With the Halloween party weekend just around the corner, we thought we’d take the stress out of your party planning by asking some of our favourite artists to suggest their favourite spooky tunes. We’ve made them into a Youtube playlist which you can view at the bottom of the article, or you can check out each track below:
Thomas from Hunck choose ‘Pet Semetary’ by The Ramones
Me and Fred love the Ramones, I’m a big fan of Halloween so this gets played a lot around this time of year. The music video ends with them playing while slowly being lowered into a grave – which I find eerie knowing Joey/Johnny/Dee Dee would all suddenly die a decade later. RIP.
Heres a horror movie me and Fred made just before we formed Hunck, enjoy! youtube.com/watch?v=Bb9AVQrAxA8
Hunck’s new single ‘I’ll Wait’ is out now. They play a free show at The Old Blue Last in London on Halloween night.
Oh!Gunquit choose ‘Werewolf’ by The Frantics and ‘I’m The Wolfman’ by Round Robin
We couldn’t decide between 2 favourite werewolf-based tunes (and could have actually included a whole set of Halloween based songs!) so included two great records that we DJ often. The Frantics tune ‘Werewolf’ we included because not only is it a great tune but I also recently just picked this up on original 7″ in my favourite 2nd hand US record store for 10 cents, which made the geeky record collector in me very happy! The 2nd song – Round Robin’s ‘I’m the Wolfman’ we included because we’ve covered this previously at gigs.
Not that we’re obsessed with werewolves but in some ways maybe we are as the video for our song ‘Sinkhole‘ has a roller-skating she-wolf in it, one of our singles is called ‘She-Wolf at Work’ & also ‘America Werewolf in London’ is one of our favourite films haha….I also just recently came across a Coyote in the mountains in Colorado so it all ties in naturally….. Owwwooooooooo!!
Oh!Gunquit’s debut album Eat Yuppies & Dance is out now on Dirty Water Records. They play two Halloween shows this weekend – at Bethnal Green Working Men’s Club on Saturday and The Lock Tavern in Camden on Sunday.
facebook.com/ohgunquit / ohgunquit.bandcamp.com
Pete Adams of Hey You Guys + And What Will Be Left Of Them? chooses ‘The Monster Mash’ by Bobby ‘Boris’ Pickett & The Crypt-Kickers
Last Halloween I was really freaking out. Not because I’m scared of ghouls or goblins or vampires or witches, I’m a big boy now. The reason I was scared was because I’d been asked to sing a cover with Dom Green’s Fright School at the Guided Missile Halloween Party. Now, if there’s one thing that really gives me the chills, it’s singing covers… and the cover I’d been asked to sing was ‘Monster Mash’ by Bobby “Boris” Pickett.
I love novelty songs and no matter how horrifying my rendition, this really must rate as one of the best. An everyday rock ‘n’ roll tale of a new dance craze sweeping through the land of Transylvania sung by a mock Boris Karloff – what’s not to like? It’s absolutely brilliant and even includes a line about “coffin bangers”, which is enough within itself to keep me happy.
Oddly enough my first memory of hearing the song wasn’t actually the Pickett version. I have a 60’s live album by a very young Beach Boys, back when they still had to plug their sets with the odd cover. One of the covers on this hallowed piece of vinyl is that evil genius Mike Love (not war) singing ‘Monster Mash’. I reckon that if it’s good enough for The Beach Boys then it’s good enough for everyone. Here’s their version.
Often covered, never bettered, this is a Halloween classic that’s well worth a listen on Saturday.
AWWBLOT?’s singles collection A, B No Sequel is out now. Dom Green’s Fright School hold a Halloween night at Paper Dress Vintage in Hackney, also featuring Mr. Solo and Rebekah Delgado.
facebook.com/Hey-You-Guys / facebook.com/AWWBLOT-And-What-Will-Be-Left-Of-Them
Paul Manchester from Dirty Water Records chooses ‘My Witch’ by Thee Gravemen
I recommend “My Witch” by Thee Gravemen. The video is great too!
Dirty Water’s Halloween Party featuring The Arrogants, The Razorblades, The Mirage Men + The Action Men takes place at Weirdsville in New Malden on Saturday night.
Jamie Halliday of Audio Antihero Recrods chooses ‘The Witch’ by Mark Fry
I try and dig into cool Halloween music every year and it’s pretty fun but it can get a little monotonous and each time I find it that little bit harder to find new stuff. There’s the obligatory and awesome Misfits, then there are bands covering the Misfits (fuck yeah, The Fiends), there’s Mike Patton doing some spooky clever thing (fuck yeah, Director’s Cut), there’s Rob Zombie doing whatever, some metal thing about Satan, a gorgeous 70s score from Goblin or Fabio Frizzi that sometimes kinda loses life after a few minutes out of context, maybe a handsome indie-folk murder ballad and there’s always some novelty cover of ‘Thriller’ or ‘Monster Mash’ (fuck yeah, Vincent Price!) or even some lame techno with Hellraiser samples. It’s all there. It’s all good. It’s all great.
But ‘The Witch’ by Mark Fry is maybe the greatest. This claustrophobic and sparse horror story about a man trapped alone in his home with a witch (not the really nice real life kind), who is edging ever closer. Like some of the best horror films, the details are vague but the premise is clear. It’s just threat and dread and it lasts forever. That acid/wyrd/prog-folk world is always pretty good if you’re after something eerie but I feel like Mark Fry pulled it off best. Almost anybody could relate, probably even a witch who doesn’t get on with other witches. It’s scary and it’s beautiful and it isn’t played for laughs, and while Halloween should be fun, it wasn’t always. I like to think Mark Fry knows all about that.
Also, somebody please invent a genre called “Folklore-Core”.
Cloud choose ‘The Third Man’ by Anton Karis
The score from The Third Man is a rarity. I’m not really sure how a studio head in 1949 gave it the green light but by some miracle it paired mysteriously, beautifully with one of the best noir films ever made. The sounds of the zither in sync with the dark themes of this film would be considered experimental even in today’s theatres, sixty-something years later. Now this is not the average horror OST complete with foreboding deep drones or high-pitched frequencies to unnerve the audience, nor does Anton Karas’ music play the card of irony– we’ve all heard the toy piano reappropriated to play as creepy. It’s more nuanced than that, more gray. It’s an unsettling suggestion of what may lie behind the friendly faces of a foreign land…
Cloud’s album Comfort Songs is out now on Audio Antihero Records.
Frog chooses ‘What I Am Capable Of (Zombie’s Lament) by Adam Schatz
To me, Halloween is a glob of shaving cream pillowing down my Dracula costume. It’s a sweaty slog down a crowded hallway, past an occupied bathroom, to a kitchen where I pee in to an electrical outlet. Fortunately, it doesn’t appear to be those things to Adam Schatz, who wrote a beautiful and poignant song about losing yourself to the swirling twin abysses of Love and Almost-Death. I hope you enjoy this music and choose your own happiness over one more trip to the rich houses where the rude older kids’ parents live.
Frog’s album Kind of Blah is out now on Audio Antihero Records
Falling Stacks choose ‘Death Valley 69’ by Sonic Youth ft. Lydia Lunch
Sonic Youth have a song called ‘Halloween’ (inspired by Henry Rollins) which would be perfect in a Halloween inspired playlist – but instead we’ve gone for the chillingly brilliant ‘Death Valley 69’.
A song inspired by the Manson Family murders, in which Charles Manson and his quasi-commune of followers committed a series of nine murders at four locations in Los Angeles over a period of five weeks in the summer of 1969. After the murders, Manson moved his family to the depths of the Californian desert. There, even before they were finally apprehended by the law, their utopia started to fall apart. Hollywood was in the process of being changed by Dennis Hopper’s Easy Rider, a film shot partially in the same desert where Manson was now hiding. The Family and their flight to Death Valley — and the impossible dream of the 60s revolution was ending.
Fast forward 15 years and you have a song written and sung by Thurston Moore and fellow New York musician Lydia Lunch, that captures what you can only imagine was the insanity and fear of the time for the people affected by the murder and the people within the cult. You also have a song that was nothing like what Sonic Youth had produced previously, a short-sharp-snappy song that captures their artistic flair within the realms of a 3 minute pop song, a song that would go on to shape what they would write and the albums they would produce over the coming two decades.
‘Death Valley 69’ also closes the album Bad Moon Rising, which had a picture of a burning scarecrow with a carved pumpkin for a head on the cover – perfectly spooky for All Hallows Eve…
Falling Stacks’ album No Wives is out now on Battle Worldwide Recordings
Die Nerven choose ‘It’s Halloween’ by The Shaggs
This NEVER looses its charm, in fact the whole record doesn’t. Though unusually cheerful for a Halloween-themed song (haunting on its own terms), it may be the most raw and honest musical expression of the childlike anticipation of Halloween.
Berne chooses ‘I’ll Drown’ by Sóley
Every time I listen to this song, I see the same image I painted when I first heard it some years back – that of a dilapidated house in the distance on a hill and beside a lake at night-time. In ‘I’ll Drown’, Sóley sings about interactions with a lonely man living in this house – perhaps haunted – as if she were singing a child to sleep. To me, this contrast, together with the choice of melancholic chords and the subtle melodies creating the vocal looping arrangement, suggests that the plot will take a spooky twist.
Parlour Tricks choose ‘Sally’s Song’ by Danny Elfman from The Nightmare Before Christmas
I don’t think anything captures the spirit of Halloween quite like The Nightmare Before Christmas. And it has some of the best songwriting and orchestration around, period. I can’t remember the first time I saw it, but it feels like it’s been a part of my life forever. And though it’s awesome no matter what the season, there is something particularly “right” about watching it when the weather turns cool and the days shorten and pumpkins are suddenly… everywhere. I might be biased; Halloween is my favorite holiday and I’m partial to scary movies, murder ballads, and horror stories. But nothing feels more Halloween-y than the music from this movie. Hard to pick just one song, but my favorite is ‘Sally’s Song’. It gets into your bones. I have chills just thinking about it. How did he write something so haunting? The context might help – it’s a love song performed by a rag doll accompanied by a bunch of rotting corpse buskers. Taken out of context, Fiona Apple did a gorgeous version too. But there’s nothing like the original. It is one of the most beautiful songs I’ve ever heard. And it just screams Halloween.
Parlour Tricks’ new single ‘Lovesongs/Requiem’ is out now.
Emily Magpie chooses ‘Tiptoe Through The Tulips’ by Tiny Tim
This song is genuinely terrifying… I first heard it on the film Insidious where it sent chills up my spine. I then searched for it online and momentarily pooed my pants. That’s a lie. But you get the jist.
Tiny Tim who sings this song is, I believe, a genuine person. He plays the ukulele, sings in a high pitched voice and flicks his hair as his eyes involuntarily roll back in his head. I don’t understand it, but it’s scary. Happy Halloween.
Ziggi Jadovsky chooses ‘Where The Wild Roses Grow’ by Kylie Minogue and Nick Cave
This song was on repeat on Portuguese radio for a while and I used to hear it on gloomy mornings in the car on my way to school. Incidentally, the school journey involved driving passed a cemetery and so I always associated this song with that place, which made it even more creepy. The story in the song is spooky: it’s about a woman who gets stoned to death by her lover and it chronicles the unsuspecting days leading up to the final act. Like a good murder mystery, it gives me a slightly unsettled feeling after listening.
We’ve put all of these tracks into a handy playlist for you below: Halloween sorted.