Mono’s 9th Album, Requiem for Hell (2016)

mono-requiem-for-hell-album-dante“Perhaps the most surprising thing about Mono making a record inspired by Dante’s The Divine Comedy is that it took them nine albums to do it. Since their dramatic 2001 debut Under the Pipal Tree, the Japanese ensemble’s arrangements have only swelled, growing ever grander and more orchestral—like a lot of instrumental post-rock bands, they’ve often struggled with how to one-up themselves. So on Requiem for Hell, their ninth album, they look to nothing less than the mother of all epics, Dante’s account of the journey of man’s soul, on a song cycle patterned around the rhythms of life and death. If that all sounds lofty, it is, but no more so than any other Mono album from the last decade. At this point in their career, going big is their default play.” — Evan Rytlewski, “Mono: Requiem for Hell: Album Review,” Pitchfork.com

Contributed by Pete Maiers

Weezer, “L.A. Girlz” (2016)

Weezer-LA-Girlz-Dante-Beatrice-2016“L.A. girls, please act your age
You treat me like I have the plague
It’s the Gyre and Gimble in the wabe
L.A. girls, please act your age
Sweeten up your lemonade
And meet me down at tower twenty-eight
So would you mind if I was pregnant?
I’ll sleep on the edge of your bed
Like Dante and Beatrice
We’ll light up our candles
But how is this going to end?
The kids are asleep
We’re haunting their dreams
And some women swear it’s more painful than labor
To die with your sins on your head” — Weezer, “L.A. Girlz,” The White Album (2016)

Watch the video for the song on YouTube.

Contributed by Megan Alvarado (University of Texas at Austin, ’18)

Purgatory/Paradise by Throwing Muses

kristen-hersch-throwing-muses“The title of the first Throwing Muses record in a decade is Purgatory/Paradise, but frontwoman Kristin Hersh has another name for it. ‘Our pet name is Precious/Pretentious,’ she says with a laugh. Speaking from Aquidneck Island in Rhode Island, where she was raised, she says that while the title does not reference Dante – it’s actually a reference to an intersection of roads on the island – she’s happy to have escaped the inferno of making the album. ‘It took us five years to make this record and we are absolutely obsessed with it,’ she tells Rolling Stone.” [. . .]    –Kory Grow, Rolling Stone, November 29, 2013

Sonora Commedia (2009)

sonora-commedia-2009

Eerie and beautiful wordless pieces.  Mostly experimental electronic, ambient, cinematic, and new classic, but also some drone, techno, alt rock, and metal tracks (the latter few genres especially for Inferno).

The 3 CDs have pieces written for all 100 cantos by 33 different musicians.  Each musician wrote for a given canto number in each canticle– Krell, for example, wrote for Inferno 20, Purgatorio 20, and Paradiso 20. For Inferno 34, however, a group of musicians collaborated.

Full album on Spotify, or available for purchase here.

Milla Jovovich, “The Divine Comedy” (1994)

milla-jovovich-the-divine-comedy-1994

milla-jovovich-the-divine-comedy-1994

“. . .The Divine Comedy was a proud effort by Jovovich, who resolutely guarded and shaped her emergence as a singer. She personally hyped her pre-release album as “a mix between Kate Bush, Sinead O’Connor, This Mortal Coil, and The Cocteau Twins.” To help move the album along, the label released a free sampler disc (I still have mine) which featured the wonderful single ‘Gentleman Who Fell.’
Largely acoustic and immensely charming, ‘Gentleman Who Fell’ was a minor alternative rock hit. The problem was that it wasn’t enough to carry the album as far as the album should have gone. After the simple success of ‘Gentleman Who Fell’, the album, and its subsequent single attempts (‘Bang Your Head,’ ‘It’s Your Life’) barely registered despite very positive reviews.” [. . .]    –Matt Rowe, The Morton Report, July 13, 2011

Weezer, “Make Believe” (2005)

weezer-make-believe-2005 In the liner notes to Weezer’s fifth album, the first lines of Inferno, “Nel mezzo del cammin di nostra vita,” are hidden in the pictures (see Wikpedia page).