Detroit Goth Is Alive and Well. My Weekend At the Skull Fest

This past weekend I traveled back to my roots. To a goth industrial festival in downtown Detroit. My first in many years. I grew up going to the legendary City Club, travel regularly to see bands at Smalls. I still have a nostalgic tie to East Michigan. I learned about the Skull Fest late, yet quickly was got excited at the idea of an ambitious goth industrial festival in Detroit. I quickly reached out to offer support anyway I could. I was welcomed with open arms both as a pretend music journalist and getting to play with my band Amaranth. Those of you that follow our blog and podcast know that I have a dreamer’s optimism about our scene. In B.P. LeGault I felt the kinship of a mutual dreamer dedicated to bringing together our community while creating an inclusive environment. Four days, major acts, vendors for art, fashion shows, giving a chance to goth adjacent new sounds sometimes over at festivals. He also did something I feel is important to a festival’s success, he included and promoted local talent. Detroit artists were a prominent part of the stacked lineup. I was also impressed by outside the box thinking. Day four, Sunday was an all-ages show. Taking a chance to help encourage both young fans, and parents who love the scene but have a hard time attending a music festival which often start around 9pm and go until 2-3am. This allowed them to take part and share an experience they love with their kids. This also was wonderful for goths who don’t drink and feel uncomfortable. I got the chance to attend on Friday and Sat, then play on Sunday with our amazing photographer Whitney Flaherty. So please follow along for the highlights of a truly uplifting experience for the goth scene.

So I didn’t get to attend Thursday, but I wanted to share what was there 🙂

Thursday 11-17-22 Opening Ceremony
6pm-Midnight 18+

-Noir Leather Stage-
CYANOTIC, Chicago
Second Salem, Detroit
Eprom Colony, Detroit
Triangulations, Tri Cities
Access to Concrete, Ypsilanti
EnD, Ypsilanti
Opening Ceremony
House Deejay: Remnant, Defiled, Ypsilanti

-Russell Industrial Stage-
Darks Choir, Ination, Toledo
Havok, Ination, Toledo
Audioflesh, Ination, Toledo
Misanthropia Narcissus, Detroit
Gates Of Janus, Novi

Friday 11-18-22 *Fetish Night
6pm-Midnight 18+

-Noir Leather Stage-
HIDE, Chicago
Noelle Solringen, Detroit
Crune, Detroit
Noir Leather Fashion Show
B.P. LeGault, Detroit
Vazum, Detroit
House Deejay: Raedy Lex

-Russell Industrial Stage-
EXT EST, Detroit
Justin Carver, Something Cold, Hamtramck
Marc Church, Detroit
Engine, Detroit
Udenjoe, Detroit

Walking in the door I was greeted by the liquid translucent shadowgaze sounds of our friends Vazum local to Detroit. Zach and Emily bring an organic and emotional DIY style that always stands out. It feels like the prevailing wind in goth is to emulate the 80s synth or early Batcave sound. Vazum shows their influence more in slushy guitar-based shoegaze with dark themes and balanced communicative vocals. They have a new EP out called “The Precious Ones” with a punk rock tempo and thundering drumbeats. Vazum is a staple of the new Detroit goth scene. The live show feels so thunderous and organic. If you are 3 feet away from the stage or 100 feet, a Vazum show always feels intimate.

▶︎ The Precious Ones | VAZUM (bandcamp.com)

BP. LeGault who made this all possible did the next set. I was enjoying bopping around the dance floor when 50 absurdly hot people walked past in a large block. I remember thinking to myself something must be happening because that was too much attractiveness in one place. It of course marked the beginning of the visual extravaganza of Noir Leathers Fashion Show. If you grew up in the Detroit suburbs like me the Royal Oak store was a big part of your counterculture life. It was the main place to get alternative clothes and learn what was happening in the scene. This was an impressive spectacle, but also called attention that unlike other festivals I have attended the people of Detroit on average were all rocking a full-blown look. A commitment to the aesthetic I just don’t see all the time.

☠️ Noir Leather ☠️

Crune – Next up was Detroit’s own CRUNE. I knew nothing about this band going in other than an introduction from amazing Dj Noelle Solringen. Without previous knowledge coming into this performance, I was absolutely floored. This band was my favorite surprise of the weekend. I couldn’t stop talking about it to anyone who would listen. “Sassy Yee Haw Goth with a Theremin” was something I had no idea I needed. I did. A searing energy captivating performance with engaging lyrics and a vocal delivery that made the hairs on my arms stand up. Do you know when you see “IT” even if you can’t put your finger on what that is? You know when you see it. Picture being a music reviewer that listens to 200 bands a month, then you feel “IT” happen. That was CRUNE for me. As gods are my witness I have made it my mission to make the scene aware how blistering talented this project is.

Necromantik | Crune (bandcamp.com)

HIDE – After a Dj set from Noelle Solringen Chicago based electronica band HIDE took the stage. I have heard the legend of the intensity from their stage show. I have listened and loved their albums. Nothing I heard prepared me for the jagged glass introspective emotion which fell on me like a firestorm. If you have never seen HIDE play live, I don’t know how to describe the experience to you. I know others tried to describe it to me, and now I understand what an impossible task was being ask. It is not a simple thing to witness. It is the full intensity of overpowering conflicting emotions dragging you back and forth at maximum velocity while you question every truth you have been fed. Does that sound over the top? Well trust me, unless you have seen it and you know, you don’t know.

Interior Terror | HIDE (bandcamp.com)

Saturday 11-19-22 Night Of Sin
6pm-Midnight 18+

-Noir Leather Stage-
COMFORT CURE, Detroit
Textbeak, Cleopatra Records, Cleveland/Detroit
Spike Hellis, Los Angeles
Veganinblack, Chicago
SOROS, Grand Rapids/Detroit
Wraith & Remnant, Defiled, Ypsilanti
Schedule IV, Detroit
House Deejay: Niko Fierro

-Russell Industrial Stage-
Absynthe Of Faith, Minneapolis
Satanic Hispanic, Blvsphemy Records, Chicago
Plvgues, Blvsphemy Records, Chicago
Sain’t, Blvsphemy Records, Chicago
Doc Colony, Detroit

So Saturday I knew my way around the festival site and was excited to take everything in. I knew I had to play on Sunday so I took at easy on the Maker’s Mark to be fresh for our performance. Saturday’s line up featured mostly bands I had not seen live yet. Once again, the surroundings were inclusive, friendly, and focused on highlighting new exciting dark music. I loved the shadow market of vendors featuring everything from bondage gear, art pieces, and magic. Noir Leather once again had a shop set up. A wonderful space set up to plunge in and out of performance engagement and leisurely stroll through darkscene art.

Schedule IV – Starting off with one of the most underrated talents in the Detroit scene. Powerful emotive lyrics and delivery by Steph Strange and precision post punk music that flows with the energy generation of a V8 engine. This was a new lineup from the last time I saw them play. When post punk music is done with this level of fine-tuned twists and turns it takes the listener on a journey. Schedule IV always brings that ferocious driving energy and it really set the tone for night 3 of the festival.

In Treatment | Schedule IV (bandcamp.com)

DJ VeganInBlack from Chicago spun a set a lovely set with a balance of old and new. I always am inspired by their conviction to music and their ideals that comes across in how they share bands.

(13) DJVeganinblack – Twitch

This festival featured two stages, one primary where full bands played. Then another for Djs and individual electronica artists. The set up again reminded me of old school raves. On Saturday this second stage was dominated by Blvsphemy Records from Chicago. Primarily known as a Chicago VVitchaus label with the added twist both sonically and aesthetically of Black Metal. As someone new to the Witch house scene it was amazing to see a “Goth/Industrial” festival embrace this subgenre and give it a place to bring in new fans. Seeing people catch word of the crackling energy and ritualistic thrum, packing the room with wide eyes and flailing limbs showed me that this is a part of the future of our scene.

Satanic Hispanic – Furious slow grinding back beats of house and triphop, with terrifying expulsion of anti religious emotional outbursts. The imagery and sonic assault projected a punk DIY ideal into a chaos magic lens. This set made me a believer in how this music fits into the future of the scene.

Disobey | Satanic Hispanic | Blvsphemy Records (bandcamp.com)

Plvgues – The final set from Blvsphemy was the Plvgues, which took the concept of everything the label had exposed me to, then turned it to 11. The massive presence of this hooded giant had an undeniable magnetism. His voice flowed beneath the sliding evasive beats to surface with shattered glass fury when you least expected it. Keep a close eye on this artist. They have star power.

Volos | Plvgues | Blvsphemy Records (bandcamp.com)

Spike Hellis – Next up on the main stage is a LA based electronic explosion Spike Hellis. I have seen them before at Cold Waves, but never before in this intimate underground setting. In 2022 Atari Teenage Riot got involved in some NFT Crypto madness that tainted my image of furious electronic anarchy. Spike Hellis brought that sonic image back with crystal static anger and EMP pulse which writhed out in shockwaves to assault the adoring crowd. I enjoyed their performance at Cold Waves. I was memorized here. Impressive emotional transfer from stage to crowd. The aggression and intensity doing something this inclusive is a bizarre combination of feeling but the most accurate description.

Spike Hellis | Spike Hellis (bandcamp.com)

Spike Hellis | Spike Hellis (bandcamp.com)

TEXTBEAK – Another Detroit band. More festivals need to take note, if you are holding a festival in a city, then show love to the bands that are a part of that scene. I can’t remember a time I saw this ideal held up more than at the Skull Festival. Michael Szewczyk is such a warm overlapping part of the whole Detroit scene who’s talent and glowing spirit are never more on display that in his primary project Textbeak. As someone who grew up on Detroit electronica Michael seems to have the core concept written on his DNA. Every track has a brilliant and unique composure yet somehow resonates with that distinctive house sound that transports me to a warehouse on Hastings Street. Michael is also a part of the previously mentioned Crune and continues to impress with their talent and vision.

Sick for Songs a Season Eats Remixes | TEXTBEAK (bandcamp.com)

COMFORT CURE – Closing out the night was another Detroit talent. I am always left impressed lately by solo electronica artists who manage to unleash the energy necessary to captivate a crowd alone. Percussive EDM with a lashing distinctly Detroit beat and poetic vocal delivery that reminded me of Underworld. I didn’t know nearly enough about Comfort Cure going into the weekend. They left an impressive mark on me. As an added bonus while watching the set I noticed Detroit Electronic music royalty ADULT was standing in front of me enjoying the set. I love seeing artists I associate with a city coming out to support.

They Told You Wrong (Single) | COMFORT CURE (bandcamp.com)

Images by Whitney Flaherty

Sunday 11-20-22 *ALL*AGES*MATINEE*
Noon-6pm

-Noir Leather Stage-
WINGTIPS, Chicago
Justin Carver, Something Cold, Hamtramck
Amaranth, Kalamazoo
Faux Fear, Reading, PA
The Picasso’s, Detroit
House Deejay Raedy Lex

-Russell Industrial Stage-
Remnant, Defiled, Ypsilanti
Wraith, Defiled, Ypsilanti
Darks Choir, Ination, Toledo
Havok, Ination, Toledo
Audioflesh, Ination, Toledo

This Sunday matinee was special to me for many reasons. I got to play on the stage, I had just watched so many amazing bands. We got to open for one of my favorite bands in the modern darkscene Wingtips. I also appreciated the vision and concept of B.P. doing an all-ages daytime event as part of the festival. Too often it feels like goth culture is not focused on the next generation. It is a scene that tends to worship and embrace the past. Also A lot of folks my age do not get to attend goth festivals anymore because they have children. Who can get a sitter from 10pm-3am two or three days in a row? Having an event focused on family inclusion as part of a major festival spoke a lot about how this event felt different in thinking outside the box.

Exhumed | thePicassos (bandcamp.com)

First act i saw Sunday was Detroit’s own The Picassos. A glorious darkternative band I recently discovered who seamlessly blend The Pixies, Nick Cave, and Violent Femms. I had the pleasure of doing an interview which I will post below. When I spoke to Charles and company they told me of their connection through theater. I loved seeing this translate into their stage show. A funeral set where all the listeners could take part in the production. The sound was everything I want in a live show of a band I know and love the recordings of. Everything I loved in the song writing and emotional connection was here, with an added layer of projection and emotion. Charles voice is unique and captivating. I found myself lost in the performance. This is a must-see live band if you ever get the opportunity.

Sounds and Shadows Interview with The Picassos

FAUX FEAR – Next up was a post punk dark wave duo from Reading PA. I had the pleasure of speaking to them in the green room and instantly felt a kinship with their devotion to DIY inclusive grass roots promotion of the dark scene. The music was sleek and sophisticated with driving baselines and cascading synths. The vocals had a resonating Terri Nunn vibe with more understated delicacy. They did a fantastic Cure cover. This is a band I will be looking to connect with for a show exchange soon. My only regret is I had to spend part of the set behind stage getting ready to play.

Image by Whitney Flaherty

Image by Whitney Flaherty

Gothtimist | The Amaranth (bandcamp.com)

We got to take the stage next. It was a great honor to play with so many talented people who I love. I grew up on this side of the state and being a part of the energy here was a transcendent feeling. The sound staff were all wonderful. We played songs about Ninjas, Assplay, Feminism, and Onlyfans. In my mind it was one of the best sets we ever played in modern Amaranth. After I helped get our gear off, I was walking with Collin. A young lady locked eyes and started walking towards me. I assumed I was in her way and tried to speed up and change direction. I turned back to Collin and she tapped me on the shoulder asking if she could take a picture with us. I get a bit of that from Sounds and Shadows at music festivals. This was for Amaranth, this was different, this was a young person who really enjoyed what we played enough to chase me crossed a warehouse. I forgot how special that can feel.

Image by Whitney Flaherty

Cutting Room Floor | WINGTIPS (bandcamp.com)

WINGTIPS – When I spoke to Hannah and Vincent after the show I told them something I aspire towards. I have seen them about 7 times live now, and every time I see them is the best time. The darkest side of retro melodrama and beauty blended with furious emotional outburst and shocking realism. The amount of star power dripping from this duo is something you feel in your bones. They closed with “Last Minute” which was my first introduction to them. The song that was my first love. The perfect close to a wonderful event of memories.

Images by Whitney Flaherty

Overall I

Now a brief interview with B.P who made his dream a reality.

Ken: What made you first fall in love with this music and scene?

B.P: My passion for dark music is deep rooted. I started attending goth nights in Detroit back in the 90’s. The scene just felt like home. Goth nightlife, music, fashion, and subculture has been a part of my identity since those early days. As well as writing and recording dark-wave and industrial music. Throughput the years Detroit deejays and bands have kept the music alive in the underground. And I love that.

Ken: I really felt a sense of kindred spirit in you. You are a Dreamer like me. Tell me what you wanted to accomplish with this festival? What was your vision ?

B.P. : Thank you, Ken. After getting to talk with you a at the festival I felt that too. I remember telling someone, Ken is a great guy, he is sincere, passionate, and sees the big picture. The goal of SKULL was to bring together as much of the regional talent possible to provide an opportunity for Detroit’s goth music scene to build a stronger community and more support for the musicians and deejays as well as the artists, vendors, and lovers of all things goth. I truly hope everyone met someone great that they didn’t know before. Or made friends with an acquaintance. Because we have so many wonderful people in our scene.

Ken: Tell me about some of the people who helped you pull off this ambitious undertaking?

B.P. : Remnant aka Casey Discursion of Defiled was the first person I had a conversation with about bringing together the older and younger music fans of goth and industrial in Detroit. There is a great divide in ages and genres and he understood how all of the sounds could compliment each other and that creating a stronger community was possible. There are a couple silent partners behind SKULL that believe in the mission. The SKULL managers Xaina, Marie, Stacey, and Jai Jay all did an amazing job in their leadership roles. There were also several friends of mine and deejays that helped physically put the event together and promote it for months. I am grateful for all of their efforts.

Ken: Why was it so important to include an all-ages day for the festival? Why should more festivals do this?

B.P. : There are a lot of young goths out there. One, they deserve to have a place to experience the subculture, and two, they are the future of our community.

Ken: 5) What is your hope for the future of Skull Festival as well as the Detroit scene?

B.P.: We have several meetings coming up with the main people involved in SKULL and I know there are a lot of creative ideas floating around on what to do next. All things will be taken into consideration and once we decide on our next goth adventure we will make an announcement. Stay tuned 🖤💀 Ken, thank you for your time and your efforts in the world of dark music.

November Sounds And Shadows Darkscene Singles Chart

Nearing the end of the year and just in time for Bandcamp Friday we have the latest addition of the S & S chart. November was an amazing month for new music. I found a ton at the Detroit Skull Fest which I will be putting an article out about soon. In the meantime, I encourage all of you to support our scene by listening to these singles chosen by our group of Artists, Djs, Promotors, Reviewers, and Super Fans. Each song here is a single released in Nov 2022 and voted on by our group. If you have a single release in December, or know someone who does, post it in the December poll.

  1. Matt HartTerraform
  2. Derision Cult (Feat: Chris Connelly and Gabriel Reeves)Deaf Blood
  3. ST///LLDarkened Eyes
  4. Minuit MachineFollower
  5. Anti-Social ClubEmpty
  6. SINE Je Suis
  7. STAERManifold
  8. Mari KattmanFever Shakes
  9. Null DeviceFor You
  10. Mechanical Vein X Moris BlakCemetary Wind

MATT HART – Great to see UK artist Matt Hart get the number 1 spot. This single is a banging narrative short film in sonic form. Dystopian sci fi full of underground machinery, perseverance and rebirth. I love the sharp edges and skull smashing mid-tempo beats.

TERRAFORM – SINGLE | MATT HART (bandcamp.com)

Derision CultDeaf Blood – West Chicago Industrial band with an all star contributor list of Chris Connelly and Reeves Gabrels. Slamming drum progression and wicked guitar solo with the iconic Connelly vocals, what is not to love?

Mercenary Notes Pt 1 | Derision Cult (bandcamp.com)

st///llDarkened Eyes – UK band I wasn’t aware of before they popped onto the chart. Really cool slushy Chameleons meets The Dammed post punk vibes. The basslines here in particular are really infectious. You have my attention.

Darkened Eyes | st///ll (bandcamp.com)

Minuit MachineFollower – French based ultra-cold wave with the always amazing  Hélène de Thoury of Hante with vocals from Amandine Stioui. An icy gust of winding motion and shimmer. This album is so effortlessly cool. I feel like the slickest version of myself when I am listening to it.

24 | Minuit Machine (bandcamp.com)

Anti-Social ClubEmpty – Really cool project from two group members Pete and Greg. Sweet throwback synthgoth anthem, I love the vocals here, big Peter Murphy energy with harmonies from Rachael Fuhs. This track is the perfect blend of fresh and familiar. That chorus drops like an A bomb.

Last Train to Oblivion | Anti-Social Club (bandcamp.com)

SINE – I recently got to discuss this single with Rona in an upcoming interview we will be releasing. Slow steps over smoking volcanic earth with whispered vocals that declare I am. I love how this powerful and sensual confidence oozes in waves while making a sound impossible to place in a box.

Mantis Complete | SINE (bandcamp.com)

ST∆ERManifold – I was so excited to see electronic texture artist Ian R. Staer crack the singles charts. This isn’t a “typical” single bopper. It is emotional landscape painting in sonic form. Stretching and breathing with a story created in the listeners mind. I really love that our listeners are picking songs this cerebral.

Written, performed, and recorded by Ian R. Staer.

Mixed by Chris Vrenna at Bluebird Studio, Huntsville AL.

Mastered by Eric Oehler at Submersible, Madison WI

Equilibrium | ST∆ER (bandcamp.com)

Mari KattmanFever Shakes – One of my favorite humans in the scene, the amazing burning energy of Mari releases this stomping shadowpop single full of bopping beats and furious delivery. A picture Mari in silver robot armor with a blue electric broadsword carving a swath through her enemies.

Fever Shakes | Mari Kattman (bandcamp.com)

Null Device – For You – The mostly Wisconsin based electronic band with this gorgeous old school synth single that puts me in mind of Depeche Mode “Construction Time Again” blended with powerful Annie Lenox style vocals from Sheridan. Powerful and emotive this whole EP is a must have. Which is why I have it

Eric Oehler – Vocals, Synths, Violin, Guitars
Jill Sheridan – Vocals, Lyrics, Synths
Eric Goedken – Lyrics, Additional Production
Kendra Kreutz – Cello

The Emerald Age | Null Device (bandcamp.com)

Mechanical Vein x MORIS BLAK – Powerhouse team up from England and Boston for this stabbing cadence with some electro Nu Metal energy. This is a positive banger. Glitchy, bass pounding goodness to set your dancefloor ablaze.

Cemetery Wind | Mechanical Vein x MORIS BLAK | Mechanical Vein (bandcamp.com)

It’s Hard To Believe The Sounds and Shadows Darkscene Singles Chart Has Been Around A Whole Year

One year ago in October I was discussing with Hide, do charts still matter in 2021? What is the point in modern times and do the current charts accurately represent what our scene values? It was a pretty good debate discussing pros and cons. In the end I decided to try letting the wise and tasteful members of our Sounds and Shadows group. Comprised of Djs, Reviewers, Bands, Promotors, and Super Fans that are the lifeblood of this scene. No pay for play. Just a simple vote on what music you are hearing that makes you feel something. I wasn’t sure this would be something I would continue to feel the value of. 12 months later, I have come to really appreciate what this chart brings to the scene. The way that amazing music gets recognized here that doesn’t find it’s way to other charts. As always these are all singles released in October and voted on by our group members.

  1. Panic Priest AngelStealNegative Gain
  2. Object XOut Of Place
  3. IAMTHESHADOWThe Wide StarlightCold Transmission Music
  4. The Burying KindIn Black And White
  5. Dread RisksExtinction FormBrutal Resonance
  6. Dog Tablet Ashes
  7. Morgue VVitch X AllicornHigher
  8. Actors + Bootblacks Boys keep Swinging (Bowie Cover) – Artoffact Records
  9. CarrionCount The ScarsProdukt 42
  10. Mona Mur – Dream Rider – Give/Take

Panic Priest – ANGELSTEAL – Jack has a gorgeous and razor streaming style between the cracks of the darkscene. Warm crooning Baritone, waterfall backdrop synths, and lightning crackle guitar leads. Panic Priest always needs more recognition and having this single as number 1 is a fitting start. People need to start recognizing Jack as one of the top voices in the modern scene.

ANGELSTEAL | Panic Priest | Midnight Mannequin Records (bandcamp.com)

Object XOut of Place – From Reno Nevada a band I was not familiar with but shot to #2 on this chart. I really liked the single, a deep resonant poetry in the vocals and Nick Cave style organic ghost story style. I really love the vocal harmony here, as well as the horror movie samples from Bela Lugosi’s 1931 Dracula. The space opera bending guitars add a wonderful tension to the narrative. This track was a wonderful surprise I didn’t know I needed.

Out of Place | Object X (bandcamp.com)

IAMTHESHADOWThe Wide Starlight – I talk a lot about the expectational song writing glory and passion of Portuguese band IAMTHESHADOW. I will always buy anything Pedro puts out on Cold Transmission unheard, because he has never let me down . What always astounds me is how different every new album sounds. This new single is such a contrast to “Pitchblack”. It is expansive, hopeful, and dynamic with the soul and accessibility of Psychedelic Furs. A band that is always taking you on a fresh emotional journey.

The Wide Starlight | IAMTHESHADOW (bandcamp.com)

The Burying KindIn Black and White – I love everything about this release. The quality of the song writing and musicianship. The method acting delivery of the lyrics. When a band can get lost in the emotion of their own release it is a powerful thing that cannot be faked. This album is up for top releases of the year. This single will transport you places.

In Black and White | The Burying Kind (bandcamp.com)

Dread Risks – Extinction Form – New Video single from our favorite Texas DoomDustrial band. It’s hard, mean, creeping danger, which culminates in a sledgehammer delivery of broken pieces and mysterious questioning. This is a band I really need to see live.

(36) Dread Risks – Extinction Form (Live) – Elysium Austin, September 16, 2022 – YouTube

Dogtablet – Ashes – Industrial legend Martin King who i recently had the pleasure of meeting in person at Cold Waves with this tantalizing delay deep space exploration single from the new EP. I always love tracks of this project where Martin lets his own voice shine. Every new song for this project feels like a hound off the chain running free, because these expert songsmiths have nothing left to prove and are releasing abstract concepts without limits.

Ashes | Dogtablet (bandcamp.com)

Morgue VVitch x ΔLLICΘRNHigher – New Collab of ethereal witchtrance crystal towers. Tara’s climbing vocal style paired with the sleek sky climbing synth structures and a glorious blend of dream inspiring fantasy. Two great artists leaving me hungry for what is next.

Higher | Morgue VVitch x ΔLLICΘRN | Allicorn (bandcamp.com)

Actors + Bootblacks Boys Keep Swinging – What is not to love about two of the top names in modern darkscene teaming up to cover a David Bowie deep cut while producing a gorgeous gender fluid video. This video is absolutely staggering. If somehow you don’t know about these bands, do yourself a favor and open up to the glorious new wave of modern postpunk

CarrionCOUNT THE SCARS – Wonderful crunchy horror synth from Hide Tepes. This new single is mixed and mastered by Mike Nolan in Michigan and adds a refinement and focus to the brilliant artistic expression that Hide hurtles with reckless abandon into everything he does. A storm of broken shards raining down.

COUNT THE SCARS | Carrion (bandcamp.com)

Mona MurDream Rider – Another single off the latest album of the Berlin electronic punk icon. Sparkling and jagged like a skiff hurtling through the desert. I love the purposeful force of this track, the way it doesn’t fit in any box but it’s own. This whole album is a modern classic. I did a recent interview with Mona and it gave me a fresh appreciation for her contribution to the modern scene.

Dream Rider | Mona Mur (bandcamp.com)

This chart has been growing every month for a year. If you have a darkscene single release in November or know someone who does, make sure you add it to the Sounds and Shadows Facebook group, and support underground music.

Darkness falls across the land The midnight hour is close at hand. Creatures crawl in search of the best in new darkscene music.

It is Halloween weekend, that special time of the year where everyone celebrates leaning into the darkness which our scene embraces all year long. As I get ready for an Amaranth show on Sat I will share some reviews of what I have been listening to during the spookiest of months.

Ashes FallenNew Normal – Brand new Single from Sacramento goth rockers, this one has this awesome Batcave B52s vibe. Energetic and dangerous like a twirling skirt on a dance floor. I can hear the curl of James lip on the vocal deliver. The keyboard has a Hammond B3 organ feel that adds to the Skoth Madness effect. banger.

New Normal | Ashes Fallen (bandcamp.com)

Cyborg AmokEtiam – Another quirky goth rock hybrid blend from the Father/Son NJ project. A definite psychedelic Syd Barrett meets Depeche Mode flavor. The multiple decades of influence, sharing music within your family really gives a unique sound and every song feels like a legacy and discussion.

released October 8, 2022

All songs written by Greg Bullock, (except, Golden Years, by David Bowie).
All songs performed by Cyborg Amok:
Greg Bullock: Lead Vocal and Synthesizers.
Brydon Bullock: Drums/Percussion and Backing Vocal.

Additional musicians:
Adam Vaccarelli: Bass on all songs (except Wicked Close).
Frani Lugo: Guitar on (Some) Sleep Tonight.

Drums, Vocals and “(Some) Sleep Tonight” Guitar recorded at Retromedia Studios, Red Bank, NJ
Engineered by Adam Vaccarelli.
Synths, Loops, Sequencing and some backing vocals recorded in GABWorx, Studio B, New Egypt, NJ
Engineered by Greg Bullock

Produced by Greg Bullock
Mixed by Adam Vaccarelli at Retromedia Studios.
Mastered by Mark Trewella at Full Circle Mastering, Ashville, NC

https://gabworxllc.bandcamp.com/album/etiam

Desmond DoomSurf​-​Goth EP – My favorite Shoegaze is The Jesus and Mary Chain style surf Shoegaze. It makes sense I fell immediately in love with Australian surf goth with a haunting blend of New Order Movement and the slushy cascading bop of The Ventures. A lot to get lost in here, people need to know about this.

Surf-Goth EP | Desmond Doom (bandcamp.com)

Secret ShameAutonomy – Currently out on tour with one of my favorite modern darkscene bands Vision Video I am constantly amazed by the slippery edges and bursting intensity of the NC band. I’m just blown away by how many sonic emotions are crammed into this firefly jar. The haunting lilt of the vocals, the gnashing wolf jaw guitars, the shifty darting baselines. The production here is razor sharp. Anyone who says modern music lacks complexity is not listening to this. 10/10.

Recorded at Drop of Sun June 2021 and February 2022 by Alex Farrar
Mixed by Alex Farrar
Produced by Secret Shame and Alex Farrar
Mastered by Carl Saff

Cover art by Lena and Aster
Cover photo by Jonny Leather
Layout by Nathan

credits

released October 28, 2022

Lena – Vocals, synth
Aster – Guitar, backing vocals on Zero
Matthew – Bass, synth, backing vocals on Hide, additional guitar on Accelerate and Pink Staircase
Nathan – Drums

Additional guitar and backing vocals on Hide by Lemon Malandra

Autonomy | Secret Shame (bandcamp.com)

METAMORPH (Margot Day)Kiss of the Witch – Lovely new shadowhouse from New York with the captivating Margot Day and produced by Erik Gustafson of (Adoration Destroyed). This is wispy ghost grind, club music with a captivating cyclone of soul circling the abyss. I love hearing Erik’s fingerprints behind Margot’s storytelling and delivery. A powerful combo to fill the room behind your cauldron.

Kiss of the Witch | METAMORPH (Margot Day) | Metamorph (Margot Day) (bandcamp.com)

Tears for ʇhe DyingEyes Wide Open in the Dark – I have an upcoming interview with the raw stalking intensity from the Georgia batcave project Adria Stembridge. The purple flame fury of her truth will make the hair on your arms stand up. You can really hear the devotion to early goth sounds in every track. Blood runs down the walls of my vision when I play this EP. A wandering chaos surrounded by tendrils or The Cure Pornography and sinister siren vocals full of Switchblade Symphony. One of those bands I really look forward to seeing live to fully appreciate

Eyes Wide Open in the Dark | Tears for ʇhe Dying (bandcamp.com)

KMFDMHY​Ë​NA – So this isn’t a band that needs my support. One of the well known voices in Industrial music. I recently saw them for this tour in Pontiac while seeing Bradley Bills of CHANT. This album brings you much of what you love if you are a fan of KMFDM. Bonfire bright drum beats overlayed with trash compactor crushing guitars. I think the biggest change from the KMFDM of my youth is the maturity of Sasha’s voice. It is a more mellow growl without losing the glistening sharp metal.

HYËNA | KMFDM (bandcamp.com)

Kali DreamerOctober Requiem: 1988 – Derek Christopher turned me on to this Columbus OH artist who is doing a truly unique blend of old school goth and hip hop cadence with a macabre edge. I was immediately hooked, the poetry of the lyrics with the truthful confidence of cadence. You can’t mistake the terror rap elements of Esham in the dark lyric style but the talent and beauty of Kali’s vocals add a modern and gorgeous element. I was truly floored by the quality of this. I just don’t hear enough to suprise me with it’s uniqueness anymore. This album achieved that.

Favorite Track: Hellbender – This was relatable, bouncing, heavy concept gorgeous flow. The guitar was a perfect contrast. Everything about this fusion sound is pure chef kiss.

October Requiem: 1988 | Kali Dreamer (bandcamp.com)

Review Of The Burying Kind “Tragic Airwaves”

This project will always strike a special chord in my heart. In 2020 my cat Freyja was diagnosed with aggressive cancer in her leg. It was a really dark time for me. She got an operation and I am overjoyed to report she is doing wonderful. When it happened A ton of generous souls in this scene stepped up to help me with a benefit album to offset costs. So many in fact I started running out of space. So I started pairing up artists for collaboration. One of those pairings was Chicago Industrial percussion master Dan Milligan (The Joy Thieves) and romantic goth crooner Scott-David Allen (A Covenant Of Thorns). The team up started as a drop-dead gorgeous remix of “Dahlia“, then blossomed into a friendship which produced the 2020 self titled EP that became my favorite shoegaze album of the year “The Burying Kind

A Covenant of Thorns – Dahlia (The Joy Thieves Remix) | Sounds and Shadows | The Amaranth (bandcamp.com)

The Burying Kind is Scott-David Allen and Dan Milligan.

Additional musicians:
James Scott -bass guitar and backing vocals
Bobby Simons -bass guitar

Special thanks to Laura Glyda

Recorded at A Handful of Nothing Studio, Smoulderman Studio, & Populist Recording

All songs written, recorded and produced by The Burying Kind
Mixed by Dan Milligan at Smoulderman Studio
Mastered by James Scott at Populist Recording & Mastering

▶︎ Tragic Airwaves | The Burying Kind (bandcamp.com)

I may be too close to this record. Enraptured by the story surrounding it. I can’t help but be struck by the staggering beauty and truth of it. It was this thing I got to watch grow and refine from infancy into something that mattered. Something that transcended genre and the music business. An abstract feeling that wells within you in solitary moments, a place of memory and blurry edges. This 12-track full length is a solitary lighthouse on a grey shore with Scott-David‘s romantic tragic poetry delivered with piercing emotional impact. The music is layered and complex for decerning listeners to unravel. I love nothing more in this high-speed age than hearing the time and intent that went into an artistic concept. It’s a presence and weight that gives every listen a reverence.

Favorite Tracks:

Coming Through – I know, picking the single first is lame, but this is absolutely gorgeous. The drums here are an absolute masterwork of movement. Scott-David’s voice is an expansive whisper that grows and pleads a self-reflective honesty that offers true soul.

Explode – Something about the frantic nature of this track really speaks to me. The drums have a front edge attack in the verse that allows the chorus to spread like liquid mercury in a sunbeam. It’s the extreme dynamics of emotion without ever raising the volume or tempo that gives it a special power.

Overall: This is an album for connoisseurs. For fans of My Bloody Valentine and The Cure a like. It is a place for diving into mystery and unraveling the depths of something that doesn’t come simple in a world where everything is designed not to make you think harder. We used to rejoice in music that made us swim beneath the surface. It’s time to rejoice in it once again.