This sound is coming like a ghost sound.
October 16, 2012 11:17 AM   Subscribe

What do the cool dead kids listen to? I'm looking for vintage spooky pop with a particular flavor: that sparse, echo-y Day-O/Ghost Town mournful message from beyond-the-grave sound. With a beat.

Additional details: Dead Man's Party is too lively, Portishead is too modern. The answer may be dub or fado, but I don't really know those genres, so specific tracks would be much appreciated.
posted by roger ackroyd to Media & Arts (28 answers total) 22 users marked this as a favorite
Look up 'witch house'
posted by empath at 11:20 AM on October 16, 2012

If you can still find it, this is one of the better Halloween-flavored mashups I've heard in years.
posted by thanotopsis at 11:28 AM on October 16, 2012

Look up 'witch house'

Second. Pitchfork (yeah I know) has a good primer on witch house with a sample of tracks.
posted by 2bucksplus at 11:30 AM on October 16, 2012

I've always found "I Am Stretched on Your Grave" a bit spooky. Sinead. Dead Can Dance. Kate Rusby. Background and a list of more versions.
posted by MonkeyToes at 11:31 AM on October 16, 2012 [1 favorite]

Sparklehorse. Moody, spooky, sad, pop. And a sad story to go with it. Recommended tracks? It's a Wonderful Life is a good place to start.
posted by amoeba at 11:39 AM on October 16, 2012

Response by poster: "I Am Stretched on Your Grave" is great — minimalist, atmospheric, timeless.
posted by roger ackroyd at 11:43 AM on October 16, 2012

Ah, found it. Minimal, long play, truly awesome.
posted by thanotopsis at 12:00 PM on October 16, 2012 [2 favorites]

Best answer: I think a lot of 1970s Ethiopian jazz-pop has the sound you're looking for. Check out some Mulatu Astatke.
posted by neroli at 12:03 PM on October 16, 2012 [3 favorites]

Somewhat on the modern side: Tricky- Black Coffee
Country: Tarnation- Game of Broken Hearts
Slightly darker country: $100- Fourteen Hour Day
Traditional: Roscoe Holcomb & Wade Ward- Moonshiner
Even more traditional: Shirley Collins- Lady Margaret & Sweet William
Freaky traditional: Sacred Harp Singers at Liberty Church- Idumea
Apocalyptic: Akira Original Soundtrack- Winds Over Neo-Tokyo and Tetsuo
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 12:25 PM on October 16, 2012 [2 favorites]

Two maybes from the 1950s:

The Revels: Dead Man's Stroll
Lee Ross: The Mummy's Bracelet
posted by ryanshepard at 12:33 PM on October 16, 2012 [1 favorite]

I wonder whether this take on "Oh Death" would work. It's got "sparse" and "mournful" covered, and it's got a shouting vocal style just a few degrees of separation from Belafonte's. (Sadly, though, none of that lovely old-fashioned proto-dub-ish reverb.)

If it's really that production style you're looking for, you might dig around and see if the Black Keys have done something that fits the bill. I don't know their stuff all that well, but they're big retro gearheads and if anyone had ever been like "We need the vocal track here to be produced just like the one on Day-O," I'm guessing it would be them.
posted by nebulawindphone at 12:34 PM on October 16, 2012 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Thanks, guys. These are amazing finds. In general, the pre-1990s tracks are working better for me. (ZOMG Mulatu Astatke)
posted by roger ackroyd at 12:41 PM on October 16, 2012

I'm going to go out on a limb and recommend Bauhaus, though not all their work (since they were often a rock band too). "Crackle" is a pretty good mix, especially for a hits album, but if you're just looking for songs "Hollow Hills", "Silent Hedges", "Double Dare" or of course "Bela Lugosi's Dead" are all pretty dub-influenced.
posted by zinful at 12:48 PM on October 16, 2012 [1 favorite]

Also, this might be a real long shot, but I wonder whether Neko Case might work. Sounds sorta like if the mournful ghost of Patsy Cline came back and started living in the woods behind your house.

I linked to an earlier song of hers, but the whole Fox Confessor album (unfortunately hard to find my favorite songs from it on Youtube) seems especially appropriate.
posted by nebulawindphone at 12:50 PM on October 16, 2012 [4 favorites]

The great Lee Perry / Glen Adams / Bob Marley collaboration "Mr. Brown" also comes to mind - spare, spooky, and reverb-drenched (but maybe a bit too lively).
posted by ryanshepard at 1:02 PM on October 16, 2012

Try Black Heart Procession. The first three albums are fantastic.
posted by Kafkaesque at 1:07 PM on October 16, 2012

Oh yes- Neko Case for sure. I Wish I Was The Moon is a personal favorite.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 1:12 PM on October 16, 2012

16 answers in and no Dead Man's Bones? Bonus points for elaborate music videos often featuring creepy things.
posted by too bad you're not me at 1:40 PM on October 16, 2012

Sally Go 'Round the Roses?
posted by Lentrohamsanin at 2:10 PM on October 16, 2012 [2 favorites]

Those Poor Bastards: bleak, doomed, catchy and outright evil country.

Crooked Man
Black Lightning
Black Dog Yodel (w. Hank the Third)
posted by FatherDagon at 2:22 PM on October 16, 2012 [1 favorite]

Best answer: "I'm Shakin'" - Little Willie John
"She Made My Blood Run Cold" - Ike Turner & the Kings of Rhythm
posted by stompadour at 2:33 PM on October 16, 2012 [1 favorite]

Swamp ghosts: Robbie Robertson's "Somewhere Down the Crazy River."
posted by MonkeyToes at 3:36 PM on October 16, 2012

Best answer: OK, this is a very idiosyncratic assortment, but I get the feeling we might be on a similar page. Here's some stuff that sounds to me like it's being broadcast from The Other Side:

Santo & Johnny, Sleepwalk

Comedian Harmonists, Creole Love Call

20th Century Steel Band, Heaven and Hell is On Earth

Yabancilar, Agit

Xavier Cugat, Perfidia

Blind Mamie Forehand, Honey in the Rock

Timmy Thomas, Funky Me
posted by neroli at 3:37 PM on October 16, 2012 [2 favorites]

empath is on the right track with the witch house genre! (tri-angle records (i lurrrve this label) is known for this kind of sound.) here are some tracks that might work for you:

holy other - touch
holy other - we over
oOoOO - sedsumting
salem - frost
salem - king night
planningtorock - doorway
fever ray - keep the streets empty for me
posted by colorproof at 4:27 PM on October 16, 2012 [1 favorite]

Best answer: If you like Mulatu Astatke, you should grab Ethiopiques 4, the album that brought him into most people's consciousness. You'll probably like Mahmoud Ahmed too
posted by nevan at 5:29 PM on October 16, 2012 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: The playlist so far. (requires Spotify)

We're at six hours. If I didn't include your suggestion, it wasn't in Spotify's library. I'll add tracks as they come in. A big thank you to everyone.
posted by roger ackroyd at 8:19 PM on October 16, 2012

Colorproof beat me to it with those suggestions! whenever I listen to Salem I think of creepy ghouls.

This cover of a Britney song by them could also be good?
posted by kwes at 3:04 AM on October 17, 2012

It's not quite what you're looking for but I just can't resist: if you want some straight up witch music, check out Spires That in the Sunset Rise. The album Four Winds the Walker is the one I'm familiar with and can recommend. Great for playing on the stereo by the front door when kids come for candy.
posted by The Minotaur at 7:57 PM on October 19, 2012 [1 favorite]

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