Leaves Turn Inside You
(Kill Rock Stars)

Unwound's Leaves Turn Inside You is a record that I can't listen to on a dark fall day when I'm alone in my house unless I want to sleep with the light on. Songs like "October All Over" and the haunted 10-minute "Below the Salt" gently sway at a contemplative pace—it's impossible not to find room between the beats to overthink things in your life or take note of your current solitude, which is one of the most chilling things of all. Bonus fright factor: When Justin Trosper sings the lyric "Look, a ghost came through the door/From a thousand years before," you can hear a lower, growling whisper repeating the same lyric as though a supernatural force is standing behind you and whispering it into your ear. EEK! MEGAN SELING


(Flameshovel/Sargent House)

By the time you get to "Death Rides a Horse," the middle point on Russian Circles' terrifying full-length debut Enter, you've already discovered that the killer is in the house and most of your friends are dead. "Death Rides a Horse" is the soundtrack to the montage of you breathlessly running from room to room, begging for your life while the masked man stomps after you, slashing a knife through the air without saying a word. YOU ARE ABOUT TO DIE. But wait! "New Macabre," the last song, turns from a sonic instrumental storm to beautiful, bouncing guitar plucks, leading you to believe that everything is going to be fine. You will survive! You're bloody and hacked up on the floor, but you're alive! The killer has left the house; you can hear sirens in the distance; the sun is rising, and OH FUCK: HE'S BACK; STAB STAB STAB, you're dead. MEGAN SELING


Twin Infinitives
(Drag City)

What is the sound of two junkies going through extreme withdrawal pangs? It might be Twin Infinitives, Royal Trux's difficult second album. This is noise rock that lost the map and said, "Fuck it, let's scatter in random directions and babble whatever brilliant nonsense comes into our heads." Disorientation is the order of the night. In over 64 minutes of screw-loose jamming, Royal Trux make Captain Beefheart's Trout Mask Replica sound like The Monkees Greatest Hits. Your piddling "scary" sound-effects MP3s can't compete with this chaotic madness. DAVE SEGAL


Prayers on Fire

Birthday Party's 1981 debut LP, Prayers on Fire, is terrifying. These deranged Aussies dump rock, spy jazz, and diseased blues into a cement mixer, cast a wicked spell on the resultant mulch, and then have Nick Cave yawp over it all as if his balls are in a vice. Tracy Pew's bass sound makes you think of mastodon intestinal spasms, and Rowland Howard's guitar scratches with maniacal creepiness. "Zoo-Music Girl" and "A Dead Song" should be serving lifetime sentences for crimes against your sanity. DAVE SEGAL


(Modern Love)

Imagine the least corny scary music possible. Did your mind flash onto Demdike Stare's fantastically bleak output? No? Then you failed. Listen up: Demdike Stare's 2009 debut album, Symbiosis, is the most nuanced, chilling soundtrack to your nameless fears currently floating through the charred remains of what we charitably call the "music industry." I recently described this British duo's music as "desolation-row dub, library music of the damned, and puzzling, purgatorial ambience." Paranoia pervades every second of this stuff. Watch your back, trick-or-treaters. DAVE SEGAL


Locust Abortion Technician
(Touch and Go)

Aaaaahhhh! Everything about this album is deranged (officially the scariest kind of scary)—from the suspiciously cheery clowns on the front cover to the album title itself, Locust Abortion Technician is a hellish hell ride to hell. Every time the Butthole Surfers' impossible third album gets close to music-like sounds (oh cool, an electric guitar!), you can bet it will rapidly decay into a filthy horror heap (Drop the guitar! It's made of cockroaches and dandruff!). Look forward to itchy gibberish, a maniacal duster-huffing voice, and disturbing psychotherapy sessions. Drugs! EMILY NOKES


Bergtatt—Et eeventyr i 5 capitler
(Head Not Found)

The world is full of frightening black metal albums; in fact, "frightening black metal" is a rather redundant thing to say. But what makes Ulver's debut album, BergtattEt eeventyr i 5 capitler ("Taken into the MountainA Fairy Tale in 5 Chapters"), particularly chilling are the parts that are not metal at all—the parts that are like a sweet, elderly Norwegian grandfather playing classical lullabies for you until HIS SKIN FALLS OFF OF HIS FACE BECAUSE HE IS ACTUALLY A TROLL WITH A HORRIBLE COOKIE MONSTER VOICE AND A DOUBLE KICK PEDAL!!! All the better to beat you with, my dear. EMILY NOKES

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