With the final Negative Gain Productions release of the year, Philadelphia’s GENCAB has a winner on its hands. Altar of Progress has all the makings of a club DJ staple: a catchy, well-produced banger with lush keyboard melodies. The lyrics have that certain singalong quality that makes a song memorable, although the vocals are buried so deep in the mix of single version (from the forthcoming GENCAB album, Thoughts Beyond Words), I almost couldn’t make them out at first.
As I type this I’m on my third listen. The sound is so layered that I make out new things each time I listen. There’s a lot going on here. And the tempo changes break up the song nicely. It never stays in one place long enough to get tedious. I especially love the warm synth tone during the breakdowns.
And if that weren’t sexy enough, Aesthetic Perfection provides a remix that’s so hard-hitting, it’s easy to imagine a dancefloor full of rivetheads stomping away blissfully to the beat. It’s more straightforward than the single version, but don’t confuse straightforward with pedestrian. The keyboard lushness is stripped away in favor of rhythmic loops, a driving bass thump and a clever interplay of vocal effects.
If Altar Of Progress isn’t getting played by DJs looking to pump up the club with a new sound, it would be a criminal oversight.
Another Friday night finds me tipsy and alone behind this keyboard. However I am never truly alone when I have great music and all of you to share it with. I have all my latest Bandcamp purchases, a few of which are absolutely smash hits. Please leave a comment below of who you would like to see me review in the future.
Twin Tribes – Altars – The beautiful lads of TX have released a remix album. Now I will always buy anything Twin Tribes put out sight unseen. I have to say this collection of remixes by some of the hottest names in darkwave was a special treat. The songs were big departures from the standard Twin Tribes style, but Luis voice still kept each song familiar. It included tracks from both previous albums placed lovingly up for sacrifice on the Altar to be transmuted and given back to the world.
Remixers Include:Skeleton Hands, Geometric Vision, Luz Futoro, Ash Code, NITE, Wingtips, Matte Blvck, Dave Parley, She Passed Away, Bootblacks, and Creux Lies. Yes you read that right. I think the power house of performers here really speaks to the immense effect Joel and Luis have had on this scene in such a short time.
Upir (remixed by NITE) – Damn this is gorgeous. This slow drifting synths remind me of a quiet corner in a buzzing high energy club. The beat then kicks in with a lovely synth line. Just such a bold shift from an already amazing song. This is the most I can ask for in a remix. I true homage while breaking a new vision.
Shadows –Matte Blvckremix – Shadows was the song that started my deep love of Twin Tribes. It holds a very personal place in my heart. To have it transformed in this way and still hold such an intense emotional impact is something glorious. This is that secret cult but no longer around a ancient tree but now in a lush modern club. Full of velvet and burning incense. A beautiful and dangerous collision of past and future.
Overall Impact: Generally speaking I am not a huge fan of “just remix” albums. I really love remixes included with an EP or something fresh. However as is often the case Twin Tribes have become the expectation that proves the rule. They took songs I love and collected most of the top names in modern darkwave. If you don’t know some of the bands here, you need to let this album lead you back to them. It’s very accessible and has a nice variance of sound. General fans will enjoy, fans of Post Punk/Darkwave will love.
the Dramedy – And The Light Goes White – New album from Dave Dramedy, who I recently saw playing bass for Caroline Blind in Detroit. This was a strange and experimental album that never left me bored. Dave surely has a power and range to his voice that rides the line of Mark Burgess and Iggy Pop punk edge. I really like the blend of rhythmic acoustic and harder driving bass guitar sounds. This is an album that grows on you. It seemed to get better with every listen. Like a favorite film where you notice a new detail every time you watch and always feels fresh.
Parasite: It’s hard to put my finger on it. The inflection in the vocals. The ring of the drums. The chopping downward acoustic guitar. This song although having a very dark edge, carries a vibe of 60’s Height Ashbury psychedelia. Of the Mamas and the Papas. It covers a lot of ground stylistically. The vocals are full of piss and vinegar for how beautiful and resonant they are. This song is a jam that is hard to place in the box. Other than the box of I love this fuking song.
What’s left To Say – Just stabbing sun shard energy right out of the gate. Total bop feel with flaming guitar lines, biting vocals, and late 90s Brit Pop hooks. I just couldn’t stop my leg shaking on this one.
Overall Impact: This album is so full of twists and turns. A definite nostalgia feel, as well as a region one. I really felt the California connection in every song. I think this record is very accessible despite the complexity. It is a hard sound to describe but if The Church were being yelled at by Iggy pop to stop changing time signature and just play bops. That’s what I feel.
Christian Death – Spectre (Love Is Dead) Kill Shelter Remix – This song is a classic. Probably my favorite CD track. So how do you re-imagine something iconic? Give it to Pete Burns. Pete is such a master of the sonic scalpel cutting away tiny bits until you are left with such a precise and streamlined modern wave beam. If I had it in my heart to toss a grenade over my shoulder and purposefully stroll from a collapsing building, this is the track I want playing. It’s pure energy and dangerous intent. 10/10.
Overall Impact: Everyone will love this track. It’s very fresh, it’s very way back. It’s just a slamming banger from start to finish.
Deadlight Holiday – Blood // Body – Our dear friends from West Michigan uncorked this badass single with some slamming sounds of Nu Metal and sizzling tempo Stabbing Westward vibes. Great production in the breakdown swirl. Loving these scratchy tear your head off vocals blistering past the crunching guitar. Also a gasoline covered dead man’s dance remix by Angelspit. I sense big things on the horizon from these young folk and I look forward to sharing a stage with them again soon.
Raichyl Sinversa – You Tell Me (Re-Mastered) – Remastered single from Raichyl of Philly. This is a nice crooning darkpop head bopper with an empowerment edge of 90s grunge. The guitar work is napalm scorched earth to contrast the lovely lifting vocals. A little bit of southern sass in the tone puts a nice edge to this “I’m not falling for your shit again” boot stomping driver.
Aesthetic Perfection – Automaton (feat. Sebastian Svalland) – Ok I have a confession that will not win me any goth points. Aesthetic Perfection sort of happened right in the moment between when I gave up on discovering new music and the time I listened to nothing but. Daniel Graves has become a leader of the modern dark scene for a reason. So getting to hear this new single without much context is a really interesting way to stumble into the band. This track is a bop. With firecracker exploding chain guitar work by Sebastian Svalland. It is also produced by Front Line Assembly legend Rhys Fulber. So I went in blind expecting cold razor precision on the production. Which is exactly what I got. What I was pleasantly surprised by was the range and voice charisma of Graves. It oozes with thick viscus grime and light footed cadence that keeps the energy constant and focused. The song also gives a tight compressed poetry of lyrics that convey a relatable idea in the modern era without an abundance of words. There is a special anticipation when you discover a band with a rich history later in their career and get to work your way back. I may have to do some of my reaction videos to some Aesthetic Perfection classics. Put your favorites below in the comments. Also buy this track immediately because it is a slam.
Great new EP of Philly based Michael Sky of Sys2Matik Overload called Lust for Nothing. It’s a short album, 4 songs, but it has some real burners here and it is something you haven’t heard before. As someone who does a bit of this himself I am a total sucker for music that greatly contrasts the lyrics and vocals. This album really casts a night and day picture between the dark intense topic in the lyrics, and the bright fiery energy of the music. Sky doesn’t have a beauty to his voice. It is dark, deep, rich and really holds a rough sad edge. It’s odd, off-putting even. Yet it holds a true gothic bygone ring in the lower register. You can feel the emotion in his driving monotone chant. A bit of Ian Curtis and Peter Steele with a hint of an accent I keep waiting for him to say “Listen to the Children of the Night, what beautiful music they make” The lyrics call out of love lost and clinging hope. It is endurance and strength in the face of a bleak world. It is the sound I now associate when I think of Philadelphia. I spent a lot of time on the vocals but again the true uniqueness of this band is the musical contrast. These songs are bouncy, light, reminding me of The Church. They dance and fill your mind while Michael ties iron chains around your wrists. The push and pull of this effect is both unnerving and captivating. The keyboard lines are a beautiful anthem chorus and the bass lines are a driving pulse of an over excited heart. Neko’s drum parts are crisp and fierce and an ever present piece of order in this emotional tale. The songs really range widely in style but Sky’s ever present voice ties them together in a continuity that makes sense out of the chaos. There is a coolness factor to this music. You know the real deal when you hear it and this band sounds like they look, like they are. It makes the music ring true. Nothing I love the sound of more than genuine emotion cut down to the bone and blasted through an amplifier.
out tracks could really be any but I’ll speak to a few.
Almost Anything – Holy shit this song sounds like the greatest club hits from Erasure or Yaz. The keyboards are entrancing and lovely. The rise and swell. They tickle and drive. Then Michael’s voice drops and it’s a heart wrenching cry. He would “Give you almost anything of what he had to face” I find myself at a lost with how to compare this feeling. Almost like the Mysterian’s 99 tears in how what you are hearing and feeling separates from the lyrics and messenger.
One Last Goodbye – When the music starts if I didn’t know better I would think I was hearing pop punk from the 90s. It’s warm, it’s welcoming, the drums are pounding away. Then Micheal comes in with a beautiful lilting series of lines about hope in the face of desolation. “We cried 100 tears between us, I hope you enjoyed the show” It’s an anthem and I want to pump my fist and cry at the same time.
This EP was too little for my taste. I wanted 10 songs of the enormous range and possibilities. However it is always better to leave them wanting more, and I definitely want more. Get this album. Rock it in the morning after a night spent too long in abuse. Howl at the moon with it and dance. I’m really excited to get a chance to play with this band and watch the energy of a crowd feed off of them. They are raw, they are real, they are Philly goth made flesh.