September Bandcamp Day Is Nearly Upon Us. What Does Your Collection Need?

I haven’t been churning out reviews at my normal pace, but that does mean I have a glorious golden stack of darkscene music to prime your soul for the Halloween season. I have some long awaited releases to discuss. Some fresh new bands I have discovered. Some spooky new corners of music I have stumbled into. So let’s dive into some of the sexy dark sounds which are haunting the beginning of Autumn

Double EyelidLeaving These Stones Unturned – Do you know what I love to hear in the modern scene? An artist no afraid to unapologetically embrace the theatrical melancholy of goth. This is something Toronto based band Double Eyelid grasps well. Ian has a voice dripping with lost lament on a turbulent storm of bass. The song swells and collapses. The lyrics are a confession of buried truth too frightening to face. Powerful revelation in a time of surface reflection.

released August 16, 2022
written by Ian Revell
……………………………………………………….
Ian Revell – Vocals, synth, programming
Sky Shaver – Guitar
Sean Beesley – Additional synth

Produced and mixed by Live Evil Productions
Mastered by Noah Mintz for The Lacquer Channel

Leaving These Stones Unturned | Double Eyelid (bandcamp.com)

SINEMantis 2 – Follow up EP to Mantis 1 by the Texas chaos electronica artist Rona Rogueheart. Powerful resonating attacks open the experience. As though you peeled away the smooth edges of Portishead trip hop and revealed something crueler and jagged while maintaining the wet sensual humidity of a packed stone wall club.

Photo by Victoria Renard

Rona Rougeheart / lead vocals, drums, programming
Words by Rona Rougeheart
Music by Rona Rougeheart / Charles Godfrey
Guitar on “Jetset” by Daniel Beaty

*Except:
Written by: Robert James Smith, Steven Severin
Music by Mark Pistel / Rona Rougeheart

Produced by Charles Godfrey / Rona Rougeheart
Recorded at Omenview and Scary American, Austin, TX
Mastered by Mark Pistel at Room 5, San Francisco, CA

Favorite Track:

Virtual Realitease – This track stalks with contrasts and extremes. The thundering club bass, the heavy shimmer of throaty vocals, the razor edge of alure and menace. I love the range of the EP which is always changing the journey. The pastel rain-streaked sorrow of “Je Suid“. This track just hits different though. I’m just not hearing this blend of sounds enough in the modern scene and it has me hooked.

Mantis 2 | SINE (bandcamp.com)

ULTRA SUNNSummer 22 – Belgian cold wave artist Ultra Sunn on Cold Transmission Music with a double single release that bops with Violator keyboard transitions and sizzling Gahan vocals. A purposeful driving beat of motion while keeping the tempo just below chaos. Expertly mastered by Pete Burns the tone flickers like a bright flame on a distant candle. These tracks both have a place on your summer darkscene party mix.

Summer 22 | ULTRA SUNN (bandcamp.com)

thePicassosExhumed – I love nothing more than the chance to shout to the sky about a gifted and haunting band in my own backyard of Michigan. We even have the honor of playing with them at Skull Festival 11/20/22 at Noir Leather in Royal Oak Michigan. This album which dropped August 2022 is a darting ebony fencing match of furious clashing metal that strikes and counters with such speed you lose sight of the precision in the illusion of chaos.

https://www.skulldetroit.com/?fbclid=IwAR2ofT3j53lHO9IsR3rh7By4L-iUBllSsT5v0SZ20YYq3sR4zFMGURd8PBo

Charles Urban

So many glorious and eclectic dark elements at play here. Twangy Latin spice notes in the guitar. Haunted murder ballad Nick Cave tones. The vocals are a roller coaster blend of Gordan Gano and Frank Black. Great use of guitars for percussion, not overdone and adding powerful accent. I looked online to learn more about the band and found little. Luckily I am set to interview them tomorrow for the podcast. Fills me with excitment for a bright future and I am so glad I found them in Michigan.

Favorite Track: Smoke and Mirrors – Part of my love here is the vast range from track to track. This one had huge PixiesDoolittle” energy. Slashing guitars with a booming clean bass tone. A haunting effortless truth to the delivery. I enjoyed all the songs for different reasons, this one seemed to compile the best flavors of everything going right.

Exhumed | thePicassos (bandcamp.com)

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

Released August 5, 2022
William Faith: Vox • Guitars
Sarah Rose Faith: Vox • Guitars

Corey Gorey: Guitars (live)
Philly Peroxide: Keyboards • Percussion (live)
Stevyn Grey: Drums (live)

The Bellwether Syndicate (bandcamp.com)

Pilgrims of YearningHadal – Long awaited release from Boston transplants POY which hits the mark perfectly. I love hearing a band grow from album to album by keeping the mystical wanderlust that made their sound stand out, yet graduating their production and layering to make the energy sharper. Juls voice captures a haunting Siouxsie Superstition” 90s vibe while the guitar rhythms fold and dart like a weaver on a loom. This is a band that really exposes their story with brazen courage and beautiful delivery. A contagious spooky tendril of psychedelic darkness winding around your vision.

Favorite Track: Storms – One because I love the duet, two because I love a banger and this bassline is a live wire flapping on the street in a storm. It gets in your blood and never lets up. Like a jaguar running it is equal parts danger and beauty.

Hadal | Pilgrims of Yearning (bandcamp.com)

SINE – Mantis 1

mantis 1

“Show me what you’re made of,” croons SINE’s main member Rona Rougeheart, atop a slow-burn minimal (but not “minimal wave”) beat. I found myself returning to this sentiment a bunch of times throughout the duration of MANTIS 1, the latest EP from SINE. “Attack”, the title of the opener, rides a single synth riff throughout its duration; it’s a cool riff, admittedly, and the swung house-music claps do much to keep the dancefloor alive. If there’s anything that ties together the whole EP, it’s mood; this slow burn tempo persists throughout much of the EP .”Future Whores” is a definite vibe switch from the opener, feeling more open, almost like a distorted version of a William Orbit track (and I mean that as praise.) Buzzsaw guitars sit comfortably next to fuzzy monosynths; “Until” explores a mellower vibe, with more of a rocky, dynamic feel.

“Blurred” is my personal favorite from the album; Mark Pistel’s glitchy, dirty industrial hip hop suits Rona’s vampy monotone very well, and I’d love to hear further collaboration from the two of them. “Control” closes out the EP with a retro 90’s-goth type track helmed by Curse Mackey (that checks out!), switching from roaring rock to noise to the familiar slow-burn dancefloor fare, sometimes with a whiplash change. The highs? This a VERY well produced EP, and both the mix and the sound choices work very well together. Sean Beavan, Mark Pistel, Curse Mackey and Charles Godfrey strike admirably similar vibes, which can be difficult when working with multiple producers. As for the lows, there’s never a moment where a track lets loose, where the energy and tension breaks into a big release; this may or may not be by design. Because of this, there’s the danger of a song feeling half formed. That being said, there’s always the next one to grow into your sound – and there’s a great deal of potential on display with SINE.

Check it out at BandCamp!

Time For The May 2022 Sounds And Shadows Darkscene Singles Chart

I continue to see the importance of putting out this monthly chart. One that is unique in our scene. I hope other people appreciate the songs chosen here for their quality. Every track here is voted on by Dj’s, Bands, Reviewers, and Superfans that represent the pulse of modern dark music.

  1. LeathersRunaway
  2. Black AngelLook Me In the Eye
  3. The Cassandra ComplexOld Boys Network
  4. HexHeartErase Yesterday
  5. Moris Blak/Daddybear/GrabYourFaceCrimes Of Passion
  6. VaselyneShame
  7. IamnooneThe Need
  8. Sever The ServantsGet In The Grave
  9. IamtheshadowRemind Me
  10. Kill Shelter (Feat: Agent Side Grinder)The Necklace

    LEATHERSRunaway – Another gorgeous smash hit from Shannon Hemmett of Vancouver. As part of the darkscene darlings Actors this synthy dreamwave project continues to grow and impress with every release. Masterful execution with a personal delivery.
Interview with Shannon of Leathers

https://leathers.bandcamp.com/

Black AngelLook Me In The Eye – We have an upcoming interview with LA transplant Matt Vowles about the band putting the rock back into gothic rock. I love this slow grooving The Cult style flavored single with some sinister smokey backup vocals from Manheesha Jones. Absolute banger.

Look Me In The Eye | Black Angel (bandcamp.com)

  • The Cassandra ComplexOld Boys Network -After 20 years the pre goth legends The Cassandra Complex dropped a new album and a scathing punk rock rebuke of modern post capitalism. This song has been sitting the top of the DAC chart as well all month long.
Interview With Rodney Orpheus

Old Boys Network | The Cassandra Complex (bandcamp.com)

HexheartErase Yesterday – Seattle WA sleek voodoo synth had this single to set the road for their 6/17/22 release “Funeral Flowers“. I love the smooth electronic soft serve retro feel. The lyrics have a wonderful Ducky in the rain poetry. This album will be a day one buy for me.

Erase Yesterday | Hexheart (bandcamp.com)

MORIS BLAK x DADDYBEAR x GRABYOURFACECrimes of Passion – Three heavy hitters of modern EDM/EBM who have teamed again to take our singles chart by storm. Each time they have gotten together it is an absolute banger offset by Marie’s crime croon vocals. This belongs on dancefloors everywhere.

Crimes of Passion | MORIS BLAK x DADDYBEAR x GRABYOURFACE | daddybear (bandcamp.com)

VaselyneShame (PJ Harvey Cover) – Early single release for the 6/3/22 EP “The Sea Says” is a cover of the mistress of raw alternative PJ Harvey. I love the percussive twang present throughout. The Dutch duo on COP International do a lovely vocal volley. I love the dusty humidity of the tone in this homage. Leaves me excited to review the album.

Shame (PJ Harvey Cover) | Vaselyne (bandcamp.com)

iamnooneThe Need – Lovely frostbite Italian disco. Subtle and unnerving it shimmers like blue hue glow across frozen water. An impressive offering from the Cold Transmission family.

▶︎ The Need | iamnoone (bandcamp.com)

Sever The ServantsGet In The Grave – Another song on this chart from the partnership of Hide Tepes and Mike Nolan on their horror hue nightmare fuel project on Produkt 42. Normally I don’t answer orders to jump into the grave soil, but this charismatic call gets under your skin.

Get In The Grave | Sever The Servants (bandcamp.com)

IAMTHESHADOWRemind Me – Another gorgeous underground bop from the best baritone in modern goth Pedro Code. The Portuguese darkwave act continues to be the flagship of Cold Transmission. A darkwood ship rising and falling on synthetic waves.

Remind Me | IAMTHESHADOW (bandcamp.com)

Kill ShelterThe Necklace ft Agent Side Grinder – Finally the eagerly awaited master producer and composer Pete Burns returns to form with a single from the upcoming July album “Asylum” using guest vocals from the Swedish Synth star Johan Lange of Agent Side Grinder. This is an emotional tidal wave and leaves me ravenous for the full release. Pete is a wizard of drawing the best out of already talented people.

The Necklace ft Agent Side Grinder | Kill Shelter (bandcamp.com)

If you have a single release in June 2022, or have one that speaks to you. Make sure to add it to our poll and make sure to check out and support the bands there.

Patriarchy and Pixel Grip: The Spring Smackdown Tour, Crucible, Madison, WI

By Jenny Wilson

The power of a fierce front woman of a darker bent is a sight to see and a joy to hear. To be able to see two in one night, backed by amazing bandmates, is a rare treat. That’s what occurred at Crucible, in Madison, WI, on a recent spring night in April 2022. Pixel Grip and Patriarchy dueled it out with full sets, supported by the lovely Previsions.

Patriarchy

Patriarchy (bandcamp.com)

From the moment Patriarchy’s Actually Huizenga stepped on to the stage, a huge American flag hanging upside down behind her and bandmates, something very special began. Actually’s stage presence is incredibly self-assured… she exudes the sensual confidence of a prowling cat surveying its prey. Actually and her bandmates, The Drummer and The Guitarist, presented a collection of delicious fever dream songs focusing around their album, Asking for It, which was co-written by Actually and Andrew Neams
of 3Teeth.

Their sound is a mad trip through heavy darkwave industrial melodies led by industrial drumming and guitar riffs. At the helm is Actually, a once wailing then airily purring siren with a gorgeous mezzo soprano voice that gives her full control over the room.

Actually Huizenga of Patriarchy

Actually clearly doesn’t suffer fools… and her lyrics show a woman fed up with the system and the dehumanizing moments we are still forced to navigate as women, and human beings, in the 21st century. Their set was sexy, knowing, while carried by a refreshingly feminist bent harnessing the anger and frustration of women who exist, struggle, and flourish within and despite of the basic tragedies of our world. Songs like the titular Asking for It and Sweet Piece of Meat showcase all the dark sexual energy one could ask for. The song, Don’t Fuck the Drummer, was a moment of great fun. The following videos, clips from Sweet Piece of Meat and new single, Lockjaw, show the capture the energy of the Patriarchy experience.

A moment from Sweet Piece of Meat
A moment with the Lockjaw chorus

Pixel Grip

Headlining were Pixel Grip, a fast-rising trio from Chicago. The band is made up of Rita Lukea on vocals, Tyler Ommen on drums, and Jonathon Freund on keys. A vocal improvisationalist, Rita commands a voice so uniquely beautiful it is hard to think of exactly how to describe it. Having been classically trained, Rita takes her voice in and out of tones and characters with extreme confidence, all the while presenting a playful, at times even jazz-scatting, flair. This was the second visit to Crucible to support their second album, Arena, since the reopening of venues began in summer of 2021. They describe their style as a collection of “avant pop, EBM, and minimal wave” (pixelgrip.com). The various genres melt together beautifully and, just like the previous year’s visit, made the crowd extremely eager to get their bodies moving.

Pixel Grip (bandcamp.com)

Rita Lukea of Pixel Grip

Rita is a powerhouse onstage, cutting a commanding figure while expressing a muted rage couched in cool tension. This was especially true on Alphapussy, a royal reclaiming of femme power. She works the stage with an expressive knowing that embraces all the weirdos convening to escape the realities of the world. They know that she, and Pixel Grip, will tell it like it is.

Pixel Grip kept the bodies moving with massive club hits like Demon Chaser and Soft Peaks, as well as the powerfully touching Double Vision. Few bands today can produce such incredible club ragers and delicate ballads on the same album. But then few bands are Pixel Grip.

A moment from Dancing on Your Grave

If you are lucky enough to have either band come to do a show anywhere vaguely near you, get tickets immediately. Neither band should ever be missed.

Industrial Ruination by Black Agent

If I could describe Black Agent’s ‘Industrial Ruination’ with two words they would be, “HELL YEAH!!”; the beats, the cacophony, the lyrics, I could go on. In a world of Skinny Puppy soundalikes, Black Agent manage to carve out a unique sound within the industrial music world with songs that combine intelligent songcraft with solid production. By the time you get to ‘Dying Time’, the second track, you’ll know you’re in for a sonic treat. But the tone of this album isn’t all fun and games.

The album addresses subjects ranging from poverty to politics to police brutality to COVID to Jeffrey Epstein. However the lyrics on ‘Fallen’ seem to delve into the existential with such verses as:

Through the inside Pain
then nothing more
Flowers
For the fallen
Break the silence
Don’t close the door

But what remains?
What are we here for?
What are the signs that you were ever here?

Parenthetically, I’ve been very impressed with the output from Re:Mission Entertainment, especially as of late, and this record is another feather in the cap for this noteworthy record label.

‘Feedback’ is an instrumental that smacks of Front 242 with a grating distorted guitar hiding deep in the mix.

Things take a turn for the funky with ‘Strange Like Me’, a danceable jam with moments of lyrical existentialism of its own:

Are you a stranger
Stranger than me
Or are we just the same

Are you strange
Strange like me
Or are we playing a game

Track 9 is ‘Murdering Truth’ (presumably the song about Jeffrey Epstein), a track with EBM-style arpeggios over a relaxed beat and comfortable tempo and the title to ‘Everything’s Wrong’ tells you everything you need to know about the tone of the song.

‘Hindsight’ is a strong closer, going all out with the creepiness and bombast to leave you feeling thoroughly pummelled.

All in all, these 13 songs are very satisfying musically with an appropriately gloomy outlook on life in the COVID years.

https://remissionentertainment.bandcamp.com/album/industrial-ruination