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50 Great Indie Halloween Songs – Beach House, Radiohead, The Kinks, Pavement, Beck, Cults, The Kills, The Black Keys

Beach House lead off this Halloween mix with "Tokyo Witch"

Happy Hallowscream.

Over the years, IRC has put together over 20 different Halloween playlists, featuring hundreds of Halloween, or Halloweenish, songs. Some songs were picked merely because the title is in some way, Halloweenish; you know, blood, ghosts, monsters, death, vampires, skeletons, darkness, and so on. You’ll also hear some tracks that don’t really *sound* like Halloween songs, usually because they’re upbeat or cheery – but have a “Halloweenish” title, like “I Died So I Could Haunt You” from Stars, or “Bones” from Electric Tickle Machine; other songs may not have the “matching” title, but the song itself sounds creepy, dark, spooky or scary, like “Been A Wrong Road” from Cameron Steele. Also, don’t miss The Kinks’ triple-header of Halloweenish songs below.

“Tokyo Witch”Beach House

“A Wolf at the Door”Radiohead

“Been a Wrong Road” - Cameron Steele

“Superstition” - The Kills

“Howlin’ For You” - The Black Keys

“Scarecrow” - Beck

“The Hexx” - Pavement

“Cemetery Gates”The Smiths

“Ghost In Daylight” - Atlantic Line

“Black Eyes” - Shearwater

“Witchcraft” - Light Pollution

“Bones” - Electric Tickle Machine

“Graveyard’s Full” - The Growlers

“I Died So I Could Haunt You” - Stars

“The Witch” - The Rattles

“The Witching Hour”Wild Nothing

“Standing on Ghosts”Two Door Cinema Club

“Friendly Ghost”Harlem

“Coffin Trick” - Atlas Sound

“Mr. Vampire” - The Torches

“Halloween” - Sonic Youth

“Graveyard” - Chad VanGaalen

“Zombies”King Kahn & The BBQ Show

“Ghost of Syllables”Admiral Radley

“Caskets” - Damien Jurado

“Beautiful My Monster”Husky Rescue

“Devil’s A-Go-Go” - Blitzen Trapper

“Little Ghost”The White Stripes

“Black Venom” - The Budos Band

“The Ghost Of Rockschool”Belle & Sebastian

“Devil Town” (Daniel Johnson) - Bright Eyes

“They Are Night Zombies!! They Are Neighbors!! They Have Come” - Sufjan Stevens

“You’re Afraid” - Brothertiger

“Hollow Hollow Eyes” - Crocodiles

“Pumpkin”The Starlight Mints

“The Curse” - Cults

“So Haunted” - Cut Copy

“Halloween” - Dead Kennedys

“I’m Mad” - The Dead Weather

“The Halloween Song” - Evangelicals

“Bodysnatchers”- Radiohead

“Halloween On The Barbary Coast”The Flaming Lips

“Grey Is Old” - Furcast

“Dance On Our Graves” - Paper Route

“Beast in Peace” - Bear in Heaven

“Scare You”Harlem

“Beast And Dragon, Adored”Spoon

“The Moonlight Is Wicked”Hands and Knees

“Spiders”Wilco

“Snake Eyes”Ganglians

- Check out IRC’s 2009 Halloween Mixtape series featuring 13 playlist mixes with 13 songs each.

Some of The Kinks’ Early Halloweenish Songs

This mix also includes a trio of Halloweenish songs from The Kinks, dating back to their classic era (1966-1971) during which the band built a discography of amazing music that remains legendary to this day. In fact, as was the case with so many genres of music over the decades – including rock, punk, metal, new wave and pop – many of today’s indie bands are influenced by The Kinks, either directly or indirectly.

The three Halloweenish Kinks’ songs below demonstrate the band’s abilities to write about all kinds of topics, and record all types of different sounds and styles. The first track, “Wicked Annabella” is a creepy, sinister-sounding song with wicked vocals by Ray Davies and his younger brother and guitarist, Dave Davies. The song was first released way back in 1968 on The Kinks’ widely acclaimed masterpiece LP, The Village Green Preservation Society.

“Wicked Annabella” - The Kinks

The follow-up track, “Big Black Smoke,” is essentially a song about a young woman who grew tired of the country life, but her parents thought she couldn’t do any wrong, until she “walked the streets of the big, black smoke.” In addition to the title – not so much the lyrics – the song has a kind of spooky, steady stomp, thick bass line and catchy chorus.

“Big Black Smoke” - The Kinks

The final song, “King Kong” is again menacing in the way “Wicked Annabella” is. There’s also something about the rawness of the recording itself. In fact, “Big Black Smoke” and “King Kong” were originally recorded on mono and only released on the klassic Kinks’ double-LP, The Kinks Kronikles.

“King Kong” - The Kinks

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11 Comments

  1. Great list and great website!

    Here is a cover of Radiohead’s Creep for Halloween! Horror style!

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HytqSW4rEz0

  2. What about Dead Man’s Bones? Otherwise great list.

  3. Great list. Always like finding new ones, and there’s a bunch on here I didn’t know of.

    This one is supremely creepy & funny and a killer jazz/hop talking head’ish kinda track. The video is cool.
    Guy in electric chair;

    http://vimeo.com/31162588

  4. I ACTUALLY was initially pretty pleased to find this web-site.I want to to thank you for your effort with this great study!! I certainly having fun with every single little it all and I have you bookmarked to check out latest stuff you text.

  5. A little late on this post….but to add The Kills’ cover of “I Put A Spell On You” and Karen Elson’s “The Ghost Who Walks” and Radiohead’s “We Suck Young Blood” (but I haven’t seen last year’s list…so I may be repeating)

  6. I was hoping you would do another Halloween mix! Loved last year’s & love this one, thank you!

  7. Magic Wands- Black Magic

  8. No Ghostland Obvservatory?

  9. Great list! That Sufjan song is one of my Halloween faves, and probably one of the best song titles ever.