"Angel of Death," Slayer. Art imitates grotesque life in this little nugget of thrash metal rage from my husband's teen-angst back catalog, Reign in Blood, its expressions of genocidal racism inspired by the Nazi physician who performed experiments on prisoners at Auschwitz during WWII. "Sadistic, surgeon of demise / Sadist of the noblest blood." Scary shit.
"Psycho Killer," Talking Heads. Obvious, right? "Run run run run run run run away…"
"Bus to Beelzebub," Soul Coughing. From the Looney Tunes samples and general sonic dissonance to the snotty repetitive vocals of Mike Doughty, "Bus to Beelzebub" is like a sickening carnival ride that's about to fall completely off the tracks.
"The Horror," RJD2. The Philly producer stitches, warps, bends and splices together samples from Gershon Kingsley's moog-driven "Hey Hey," the Scooby Doo and Twilight Zone themes, and "Bad" by the Jimmy Castor Bunch, the result a suspense-building, sci-fi horror-grooving mix. Badass video below.
"Spooky Jookie," Man Man. A morbid selection in the Man Man repertoire that paints an ugly picture of a girl who's losing control of her mind and body amid dramatic jolting instrumentals and lead singer Honus Honus' manic braying vocals: "And her brains froze black / And her eyes rolled back / And her steps shellacked / She don't know what she’s becoming."
"Monsters," The Boy Least Likely To. In this lightly menacing indie pop track, the narrator uses monsters as a metaphor for adulthood and responsibility; the people he used to love "are turning into monsters, getting married, having babies, telling me how great their life is and how happy I would be if I could just be more like them."
"Brian Eno," MGMT. A sinister organ-fueled salute to the iconic sorcerer of sound, who teaches MGMT nefarious tricks of the songwriting trade ("When I was stuck he’d make me memorize elaborate curses / Tinctures and formulas to ditch the chori and flip the verses / My whole foundation came unglued.")
"I Think I'm Evil," Black Moth Super Rainbow. The music of BMSR is always like some sort of psychedelic robot attack — fizzy freaky washes of synthtronic sound on its way to acid-tripping itself apart. This track is off the outfit's newly-released Cobra Juicy, and their tour stops at Crowbar on Halloween ...
"Esther," Phish. Freaky circus keys are the unsettling backdrop to the tale of a girl cursed with bad luck after buying a mysterious puppet that sends her townfolk into a rage-filled frenzy. She flees and is carried away by a thunderstorm, dropped into the nasty part of town, and escapes an angry mob of joggers by jumping into a lake. Just as Esther makes it to the shore, the doll she carried all along "wrapped its tiny little arms around her ankle and wouldn't let her go," drowning her. The End.
"Pussy Head Man from Outer Space," Acid Mothers' Temple. A strident, tripped-out mix of sci-fi blips, whizzes, whirs and freak-outs, screaming guitar solos, reverb and distortion, and barely intelligible female vocals clawing through the miasma of Japanese progressive noise.
"They Are Night Zombies!! They Are Neighbors!! They Have Come Back From The Dead!! Ahhhh!" Sufjan Stevens. The sweet-voiced singer sounds an alarm as the dead of Chicago rise from their graves, Night of the Living Dead style.
"Ghost Story," Cloud Control. The Aussie outfit evokes a shadowy desert atmosphere fueled by multi-voice choruses raised in a haunting war chat: "We are the protectors, we are the soul collectors, we follow solar vectors." Song below.
"Careful with that Axe, Eugene," Pink Floyd. The eerie wandering instrumental jam and whispered malevolence is pierced by a blood-curdling shriek. Now the important question: Was it the victim being hacked to death, or the raw cry of triumph from Eugene as he does the deed?
Some more scary, spooky and creepy contributions from CL Staffers, writers, readers and local scene folks below...
Taylor - Dead Man's Bones, Dead Man's Bones (2009) The entire album is spooky and haunting, in a good way. Check out the video of "Name In Stone" below, performed live in a cemetery with L.A. Inner Mass Choir and The Silverlake Conservatory of Music Children's Choir.
Shae - "We Know Where You Sleep," the pAper chAse. Though the entire album is drenched in paranoia, the insidious and threatening track "We Know Where You Sleep" takes the terror to a new level with the use of heavily panned snipping scissors as percussive instrument.
and "...A Psychopath," Lisa Germano. Not only is the idea of lying awake at night with a baseball bat and a can of mace, waiting to face your attacker enough to make a person shiver, but Germano adds the recording of an actual 911 call by a woman being attacked in her home to the musical mix. The song ends with a strange, upbeat calliope whistle, which makes the track even more disconcerting.
Valerie — “Ride The Wings Of Pestilence,” From First To Last. This song is really creepy. After reading the lyrics, I think it's actually based on The Silence of the Lambs. And it's pretty funny look at how far Sonny Moore has come since this.
and "Vampires Will Never Hurt You," My Chemical Romance. The entirety of 2002’s I Brought You My Bullets, You Brought Me Your Love has a dark vibe, but that song in particular is an obvious Halloween choice. Plus it's about real vampires … not sparkly ones.
Matt Slate — “Diane,” Husker Du.
Noah Phence — “Creep In The Cellar,” Butthole Surfers. “Oh there's a creep in the cellar that I'm gonna let in There's a hole in his brain where his mind should've been…”
Mark Lesseraux — “The Electrician,” Scott Walker.
Alastair St. Hill - "Country Death Song," Violent Femmes.
Daniel Cura — “Fall Children” and “Halloween,” (Misfits cover) AFI, “A Tap Dancer's Dilemma,” Diablo Swing Orchestra.
Chris Wells — Climbing Up the Walls,” Radiohead.
Geoff Beardsley — “Black Sabbath,” Black Sabbath.
Shawn Abbott — “Archie & Veronica,” Lovage. The super freaky track is about having sex in a graveyard.
Matt E. Lee — “Tubular Bells,” Mike Oldfield.
Randy Clunn — “Children Of The Sun,” Billy Thorpe.
Joey Neill — “Boris the Spider,” The Who.
Rich Whiteley — “Via Chicago,” Wilco. Not THE freakiest, but certainly one of my favorite murder ballads.
Keegan Maloney — “Carolina Drama,” The Raconteurs, “Dead Souls,” Joy Division and “Black River Killer,” Blitzen Trapper (video below).
Ryan Duncan — "The Howl," Transmontane!.
Vinnie Cosentino — “Dark Night Of The Soul,” David Lynch, “Real Fright,” Iron Butterfly.
Franki L. Weddington — “I Want Your Skull,” “Halloween,” The Misfits.
The "Ventriloquizzing" dummies of Fujiya & Miyagi.
You've got your Halloween party playlist loaded into the iPod and all the staples are accounted for: "Thriller," "Bad Moon Rising," "Werewolves of London," the Ghostbusters, Twilight Zone and Addams Family themes, "Monster Mash," Bach's Toccata and Fugue in D Minor, the dread-inducing riffs from seminal '70s horror flicks Jaws, Halloween and The Exorcist. But you know, deep down, that your playlist is dull, lacking in freakish noise or any sort of unconventional doom and gloom. We've supplied some possible additions below — ventriloquist dummies, the Holocaust, debilitating depression and other atypical horrors included. Spotify users, click here to listen to a playlist.
"Wolf Like Me," TV on the Radio. Amid urgent art-rock grooves and noisy brass-blasted haze, a werewolf embraces and revels in his curse ("Feeding on fever, down on all fours, show you what all the howling's for…").
"Ventriloquizzing," Fujiya & Miyagi. Ventriloquist dummies are fucking freaky, okay? Imagine it from the dummies' view — "We move our arms when you pull a string" — as set to a stealthy Kraut groove, and it becomes a bit more horrifying.
"Beat the Devil's Tattoo," Black Rebel Motorcycle Club. The grinding rock band creeps and skulks in garage and blues-gritty misery, singer Robert Levon Been moaning lyrics like, "Your soul is able, death is all you cradle / Sleepin' on the nails, there's nowhere left to fall."
"The Boogie Monster," "Necromancer," Gnarls Barkley. Two ominous-vibing hip-pop cuts off St. Elsewhere, the former about a man scared of the monster in his closet, under his bed, maybe in his head? (video below) while the latter finds a necrophiliac reflecting on his late night conquests ("She was cool when I met her, but I think I like her better dead.") He's a necro-mancer. Get it?
"Pain," Danger Mouse & Sparklehorse featuring Iggy Pop. Iggy Pop offers profound commentary on fame, corruption and pain in this track off Dark Night of the Soul, his dourly droning, graveyard-deep vocals snaking over fuzzed-out guitars, scattered harp strums and stampeding punk rhythms. Classic lyric: "Good karma will not get you anywhere / Look at Jesus and his hair." Listen after the jump and check out the rest of the entries...