If reading the phrase “industrial holiday ballad” skeeved you out any, I assure you that you aren’t the only one with a raised eyebrow. While Aesthetic Perfection mastermind Daniel Graves is no stranger to ballads – the tear-jerking closer to Blood Never Spills Far From the Wound that was “Devotion” comes to mind – a holiday-flavored tune seems especially out of pocket. Leave it to the Austrian implant to shake things up once again, as he wraps up his 2021 twelve songs in as many months project with “Lonesome Ghosts.”
As Graves himself writes:
“Lyrically, it tells the story of our longing for connection, our desire not to be alone, and offers hope that there is truly a chance at redemption – we’re not all doomed to spend our lives haunted by ghosts of the past.”
Teaming with Lord of the Lost’s Chris Harms, who also mixed the track, and German composer Corvin Bahn (Crystal Breed, Perpetual), Graves brings us a lamenting number about the longing, the Sehnsucht if you will that comes with this time of year, and with the ever-present beast that is the ongoing pandemic breathing down our necks, this loneliness can feel all too magnified.
Things start off soft, with a piano and Daniel’s voice, but by the time we hit the end, we have a guitar solo, a full orchestra, and sleigh bells ringing in what some call the most wonderful time of the year. Is it a quintessential AP track? Depends. Should it be someone’s first exposure to the king of independent industrial pop? Perhaps not. Is it a testament to the breadth of genres or subgenres that Daniel Graves can explore not only competently, but to a fair amount of success? Absolutely.
Check out the video for “Lonesome Ghosts” below, and stream/purchase the single on Bandcamp:
The incredible Belgian band, Slow Crush, has been making a name for itself in the post-punk and shoegaze scenes for the last few years. They’ve been called “My Bloody Valentine with a post-hardcore edge” by Guitar World and are described as “the sound to a beautiful alternate reality” by Kerrang. Now they’re bringing their dreamy and abrasive sound to the next level in their latest full-length album “Hush”.
I can’t start to tell you how much I love this album. After listening through it the first time, I was hooked. If you’re a lover of pedal driven music, you will too.
This album will take you many places with it’s simultaneous offering of harsh abrasiveness and delicate dreaminess. While the instruments are fluid and the vocals are angelic, the entire album has a pleasing fullness and overarching heaviness that makes even the harshest sounds favorable and welcomed in abundance.
“Hush” is the sophomore album by Slow Crush which exceeds it’s incredible predecessor “Aurora”. With shimmering melodies, soothing vocals by Isa Holliday, noise and chaos added on top, this album brings next-level emotion and intensity. The album was born from the ideas floated around between tour gigs in the beforetimes and brought to life by the worldwide lockdowns caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. It’s because of these circumstances that the album can both be light and melodic while carrying the weight of the world outside.
Drown: The opening track of the album which sets the tone for the what follows. With shimmering guitars and whirling noises, this song makes me feel like I’m seeing the world through frosted glass. There’s no way to describe how beautiful this track is. With dual vocals, a simple strumming guitar, and keyboard creating a lush atmosphere, I had tears in my eyes and couldn’t wait to hear the rest.
Swoon: This songs pace is a little faster. Opening with a crash of noise and drum fills, this track quickly takes a dark, pulsating turn. Throughout the song, there’s an amazing showcase of grinding guitars, obscure noises, and dissonant vocals that somehow create an absolutely beautiful post-rock track.
Lull: This is the first single released off the album and it’s the perfect track to showcase how heavy and beautiful this band can be. The song starts and it seems like it’s going to be soft and pretty. When the drums and guitars kick in, the song layers up. Without lacking in beauty, the overdriven guitars create a wave of loudness that gives me goosebumps. Check out the video below!
This album will surely make your album of the year list if you love shoegaze and post-punk. With walls of sound, celestial-like vocals, and shimmering instruments, “Hush” will throw you back to your favorite artists like My Bloody Valentine and Godspeed You! Black Emperor, while adding some new spices to the mix.
“Hush” will be available October 22, 2021 on vinyl, cd, and digital download via Quiet Panic. Also, stay tuned for updates on the bands upcoming WORLD tour!
SINE, an Austin based electro-industrial bona-fide rock band, has Control, which happens to be the name of the first and my favorite track of the album, “Desire, Denial and Paramnia”. The music crunches and creaks while lead singer and founder, Rona Rougeheart, shifts and mixes vocal styles, presenting the dichotomy and conflict of her lyrics without over-characterizing or identity segmentation.
And yet, the versatility and range continues throughout the album, not only vocally, but in production, structure, tone color, and cadence. The production is impeccable and Rogueheart wears her influences openly, yet doesn’t fall prey to mimicry or pantomime. Her artistic vision and sensibility remain clear while showcasing a thorough gradient of electro-industial-goth-rock. SINE’s latest foray almost feels like a greatest hits album, yet is showhow a cohesive and fully listenable experience from start to finish.
Sean Cook, a rare veteran of the 1990s Arkansas darkwave/industrial scene, has released music as Clusters of Fornication (a sly reference, that name!) in recent years. His fourth EP, Loss For Words, refines Cook’s vision, moving forward and reverently looking back.
Kicking off the EP, “Hate is a Carnivore” is a good example of the CoF sound – insistent beats, icy synths, and brittle, introspective vocals.
The opening moments of “Pandemica” marries an electro pulse with truly of-the-time subject matter – the rage and sadness that has tarnished the idealist’s vision for America.
“A God in the Reflection” is an effective condemnation of organized religion, with a beat reminiscent of The Cure’s “A Hundred Years”. The house-style bass supports the beat while remaining understated.
The EP proper wraps up with the minimal Kraftwerk-esque “Moscovium Element”. The beat diverges from straightforward mimimalism – like something Front Line Assembly might sample for their own work. Loss For Words concludes with a short demo called “Each Time”.
One’s first impression might focus on classic reference points – the high drama of the best Sisters of Mercy tracks, the foreboding of Clan of Xymox and contemporaries like Void Vision – but further listening will reveal contemporary relevance. It’s ponderous and simultaneously comfort food for darkly attuned ears.
I have been thrilled to watch as the Goth/Industrial community grows more diverse. Hats off again to Bandcamp for really putting their money where their mouth is to support both bands and the rights people of color. I will go through some of the things I am currently listening to so you can add to your list and support a great cause.
LEATHERS – Reckless – The long anticipated EP from Shannon of Actors. A unique departure from her other projects and really highlights her essence which is more collaborative in Actors. It’s sleek, it’s beautiful, it’s as light as an angel dancing on a pin. I love the silky billowing synths and how they flow off the shoulders of her voice. The sound is such an immersive dream which slides along the borders of reality. I spend moments dwelling on how something so beautiful manages to remain so relatable.
Favorite track: Take your pick, but I will go with Missing Scene. Something about this swooping shoegaze LUSH 4AD vibe. Her voice is reverberating like a tuning fork yet ringing so clearly. I hear this song and even on earbuds I feel like I’m in an old opera house with a towering sound system feeling wave after wave wash over.
October Noir – Cover Type O Negative: Love You To Death – Loving the sound of this band. Does it emulate the band they are covering in a lot of their sound. Yes. Type O is an amazing sound though. It’s ultra bass Steele vocals. It’s crunching power chords. It’s chest pounding bass guitar. This cover is rich with extra layers and complexity. It feels like a love letter to a band now beyond the veil. You can really feel the time and dedication placed on taking apart and reanimating every aspect.
Dea Decay – Magic Lantern – This is a beautiful fun romp from Florida artist Dea Decay that came out in December 2020. A spicy club crashing electronic explosion. No vocals but instead a steady stream of adorable wicked anime samples. It’s non stop energetic explosion of adorable imagery and and surreal colors.
Favorite Track: Catronica – A little secret here, when the new netflix She-Ra came out I was blown away. It’s so wonderful and pure. This song really captures that energy and highlights my favorite character Catra. It’s sharp claws bounding around with reckless abandon.
SHIV-R – Kill God Ascend – Brand new album from the Australian electronic apocalypse know as SHIV-R. I love the expansive fantasy metal destruction fed into a machine brain and turned loose on an unsuspecting populous. Pete Crane is a force of nature in the industrial scene and has a glorious gift for poetic imagery in his lyrics. If you are a fan of the violent industrial power of Front 242 and shaking your body in dangerous convulsions, this is your jam. I’m also impressed by the range shown on tracks like Spark, a truly lovely brain infecting track of pop industrial glory. Or Black Turns Blue a downtempo marching chant of a ballad. This record is a journey. Crane’s voice is one of those charismatic characters that feels at home in every setting the music places it. This is the wonder of modern industrial.
Black Angel – Prince of Darkness – I am LOVING this modern trend of returning to guitar driven true gothic rock. Matt Vowels has done it again. This is sizzling and sensual dark driving glory. I just don’t get to make this comparison enough but this album holds that emotive blistering power of Love and Rockets. Deep brooding rich vocals, whip snap percussion, but it always comes back to the V8 power of these guitars. Everything is foot to the floor speed and slides. It’s a non stop action flick of adrenochrome and dark intent.
Favorite Track: Serene – What a gorgeous highway 51 desert hard hitting ballad. The vocals croon and tantalize as the dust rolls by on an empty stretch. I love song for outlaws.
PALAIS IDEAL – The Art of Crashing – I’ve been waiting for the follow up to the 2019 release Pressure Points with baited breath. I was disappointed only by the fact it was three tracks and not twenty. This release is a perfectly blended sound of quality crafting, unique flavor, and infectious hooks. It’s one of those releases I can’t imagine who I could play this for and have them not enjoy it. It really has a universal appeal. It feels kinetic, like Depeche Mode “Construction Time Again”. I always enjoy John’s voice, but this EP really highlights how many different things he can do while sounding distinctly himself. It’s the true mark of a singer who has found his themselves and are owning it. The other greatest power of PI is, like all great prog genre, the two components know each other and their instruments so intimately. It really feels like two blended minds working without barrier. It makes the guitar and bass lines dart, bend, and twine together in perfect syncopation. I will be playing this…. A LOT.
Favorite Track: You can’t go wrong but Results is damn near perfection. From the opening guitar riff, the workout routine bassline, and John’s drive and grit. This song feels like an instant classic from out of time I somehow didn’t hear. It also holds the higher concept lyrics and hope PI always wins me over with. 10/10