Time again for the Darkscene Singles Chart. Where members of the S & S Facebook and Patreon group of DJs, Artists, Superfans, Reviewers, and Labels vote on the top songs released in August. The songs can be anything in the broad Darkscene genre. We have an amazing collection of music lovers in the group who always lift up songs that captivate the heart, and often aren’t a focus for other charts.
Steven Archer – I Am The Walrus (Beatles Cover)
The Amaranth – Thighs
Ashes Fallen – Damn Me
Bestial Mouths – Road Of A Thousand Tears
Bellhead – Valentine
cEvin Key – The House That Tried To Kill Me
Unitcode:Machine (Feat Stabbing Westward) – Cold
Brides – Chalices
Black Rose Burning – Night Terrors
Vandal Moon – Satellite
Steven Archer – I Am The Walrus – The WolfLord has returned with a new solo single cover of the Beatles. You really don’t see enough Industrialdelic Beatles tunes and this was a big hit with our listeners. Buzzing outer darkness chaos exploding with pinpricks of colored light. This was always one of the Beatles strangest offerings and Steven pushes it right off the cliff into the mouth of an exploding Katju Seabeast.
2) The Amaranth – Thighs – I know what you are thinking. Ken, you won second place in your own poll. (Nudge nudge wink wink). Well perhaps this is the one arena where a new Amaranth single can compete against the heavy hitters. I refuse to think that. I love this song. It’s sleezy, I got to dust off my sexy growl. The concept of passing out after playing a show and waking up to find a perfect imprint of your makeup pallet on your partners inner thigh was one that resonated with me. I will not apologize for increasing the number of songs in the world about going down on folks. Lovely cover art by Hemlock. Expert Mastering by Pete Burns. I love Kam’s live drums mixed with their electronic beat.
3) Ashes Fallen – Damn Me – California Goth Rockers with a slamming new single fresh off their appearance at the Murder Of Crows Fest in NYC. Loving the bouncing 80s guitar vibes mashed against The Cult style dark rock. Michelle Perry brings more confidence and gusto to every new release. Cover Art by Michelle Perry. Mastering by the legend Gordon Young. James Perry has put together an all star team and their future keeps getting brighter.
4) Bestial Mouths – Road Of A Thousand Tears – I talked about this upcoming release during the Negative Gain Records interview. How excited they were that Rhys Fulber himself had ask to be involved with the project. When I think of new bands doing something truly unique and fresh to stir an emotional experience the Sacramento, California band is at the top of my mind. Lynette Cerezo swirling chant resonates like a druid high priest lifting exaltation to the power of the dark forest. This track is one of those you can get truly lost in. The craft of the strings, the exploding percussion. I want this song as the intro to the next great warrior hymn period piece.
5) Bellhead – Valentine – New Video single from my favorite double bass duo from Chicago. We have an interview with them releasing soon. This track is Ivan’s voice at it’s most sensual and frightening. Karen gives a perfect Kim Deal call and answer. The piano is a gentle intimacy that highlights the edges and makes this song live rent free in my mind.
6) cEvin Key – House Tried To Kill Me – cEvin Key is a legend. He was in Skinny Puppy. So no wonder his new release got deserving attention on our chart. Off upcoming album Brap and Forth releasing Oct 6th the name is certainly apt. This feels like a private room electronic brap session in a trance rave. Textured organic meat walls pulsing and damp. I like that the flow isn’t something you need to follow. You sit in place and it creates a cyclone of motion around you.
7) Unitcode:Machine (Chris Hall Stabbing Westward Remix) – Cold – How does one improve on one of the spiciest dance singles of the year? Add Chris Hall, it was that simple. Texas Native Eric Kristoffer on COP International continues to show a flare for 90s dancedustrial hooks while maintaining a calm reserved elegance. Like a Jedi in a lightsaber battle. The song never needs to raise it’s voice to feel powerful. Soon to be headlining the Dark City Fest in New Orleans. If you get the chance to see Eric live, you must.
8) Brides – Chalices – August was a big month for Sounds and Shadows writers with Hide also making the chart for this new project Brides. I absolutely adore this direction for him. It’s inspired shadowfolk with contagious darkwave edges. His voice rings like the snarling lean elder wolf mouth crusted in glimmering ice. Brilliant and haunting, I can’t wait for more.
9) Black Rose Burning – Night Terrors – Always a fan of Brookland based Black Rose Burning. Right out the gate this new single has a guitar resonance that made me think of The Church “Reptile“. George croons and sears the back of the wall with vocal intensity. Haunting thoughts from the edge of an inky black universe.
10) Vandal Moon – Satellite – Another California band on the chart. Vandal Moon is one of those bands I always hear people I trust raving about and haven’t spent enough time with myself. This single is purple poison dripping from a dagger. Streams of spotlight synths panning around the room. This bassline thrums while hugging the curves. Nice rising decay on the vocals ala Pretty Hate Machine. Fun and briming with science fiction heist.
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 🙂
-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.
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.
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.
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.
-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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
It is once again time to reveal the winners of our monthly darkscene singles chart chosen by the Sounds and Shadows collective. Each month we take submissions for the top single releases in Goth/Industrial/Darkwave/Coldwave/Shoegaze/EDM whatever. Then votes our cast by the Artists, Djs, Fans, promotors, reviewers in our group. This month of course since my band Amaranth had a single in the chart, I am way behind. This chart seems to always elevate the cutting edge in what is happening in our scene. Below you will find the chart and a link to all the bands that won in June. If you have a release in July, make sure to post it in our Facebook group.
Dead Cool – Send Me An Angel (Real Life Cover)
Blood Dance – Wicked King
The Amaranth – Gothtimist
Kill Shelter (Feat: Agent Side Grinder) – The Necklace
Vaselyne – Here To Begin
Silver Walks – Albatross
Bellhead – No Dead Horses
La Muerta – Headhunter
Spankthenun – I Self Me
Sea Lungs – Truffle Pig
DEAD COOL – Send Me An Angel – From Wilmington, North Carolina the darkwave duo of Johnny and AngelaYeagher made this broken glass glittering on concrete version of the 1989 Real Life dance classic. A cool take on the original with much more menace to change the feeling. The band continues to be a fan favorite with our listeners and a number 1 single win speaks to their bright future.
Blood Dance – Wicked King – Having the Mexico City Electro Goth make #2 on our chart is a big deal to me. Casting a light on the incredible Latin darkscene movement has been a major goal of mine this year. Seeing our members embrace this sinister blend of traditional goth and cold wave atmosphere fills my heart with delight. Only a few singles out for the band so far and already they are turning heads in the scene.
The Amaranth – Gothtimist– Now it is always awkward tooting your own horn. This is the first time our band Amaranth from Kalamazoo MI has had a song in the chart. This one is really special for me. It is the idea behind Sounds and Shadows in sonic form. Bringing together an enormous crew of guest musicians, artists, producers, and friends. To create a song which speaks to the importance of our friends in the scene listing us up when times are darkest.
Jason Corbett (Actors) , Jean-Marc Lederman (The The; Gene Loves Jezebel; Fad Gadget; The Weathermen; Rohn-Lederman), Dan Milligan (The Joy Thieves; The Burying Kind), Kimberly Kornmeier (Bow Ever Down), Katy May (Katy Needs A Life), Saphira Vee, Brian Graupner (gothsicles; Gasoline Invertebrate) , Ryan Flint (WitchHands), Matt McIntosh (A Cloud of Ravens). Cover Art: Albie Mason (Scary Black) Mastering : Pete Burn (Kill Shelter)
Kill Shelter (Feat: Agent Side Grinder) – The Necklace – Speaking of Pete Burn the incredible Scotsman who made the #1 album of 2019 “Damage” has returned to that core concept with the latest single. Much of Pete’s work features guest vocalists. This first single off the upcoming 7/15/22 album Asylum has world renown Swedish Post Punk band Agent Side Grinder. Crashing and slashing with emotion and runaway train basslines. The melody here is infectious and twists suddenly through old city streets. To say I am waiting for this album with baited breath is an understatement. We have an upcoming interview with Pete. If Kill Shelter isn’t firmly on your radar they need to me.
Vaselyne – Here To Begin – From Amsterdam, Netherlands this is the second month in a row the COP International band has had a single high in the charts. Yvette Winkler and Frank Weyzig have another soulful organic that harkens to early Projekt record sounds. Crashing waves of sound and salt battering the rocks in an endless struggle that feels epic in scope. I feel like Frank takes all the right turns here. Including a blistering solo around 3 minutes. Yvette gets to show her vocal range and soul on this track. I see a widow on the cliffside tearing at her hair in anguish, waiting for a ship she knows is never making it back to shore.
silver walks – Albatross – New resident of New York Daniel McCullough has assembled an Avengers team of electronic talent to release this long awaited album. This month’s single is another textural story delicately crafted. This psychedelic electro goth just stands out fresh against the backdrop. I love the politically charged themes beneath the historical feel. This record is an early contender for top albums of the year.
Silver Walks is Dan Mccullough with Tim Heireth, Ian Staer, Eva X, Stella Soleil, Marc Heal, James Francis, John Jacobus, Ryan Mast, Coral Scere and you
Bellhead – No Dead Horses – Special release from Chicago double bass duo Bellhead on Give/Take records. I really like the theatric dark indie style here. Karen and Ivan always know how to find a new swing to their core concept. This single has some Nick Cave meets Jesus and Mary Chain vibes set in the south-west desert wasteland. They have a brilliant chemistry of call and answer vocals that reminds me why i fell in love with the Pixies.
LA MUERTE – Headhunter – This Belgian band has been a part of the scene a long time. In June they released a new album on COP International which features this cover of the Front 242 classic. This is a great call in of legendary industrial classic to create a fire wizard space rock version of the chant. La Muerte is smashing walls to get back into your life or opening a door to find an underground classic for the first time.
spankthenun – I Self Me – Incandescent post apocalypse burner from Texas Industrial guru Eric Hanes. Badass sledgehammer smacks on the Depeche Mode dance club. I love the filthy edge that Eric soaks every delicious pop hook in. An innovator and hat aficionado you need to be aware of.
Sea Lungs – Truffle Pig – An amazing new Australian super band with another smash single. This is a criminally underrated band with a unique throwback shadowy madness that darts between ahead of it’s time and raw with nostalgia. Ant Bannister does a masterful job of mixing to create a strange stomping Syd Barret fighting The Damned in an Ed Wood film sound. Is that description as strange as it feels. Good, unique sounds should feel that way. Jarrad Robertson and Andi Lennon are a song writing force that needs attention.
It has been a moment since I had a chance to sit down and talk about exciting new music that has come out recently. Bands are starting to go back on the road and that means new releases. Instead of doing a Bandcamp Friday this month instead Bandcamp is donating a portion of proceeds to NAACP for Juneteenth. They continue to be the best way to buy music while supporting artists and important causes. We also had our May Darkscene Singles Chart which is on the webpage as well as new podcast interviews. So check those out to support us, like and subscribe.
silver walks – various positions – I met Daniel McCullough near a dumpster behind Cold Waves in 2019 and heard “Lantern” in 2020. Immediately I knew this album was going to be something special. Dan is one of the most underrated song writers in modern electronica. The people in the know, they understand this. I hope this album is what makes that clear to the scene at large. I think one of the first points to strike me, all but one song are over 5 minutes. In a world of short singles, Various Positions is stretching your dance floor endurance. While making EVERY song a banger. Infectious dance beats that ebb and flow in texture, with razor blade twists. You can really hear the patient precision that went into each song’s construction. There is a thematic post apocalypse spiritual journey that makes me close my eyes and get lost in the story, while stomping in time to infectious hooks. This whole album rides a highspeed tightrope between progressive and ear candy.
This album also has a spicy list of A + contributors to bring Dan’s vision to light. Stella Soleil , Coral Scere, Tim Heireth, Marc Heal, James Francis, Eva X, and many more mixed lovingly by living legend John Fryer. Part of the testament to this albums power are the names that agreed to be a part of it. Album art & layout // Joshua Mccallister silver walks logo by Jim Marcus. Eric Oehler wizard shimmers the mastering. Photo of Dan // Kirsten Miccoli I just saw Dan thanked me in the liner notes, so now I am crying.
Favorite Tracks: This is truly difficult. There is not a throw away track on this album. A wise woman once wrote “The first cut is the deepest” So I will choose where it began for me.
Lantern – This track just hits different. I story woven of a time lost in a desert place of which taps into a fury against injustice. The music here is captivating and lives in my head. This song slaps on the level of Gary Numan doing My Name Is Ruin.
Overall: This is a record I will be visiting all year long until December when it comes time discuss albums of the year.
Cyborg Amok – Cyborg Amok – Self titled release from the New Jersey Father/Son duo which came to my attention courtesy of Michael Nagy. I recently got to interview the band for the Sounds and Shadows podcast. A heavy hitting dystopian future progressive gothic style. I immediately was put in mind of Palais Ideal by the complexity and science fiction concepts. Greg Bullock has a dream whisper voice and a bardic soul. I feel in love with the purity of a father and son bridging generations to find a place of compromise between their influence. Taking that space epic Rush 70’s feel and blending a modern darkscene compression.
Favorite Track: Choice Not Taken – This one was just so powerful once I learned the story behind it. The connection between men discussing their trials with candor out front of a powerful spine of percussion.
jluc Courchet aka SPIRYT – BLOOD TWINS – Featuring the phenomenal vocals of Kimberly from Bow Ever Down French electronic shadow Cabaret led by Jluc Ciurchet is weaving soul and atmospheric beauty in the smooth seductive style of 90’s trip hop. Unlike the smooth smokey flow of Portishead, the duo ruffles the waves of dark water with unsettling tension that never allows your heart to rest. I love the scope of instrumentation full of color and percussion. Kimberly has a voice that is remarkable for both it’s quality and the honesty of her delivery. Truly spellbinding she needs to be in the discussion of the top women in the scene.
Favorite Track: Breathing In Breathing Out – Again, this whole album is staggering and an inspired blend of two talents in Jluc and Kimberly. This song just hit with a weight of sorrow and depth I found myself staggered by. This is a song of finding steady ground. To look a trauma and terror in the eye. An inspirational energy to face down the darkness that surrounds.
Stoneburner / Chant – Stoneburner/Chant King of wolves tour freebie – Speaking of epic and exciting tours which are springing up. Two of the most exciting things happening in industrial music, Steven Archer‘s (Stoneburner) and Bradley Bills (Chant) touring together and unleashing percussion artillery meant to challenge your conceptions and shake your bones. This pre tour pay what you want digital release is the perfect introduction for anyone seeking the exciting new direction that Industrial music has evolved to. It is fierce, vibrant, and epic in scope. Highlighting the talent and different tone of both artists. This is a can’t miss live performance people will speak of in awe years from now
The Waning Moon – The Waning Moon – Wonderous new collaboration project from Zac Campbell(The Kentucky Vampires) , and Ariel Maniki (The Black Halos). Two powerhouse talents of the modern traditional goth scene forging an alloy of blackened metal which echos with loss and remorse. Unlike their more organic percussion based projects TWM features aa blistering tempo freight train which unshackles Campbell to terrorize the fretboard and Ariel to use a haunting cadence full of ice cold foundation and strength. Only 4 tracks on this EP, but each sets the tone for a future force that fills a need in fans who hunger for traditional goth.
Favorite Track: Talisman – I didn’t go for a deep cut here. This single that accompanies the really sums up the best of what these artists do. An arterial spray of viscera and poetic sorrow which work in harmony, to tell a story of anguish.
The Amaranth – Gothtimist – As always it feels weird to review yourself. So I won’t. This track off our upcoming album is special to me. It is the ideals of Sounds and Shadows put into sonic form. That the world is cruel, and promises get broken. Yet we can reach out to our friends in the darkest moments and find hope. This song features an amazing array of guest contributors which blows my mind every time I ready it.
Jason Corbett (Actors) , Jean-Marc Lederman (The The; Gene Loves Jezebel; Fad Gadget; The Weathermen; Rohn-Lederman), Dan Milligan (The Joy Thieves; The Burying Kind), Kimberly Kornmeier (Bow Ever Down), Katy May (Katy Needs A Life), Saphira Vee, Brian Graupner (gothsicles; Gasoline Invertebrate) , Ryan Flint (WitchHands), Matt McIntosh (A Cloud of Ravens). As well as cover art by Albie Mason (Scary Black) and mastering by Pete Burns (Kill Shelter)
Growing up in the Velveeta Valley suburbs of Detroit in a time before the Google search, Spotify playlists, Youtube suggestions, and Sounds and Shadows I had a sacred ritual. Once a month I would coat myself in black from head to toe and pedal my bike to a mini mall which contained a record store. Here in the new CD releases I would take my caddie/busboy money and purchase the latest Cleopatra Records sampler. Now these compilations took many themes, tribute cover albums, up and coming goth bands. This was how you found the next band that connected you to the wider world. I would race back home, tear apart the packaging and dream of one day seeing my own name in the liner notes. This ritual mattered, it made me feel connected to other kids like me that I didn’t know. Somehow, I knew they were out there. When I saw Procession Magazine bring back this series of goth compilations, my faith was confirmed. To see one of our songs, appear here, that dream has finally come true. So, I welcome you all to join me in my room, as I light a candle, press play, and journey into the macabre world of “The Unquiet Grave” searching for dark diamonds in a cruel sea.
This album is massive in scope. Featuring 43 tracks from a wide variety of goth subgenres and cities. I can’t write about every single amazing band featured. A good portion of the fun of a compilation is the exploration of every track. Waiting for some to speak to you and searching for their album. I will call out some small portion that spoke to me.
NOIR – The Burning Bridge – From NYC the mastermind curator behind this compilation Athan Maroulis opens the journey with this writhing serpent of smoking desire. I can feel the fingerprints of Erik Gustafson (Adoration Destroyed) on the guitars and production which ebb and flow with crushing dark waters for Maroulis vocals to ride upon. A fitting tribute to David Bowie and a powerful opening volley to set the stage.
3) Byronic Sex & Exile – Cu Foc – From Goth City Records in Leeds UK this was definitely one of those magic moments where I knew nothing of this band going in and immediately fell deeply in love. Throbbing and melodic gothic rock with a touch of western Fields of the Nephilim guitar twang. Crooning clear vocal delivery with just enough grit to feel dangerous. First EP dates back to 2016 and I will definitely be placing this on my list for a back catalog deep dive.
5) Bedless Bones – Sad and Alone – This is an amazing track from an album I am quite familiar with. We reviewed it in 2019. Kadri Sammel and Bedless Bones have the distinction of being my favorite band from Estonia. I love the swarming dark forest life and creeping chaos. Kadri has a unique sizzling whisper of a voice with a cadence that makes it stand out in a crowd. Gorgeous witchcraft in midnight blue beams.
Slighter x Static Logic – Mirror In Darkness – Team up of LA based Cyberwizard Colin Cameron Allrich and James D Church to flip the script with this hurtling empty space driving beat spinning through a red light matrix. A synthetic breath on the back of your neck, a ghost in the machine.
A Cloud of Ravens – Flowers Melt Away – Our dear friends from Brooklyn Matt and Beth who are on Cleopatra Records have done this amazing tribute to Fahrenheit 451 the New York pre goth underground legends that included the previous mentioned Athan Maroulis on vocals. I really feel this slippery bassline and glam rich lilt of Matts vocals. I wonderful way to connect the past and future.
A Covenant of Thorns – Dahlia – This song holds such a special place in my heart. Scott-David Allen has brought the concept of romantic goth back into the forefront of the modern scene. Gorgeous heartfelt longing and loss, pulling apart your heart. This song was remixed on a compilation I put together at Sounds and Shadows which led to the collaboration The Burying Kind with Dan Milligan. If you have never explored the rich history of ACOT I really can’t speak highly enough of them.
Adoration Destroyed – Blackout Again – Glamdustrial rockers from Austin TX led by Erik Gustafson. Off their album Ritual Deconstruction. AD always brings such a punishing and powerful mixture of bass beats and heavy dark cloud guitars. An important voice in the modern goth scene.
Amulet – Last Ditch – Badass swamp curse energy from DC that again I am happy to say I found as a result of this compilation. Stephanie Stryker has one of those sky splitting voices that encompasses your entire sensory scope and this mello ground shaking bassline completes the ritual. I was an immediate fan.
Dover Lights – Memory Dissolves – So I was not trying to stumble on this band from the Ozarks. However when one finds a mixture between The Chameleons and Bruce Springstein it is unavoidable to call it out. I found this sound so mystifying and unique while pairing so many nostalgic feelings I couldn’t look away. This will definitely go on my deep dive list for later. I never knew I needed this, but I do.
Eva X – Canadian darkpop goddess changes the tempo of the compilation with this driving foot stomping club hit. I love the twists and turns of cadence and tone. I always picture Gaby dancing in an ice palace full of refracting lights.
Cliff and Ivy: Alaska’s goth duo – Bring Us The Night – Our dear friends the power goth couple from Alaska. Again a wonderful tempo and intensity change for this journey. Breakneck deathrock with scintillating guitars and Ivy’s rock smashing voice. This track is a runaway ride in a minecar down a shadowy mountain. Wonderful music by wonderful humans.
The Amaranth – Thighs – We have a song on this compilation. It is on our upcoming album Gothtimism. It’s weird talking about yourself. We write a goth song about waking up in a hotel with your partner and realizing a perfect imprint of your makeup pallet is on their inner thigh. The world needs more goth songs about going down.
Shadow Fashion – Children of the Night – I love the clash of emo and synthgoth from Texas based Shadow Fashion. Patrick the singer has an amazing voice and presence. It rides that perfect line between 2 kinds of nostalgia and a modern exuberant energy. Everything I hear from them is pure gold.
VAZUM – Unspoken – Glorious GothGaze duo from our home state Michigan that have continued to crank out dark slushy walls of sound in a steady stream since 2017. I love the monster theme and water color tone. A truly unique and powerful sound.
Doors In The Labyrinth – Dead Stars – The tragic and haunting gloom painting from Pittsburgh sonic texture artists Josh Loughrey. Powerful intensity that harkens back to Projekt records slow grinding emotional destruction. I’ve got to see them live before and the intensity of the experience is well worth the price of admission.
I wish I could write about everyone present here, because they all have something to offer. Instead, I will let you make your own way down this murky mist covered river. Thank you again to Procession Magazine and Athan for putting together this immense undertaking. In the comments below tell me about a new band you discovered.