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Culture

Turn This Up and Howl Along

This year's expertly chosen musical Halloween picks.

By Gregory Adams 30 Oct 2014 | TheTyee.ca

Gregory Adams is a regular contributor to The Tyee.

The ghoulish gods of music have been good to us this year, filling our October playlists with all sorts of spooky and ominous songs during the creepy lead up to All Hallow's Eve. As discussed in years past, there will always be a soft spot in our spooky hearts for Michael Jackson's zombified disco hit "Thriller" or crypt-kickin' classics like Bobby "Boris" Pickett's infamous graveyard smash, "Monster Mash". Fast-forwarding to 2014, though, just think of the bounty of brutish and beastly sounds that have bludgeoned us in the past few weeks alone.

Noise artist Pharmakon's recent Bestial Burden LP was a fascinatingly grotesque homage to the unreliable inner workings of the body, delivered through collapsed-lung wheezing and nausea-inducing industrial loops. Scott Walker and Sunn O)))'s Soused tormented the psyche with its cavernous fuzz-bass and Walker's way too jovial, nearly operatic musings on infanticide and necessary beatings. U2 even gave every iPhone owner a scare last month when their Songs of Innocence nefariously popped up on portable devices via Apple's black majicks.

There's so much more horror to hear, though. Here are but a couple of extra incantations to haunt you whilst bobbing for apples, smashing pumpkins with your headphones on, or sharing a steaming cup of witches brew with your favourite crew of creatures. Happy Halloween, everybody.

Last Ex, "Girl Seizure"

If the title to Timber Timbre's 2011 set Creep on Creepin' On didn't spell it out for you, the Ontario outfit tends to dabble with uncomfortably off-kilter indie pop sounds. Band members Simon Trottier and Olivier Fairfield tried to up the ante by producing a horror score to 2013 flick The Last Exorcism Part II, but their soundscape was rejected.

Not to be dismayed, they bumped up their minimal arrangements, added Timber Timbre leader Taylor Kirk to a few tracks, and rechristened the project Last Ex. Their recently delivered self-titled debut takes an inverted-cross approach to Can-style krautrock, with freakish-but funky beats crashing into haunted house keyboards and mind-decaying drones.

As a bonus, their video for "Girl Seizure" is an impressionistic animated clip full of self-decapitating swimmers, sci-fi surgeries, and other fantastic elaborations that'd give even Hieronymus Bosch a heart attack.

Umberto & Antoni Maiovvi, aka The Hook & Pull Gang

The Death Waltz Recording Company has been killing it the last number of years with its loving series of soundtracks to schlocky fare like Halloween II, City of the Living Dead, and outer space splatter flick Forbidden World. Switching things up a bit, they're now letting modern-day composers put their own sonic twist on the slasher genre.

Umberto & Antoni Maiovvi have built up buzz with a recent reinterpretation of Tobe Hooper's The Texas Chain Saw Massacre. Titled The Hook & Pull Gang, the Leatherface-saluting sessions unsettle with menacing, minimal piano work ("Burial") or by mixing in John Carpenter-influenced synth trauma ("Meathook"). It might not get the dance party started, but, trust us, it's perfect.

Rich Homie Quan and Young Thug, "Chainsaw Massacre"

As it happens, rising Atlanta rappers Rich Homie Quan and Young Thug have likewise hit the grindhouse market, having prepped a trap track titled "Chainsaw Massacre." That said, Young Thug half-sings in his famously out-of-control, occasionally in-tune flow, "I ain't talking about the movie." Instead, above a decadent boom that favours electronic chirrups to the sounds of a rusty Stihl, he and his partner in crime discuss taking out anyone that fails to pay their debts. Rich Homie Quan explains that he's "going to embarrass ya," but his method of taking a chainsaw to some dude's stomach seems a tad extreme.

Behemoth, 'Xiadz'

Polish black metal outfit Behemoth laid out their fare share of blasphemy early this year when they delivered their damning The Satanist LP. Their blast beat-heavy "Blow Your Trumpets Gabriel" recasts the immaculate conception in a more venomous light, while the extremely NSFW music video featured horned figures performing mystic rituals involving animal sacrifices and bloody baptismals. The Satanist's complementary Xiadz EP lands on Nov. 1, and a teaser for the set ensures the same kind of monstrous metal results.

2 Chainz, "Freebase"

The title track to 2 Chainz's Spring-issued EP is a coke-slinging track that has him delivering real-life threats like unleashing the spray of a TEC-9 on foes that trespass on his mom's property. The rapper gets a little goofy and with the visual accompaniment, though, which spoofs Michael Jackson's iconic "Thriller" video.

Like the John Landis-directed original, it brings in a movie-within-a-movie approach, and has the rapper donning the King of Pop's iconic red-and-black leather jacket. True, he may not dole out the same bone-shuffling choreography skills as the Gloved One, and it's not as seasonally appropriate as Vincent Price rapping about "the funk of forty thousand years." Being transformed into a brain-eating zombie and still managing to spit lines is his patented flow, though, should have grizzly ghouls from every tomb giving 2 Chainz a rotted thumbs up.  [Tyee]

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2 Chainz - "Freebase"

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