Katy’s “End Of Days” Playlist (Vol. 3)

A week from this last Friday was the second day Bandcamp waived their artist fees. Since then, there’s been a burst of new music posted that ranges from one-off projects bred from quarantine boredom to albums that have been in the works for the last year.  Some artists have re-released old albums that were never released digitally while others have chosen archived songs that aren’t new but haven’t been released before.

I’m pretty much saying Bandcamp is rad right now.

There is so much great music out and more coming out every day. It was hard to pinpoint my top favorites, but I’ve spent the last day narrowing my latest playlist to my top six favorite new releases.

Mogwai

ZEROZEROZERO

Scotland, UK

https://mogwai.bandcamp.com/album/zerozerozero

Mogwai

I’ve always been taken aback by Mogwai’s soundscapes. There’s a vastness in their music that can create such a sad, lonely feeling in my gut. It’s crazy how without words, they can say something so well that it brings tears to my eyes. ZEROZEROZERO is the score to the show on Amazon Prime with the same name exploring the inner workings of the cocaine trade. This album gives the story light as it creates action and tension with massive builds and soundscapes.

Favorite Track: Fears of Metal

X

Alphabetland 

Los Angeles, CA

https://xtheband.bandcamp.com/album/alphabetland

Alphabetland

When X announced last January that they were going to be releasing a new album, the punk scene stirred. What would the first album release in 27 years by an iconic punk band be like? Great news, everyone! It’s awesome. X spent the last 18 months writing and recording 11 new tracks that are relevant and hype to hear. When the band hit the scene in 1977, they quickly become prolific for their unique sound. Duel vocals, an homage to multiple rock genres at once, ripping guitars, and attitude. That’s X. This album was released on April 22, 2020.

Favorite Track: Water & Wine

Vlimmer

Pulmo 

Königs Wusterhausen, Germany

https://blackjackilluministrecords.bandcamp.com/album/pulmo

Vlimmer

Vlimmer is a music-making machine! This album is dark and ambient with a drive behind it. Though it’s utterly haunting instrumentally and vocally, it’s breathtakingly beautiful simultaneously. Instrumentally, you’ll hear sounds that make the hairs on the back of your neck stand, but then there are these huge vocals and harmonies that hypnotize you. There’s chaos built into the structure of the songs that give you that feeling of tension without pushing you to discomfort.  This album was released on May 1, 2020.

Favorite Track: Phantompflug

Secret Shame

Dissolve b/w Pure

Asheville, NC

https://secretshame.bandcamp.com/album/dissolve-b-w-pure

SecretShame1

When I heard the song, “Dissolve” by Secret Shame, I felt refreshed and excited for more. I heard homage to bands I love like New Order. It literally felt like I was listening to a song by The Cure recorded for 33 1/3 rpm but played at 45 rpm.  This is the perfect cross of post-punk and goth rock. You can feel how much fun the band had creating this EP. It’s because of this that the music that creates a deeper connection with the audience. I’m very excited to hear the other half of this EP when it’s released June 5, 2020. 

Favorite Track: Dissolve

Tabloid TV Darlings

Demo EP 

Melbourne, Australia 

https://tabloidtvdarlings.bandcamp.com/

TabloidTVDarlings

In 2019, four 15-year-olds came together in Melbourne, Australia to form the rad indie-grunge band, Tabloid TV Darlings. The group is heavily inspired by ‘90s alternative rock, specifically grunge. The singer sounds almost exactly like Kurt Cobain, but the band has melodic feel with fuzzed-out guitars and cool vocal harmonies. This group of teenagers has me jealous of their songwriting ability and has me super excited for their future releases. This album was released on May 3, 2020.

Favorite Track: No. 1

Dummy

Dummy EP

Los Angeles, CA

https://notdummy.bandcamp.com/album/dummy-ep

Dummy

Dummy from Los Angelas, CA is a dreamy shoegaze band that echos the sounds of legendary groups like Kraftwerk, Stereolab, and Cluster. Their marriage of rock genres ranging from krautrock to post-punk is enough to give it a unique sound. They take a minimalistic approach to their work but build huge soundscapes within the composition. Each song has it’s own range that builds the album into somewhat of a cinematic-feeling piece overall. This album was released on May 1, 2020.

Favorite Track: Slacker Mask

I know I was a little late to the game by writing these days after Bandcamp waived it’s artist fees, but there’s still amazing music being released every day! There is so much to still be excited about on Bandcamp. Whatever support you can offer to your favorite new artists is always appreciated even if it’s only $5.

I’ve been hearing so much great music these last few weeks and look forward to the time when we’ll all be able to go to shows again and experience music together. Until then, I hope that you’ve enjoyed this segment of “Katy’s ‘End of Days’ Playlist”.

Review of Audrey Burne’s album “Audrey Burne”

AudreyBurne

Band: Audrey Burne

Album: Audrey Burne

Label: Unsigned

Home Base: Saginaw, Michigan

Website: https://audreyburne.bandcamp.com/

AudreyBurneFB2

I feel like I talk about this whole isolation thing a lot these days, but here I am again, about to tell you all something you already know. Times, like we’re living in right now, have been hard and it’s been impossible feeling in certain moments to see a light at the end of the tunnel. Thankfully, there’s still amazing art and music to keep things feeling a little lighter or less lonely.

One of the great albums to be released during the “end of days” that I’ve been stoked about is the self-titled album by Audrey Burne from Saginaw, MI. A lot of the albums I review are synth-based because I’m a nerd, but this album pays homage to many of my favorite sounds spanning the decades of alternative rock. It’s goth-rock with glam and angst. Vocally, there is some amazing story-telling going on, but be warned that these stories aren’t for the faint of heart.

AudreyBurneFB

Some favorite tracks

Sagittarius– This song is fast-paced and riddled with anger. The story going on here is one of frustration against a dirtbag person. Jacqui Hoyle’s voice is strong as she rapidly spits fire with her vocals.  The pictured is painted in a way that is so understandable and emotionally triggering because we all know someone like the person being described. Instrumentally, this track is very driving. The guitar and bass lines carry the track’s tension while still being a rock and roll song. The influence of this song is all over the place. Piece of it feels like they’re plucked from the ’80s while parts are hit with a fierce flare that’s brand new.

 

Colossus- This track is pretty rad from beginning to end. It starts with a catchy guitar riff that follows the bass line. Even as the vocals come in, the guitar and bass rip! The chorus has a catchy hook that will get stuck in your head all day. One of the big reasons I like this song so much and feel like it really stands out on the album is this wild little instrumental bridge that happens a little past the midway point in the track. It’s almost like the drum instrumental line in the song “Supernaut” by Black Sabbath, a personal favorite of mine. This little interlude is super noisy on the guitar while the drums remind the listener that they’re still listening to a rock album.

Mother of Tears– For those of you familiar with this band, you may have already heard this banger before. Initially, this track was released on a single in October of 2018 but has been remastered and re-released for this album better than ever. This track has a very classic goth-rock feel to it with waiting guitars and intricate bass. The vocals have a Davy Havoc feel which wraps the whole song up in a cool, unique package.

Overall, I really enjoyed this album. It’s unlike a lot of the things I’ve been listening to and is refreshing to hear. When the world is falling apart and everything feels like murky water, there’s nothing better for me than to hear an album featuring clear instruments and vocals performed by incredibly talented musicians.

If you’re into hype alternative rock with dark, witchy vibes, I highly recommend checking out this album.

Editorial: Goth Culture is it time to bury the past?

When i write reviews one of the common traps I try hard not to get lost in is comparing every new band I review to one of the sacred dark gods of the 80’s and 90’s. It’s a pretty common tactic and lets face it an effective one. It’s easy to associate with what is familiar. Often feels like the world of goth/industrial/darkwave/new wave/ect has pretty much been discovered and artists are searching for ways to test the boundaries of what is possible and find some new ground. I figured I would take a moment to acknowledge this is a reality for a lot of people.

Continue reading “Editorial: Goth Culture is it time to bury the past?”

Review of Palais Ideal: Pressure Points

Band: Palais Ideal

Album: Pressure Points

Label: Cold Transmission

Members:

John Edwards: 
Vocals, Guitars, Synths, Rhythm Programming 

Richard van Kruysdijk: 
Bass Guitar, Baritone Guitar, Guitar, Synths, 
Backing Vocals, Rhythm Programming

https://palaisideal.bandcamp.com/album/pressure-points

I’ve been searching for the right words for this May 25th 2019 release from Palais Ideal. This album had such an profound impact on me. It’s an early runner for my album of the year and we are just getting started. For me when I think of this record I think of the first time I heard The Church and thought, they are doing the same thing as most of the new wave bands. They are just doing it on a level of depth and complexity which touch on a higher step, while somehow maintaining everything in terms of pop sensibility that their contemporaries are achieving. I think the lack of sugar coating could make Palais Ideal easy to look past when in reality they are the ones creating something most profound.

John Edwards

John has such a wonderful and unique voice which i will expand on later but for a moment I want to focus on the message rather than the voice it is given in. You just don’t hear intelligent, challenging lyrical content like this in modern post punk music. A lot of it is expressive and clever but what Pressure Points has done is weave a cohesive tale of vibrant expression about the plight and achievement of modern culture. It’s Issac Asimov set to a tapestry of music. Enormous in scope and precise in vision. I have listened to these songs so many times already but I ordered the LP and put off writing the review partially out of intimidation partially because i needed to absorb the record played front to back as it was made to be heard. I’m not saying they don’t have great singles here. To me, this is a record of the best 12 deep cuts spaced over a bands 10 albums in one place.

Richard van Kruysdijk

Lets talk about what is unique here. Post Punk tends to lend itself to a technically adept style and Palais Ideal features two masters of craft at the height of their instruments. What they have done is take a step beyond the technical proficiency and into the progressive rock style almost more King Crimson than Joy Division. Dramatic shifts in key and tempo. Time syncopation that has the same heavy driving bass but such fluid movement of tone that it transcends the genre. The music is layered like mesh steel on a robots thigh. John has a voice that flickers and strikes with clarity and hovers on a range between Bernard Sumner, Joe Strummer and Mark Burgess yet always finds a way to cut through the complexity of the tempest. The use of guitars and Synths are economical and create a cleanness in spite of how much is going on.

How on earth to pick favorite tracks?

The Programme – What a complete cybernetic device digging into the depths of your skull and rattling around the pleasure zones in your brain. This bass line is everywhere at once. John’s delivery and that winding guitar rift which glances like light through a prism. “The Colony breaks down, we built it up again, we run the program now” A true statement on the loss of reality through technological euphoria. Facing the self shackled slavery of the modern world with glorious synth candy.

Context Collapse – This high energy snare snap building into a smooth cornered transition and that signature delicate guitar light show. “Forever avoiding a moment of disconnection. Improving, engineering a more transparent you.” So much to unpack here, layers upon layers.

Everything Will Be Ok – So much focus is on this dytopian world of the modern struggle this dance beat New Order soother with the strange echo robot effect vocals breaks up the weight and lets everything go green. “There is no such thing as destiny, life gives you everything you need. Everything will be ok?” So tongue and cheek I can almost beleive.

Overall this album is a force of everything that this new renaissance in post punk music is making possible. First you tear it down, then you rebuild it, then you synthesize it to a higher complexity and evolution. Pressure Points is a soundtrack for the modern spy novel of the post digital age. It’s full of adventure, depth, and a calculated empathy that makes me dream of electric sheep. This will be an album I am still peeling apart when I am putting together a list of the most important musical contributions of the year.

Review of Crying Vessel

Band: Crying Vessel

Album: A Beautiful Curse/Illusions

Label: manicdepressionrecords.com

Members: All songs written, produced and engineered by Slade Templeton of Crying Vessel. 
All Lyrics by Slade Templeton. 
All songs vocal recordings were assisted by Chris Geissler. 
All songs written, recorded, produced at Influx Studios (Bern Switzerland/Berlin Germany). 

https://cryingvessel.bandcamp.com/album/a-beautiful-curse-2

https://www.facebook.com/cryingvessel/

This is an exciting review to write, I have been wanting to talk about “A Beautiful Curse” for a while now but I have been holding off in anticipation of Illusions coming out. I’m glad I waited because now I get to write my first two album combo review and I don’t think I could have chosen a better band than Crying Vessel. Crying Vessel began as a project between Slade Templeton and Basil Oberli as an art concept that found legs and has grown into some of the finest post punk/Synthwave/dark dance fusion coming out and spreading it’s dark wings across the world. It takes a lot of what is familiar and beautiful about classic dark music and infuses it with a jolt of electricity and sizzle.

Lets start with “A Beautiful Curse” the full length album that first introduced me to Slade’s magnificent crooning style. This album is rich in touch point synth pads and whip crack drum beats. It’s medium tempo music but unlike it’s roots it plays on the front edge of that beat giving it life and drive. Delay heavy flicker guitars give the songs a post punk feel while Slade uses the clarity and beauty of his voice to soften the edges of songs full of tension and desperation. I love when a vocalist has the swagger to put himself front and center over already great music and Crying Vessel knows how to make use of it’s greatest strengths. The songs on this album have a personal voice. They use a lot of dynamic motion pulling instruments forward and back to make you sway with them in this moment.

A Beautiful Curse is just that. These songs are aesthetically pleasing to the ear. At the same time so full of dark themes. The album is strong track to track and doesn’t throw anything away. You really hear a lot of isolation in these songs. Where some post punk has a definite “city” feel this album conjures such a feeling of separation from the world moving around it. That serene feeling of beauty and sorrow kept drawing me back to the title.


So many absolute can’t miss tracks on this record but I will choose a few:

Dig Deep – I hate to be on the nose and choose a single, but this song is such a jam it can’t be ignored. It’s razor movement and star point keyboard sounds. The drums on this track are so crisp and resonant of Depeche Mode (Black Celebration). Each beautiful line delivered in a cascade. Try not to dance to this.

Killing Time – This turns the speed up to make a more 80’s new wave feel. Slade takes his vocals into the higher range. “Poison mind, killing time” Again those simple keyboard lines that fill so much space. Martin Gore would be proud.

Trust me – Taking it down a notch this gentle builder lets Templeton use a whisper to draw his listener in like a snake charmers whistle. Again that great dynamic keyboard pan and heartbeat drum sound. This song is a tempter song. A dare to fall prey.

This album is a truly visionary compilation of styles and feelings that fit together with The rich passionate vocals and wonderful sense of timing. That timing from song to song really sets it apart. However I also want to discuss the wonderful contrast it has with the new EP “Illusions”



Album: Illusions

So something I feel has been sorely lacking in darkwave/post punk music lately is pizzazz, taking all that works well in driving bass lines and accent keyboards and then hits it with the old razzmatazz. The showmanship, the slightly over the top emotion in the vocals that doesn’t cross over into cheese. David Bowie had it, Roxy Music had it, and now Crying Vessel has tapped into that glam show that makes these songs feel like an epic production of visual stage show using only music. It’s a little extra breath in the voice, an extra millisecond holding the note, a dueling guitar with different levels of echo right out of Reeve Gabrels playbook. This EP made me swoon, and it did it in 3 songs. I was left longing for more and hope that Slade pursues this style further. For a lot of bands taking a little edge off and turning up the croon could take away from the dark sound he established. This album does quite the opposite. It found another step on the ladder and I couldn’t get enough.

Top Track:

All that is Real (Featuring She Pleasures Herself) – Here those Cure style guitars take us back to the forest and ask the question if love is real. It’s gorgeous, it’s accessible, and it brings that swagger. It ends on a note that leaves me begging for more songs.

What an eye opening wow follow up to an outstanding album. This is a must have for any fan of the dark music genre. I am extremely excited to see what Slade and company have on the docket for us next.