Halloween is one of those holidays where the atmosphere matters just as much as the celebration; the other two being, of course, Christmas and Flag Day. Now, listening to the Halloween soundtrack or Michael Jackson’s Thriller on repeat whilst driving from neighborhood to neighborhood may very well satisfy your need for that spooky atmosphere, but these following five albums may also scratch that itch (listed in no particular order). While they’re not all spooky in the conventional manner, they provide an unsettling experience that may be perfect for you as you trick-or-treat amongst the seven-year-old Donald Trumps and Harley Quinns.
Animal Collective – Here Comes the Indian
Animal Collective’s 2003 album “Here Comes the Indian,” saw the band’s first release on which all four members contributed. Creepy, disjointed and just generally abrasive, their fourth album provides some of the most uncomfortable feelings the experimental pop group has ever produced. All that being said, it’s one of their better releases.
Xiu Xiu – Angel Guts: Red Classroom
Jamie Stewart, the depressive frontman of Xiu Xiu, is known for making dark music. “Angel Guts: Red Classroom,” however, is one of his darkest, more recent releases, with extremely vulgar lyrics and a bleak atmosphere that threatens to absorb you. Spooky.
Godspeed You! Black Emperor – F#A#∞
The Canadian eight-piece Godspeed You! Black Emperor is known for being the defining name in post-rock. Their sophomore album, “Lift Yr. Skinny Fists Like Antennas to Heaven” is a staple in the genre and typically serves as the best entry point. Their debut, however, “F#A#∞,” serves as their darkest release to date. The first track in particular, “Dead Flag Blues,” is one of the heaviest pieces of music you could find yourself listening to this Halloween.
Swans – My Father Will Guide Me up a Rope to the Sky
Swans are a household name when it comes to abrasive music. One need look no further than their accurately titled debut: “Filth.” When it comes to their albums, actually, “My Father Will Guide Me up a Rope to the Sky” serves as both a pseudo-reunion and also one of their lightest releases to date. This, of course, means nothing in the grand scheme of things. Despite its relative tameness compared to the rest of their discography, it still carries a heavy weight and provides an excellent, noisy atmosphere for Halloween listening. One need look no further than the track “You Fucking People Make Me Sick” to prove my point.
Deerhunter – Cryptograms
While their latest release “Fading Frontier” might have been a rather lighthearted pop album, Deerhunter’s sophomore album “Cryptograms” could not have been more different. Utilizing what I imagine was a few dozen guitar pedals and at least two guitars, the band makes an album purely devoid of silence. It’s an album best described as a wall of sound, and when they do let up enough so that you can hear the vocals, I assure you that frontman Bradford Cox isn’t singing of sunshine and daisies. Happy Halloween.