The 10 creepiest Halloween tracks from indie rock hell
Sexwitch, The Horrors, The Mummies, The Black Belles - with band names like that you know what you’re in for
Forget about Michael Jackson’s Thriller and the kitschy Monster Mash number from the 1960s - add a bit of cool to your ghoul this Halloween with our playlist of indie rock’s creepiest numbers
When Bat for Lashes’ Natasha Khan, shoegaze rockers Toy and producer Dan Carey revealed they were teaming up, we knew the results would be suitably dark. With a name like Sexwitch, they had to deliver, and we weren’t disappointed with the voodoo rhythms, haunting melodies, and siren calls of their 2015 debut.
Honky Tonk Horror
The Black Belles
Clad all in black with witches’ hats and gothic makeup, The Black Belles would always run the risk of falling into the “style over substance” set. But the creepy quartet’s 2011 debut is a fun mix of shrieks, unpolished guitars, classic horror organs, and garage-goth incantations.
If I Had a Heart
Well-suited to the opening credits of Vikings, this atmospheric and eerie track from Karin Dreijer Andersson – one half of Swedish electro duo The Knife – mixes a penetrating bass with tribal drums and mournful, pitch-shifted vocals.
Pretty much everything Jack White does is tinged with weirdness, so it was tricky to pick one song for Halloween. Little Ghost is a cute, Southern Gothic departure from the White Stripes’ usual blues rock, and is about an absent lover.
Death at the Chapel
Faris Badwan’s tortured screams and motorcycle-revving guitars make for two-minutes of frantic garage punk. It was released at a time when the London rockers were all about big hair, skintight jeans and spooky nicknames such as “Coffin Joe”.
They Are Night Zombies!!! They Are Neighbors!!! They Have Come Back From The Dead!!! Ahhhh!!!
This one would make the list for its title alone. The string-led music isn’t too creepy…until Sufjan starts singing. “We are awakened with the axe/ Night of the Living Dead at last/ They have begun to shake the dirt/ Wiping their shoulders from the earth.”
The Jeweller’s Hands
Alex Turner’s monotonic drawl lends itself well to this macabre track, which evokes a creepy fairground carousel with Mediterranean-style guitars, toy room chimes, and the opening lines: “Fiendish wonder in the carnival’s wake/ Move over toward the danger that you seek.”
Satan Said Dance
Clap Your Hands Say Yeah
Delirious nasal singing, bone-rattling chiptunes and the repeated chanting of “Satan” open up a portal to the underworld. You might want to stay; it sounds like quite the party’s going on down there.
The House on the Hill
Bands such as The Mummies are notable their novelty factor alone, yet it’s hard to argue that their claw-clapping, paw-punching garage rock isn’t perfect for the obscure music fan’s spooky playlist. The song starts with maniacal evil laughter, before a funky organ waltz kicks in and the weirdness really begins.
Timeless, catchy, and completely unsettling. It’s Halloween comes courtesy of 1970s outsider group The Shaggs, a trio of sisters whose father badgered into forming a band that would one day be declared “better than The Beatles” by Frank Zappa. There are no explanations.
Funnel of Love
SQÜRL (featuring Madeline Follin)
On the deeply seductive and atmospheric soundtrack to Only Lovers Left Alive, director Jim Jarmusch and his band SQURL team up with Cults singer Madeline Follin for this echoey, stoner-sludge ode to vampire Tilda Swinton and Tom Hiddlestone’s undying on-screen love.