Cold Transmission Makes It Easy

Sometimes being a music reviewer is hard. Mainly because I am lazy. So rather than digging through my stacks tonight in search of new music. I will turn to the very trustworthy source of Cold Transmission Music and their new Zeitgeist 13. CT takes great pride in their ear for fresh worldwide talent. So this compilation is a wonderful place to get 32 handpicked bands masterly mastered by the amazing Pete Burns for under $5. These were my first impression stand outs.

https://coldtransmissionmusic.bandcamp.com/album/zeitgeist-vol-13

HallowTalk to Her – One of my favorite new CT bands. This song had a racing heartbeat and a booming Chameleon’s base wave. The vocals do this beautiful delayed explosion and drip with longing. Every time I started and stopped listening today, I always came back to this track.

IamnooneSolve et Coagula – Giving a little taste of Britpop Stone Roses flavor with a constant high speed Bernard Sumner guitar downward drone. Really keeps the cadence and lifeforce.

RaskolnikovFall Colors – Really cool Swiss band that caught my attention. This unceasing keyboard drone never lets to fall to the skeletons chasing you, or get to close to the one of your future. I love the lilting OMD sound in the vocals. There is a no trend I’m loving of beautiful melodic vocals in post punk. Let’s try and limit the amount of Ian Curtis baritone monotone. It really took me to an Autumn state of mind.

https://raskolnikovmusic.bandcamp.com/

EchoberylListen To Oblivion – This French duo really brings the heat. I feel like this should be the updated cyber sexy theme to Carmen Sandiego. Cecillia has a cold burst of sparkling air quality to her voice and adds depth and texture to the driving beat.

Paradise CoveLost – Sometimes you want to hear a band reinvent the wheel and sometimes you want the razor sharp syncopation of post punk. The the vocals come in with a passionate and pleading chant that hooks me in. It’s a slow burn scorcher worth the wait.

Cut CityReplacement – What a breath of fresh air in doom and gloom. This has the crisp drums and power push of post punk. It couples it with a bright and crackling sound. I think I heard major chords. I feel a lot of early 2000s New York here. Lovely crooning vocals to pair for a gripping and soulful smash. Must dig deeper into this band from Sweden.

https://cutcity.bandcamp.com/

Clone CultureThey Shoot, I Die – Italian Post punk rockers bring a nice dash of glam to this Nextwave ballad. I love when you hear a band just blends well. It really shines through when it is effortless like this. This track has one of those chorus hooks that sticks to your head like honey to the bowl.

CamlannTo Vatican – Absurdly young and talented Indonesian band unleashed this song that is both exotic and passionate. The vocals are haunting and expressive in a way that captures me. I have such high hopes for the future of darkwave with young spirits like these leading the charge into the future.

Empathy TestMonsters – Look I have spent a lot of time talking about Empathy Tests titanic album Monsters. It’s a top contender for our album of the year. Basically if you don’t have Monsters, you need Monsters.

https://empathy-test.bandcamp.com/album/monsters

Bedless BonesCreation – My hands down favorite band from Estonia has given an exclusive track for this compilation. They always have such a surreal swirl to their sound. The drums are built for war and the keyboards contract that primitive echo with an electronic wisp. This is dream fuel music.

https://bedlessbones.bandcamp.com/

Two MoonsSecond Life – Had not heard this band before but it was a pleasant surprise. A totally unique quirk Nick Cave feel to the vocals. The music is cinematic and had perfect ebbs and flows. I will be immediately seeking out there catalog.

Plague GardenLost – Snake slither true traditional goth with darkwave dreams will always make my list. This done with expert precision by some dear friends from Colorado. This flowing narrative is rich and the setting is a desolate wasteland of sorrow. Love this band, love the track.

https://plaguegarden.bandcamp.com/releases

The Neu NeonCrush – This Berlin band is scorching florescent motorcycle synthabilly brain candy. It’s driving, beautiful, and always feels inches from speeding off the cliff. This sound mixes the best parts of 10 things I love.

https://theneuneon.bandcamp.com/

Kalte NachtInmost Desire? – Hot sounds from Athens Greece. The vocalist has that Shannon Light Asylum force and 70’s punk rock aggression. It cooks a long at breakneck darkwave. I had never heard this band before but believe me they are on my radar now. This is the power of a good compilation.

https://kaltenacht.bandcamp.com/releases

Berlin TaxiCount On U – Sleezy dark NOLA streets drip from these elegant and shimmering vocals. The music is wonderfully subtle and blends the power of the voice perfectly. I would like some more please.

https://berlintaxi.bandcamp.com/

Did I listen to every track? Your bet your sweet bippy I did. They were all worth it. However these are the songs that really grabbed hold. You are going to be hard pressed to get a better playlist for this price.

Get to Know The Family of Cold Transmission Music

If you follow this page at all you know our close relationship with Cold Transmission. They are a new kind of label for a new wave of dark music. They have continued to compile top talent and provide them with artistic freedom to make the albums they want to make. Now they have released a label sampler which features those talents with exclusive tracks from Kiss of the Whip, iamnoone, IAMTHESHADOW, Control Room, and Mark E Moon. Also featured are remixes and several previous tracks from their diverse stable. This two CD set is a great way to know the Cold Transmission family as well as get a round view of the current branches of dark music.

Recent Interview with Cold Transmission Music

https://coldtransmissionmusic.bandcamp.com/merch/spotlight-a-cold-transmission-label-compilation-double-cd?fbclid=IwAR0i5syO5plsQGQQK2LnbfmNl5x0x6h4NKkm0OgsjjcMbDGcwbNGdOtl07U

Purchase the compilation “Spotlight” here

CD 1:
1. S Y Z Y G Y X – Kill the Pain
2. ELZ and the CULT – HORRIFIED
3. Kiss of the Whip – Put You In The Past (exclusive)
4. HALLOWS – Subtle
5. Bedless Bones – Split
6. La Mécanique – Dernier Voyage
7. DILK – Pluto
8. iamnoone – Stranger (exclusive)
9. ICY MEN – Полупустые автобусы (Uninhabited Buses)
10. White Mansion – Clear Your Head
11. Iamtheshadow – Off My Hands (exclusive)
12. Clone Culture – You Are The One
13. Control Room – Are We All Alone (exclusive)

CD 2:
1. The Gathering – Trying To Call (Colibri Mix)
2. Palais Ideal – Erase (Original Mix)
3. Mark E Moon – Dancing (With The Lights On) (exclusive)
4. MARY – Frantic
5. The Bluebeard’s Castle – Plunge
6. The Secret French Postcards – Out Of You
7. Vestron Vulture – Hair On Fire
8. Silent Runners – Forgotten
9. Push Button Press – Mire And The Sea
10. Carlo Onda – Kopf oder Zahl
11. ROSI – Tanzen
12. Monographic – Addicted
13. Paradise Cove – Lost
14. Reconverb – Hem  

So obviously a lot of ground to cover here. I’m going to try and give you a quick impression of some of my favorites 🙂 Needless to say this is a great value and a way to turn yourself into an instant expert of the current scene.

S Y Z Y G Y XKill the Pain – DC based electronic duo full of slither and sex appeal. Luna’s husky whisper is both tantalizing and full of imagery. Beautiful synth sizzle and ass shaking dance beats. This track is great because it has a duet vocal from Josh that really shows the beautiful relationship on feature in this band.

ELZ and the CULT – HORRIFIED – Turkish sassafras sensation rich with pop hooks and slithering nightmare delivery. Gorgeous visuals and truth saber delivery that always leaves you wanting more.

Kiss of the Whip – Put You In The Past (exclusive) – Baltimore Synth lords bring a sweeping club collapse in a snow storm. They really turned the edge up for this track along with Tristain’s lovely new wave vocals cutting through the din.

HALLOWS – Subtle – Brand new signing from Seattle WA this duo is bringing a post punk stripped down stark haunted energy. Vanee and Dom do a wonderful switch off vocal intensity which feels like a conversation in a room of smoke and prism.

Bedless Bones – Split – My favorite band from Estonia. This track has a ringing tribal ceremonial feel. Kadri Sammel has such a unique vocal delivery and the EDM beats hold the reins of a fiery energy chopping the bit to break free. This is one of the most underrated bands in the scene and will be breaking to that next level soon.

La Mécanique – Dernier Voyage – This Montreal band does an upbeat post punk with a connoisseurs ear. I love the melodic French art house vocal cadence. I always say that hearing this band is like you went on holiday. They transport you with every song.

iamnoone – Stranger (exclusive) – I don’t think I have ever reviewed iamnoone before, which is a slight anomaly for a Cold Transmission band. This is one of the exclusive tracks and a burner. I love this upbeat pogo dance beat. Silky smooth vocals with a staccato quick delivery. A beautiful ice dance of cool blues and minty greens. This could have been a New Order solo project you never heard.

Iamtheshadow – Off My Hands (exclusive) – One of the flagship powerhouse bands of the label from Portugal. Another exclusive track and this one is a sizzler that rented a room in my head and will probably stay for months. Pedro Code as I often say has the best Baritone in modern dark music. This track is a synth driven croon that makes me long for the dance floor. Beauty, drive, and purpose. So much passion and power to hold such pop appeal.

Interview with Pedro of IAMTHESHADOW

Control Room – Are We All Alone (exclusive) – Another exclusive track and another band we have not reviewed from Hattiesburg Mississippi. I didn’t know they had darkwave there, but I am pleasantly surprised. This track is slithery serpent wall shadows and synth explosion. Nice low register baritone vocals and contrast. One of those cool bands with bright feel music and fallen in a well vocals and lyrics.

Palais Ideal – Erase (Original Mix) – My dear friends from the Netherlands that make post punk prog for deep thinkers. This track is a subtitle and delicious sonic wave full of winding changes and New Order Movement. It’s an Artificial Intelligence code creation of twisting layers and complex effects. Every time I hear it I think this is what creating on another level feels like.

Mark E Moon – Dancing (With The Lights On) – Isle Of Man dark wave dreamer with another exclusive track. This one is a racing wave with a darkabilly backbeat the rides the front of the crest. Mark’s ringing clear voice carries the action as the drums crash around him. This has a really cool U2 90’s before they sold out feel. Total ear worm glory.

The Secret French Postcards – Out Of You – Swedish post punk crooners unleash this lovely Echo and the Bunnymen dreamy dance ballad. It’s full of cascading waterfalls of sound and cooler than thou vocals. Once the chorus jumps up it really sets the hook in.

Push Button Press – Mire And The Sea – Florida’s own post punk paragon’s who are soon to release a new album I have been eagerly anticipating. I love the use of harp pluck strings and 80’s killing joke complexity. I am again impressed with how Cold Transmission embraces bands who want to step outside of the standard pop mold and trust that listeners long for complex concepts and delivery.

Monographic – Addicted – German based band that does an edgy Chameleons style post punk. I love these thick smashing toms and stabbing guitar downstrokes. Cracking energy and melodic intensity

It’s Friday Night, I’m drinking Tepache. What am I listening to ?

Silverwalks – This Philly based EDM Soothsynthers have a new single out called Lantern. Holy shit does it slap hard with what I call desert power. Has a bit of that swirling sandstorm Gary Numan “My Name is Ruin” Flavor. It’s poignant with both a political and spiritual feel. The standout version to me was #1 the (Kynos) mix. This is straight up money lender table flipping revolution in dance form. Out end of June on Distortion Jim Semonik’s label.

https://silverwalks.bandcamp.com/

Daniel Joseph McCullough of Silver Walks

Bedless Bones – My favorite band from Estonia off Cold Transmission Music. New album out 6/5/20 but you can hear a few singles now like Ostara and Sad and Alone (Wytchdoktor remix). I recently talked about this band in the video podcast with IAMTHESHADOW as Kadri Sammel does a track with them. This is thunderous rolling ritual dance music. I love her captivating vocal cadence and the heavy slamming club bass. I hope this album really puts them in the public attention where they belong

https://bedlessbones.bandcamp.com/album/after-malaise

Charn – Our very own Hunter Hunter has this project out with a series of bonus tracks. Ever since I met them I have been captivated by this broken toy organ grinder from hell lofi sonic explosion that rocks like a tiny ship on giant waves between pop beauty and terrifying nightmare. Charn is not a series of club hits, it’s an experience. An experience I continue to be surprised and impressed by.

https://charn.bandcamp.com/album/always-winter-never-christmas-bonus-disc

Pilgrims of Yearning– As we draw closer and closer to their June 26th release this Boston MA band continues to impress. It’s a post punk fuzz fest of tip toe cadence vocals and choppy upstroke guitars. This latest music video In God You Trust erupts with energy like napalm out of a fighter jet.

https://pilgrimsofyearning.bandcamp.com/album/forsaken-lands

Normoria – Swedish stomp Synthwave sent to me by Dj Sonic Szilvi. This track is a real boot stomper. She has a powerful voice with an almost retro Grace Slick ring. Great job with the lyrics and laser focus intent. This is music to get shit done to.

https://normoria.bandcamp.com/track/the-cost-of-freedom-2

New Haunts – English darkwave with outstanding vocals by Alice Sheridan. A real dancing around a roaring bonfire with flickering shadows and trees. Due out June 5th. I love these flowing synth lines that keep you guessing where they are going next. Powerful transitions and soulful delivery. Heartbreaking delivery of storyweaving lyrics, a true throwback soul born out of time. I’ll be watching this band closely.

https://newhaunts.bandcamp.com/

Blak Sunday – Ok I was done for the night but when some badass old school death rock comes down the pipe I’m going to talk about it. It’s a deep grooves and thick ass guitars. Dark sinister crooning vocals and a breakneck pace. Sign me up.

https://blak.bandcamp.com/album/blak-sunday

IAMTHESHADOW: Pitchblack

This one is special. The first album with a new label Cold Transmission. Pedro, Victor, Herr, these aren’t just a band, they are friends. IAMTHESHADOW is one of the first bands I discovered in my goth renaissance and I have a deep knowledge of their catalog. This album has a story with it. A triumph over adversity, a celebration of reaching a scarred hand up to pull yourself over the ledge. I wanted to start this review by being honest of what this album was to me before I hit play. Now that you know the magnifying power of this lens I am listening through I am going to set it aside and tell you a story about the pure passion and beauty in these 12 songs.

https://iamtheshadow.bandcamp.com/album/pitchblack-2

IAMTHESHADOW:
Pedro Code – Voices, Guitar, Synthesizers and Programming
Vitor J. Moreira – Synthesizers
Herr G – Bass

All songs produced, mixed and mastered by Pedro Code
Design & Artwork by Yvonne Kiel

Our Video Interview with IAMTHESHADOW

Music is a magical thing. Like a relationship. It has a lot of parts and means a lot of things in different moments. I want to give a little background to help you understand this moment. Portuguese band IAMTHESHADOW are a synth driven darkwave sound which builds around Pedro Code’s voice. It is one of the most expressive and passionate instruments in the current dark music scene. The type of old school crooning black silk that would be just as much at home 30’s jazz as it is today. Since 2016’s Everything Is Nothingness this band has stayed true to an immersive core of feeling driven poetry stretching skyward from rich soil of driving rhythm. Embracing the Fall from 2018 took that raw concept to a new height of exposed Nick Cave style narrative with tender dark ballads and the addition of Antipole’s Karl Morton Dahl adding guitar accents. Pedro and team then turned to other projects like The Dream Collision until signing with longtime friends Cold Transmission Music. It was in Cologne Germany for the Cold Transmission festival I witnessed IAMTHESHADOW live and fell in love. When you love an album you expect to hear a band bring it to life on stage. Those special bands find a way to play those songs with new intensity and passion. To open your eyes wide like the first time. So it was in a distant land on a small stage in Cologne.

For two years I waited to see the next place Pedro, Victor, and Herr would take me. Just as the album was nearly completed a tragedy befell with Pedro being robbed of his laptop, and more importantly the masters of the entire album. Huge sections would have to be completely re-recorded. We would all be waiting a little longer for Pitchblack. It was well worth the wait.

The change in tone from the previous offerings is apparent right away. This record does not build itself around the best baritone voice in modern goth. It uses it as an arrowhead propelled towards your heart on silky flowing movement. Part of the glory of the previous three records was using a recipe of stripped down driven passion in a world of ultra produced post punk. Here that passion is just as present but layered inside an intricate and dynamic musical backdrop that gives each concept a voice of it’s own. Additional vocalist Diego Merletto (The Frozen Autumn), Kadri Sammel (Bedless Bones) Yvette Winkler (Vaselyne) were brought on to do vocals. I can say from experience of being offered a duet with Pedro it is an intimidating feeling. Putting my voice next to his sounded panic inducing. Here it is taking something already beautiful and captivating then placing it in a rich sensual frame.

This album cooks. IAMTHESHADOW has always had the ability to move you. With swelling slow turns and blood given form. Pitchblack is striking percussion. Walking slide foot bass lines. Cascading synth sounds rippling in endless alternating progressions. Here the passion is not tender, or heart wrenching. It has teeth, gravitas, and attitude. More of a Depeche Mode Music For the Masses .These songs are for dancing. For fine red wine. For staring into the eyes of the one you love.

Lets talk about some of those tracks:

Always – Track two leans in with that slashing motion and crisp snare snap. The keys here take center stage and Pedro’s vocals lift and support them. “When you realize, don’t wait”. It’s this urgency of both lyrics and the music. Crackling energy that ignites passion and stirs longing.

Shivers – I’m not sure if this song will end up being a single but i fell in love with it from the start. It has a lot of that classic IATS feel. The train getting further from the station delayed guitar riffs. Pedro’s voice strides to the forefront and is larger than any room I could image. “I played my hand, hoping faith would last” I would dance through the rain on a street full of watery explosions while this song played forever.

Ouroboros (Feat: Kadri Sammel from Bedless Bones) – So Bedless Bones from Estonia is a criminally underrated band. As I said I can’t imagine the giant brass stones it takes to sing next to Pedro. Ouroboros is a perfect name for this track because the voices blend so perfectly it is hard to tell where one starts and the other stops. “Face down on the floor, you are my shadow” Powerful EDM flavor meets traditional darkwave. This song is a dance floor giant.

Awake & Asleep (Feat. Diego Merletto from The Frozen Autumn) – Another weaving smoke tendril that you can’t quite grab a hold of. To have a weapon like Pedro’s voice and to leave it in the background to craft a song this strong is such a bold choice. It really breaks up up flow of the album in the best way. This chorus is such a bold change and hard hook.

When you love something and it still finds a way to surprise you, that is true power. That’s what Pitchblack was for me. The anticipation of knowing something you were going to love was coming. Building the expectation beyond what could be met. Then being amazed when it passed that expectation. This is already the #1 selling darkwave album on bandcamp on day #1 and there is a really good reason for that. Take this journey. Fall in love with music that has soul. This is a record that makes you feel something. That stirs that ancient instinct inside our hearts.

Friday the 13th was a wicked day for new music.

9/13/19 saw the release of so much great music that brought my blood to a screaming level of excitement that just doing a song of the day was not enough. I’ll fire through some of these wonderful premiers.

S Y Z Y G Y X – just released a new album on Negative Gain/Cold Transmission called “Fading Bodies”. Available for pre-order right now. Holy fuck, this record hits a new stride. It’s everything that worked well on “The Graveyard Compilation” but done bigger, tighter, weirder. Luna’s voice is way to the front and lets her haunting ghostly song wrap you in glowing chains. This is a band you will be hearing a lot from in the future. Look for our interview with them next week.

https://syzygy-x.bandcamp.com/album/fading-bodies

Antipole – Brand new record out “Radial Glare”. They are now officially the most reviewed artist on Sounds and Shadows with three records. Karl has continued to refine and grow the sound of interwoven intricate post punk guitars but has brought the vocals way forward and used frequent collaborators Paris Alexander and Eirene to make this heartfelt belt of bleak winter energy take life and drive forward into the crystalline beauty .

https://antipole.bandcamp.com/album/radial-glare

Ships in the Night – The Charlottesville VA group has released a series of remixes including one by Thomas Duerig of “The Purge”. Beautiful bright beam vocals racing by sinister dance beats and poetry of doubt and hope.

https://shipsinthenight.bandcamp.com/album/the-remixes?fbclid=IwAR1YcOqjjHClrjp4HzKktFzfDoWJhikd-oOJK3NKj-pM5iyqp57OF1Pxy3k

Bedless Bones – Your new favorite band from Estonia and another incredible Cold Transmission release. A mystical trance of beauty and darkness, “Sublime Malaise” feels like a coven started a dance club in a haunted forest on a stormy night.

https://bedlessbones.bandcamp.com/album/sublime-malaise

Sombre – New video release for “Black Skin Twins”. It’s a new version of the song from “Linsay” stripped down to leave Cedric’s voice exposed and brimming with emotion. The percussion from the acoustic strings add an organic truth that lets you focus on the words.

I will probably write more on all these releases but so much happened today I needed to share my excitement. Delve into all of this. Each was enough to excite me.