Playlist: Songs To Play At The End Of The World

Andrew WK and Grumpy Cat? It must be The End Of The World.

After 12 years of quality programming, All Tomorrow’s Parties Festival (as we knew it) is no more, and it feels like The End Of The World…

This weekend is the last ever UK All Tomorrow’s Parties (ATP) holiday camp festival, fittingly entitled End Of An Era. This cult festival has been curated by experimental musicians from all over the world, and managed to epitomise the traditional British seaside holiday by being based in Pontins and Bultins resorts. Trust us, it worked.

One of the many, many fun things about this festival, giving a real sense of camaraderie, was their mixtape swap: a concept was announced for each festival, so you could create a mixtape on that theme before you left home, bring it along to the camp, and swap it with someone else. You might even make a pal in the process.

One of the themes for this last ever festival is Songs To Play At The End Of The World. We immediately started thinking of apocalyptic songs, epic songs, sad songs, desperate songs; this eventually turned into songs that have been really key in growing up and making sense of the world. Basically our favourite music.

This thought process also seemed to happen to you. When we called out for your Songs To Play At The End Of The World on Twitter and Facebook, we received completely random suggestions, both from ATP fans and from people who just loved the concept. You shared tracks that would have to be on your stereo when the asteroid/nuclear bomb/aliens hit; songs that you play everyday to put perspective on your life; and music that defines your favourite festival experiences. Discovering an important, nay life-changing, song was the thread running through all these suggestions.

Alas, we couldn’t pick them all. We got drunk with power, brandished a red pen and rejected: Frank Turner’s Glory Hallelujah (Steph Moffat), Michael Jackson’s Earth Song (Martin Pinnington), Ultravox!’s Just For A Moment (@LongshoremanX), This Mortal Coil’s Another Day (@shimmetry), and 2012 by The Flaming Lips (C James Fagan). The best rationale came from Ste Starks for Wolf Eyes’ Burn Your House Down: “I believe this song perfectly captures all out arma-fucking-geddon and the complete hateful mental collapse brought on by such a moment.” But it wasn’t on Spotify.

What did make the list was a mixture of pop, rock, grunge, drone, indie, metal, and just plain weird.

The majority of musicians featured were really important to our ATP festival experiences over the years: Dinosaur Jnr., Battles, The Breeders (all chosen by us), Nick Cave (chosen by Neil Murphy), Godspeed You! Black Emperor (chosen by Steph Fletcher), The Magnetic Fields (chosen by Chris Pennington), and Fugazi (@PhilDyson).

Les Savy Fav’s Let’s Get Out Of Here epitomised Marc Hall’s ATP — “The song title says it all” — while it was Swans for Andrew Ellis: “If the world ended and Swans were playing, I’d be pretty happy.”

Sam Wiehl’s choice was another ATP favourite, the hallucinogenic Dopesmoker by Sleep: “At least this puts the earth’s ending back by an hour.” You may noticed we’ve slapped this beast right in the middle of the playlist. Give it a go.

Completely swinging in the opposite direction were the songs that just make you feel epic. The Stones’ Gimme Shelter, chosen by @LSSRMCEL. Ryan McClelland’s selected the Sinatra classic, That’s Life : “I make a point of listening to it everyday, life affirming stuff even when stuff’s shit.” Our general choices were Bowie and Elliot Smith: they’re really the only artists, at least for us, who could meet the challenge.

A majority, however, cited the ultimate End Of The World musician as Andrew WK (let’s face it, the world should have imploded when he met Grumpy Cat). Jon Davies remembers seeing the madman at ATP : “My favourite memory was my brother getting really angry that Andrew WK’s live set was just his music on a CD and him singing, whilst everyone else was having the time of their lives.”

Whilst we were tempted by Ready To Die, Party Til You Puke, or She Is Beautiful, in the end, just before the asteroid smacks into planet earth, surely the only thing left to do is Party Hard.

Laura Robertson, Editor

Posted on 30/11/2013 by thedoublenegative