Haunting Songs and Killer Costumes
- 28/10/2016 -
Yes, it's Hallowe'en and that means a chance to eat sweets, carve pumpkins and scare yourself silly with made-up stories. It's also time to dress up however you damn-well please – it's the one night of the year where scary, sombre and sexy all crash into each other in an explosion of creative abandon.
Thanks to Elizabeth Fee and Valerie Gritsch, we've rustled up some XMR outfits for you this weekend. Dress up as your favourite XMR artists! Yes! Seriously! There are links to each costume element so you'll easily find the bits you need, including albums by the artists. Go get suited up!
We've also highlighted some evil-sounding, horror-themed or eerie songs from our possessed minds and talked about how they shit us up, including some suitably monstrous XMR entries. HALLOWE'EN! Stay safe and enjoy your weekend all!
Straight out of the 'Under Lock and Key' video, the mild-mannered songwriter is an unlikely Hallowe'en figure, except that he's clearly taking trash bags to the woods and burying them with a shovel while looking increasingly agitated. Hmmm.
Hallowe'en isn't just for dressing up scary: it's as much about donning an outfit you'll have fun in as demonstrating your affinity with the denizens of Beelzebub. Esmé Patterson's flamboyant outfit in the 'What Do You Call A Woman' video will more than do that for you.
£23 - boohoo.com
£40 - shein.com
£36 - dorothyperkins.com
£26 - violetgrey.com
£14 - belk.com
£16 - sephora.com
£16 - amazon.com
BEANS NO TOES
Running out of time and panicking about getting a costume together? Grab a plain white t-shirt, a magic marker to write on it, a fake beard, a cap and some khaki trousers and be Beans on Toast. Easy when you know how right Hallowe'en fans?
What's more Hallowe'en than a fucking skeleton? Not much. Reuben have horror references all over their first album Racecar Is Racecar Backwards from the front cover to the song titles ('Horrorshow', 'Missing Fingers', 'Freddy Kreuger') and have given you an iconic costume idea.
MILLION DEAD (BODIES)
Screaming out of your screen from the 'Living the Dream' video is this outrageous glam ensemble. Watch the video for inspiration as the band don face paint, feather boas, leather trousers and platform shoes - a great look for Hallowe'en (or indeed, any time).
£43 - candyapplecostumes.com
£22 - amazon.com
£18 - amazon.com
£8.42 - amazon.com
£46 - candyapplecostumes.com
£6.56 - jet.com
£7.20 - amazon.com
LORNA OF SKINNED-Y LISTER
Again, not scary but a look that's still great to rock on a Hallowe'en evening out. Perhaps the scary bit is the amount of rum in the jug? Either way, grab your best dancing shoes, some bright red lipstick and some confidence and go have a great time with your friends.
£13 - costumesupercenter.com
£62 - modcloth.com
£130 - zappos.com
£2.59 - rosegal.com
£6.15 - target.com
£15 - urbanoutfitters.com
Enjoyed those? Got to the XMR Facebook group for our full set!
There are songs that seem filled with evil. They sound like they're squirming through your keyhole or screaming like rusty hinges pulled from a door, scratched along a chalkboard then inserted into someone's eyes. Some songs are gruesome, some are eerie and some are unforgettable in their nastiness. And some just won't leave you alone when you're alone, repeating in the nothingness, slowly driving you into wide-eyed fear. Some of them wake you in the middle of the night, only to be confronted with a visage hovering over you, hideous and hungry...you get what we're saying.
Here are some of our favourites.
Saint Leonard's Horses – 'Spooky Lover'
Not outright frightening, but Good Luck Everybody is not exactly the sort of album you want to find at the end of your bed mouthing its secrets at you. Written in and about typically eerie places like the Yorkshire Moors and the Californian desert, it was also recorded in Stanley Kubrick's family estate, some of which was used in the filming of The Shining. As you'd expect, there are songs on the album with lurid, violent imagery at times, and a heady atmosphere of mysticism drops like a mist over it, from the artwork to the rattling authentic Americana squeals within. 'Spooky Lover' has a video with all the Hallowe'en imagery you'd need, including spider silhouettes (arachnophobes beware!), indoor fog and haunting visions. Give it a go if you feel brave.
You can buy Saint Leonard's Horses' debut album Good Luck Everybody on vinyl, CD or download from our shop.
Manic Street Preachers - 'Archives of Pain' / 'The Intense Humming of Evil'
The Holy Bible is probably one of the most difficult albums to listen to in its entirety. The apex of this (bearing in mind there are songs entitled 'She is Suffering', 'Of Walking Abortion' and 'Die in the Summertime' on it) is a big ol' monster-fight between 'Archives of Pain' or 'The Intense Humming of Evil'. Though they both sound like death metal song titles, they're more menacing than that. 'Archives of Pain' begins with an unsettling tape recording of a woman berating someone for being "the devil itself" before one of the top three most skin-crawling bass riffs of all times comes in. This is quickly joined by rhythmic discordant chords that sound like nails being plucked, while James Dean Bradfield intones "you will be buried in the same box as a killer", delivering Richey Edwards' disturbing lyrics about the death penalty and media / public fascination with serial killers. Even the odd, out-of-phase guitar tones threaten to suck the skin from your bones. Meanwhile, 'The Intense Humming of Evil' covers the holocaust, beginning with an intense grinding sound, a voice sample from a report about the Nuremberg trials and leading into a high-pitched squeal before an innocuous chiming guitar carries over into the memorable chorus line "six million screaming souls." It drips with the malice of the most horrific crime in human history, sounding for all the world like the steady march of humanity's decline. Even without the lyrics, it would be a song to make you shudder. With them, it's nigh on un-listenable.
Möngöl Hörde – 'Stillborn Unicorn'
A horror story being yelled at you as you listen, this is a tale of a hideously deformed magical horse taking her anger and hurt out on the world by chopping you up and eating you, which couldn't be more appropriate for Hallowe'en. Beginning with an innocuous strummed chord, it soon brandishes the tire-iron of Frank's screeched lyrics. Brutal, gory, disturbing and still somehow darkly funny. Perhaps we're the cruel ones...and perhaps that's the point being made. Also, how Hallowe'en is that hideous Mongol skull logo? Other album tracks include vile stories of tapeworms taking over Hollywood, a man who"enjoyed" the war despite suffering severe injuries, and an average Saturday night out on the town.
You can buy Möngöl Hörde's self-titled album with 'Stillborn Unicorn' on it, and other horrifying modern tales, on vinyl, CD or download.
Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds - 'Stranger Than Kindness' / 'Red Right Hand' / 'Tupelo'
Nick Cave's back catalogue screams like a banshee with death rattles and shimmering spectral sounds. 'Red Right Hand' might well be his most famous track, once making a cameo in The X-Files season two episode 'Duane Barry'. It has all the hallmarks of a Cave classic — a slow shuffle mimicking the lumbering steps of a man with longer limbs then he rightly should have, crossing a dusty desert town's centre. Vultures probably land on his shoulder but refuse to eat until he stops moving. 'Tupelo' is a pounding chant, with Cave intoning "oh go to sleep 'lil children, the sandman's on his way" and an unshakable "tupelooooooooooo----oooo" backing vocal breaking the unrelenting rhythm. It's eerie, sends you shudders, and opens with a thunderstorm. What more could you want? 'Stranger Than Kindness' wavers in trepidation, Cave at his most creepy, as the distant drums approach as if you're being hunted. The King of Creep, Cave cannot be anything less than at least slightly haunting, every time.
The Lion and the Wolf – 'Heaven Forbid'
Not necessarily a creepy song, though Matthew's songs often have a darker ambiance about them, but the video is a subtle exercise in menace and symbolism. Watch it for more, or read about it here.
You can buy The Lion and the Wolf's second album The Cardiac Hotel, which 'Heaven Forbid' is from, right here on a variety of vinyl and with bundles including an exclusive t-shirt.
Slayer - 'Dead Skin Mask'
You can trust Slayer for intense, relentless songs of murderers, demons and hell. I don't think they get more directly disturbing and to the heart of what they do than on 'Dead Skin Mask'. The content on Reign In Blood is devilish of course, but it's all delivered too fast to sound truly horrifying. South of Heaven and Seasons In The Abyss slowed things down slightly, and while not as innovative as Reign In Blood, the atmosphere drenches everything as if with pigs gore. The title tracks of both of these are excellent exercises in slow-build gruesome, but 'Dead Skin Mask' goes for the throat. The riff is genuinely chilling, hovering into uncomfortable feedback, a slow talked voice-over before the details of infamous serial murderer Ed Gein's fantasies are gleefully sung by Tom Araya. The climax with Araya's trademark yell and an awful, sped up voice pleading "let me out of here Mr Gein" is, quite frankly, enough to ruin your Hallowe'en entirely.
Ben Marwood – 'Under Lock and Key'
He's such a lovely and innocuous young man that the murderous confessional this song brought out surprised even him. 'Under Lock and Key' is a chilling metaphor for a broken relationship (or perhaps it's a literal fictional story about a killing and an admission of guilt, we don't actually know). The imagery beyond the act itself is beautiful if heart-wrenching, but the video takes it all seriously. He's not simply burying his trash in the woods. Still, for all his charm, the album this song is on also has songs called 'Murder She Wrote' and 'This Industry Eats Its Young', and we know Ben is a horror movie fan. Perhaps Ben provides the perfect Hallowe'en soundtrack, especially for the lovelorn....
You can find 'Under Lock and Key' on Ben Marwood's second album Back Down here.
Tom Waits - 'What's He Building?'
This found-recorded / folio storytelling from the masterful Tom Waits fascinated me when I was still watching MTV2 in 2000. It's an absorbing portrayal of a neighbour spying on a lonely man, building up a dark but unsubstantiated story about him, perhaps Waits commenting on the right (or not) to know other people's private business. Delivered in Waits' trademark liquid gravel tone, it's sparse, odd, and off-kilter. There are no answers to the titular question, but there is an unforgettable tale woven over changing radio frequencies, odd percussive sounds and the last, shivering vocal sound, we assume "that tune he's always whistling".