Dragged and Screwed (or, witch house cover songs)

The latest development in electronic music is the sonic darkness known either as drag or witch house. Equal parts chopped-and-screwed hip hop and gothic industrial, the mysterious scene is all over the internet yet difficult to pin down, due in large part to glyph-filled band names that are both unpronounceable and unsearchable.

With new releases from Disaro or Tri Angle dropping seemingly daily, it’s getting difficult to keep our triangles and crosses straight. So apart from Salem, where should you start with drag? How about some macabre makeovers of pop and hip-hop songs?

San Francisco’s oOoOO has released an EP that features several gloomy cover versions of formerly-upbeat dance tracks. The title track, “No Summr4U” is a a reworking of Nocera’s 1986 hit “Summertime, Summertime” which replaces the freestyle melody with a stark beat and hypnotic synths. “PCKRFCRMX” is short on vowels but big on dissonant keys and cut-and-paste Lady Gaga vocals.

Witch house heads must see something they like from the Haus of Gaga, because oOoOO is not alone in reworking the pop star of the moment. Mater Suspiria Vision has turned her songs into delay-heavy drone-fests. Not only have they given a mindfuck remix to “Alejandro,” but their take on both the song and video for “Paparazzi” is truly twisted, and not for the faint of heart.

SALEM proved that drag and hip-hop are a natural fit with their Gucci Mane edits. ? NO VIRGIN ? takes a shot at some trap music with a version of Gucci’s “I’m the Shit.” NO VIRGIN’s appropriately titled Downer EP is full of similarly pulsing scarefests and is available for free. If you’re into that sort of thing.

Whether you call it drag, witch house, or goth crunk, this music is not for everyone. Sludgy drum machine beats, grim synth lines, and samples of everything from gunshots to child-like pleading (!) may not be everyone’s cup of tea. But sometimes it pays to not be afraid of the dark.

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