Saint Louis postpunk band Trauma Harness
Trauma Harness Credit: Courtesy the artist

Every October I go hunting for music that captures the Halloween spirit. Chicago has no shortage of options, but today I’m sharing a find from Saint Louis. Postpunk trio Trauma Harness summon the creeping dread and giddy fun of horror stories with cavernous bass lines, foreboding laughter, and sheaths of echoing guitar effects. The playfully spooky “Bat Barn” bounces a cartoonish keyboard melody off a clean, club-ready 4/4 stomp, and for a solid majority of the tune, the only lyrics are the words “bat barn.” 

“Bat Barn” on Halloween Songs Vol. II (click on the link below to see the single with art by Martin Meyer)

Trauma Harness released “Bat Barn” on their compilation Halloween Songs Vol. II, which came out last year on cassette via eccentric Los Angeles-based microlabel Already Dead Tapes & Records; the track list also includes “Pig Vat,” “Coffin Flume,” and “Scooping Out the Liquids.” There’s also a Bandcamp single of “Bat Barn,” with brazenly crude artwork by egg-punk figurehead Martin Meyer, who’s released much of Trauma Harness’s output through his Lumpy Records imprint. Meyer has also put out delightful Halloween mixtapes every October for close to a decade, which I highly recommend seeking out on YouTube.

Martin Meyer’s 2020 Halloween mix for Lumpy Records