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Witch-house pioneers Salem return with new mixtape Stay Down

The band’s first full-length release in nine years is here.

September 15, 2020

Near the end of the first decade of the millennium, a band named Salem became popular on the internet, both to be listened to and torn apart. The Michigan three-piece were one of the most visible purveyors of witch-house, the subgenre blending horrorcore, shoegaze, chopped-and-screwed and black metal imagery. Salem broke out with a pair of EPs, 2008's Yes I Smoke Crack and Water in 2009, and released a full-length album called King's Night in 2010; that same year, they took the stage at The FADER Fort in SXSW for a widely-despised performance. After releasing an EP of remixes called Mother Always in 2011, a long period of radio silence followed. Until Monday afternoon, when Salem took to Facebook to share a brand new mixtape called Stay Down.

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If you're a fan of Rabit's DJ Screw tribute mixtapes, you'll probably enjoy Stay Down. The 40-minute suite blends original compositions with splices of different remixes of artists like Prince, Frank Ocean, Tchaikovsky, Three 6 Mafia, Susumu Hirasawa (composer of the Berserk anime) and more. It's a testament to the staying power of Salem's influences that Stay Down sounds fresh rather than an attempt to recapture some blog-era lightening-in-a-bottle. Take a listen above.

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Thumbnail photo by Beth Rooney for The FADER

Witch-house pioneers Salem return with new mixtape Stay Down