So today was bandcamp day. When the wonderful people that run the best site for artists to get music to their fans decided to give all proceeds to said bands. I scored quite a few great albums. I am now working from home for the foreseeable future which might give me some time to do some damage on the giant stack of new releases that need reviewing. Here is some of what I am listening to right now.
The Kentucky Vampires from Louisville released the album Crimson Curse. They were featured by Brandon of Sonsombre on our podcast and he got me excited for this record. I feel like it was a huge step forward for them. The production is first rate and really gets back to the original death rock roots of goth. The guitars are humming and full of movement. I’m so glad to see guitar becoming a focus in gothic rock again. Large crashing drum sounds create a cavernous dark under the ground feel. I really enjoyed how varied the vocals feel from song to song. The lyrics are a captivating story with tons of call and echo. Almost like the demons haunting the story teller are whispering from the shadows.
Standout tracks: Holy Heretic, Saint Vincent, Die with you.
The Ghost of Bela Lugosi from Australia put out Tales from the Darkside in January. Vin Price is a true treasure and enigma of this scene. If you haven’t heard of one of the best kept secrets modern music has to offer I can’t stress enough how you need to go through his back catalog. This songs are crafted with such precision and understanding of hook and flow. Somehow each one retains an anti-establishment punk rock feel that destroys everything vapid in their path. His voice has a unique cadence which I find captivating and challenging at once. This album like so many of his songs shows the learned study of 80’s new wave song construction. Instead of decadence the tone is filled with clever tongue and cheek Crass and street smart blue collar passion. Whenever I am trying to think of an underground sound to share, I know will wow them from the first track I usually think of TGOBL first. I also love his use of horror movie nostalgia and slashing overlap melodies from a variety of instruments. This album has an innate sense of just what to put to the front. Anthem after anthem of middle fingers to the establishment of music. If you want to be a part of the gothwave revolution this record is a great place to start.
Standout Tracks: All of them. If I must pick: Fade Into Oblivion, Laugh Now Cry Later, Nefarious Beings
Black Angel are the LA based goth rockers with a new release The Window that is putting an emphasis on the rock. Matt Vowels has a impressive Ian McCullagh range and clarity. The music has dark shadows but a high energy full band feel that fills the whole sound spectrum. The giant smashing kicks and 10,000 pound fluttering butterfly basslines give Vowels the perfect vehicle to ride that line between post punk and LA rock. This album offers that cleaner connected front of dark music.
Standout Tracks: Poison, Creeper, Christine
Clone Culture from Italy with their new release Innocense sent to me by the always tasteful Andy of Cold Transmission. This album is a post punk fringe with a primarily new wave flavor. Immediately put me in mind of Aha from their more underground offerings. The vocals are focused and have a sustained beauty. I found myself continually impressed with how the percussion snuck up on me when I didn’t expect it. Really interesting use of panning and sound placement in the speakers to create constant movement. The tempo and raindrop patter of the guitar lines made me want to drive a very tiny car through very tight streets while chased by the authorities.
Standout Tracks: Feed me Tonight, Tearing our Minds to Pieces, Stop Hanging Out
I will keep going through this huge back catalog through the month, what are the new releases that captured your imagination this year?