Salem keep pushing that Goth crunk

Salem makes scary music. Music that exists somewhere between chopped-and-screwed, industrial, and dubstep – a dreary, grating, drugged out amalgamation that is challenging and unforgiving. And I can’t stop listening to it.

This week, Salem released a mixtape for DIS magazine, an art outfit that fits the Salem worldview. The mix, entitled Raver Stay Wif Me, is 32 minutes of both familiar and obscure tracks, twisted and manipulated to the edge of recognition. The titular raver is paid tribute by classic tracks like “Better Off Alone” by Alice Deejay, “Sandstorm” by Darude, and “Can’t Stop Raving” by Dune, trance tracks whose hypnotic affect is still apparent, even if the music is better suited for cough syrup sipping than Ecstasy popping.

Download SALEM – Raver Stay Wif Me (courtesy DIS magazine)

It may be an act, but only Salem is twisted enough to include a track by a convicted sexual predator: South Park Mexican‘s “Vogues” is a record-skipping center piece of the tape. Too sick for you? They include “Unchained Melody” and “Young Forever,” classic love songs that just seem wrong in contrast to the rest of the mix.

Not much is known about the Michigan trio of John Holland, Heather Marlatt, and Jack Donoghue; they don’t give many interviews, or take photographs, or humor the social media crowd. Instead, they keep a public image that mirrors their music: dark, mysterious, unnerving. Their music videos don’t give many clues, either, except that the band may need psychological help. Check out the NSFW clip for “Skullcrush,” a video that makes M.I.A.’s “Born Free” look like a Disney film.

Raver Stay Wif Me is another required listen from a group whose limited press EPs Water and Yes I Smoke Crack are equally challenging and rewarding. And if all this is too dark for you, check out their remixes of Gucci Mane, a match made in Hell.

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