Mystery Mini Mix is a shiny new feature dredged up from somewhere within the collective imagination of the WTD crew. Basically, we’ve made a huge list of song prompts (eg. Song with a colour in the title) and are getting our favourite writers and music people to curate a list of songs according to the randomly-assigned prompts they receive. It’s then up to them to craft their very own ‘EP’, deciding on the track order, release title and artwork. If they want to write a little bit about their choices then that’s cool too.

This week we welcome Shana Hartzel from the wonderful Swell Tone, who is also the assistant director of Philadelphia’s Y-Not Radio, and hosts the show ‘Aussie Unlocked’ (2nd Fridays, 9-10pm).

Into the Pines

by Shana Hartzel

Follow the playlist below into a path through the woods that you’ll never return from. Like any good hike, it starts off sunny and confident. But, panics as the trail and that sunlight disappear.

Song that reminds you of being somewhere special

The Jungle Giants – Mr. Polite

When I worked my first ever music festival, I was living in Brisbane, Australia. I only knew about three of the acts on the festival bill of 100. Hungry Kids of Hungary was a recommendation I had gotten but their tiny showcase maxed out before I could get there. I wandered blindly into the next silliest named band I saw: The Jungle Giants. As I stepped into the wooden sweatbox of The Zoo, they jumped right into this song. It was arguably the band’s first hit track and immediately swept the whole vacuum-packed crowd into a sequence of pleasurable, almost involuntary jumping. This song marked the first moment I felt fully immersed in a musical experience and became the go-to soundtrack of my happiest memories of Brisbane.

Song with a food in the title

Smokes – Lemonlime

This song riiiiips from beginning to end. It matches its name in acidity and really sinks its teeth into those guitar lines. The Oh Hi Collective just put out the track a bit ago on their second compilation that’s brimming with artists that deserve to be heard.

Song that reminds you of your favourite film

John Gold – Vampire’s Kiss

I don’t have a favorite anything really so that applies to films as well. But, I do love a good straight-from-the-barrel, stereotypical teen flick. So, I’m subverting the system and going with a song that reminds me of a genre. (Sorry, Jon and Liam ¯\_(ツ)_/¯) I think we can all agree that teen movies (and teen TV) are a great place to discover new music as the audience is a cross between receptive to new things and constantly consuming. Somehow, this song also fits all of the teen movie stereotypes as well. In Gold’s smooth hum, it’s suffers through passion howling words you are right for thinking you can’t understand. “Siri Guru Devay Nameh” is a healing mantra used during yoga that loosely translates to “I bow to the great, unseen wisdom.” It’s a saccharine love song complete with crickets and and I still love it.

Song that sounds like the prehistoric world

Young Men Dead – Courageous

My first thought on this was something tropical with a lot of drums and then I knew exactly which track I had in mind. This band doesn’t exist anymore. In fact, I think they only existed for quite a short time and called it quits just as they started to pick up steam. But this song has a clear heartbeat and drive that for some reason reminds me of the land before time.

Song that makes you want to smash things up

Violent Soho – Covered in Chrome

Wow. If this doesn’t make you wanna smash things or at least violently thrash about, I honestly don’t know what will. The verses give you a breather so you can regain your sanity.

Song with an animal in the title

Shannen Moser – dog

It’s short and not too sweet but those colliding guitar lines and sing-a-long chorus make it the perfect tune for a night drive through the city.

Song from at least 20 years ago

The Kossoy Sisters – In The Pines

Courtney Barnett put this song on a playlist she made for a radio interview I did with her back in 2014. It sent me down the rabbit hole of the song’s undetermined origins. This 1956 version featuring guitar work from Erik Darling is one of the first recordings of the tune. Nirvana also sang a version of the same song on their 1993 MTV Unplugged special. Something about this haunting melody in close, exact harmony just makes it dig in further to the creepy crevices of the brain.

For those of you that favour a bit of continuity in life, here’s the whole thing as one neat playlist – Shana’s Mystery Mini EP.

Head on over to Swell Tone for more from Shana, and be sure to pop in again next Wednesday for the next instalment of Mystery Mini Mix.