Halloween Recommendations II: Music Edition

 

Since my last list was such a hit, it’s only right it get a sequel. This time we’ll focus on those auditory oddities to darken your day, those musical maladies to frighten your friends (or should we say fiends?). Listen up, we’ve got a slew of tunes that will make you the death of the party.

Corb Lund – “Dig Gravedigger Dig”

Give it up to a Canadian to sound more country than the douches of the country top 40. Since he doesn’t restrict himself to the same three or four subjects, Lund can make a song about the honest work of digging graves and its paranormal hazards. That’s not his only seasonally appropriate song. The title “Gothest Girl I Can” speaks for itself.

Lindi Ortega – “Murder of Crows”

Another Canuck outdoing American country artists. Though her music is usually appended with the “alt” tag, Ortega doesn’t really make spooky music. She does like to wear black veils like Lydia Deetz, though, and this particular song has “murder” and “crows” in the title, and she has skull makeup on in the video. It counts. There’s also a “witchy version” of her song, “On My Way to Hell”.

Siouxsie and the Banshees – “Halloween”

It might seem like cheating to choose one of the founding bands of goth rock until you realize their music may be moody and ethereal, but it isn’t the dark, vampire-obsessed stuff the genre is associated with nowadays. But c’mon, this one has Halloween in the title. Since this is a full-service post, here are a few more recs. “Israel” is their best song. “Desert Kisses” from their Kaleidoscope LP is a choice deep cut. Kiss in the Dreamhouse with its Klimt-inspired cover is a great album, as is Tinderbox.

AFI – “Totalimmortal”

AFI are shoo-ins. Singer Davey Havok had a tattoo sleeve of The Nightmare Before Christmas and used to sport “devil locks” like the Misfits whose “Halloween” they covered on their All Hallow’s EP from which this cut also derives. The EP also includes “The Boy Who Destroyed the World” which was on the soundtrack of Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 3.

Mercyful Fate – “At the Sound of the Demon Bell”

What genre is more Halloween than heavy metal? You could choose any track from Denmark’s Mercyful Fate. With King Diamond’s falsettos and the incomparable duo of guitarists Hank Shermann and Michael Denner, MF made metal darker than the heavier and more extreme bands that followed in their steps. The first two LPs are mandatory, as is Abigail from Diamond’s solo project.

Deceased – “A Visit from Dread”

Moving to another metal King, we have King Fowley who has been in many bands, all of which could be featured on this list (one is even named October 31), but we have to go with his most famous, Deceased for whom he’s been a singer and a drummer since the 80s. Between Fowley’s near clean vocals and the band’s melodicism, Deceased stood out among their death metal peers including the Scandinavians touted for their melody. Their horror movie lyrics were never as hokey as those of the roster of Razorback Records or as overbearing as Mortician’s, and they took from a wide range of films, from Burnt Offerings (“Mrs. Allardyce”) to The Blair Witch Project (“Elly’s Dementia”) to the Zuni doll segment from Trilogy of Terror (“The Doll with the Hideous Spirit”) to a concept album inspired by George Romero’s Dead Trilogy (Fearless Undead Machines).

The Freeze – “Now Serving”

Though they were most famous for not being from LA, The Freeze deserve greater recognition for sticking it out far longer than their peers in the Boston hardcore scene. In 1999, they released One False Move with cover art by the most Halloween of artists, Edward Gorey. Most songs are about angst of one sort or another, but “Now Serving” is about cannibalism, even including (what I’m pretty sure is) testimony from the Jeffrey Dahmer trial. In ’83 they released “Halloween Night” on their Guilty Face EP.

Acid Witch – “5508 Martin St”

No one embraces the true spirit of the holiday more than this psychedelic death/doom band from Detroit. Vocalist Shagrat has a perfect witch’s cackle (and he paints the covers of their and other bands’ albums) and Slasher Dave’s keyboards bring a touch of John Carpenter. “Mr. Beistle” is a tribute to The Beistle Company Halloween decoration manufacturer, “Trick or Treat” continues our trend of on-the-nose titles, but I decided to feature a cut from their newest album, Rot Among Us, released this month. It includes either a clip of the Crypt Keeper or someone who can does a bang-on impression. It also taught me the word deliquesce.

Sonic Youth – “Death Valley ‘69 (w/Lydia Lunch)”

If anyone asks why you’re playing noise rock at your costume party, just show them the cover of Bad Moon Rising. Later reissues of the album included their single “Halloween” as a bonus track.

There you are, enough blood-soaked bangers to make a mix-tape that will bring down the house (the house of Usher, that is). What tunes tingle your spine? What ditties disgust and delight you in equal measure? Tell us below and may all your monster mashes be graveyard smashes.

Boo!

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  1. namlliT noD Member
    namlliT noD
    @DonTillman

    Gentle Giant, “Spooky Boogie”:

     

    • #1
  2. namlliT noD Member
    namlliT noD
    @DonTillman

    Frank Zappa, “The Torture Never Stops”:

     

    • #2
  3. namlliT noD Member
    namlliT noD
    @DonTillman

    Oingo Boingo, “Dead Man’s Party” (but that’s too obvious):

    • #3
  4. namlliT noD Member
    namlliT noD
    @DonTillman

    King Crimson, “Providence” (a scary instrumental improvisation):

    • #4
  5. Victor Tango Kilo Member
    Victor Tango Kilo
    @VtheK

    • #5
  6. The Girlie Show Member
    The Girlie Show
    @CatIII

    namlliT noD (View Comment):

    Frank Zappa, “The Torture Never Stops”:

    I need to listen to more Zappa. There’s just so much output for a guy who didn’t live that long.

    Did you see the 2020 documentary, Zappa?

    • #6
  7. namlliT noD Member
    namlliT noD
    @DonTillman

    The Girlie Show (View Comment):

    namlliT noD (View Comment):

    Frank Zappa, “The Torture Never Stops”:

    I need to listen to more Zappa. There’s just so much output for a guy who didn’t live that long.

    Did you see the 2020 documentary, Zappa?

    Seen’m all.  I’m a huge fan.

    Yeah, he released 60-something albums before he died, and twice that has been released since.

    I’d recommend “Roxy and Elsewhere” (1974) as a starting point.

    Or dive into the “You Can’t Do That On Stage Anymore” set.

    • #7
  8. The Girlie Show Member
    The Girlie Show
    @CatIII

    namlliT noD (View Comment):

    The Girlie Show (View Comment):

    namlliT noD (View Comment):

    Frank Zappa, “The Torture Never Stops”:

    I need to listen to more Zappa. There’s just so much output for a guy who didn’t live that long.

    Did you see the 2020 documentary, Zappa?

    Seen’m all. I’m a huge fan.

    Yeah, he released 60-something albums before he died, and twice that has been released since.

    I’d recommend “Roxy and Elsewhere” (1974) as a starting point.

    Or dive into the “You Can’t Do That On Stage Anymore” set.

    Thanks for the recs. I’ve only listened to Sheik Yerbouti and, I think it’s called, Hot Rats. Those and his hearing before the PMRC.

    • #8
  9. AMD Texas Coolidge
    AMD Texas
    @DarinJohnson

    The Girlie Show (View Comment):

    namlliT noD (View Comment):

    The Girlie Show (View Comment):

    namlliT noD (View Comment):

    Frank Zappa, “The Torture Never Stops”:

    I need to listen to more Zappa. There’s just so much output for a guy who didn’t live that long.

    Did you see the 2020 documentary, Zappa?

    Seen’m all. I’m a huge fan.

    Yeah, he released 60-something albums before he died, and twice that has been released since.

    I’d recommend “Roxy and Elsewhere” (1974) as a starting point.

    Or dive into the “You Can’t Do That On Stage Anymore” set.

    Thanks for the recs. I’ve only listened to Sheik Yerbouti and, I think it’s called, Hot Rats. Those and his hearing before the PMRC.

    “Hot Rats” is a great album and one that is, I believe, accessible for those that might not get a lot of the Mothers of Invention stuff

    • #9
  10. Misthiocracy has never Member
    Misthiocracy has never
    @Misthiocracy

    Nobody gonna suggest any Marilyn Manson, Nine Inch Nails, Porno For Pyros, Tool, Stabbing Westward, etc. etc. etc.  All that stuff is pretty scary.

    Ok, how about some Echo And The Bunnymen?

     

    • #10
  11. namlliT noD Member
    namlliT noD
    @DonTillman

    AMD Texas (View Comment):
    “Hot Rats” is a great album and one that is, I believe, accessible for those that might not get a lot of the Mothers of Invention stuff

    “Hot Rats” is great, and jazzy, but it’s not typic…

    (Well of course there is no typical Zappa.)

    • #11
  12. Jimmy Carter Member
    Jimmy Carter
    @JimmyCarter

    Misthiocracy has never (View Comment):

    Ok, how about some Echo And The Bunnymen?

     

    Good call.

    • #12
  13. Jimmy Carter Member
    Jimmy Carter
    @JimmyCarter

    • #13
  14. The Girlie Show Member
    The Girlie Show
    @CatIII

    Misthiocracy has never (View Comment):

    Nobody gonna suggest any Marilyn Manson, Nine Inch Nails, Porno For Pyros, Tool, Stabbing Westward, etc. etc. etc. All that stuff is pretty scary.

    I think there’s an unstated stipulation that the recommended music be good. ;)

    Ok, how about some Echo And The Bunnymen?

    That is pretty spooky for something made by people who go by “the bunnymen”.

    • #14
  15. The Girlie Show Member
    The Girlie Show
    @CatIII

    Jimmy Carter (View Comment):

    [The Cure video]

    Good call. The Cure’s “Hanging Garden” was covered by AFI, and “A Forest” was covered by Carpathian Forest who weren’t mentioned in the post, but easily could’ve been:

    • #15
  16. MeandurΦ Member
    MeandurΦ
    @DeanMurphy

    AFI?  wasn’t that @garymcvey ‘s group?

    • #16
  17. lowtech redneck Coolidge
    lowtech redneck
    @lowtech redneck

    I’ll start with something outside my wheelhouse (such as it is): 44 Days by Mr. Kitty, a song about the murder of Junko Furuta:

    Now for a something I listen to more frequently (yes Cat, my taste in rock/metal is as basic as your taste in video games :P)-oh, and NSFW warning for at least one of these:

    American Witch by Rob Zombie:

    House of 1000 Corpses, also by Zombie:

    Also, Dead Skin Mask by Slayer:

    • #17
  18. Jimmy Carter Member
    Jimmy Carter
    @JimmyCarter

    It’s the 80s…. FortWorth, TEXAS….. Jr high…

    And this dude was so into The Cure He dressed the part as Robert Smith every day. Long black hair, black dress, nylons, black eyeliner… the whole bit. Every day. 
    It was such a shock to My Conservative system that I remember Him all these years later. I could pick Him out of a lineup.

    I was 30+ before I started listening to The Cure. I get it. I dig ’em.

    • #18
  19. Victor Tango Kilo Member
    Victor Tango Kilo
    @VtheK

    • #19
  20. Victor Tango Kilo Member
    Victor Tango Kilo
    @VtheK

    • #20
  21. The Girlie Show Member
    The Girlie Show
    @CatIII

    lowtech redneck (View Comment):

    I’ll start with something outside my wheelhouse (such as it is): 44 Days by Mr. Kitty, a song about the murder of Junko Furuta:

    Would not have guessed the subject matter if you didn’t say it, but cool music.

    Now for a something I listen to more frequently (yes Cat, my taste in rock/metal is as basic as your taste in video games :P)-oh, and NSFW warning for at least one of these:

    American Witch by Rob Zombie:

    House of 1000 Corpses, also by Zombie:

    I prefer Rob’s work in White Zombie, but the music I’ve heard from his solo career is not bad. Hard to top “Dragula” as far as Halloween music videos.

    Also, Dead Skin Mask by Slayer:

    In the comment section of one of the Deceased videos I linked, someone said they met King Fowley and he went off on how Slayer’s only good records were the first two. Fowley showed up further down to confirm this. I wouldn’t go that far, but you can pretend Slayer died in a car crash after Seasons of the Abyss. That’s their last good one. And nothing beats those first two:

    When some guy complains about America not having good black metal, it’s the only time I scream, “Slaaaayer!”

    • #21
  22. The Girlie Show Member
    The Girlie Show
    @CatIII

    Victor Tango Kilo (View Comment):

    [Dreamcatcher music video]

    If you like that dark j-pop stuff, you need to check out Necronomidol:

    I admittedly never would’ve listened to them if it weren’t for their album covers by Maruo Suehiro:

    • #22
  23. namlliT noD Member
    namlliT noD
    @DonTillman

    Oh, another Zappa piece for Halloween.   This is called “The Return of the Son of Monster Magnet” and it’s the finale to his very first album “Freak Out” (1966).

    I think the intended reaction was supposed to be, “What the hell is coming out of my speakers?”

     

    • #23
  24. Gary McVey Contributor
    Gary McVey
    @GaryMcVey

    Zappa’s tours were usually scheduled to bring him to NYC’s Madison Square Garden in late October, so we often got his Halloween-infused shows. 

    • #24
  25. The Girlie Show Member
    The Girlie Show
    @CatIII

    The Girlie Show (View Comment):
    In the comment section of one of the Deceased videos I linked, someone said they met King Fowley and he went off on how Slayer’s only good records were the first two. Fowley showed up further down to confirm this. I wouldn’t go that far, but you can pretend Slayer died in a car crash after Seasons of the Abyss. That’s their last good one. And nothing beats those first two:

    The Stormtroopers of Death (featuring members of Anthrax, Nuclear Assault, MOD) made a parody called “Seasoning the Obese”:

    On the other side of that split were the Japanese band Yellow Machinegun:

    • #25
  26. The Girlie Show Member
    The Girlie Show
    @CatIII

    This belongs here:

    • #26
  27. Jon Gabriel, Ed. Admin
    Jon Gabriel, Ed.
    @jon

    Ministry “Every Day Is Halloween”

    Mark Lanegan “The Gravedigger’s Song”

    Aphex Twin “Come to Daddy”

    .

     

    • #27
  28. The Girlie Show Member
    The Girlie Show
    @CatIII

    Jon Gabriel, Ed. (View Comment):
    Ministry “Every Day Is Halloween”

    Not a fan of Al Jourgensen’s politics, but a friend of The Mentors’ El Duce (he even witnessed his death) can’t be all bad. The only Ministry I’ve listened to much is Filth Pig. Always weird hearing their earlier stuff.

    And I’m obligated to post:

    • #28
  29. DJ EJ Member
    DJ EJ
    @DJEJ

    In the country music category, I’d include “Far From Any Road” by The Handsome Family. It’s probably because it was the theme song for the first season of True Detective, but the song (and Brett Sparks’ voice) has such a dark moodiness to it.

    I’ve loved the Misfits ever since I taped a few their songs off of The Battle of the Bands show on 91.7 WMSE (Milwaukee college radio) while I did my high school algebra homework. Here are two of my favorites.

    “In 1959 maverick filmmaker Ed Wood wrote, directed, produced and edited his movie “Night of the Ghouls”, a pseudo sequel to his 1955 disaster piece “Bride of the Monster. In the early 80’s Glenn Danzig wrote a song about it…” (excerpted from the YouTube video description):

     

     

    • #29
  30. The Girlie Show Member
    The Girlie Show
    @CatIII

    DJ EJ (View Comment):

    In the country music category, I’d include “Far From Any Road” by The Handsome Family. It’s probably because it was the theme song for the first season of True Detective, but the song (and Brett Sparks’ voice) has such a dark moodiness to it.

    True Detective is yet one more piece of media I hope to get around to some day. This song makes me want to see it more.

    I’ve loved the Misfits ever since I taped a few their songs off of The Battle of the Bands show on 91.7 WMSE (Milwaukee college radio) while I did my high school algebra homework. Here are two of my favorites.

    “In 1959 maverick filmmaker Ed Wood wrote, directed, produced and edited his movie “Night of the Ghouls”, a pseudo sequel to his 1955 disaster piece “Bride of the Monster. In the early 80’s Glenn Danzig wrote a song about it…” (excerpted from the YouTube video description):

    Fun seeing Criswell at the start of that clip. Have you ever heard The Legendary Criswell Predicts! Your Incredible Future? It’s interesting, but I couldn’t sit through the whole 42 minutes.

    • #30
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