In this weekly feature, I make a playlist of some of the best and most important new songs from the week before. Each track is supplemented with a short commentary, giving a reason for why you should check them out.
Anyone who found themselves in the campus and West Campus areas this past weekend knows that Halloween celebrations have already started. Even though the trick-or-treat days of our youth may be long gone, this holiday brings students a nice respite from midterms, and a simple excuse to dress up and party hard. Here’s a spooky playlist to accompany the coming week of festivities.
The Crazy World of Arthur Brown – “Fire”
Starting off the playlist is this psychedelic rock classic from 1968. Beginning with the proclamation, “I am the god of hell fire, and I give you…FIRE,” the organs come in and Arthur Brown’s best Lucifer impression breaks through. Although some of its shock value might have been lost in the past 45 years, it’s an Oct. 31 staple.
Salem – “King Knight”
Salem almost single-handedly made witch house a viable genre, and it goes perfectly with Halloween in this modern age. Piercing synths, harrowing occult choral vocals and a heavy shoegaze atmosphere create a song that is scary and hypnotizing. “King Knight” is best enjoyed loudly in a dark room. A Ouija board is optional, but recommended.
Ghost B.C. – “Secular Haze”
Swedish theatrical metal group Ghost B.C. keeps an elusive image to go along with their music. The band features the demonic pope-like lead vocalist Papa Emeritus II — he usurped the first Papa in between albums — who is accompanied by “nameless ghouls” that form his backup band. This might seem like a joke to some, but I assure you it’s not. “Secular Haze” is the standout single from their second album, and its haunting sound promotes the image of this band perfectly. There’s a great vintage-feeling music video too.
Crystal Castles – “Plague”
Coming off their third self-titled album, “Plauge” is a witch house-influenced track from Canadian electronica duo Crystal Castles. The haunting noise that opens the track sounds more like it’s from the world of Prometheus than Earth, and once Alice Glass’ vocals pierce through your ears with the beat and cutting synths, the song itself sounds more alien than human. What is she even screaming about? Who knows, but this song is all sorts of eerie and awesome.
Death Grips – “I’ve Seen Footage”
Death Grips are known for their subversive nature, and oddly enough, “I’ve Seen Footage” is probably one of their tamer songs in that department. The industrial chainsaw-like sound that forms the riff to this track is addictive and chilling, and coupled with MC Ride’s yell rapping, this song is full of wild energy. Blast it at a party near you, and craziness is guaranteed.
Purity Ring – “Cartographist”
Back to the witch house-influenced music, Purity Ring is another Canadian duo full of heavy synth and deep bass, though perhaps a bit poppier than their contemporaries. “Cartographist” is a song that is both unnerving and beautiful. It’s nice to chill out to, especially after something like Death Grips.
Lightning Bolt – “Dracula Mountain”
How could I not put a song named “Dracula Mountain” on a Halloween playlist? A deafening track from experimental noise rock group Lightning Bolt, it’s hard to believe all of it was made with just a drum set and bass guitar. Oh, and those screeching noises you hear are actually vocals…The drummer wears a mask with a microphone in it, and screams along to the music. If that isn’t scary, I don’t know what is.