Monday, October 26, 2009

Macabre Music Monday

It's the week before Halloween, which just so happens to be one of my favorite holidays. I've always been attracted to the off-kilter, especially when it comes to music. Who doesn't like happy songs about tombstones and werewolves and coffins and severed heads? I've been dying to unearth some of the sinister sounds of the season... and so I present you with a Halloween list of 13 ghoulish tunes.

1. "Fresh Blood" by Eels

(Mark Oliver Everett of Eels)

Hombre Lobo, Eels' latest album (released June 2, 2009), is Spanish for "werewolf." See picture above. Enough said.

Watch for the wolf man howl around minute one.

"Fresh Blood"

2. "They Are Night Zombies!! They Are Neighbors!! They Have Come Back from the Dead!! Ahhhh!!" by Sufjan Stevens


A lovely choral ode to zombies... sort of like a placid, brain-dead indie version of Orff's Carmina Burana.

"They Are Night Zombies!! They Are Neighbors!! They Have Come Back from the Dead!! Ahhhh!!"

3. "Graveyard" by Chad VanGaalen

(Chad VanGaalen)

Death is okay! Graveyards are fun! Let's dance and sing!


4. "Halloween Song" by Evangelicals

"Halloween Song" is more fun than pop rocks, wax lips, and sugar sticks in a treat bag. It comes complete with ghost "oooo-ing."

"Halloween Song"

5. "Shankill Butchers" by The Decemberists

There's nothing like lulling your kiddies to sleep with tales of the Shankill Butchers and their sharpened knives. Mind your mother's words, indeed.

6. "Coffin Trick" by Atlas Sound

(Bradford Cox)

Bradford Cox is Atlas Sound. (You can read about the new album, Logos, at Colossal Youth.)

He tricks out his treats with experimental noise, and somehow it all works.

"Coffin Trick"

7. "October Is Eternal" by Of Montreal

(Of Montreal)

If there was a film soundtrack about techno glam poppers stuck in perpetual Halloween, it would sound like this.

"October Is Eternal"

8. "Ghost Song" by Patrick Wolf

(Patrick Wolf)

Patrick already has his Duran Duran costume all picked out.

"Ghost Song"

9. "Every Day Is Halloween (Ministry Cover)" by The Postmarks

(The Postmarks)

The Postmarks put their sweet-voiced stamp on a Ministry classic.

"Every Day Is Halloween"

10. "Remember Severed Heads" by CLUES


What's with the severed heads? I really haven't a CLUE.

"Remember Severed Heads"

11. "The Mummy" by Benji Hughes

(Benji Hughes)

With a name like Benji, you're pretty much born looking like a lost member of the Allman Brothers.

Don't get the mummy drunk.

"The Mummy"

12. "Devil Town " by Bright Eyes

(Conor Oberst, aka Bright Eyes)

Conor Oberst is an American alt rocker in Devil Town.

"Devil Town"

13. "Werewolf" by Cat Power

(Chan Marshall, aka Cat Power))

Cat Power sings to the moon in this chilly ballad for the lycanthropic.


Your suggestions for morbid masterpieces I'm missing?

Private Jack's Mannequin Show at The Blue Note, 11/8

Thanks to commenter Jane for the following tip:

Jack Daniel's is sponsoring a private show at The Blue Note on November 8 featuring Jack's Mannequin. All you have to do to get on the guest list (assuming there are still available seats) is visit the Jack Daniel's Studio No. 7 website, enter your birth date, click on "Columbia," and fill out an event registration form.


  1. I'm pretty sure that "John Wayne Gacy Jr" is a way creepier song than that zombies song, considering that he was an actual serial killer that dressed up as a clown, molested boys, and killed them. I think that just might be one of the most disturbing songs ever (and grotesquely misunderstood too). But I guess if you're going for a fun halloween mix, you wouldn't want some real life investigative journalism heyday killing your halloween vibes.

    I'm taking this suggestion thing pretty seriously, so here's my input (based on what I did in a quick thought/itunes search):
    "Paddling Ghost," "Trippy Green Skull" or "Pink Batman" by Dan Deacon
    "Ghost" Neutral Milk Hotel
    "Ghost Mountain" The Unicorns
    "Pajama Party in a Haunted Hive" Beat Happening
    "Vampire" Sebadoh
    "Vampire/Forest Fire" The Arcade Fire
    "Graveyard Girl" M83
    "Gravedigger Blues" Beat Happening
    "Chrissy Kiss the Corpse" Of Montreal

    And some suggestions all by Animal Collective:

    "Banshee Beat"
    "Cuckoo Cuckoo" (about seeing ghosts)
    "Also Frightened"
    and probably anything from Spirit They're Gone, Spirit They've Vanished.

    I guess that's my twenty cents.
    PS thanks for all the links and stuff. You're swell.

  2. "The Dead Only Quicky" off The 6ths album Hyacinths and Thistles.

  3. Thank you! Excellent, excellent suggestions all. I'm amazed by the amount of good Halloween tracks floating around out there in the ectoplasm. We could put together hours of Halloween-worthy sounds.

  4. "The Dead Will Walk" by The National Lights. The prettiest horror song you've ever heard.

    best lyrics..."I was eating your body and bones, well we both were. I buried my love in the fire, and that got me laughing. That got me to thinking...that nobody goes home."

  5. Damn! Carrie totally beat me to the "John Wayne Gacy, Jr" suggestion. I'd also add that Daniel Johnston's "Devil Town" is creepier. Of course, I think anything that man recorded was creepy.

    I never really considered how many good Halloween songs there are out there.

  6. great post! Totally getting me geared up for Halloween!

  7. Oh, and is that Cat Power track from the one she did with Dirty Three? Now, that's a band with a Halloweeny sound.

  8. here's the scariest thing in music news that I've seen recently:

    "U2 is disappointed with how their last album has done" It's only sold a million copies to date apparently....fucking shame, that. Hope the boys find some way to financially recoup.