Sounds and Shadows September 2022 Darkscene Singles Chart

This was an amazing month for new music heading into October the most goth month of the year. In September we had our highest vote count yet. All the songs below were Sept 2022 singles released in the broad “Darkscene” genre and voted on by the S & S collection of Djs, Artists, Promotors, Reviewers, and Superfans. A LOT of BANGERS here. Please take a listen, find something you enjoy, and support artists on Bandcamp. If you have a single releasing in Oct, or know someone who does, add it to the voting poll. Also it was a lovely feeling that the majority of the artists in the chart have done an interview with us.

  1. LeathersUltraviolet – Artoffact Records
  2. Caustic x GrabyourfaceNot Your Body
  3. A Cloud Of Ravens The Blackest Mantra – Nexilis Records
  4. Exa XControl – Distortion Productions
  5. FatigueSaudade (The Way Of Love)
  6. Ashes Fallen A New Normal
  7. The Burying KindComing Through
  8. Mark E Moon Dark Love – Cold Transmission Music
  9. Curse MackeySmoking Tongues – Negative Gain Records
  10. Cyborg AmokWicked Close
  11. JunksistaDeath By Heartache – COP International
Shannon being so Daddy I dropped my gum

LEATHERS – Ultraviolet – Brand new single from the Canadian synth extravaganza that is the project of Actors members and currently on tour with them. I love how if this was ever a “side project” it has evolved into a distinct powerhouse of twilight all on it’s own. There is a reason it was a definitive #1 in our most voted on chart to date. Force of nature single you need.

▶︎ Ultraviolet | LEATHERS (bandcamp.com)

Caustic x GrabyourfaceNot Your Body – This team up of Matt Fanale and Marie has evolved into an amazing partnership that just keeps rolling out hits. This one dropped at a perfect moment when a womans right to choose is under attack and this song hits back hard.

Not Your Body | Caustic x Grabyourface | Caustic (bandcamp.com)

A Cloud of RavensThe Blackest Mantra – I am so excited for the Brookland duo and all they have coming up. Jason Corbett of Actors mastered this at Jacknife Studios. The opening drums have this amazing old school Cult pulse and the guitar is a burning laser. Absolute banger of a single.

▶︎ The Blackest Mantra | A Cloud of Ravens (bandcamp.com)

Eva XControl – Another Canadian talent back in our chart again with digital assault pop. I really like the rubber bounce of this single and Gaby’s light touch on the delivery for the vocals. I also love seeing the top four are all bands we have interviewed 🙂

Control | Eva X (bandcamp.com)

FatigueSaudade (The Way Of Love) – MA based Dj/Electronica artist with this fierce electronic builder that shimmers on the wire of a harp string. I love the breathy delivery on the vocals. What an infectious dance club banger. There is a breakdown around 2:50 that is pure artwork.

▶︎ Saudade (The Way Of Love) | Fatigue (bandcamp.com)

 Ashes FallenNew Normal – Usually when I am discussing Sacramento CA goth rockers Ashes Fallen it usually comes back to the guitars. On this new single it is all about the 16 wheel concrete crushing drive of the bass. Tight corners and overdrive to give you a thrill ride gripping the leather of the seats.

New Normal | Ashes Fallen (bandcamp.com)

The Burying KindComing Through – I will never tire of this story. A goth singer ( A Covenant of Thorns) and a Industrial drummer (The Joy Thieves) making gorgeous, romantic, spinning tapestry dreamgaze. This whole album is so deep with romance, anguish, beauty, and devotion. This one hits special.

Coming Through (maxi single) | The Burying Kind (bandcamp.com)

Mark E MoonDark Love – From the Isle of Man off Cold Transmission Music a new single and definite new feel from Mark Sayle and crew. This single has a very 90s rebirth Duran Duran sensuality. Shelly Rourke vocal addition really adds another layer that is giving me goosebumps. Adding in Crying Vessel’s Slade Templeton is another shape on the powerful horizon. 10/10 banger.

▶︎ Dark Love | Mark E Moon (bandcamp.com)

Curse MackeySmoking Tongues – The Industrial legend from Texas returns for his sophomore solo offering. This single is a soulful narrative response to a world that wants art to become easier and easier to swallow. Even with slow dance singles Curse is showing trust in the intelligence of his audience to demand more.

▶︎ Smoking Tongues | Curse Mackey (bandcamp.com)

Cyborg AmokWicked Close – New Jersey father/son prog goth duo with this dystopian sci fi single. I love the concept and the dramatic cape twirling creep surrounding the crunching Industrial guitars.

Wicked Close | Cyborg Amok (bandcamp.com)

JUNKSISTADeath By Heartache – Ok I am going to do a special mention here because we had a tie that came down to the decibel for the first time so I am adding the German dark pop siren on COP International to the 11 spot. Junksista is a talent I have never given their due in terms of listening time. I am always impressed with the perfect craft sound jewel shaping and dangerous delivery. This is a moment that I have experienced too often where I say “I need to listen to a lot more Junksista.

▶︎ Death By Heartache | JUNKSISTA (bandcamp.com)

Review of Curse Mackey “Immoral Emporium”

Curse Mackey has been has been a force in this scene for decades as a collaborator. Pigface, Evil Mothers, My Life With The Thrill Kill Kult all bare the stamp of his powerful vocals and intense delivery. In 2019 he released his first solo album “Instant Exorcism” with instant critical success. September 9th we received his sophomore offering “Immoral Emporium” full of personal dissection and arterial spray.

Photo by Krain Fish

The spiritual successor to Instant Exorcism moves beyond the prophesy of a post capitalism hellscape and dives into a meat and bone reality. A bizarre of debauchery and barter where every sin in imagination is on display and the price of souls are always plummeting. In a time of surface shimmer and digital commodity the Immoral Emporium casts a sharp reflection that burns to the core of the decay of empathy in the modern age. Instant Exorcism was raw and biting, a mad profit’s fervor. Immoral Emporium is a cleaner enticing beacon. Drawing the listener to their own corruption with shining golden salesmanship.

Produced by Curse Mackey and Chase Dobson
Mixed by Chase Dobson at 1156HQ, Denver CO
Mastered by Ken Marshall, HiWatt Labs, Vancouver BC
Recorded at Omen View Studio, Austin TX
and Tarantula Ranch, Tarantula TX
Vocals recorded at Scary American Studios, Austin TX

Favorite Tracks:

The Dead Fingers Talk – Curse really shows his vocal range and lyrical depth in this Violator 90s flavored dance banger with light footed cadence. The imagery and liquid tempo are an immersive ride.

Immoral Imperium – The title track is a stripped down culmination of the core concept. I love the way it isolates and accents the sharply defined power of the vocals. The music is under constant assault from crackling Broken sample noise to bleed a chaotic backdrop for the lyrics. An instant banger with soul.

Curse Mackey (bandcamp.com)

Curse will soon be out on a west coast tour with Clan of Xymox and A Cloud of Ravens catch this amazing album preformed live. As well as an upcoming interview on Sounds and Shadows Youtube Page. The follow up to a first successful album is always a frightening idea. Curse Mackey has managed to build and grow on a narrative that is keeping darkwave music fresh and challenging.

Glitter and Grime Make Me Shine, It’s Review Writing Time

Another Wed in mid November and I have the Oscura Festival fast approaching. This may be my last chance until December to write some reviews of the glorious new music that is being released. As always these are darkscene bands that have caught my attention and need to be shared. If you have a release we need to hear hit us up on Sounds and Shadows.

Modal CitizanIdolatry – The lads from Virginia beach have released a new 4 song EP. Have you ever wondered what if NIN “The Downward Spiral” and Clutch engaged in unholy union to spew forth a jagged baseball bat rolled in broken glass and started taking wild swings at an unsuspecting populous sounded like? Now you need not wonder. Horror film builds and chaotic drum beats, thunderous funk metal bass from Sean Waff, and screeching heart string vocals from Ryan Jones. I love the tight turn into electronic dance beats from their November 2020 album “Control Alter Deplete“. They really comprehend the power of dynamic contrast to tell a story. Adam Fueston unleashes slashing electro whip guitars that pick just the right moment to sear their impact. It’s mean, it’s jaded, it’s rowdy.

Favorite Track: Expanse – A true emotional firehose that encapsulates the anger and aggression while baring the quiet emotional turmoil of keyboards and poetry. Jones goes deep into character thrashing and jerking like a person processed by a demon riding a bull.

Previous interview and video Premier

https://modalcitizan.bandcamp.com/album/idolatry

Sapphira VeeBreath of You – I always love a new single from Sapphira, I especially love it when it goes to such an important cause. Cat Hall, a cervical cancer survivor, agreed to collaborate on this single, as well as our good friend Jim Marcus of Go Fight contributing a remix, having lost his mother to cervical cancer. This single is being released in the month of October, in observance of Women’s Cancer Awareness Month. The track also has remixes from frequent contributor Melodywhore, Ratio Strain, and Federico Balducci. Sapphira shows a Cheshire cat grin to her voice. The deep buzzing pad synths move like columns of stone while the chanting words preach a resilience and vulnerability. Each version creates a vastly different tone to the core concept. Another spot on powerful offering blending dancefloor accessibility and personal trauma.

Favorite Track: Breath of You ft. Cat Hall/Dissonance – The blending of two powerful woman producers/vocalists will leave me floored every time. Add onto that the warrior princess delivery and subject matter and you have a cocktail which is smoky, burning, and filled with introspection.

https://sapphiravee.bandcamp.com/

Rohn – LedermanVenus Chariot – My love for Belgian composer extraordinaire Jean-Marc Lederman is deeply known on this page. His previous work includes ( Fad GadgetThe TheGene Loves JezebelThe Weathermen) as well as some of the most thought provoking higher tier concepts in electronica music of the past 5 years. Teaming here with COP International and exceptional producer/Vocalist Emiliegh Rohn of Michigan they blend into a poetic electrified katana of grace and fury. I have spoken of this record in the Sounds and Shadows group but was shocked I had yet to write a formal review. When I hear someone of Jean-Marc’s pedigree say “This might be one of the most important albums I have ever released” it tends to make your ears perk up. This album is full of endless fusion energy both in the intricate hair splitting craft of the music, and Emileigh’s power whisper beauty. it’s the record I reach for whenever I need to force my body into action. A well of strength at your fingertips for these draining times. Greg Rolfes provides cover art to set the tone of this runaway stampede of electronic elegance.

Favorite Tracks:

All The Little Things Left For Dead Go Unsaid (a.k.a. “The River”) – The slow tempo balled rich with waterfall emotion and connecting poetry. This beautiful piano composition with tugs the heart strings. The haunting whisper of vocals that shut out the world. This song has a captivating beauty in the vein of Life On Mars.

Destruction and More – This is a faster paced defiant and layered builder. The music keeps stepping forward a heavy foot at a time through gale winds. Ending in a fist raised chant of war. A true tribute to Athena in it’s brazen energy and feminine power.

https://rohn-lederman.bandcamp.com/?fbclid=IwAR2L63E2Kk3OSqS5V8slCHssyU7pgp1EC1xXafPSpdNN0apSQajJx_y9puI

The Ending NightsA Landscape To Die – Pre-Order available for the newest offering of Pedro Code (IAMTHESHADOW) of Portugal on Cold Transmission Music. A definingly dark apocalyptic disco drive produced and mastered by Pedro for a soul wrenching personal explosion. Jagged glass drenched in rainbow oil and water. How do you take one of the most distinctive voices in modern goth/darkwave when you find a way to make the steaming disco beats the star of the show you have really broken ground. This is a record that creates a world. Grime and desolation, the remaining survivors of a broken world follow the electric pulse of a melody from within. A perfect anthem for these fractured times.

Favorite Track: No Light – Hearing something so melodic and pure as Pedro’s voice swimming through a channel of filth and grit that is beautiful and terrifying. This macbre nightmare of insomnia and slow grinding destruction. Another layer of depth and complexity for a proven talent.

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

Curse MackeyLacerations – Brand new single and remixes from legendary Texas Industrial artist Curse Mackey (Pigface, My Life With The Thrill Kill Cult, Evil Mothers). Featuring remixes by  Twin Tribes, Steven Olaf, and Chase Dobson. I love the concept shift from gothic electro ritual on “Instant Exorcism” into nihilism Tokyo drift shadow synthwave. A effortless cool grinding prayer as the world crashes down and leaves you nothing to lose.

https://cursemackeyngp.bandcamp.com/

El Clan Somos Nuestro Peor Miedo – New album from legendary Mexico City dark rockers El Clan. There is something distinctive and powerful with true shadow swirl ritual rock delivered in Spanish. The fluttering trill of the guitar. The heavy strikes on backbeat snares. Gustavo Perez Ramirez has such a unique and dynamic range to his vocals. Rumbling growls, silver shining melodies, and sand swirling blasts of power. El Clan continues to encapsulate a burning flavor and haunting sound that puts them on a pinnacle of Mexican darkscene .

Favorite Track: Dios Universo – The opening light touch driving guitar riff set a tone of danger and action. Gustavo growls out a opening salvo of edge and anger. Then quickly changes lanes to a sorrowful melody. It’s a perfect homage to historical hard rock feel and modern dark progressive.

Black Rose BurningThe Wheel – George Grant of New York has taken an already amazing sound to a completely different level. This new album is progressive, complex, expertly executed emotional darkscene that permeates the skin and resonates in the chest. These vocals harken to a previous time of dripping Peter Gabriel emotion that spiral in crystal facets on top of shifting translucent hooks. It ebbs and flows through a stylistic spectrum and delivers with every memorizing tale. I continue to be blown away by one of the most criminally overlooked master songsmiths of our scene. This is a record that needs mainstream attention.

Favorite Track: An Anthem For The Strange – When the title says anthem, they are not exaggerating. These drums are rolling and trance building. George’s vocals ring through with a clarity and power that convey emotion. A warm and glowing starlight that wraps all of us freaks and outliers together in a sparkling blanket of togetherness.

https://blackroseburning.bandcamp.com/album/the-wheel

Sounds and Shadows Darkscene Chart

Recently on the Sounds and Shadows group we had a discussion about the place of “Charts” like the DAC in the modern scene. A way to keep your finger on the pulse and help DJs see what tracks are trending by people in the know. I took a poll of our group of Dj’s, Musicians, Labels, PR companies, and superfans to pick their hottest releases in Sept-Oct of the modern Darkscene. We had a ton of stellar releases that were discussed but I have taken the top 10 chosen. I plan to do this once a month.

  1. Moris BlakCandyman
  2. The Joy ThievesNemesis – Armalyte Industries
  3. StoneburnerApex Predator – COP International
  4. ActorsLove You More – Artoffact Records
  5. WingtipsRun For Shelter – Artoffact Records
  6. BootblacksThin Skies (Twin Tribes Remix) – Artoffact Records
  7. Curse MackeyLacerations – Negative Gain
  8. Angelspit – Don’t Know Zero – BLACKPILLREDPILL
  9. Gasoline InvertebrateScarlet Slip feat Chris Connelly (iVardensphere Remix) – Tigersquawk Records
  10. Dread RisksTrauma Ties – Re:Mission Entertainment

https://morisblak.bandcamp.com/album/candyman-single?fbclid=IwAR3IkWI5xWU_wG07h02T1GLS7al59J6KTudG_eA32-EEMRBfUB8CnWl2AwI

https://thejoythieves.bandcamp.com/album/nemesis?fbclid=IwAR2qVQHV1KgC_gizRUTp2qRRaYiU6w_lMQH_MGn2AQEit5Ltyk94etsEsK0

https://stoneburnerofficial.bandcamp.com/album/apex-predator

https://actors.bandcamp.com/

https://wingtips.bandcamp.com/album/cutting-room-floor

https://bootblacks.bandcamp.com/album/thin-skies-remixed

Curse Mackey (bandcamp.com)

https://angelspit-official.bandcamp.com/album/don-t-know-zero-single

Gasoline Invertebrate – Scarlet Slip feat Chris Connelly (iVardensphere Remix)

https://tigersquawkrecords.bandcamp.com/album/tigersquawk-vs-cop-international

https://dreadrisks.bandcamp.com/

Keep growing the scene, keep supporting great music. If you want to vote in next months S & S Darkscene chart join up on facebook and submit your song.

Does anyone have any money left after Bandcamp Day? Because there are more amazing releases that need your attention.

After the tidal wave of new releases from the last few weeks I get to settle down and deep dive some of the amazing things that I didn’t get to. Powerhouse albums from around the globe that are making my heart pitter patter for the exciting future of modern Darkscene. As always comment on the page who you think I need to review next and share these reviews so others can find them.

Sounds Like WinterFight The Stairs – I have been a fan of the Australia based traditional goth band for a while now. With their third album they have struck an amazing new chord that is the most impressive to date. One of the flavors I have always loved in SLW was the rough edges and old school feel. I never needed crystal clear production work to feel the passion driven low fi power of the songs. In an unexpected turn they have somehow unearthed the unorthodox blending genius of Martin Hannett to create the lost progression of Joy Division and A Certain Ratio. The drums are a crisp sizzle, the guitars a stabbing fencer in constant assault. Sian Williams walks up the down staircase with synergists motion and lead guitar bass. Finally Ant Banister has captured the soulful baritone resonance of Ian Curtis that so many in the current scene have tried to grasp. The entire effect is lightning in a bottle which is holding place between two times. I’m on my third playthrough and still find myself searching for details in a seamless delivery.

https://sounds-like-winter.bandcamp.com/album/fight-the-stairs

I would be remiss to not address the lyrics. This album has a crystal clear delivery with poetic flare for dark themes that keep bringing me back to Unknown Pleasures and Still. The wonderful lighting/Thunder offset of Andi Lennon‘s vocals add just the right amount of spice to this complex stew. My arms sway with reckless abandon and my mind swirls with the bleak and heady themes. People often talk about how much this scene leans on the past, but not enough on the ground left to go. This feels new.

Favorite Track: Fight The Stairs – The title track is the perfect blend of both tempo and Andi/Ant’s vocal style. A guitar riff is everywhere at once like a live wire catch the dragon by the tail. It’s a story you can follow and a sound to get lost in.

Overall: This is the new standard for a band hitting on all cylinders

DogtabletPearldrop Blue – A lot to unpack here. So many amazing elements in one place that connect all the tiny synapses in my mind and unleash a flood of dopamine right in the brainstem. Scene legends Martin King, Roberto Soave, and Jared Louche, have teamed up once again to bring out all the best in each other and we are reaping the sonic benefits. I’ve had a hole in my heart as Jared has been quiet lately. Hearing his mad prophet poet spinning spiderweb dreams again takes me on a fantastical journey. The album features a plethora of amazing guest vocals from S & S favorites Cat Hall, Coral Scene, Sapphiria Vee/MelodyWhore, and Groovie Mann. Another amazing addition was mastering by sonic wizard Pete Burn. How they take all these elements and make the chaotic fever dream sound so clean and cohesive is beyond me, but I suppose that is why they are legends. The entire album builds like a cinematic human drama touching gentle notes like taste buds on the tongue.

https://dogtablet.bandcamp.com/album/pearldrop-blue

Favorite Track: Impossible to choose from this ensemble cast of talent. Every Little Lie – Featuring frequent collaborators Sapphiria and Melodywhore is crystal cocktail party of balance and trip hop fantasy. Star – Is a deep and introspective prayer to the connection of spirit. Silver strands winding through the universe while light bounces off at a million sparkling moments. Heavy Gravity has a more traditional Dogtablet feel, with Louche in full moonbeam madness and William Borough’s cosmic streams of conciseness.

Overall: Another smash hit with the complexity of craft you would expect from veteran masters, and the dangerous psychedelia artistic courage of people beyond the game. You will be changed by this.

Aesthetic PerfectionGravity – Houston we have lift off. The newest single from Daniel Graves featuring Swedish death metal axe master Sebastian Svalland holds the speed and power to break the atmosphere. I almost had a dance related injury the first time I spun it. Graves touches on an emo punk lilt to the vocals that gives an original modern bite to the Pop-Industrial equation. Get strapped in, and peer out the window as the pinpricks of light race by at blazing speed. I know I was late to the game for Aesthetic Perfection, the more I hear, the more I love.

https://aestheticperfection.bandcamp.com/album/gravity-single

Sega LugosiUn​-​Undead EP – Wow, the ultimate goth diss album from the hidden part of The Gothsicles. If you ever wanted in on the inside joke of modern EDM, now is your chance. Epic in scope chocked full of nerd culture reference. Everything you love about Klack/Caustic/The Gothsicles put in a blender on frape and poured on a Genesis consul until it sparks and burns. Jumping Jesus on a pogo stick Taco Tuesday is a jam. It really isn’t the humor, because the songs are funny. It’s how good the songs are in spite of the humor. “Sunday ain’t my day to pray, It’s Tuesday that makes me sashay.”

https://segalugosi.bandcamp.com/album/un-undead-ep

Curse MackeySubmerge Remix – How do you find new space in my favorite track of 2019 breakout album Instant Exorcism? Have sound engineer extraordinaire and close friend Chase Dobson do a remix, and give him a new guitar line from Ronny Moorings of Clan of Xymox. Where the original track was a slow and crushing descent. Here you are in open water, looking at the expanse of nothing but dark blue for miles. Gorgeous lapping waves of delayed guitar the only sensation tying you to life and you sing down in ice waters. I love feeling something I am already in love with deeper. Discover it again.

https://cursemackeyngp.bandcamp.com/album/submerge