Though it seems like Berkeley’s full of Halloween spirit already — creepy clowns trolling the streets, hellish midterms all month — take the eerie autumnal mood to the next level by listening to these spooky tunes for this week’s Tunesday.
“Psycho Killer” by Talking Heads
A Talking Heads classic, “Psycho Killer” will pump your adrenaline as it walks you through the thought process of a serial killer. A steady, sinster bassline appropriately frames David Byrne’s on-edge lyrics: “I can’t sleep cause my bed’s on fire / Don’t touch me I’m a real live wire.” In between cryptic French phrases and pained wails, Byrne’s cries are a warning to listeners to run away while they can.
“Jane Cum” by Japanese Breakfast
A somber guitar riff gives way into melodic layers of eerie synth and gusts of wind. When Michelle Zauner’s youthful voice emerges to offer darkly poetic lyrics, she sweeps you into a fog — a ghostly yet soothing state of mind. During the chorus, thunderbolt samples pulse beneath Zauner as she yells the titular character’s name into a void. Then the song goes down an unpredictable path. The storm of sound suddenly quiets down, and Zauner’s voice, now out of breath, gasps disturbing imagery: “Soulless animal keep feeding on my meat/All my tiny bones between your teeth.” In the end, Zauner howls the heroine’s name once more before violin strings flutter into silence.
“Oh Yeah” by CAN
Not even a millisecond in, an explosion strikes and signals the start of this seven-minute krautrock jam. Sounds of rainfall follow, and a simple drumkit lays the foundation for Damo Suzuki’s unsettling, reversed vocals. Another explosion sets off in the middle of the song, resetting the disconcerting, alien tone to a brisker direction. Though “Oh Yeah” sheds its more experimental sound with Michael Karoli’s extended guitar ramblings, it’s the feverish drums and bass that keep you on your toes.
“New Forest (Five Heads of the Sun)” by Candy Claws
Right from the start, it sounds like something’s a little off in “New Forest (Five Heads of the Sun).” Maybe it’s the weird guitar licks in the beginning, or the dream pop band’s childlike whispery vocals. Either way, underneath the lush psychedelic sounds and upbeat tempo, there’s an undeniable spookiness — especially in the bridge, when it feels like you’re being hurried to a place deep in the woods set in some Tim Burton film.
“Jesus Alone” by Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds
The dismal opener to Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds’ acclaimed Skeleton Tree transports you to a truly haunting, otherworldly dimension as Cave mourns the death of his 15-year-old son. For much of the song, Cave simply and matter-of-factly recites the heavy, elegiac lyrics through a veil of fuzzy, droning bass and a high-pitched whistlle. Cave breaks the stoicism with a pained yet composed croon in hopes that his deceased son will hear: “With my voice/I am calling you.”