freedom, equality, and democracy during the Dubya years. However, I also wanted to use this mix to show that the struggle is never truly over. The rights we enjoy today were not simply handed to us by the aristocratic ruling class. They were fought for, tooth and nail, and, the price of maintaining those freedoms is eternal vigilance. Although, as I said, that does not mean the struggle has to be silent and dull. This mix should also show that, no matter how bad things get, we should never lose our sense of humor. If we can get through the days without smiling from time to time, we have already lost.


May the finest spoken word, metal, punk, and rock of Alternative Tentacles inspire you as it did me to become more aware of the effects of my actions on other people. Let us lower the cost of happiness so that everyone can afford it. I cannot thank Jello Biafra enough for supporting this music for so many years. I must also extend a huge thanks to Winston Smith, the man responsible for so many awesome AT album covers, who graciously allowed me to use his fantastic art for this special installment in the Soundscape mixtape series.


 
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Soundscape - Alternative Tentacles [MP3]
 
caption

“Laughing on the Outside” (2008) by Winston Smith


01 NoMeansNo - “Stocktaking” (Wrong, 1989)
- Start time: 0:00; Links: Alternative Tentacles - NoMeansNo


02 Jello Biafra & The Melvins - “Caped Crusader” (Never Breathe What You Can’t See, 2004)
- Start time: 3:05; Links: Alternative Tentacles - Jello Biafra & The Melvins


03 Ratos de Porão - “Pedofilia Santa” (Homem Inimigo do Homem, 2006)
- Start time: 9:11; Links: Alternative Tentacles - Ratos de Porão


04 Akimbo - “Lungless” (Navigating the Bronze, 2007)
- Start time: 11:16; Links: Alternative Tentacles - Akimbo


05 Michael Parenti - “The Have’s Want to Have It All” (Rulers Of The Planet, 2006)
- Start time: 14:26; Links: Alternative Tentacles - Michael Parenti


06 Leftover Crack - “Soon We’ll Be Dead” (Fuck World Trade, 2004)
- Start time: 18:11; Links: Alternative Tentacles - Leftover Crack


07 Th’ Inbred - “U$ Of @” (Legacy of Fertility, 2009)
- Start time: 23:46; Links: Alternative Tentacles - Th’ Inbred


08 Howard Zinn - “Artists and Experts” (Artists in a Time of War, 2001)
- Start time: 26:00; Links: Alternative Tentacles - Howard Zinn


09 M. Gira - “Blind” (Drainland, 1995)
- Start time: 28:43; Links: Alternative Tentacles - M. Gira


10 Ludicra - “Veils” (Fex Urbis, Lex Orbis, 2006)
- Start time: 32:29; Links: Alternative Tentacles - Ludicra


11 Triclops! - “March of the Half-Babies” (Out of Africa, 2008)
- Start time: 40:20; Links: Alternative Tentacles - Triclops!


12 Jello Biafra & The Melvins - “Dawn of the Locusts [March of the Locusts Remix by dälek]” (Seig Howdy!, 2005)
- Start time: 46:51; Links: Alternative Tentacles - dälek


13 D.O.A. - “You Little Weiner” (Loggerheads, 1993)
- Start time: 52:26; Links: Alternative Tentacles - D.O.A.


14 Greg Palast - “Twisted and Maniacal” (Weapon of Mass Instruction, 2004)
- Start time: 54:00; Links: Alternative Tentacles - Greg Palast


15 Jello Biafra & The Guantanamo School of Medicine - “I Won’t Give Up” (The Audacity of Hype, 2009)
- Start time: 55:35; Links: Alternative Tentacles - Jello Biafra & The Guantanamo School of Medicine


Total Running Time: 62:29


 
DOWNLOAD THE FULL MIX
Soundscape - Alternative Tentacles [MP3]
 

 

Compelled to words by music since 2004, Ranta's words have appeared in such esteemed publications as Exclaim!, Tiny Mix Tapes, CBC Music, and PopMatters. He also regularly votes for the Polaris Music Prize, Village Voice Pazz & Jop, Juno Awards, and in all local, provincial, and federal elections. Based in East Vancouver, he's been known to a rave and/or rant, cat whisper, play basketball, pessimistically root for the Canucks, and read far too many comment sections. He graduated with distinction from SFU in 2012, with a bachelor's degree in music.


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Soundscape
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