Halloween just isn’t Halloween without parties, and parties aren’t parties without music. Thankfully, internet, you have me looking out for you. Here are my prime picks for this season’s best musical offerings, easily available for your digital consumption.
Whether you’re looking for the perfect soundtrack for a Halloween night shindig or some atmospheric pieces for your favorite haunt, Welcome to the Horror Show by Sam Haynes is a gloriously solid follow-up to last year’s Halloween Carnival. From the delicately creepy opening measure of “All Hallows” to the chilling resolution of “Ghost Box,” it’s a must-own for fans of cult horror and classic monster movie soundtracks alike.
Personal favorite “Ghost House,” a “Tubular Bells“-inspired, dubstep-inflected masterpiece, fits in perfectly alongside its more danceable fare (“Zombie,” “Scarecrows (Cheeyboy Dub)”), while the pure power of its more ambient selections (“Doll House,” “Midnight at the Funhouse”) adds even more charmingly spooky depth. Available for a mere $7 via Bandcamp, it’s not an album to be missed.
If you’re in the market for a more humorous but no less ambitious collection of tunes, The Haunted Mashion, the latest annual offering from the Monster Mashup camp, is sure to please. Among the expected Rocky Horror– and Michael Jackson-inspired tracks (“R U Gonna Be My TV?,” “Thriller Fox”) you’ll also catch nods to the likes of Bauhaus (“Bela Lugosi Loves U More”) and Ray Parker Jr. (“Ghosts in Brooklyn”).
Sci-fi geeks will love oddities like “Nightmare on Serenity” and fans of EDM will similarly dig the deconstructed stammer of “Fresh Halloween.” While the project’s Facebook page seems to have gone unexpectedly missing, you can still find the compilation itself on file sharing sites.
As a bonus – and let me state explicitly that this one is just for the grownups – I also heartily recommend Sick Passenger, the latest from rapper Schaffer the Darklord. Of all my selections I’m inclined to call this the most frightening. You see, while it occasionally dabbles in the supernatural (“Boo! (I’m a Ghost)“) or plays on more established horror tropes (“Mice,” “I’m Afraid of Everything”), it’s at its best when it explores the existential horrors of the Mark Schaffer/Schaffer the Darklord duality.
A brilliantly realized concept album tied together by the recurring motif of the hip-hop skit, in this case taking the form of multiple “therapy sessions,” Sick Passenger is buttressed as much by Schaffer’s unique talents as it is his willingness to publicly mine his psyche for our entertainment. Seemingly no emotional stone is left un-turned as he takes on gender dynamics (“Boys,” “Tomgirl“), substance abuse issues (“Intervention”), the rigors of urban life (“Giant Iron Snake,” “The City“) and the sometimes problematic nature of the nerdcore label.
Most importantly, the album resolves itself in a manner both surprising and satisfying, particularly with regard to “The Amender,” a song that paints Schaffer as a man both willing to forgive and desperately seeking forgiveness. As the title implies, Schaffer the Darklord is a sick man trapped in an enclosed environment, and he’s spreading that disease – the weight of a lifetime’s worth of doubts, fears and regrets – to all of us in the potent form of self-reflection.
Pretty frightening, eh?