A rookies guide to Cold Waves VIII Chicago day 1. 9/19/19

In 2012 a musician and sound engineer much beloved by the scene named Jamie Duffy was taken too soon. In an effort to pay tribute and help his family, a group of bands collaborated to create a music festival. Eight years later it has continued to grow and thrive as a celebration of music, counter culture, and dancing. Somehow in those previous seven years I have never attended this festival. This year I am changing that. I figured I would create a preview of each of the four days line up. Then try to share them before I head to Gotham City this weekend. Friday is sold out but tickets are still available for the other days and I would love to share my Cold Waves deflowering with as many of you wonderful people as possible.

Thursday Sept 19th lineup is a monster one. Lets break down who you will see.

http://coldwaves.net/?fbclid=IwAR14BGkA1nBmGq0oS1uPTuQgYd8MRX8U2-4MjDVqu6GiHMih-r8zsMjeaMg

Chicago’s own Panic Priest from Negative Gain records is playing Smart Bar and Jack Armondo will be bringing his honey rich baritone voice over delicious electronic beats and sizzling guitar licks. If you have never had the pleasure of witnessing it live, it is a must see.

This couldn’t happen in Chicago without some old school boot stomping in your face industrial. Sean Payne/Chris Harris and friends doing Conformco will give you that in excess. Get on this dance floor now!

Bootblacks – of New York is a driving post punk electroclash sizzlefest that has to be seen live to truly be appreciated. I saw them play with frequent life partners Actors in Detroit this past year and was floored by the energy and passion of their set. They have a new record coming soon “Thin Skies” produced by Jason Corbett so you might get to see some preview material. Just seeing Panther’s dance moves alone is worth the price of admission.

Far from done here it’s we are still talking about day 1! Curse Mackey with his debut solo album “Instant Exorcism” I have already reviewed this year and it shook me to the core. Curse has a storied history in Industrial music playing with (Pigface/My Life with the Thrill Kill Cult/Evil Mothers) and this personal and powerful record is a ritual charged electronic inferno. I am yet to see him live so I couldn’t be more excited.


Acumen vs 16 VoltAcumen lead by the Novak brothers has been an intense hard hitting metaldustrial band since the late 80s. Their guitarist Jamie Duffy and his tragic passing was the focus that brought this festival together. No doubt making this a very personal show each year. 16 Volt with Eric Powell from LA also lean towards the metal side while adding electronic and synth elements. I’ve always really liked their vocals and cadence. I’m not sure exactly what the combination will sound like on Stage but with that level of talent in one place it is sure to be memorable.

Jared Loche and the Chemlab crew from Washington DC are part of any serious discussion about what Industrial music is. Chemlab has always held that early Throbbing Gristle art piece style of industrial music for me. They push the edge in the best possible way. It’s been a long hiatus since 2012 when they last played. It is a swirling, electronic Pandora’s Box, Like a pressure cooker filled with chaos brimming over into your eardrums. I can imagine what that many years of ideas is going to look and sound like.

Pop Will Eat Itself the UK based dance explosion that has been shaking the cement off clubs since 1986 with napalm bright guitars and electric stage shows and effective rapping. I think it has always been the extreme cleverness of this band that makes it stand out. My dear friend Josh Garman said it best “PWEI is so good they did a diss track of the Jesus and Mary Chain and I still love them” PWEI really deserves it’s own lengthy article about their contribution to the bigger musical picture.

Other important news, WAX TRAX will have a collectors corner set up with both the WAX TRAX documentary film and several rare test press, first press collectors items from the label.

My friends we are only at day one of a four day musical celebration and the names keep this exciting as the weekend goes on. So hydrate, pace yourself, and leave everything on the floor.

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Sounds and Shadows Favorite Dj’s Shows List

So running this review page we end up sifting through a lot of music. Some that a band or label reaches out and sends to me. Some that I just find in the endless traversing of the internet. However another often overlooked source are the hard working Dj’s doing broadcast and mixcloud shows which help sift through the vast abyss of musical darkness and highlight those burning gems that set my heart aflame. I thought it would be fun to give a shout out to some of the shows I listen to regularly. These are people doing the dark lords work out here and following and liking their pages really helps them continue to find the best new music. These are in no particular order and are by no means the end of the list, but I have to start somewhere.

This Handsome Devil is Sunil Khanna

Sunil does a live radio show in Austin TX, one of the world hubs for hot new goth/Industrial music. He has a finger firmly planted on the pulse of the scene. He does a Mixcloud every Sunday called Dj AsuraSunil’s Sunday Seven where he highlights 7 songs from different artists in a wide range of genre. Usually with some theme and no discussion just music. However he is also one of the friendliest easy to know gentlemen you could hope to meet. His show is always a source of sparkling jewels.
Next up is Pat 626 and their show SubCulture Shock. They are out of Charlottesville VA which has a really thriving goth scene. They do club Djing as well as this show every Sunday and I rarely miss it. Pat always finds incredible balance of new music and classics with just the right touch of discussion and background on some of the bands played. Pat also does a nightly feature called “So bad it’s good” where they find the cheesiest over the top song possible. We share this guilty pleasure to the point neither of us is even guilty about it. I also love this show for the live group chat which often has a lively discussion from dark music lovers (often including great musicians in the genre)
DJ Dark Dave does one of my all time favorite shows out of Toronto. However it is also live broadcast on radio-dark-tunnel.net. Dave is always finding and spinning new great music and supporting bands all over the world. He also does a fair amount of discussion and background between sets. Which I love because he is freaking hilarious. Definitely a very light hearted show but his music finds are always spot on.

https://www.facebook.com/theeleventhhourwidr/

Here we have my hometown of Kalamazoo MI’s very own Dj Shadowplay. She does a wonderful show at Wednesdays from 11 PM-12 AM ET on the local college radio station WIDR called The 11th Hour. Lots of great Post Punk/Darkwave/Coldwave and a good mix of backgound and discussion.

DJ WILL Kill and his show Splatterhouse also in Kalamazoo from WIDR handles the Industrial/EDM/Gothic Metal harder edge side of the dark world. He also does a great job traveling to festivals and setting up interviews and guest spots for the show.
The Cold Transmission show put out by the German record label is a standard setter in terms of consistent brilliant playlists from the entire world stage. The genre tends towards mostly Post Punk/Cold Wave/Dark Wave but definitely not as a rule. They also set up a lot of specials such as mixcloud lists picked together with members of popular bands. I actually had the honor of doing a Sounds and Shadows/Cold Transmissions mixcloud list
DJ Kelly A from Pittsburgh PA does this wonderful show. She has been a part of the scene forever and although not exclusively I think does a great job of highlighting great female performers in the goth/post punk/darkwave genre. She has wonderful insight between sets and a warm and pleasant voice.
The lovely and insightful DJ Kelly A
The amazing Highway 7 show by Galit Korni on Ze Rock Radio in Tel Aviv Israel. This show is always on point in both the music played and the wide variety and world wide scope. She also has the most wonderful voice and although the show is in Hebrew and I can understand little of it, I find listening to it quite relaxing.

DJ Sonic Szilvi does Radio Dark Noise out of Portland Oregon. This great show has a wide range to the genre and best of all Szilvi is the most fired up energetic goth Dj I have ever heard. She is on in the morning on Sundays and sounds like she just crushed a vegan smoothie and ran five miles to the studio just be be fired up to spin great music for you.
Dj Subbababa from Rosenheim Germany manages LautFly FM. His new Music Hot but Dark shows are always on point and where I find a lot of the European bands that don’t always get picked up on other American Shows.

Ok this is technically a Podcast but Cat and Bat (Dj Batty Von Batts, and Dj Mistress McCutchan) play a ton of music and give great descriptions. They also have wonderful discussion around issues effecting the scene. Both are veteran Dj’s with worlds of street cred and they always have something interesting to say and a great new or old band I need to hear.

Dj Scott Durand does this great show great show from Lafayette LO. It’s all music and more EBM/Industrial based but he does a ton of new Music. He has a lot of personal contact with big name goth industrial bands and has done wonderful remixes for bands like Adoration Destroyed and Leather strip. He is usually one of the top mixcloud shows every week so that should tell you something
Dead Sound show is another I love by Victor Sevillano. Victor does an all music show as well but has such a vast variety of Goth/Industrial/Electronic. He really does a great job of finding new bands with old school flavor and is just an all around great guy. when I needed help putting together a playlist for Cold Transmission Victor helped me get my order right.
Victor Sevillano Eterna Obscuridad

Review of Hante: Fierce

Band: Hante

Album: Fierce

Label: Metropolis Records | www.metropolis-records.com

All tracks written, recorded and produced by Hélène de Thoury

https://metropolisrecords.bandcamp.com/album/fierce

https://www.facebook.com/hanteband/

The new album Fierce by by Paris France based Helene de Thoury is a bold sensory attack on modern darkwave sensibility. It attacks the concept of pop music in its effortless ability to face concepts and sounds that feel comfortable and easy to accept. It attacks a dark and artistic scene with ear haunting melodies and hook heavy rhythms that appeal to the senses. This album walks a razors edge between counter culture revolution and dance hall destruction. A true dichotomy in every brilliant track that forces the listener to question what is the edge of artistic expression and do I give a shit because this song is straight toe tapping fire. These songs are haughty, they are Paris in an unnamed nightclub at 3am. They are unfiltered cigarettes and dark lit rooms. The songs are full of sex appeal and understated intention. When trying to describe these flowing keyboard lines and subtle drum beats I keep coming back to the word effortless. The details of drum fills, swells, texture are all there in perfect precision. But it has that feeling that is so illusive and hard to capture of trying to sound cutting edge cool without all this fore thought. Like you just showed up and it happened. That is the essence of Hante.

The vocals and Lyrics embody this concept most of all. Helene never reaches, never uses anger or intensity to portray her emotions in these songs. She floats like a phantom in a flowing black dress smoke rolling behind her and she tell the story of strength and heartbreak in these soundscapes and city tales. These are songs I found myself lost in. Shadow puppets that surrounded me and captured me. I have seldom heard an album where the vocals and music found such perfect balance and never overpowered each other. This is a record to become lost in. A labyrinth of sound and mirage.

Are there familiar elements here, sure, it has a giant audio wave tidal wave of Cocteau Twins, a grinding sultry darkness of Anne Lennox. Yet the beats and music have a edge, a sharp razor bite that speaks to the modern sensibility that subtlety is not enough to define her. This is beauty that must be heard and viewed from a distance from fear of steeping to close to the fire.

Standout tracks:

Waiting for a Hurricane – Driving gentle waves of keyboard and dance hall beat. Builds you in an ebb and flow. Helene’s voice is a whisper and a promise. The chorus is a angelic choir of pop majesty. These drum beats are driving and haunting. Like a lost ghost with a eternal message. I hear you.

No Tenderness – This song features Aetervader’s majestic and heartfelt vocal lines. I found myself in love with the contrast and unyielding echos. It gave such an important change of pace of urgency and effort from Helene’s delicate and gentle emotions. When you hear an artist of this caliber you have to ask how would one add to this? Aetervader found a way without detracting from her glory.

Never Over– A dissonant creeping melody. I loved this song for pulling back everything else and giving the purity of Helene’s vocals a chance to shine in an echo chamber. The clarity and dynamics of the keyboard line made this track stand out. When the drums dropped around 1:47 the song took on a fullness and depth that really made it resonate to me. To feel like rain bouncing off streets on a twilight night.

Overall this album is an album that feels like a painting. An image captured in time and full of stirring emotion. I had never heard Hante’s previous albums and didn’t expect to become so enamored but here I found myself. It’s gorgeous, tragic, striking, it makes you feel something. Something fast, and deep. It is efficient, modern, and grabs you in its arms and rocks you to a place you can both feel gently or dive into. Take this journey. Feel this power.

FIVE YEARS AND A LIFE OF ITS OWN: Artificial Monuments’ 𝘐𝘭𝘭𝘶𝘴𝘪𝘰𝘯𝘴 𝘰𝘧 𝘐𝘥𝘦𝘯𝘵𝘪𝘵𝘺

A cast of talented musicians and the darkness of a drawer make for an interesting duality.

Blessedly free of eight minute dirges, plodding male vocals and other dark wave wankery, Illusions of Identity presents us with nine crisp tunes reminiscent of Martin Hannett’s austere design, with none of the orbiting emptiness between melody. In just under thirty minutes, we have both airy pop sensibilities and an acute sensation of claustrophobia, splinters of jubilation and despair. Taking inspiration from acts such as The Soft Moon and Vince Clarke, Artificial Monuments has put forth an album that post-punk purists and pop aficionados will embrace. The corollary is a long, dark ride on your own highway – the fade in and out of headlights, dissociation, punctuated by moments of lucidity and intimacy: this juxtaposition is almost viscerally effective and ultimately, immensely satisfying.

Danish punk scene veterans Kim Wolf and Johannah Jørgensen formed Artificial Monuments in 2013; a handful of demos were put to tape before they asked MOTH alum Patrick Ringsborg to join. According to Ringsborg, the trio wanted something stylistically very different from both MOTH and Johanna’s old band, Metro Cult: ‘We thought we were cutting it down to size, making very minimal cold wave in the style of acts like say, Malaria! but the pop melodies kept creeping in, and the synths kept on layering and layering, and we ended up with this weird amalgamation of super minimalistic compositions and 2-bar pop hooks.’ A few shows in Copenhagen, one in Malmö , and the group was ready to start putting an album together.

Unfortunately, in 2015, an accident left the band without their friend and vocalist Jørgensen, and the project fell by the wayside. Tragedy often lends a measure of truth to a scene frequently fueled by self-indulgence; however, the band is reluctant to talk about it. Ringsborg’s manner is candid yet cautious when speaking of Johannah; ‘It is not a secret’, he says. ‘Even though the LP is drenched in the story, I don’t know how to tell the story and keep it tactful.’

So the nascent record sat. A few years later, the remaining members agreed to get to work. Some of the songs were merely ideas, simply, as Ringsborg says, ‘a synth hook on a mobile phone’. The skeletons of the melody were there, but revisiting them proved interesting. ‘The AM songs were left in the drawer for 3+ years before we agreed on finishing the album, and in the mean time we were listening to vastly different stuff from when we wrote the songs.’ This time around, instead of Iron Curtain and Neon Judgment, Ringsborg took his own inspiration from Bel-pop and ‘cheesy New Age synth’ music. Obviously, he’s not surprised in the marked tonal shift. ‘You do an album on and off over 5 years, it kind of takes on a life of its own!’ Left to his own devices with regards to mixing and mastering, Totem’s Christoffer Bagge offered his skills and support.

As they say, many hands make light work. A host of talented musicians backed the group in its final act – women artists, in particular. Johannah’s sister, Sally Dige, was one of the many who helped Illusions of Identity get off the ground. Ina Noire and Lisa Løebekken absolutely kill the darkly elegant “Wasteful Days” – a disco twist which wouldn’t be out of place on that album Al Jourgensen doesn’t want to talk about. Likewise, Mala Herba’s gelid vocals manage to lay like syrup over the peaks in “The Sun is Anaemic”. A febrile thump countervailed by Johannah’s sultry hum, “Succumb” is, for lack of a better term, a fucking banger. Cecilia Wörlen’s beautifully languid contribution to “Tired Bodies” is almost chipper, contrasting sharply with its lyrics. The lone track to which Ringsborg lends his voice is aptly named: “Incremental Vex”. His spidery whispers sound prophetic as the song builds, plateaus, and ends almost quickly as it begins – your panic attack neatly resolved in under three minutes. Conversely, the following instrumental track “Void” sounds hopeful in comparison.

What’s next for Artificial Monuments? Ringsborg says this is it. ‘We are very proud and happy that it is finally coming out, it took a lot of blood, sweat and tears to do. I’m sure that what we’ve ended up with is substantially different than what we would have done had we been able to finish the album organically back in 2015. Whether that is a good or a bad thing in regards to the outcome of the album, there’s just no way of telling.’

Artificial Monuments’ cassette will be out later this month on Funeral Tapes /Rusted Teeth, and keep an eye out for the LP, to be released on Dead Wax Records this summer.

FURTHER LISTENING: 
https://chainsaweaters.bandcamp.com/
https://technecph.bandcamp.com/
https://sallydige.bandcamp.com/
https://t0tvm.bandcamp.com/
https://mothband.bandcamp.com/
https://metrocult.bandcamp.com/

https://www.gofundme.com/johannah-jrgensen-support-care

-Rachel 

Review of Push Button Press: Spectacle 1

Band: Push Button Press

Album: Spectacle 1

Label: Cold Transmission

All tracks written, recorded and produced by Jim Walker/Push Button Press.

https://pushbuttonpress1.bandcamp.com/album/spectacle-1-2

https://www.facebook.com/pushbuttonpress/

The new album Spectacle 1 by Push Button Press came to me courtesy of Andreas Herrman of Cold Transmission. I feel like everything Andy has been backing in the post punk scene has been an automatically must hear album and this did not disappoint. Hailing from Tampa Florida PBP has created a complete concept album which uses dynamic and crisp songs which expose themselves in a fearless and genuine manner. These are the songs of a painter creating images with texture and sound. The music has a city feel. Hard concrete and sharp angles. This music breathes and expands with life, but shadowed by a dark tone and stark realism of it’s challenging depth.

Lets talk about what stood out to me in this album. I related so much to the vocals and the lyrics of this album. Jim is not trying to sound like something he has heard before. I feel the authenticity of his tone and emotion. This is an album where the voice you are hearing is not someone trying to create an image or previously created sound. It is a artist laying himself barren with his glory and flaws in a heroic bareness. His cadence is emotional but within a contained timber. While these baselines bellow and creep with a heavy and driving force. The Guitars striking and feinting in a icicle dagger dance. Creating such a roller coaster of volume and intensity. Those rhythmic vocals maintain their tone and desperation. A lot of the album strays into different genres like Mire and The Sea’s dance club beats but those vocals are what never lets this album escape that concept of a post punk landscape. That constant contrast and mental challenge are what adds such expressiveness to this album. The songs are not fierce enough to attack you outright, but instead are peeling talons that strike away at you in subtle ways.

Jim is on a journey back to the music scene in this album. The album drips with that sense of the experience of a life lived but the bright fresh eyes of someone discovering a lost love all a new. This was a theme I kept feeling and found so relate-able.

Standout tracks:

Transfiguration – Ok so I just spoke on how the even and metered vocals on the cadence on this album was the rope that tethered this albums to a single concept defined this album, but this opening track flips that on it’s head. It’s a brighter, cleaner, prettier vocal concept. “Because its over now, everyone has left, got here just in time to see the party end” This is a bass driven city hope song that sets the story of the record.

5’C – Harpsichord, who uses harpsichord in the modern age to break a melody line. Here the vocals hit that familiar flood of melodic dark attack that ties this album together. That tinkling keyboard line creates such a contrast that drives your mind to a sped up motion of isolation and escapism.

Mire and Sea – Again the script is flipped into a lilting ballad at home with New Order technique but with a Peter Murphy artistic croon in the vocals. You have heard all these ideas before but not at the same time. That striking sense of what is familiar with what you haven’t heard is a beautiful step forward.

Overall this album is full of substance and retrospective depth. It is a wonderful blend of familiar themes and dangerous synthesis to create an unnerving sense of sinister discomfort and welcoming nostalgia. It was an easy first listen and a challenging deep dive. Scrape the surface, unlock the mystery. Find what you can in this multifaceted experience.