July 2022 Sounds and Shadows Darkscene Singles Chart

It is once again time to celebrate the top 10 singles chosen by our group of DJs/Artists/Reviewers/Promotors/and Mega Fans. These are all tracks released in July chosen from the broad darkscene genre. If you are an artist or know one that has a release in August, make sure to join the Sounds and Shadows group on Facebook and submit it for consideration.

  1. Kill Shelter (Feat Stefan Netschio) – In This Place
  2. StoneburnerThis Machine Kills
  3. Sequential Zero – The Last One To Fall
  4. Korine – Mt. Airy
  5. Golden Apes – From The Sky
  6. Eva X – Whipping Girl
  7. Batavia – Mailman
  8. Suzi Sabotage – I Am The Storm
  9. Sawtooth & Gasoline Invertebrate Gut Rehab
  10. Plague Garden feat. Azy BatsPandora

Kill Shelter Feat (Stefan Netschio) – In This Place – I have a full review on S & S as well as an interview with Pete releasing tomorrow. However it is fitting this single off an early contender for album of the year is top song in July. Stefan of Beborn Beton delivers heavy resonant drops of tone into an unlit cave pool. 10/10 absolute banger

Asylum [European Version] | Kill Shelter (bandcamp.com)

StoneburnerThis Machine Kills – The Wolf Lord Steven Archer come in second this month with a blistering club hit doused in political gasoline. You know that part in the movie where the barrel of the machine gun gets so hot that fire shoots out. Thats what I picture when I hear this track.

Stoneburner (bandcamp.com)

Sequential ZeroThe Last One To Fall – Love to see this come in at #3. A team up of Australian Ant Banister (Sounds Like Winter) and American Bruce Nullify (Orcus Nullify). It’s such a delicious blend of what I love about them individually. True old school batcave rough edge oil drenched attitude with cracking snares and crystal keys.

Fourth Sequence | Sequential Zero (bandcamp.com)

KorineMt. Airy – There really is nothing I don’t love put out by the Philly based death dream. Coming in at #4 it is another sizzling shock of step and turn. These vocals are pastel perfection blending with the music in color bleeding splendor. I love every note.

Mt. Airy | Korine (bandcamp.com)

Golden ApesFrom The Sky – Some real fierce competition this month has the Berlin Post Punk bard’s coming in at #5. I more crackling tempo full of uplifting rippling guitar staircases. Peer’s voice is that distinctive baritone rumble of honestly that makes every single feel distinct.

From The Sky | Golden Apes (bandcamp.com)

Eva XWhipping Girl – #6 is Canadian siren and electronic producer Eva X. I just got a chance to interview her which we will release soon. We got to talk about this song and video, partially how every release is growing by leaps and bounds. I love how her skills at production are opening the possibilities for every new violet electrolash single.

Whipping Girl | Eva X (bandcamp.com)

BataviaMailman – The Florida Industrial power couple have called in their friends to lend a hand on this new EP. The first single of which features drum stylings from Dan Milligan (The Joy Thieves). Inspired choice to fire the first volley with a cover of The Jesus Lizard. 90’s skate grind vibes of chopping guitar over explosive percussion stomps. Terri’s riot Grrl sultry ferocity adds such a different tone. Fresh idea’s for a familiar classic.

Mailman | Batavia (bandcamp.com)

Suzi SabotageI Am The Storm – Finnish TechPunk stands up for Ukrainian’s effected by Russian aggression with this slow build ice palace bop with operatic cries of anguish. I love the empathy, message, and power of delivery.

Suzi Sabotage (bandcamp.com)

SawtoothGut Rehab (feat. Gasoline Invertebrate) – MA based producer Lillian Edith Martin comes in at #9 with this sweat stealing banger she teamed up with Brian Graupner on. I absolutely love the powerful imagery in the lyrics. Absolutely bashing beats filthy with decay and rebirth. I could hear more of this team up.

Gut Rehab (feat. Gasoline Invertebrate) | Sawtooth (bandcamp.com)

Plague Garden feat. Azy BatsPandora – I was so excited to see this track from Colorado based frozen cemetery synth band collab with Azy (Obscura Undead) slide into #10. The lofi roaring guitar sound makes lovely dissonance from the pipe organ purity in the bass tone. Azy’s vocal confidence takes a bold stride forward and propels their presence to the front of a haunting tune.

Plague Garden feat. Azy Bats – Pandora | Bleeding Light Music (bandcamp.com)

Kill Shelter – Asylum

In 2019 at the beginning of my goth renaissance UK producer Pete Burns released the album “Damage” in response to the trauma he was experiencing over the passing of his mother. He wrote the lyrics and music to each song while bringing in a different up and coming vocalist for every track. The result was a magical instant classic which became my top albums of the year for this review page. Damage was so far ahead of the game in what would become the new standard for both collaborative possibilities as well as a defining new tone in goth/post punk.

Kill Shelter review of : Damage – Sounds and Shadows

All songs written by Pete Burns except
The Necklace – words by Johan Lange, music by Pete Burns

Backing Vocals by Lynsey Burns
Concept and Artwork by Pete Burns
Vocals, Guitars, Bass, Synths and Programming by Pete Burns
Produced, Mixed and Mastered by Pete Burns at The Shelter

Fast forward to 2021 when Pete collaborated with one of the great guitar wizard of the modern Post Punk era Karl Morten Dahl of Antipole for “A Haunted Place“. A textural sonic painting where Pete took the helm of his own vocal duties. A flash negative exposed shadow dance. A beautiful departure with a focus on tone and abstraction.

A Haunted Place | Kill Shelter & Antipole | Kill Shelter (bandcamp.com)

Welcome to present day. Kill Shelter releases their third album Asylum, and the world has started to catch on to the soft-spoken genius setting the standard for this new wave. Featuring a slew of the biggest names of the scene: Stephan Netschio ( Beborn Beton) , Valentina Veil (VV & the Void), Karl Morten Dahl (Antipole) , Emanuel Åström (Agent Side Grinder) Alessandro Belluccio (Ash Code), William Faith (The Bellwether Syndicate), Ronny Moorings (Clan of Xymox). An impressive list of talent and experience which speaks to the respect Pete has catered as a producer and song writer. This album tackles an even darker theme of trauma and the most shocking pain of the human experience. Casting a light through a wide range of vocal prisms. The completion of a journey started just after Damage in 2019 and meticulously refined over four years.

Asylum [US Version] | Kill Shelter (bandcamp.com)

One of the powerful aspects of Damage was how it used the vehicle of a record to expose new listeners to collaborators with projects that all demand attention. I found several new bands that helped bridge my way into the modern Darkscene. Previous to creating Damage, Pete partnered on a blog with Christian Schaefer called (Rule of Three) to discover cutting edge bands and share them with the world. I am going to explore some of these standout tracks and the singers with the compilation feel this album has.

Asylum [European Version] | Kill Shelter (bandcamp.com)

In this Place: Featuring Beborn Beton – Singer Stephan Netschio of the German darksynth band has a voice that coasts the perfect line between grit and ice. Unnerving tension meets guitar percussion that staggers and ripples. I love the way it builds and expands without increasing in volume or speed. A masterclass in emotional impact with subtle elements.

A Worthy Compensation (Deluxe Edition) | Beborn Beton (bandcamp.com)

Valentina Veil of VV and the Void

Queen of Hearts (Feat: Valentina Veil) – Domestic violence is a difficult topic to address. Clashing fronts of synth and percussion is given gravitas by Valentina‘s overlapping vocal performance. A disassociated wispy dream with retro energy of Projekt Records. The entwined guitar lines feel like two rippling ropes shaken in alternate succession by someone working out. The spoken word section delivered in another tone solidify the duality of concept. Valentina was meant to be on Damage, it is so fitting she finally makes an appearance on a Kill Shelter album.

VV & The Void (bandcamp.com)

Bonafide TUUUUNE

Buried Deep (Feat: Antipole) – This track could have been on “First and Last and Always” with it’s bottom of the well bass resonance and shadow ripple guitar leads. In that vein Pete summons a cyborg Eldrich delivery both haunting and frozen as it faces a heavy weight too much to bare.

Marble | Antipole (bandcamp.com)

The Necklace (Feat: Agent Side Grinder) – Swedish synthrock darlings with dance club scintillation and unique vocal tone/cadence that I could always pick out of the lineup. ASG vocals always feel like chorus vocals, but I have no reason to confirm. The same spotlight production that sounds on another level. This track has a switchblade danger to it’s tone that stands the hairs on my arm up.

REMA/X: THE A/X REMIXES | Agent Side Grinder (bandcamp.com)

Feed The Fire (Feat: Ash Code) – The shooting star Italian Darkwave band that has become a scene force in record time preparing is for a tour of Central and South America collaborated on this sleazy shadow disco track. Explosive rising synth spell strikes and particle accelerator guitars. The vocals capture the effortless cool dynamic Ash Code are famous for. Another heart wrenching concept done with razor sharp execution.

All We Ever Wanted Was Everything | Ash Code (bandcamp.com)

Cover Me (Feat: The Bellwether Syndicate) – If you were to ask me who gives off the most live rockstar energy in the modern darkscene, the answer is William Faith. This is another true club jam that will send folks charging to the floor. William‘s vocals are sheer romantic goth perfection. The lyrics are a darker poetry which helps form the complexity of meaning. William is a legend and Pete gave him an Aston Martin as a vehicle to drive to the front of the club and shine.

The Bellwether Syndicate (bandcamp.com)

All Of This (Feat: Clan of Xymox) – To say Ronny Morning was a definitive voice in the scene is a vast understatement. One of the inventers of darksynth post punk. This jam is a charging quartet of apocalyptic horses. A culmination of dark tides eroding an unforgiving shore. The progressive time changes and subtitle phrasing are a work of genius and emotional impact that hits you when you least expect it.

Clan Of Xymox (bandcamp.com)

Overall: Kill Shelter has done it again. Creating a personal emotional journey through post-traumatic stress with expert production and collaborative vocal performances that shine a light on some of the top singers in the scene. I can’t wait to release and rare upcoming interview on the Sounds and Shadows youtube page. We dig deeply into the process and feelings of one of the most important artists the modern era. When we speak to future musicians who are in the know about what influenced them in our time. Kill Shelter will be the Joy Division like name that trend setters were appreciating in the present.

Patriarchy and Pixel Grip: The Spring Smackdown Tour, Crucible, Madison, WI

By Jenny Wilson

The power of a fierce front woman of a darker bent is a sight to see and a joy to hear. To be able to see two in one night, backed by amazing bandmates, is a rare treat. That’s what occurred at Crucible, in Madison, WI, on a recent spring night in April 2022. Pixel Grip and Patriarchy dueled it out with full sets, supported by the lovely Previsions.

Patriarchy

Patriarchy (bandcamp.com)

From the moment Patriarchy’s Actually Huizenga stepped on to the stage, a huge American flag hanging upside down behind her and bandmates, something very special began. Actually’s stage presence is incredibly self-assured… she exudes the sensual confidence of a prowling cat surveying its prey. Actually and her bandmates, The Drummer and The Guitarist, presented a collection of delicious fever dream songs focusing around their album, Asking for It, which was co-written by Actually and Andrew Neams
of 3Teeth.

Their sound is a mad trip through heavy darkwave industrial melodies led by industrial drumming and guitar riffs. At the helm is Actually, a once wailing then airily purring siren with a gorgeous mezzo soprano voice that gives her full control over the room.

Actually Huizenga of Patriarchy

Actually clearly doesn’t suffer fools… and her lyrics show a woman fed up with the system and the dehumanizing moments we are still forced to navigate as women, and human beings, in the 21st century. Their set was sexy, knowing, while carried by a refreshingly feminist bent harnessing the anger and frustration of women who exist, struggle, and flourish within and despite of the basic tragedies of our world. Songs like the titular Asking for It and Sweet Piece of Meat showcase all the dark sexual energy one could ask for. The song, Don’t Fuck the Drummer, was a moment of great fun. The following videos, clips from Sweet Piece of Meat and new single, Lockjaw, show the capture the energy of the Patriarchy experience.

A moment from Sweet Piece of Meat
A moment with the Lockjaw chorus

Pixel Grip

Headlining were Pixel Grip, a fast-rising trio from Chicago. The band is made up of Rita Lukea on vocals, Tyler Ommen on drums, and Jonathon Freund on keys. A vocal improvisationalist, Rita commands a voice so uniquely beautiful it is hard to think of exactly how to describe it. Having been classically trained, Rita takes her voice in and out of tones and characters with extreme confidence, all the while presenting a playful, at times even jazz-scatting, flair. This was the second visit to Crucible to support their second album, Arena, since the reopening of venues began in summer of 2021. They describe their style as a collection of “avant pop, EBM, and minimal wave” (pixelgrip.com). The various genres melt together beautifully and, just like the previous year’s visit, made the crowd extremely eager to get their bodies moving.

Pixel Grip (bandcamp.com)

Rita Lukea of Pixel Grip

Rita is a powerhouse onstage, cutting a commanding figure while expressing a muted rage couched in cool tension. This was especially true on Alphapussy, a royal reclaiming of femme power. She works the stage with an expressive knowing that embraces all the weirdos convening to escape the realities of the world. They know that she, and Pixel Grip, will tell it like it is.

Pixel Grip kept the bodies moving with massive club hits like Demon Chaser and Soft Peaks, as well as the powerfully touching Double Vision. Few bands today can produce such incredible club ragers and delicate ballads on the same album. But then few bands are Pixel Grip.

A moment from Dancing on Your Grave

If you are lucky enough to have either band come to do a show anywhere vaguely near you, get tickets immediately. Neither band should ever be missed.

Mark E Moon “Lux Vindictae”

New lineup, new sound, and explosive delivery from Isle of Man shadow croon gothic rock Mark E Moon on Cold Transmission Music. A blazing light of vindication as the title states. The first single Blacklight bursts through a wall with shaking intensity. The drums pound relentlessly as Mark delivers confident sadness tinged with raw fury. Phil is spinning barb wire distortion in precision loops. The black mirror reflection of Shelly Rourke on vocals as contrast Mark’s cavern shaking Eldrichesque power. As the engine roars down an unlit highway this album swerves in tone and style without warning leaving you always on your heels. Mark really throws his soul into the vocal delivery. The tracks are all pure heat and poignant, each under 5 minutes.

https://markemoon1.bandcamp.com/album/lux-vindictae

I think two main changes stand out in contrast to 2021 release “Old Blood ” 1) the extreme nature of the peaks and valleys in tempo and style. This album runs the spectrum where Old Blood worked to perfect a singular idea. 2) Rourke’s vocals have really found a sharp and resilient force to break the power of Mark’s tide. In particular track 4 Drowning is a gorgeous ballad of imagery that highlights the new sound with strongly defined lines. It shows a passion and maturity of song writing that portrays subtle differences in depth as you sink below ever darker waters. I love the panning synth lines. The background to those glimmering delayed guitars flickering through the pressurizing water.

I rarely get that feeling in the goth scene always driven by nostalgia that someone is ascending with every release. That every new album finds new colors and expression. It makes me wonder where the ceiling for Mark E Moon is. This is hungry music, to revel in, but never to sit comfortably with. It’s an energy that is always stalking over the next hill. Searching for a deeper more visceral pain.

Cold Transmission Spotlight Volume 2

In the past 4 years German based label Cold Transmission has been responsible for amassing and growing some of the greatest talent in the modern darkscene. Andreas and Suzy Herrmann have created a music label experience that feels like family. With a hawk’s eye for talent and a focus on growing creative expression. They have built up an amazing roster of talent around the world. Here in their second compilation to celebrate their releases you can experience some of the best and brightest for one low price. Mastered by the talented Pete Burns of Kill Shelter and featuring artwork of Yvonne Kiel this CD is a who’s who of the modern darkscene. In addition to the amazing music compiled, a portion of the proceeds is donated for humanitarian purposes in Ukraine. I wish I could review every track on this stellar offering, but I will shine a light on a few highlights.

https://coldtransmissionmusic.bandcamp.com/album/spotlight-vol-2-a-cold-transmission-label-compilation

1.IAMTHESHADOW – On Winter Leaves Embrace 04:34
2.The Secret French Postcards – The Line 03:20
3.Night Nail – Co-Morbid 03:30
4.Silent Runners – My Truth 02:44
5.Cerulean Veins – Dance In The Darkness 03:56
6.Iamnoone – Together Alone* 05:25
7.Camlann – I’m Nobody 03:06
8.The Ending Nights – A Landscape To Die 03:29
9.Palais Ideal – Age of Intransigence 04:55
10.White Mansion – Cancel The Sky 04:02
11.Reconverb – Vanishing Paintings 03:18
12.The Cold Field – Burnt Hill 03:26
13.Grey Gallows – Chains* 04:39
14.MARY – Devouring Me 03:29
15.DILK – Bad Habits 04:05
16.The Gathering – Empires 03:21
17.Cruel Reflections – Heaven or Hell 03:52
18.SHANX FM – Yesterday 04:13
19.Mark E Moon – Hearts Keep Bleeding (Demo)* 04:44
20.S Y Z Y G Y X – Cold Touch 03:43
21.ULTRA SUNN – Young Foxes 03:56
22.DEAD LIGHTS – Plastic Girl 04:04
23.CIRQUE D’ESS – Hole-Frog (Radio Edit) 04:20
24.Bedless Bones – Where Is My Voice (Tamhiis Remix)** 06:23
25.A Sinister Light – Telephone 04:06
26.NOROMAKINA – Dark 03:06
27.LETTEN 94 – Empty Landscapes 05:00
28.Incirrina – Shrapnel Words 04:20
29.La Mécanique – MDMA 03:48
30.Dead Astronauts – She Haunts Me 03:43
31.Cult Of Alia – The Only Angel 04:30
32.Death Loves Veronica – Burn 04:53
33.HALLOWS – All That Is True Dies 03:59
34.Sundata – Alright 03:34
35.Ohne Nomen – Vampire* 04:20
36.New Haunts – Echo 03:57
37.Control Room – Are We All Alone 03:54
38.Carlo Onda – Fürchte Dich** 03:35

IAMTHESHADOWOn Winter Leaves Embrace – Pedro Code has a once in a lifetime voice. The Portuguese darkwave artist is the flagship of Cold Transmission. An emotive passion sailing a turbulent sea of beauty and melancholy that moves the heart of everyone who hears it.

https://iamtheshadow.bandcamp.com/track/on-winter-leaves-embrace

The Secret French Postcards – “The Line” – Swedish darkwave poetry forward band with elegance and subtitle style. I love the whispered intensity and Johnny Marr style lilting darkness on guitar.

https://thesecretfrenchpostcards.bandcamp.com/track/the-line

NIGHT NAILCo​-​Morbid – Our dear friends in Berlin the abstract shadow rock of Night Nail. I love the complex and unique beauty with a focus on emotional impact over hook. Dynamic and courageous changes with interesting instrumentation. Night Nail treads fresh ground like protogoths Bauhaus while creating a style solely their own.

https://music.nightnail.com/track/co-morbid

CamlannI’m Nobody – The ridiculously talented young folk from Indonesia. How I wish that I sounded this way when I was their age. It is sleek, passionate, and overflows with a unique darkness. This band has such a bright future set out before them.

https://camlannmusic.bandcamp.com/track/im-nobody

The Ending NightsA Landscape To Die – Another project of Pedro Code. This a apocalypse death disco offering to sum up the last few years. Precision , Execution, Beauty, Passion, swirling in a violet fog. A transcendent art piece to speak to turbulent times.

https://theendingnights.bandcamp.com/track/a-landscape-to-die-3

PALAIS IDEAL – Age Of Intransigence – Netherlands post prog rockers John Edwards and Richard van Kruysdijk continue to create some of the most dynamic and intelligent science fiction thought rock in the scene. This is music that displays technique and ability while challenging you to higher thought.

https://palaisideal.bandcamp.com/track/age-of-intransigence

MARYDevouring Me – I genuinely feel this 2020 release from Toronto is one of the most underrated records in recent time. Driving and intense basslines that cast rippling waves is a crystal pool. I love the cadence and timber of the vocals. This feels like 4 clashing brilliant minds carried out by one train of thought. I really hope we get another album from Mary soon.

https://maryofficial.bandcamp.com/track/devouring-me

Mark E MoonHearts Keep Bleeding – From the Isle of Man this track is a demo version of the crooning old school goth style of Mark Sayle. Their album Old Blood in 2021 was a true opus for one of the strongest examples of trad goth in the modern age.

https://markemoon1.bandcamp.com/album/old-blood

DEAD LIGHTSPlastic Girl – London based sinister synths that recently had a top single on the S & S darkscene charts. It is dance and deadly with captivating vocals that lift your feet off the ground. The type of glamourous dance floor beats that cannot be ignored.

https://deadlightsband.bandcamp.com/track/plastic-girl

Dead AstronautsShe Haunts Me – Seattle dark synth stars continue to sound years ahead of their time. 2021 album Silhouettes is a memorizing conversation of internal dialog and duet relationship that sends the listener on a journey. I highly recommend that journey.

https://deadastronauts.bandcamp.com/track/she-haunts-me

Death Loves VeronicaBurn – The Texas demon lounge smoky vocal tendrils paint sinister pictures with visceral imagery and stained glass synth walls. The German label supports many American talents and Veronica continues to grow and impress.

https://deathlovesveronica.bandcamp.com/track/burn

I could have easily talked about several more bands here I love. The point is this compilation and this label are offering a gate way into some of the best darkscene music the world has to offer. 38 tracks for 15 dollars is an absolute steal.