Well, it’s finally here. The absolute madhouse that is SKiN Graft Records’ Sounds to Make You Shudder is available to stream, and it’s no surprise that it’s a screamer.
The blood curdling compilation spills over with appearances and collaborations that are impressive in their own right, but rest assured, the shudder-inducing theme is tagged, bagged, and gagged within. Read on. If you dare.
Below, you’ll find our thoughts on every track available. We highly recommend starting it from the beginning and pressing forward, from it’s snarling introduction to it’s cool, calculated end. But one thing is for sure – it’s not for the faint of heart, and we’re not just saying that.
David Yow and Yowie – “The Spider’s Greeting”
The spook fest tees off with something truly shocking – David Yow of The Jesus Lizard narrating a carnivorous, grisly take from supreme noisemakers Yowie. Honestly, if you’re squeamish, you oughta skip this one, but you’ll be missing out on one of the season’s most gruesomely entertaining offerings.
USA Nails – “Horror Show”
Up next we’re treated with a wailing, gnashing “Horror Show” from USA Nails. Grimy bass and buzzsaw guitars are juxtaposed with a manic, psychedelic twist halfway through to get the blood pumping, making for one of our favorite tracks overall.
Lovely Little Girls – “Procreation (Of the Wicked)”
Lovely Little Girls keeps it ghoulish with their funky, discordant contribution on “Procreation (Of the Wicked).” The band’s angular, grindstone guitars are harmonized with sputtering horns and haunting vocals, and it should make a fantastic introduction to any listeners not familiar with the band already. Those horrid slops at the end, though… just might scare them off again.
TERMS – “Mouthful of Moss”
Things take a violent turn with TERMS and “Mouthful of Moss,” which is as heavy and unwieldy as a crumbling gravestone. The winding guitar parts on Dave Grohl-on-brown-acid drum parts deliver the metallic goods, and only stops to catch it’s breath when the whole thing is over.
Tijuana Hercules – “Long Slide”
Here’s one your dancing bones ought to be able to jangle to. Tijuana Hercules brings a hefty amount of psycho-swagger to the table, perfect for this year’s impending Samhain season. It’s one of the comp’s most lighthearted tracks, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t bring powerful Gun Club meets The Cramps vibes.
Pili Coït – “Lo Comte Arnau”
What can we say about Pili Coït’s “Lo Comte Arnau” that we didn’t say in it’s premier on this very site? A fair amount, actually. When we first heard it, we knew we loved it and it’s ethereal, stab-y sway. We also wondered what kind of tone the song would be surrounded by, with it’s off-kilter shouts and intoxicated waltz standing out pretty well on their own. But in the end, “Lo Comte Arnau” was the perfect introduction to what lies beneath on this hideous comp.
John Dwyer and Psychic Graveyard – “Is There a Hotline”
A match made in noisy heaven, or hell if you prefer, this Psychic Graveyard remix courtesy of Osees fuzz-lord frontman brings out the best of both parties. The jagged frequencies of the original song reach their limit here, and leap into the stratosphere. Dwyer knows how to command a rhythm section, and the way he chops up an entire mix here is scarily exemplary.
Jim O’Rourke – “guising”
Noisemaker extraordinaire skids things to a freakish halt with this one, sending his textural expertise into a dark, ambient descent. Like a gurgling sewer of the underworld, O’Rourke’s “guising” is an ambient offering that wouldn’t sound at all out of place on old school scary noise tapes you’d play in the background of one of those all-too-realistic Halloween displays. You know, the ones where you’d swear the body on the stoop wasn’t real, then swear he is, only to be relieved when he’s not, and the, of course, he grabs your hand and scares the shit out of you and screams “Happy Halloween!!!”
Cuntroaches – “Borborygmus”
Okay, this one’s for all you hedonistic lifers out there. Like a pounding, blood-drenched rave, “Borborygmus” screams and screeches its way through the speakers in a profoundly fucked up way. The tinnitus inducing track switches it up slightly halfway through, but in the end there’s no escaping it’s psychotic wrath, so you might as well give in. Speaking of tinnitus, this genuinely sounds like what a Cenobyte or Borg would listen to on it’s day off, or those guys with the spikes and goggles (the Maelstrom) from Cyberpunk 2077 – it’s pretty hardcore.
Strangulated Beatoffs – “Happy Halloween”
My dog is staring at me wondering what the hell I’m even listening to, and that’s how you know it’s good… or at least, in the context of this compilation, high-key grotesque. Although it comes as the band’s first single in over ten years, it’s essentially an ambient collage of ghastly Frankenstein moans. Though minimal, it’s pretty entertaining to think of how the tracks might have been recorded.
Shatter on Impact – “Amar’s Volta”
More than just a clever song title, this not at all Mars Volta sounding instrumental plays it cool. With a bass line that builds tension like a David Lynch film, the song’s push-and-pull dynamics and hushes sense of cool brings some of the compilations most freewheeling, carefree moments without sacrificing any of it’s spooky atmosphere.
Bobby Conn and Superband – “Don’t Be Afraid”
Don’t be afraid of this bizarre lounge-meets-prog collab. Bobby Conn and Superband effortlessly nail down those mid-to-late 90’s Mike Patton project vibes without trying too hard. It’s a hypnotic, vaguely reptilian affair, and it doesn’t linger too long, but it’s worth staying for the entire spin.
The Flying Luttenbachers – “Violence Labyrinth”
What do you get when you throw atonal noise rock, death metal drums, and jazz into a grinder? A “Violence Labyrinth,” that’s what. From its elongated blast beat sections to its flensing melodic sections, the song leaves little to hold on to in terms of stability. However, if you’re looking for said stability, you probably stopped listening a long time ago. In fact, you probably hate Halloween in general.
Upright Forms – “They Kept on Living”
“They Kept on Living” is probably one of the best song titles we’ve heard this year, there’s just something about it that’s really funny. That being said, Upright Forms bring serious post-punk vibes with the track itself, and it’s thumping, axe-dragging strut of a chorus is one of the best on the comp.
AZITA – “Tss Tss”
Bringing the festivities to a close, AZITA lights one last torch in the cerebellum with synth-y, horn-y goodness and wobbling, detached melodies that skitter away like spirits before sunrise. It’s a smart cut to end the compilation with, as “Tss Tss” allows your poor, barely-beating heart to recover and slow to it’s systolic rate.
We’ve got to hand it to SKiN Graft for doubling down on the theme here. There’s not a track that doesn’t fit in, and though not all of them are for everybody, they ARE all spooky as hell. Once you’ve donned your normie costume again and returned to your inner sanctum or study, be sure to light a black candle and check out more goodness from SKiN Graft Records here, and buy us a hot apple cider here. We’ve got a lot to unpack.