I should like to find sinister-sounding dance music. Won't you help?
October 10, 2014 8:42 AM   Subscribe

Hello darlings. My, you're all looking proud and healthy today! Delightful. Today, I am looking for song recommendations - in particular, I would like sinister-sounding funk/disco songs. I shall expound on this below the cut.

Kindly clock this piece of music (note: the video has some B-horror visuals, in case that sort of thing is a trouble for you) - it is "Evil Eye" by some gentlemen who call themselves Franz Ferdinand. I am quite taken with this song, because it has a pleasing disco/funk danciness to it, and because it sounds spooky/sinister/whatever, and that is my bread and my butter. I'd like to find more songs like this.

I know enough about music to know that the specific flavor of danciness that appeals to me here is in the funky, disco-esque beat and the way the bassist appears to just be having a whale of a time.

I do not know enough about music to say what it is that makes it sound sinister or spooky in terms of the notes they're playing, but I'm pretty sure it's obvious what I'm talking about (like how it's reminiscent of Mysterioso Pizzicato).

What I am looking for is music which meets both criteria - basically, music that sounds like a funky haunted discotheque. I'm sure there's more of it and that is where your lovely brains come in.

I should mention that I'm not super interested in dance music whose sole source of a sinister/creepy vibe is lyrics or samples - I'm looking for stuff where the vibe is also present in the music itself. Hopefully that makes sense?

So that's all! I am excited to see what emerges here. I am looking in my magic mirror and I see Timmy and Jane and Scott and Dan and Kelly and Liz and James and -- James, put that away at once, it is not acceptable for you to do that -- anyway, yes, hello to all of you, sweetlings, and thank you for your help. If you cannot think of any songs that fit these criteria, I will still love you.
posted by FAMOUS MONSTER to Media & Arts (34 answers total) 32 users marked this as a favorite
What are your feelings on Oingo Boingo?
posted by nebulawindphone at 8:48 AM on October 10, 2014 [3 favorites]

It sounds like what you are looking for is goth-industrial music, no?
posted by empath at 8:50 AM on October 10, 2014 [2 favorites]

Or do you want slightly more modern stuff?

A lot of what was briefly termed 'electro-clash' would fit the bill as well -- for example -- Rippin Kittin.
posted by empath at 8:53 AM on October 10, 2014

Best answer: Found this 70s Disco Dracula song when I was looking for this Surf Dracula song. (The latter has that minor key I think you'll dig. Plus the line "who ate all the chips?")
posted by travertina at 8:54 AM on October 10, 2014

Response by poster: Aha! Minor key - that's the term I was looking for. Yes yes.
posted by FAMOUS MONSTER at 8:57 AM on October 10, 2014

Stress by Justice is probably the most sinister piece of modern music I can think of.
posted by Admiral Haddock at 8:58 AM on October 10, 2014 [1 favorite]

I posed a similar question not long ago, to which I would add this delightful Fur Coat remix of a Kidnap Kid track. For up-to-the-minute stuff, you might also investigate Maya Jane Coles and Daniel Avery.
posted by mykescipark at 9:08 AM on October 10, 2014

Best answer: Belle and Sebastian, Your Cover's Blown
posted by Diablevert at 9:10 AM on October 10, 2014

This Mind Against remix is along the same lines as the Fur Coat track.
posted by empath at 9:37 AM on October 10, 2014

Early My Life with the Thrill Kill Kult is all about sinister disco funk. "Sex on Wheelz," "A Daisy Chain for Satan," and so forth.
posted by adipocere at 10:03 AM on October 10, 2014 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Arthur Brown literally invented the genre that would later accommodate acts from Alice Cooper to GWAR, though I think Mr. Brown is closer to the musical aesthetic you're looking for.
posted by cmoj at 11:05 AM on October 10, 2014 [1 favorite]

Not so much disco, but here is The 10 best dark, experimental electro tracks, according to Helena Hauff
posted by kaspen at 11:12 AM on October 10, 2014

The lyrics are the creepiest part of Shriekback's Nemesis, but the music and delivery are also unsettling. And it's a great dance tune.
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 11:42 AM on October 10, 2014 [2 favorites]

The Faint! They released it 15 years ago and it certainly sounds like it, but IMO their Blank-Wave Arcade LP is a collection of sinister-sounding dance music to end all sinister-sounding dance music. Here's the first half-dozen tracks: Sex is Personal, Call Call, Worked Up So Sexual, Cars Pass In Cold Blood, Casual Sex, Victim Convenience.

Desperate Guys from Danse Macabre might fit the bill, too.
posted by divined by radio at 12:58 PM on October 10, 2014 [1 favorite]

Do you know, I quite love this remix of The Sultry Dance of Death by mefi's own Greynaab.
posted by Pallas Athena at 1:07 PM on October 10, 2014

I really like the sinister edge to Hey Hey Guy by Ken Lazlo

Windowlicker by Aphex Twin?

Come to Daddy literally traumatized me when I first heard it, but is fantastically creepy - though lacks the funk / disco vibe
posted by Middlemarch at 1:45 PM on October 10, 2014

Try pretty much the whole of Let's Take It to the Stage by Funkadelic, especially No Head, No Backstage Pass

Heatwave / Groove Line - not obviously sinister, but an interesting minor key thing going on
posted by bifter at 1:50 PM on October 10, 2014

Bauhaus - "Terror Couple Kill Colonel"

Sisters of Mercy - "Adrenochrome"

Yoko Ono - "Walking On Thin Ice"

Comsat Angels - "Our Secret"

also tempted to say maybe something off the Damned's first album.
posted by ifjuly at 2:20 PM on October 10, 2014

Emika - 3 Hours - from her debut self-titled album, which has a lot of the same spooky, "haunted dubstep*" vibe. Her second album lost some of that haunted quality, but it's still quite good.

* Dubstep in the UK first-wave sense of the word/genre, not the US second-wave wubwubwub brostep stuff.
posted by filthy light thief at 2:40 PM on October 10, 2014

Definitely: The Rapture - House of Jealous Lovers

Quite possibly: !!! (Chk! Chk! Chk!) - Must Be the Moon
posted by DirtyOldTown at 2:41 PM on October 10, 2014

more of a stretch but just in case:

Ike Yard - "Cherish"

Josef K - "It's Kinda Funny"

Black Heart Procession - "Waterfront (The Sinking Road)"

The Normal - "Warm Leatherette" (Grace Jones covered it!)

Magma - "Zombies"

David Bowie - "Scary Monsters (and Super Creeps)"

maybe also Section 25, Bark Psychosis, AR Kane, Cabaret Voltaire, Suicide, Coil, Chromatics...
posted by ifjuly at 2:43 PM on October 10, 2014 [1 favorite]

It sounds like what you are looking for is goth-industrial music, no?

If that sounds good, but not quite right, I'd suggest the spin-off/ niche of EBM, or electronic body music, especially the late 1990s revival period, as it tends to have some more of a dance groove than industrial music.
posted by filthy light thief at 2:45 PM on October 10, 2014 [1 favorite]

2nding Arthur Brown! FIYA!

Night on disco mountain fits perfectly (and is also the song Justice samples heavily in Stress)

I find some Giorgio Moroder to have this quality (full album, Get on the funk train!)

Space: Magic Fly (full album), Just Blue full album

Cerrone: Supernature

Jean Michel Jarre, sometimes: Oxygene full album

in general the realm of italo disco will likely provide many sinister returns!
posted by ghostbikes at 3:00 PM on October 10, 2014

A little slow maybe, but RJD2's remix of Goblin's iconic Suspiria theme is awesome.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 3:06 PM on October 10, 2014 [1 favorite]

posted by ghostbikes at 3:12 PM on October 10, 2014

The Fall, LA
Killing Joke, Eighties
March Violets, Snake Dance
posted by grounded at 5:05 PM on October 10, 2014

Nicolas Jaar is an electronic musician who makes a sort of spooky downtempo dance music he calls "blue wave." His style is more David Lynch (he actually remixed the theme song to Twin Peaks for his BBC essential mix) than camp-spooky Halloween dance party.

He also has this incredible ability to make weird samples that sound like churning guts sound pleasantly musical.
posted by Spiced Out Calvin Coolidge at 5:26 PM on October 10, 2014 [1 favorite]

Lullaby by The Cure
posted by Boogiechild at 6:28 PM on October 10, 2014

So it's not an area I know much about, but the Franz Ferdinand track plus surf dracula really bring to mind psychobilly / gothabilly as a genre, which can go full on ghost-train / b-movie in both visuals and sound, e.g.

Zombie Ghost Train
posted by iivix at 5:15 AM on October 11, 2014

A little slow maybe, but RJD2's remix of Goblin's iconic Suspiria theme is awesome.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 11:06 PM on October 10

That's excellent - and reminded me of this awesome house remix of part of the Zombie Flesh Eaters score. Well worth a listen (vid slightly NSFW).
posted by bifter at 8:42 AM on October 11, 2014

Ramalama (bang bang) by Roisin Murphy
Kind of EDM, but with funk/disco influences, but predominantly creepy.

Bonus: Creepy Dexter fanvid set to this song (The TV show, so warning for blood, gore etc).
posted by Elysum at 8:44 PM on October 11, 2014

I'm going to throw in this dark'n'funky track Al Wilson - The Snake.
posted by Iteki at 2:58 AM on October 13, 2014

Maybe Insomnia by Faithless?
posted by triggerfinger at 5:04 PM on October 13, 2014

Shriekback has a great creepy dancy album called Oil & Gold. Example song: NEMESIS
posted by markjamesmurphy at 7:28 PM on October 14, 2014

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