Concrete Doves opens with a relentless deathrock bass riff and then militant flash bang drums that trigger my panic response. Feels like getting followed into a dark alleyway and getting the shit kicked out of you by a malevolent spirit. Guitar and undead vocals devoid of any feelings fill out the mix and make for a very disorienting and visceral start to Swansect’s debut.
What follows the musical equivalent of running the gauntlet but the aggressors have razor blades, chunks of concrete, and live power lines. The album utilizes multiple “styles” (industrial, deathrock, sound collage, drone) but is held together by the thematic anxiety of the whole work. There is an overwhelming sense of impending tragedy only buffeted by small bursts of apathy in reference to the destiny of the human race.
The last track to me seems like a meditation on the futility of it all, a sort of peace despite all the destruction and devastation that we’re exposed to everyday, in real life and on the news. Peace stemming from the acknowledgment that some things are just out of our control.
The Tacks is more than a Goth band. They’re a loud, dark, Goth, post-punk band from Christchurch, New Zealand. This five-piece is raw. The self-titled album that was released in early April is riddled with angst and passion. The driving drums and the lo-fi tone mixed with an incredible female punk-rock vocals establish something familiar while creating something unique.
I stumbled upon The Tacks on Bandcamp and was elated to find their album in the top six bestsellers under the Goth category. I gave their song “Merivale” a listen and fell in love with it pretty hard. The EP has four songs and is less than 10 minutes long. Each song is a fast-paced rocker that will get those angsty fires lit within you.
I can imagine being at their show, thrashing and sweating with the crowd, shouting the lyrics along with the band. I remember going to shows like that when I was younger and healed from mosh pits faster. I remember the thrill of being in the middle of everyone, being pushed around like the crowd was a giant wave pool. The terror I’d feel falling over only to find unexpected kindnesses all around me as people pulled me back to my feet. Those were the time’s shows were the most fun. When I didn’t know what to expect from the band but knew it would be a night to remember forever. As I listened to this EP, I got to live in that nostalgic thought.
Some favorite tracks
How Many Times– This song starts with a bang as group vocals shout “How many times?” The energy stays high throughout as a story is told about being let down by someone and wondering how many times they’ll get caught up in their own life only to let others down. Group vocals sing every chorus to emphasize each word and make it impactful. It’s a short song, but it’s oozing with familiarity.
Merivale– If you go to The Tacks’ page, this will be the first track that you hear. It’s a banger. This song has the most post-punk feel with tinnier guitar tones and chord changes that tug on your heartstrings. The chorus has group vocals and is very much a punk chorus, but there are other elements involved. For example, between overdrive and distortion as guitar effects, there’s a chorus pedal that gives it more old-school Goth vibes. Once again, this song isn’t a big-time investment, but it’s very fun and filled to the rim with energy.
Overall, I really enjoyed this entire EP. It reminded me of punk bands I loved as a teenager like The Distillers and X. There were just enough post-punk and Goth influences to make me excited and really look forward to this band’s future.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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”.
Karl Kave’s latest album is the perfect blend of lo-fi, garage, electronic beats, and post-punk. It’s vibes range from outlaw country to pogo punk, but it rocks the entire time. When I listened through, I was reminded of bands like The Exploited, The Cramps, Gap Dream, and Orville Peck.I was also reminded of the original soundtrack of the show “Twin Peaks”. These albums are of my favorites.
The instrumentation ranges throughout from clean and almost sappily romantic-sounding to dark and bruiting. Vocally, all the songs have hints of darkness. It’s the way the vocals and instruments are mixed together and the effects added that drive the impact of the album to the next level. There are twists and turns throughout that make the album more fun the more you listen to it.
Some favorite tracks
Dreaming– This song starts out and sounds like it will be a super sappy love song.Once the lyrics come in, the story and it’s setting suddenly change. I’m a huge fan of relatable lyrics and this song has some that really resonate with me.
We Are Sun- I really enjoyed this song because it was so different and bluntly sad sounding in comparison to many of the others. The beat is really cool, like its made mostly from patting lets and clapping hands. This song is really minimalistic in comparison to the others with only vocals, a drum machine, light effects, and an acoustic guitar.
You Left My Heart in New York City- This song is a really great mash-up of indie and country. The lyrics are sad, they tell a story about heartbreak and the big let downs. The lyrics tell a vivid story, but the instrumentation pushes it along. The slow pace adds to the longing feeling the lyrics spell out and adds a heaviness to your heart that words can’t achieve.
Listening through this album made me really miss going to shows.All I could think about while I listened through was how fun this show would be to see live. I could imagine it. Everyone dancing to songs like “Dreaming” and “Yesterday We’ll Be Dead” and then the crowd falls silent during the slower songs as to not miss a single word. I would love to be at that show.
I really enjoyed listening to this album. The ups and downs were paced perfectly. It was lo-fi, moody, romantic-sounding, and generally amazing. If you’re looking for something new and different that pays heavy homage to the post-punk, indie, goth, and outlaw country genres, then this is the album for you.
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.
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.