The Next Wave of Goth Is Now

Goth music and culture has always been rooted firmly in the past. It often has felt this subculture awards time served in the scene and knowledge of the obscure history of the bands, clubs, and fashion of our progenitors. However in order for a culture to carry on it must evolve and strike a chord in future generations. This happened in the 90s, then again in the mid 2000’s as new waves of goth music found and audience. Each time adding to the story by paying homage to the generations before it. As time went on “Goth” has splintered into smaller subgenres which have pushed further from that original concept until a tangled and complex web reached towards the edges of other genres. I for one embrace how rich and diverse the concept of goth culture has become. In future articles I want to explore some of these subgenres and how they are impacting modern music. In this article I will be focusing on the return to the core. That first idea of guitar driven dark music, with throbbing basslines, ethereal keyboards, and haunted lyrics with romantic natures.

1st Wave: The Velvet Underground, Joy Division, Siouxsie and The Banshees, Killing Joke, Bauhaus, The Cure, Sisters of Mercy, The Birthday Party, Sisters of Mercy, Red Lorry Yellow Lorry, Fields of the Nephilim, The Mission.

2nd Wave: Rosetta Stone, Nosferatu, The Wake, Children On Stun, Dead Can Dance, Lycia

3rd Wave: Angels of Liberty, Merciful Nuns, Switchblade Symphony, O’Children, Ritual Howls, Pink Turns Blue, The Horrors, Sunshine Blind, Golden Apes, Black Tape For a Blue Girl, Razed In Black.

Finally a new slew of darklings is raising that torch and producing the next wave of goth rock. I think it is key that these are bands who came up listening to the post synthesis goth and found their way back to the root. It gets me excited for the future.

Sonsombre – Leading the charge in this next wave. A band now signed on goth mainstay label Cleopatra. Sonsombre brings back that electric tempo and graveyard theme with flickering guitar riffs that flow like a fencers duel. You can feel that early outlaw goth Fields of the Nephilim on their 4 amazing albums. With no sign of slowing down. If you are ready to jump into that next wave, this is a great place to start.

Brandon Pryus

https://sonsombre.bandcamp.com/

The Kentucky Vampires: Hailing from shockingly, Kentucky, here is another band that brings old school sinister pipe organ and fire bright guitar riffs. From Secret Sin records the tone and emotion of their 5 records is everything true fans of 80’s death rock long for. Abbas has a haunting voice full of chorus and foreboding. Brandon of Sonsombre does mastering for them and helps add a sense of continuity to this new goth sound.

https://thekentuckyvampires.bandcamp.com/album/crimson-curse

Scary Black: Another amazing new goth act from Louisville KY. What the hell is in the water out there. This is a one person band that has such electric energy and frightening tone. Singer Albie has one of those deep baritone voices that comes from the bottom of a well and fills you up with emotion. 3 albums and the napalm fire single Starlight Dancer.

https://scaryblack.bandcamp.com/album/are-you-afraid-of-the-dark

Twin Tribes: These lovely lads from Texas have taken the world by storm. Dreamy private ritual sounds that bring the beauty and heartbeat of The Cure back into the mainstream. Tender poetry and swirling texture smoldering in a cauldron on a moonlit night. Already with two breakout albums and additional singles they are setting the standard for the softer side of gothic rock.

https://twintribes.bandcamp.com/album/ceremony

Black Angel: London UK artist Black Angel is putting the bat cave rock back into death rock. I feel so much of The Mission and later Sisters dancy flow to gothic rock. Their music reminds me so much of the goth club scene, swinging arms, leather and lace. Gothic music has always been tied to expression with the body, that is something Matt Vowel’s has grasp and fused into the future.

https://blackangelmusic.bandcamp.com/album/kiss-of-death

IAMTHESHADOW: When I think of goth, I think of passion and vocals that capture a room. Lisbon Portugal’s IAMTHESHADOW does that in spades. Pedro Code has the best baritone in modern goth. It’s sexy, crooning, dangerous music that sounds like a full bodied red first touching your lips. It’s music to give yourself over and get lost in. Like the first time you heard Peter Murphy and thought this is the sound that encapsulates the image i want to see in the mirror. Now on Cold Transmission Music.

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

Cliff and Ivy: Alaska’s favorite goth couple Cliff and Ivy have brought back the isolated howling wolf tooth and nail of goth. The punk blend of The Damned and Alien Sex Fiend. It’s raw, fierce, and unapologetic. Ivy takes the back of your head with her beautiful prose, then smashes your nose with a headbutt of power. Cliffs thick guitar riffs are a growling beast let off the chain. Iron Gauntlet in a velvet glove.

https://cliffandivy.bandcamp.com/album/the-best-of-cliff-and-ivy

Crying Vessel: Slade and Basil also bringing that softer dark edge to gothic rock. Horror author Slade is integrating imagery of the macabre an sinister with a glam razamtaz feel. Gorgeous layered production and flange rich echo’s that simmer with Bowie and Love and Rockets. That special darkness you find on the edge of a rainbow after a storm. Available on Cleopatra Records.

https://cryingvessel.bandcamp.com/album/pleasures-for-the-wicked

Mary: My newest goth obsession from Toronto. It is fast paced, spicy, with an old school New York feel. Strong sweeping vocals with a lot of depth and meaning. It also has a complete album feel with the sweeping tempo and dynamic shifts. Take me through the full range of emotions in one record. Another Cold Transmission signing. I expect big things in the future from him.

https://maryofficial.bandcamp.com/album/die-before-death

Death Loves Veronica: This lovely lady from Texas brings that same Souxie dripping soul and witchcraft elegance to modern goth. It’s smoky and pours straight from the vein into your ears. Really nice use of guitar to add weight in the right moments. Goth needs to echo through the listener on a personal level. You need to feel what they feel and that is what Veronica captures so elegantly.

https://deathlovesveronica.bandcamp.com/album/in-the-silence

Sounds Like Winter: All the way from Australia Art Banister’s popping sharp edge retro feel goth rock has a lot of that true early Joy Division/Warsaw vibe in the drum and tempo. The vocals are forceful and ringing in a hopeless monotone. All that fuzz and emptiness given flesh.

https://sounds-like-winter.bandcamp.com/album/no-interest-single

Adoration Destroyed: Also from Texas this band is leather pants sexy in musical form. Masters of blending modern pop and old school shadow shock. It’s animalistic and winding with crackling electric dance destruction. Erik has a voice that calls to you come hither and has a 10/10 on the shake that ass factor.

https://adorationdestroyed.bandcamp.com/

Orcus Nullify: The doom and shattering gothic rock sound and poetry unafraid to lean into the cheese and imagery of early goth. Thunderous bass driven rock about bog witches and grave dirt. I love the courage and delivery of this South Carolina sensation

Witchhands: Colorado doom metal with raw open wound sounds full of decay and ritual. That place where early goth rock stayed into metal and pain. Spewing forth a filth and blood soaked pageantry with blistering guitars mashed with organs and echos.

Redwing Blackbird: Another Colorado band with blistering speed and The Damned edge punk feel mixed with true goth sensibility. This album picked me up when i am feeling low…and then sends me low again. Great production and electric tempo.

https://redwingblackbird1.bandcamp.com/album/too-klaus-for-comfort

Amaranth: Ken, do you have the strength of character to not engage in shameless self promotion and include yourself with this wave of goth bands? Fuck No! I feel good about the music we have made coming back. It veers from old school to proggoth/ to industrial but fuck it, it’s good. Give it a listen 🙂

https://theamaranth.bandcamp.com/album/spreading-the-charred-remains-of-hope

I also wanted to call out a few bands that rose from the grave to join the modern scene but have been making music all along 🙂

Caroline Blind: The stunning voice from Sunshine Blind has returned to cut an amazing solo album. Bringing in a who’s who from third wave goth to accompany her on this soulful and rich goth endeavor with a more organic feel. Her voice grabs hold of the heart strings and rides your into the ground. Breathtaking music contributions from Rich W. (The Wake), David Wolfenden (Red Lorry Yellow Lorry), Dave (The Dramedy), Ashe Ruppe (Delphine Coma), George Earth (Switchblade Symphony), Gordon Young (Pretentious Moi, Dream Disciples, Children on Stun), CWHK (Sunshine Blind), William Faith (Bellwether Syndicate, Faith and the Muse) and Geoff Bruce (Sunshine Blind, Faith and the Muse). Everyone who shows up hear really shows the impact of this artist on the scene and how much power this newest release packs.

https://carolineblind.bandcamp.com/album/the-spell-between

The Wake: Speaking of The Wake, they have just unleashed a new album in 2020 and it is game changing outstanding. This record is going to get it’s own review but to not mention the power of this release would be an oversight. Such a sky opening laser of guitar beams interlaced with velvet smooth vocals and a canopy of bass to hold it inside. My breath is taken.

The Cassandra Complex: Rodney Orpheus of London’s Cassandra Complex has been keeping the goth sound alive for years. A tantalizing and sinister painting of sound with the history of human experience brought shining and new with each release. Recently on bandcamp he put out some remasters of those lovely goth anthems back into the light. A true crooner of the poetic experience of early goth music who actually toured with the early progenitors.

https://thecassandracomplex.bandcamp.com/album/wetware-2019-remaster

I didn’t come close to hitting everything, and with facebook now stopping videos, lists like this on our page might be the best bet for a full playlist of new music. So If I missed something you feel meets the requirement of guitar based goth made in the last 4 years. Please add in the comments and I will try and get it included. Much love, Precious Ken.

It’s Bandcamp Day and times are dark. So I am looking for ass shaking darkness.

Today is the day when Bandcamp (The one music streaming and distribution company that seems to care an iota for musician’s) waives it’s fees and gives everything spent, to those making the music. It’s been a tough few months in particular and I am in the middle of Sotember (The month each year where I recharge and drink nothing stronger than Earl Grey tea)

Death Loves Veronica : In The Silence

Newest single from Texas darkwave sultry star Veronica Campbell. This song has a brighter more open tone than previous offerings. It really highlights the elegant purity of her voice. Also included is a beautiful synth rich remix of “In The Silence”. A cascading waterfall of cool crystal sound.

https://deathlovesveronica.bandcamp.com/album/in-the-silence

Danny BluThe Pale Horse

I have been waiting for someone to put raw emotion and sass back into the darkpop genre. This album crackles with mid tempo dance beats to fill the back walls of the club. The lyrics are an inward journey with an 80’s Madonna soul. Beautiful modern layered vocals to create movement and build. It’s one of those sounds that flows through your earbuds and into your nervous system and flexes attitude through your body. I feel like other people can hear these songs through my movements when I listen.

Fav Tracks: Paradise City/White Knight

https://dannyblu.bandcamp.com/album/the-pale-horse

Wingtips: Tears of Pearl

Chicago retro-synth dreamboats Wingtips have done this fitting tribute to criminally underrated 90’s Aussie pop band Savage Garden. I love the interlocking vocal duet here. The frosting sweet swirl of keyboards and chimes on this song make my heart dance with delight.

https://wingtips.bandcamp.com/track/tears-of-pearls-2

DJ Version 666Dance of the Profane

Firebrand driving doom dance with a nice sprinkle of Industrial guitar and finger firework keyboard work. I really like the effective chanting vocals which hit right on the needle of what I want from a club jam. Extra bonus remix layers on some teeth and glitch for a aggro feel. Stomp your feet and scream obscenity.

https://djversion666.bandcamp.com/album/dance-of-the-profane-single-and-remix

KlackProbably

Listen to Klack or I will attack, and you don’t want that. A fresh new feel here from Matt and Eric. I really have enjoyed every evolution of this project. This has a Construction Time Again DM flavor. It has clever carefully placed samples. The beats have a real shake that ass groove. The keyboard melody lines are beautiful retro hooks. I really fell hard for these breathy cleanly delivered vocals. It’s something I hadn’t heard from them before and immediately wanted more of. The lyrics really became a strong suit here. This is an album plucked out of the timestream and dropped hard in 2020.

https://klack.bandcamp.com/album/probably

Broken Nails: Control the Delusion

Kim Bell and company have released this lovely shadowpop with misty daybreak darkness. It has a dreamlike quality, with a Til Tuesday retro flow. I really like the front edge of Kim’s delivery on the vocals. This really gets me excited for the future direction of the project. Now on Swiss Dark Nights

https://swissdarknights.bandcamp.com/album/control-the-delusion

GoFight: Freestate

I will always buy every GoFight release. I will never regret my decision. Jim Marcus understands the blending of body gyrating dance music in the way an Indian executive chef understands the blending of spice. The layering of elements allows you to get lost in what kind of a song you are listening to. His voice is that perfect growling beauty snapping at your heart with desire and terror. Another single, another home run.

https://gofight.bandcamp.com/album/freestate

Mary: Die Before Death

I think this band from Toronto now on Cold Transmission takes the award of the day for something I had no idea I needed and now can’t live without. The scope of tempos here run from blistering car chase to lullaby shouting fuck. Gorgeous dreamy vocals that would make Robert Smith raise an eyebrow. I’m not sure where this was hiding but it just took my 2020 by storm.

https://maryofficial.bandcamp.com/album/die-before-death

Review of Death Loves Veronica “Lucid Dream”

http://www.veronicacampbellofficial.com/

https://deathlovesveronica.bandcamp.com/

Going to try something a little new for our review of the latest release of Death Loves Veronica. Katy and I are both big fans but both come from fairly different backgrounds. So we are going to do a duel review. Listening to the songs separately and not discussing. Then posting our thoughts here to feel this album through a couple lenses.

Overall Impressions:

Katy – I really enjoyed this album from beginning to end. The album is dynamic with different feelings associated with every song. Each track had its notable mentions, but a few really resonated with me in a long term way. Spending a bunch of time in my apartment makes me really appreciate albums that keep me wanting more. Death Loves Veronica is an amazing project that creates some of the best music for the timing of my life. This album was exactly what I needed and I’m so grateful it exists. 

 

Ken – I have been waiting for this record for a long time. I’ve been a fan of Veronica’s work for a while and she really took time with this one. It just bleeds soul and internal honesty. I think what left me so struck was how it had a powerful moody synth feel, but the vocals really showed her Texas style. I heard a real rich story teller feel of Dolly Parton or Patsy Cline. It fills a real void in the current scene and I found my mind often getting lost in the narrative of the songs. It has a moderate pace that grinds and builds and really throws a smokey spotlight on the journey and reflection.

 

What did it make us feel? :

Katy – Each song evoked a different kind of feeling, but overall I felt fulfilled. Some of the songs made me smile, others made me think deeply because the music or words felt relatable. I found myself gazing at the wall adjacent thinking of my teen years and how these songs feel just as relatable now as they would have then. 

Ken- I love the way Katy said it was related to her teenage years. For me I kept finding myself dwelling on a more mature voice reflecting on the wounds and lessons of the past carried with us into modern experience. I think it says a lot about a song writer when she can send an emotion and have the same basic concept touch different listeners through different lenses. These songs felt so solitary and sending communication across the world to someone lost. Obviously this hit hard in the modern world.

Blood King:

Katy- This song has layers. Blood King has a spooky vibe from the riff on the organ to the story being dictated vocally. Generally, the song has a very rock and roll feel to it, the kind that makes your feet move and your head bop despite being minimalistic musically. The first time I listened through it, that’s basically what I walked away feeling. Like, “Wow, that was a fun track!” Then I listened to the words closer and realized how incredibly dark the song is. 

Ken – I love the spooky organ on the opening. It really sets up this villainous character . Then the chorus kicks up the drums and torments the protagonist with a spectral voice telling us you can’t escape. Sizzingly buzzy guitars, I love the difference and range between the two vocal styles.

I Came Here For You:

Katy – This song is one of my favorites on the album. I don’t know how to feel when I listen to it. It’s very sexy in one regard, but once again has an overall feeling of creepiness. It’s almost like it’s the standpoint of the predator from Blood King instead of being from the standpoint of the victim. Once again, this song has a rock and roll feel to it that makes you move, but this track has a lot more mischief in its instrumentation. There’s a riff on a bass synth that gives the song more of a feeling or pursuit. The chorus is huge sounding and direct lyrically. Suddenly, you no longer feel like you’re quickly walking down a streetlight lit sidewalk, but in a people filled nightclub.

Ken- Hard agree Katy, this is such a jam. It’s slow and smokey. Those tiny pin prick finger taps crawl on your spine. This really has that sultry sexy soul to the vocals. This is a song of power, stalking, both a fear and admiration. I really heard a story, not of love, but of apprenticeship. I desire to touch danger, not to be with it, but to remake yourself with it’s aspect. That chorus is such a massive hit with the wall of sound on the guitar, but the tempo never increases. It leaves such a striking feeling of being stunned in your tracks.

Alone:

Katy – This is a slower ballad that revolves around lost, love. This is one of the tracks that makes me remember all those messy breakups from when I was younger. “I can’t dance all night without you.” I get that. I feel that. This song has an overall melancholy tone instrumentally with a heartbreaking chorus. Though it is somber, it’s still a pop song, so the synths add a little glee to the mix. Whether it’s the lyrics or the instrumentation, there’s something in this song to cling to and feel some kind of relatable feeling with. 

Ken- That snare is hitting so crisp. Veronica is using a airy and and distant voice in the intro. It really hits with a loveliness. The chorus line of “I can’t dance without you” is powerful and resonates something we have all felt. The forced facing of a memory which stings but also recalls the beauty of that moment. The background glitching static uses a cool sound effect to help add to the narrative. I love how much thought went into the composition of these songs. I am loving how in sync Katy and my take was here. I feel that speaks to how on target this song hits.

Witch:

Katy- “I am the witch, I will destroy you.” This song has me thinking of multiple movie plots that would all be very great and range from horror movies like “The Autopsy of Jane Doe” to a fierce empowerment flick about a woman done taking shit from some dude! Safe to say, this song gets me amped. It has a slower tempo but has huge synths and guitars making it anthemic. 

Ken- I really like the slow mystical groove on this one. Veronica does that wonderful sultry whisper, offset by a call back distorted voice to add broken glass edge. It has this cool LA almost Courtney Love feel, which for me is a huge compliment. I love Katy’s call out of how hard this hits for being a slow song. Use of dynamics to achieve a magical fireball to the face. Just dripping with bad ass feminine energy. This is a total last girl song.

Crushed:

Katy- This song is my favorite on the whole album. It’s so sad! The longing conveyed through this track is so impactful. The synths in the second verse wobble and create that tension and uneasiness, that discomfort… it’s the sounds of how I feel right now. This track also highlights how dynamically ranging this album is. Through most of this album, the songs are driving and poppy whereas this song has an almost lo-fi indie feel. Maybe it’s because most of the song revolves around a simple, but longing-sounding bassline. The things Veronica is saying are so simple and direct that they crush your heart. 

Ken- I knew right away why this was Katy’s favorite. Huge dreamy David Lynch vibes here. Almost a sinister surf shoegaze feel. Great transition at 1:30. The way the layers build here is so effective, just adding one piece at a time to keep the drive doing.

Closing thoughts?

Katy- I highly recommend this album. If you’ve been a follower of Death Loves Veronica, you should be excited. If you’re new to her work, check it out because it’s an incredible range of sound and influence. Death Loves Veronica has always been amazing at telling a story and really selling a scene and I’d debate this is the best landscape of those talents so far. Like I’ve said already, this was exactly what I needed right now. It’s not an album of the same thing over and over.  When the world feels like it’s falling apart, it’s reassuring to know that there’s anything to make it feel any better. Right now, there’s a ton of amazing art and music being made and we’re so incredibly lucky to be able to listen and share it. 

Ken- Hard agree, as someone who is already a fan of her work this album was my favorite so far front to back. It’s all the things she does well, done better. The concepts are direct and narrative. The vocals a slow drink of premium whiskey. More than anything though the way she uses a minimal amount of sounds to layer perfectly to add flesh and blood to the story of her words. I hear a lot of the soul power of a Chelsea Wolfe, with an electronic and intricate design. Doing more with less to tell the story of a journey to the past and back again.

Sounds and Shadows Podcast #13 Featuring Ania of I Ya Toyah. Recorded 3/7/20

I love every podcast we have done. This one was really special though. Ania is such a force of nature. Her music, her passion, and laser focus on her goals. I really feel this is the most personal and revealing conversation we have had of an artist. It felt so good how much she opened up about her life and journey. This is a future star and being able to feel the glow of her rise is a gift. As always I will link the bands we discussed as well as pictures of her dog.

https://iyatoyah.bandcamp.com/

https://katyneedsalife.bandcamp.com/

Intro song by Katy Needs a Life

https://armalyte.bandcamp.com/album/the-joy-thieves-a-blue-girl

The Joy Thieves Feat: Ania

https://zwaremachine.bandcamp.com/album/be-a-light

Lorelei Dreaming
This is Benek love him!
Listen to Benek’s musical work

http://egcine.com/?fbclid=IwAR0-Z2R-gq3nMWO4RXQYcr-f_-QCGh5Tyw0UVg_Hj_91nTLLOkIfytdrGLs

Lumbra Productions
https://www.facebook.com/pg/LumbraRecords/about/?ref=page_internal
I Ya Toyah donates to American Foundation for Suicide Prevention for every show

Review: Death Loves Veronica – Concept

Review by : Katy Knal May

Band: Death Loves Veronica

Label: Cleopatra Records

Members: Live act includes Jamie Cadaver on synths, Chase Bats on drums, Detra on bass, Veronica Campbell on vocals and synths.

Home Base: San Antonio, TX

https://deathlovesveronica.bandcamp.com/

https://www.facebook.com/deathlovesveronica/

Concept is the latest release by Death Loves Veronica. The album is industrial, cosmic, electronic, symphonic, cinematic, and synth-heavy. You’ll feel an array of emotion as you listen, but it won’t fill you with hope.  This Sci-Fi film inspired album is dark and may make you feel like you’re aimlessly lost somewhere far from the home you know.

It’s not often that I find myself listening to such ambient music, but this was truly a pleasure. This album is visual, deep, and thought provoking. When I first heard it, I felt elevated and emotional. 

Concept is hypnotic.  From the moment the first track, “Overdose” begins I felt taken somewhere else. The tracks flow together and form a story arch that is so intense I couldn’t help but write my mental movie to play along with the screen.

Something about how this score is laid out makes it feel like the setting is in a distant future where Earth is just a memory.  I personally felt like I was on a spaceship where everyone is sleeping in pods, waiting for a signal to awaken.  Suddenly, something goes horribly wrong and the ship has to make an emergency landing on a foreign landscape.  In the end, when “The Process of Sedation” finishes, the feeling of resolve and relief is huge.

Some favorite tracks

Process – There is only one song that has lyrics, “Process,” and it is my personal favorite.  What I liked the most about it was how the track teases as it slowly builds.  The track has a tension and darkness that gave me an odd sense of comfort by the end that was so relieving.  Not to mention, Campbell’s lyrics are perfectly ominous and her voice is airy, like she’s standing right behind you.  

The Process Of Sedation– Close your eyes and find yourself encompassed by darkness. The void feels lonely, but there’s a pulse keeping you going. While this is the longest track on the album, it’s also the most cinematic. It has a story arc of it’s own. One second you feel like you’re in a room with a malfunctioning motherboard, then some tribal beats come in and it’s like you’re reflecting on your own existence. Then there’s a part that’s so human, it’s like you’re back home on earth. By the end, that chilling effect that’s filled this album comes in and leaves you with a haunting feeling.

Probably my favorite aspect of this album is only one song has lyrics out of the five, so it’s the music alone that gave me a reaction. No one is narrating the story, which makes the plot more subjective.  A room full of people can listen to this album and get similar feelings at similar times, but have a completely different mental image of what’s going on. That’s fucking art, y’all.

If you’re interested in learning more about this album or artist, check out their website at  https://deathlovesveronica.bandcamp.com/. “Concept” will be available on September 13, 2019.