Locked in Isolation with the Dark Thoughts of Others

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?


Steven Archer Rants: Dear Humans

Dear humans…

Look, shit looks kinda bleak at the moment.
It’s really not, things are changing and shits going to get hard for everyone, but it’s not the beginning of the apocalypse or anything.

Right now, the entire planet is going through shock. And they are grieving for the life that they took for granted and now feel is gone.

And as you well know, everyone grieves in different ways. Some use dark humor, so get online and complain, and some crawl into corners and make their own permanent choices to temporary situations.

And I get it, when you feel like everything is out of control, you look to the one thing that’s yours that you *can* do something about. And the action, in theory adds resolution to the whole thing. “Don’t know how it’s gonna end? Well if I kill myself then I have my very own timeline and do it on my own terms.”

But the thing is you’ve never known how this is gonna end. This whole life thing. Sure you’ve got plans, but obviously as has been demonstrated, it doesn’t take that much to rip us into pieces as it were.

So in the end, you’re looking at offing yourself because your plans got canceled.

Plans get canceled all the time though.

You’ve probably canceled someone else’s plans more than a few times. And they, like you, will pick themselves up, dust themselves off and make new plans.

Is all of this really inconvenient?
Sure as hell is.
Will we have to deal with a hurricane of bullshit?
Oh yes, including shit that you won’t see coming.

But, my dudes, this is nothing compared to living through WWII, or any of a thousand other things that humans have dealt with.

And never the less we persisted.

Because in the end, for as self destructive as we are, for all of the bullshit we have inflicted on each other, we are still here. And every day we learn new things about the universe or discover new animals or have kids or make art or whatever it is that makes life worth living for you.

It’s ok to feel sad.
Or helpless.
Or scared.

You will get through this.

Because anything else.
It’s just boring.
And is likely to make things worse for the people you leave behind.

And to be clear, my dudes, this is not written just for people thinking about offing themselves.

All of us are dealing with this grieving.

Keep that in mind.
Try to be tolerant and patient.

Reasons To Strive In A Decaying World

I can’t sugar coat this. The world is frightening and hard right now. People are scared for their financial future, their health and safety. Usually in times like these I turn to music more than ever. Even that has not been enough to inspire me. Tonight is the first time I am taking a stab at writing in a few weeks. Looking at the enormous wealth of material piled up in my inbox seems a daunting task. Tonight though, I felt that glimmer again. That need to share with you what is making me shine and feel connected in these dark times. Artists need to feel our love more than ever. Reach out and tell them you are listening. Show them you support them by buying their merchandise. Let them know culture still matters and the beauty of the world is still alive. Here is what touched me lately.

AttritionThe Great Derailer , This EP single from Martin Bowes Feat: Emese Árvai-Illés of Black Nail Cabernet is nothing short of breathtaking. I’m an enormous fan of her voice and style. This razor wire blend of Martin’s sandpaper and her silk to Industrial post modern jazz sounds is so fresh and so nostalgic. I have played this so many times in the last two weeks. Also the video is a must see piece of art on it’s own.


I Ya Toyah – Released Code Blue Reloaded: The one woman sonic army has uncorked this series of remixes from industry leaders like Skold, Joy Thieves, Adoration Destroyed, and Xentrifuge to bring re imaginings of 2018 emotional explosion Code Blue. Ania is currently shooting like a rocket to the top of the EDM /Electroclash world with her fearless emotional style. If you don’t know about I Ya Toyah know that your world could be brighter.


Joy ThievesA Blue Girl : New release from the Chicago Industrial superband The Joy Thieves. Led by Dan Milligan and featuring industrial titans like Chris Connelly, John Fryer, Ania Tarnowska, Gordon Young, and many more. This album is that seamless place where 90’s electronic industrial meets hard rock and organic excitement to find a blistering percussion express train to shake that assville.


ELZ and the CultHorrified: The Turkish electronic heartthrob is back with this creeping storm of broken glass and velvet vocals. This song oozes sex appeal and sinister intention. Dance hard and scrawl ancient runes upon thine wall.


Caroline BlindThe Spell Between : The first new album from Caroline Blind of Sunshine Blind is about to drop and although too long a wait is well worth it. She has assembled a who’s who of the goth scene from The Wake, Red Lorry Yellow Lorry, Switchblade Symphony, Pretentious Moi, Bellwether Syndicate, Muse. Do I have your attention yet. The record has covers and several new songs so full of passion and emotion I got misty several times listening. This is one of the all time powerhouse voices in goth spewing forth decades of ideas in one offering. It runs the range of dance hall burner, to soul baring acoustic Stevie Nicks tear jerker. If you never spent your formative years listening to Liquid, drinking black coffee and smoking cloves you need to embrace this release of all that made goth great. This record stands on the shoulders of it’s own giants.


Sopor AeternusIsland of the Dead : Honestly this is one of those bands I am embarrassed I didn’t already know about. I heard this on the Pat 626 show and I fell instantly in love. It’s dark, quirky, and utterly unique. It has a mystical and theatrical quality full of poetry and intensity. Brooding and whip crack sharp with hammer dulcimers and vocal deliver as sharp as a dagger. Music like this is my dark secret passion.


Antipole – Perspectives II : Another album of steller remixes from Karl and Antipole. This one featuring Actors, Crying Vessel, SYZYGYX, ect. You may think, how does Karl manage to continue getting such incredible artists to remix his songs? Because they are so fracking good. I am hard pressed to think of anyone who has more of a scholars approach to taking the concepts of the past like Joy Division/New Order/Cure then holding that concept and breathing it forth as a new idea. So when you have that dedication to sonic texture, the line of people willing to take those building blocks and mix them into something that inspires them is endless. Prepare for another amazing offering. Starting with the first single by Actors.


Black Angel The Widow: LA is doing a very bringing rock back to dark music thing at the moment. I hear a very psychedelic lizard king vibe happening here in this giant 16 song offering. Lots of steady movement and venom dripping from reverb laced retro amplifiers. I like the concept of a modern goth rock, but going back before Sisters of Mercy or Mission to a 60’s/70’s vide in dark music.


Panic Priest Nighthunter: A very different feel for Chicago darkwave Panic Priest on Negative Gain. Jack has a deep resonant voice dripping with sex appeal and introspective energy. This new single evokes a very 80’s Depeche Mode stack and build feel. I can’t wait to see what turns this new direction takes.


Ash Code1981 – Ash Code has released a new video and it is aesthetic and sonic glory. I always feel when i listen to them this ultra sleek coolness full of retro advent guard beauty and slithering excess that transports me and gives you a glimpse into an ultra hip life just beyond my pedestrian fingers. Just listening to this song makes me feel like a part of something more awesome than i am.


KlackDistancing : Klack is back with a twist on their single to remind you to give everyone a little space in these dangerous times. Love it.


Goth Covered –  Oskar Terramortis the goth father of Europe has put together this stunning compilation of modern goth rock bands doing old school goth covers. My favorite is Sonsombre doing Nosferatu Dark Angel . The whole thing is magnificent as always. I’m just bummed it didn’t include our Peter Murphy cover


I have no shame, I’ll include it now. This is Amaranth‘s cover of Peter Murphy‘s I’ll Fall With Your Knife Feat: Lorelei Dreaming. DON’T YOU FUKING JUDGE ME

Listen Darklings, the world is cruel and promises get broken. That doesn’t mean all hope is lost. Band together, look out for each other, and keep sharing music that inspires you. We will get through this together.

Sounds and Shadows Podcast #13 Featuring Ania of I Ya Toyah. Recorded 3/7/20

I love every podcast we have done. This one was really special though. Ania is such a force of nature. Her music, her passion, and laser focus on her goals. I really feel this is the most personal and revealing conversation we have had of an artist. It felt so good how much she opened up about her life and journey. This is a future star and being able to feel the glow of her rise is a gift. As always I will link the bands we discussed as well as pictures of her dog.



Intro song by Katy Needs a Life


The Joy Thieves Feat: Ania


Lorelei Dreaming
This is Benek love him!
Listen to Benek’s musical work


Lumbra Productions
I Ya Toyah donates to American Foundation for Suicide Prevention for every show

Steven Archer Rants Part 4


Once upon a time we had a guitar player. They brought their new guitar to practice which of course they were all kinds of excited about. Part of the way through practice her guitar stops making noise. She hit the strings, nothing. This particular guitar was fancy and had all kinds of dials for the pickups…so she starts fucking with it… I look over at my keyboard player, catch his eye, and direct it down to her volume pedal now in the off position. I mouth “let’s see how long…” Five minutes go by… Nothing. Eventually she figured it out. I was talking to my keyboard player later and he said something very succinct about it “you can’t troubleshoot a system unless you know how the system works.” A friend of mine has recently been starting up her own thing. In the past I have had others come to me hold all the parts up and say “make it work.” I guess forgetting that I have a thousand pans on a thousand fires all the time. And I look at the mess and say ,”No. not my circus not my monkeys.” Anyway my friend, on the other hand involved me in exactly the right way. She would text me and say “Hey, X thing Is a problem, how do I solve it.” And I would say more or less “here is how you find the answer to that problem.” I wasn’t withholding information, everyone’s setup is different, but often the methods used to troubleshoot are the same…. teach a man to fish and all that. As another example of the kind of problems that comes with not understanding your shit, one time we were on stage and the same guitarist had some sort of problem, and she walks over to me in the middle of the show and asks me to help her fix it. Obviously that kind of behavior in a pro setting is just unacceptable. That was a long time ago and wouldn’t happen now. I won’t have anyone in the bands or work with someone who doesn’t know their kit inside and out. Because THATS YOUR GODDAMN JOB. The shows, the crowd, anyone giving a shit about what you do? It’s all contingent on you actually being able to do the thing. TL;DR no one will take you seriously if you don’t take what you do seriously enough to put the time into learning every aspect of it. Go and do likewise.

Steven Archer is

in a dark-electronic-rock band called Ego Likeness.
I also paint, a lot
From time to time I write books…
Please buy our stuff so we can eat.
Music http://egolikeness.bigcartel.com/
Art http://www.etsy.com/shop/egolikeness

He makes things.
Ego Likeness being one of them.