Review: Death Loves Veronica – Concept

Review by : Katy Knal May

Band: Death Loves Veronica

Label: Cleopatra Records

Members: Live act includes Jamie Cadaver on synths, Chase Bats on drums, Detra on bass, Veronica Campbell on vocals and synths.

Home Base: San Antonio, TX

https://deathlovesveronica.bandcamp.com/

https://www.facebook.com/deathlovesveronica/

Concept is the latest release by Death Loves Veronica. The album is industrial, cosmic, electronic, symphonic, cinematic, and synth-heavy. You’ll feel an array of emotion as you listen, but it won’t fill you with hope.  This Sci-Fi film inspired album is dark and may make you feel like you’re aimlessly lost somewhere far from the home you know.

It’s not often that I find myself listening to such ambient music, but this was truly a pleasure. This album is visual, deep, and thought provoking. When I first heard it, I felt elevated and emotional. 

Concept is hypnotic.  From the moment the first track, “Overdose” begins I felt taken somewhere else. The tracks flow together and form a story arch that is so intense I couldn’t help but write my mental movie to play along with the screen.

Something about how this score is laid out makes it feel like the setting is in a distant future where Earth is just a memory.  I personally felt like I was on a spaceship where everyone is sleeping in pods, waiting for a signal to awaken.  Suddenly, something goes horribly wrong and the ship has to make an emergency landing on a foreign landscape.  In the end, when “The Process of Sedation” finishes, the feeling of resolve and relief is huge.

Some favorite tracks

Process – There is only one song that has lyrics, “Process,” and it is my personal favorite.  What I liked the most about it was how the track teases as it slowly builds.  The track has a tension and darkness that gave me an odd sense of comfort by the end that was so relieving.  Not to mention, Campbell’s lyrics are perfectly ominous and her voice is airy, like she’s standing right behind you.  

The Process Of Sedation– Close your eyes and find yourself encompassed by darkness. The void feels lonely, but there’s a pulse keeping you going. While this is the longest track on the album, it’s also the most cinematic. It has a story arc of it’s own. One second you feel like you’re in a room with a malfunctioning motherboard, then some tribal beats come in and it’s like you’re reflecting on your own existence. Then there’s a part that’s so human, it’s like you’re back home on earth. By the end, that chilling effect that’s filled this album comes in and leaves you with a haunting feeling.

Probably my favorite aspect of this album is only one song has lyrics out of the five, so it’s the music alone that gave me a reaction. No one is narrating the story, which makes the plot more subjective.  A room full of people can listen to this album and get similar feelings at similar times, but have a completely different mental image of what’s going on. That’s fucking art, y’all.

If you’re interested in learning more about this album or artist, check out their website at  https://deathlovesveronica.bandcamp.com/. “Concept” will be available on September 13, 2019.

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Hot new releases in October

It has admittedly been tough to get behind the keyboard in October. I have had a lot of focus on my band and lots of shows I needed to see. However I wanted to take a moment to call out a few important releases this month.

First and foremost is a new single from goth legend Caroline Blind of Sunshine Blind. Sunshine Blind was so important to many of us that fell in love with goth industrial music in the 90s. It really opened my mind to how something could be both delicate and beautiful at the same time as ferocious and intense. The album, ” Liquid,” was a CD I played until the scratches looked like grooves on a record. I just had the pleasure of seeing her open for Stoneburner in Detroit, and it was like being transported back in time. This first single in far too long is a cover of my favorite Swans song, “Godamn the Sun“. It is moving in it’s nihilistic humor and gloom. I feel like this version takes everything wonderful about the original and adds a level of stark contrast from the gorgeous soul of her voice. The ringing acoustic guitar and timed delivery has an almost Leonard Cohen feel in it’s poetry. This is a must hear for lovers of dark music.

https://carolineblind.bandcamp.com/releases?fbclid=IwAR1rsGgTNAF389aEwZHX6GsxmGgHndN7w_zEe8v1iOSn3XnFWU3zxqk586c

The lovely lads from Texas Twin Tribes have done it again. Their first single from a sophomore album, Ceremony’s, shows another level in the electric progression of one of post punk musics fastest rising stars. There is a smooth synthesis to the flow and texture of these singles that is surpassing the already brilliant Shadows. Each song is a Ceremony that brings you inside it’s ritual and core. The personal connection created from these songs makes it a contender for album of the year.

Our dear friends in S Y Z Y G Y X have unleashed a Halloween single called, “Samhain”. They always have a spooky, atmospheric edge, spurned on by Luna’s truly unique vocals. For this cemetery dance jam, they turned the danger up to 11. Feast on the nightmares in sonic explosive form.

Ghost of Bela Lugosi, the man too intensely punk rock to ever hold between the lines, unleashed this searing napalm of a single. I am always surprised how much every song he releases is so different and so good. This one is an unapologetic throat punch of melodic fury. It’s hard to sit still just to write about it.

https://ghostoflugosi.bandcamp.com/album/colombian-neck-tie?fbclid=IwAR1qjVVV1w7Q3MnaUwArvsjK7Lkb5aRrwaITUVC6y5Z_YoIO9WByeAicirw

Carrion N.O released a new single, “Through the Eyes of Flys.” Another Halloween sinister noise assault in the vein of the Goblins. Full of atmospheric terror and slow building tension. I don’t want to run into this song in a dark alley.

https://officialcarrion.bandcamp.com/track/through-the-eyes-of-flies?fbclid=IwAR1586Qxl4ezaItvoa0jMgUWkWwaMD8rpeY2U9X7BpWuFOsDOCBF18zaFAY

And Screw it, a band named Amaranth I am pretty fond of, made a new single, and I think it is peachy keen 😉

https://theamaranth.bandcamp.com/track/my-turn-again?fbclid=IwAR2pJtCXNtaUCdzW5SgY3GHFRDjiTLi4qfySKvuZ5gjmRW0k7-JmrkIYZWc

Release of The Purge “It Was Worse Than I Thought”

Exclusive Album link HERE ^^^^^^^^

We are very excited to premier the release of The Purge’s new EP single “It was Worse Than I Thought” I have been a fan of the Thomas Duerig’s music for some time now. I feel like this track was a wonderful evolution from some of his earlier power screaming into the void and instead brings an emotive pleading cast forth at the world. One of the great strengths of this project is Thomas doesn’t sound like the typical voices I associate with Dark Wave music. He flings forth lilting and exposed melodies that hold so much feeling.

Musically this release is driving with the synth pads far to the front. I was taken in by how organic it sounds. The ringing of chimes and bells. The grinding mechanical attacks were a nice tribute to Pretty Hate Machine that turned 30 years old this week. I hear a lot of that influence in The Purge but with this single in particular it stands out. That letting the world into a head swimming with emotion that you don’t really have a grip on. The guitar lines are fierce and aggressive but used sparingly to add real weight and power. It is a song that takes you somewhere leading by it’s heart.

Thomas has also used this song as a vehicle for change. I recently did a piece about artists supporting the things they believe in and Thomas is putting his money where his mouth is.

ALL PROCEEDS FROM THE SALE OF THESE SONGS ON BANDCAMP, UNTIL DECEMBER 31, 2020, will be donated to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention through their Virginia Beach Chapter.*

These two tracks are a continuation from the album The Purge produced in the Summer of 2017. The story so far has been “Carried Away,” “Is He Alive,” “Hurt You,” and “Damaged If I Don’t Broken If I Do.”

There are nine songs on this “lost album” in total. When all of the songs have been released, there will be a remastering of the old tracks before an album release.

The Purge has recently associated with their local chapter of the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP) and will be donating all proceeds earned from this release until the end of the year to the AFSP. Remember that sometimes there’s a lot to say, we are social animals, and, if you are feeling overwhelmed with life or feel like there is no one who will listen, there are people who want to hear from you and you are not alone. Very special thank you to Katherine Martinez for compiling the following resources:

Crisis lines (available 24/7)

National Suicide Prevention hotline: 1800-273-8255 (veterans press option 1)

Crisis textline: text TALK to 741741 – law enforcement can text BLUE to 741741

Veterans textline: 838255

The Trevor Project (Crisis line for LGTBQ+): 1866-488-7386 or text START to 678678

Additional Numbers

Translife line support for transgender people from people who are also transgender: 1877-565-8860

SAGE LGBT Elder hotline support for older adults: 1888-234-7249 (SAGE)

RAINN sexual assault/rape (available 24/7): 1800-656-4673

Domestic Violence Hotline (available 24/7): 1800-799-7233

Human Trafficking Hotline (available 24/7): 1888-373-7888

Child Abuse Hotline (Available 24/7): 1800-552-7096

Military One Source (Available 24/7): 1800-342-9647

Safe Call Now for First Responders (available 24/7): 1206-459-3020

Cop 2 Cop for First Responders (available 24/7): 1866-267-2267

Code9 for First Responders: 1929-244-9911

https://rainn.org/ offers support to someone who is a survivor of sexual assault or abuse (RAINN)

https://www.halfofus.com/ gives information on mental health conditions

http://www.ulifeline.org/ connects college students to mental health services

https://connect2affect.org/ connects the elderly who may be struggling

http://www.eatingdisordersanonymous.org/ connects persons seeking help for eating disorders

http://www.aftersilence.org/ online support group for survivors of rape, sexual assault, or sexual abuse

http://breakthecycle.org/ gives information on supporting people ages 12-24 on how to build healthy relationships without abuse

https://deafdove.org/ helps those in the Deaf and deaf community who may be in an abusive relationship

https://humantraffickinghotline.org/ resource to report human trafficking or seek help if you are someone being trafficked.

https://youarerad.org/ helps find free mental healthcare

https://adaa.org/ helps give information on mental disorders like anxiety as well as support for those who need it.

https://dbasilence.org/ depression and bipolar support alliance that helps people find support groups and information

https://thepurgeva.bandcamp.com/album/it-was-worse-than-i-thought


Review of Joy Thieves “Cities In Dust”

Artist: Joy Thieves

Album: Cities in Dust

Label: Armalyte

Hometown: Chicago IL

Members: Holy Shit too many to count 🙂 Please see Facebook link below Chris Connelly , Dave Suycott , Louis Svitek , Ania Tarnowska , Eric Liljehorn , Mike Reidy , Matthew Clark , James Scott , Dan Milligan , Michael Allen , John Fryer , Lana Guerra , Gordon Young , Howie Beno , Mike Czarnik

https://www.facebook.com/pg/TheJoyThieves/about/?ref=page_int

https://armalyte.bandcamp.com/album/the-joy-thieves-cities-in-dust

The Joy Thieves are a massive collaboration with over thirty contributors gathered together by Dan Milligan. When i first heard this EP my initial description was “This is what it would sound like if Clutch beat the shit out of Stabbing Westward with a baseball bat” I still stand by that. This record has a ton of big name Industrial contributors and the Pigface, Ministry, Chicago Industrial sound is prevalent. To me what really made this record shine was the hard rock aspects charging forward which included aspects of industrial. Not the other way around. Dan is a drummer by trade and this percussion fills every inch of space and creates such electric movement. These tracks have melody and catchy hooks, but it’s the teeth that sets them apart. It bites hard, visceral, and does not let you go.

This EP includes remixes and a cover of “Siouxsie and the Banshees” sung by the amazing Ania Tarowska of I Ya Toyah. Her vocals are a fierce guttural homage to the queen of goth punk and pulls off something I had lost hope for. Making a song that was so incredible it had been overplayed into the ground, sound fresh and crackling with energy once again. The musicianship on the guitars make every song sizzle with true foot stomping ferocity of rabid wolves attacking in unison. Every song finds a way to build in succession and find a new voice.

Lets talk about favorite tracks. It is an EP so I will limit to two.

Honeycomb and Silk – This song is a freaking master class in percussion and drive. Thick slashing guitars are chased like wild horses by whip crack snare snaps. The vocals are a driving chant with range and intensity. I just want to play this song and break shit.

Cities in Dust – I hate to use a cover for best tracks but this one is a show stopper. There was so much potential to go wrong covering this song. Cities in Dust has been played at every goth night since the Vandals sacked Rome. Although I love it I almost dread hearing it at this point. Then Dan and company found a way to turn it up to 11. Ania attacks it with a ferocity I think Siouxsie herself would be proud of. Plus the humming guitar lead really cuts through the mix to give a blistering hard rock feel. They made me give a shit about Cities in Dust again.

Overall this EP was a blistering fresh romp through the wild west of hard rock on an mechanical horse. The lineup is so chocked full of talent it couldn’t help but obliterate every target it set sights on. Sometimes you just need to flay with reckless abandon and swing your arms to intense perfect precision drum beats. This is the album to do that to. Turn it on, max your volume, and scream until your neighbors know just who they are fucking with.

We could separate the art from the artist, but should we?

This past weekend I had the privilege of attending Cold Waves VIII. There, I witnessed many amazing bands but also got to enjoy the company of fellow musicians and artists. The experience was full of beautiful memories in an inclusive environment. I got to meet a lot of veteran big named acts and was pretty blown away how all of them treated me with acceptance and smiles.

That said, when musicians get together it can be a real sewing circle; they talk. There was a bit of a controversial subject that happened on the final night that had my Facebook feed buzzing with hot takes about a t-shirt, and how it was handled. I also ended up in a few conversations about other artists in the industry going through controversy at the moment. Now this is not a “news outlet.” I am not a “journalist,” so I am not going to comment on any specifics that I have not researched. This is also not a gossip rag so I definitely won’t monger any rumors. However, this is something on my mind, so I was curious to get takes from all of you about how stories coming out on artists effect how you feel about their music?

My personal stance is that in 2019 we have an unprecedented level of access to the people that make our music. I pretty much hold David Bowie up as a deity. I literally have a candle of his image in roman catholic style in my window. Yet I remember the recent news story involving him from two young ladies under 16 in the 70’s who described an encounter with him as an adult man. If I heard of the exact same scenario from anyone I know, this would be someone I would immediately confront about how inappropriate this is. It’s not as though stories like this are unique to David Bowie. I just used him as an example because his music is so deeply meaningful to me, yet this behavior is also deeply reprehensible to me.

This debate that effects our current cultural landscape encompasses a plethora of social issues. Goth/Industrial/Punk has always had politics and social movement at the forefront of the art they create. With social media as a platform to discuss artists thoughts anytime and any place, it is harder than ever to separate what you are listening to from who you are listening to.

I come down on the issue here: It’s not too much to ask the artists you love to be basically decent human beings. I think there is a lot of spectrum for how much of your personal morality you expect from them. It’s your hard earned cash to spend on music, and there is too much available from artists that come within a range you are comfortable with to not draw a line. If you make the choice to be a public performer, this is part of the world. For better or for worse, your choices are on display. That is a responsibility that effects others. If someone can’t find it in themselves to care about how their choices effect those around them, I have a hard time respecting that person, and therefore the music they make. Also, if someone does make an effort to grow after a mistake, when does their penance become enough to warrant forgiveness?

Luckily, we here in the goth/industrial/post punk/ect counter culture have a scene that is very open minded, supportive, and accountable on average. So I choose to end this talking about artists I have encountered who were awesome people and are effecting change in a positive way with their art. When someone does wrong, it tends to spread quickly. I think it is equally important to talk about people going the extra mile for something right.

Jim Semonik – Runs Distortion Productions and Electronic Saviors charity organization. Jim is a survivor of colorectal cancer. Now, on it’s 3rd album, Jim has raised more than $70k in donations for various cancer research charities. This is a great guy who has enormous respect in the industry for letting his heart lead in distribution of music. Speaking with him, I am really impressed by how much he cares about discovering new talent, and finding ways to grow their audience.

http://www.electronicsaviors.com/?fbclid=IwAR3liQ1TSOz7B9QUfbM4OE9gONzmfu0SwQNV1BQDCvMZc289U8QgsGlQx3w

Cliff and Ivy – Alaska’s favorite goth couple are wonderful artists I have featured on the page many times. They run a radio program which highlights new artists, and in general do a ton to promote the scene. Last year they put together an amazing compilation for Identity Inc., a charity to provide services for the LGBTQ community in Alaska called Rainbow Goth.


https://rainbowgoth.bandcamp.com/

You need this compilation: GREAT CAUSE ^^^^^^^^

Black Nail Cabaret – Is a wonderful band that has been hitting their stride recently with their intense dark art house pop. They also put out an EP of covers with proceeds donated to Rain forest Action Network during the recent fires. They also have a track on the “Sounds from the Asylum” project which donates all proceeds to MIND and HEAR US charities for promoting mental health.

https://blacknailcabaret.bandcamp.com/

This cover of Pet Shop Boys “Rent” is straight FYRE! ^^^^^^^

Finally, Cold Waves Festival, who just finished year 8 of one of the best festivals in the scene, with big name acts and a sense of community which left me staggered. They give a portion of the proceeds to Darkest Before Dawn, a suicide prevention charity. The people who run it have done a true honor to their lost friend by raising awareness and celebrating what is best in life.

http://coldwaves.net/?fbclid=IwAR0nl5_jKvh_psZY0bv9GROQzhpOgdWh4BVdLQ5obpl-jHPs5tR6tf-B-xQ

The purpose of this piece is to start a conversation. I want to hear about Bands and individuals that are doing the good work in the scene, so we can help elevate them. Also, what is our role as listeners in holding artists accountable for toxic actions? How do we navigate the minutia in a world where everyone is always on display?

Bowie, Jim Morrison, Mick Jagger, Roger Waters, Andrew Eldrich, John Lennon, Bill Leib, Peter Steele, Ian Curtis, I love all the music. The odds I would consider all of them good examples of humanity……..?