Sounds and Shadows March 2023 Darkscene Singles Chart

Yes I know this is coming very late. I unfortunately got wrapped up in my own bullshit this month and didn’t release this in a timely matter. Nor opened voting for the month of April. However, better late than never, these are the top 10 songs voted on by our group of Artists/Djs/reviewers/Lables/and Superfans released in the Month of March. No pay to play, just your votes on great darkwave music.

  1. LockjawAnnihilove
  2. Dead CoolStranger Kind
  3. Giant Monsters On The HorizonSecret or a Lie Featuring Arden and the Wolves
  4. Unitcode:machineUndone (Aesthetic Perfection Remix)
  5. Eva XVirtualsexual (Braindance Mix)
  6. Kill Shelter and Death Loves VeronicaSex Tape
  7. En EschPush
  8. Ritual HowlsDark Ceiling In Tennessee
  9. Self Titled AlbumEconomic Housing Anxieties​(​STA Mix)
  10. Dread RisksMachine Identity (in the walls mix by God Module)
  1. LockjawAnnihilove – Excited to see a band new to the group and from Milwaukee grab the number one spot with their first single on the chart. Look for an upcoming interview I did with Medavon we will release soon. I was drawn in right away by this lean wolf, untamed wilderness goth. It has a wonderful stalking hungry Iggy Pop feel synthesized with electronic beats. Lockjaw has had some previous success playing with some big names in the scene. Returning with a vengeance of hard rock riffs and recklessly revolving percussion I will be paying close attention to the project going forward.

Annihilove | Lockjaw (

2) DEAD COOLStranger Kind – Wilmington death pop duo makes their return to this chart with a sizzling new retro trance song with 8bit major motion digital drive and Johnny’s wide beam vocals and lyrical painting. I love the brushstroke of Angela’s phonograph spoken word line.

Stranger Kind | DEAD COOL (

3) Giant Monsters on the HorizonSecret or a Lie Featuring Arden and the Wolves – Glorious across the continent collaboration from St Louis to California. Cyberpunk electronica band Giant Monsters On the Horizon lay down a FILTHY beat that twists and writhes to lay a pathway for my favorite vocal performance by Arden. Something about their voice always feels like lashing motion. The dynamics and venom of this glowing green delivery make every line hit home. Total Banger.

Secret or a Lie Featuring Arden and the Wolves | Giant Monsters on the Horizon (

4) unitcode:machineUndone (Aesthetic Perfection Remix) – Texas native Eric Kristoffer has been on an absolute tear this year. Singing with COP, releasing this instant classic hit with 3 legends doing remixes. Daniel Graves absolutely crushed this slowly unspooling the story and highlighting a premier vocal talent in the modern scene. Pay attention to this future star.

Undone (Aesthetic Perfection Remix) | unitcode:machine (

5) INSULIN SHOCKSEva X Virtualsexual (Braindance Mix) – British Colombia Cyberrave single featuring Gaby of Eva X. She delivers this lovely terrifying AI choir you expect to hear right before the machines take over. Let yourself be assimilated, resistance is futile.

Virtualsexual (Braindance Mix) | Eva X | INSULIN SHOCKS (

6)  Kill Shelter & Death Loves VeronicaSex Tape – Everything Pete does will be at the top of my buy list. Add in the smokey embodiment of a David Lynch film in sonic form Veronica Campbell. You have an instant recipe for a delicious sensual club banger. The craft displayed for every subtitle detail in song writing. Veronica’s temptress whisper. Nothing better than a song that starts a conversation while slapping this hard. You need this.

Sex Tape | Kill Shelter & Death Loves Veronica | Kill Shelter (

7) EN ESCHPush – Industrial legend En Esch collaborates with Gabriel Lennox newly on Give/Take with a rawkus 90’s industrial sound with a tent revival spiritual chant. I love the vocal layers and resonant clarity breaking the standard of the industrial roots. That clear breakdown at 4 minutes in particular is an absolutel gem.

Push | EN ESCH (

8) Ritual HowlsDark Ceiling In Tennessee – A different sound for the Detroit band. Personally I am loving this darkwave jangling spurs Violator vibe. Around 1:30 a flaming sword guitar lead cuts the tension. Paul Bancell fully embraces classic goth Baritone, which strikes the mark freshly against the digital chainsaw static. Personally this is my favorite Ritual Howls to date.

Dark Ceiling In Tennessee | Ritual Howls (

9) Self Titled AlbumEconomic Housing Anxieties​(​STA Mix) – Wonderful to see the Utah band back on out single charts. I have tried and describing Self Titled Album is always a Herculean effort. It is deeply honest and vulnerable spoken poetry in a psychedelic haze and electronic glide. A complex mixture i am glad our group reconizes and appreciates.

Economic Housing Anxieties(STA Mix) | Self Titled Album (

10) Dread RisksMachine Identity (in the walls mix by God Module) – My favorite Doomdustrial from Texas remixed by God Module and released on Re:Mission Records. I love everything about this sentence. Jason Bangert really adds a slippery wetness to Dread Risks usually boot stomping destructive power. If your club isn’t working this into your local dance night you are being done a disservice.

Machine Identity (in the walls mix by God Module) | Dread Risks | Re:Mission Entertainment (

Sounds and Shadows December 2022 Darkscene Singles Chart

This is the final 2022 singles chart of the year, and it is chocked full of amazing songs. I want to take a moment to thank all of you for participating. This chart has really made a difference highlighting songs that don’t always make it on other charts. Chosen with no entry fee by our group of Dj’s, Artists, Promotors, Reviewers, and Super Fans. Every song here was released in December is the broad “Darkscene” genre from around the world. If you have a release next year, or know someone who does, join the group and share with our community.

  1. The Bellwether SyndicateBeacons
  2. GIR x TSA Upside Down Dreamwalker Remix (The Static Architect)
  3. Black AngelShe
  4. The Joy Thieves 6 to 3 Armalyte Records
  5. Arden and the Wolves Pai Nosso
  6. Komor Komando (feat. THE TRUE UNION) – One by One (Brute Opposition remix)
  7. UnwomanHave Yourself a Gloomy Little Christmas
  8. Ashes FallenAt The End of All Things
  9. Jason Priest My Name Is PriestMidnight Mannequin Records
  10. Jason Alacrity Angels Cut

The Bellwether SyndicateBeacons – Chicago show stopper’s have a brilliant new single that roars like a muscle car charging down Woodward Ave. Flames spewing out the engine to chase back the darkness. William croons with an extra edge of piercing determination. The mix is clear but always feels like a toe on the line which makes it feel dangerous, on the verge of shattering the glass bubble. They just took this song on the road with Then Comes Silence from Sweeden. Of everyone I currently follow in the modern darkscene, no one has more “rockstar” energy than William with a mic in his hand. I am definitely getting an interview with them in 2023 so watch for that

Beacons | The Bellwether Syndicate (

God in Rehab, The Static ArchitectUpside Down Dream – Nashville, Tennessee with a flame thrower industrial pop banger. Leslie Benson has a bit of southern swagger that belts through the wall of thick wall of sound guitars and sledge hammer percussion. I didn’t know a ton about this band going in, but the production is top notch and I will be checking the back catalog.

GIR x TSA – Upside Down Dreamwalker Remix (The Static Architect) | God in Rehab, The Static Architect | God In Rehab (

Black AngelShe – Another blistering goth rock anthem from California producer and guitar wizard Matt Vowels. This track growls like a V8 engine jutting out of a classic car with flames on the side. This bassline is always revving my foot and taking me through the turns. I am afraid to drive with this song playing for fear I will get a ticker for reckless endangerment.

She | Black Angel (

The Joy Thieves – 6 to 3 – Chicago Industrial superband back with another single in the charts. This one A timely new release while the rights of women to control medical decisions about their own bodies is called into question. Joy Thieves will be donating 100% of the money raised from the sale of the ‘6 To 3’ EP, and its accompanying line of exclusive t-shirts and hoodies to the National Network of Abortion Funds. We are always quick to point out when someone falls short, so I was happy to give credit when artists stand on the right side of history.

6 To 3 | The Joy Thieves (

Arden and the WolvesPai Nosso – I love that Arden had a prominent part on this chart. I know how much soul and devotion they put into this track. It is heartbreaking and gorgeous with her smokey delivery and this goosebump piano line. The swell of this track feels like an affirmation that keeps feeding you strength to move forward through the darkness.

KOMOR KOMMANDOOne by One (feat. THE TRUE UNION) (Brute Opposition remix) – Belgian based electronica body music with punk rock ferocity which I knew little about before hearing this single. I now know this, it slaps and spews forth at you with the chaotic fury of a demon hoard. The project is Sebastian Komor‘s solo project this track features from wicked fire whip vocals from Azul of The True Union. I look forward to learning more, so that Jean-Marc Lederman isn’t the only Belgian artist I know 🙂

One by One (feat. THE TRUE UNION) (Brute Opposition remix) | KOMOR KOMMANDO | Alfa Matrix (

UnwomanHave Yourself a Gloomy Little Christmas – Not something I see much in the Darkscene community, Erica Mulkey from San Fransisco blended in string accompaniment to create this shadowy soulful version of the holiday classic. I need to add it to Kelly’s dark Christmas list.

Have Yourself a Gloomy Little Christmas | Unwoman (

Ashes FallenAt The End Of All Things – I love to see how thirsty this group is for guitar based traditional goth. I love the crunchy blasting 90’s tone of Stabbing Westward on the sonic spray of this song. I am giving impressions on the original which was chosen by the charts, do yourself a favor and check the badass remix by G.W. Childs IV and it’s synthwave shimmer. James’s voice is dripping wet on this track. It really makes everything loom with darkness over the mix.

At The End of All Things | Ashes Fallen (

Jason PriestMy Name Is Priest – Minneapolis, Minnesota artist of Midnight Mannequin Records with this gorgeous synth texture and guitar ballet with a blend of Magnetic Fields indie pop and New order technique synthwave. It’s dialed in so tight and shimmers every time Jason raises, he vocal heat. I can’t get enough of the glorious craftsmanship of this song writing. Every decision made here is just what i wanted it to be.

My Name Is Priest | Jason Priest | Midnight Mannequin Records (

Jason AlacrityAngels Cut – LA band I was not really familiar with before they made the chart. I am loving this sword swinging dervish EDM club banger. The vocals have a great rough edges on oil color translucence. The whole track was always spinning like a blender and bluring the world. Definitely a band i need to get to know better.

Angels Cut | Jason Alacrity (

I will continue to run this chart in 2023. I feel like it matters to give an open field to find amazing bands not making it to other charts. If you or someone you know has a release in 2023, join the Sounds and Shadows Facebook group and add it for consideration. Hopefully 2023 is another great year for music.

Pai Nosso by Arden & The Wolves

Fans of LA’s Arden & The Wolves will already be familiar with their holiday song, Mary Did You Know. Now the band is broadening their horizons with Pai Nosso. The song, which is the “Our Father” in Portuguese, was inspired by Arden Leigh’s experience at an ayahuasca ceremony and the works of Brazilian artist Gabriel Guedes de Almeida as well as the styles of Lingua Ignota and Ethel Cain, mixing elements of both chamber music and dreampop.

This is Arden’s first release on which she plays piano. According to Arden, “I went to a Catholic high school on a music scholarship, so arranging the vocal harmonies and learning the song on piano felt like a throwback to my high school years. I think more of my history is reflected in the sound of the recording than I could have anticipated when I set out to make it, like I unearthed the part of my 16-year-old self escaping to the music practice rooms at lunch period and invited her to record in studio with me as an adult. I was happy to meet with her again.”

“I chose to cover this song because I had occasion to pray and this is the best way I know how to do it… I think it will fit in on many people’s holiday playlists alongside darker traditional carols like O Holy Night and Carol of the Bells“.

“While it’s not strictly a Christmas song, the religious elements and cozy chamber feel to it made me feel called to release it for the holidays.”

-Arden LEIGH

Listeners should take note of the “dark, cathedral-like” tone of the piece; as it is meant to “express the serious, hallowed, vast, holy nature of the experience of ceremony.”

In closing, she adds, “While it’s not strictly a Christmas song, the religious elements and cozy chamber feel to it made me feel called to release it for the holidays.”

I couldn’t have said it better myself.

Aesthetic Perfection – Live at The Casbah, San Diego, CA, 11/06/2022

I didn’t write this review the very next day after the show. I spent the following day basking in the afterglow and just reminiscing this sublime experience; like a freshman the morning after a classic rager. With some shows, the band plays and the crowd stands there and watches. Other shows make the crowd feel like they were truly part of an event. Seeing Aesthetic Perfection’s American Psycho Tour come through San Diego was such an event.

I’m glad I arrived at The Casbah early. Turns out there were actually FIVE bands on the bill, rather than the advertised three. More on that later.

Opening the show was LA’s Arden & The Wolves, which came as a total surprise to me. As we’re both friends of Sounds & Shadows, Arden Leigh and I had been in communication for various reasons over the last several months. But as A&TW was a last minute addition to the bill, I was thrown a pleasant curveball on this. If fact, so many members of the “family” were present this night, it felt like a Sounds & Shadows mixer.

Photo: Mary Strong

Simply put, A&TW have their shit together. The playing was solid and on-point, with Nick Mason (NOT the Nick Mason of Pink Floyd ) having the tightest drumming of the night. Pete Mills on guitar and Justin Emord on bass compliment Arden Leigh’s commanding stage presence. With the disciplined polish to her look and sound, I got the feeling Arden could have done this show in her sleep. She was, however, very much awake with an energy and enthusiasm that sucked in any onlookers. And with the number of San Diego fans who turned out to see this LA band on a Sunday night, it’s obvious that this is a band with traction and an appeal that will only grow over time.

Photo: Mary Strong

Next up was an act I knew nothing about ahead of time, Halo Boy. Now this was an interesting twist I didn’t see coming; hip-hop infused indie pop with a none-too-subtle industrial edge. Sounds like it would be a hot mess, right? Instead, Cameron Cade takes all these influences and intelligently combines them into an eclectic blend where no two songs sounded the same and kept the crowd guessing where it would go next. Afterwards, I overheard people in the audience comparing them to everything from Imagine Dragons to Hollywood Undead. Linkin Park was another name that popped up more than once in the conversation as well.

Halo Boy’s live show is very energetic with the zeal of youth. This guy was on fire and wasn’t afraid to singe the onlookers who were standing too close; jumping into the crowd, giving random hugs and starting a mosh pit. The rhythm section was locked in and took the songs where they needed to go. And I had to give the bass player credit for showing grace under pressure after his E string broke on the last song.

Following Halo Boy came the band I was most excited to see initially, Philadelphia’s genCAB. Having written about genCAB previously, I was intrigued by how they would pull off their sound live. Turns out the lineup on this night was stripped down to the duo of David Dutton and Cristian Carver.

Don’t get the idea that this made the show any less. They were having a ball onstage and the enthusiasm was contagious. And while the band was perhaps a bit socially lubricated courtesy of the friendly Casbah bar staff, they steered into the skid and made even their mistakes work for them in a fun and powerful live show.

David exudes a natural onstage charisma and Christian was on a epic tear with crazy flying hair and flying drumsticks. And while all the bands brought their “A” game, genCAB proved to be on a level that was easily on-par with their LA counterparts.

Three bands in and not a dud yet. Josie Pace hit the ground running to keep the show moving along. Talk about showmanship! Josie and accompanist Ken Roberts stepped onto that drum-cramped stage and proceeded to own it. Funny thing, but I realized that I was more familiar with Josie’s oeuvre than I thought thanks to the Sounds & Shadows Spotify playlist. Next thing I know, I’m singing along to songs like Underestimated and Storm And Stress.

I’m hard-pressed to decide between Arden and Josie who had the strongest voice of the night, as both of them kicked my ass with epic vocal performances. I’ll just call it Apples & Oranges and leave it there. Pace closed her truncated set with a cover of Placebo’s Pure Morning that I liked better than the original. I went in thinking I didn’t know what to expect only to come away with a fanboy crush.

And, of course, we have Aesthetic Perfection as the headliner.

Sexy, weird and loud; this show had three of my favorite flavors. Daniel Graves is certainly a performer with an ability to move the crowd, even if he did get a humorous talking to from drummer Joe Letz for forgetting the next song on the setlist. Constance Antoinette Day did the heavy lifting; playing guitar, keys and bass variously throughout the set as she effectively played up the gothic sex kitten image.

It took me a while to recognize Letz, although the androgynous latex look doesn’t disagree with him. And his fetching blond wig was a nice touch. He flailed, he gyrated, he drank from a dildo-shaped water bottle. Those of us in the front were in danger of being hit with water or flying drumsticks at any given time. At one point, I was worried about getting smacked by the floor tom. I feel for the drum tech on this tour.

Most of the songs were newer, if not from the newest release, MMXXI, but there were indeed a few crowd-pleasers to be had. It wasn’t the tightest set I’ve seen, but that didn’t seem to be the point. Make it hard, make it punchy, make it memorable; that was the order of the day.

My only complaint? It turns out that A&TW and Halo Boy were added to the bill after winning a battle of the bands in Los Angeles. However, it was explained to me that each tour stop was supposed to have a local act as an opener. As a native-born lifelong San Diegan, I wish to point out the following: LOS ANGELES IS NOT SAN DIEGO. Thank you, that is all.

San Diego was the last leg of the American Psycho Tour in California. Those of you who get a chance to check out Aesthetic Perfection on the road have a raucous night full of music and antics to look forward to. Although there may be moments when you’ll want to keep a safe distance from the stage.

(CORRECTION: Halo Boy and Arden did not win the Battle of the Bands for Los Angeles, BlakLight did and played with AP on that date. Arden won for San Diego. Halo Boy was a last minute addition to all the California shows.)

Fractals To Infinity by Giant Monsters on the Horizon (feat. Arden and the Wolves) – Part 2/2

GMOTH’s collab with Arden & the Wolves yielded admirable results. So much so, I felt compelled to contact Arden Leigh and get her side of the story…

– Who are your influences and what did you take away from those artists?

That’s a terrific question. I have ADHD that’s been exacerbated by the way our culture fosters a brief attention span, so lately I find myself constantly seeking and finding new sources of inspiration. I finally embraced that as a singer I feel called to express myself in a large number of genres, that if I’m not challenging myself in some way I’m bored, and that it’s okay for me to feel like whatever I want to make in the moment is the opposite of the last thing I just made.

That said, I’d say my traditional influences are Paramore, Panic at the Disco, The Pretty Reckless, Pat Benatar, Blue October, Imogen Heap, Poe, WALK THE MOON, and 30 Seconds to Mars.

And I’d say my newer influences are HANA, AURORA, The Midnight, Starcadian, Poppy, Ghostemane, Aesthetic Perfection, MisterWives, Auri, and Thomas Bergersen. 

For this track in particular, I mostly listened to the singer Veela for inspiration. I wasn’t accustomed to writing to the style of track Vinnie sent me, but I welcomed the challenge and sought to find a way that I could use a repetitive melody that would merge with, and not compete with, the intensity of the track. I found that many of Veela’s melodies were written in that style, and that felt like permission to try it myself.

– Do you draw inspiration from sources outside of music, per se?

All the time. I don’t ever want to write a lyric that’s only inspired by something someone else said, you know? For me, the impetus of a song, whether it’s one that I self-generate or one I’m asked to write/sing on, is that I have to feel that what I’m saying is important. When I’m asked to do a guest vocal like on this track, I have to find something that is important enough for me to write about. If the subject and lyric doesn’t feel important to me, the song will feel flat and unfinished until I sit with it and figure out what it’s trying to say.

I’d say my main job as a vocalist/songwriter is to tune into the narrative and build out its world. That’s not always inherent to the music itself but I’m not sure it can really be separated. Also, I’m a synaesthetic, so I tend to have colorful sensory associations as it is. 

– Please describe a typical day in the studio. What is the chemistry like?

Is it cheeky of me if I say it depends whose studio it is? In seriousness, I don’t have a home studio so I work with an engineer for my vocals, and nine times out of ten it’s Pete Mills of the band The Sweet Kill. We have amazing creative chemistry in the studio. Even more than chemistry, we have comfort, and for me, the safety of a regulated nervous system, knowing you’re safe to share ideas without judgment or criticism, is the most important foundation for creativity. You have to be able to say your weird ideas and have someone make the effort to grok them and help you bring them to life. Pete really understands me and supports my vision, and he will always share his feelings and ideas but also always supports me having final creative say since it’s my name on the work. It’s a wonderful creative relationship full of lots of mutual respect and fun. 

Because Vinnie and I live far apart, we actually haven’t met in person yet and haven’t been in the studio together. But Vinnie makes long distance collaboration easy. He’s so supportive of my ideas and for this track we both allowed each other complete creative freedom – Vinnie let me track pretty much whatever vocals I wanted, and then I shipped them to him and let him do whatever he wanted with them. Honestly it’s really great when you have two artists who trust the quality of each other’s work enough that you’re both like, you know what, whatever we come up with will be great.

– What’s next for you? How are you forming/adapting your plans in the age of COVID?

To be completely honest, it really kinda felt like my musical career “began” with the release of my EP Who Can You Trust in 2018. Before that, I released songs but I was treating my band like a vanity project because of past traumas and worthiness issues. WCYT definitely changed that for me. 

But by the time I was able to find aligned producers and get back in the studio to work on the next album, which will be my first full-length, it was already mid-2020. So to be honest, I haven’t so much had to do much adapting as learning on the fly this whole time. If anything it was an advantage for me when the pandemic hit, because all of a sudden there were all these musicians who couldn’t tour and were looking for production work to keep busy in the meantime, and I needed producers. 

I will also add that even besides Covid, I think it’s safe to say that music right now is an ever-shifting landscape with no reliable model, and that everyone is being invited into more adaptability. The old ways are dying and a new sustainable way hasn’t been established yet, which I think is plain to see from how much arguing there is over the way things are currently happening. It’s intimidating but it’s also exciting. I regret to admit that I will probably have to learn about blockchain if I want to start being a part of the solution, which I do. But I anticipate this to be a 5-10 year scope, and I still have a lot of learning to do in that regard. It’s a lot of data to eat and process. 

But if I could solve my mental health issues in the scope of two years, especially when that felt impossible throughout the rest of my life, and if I could create The Re-Patterning Project out of that journey and help dozens of others to do the same, then I think I can be helpful in solving this too. And at that point, who am I not to at least try, right?

– What is your take on the current state of the dark music “scene”?

Is there a scene? I have really been trying to overcome feelings of being an outsider, with historically mixed results that I’m happy to report are steadily getting better. But I’m not sure I feel like I’m part of a scene. Maybe that’s a limiting belief on my part. I will say I really appreciate the way Ken is a positive force in creating community. In fact I found Vinnie through the Sounds and Shadows group, so in that way I owe this very song to him and to everyone involved! 

But I think the same lowered barriers to entry that make music so accessible these days has also meant that it is very spread out and difficult to feel like there’s any one homogenous scene, and instead that there’s pockets of communities here and there. My modus operandi is simply to be the best version of myself that I can be and operate in integrity so that I can align with people who do the same, gravitate toward and nourish the people in my immediate circles who feel like the best fit, where everything feels easy and fun and inspiring, and then keep repeating that. Into infinity, so to speak.

When you can do that, and when you start connecting with the artists around you and forming mutually positive creative friendships with them, maybe it doesn’t matter whether there’s a scene or whether you belong to it.