Detroit Darkness

I thought I might write a little something close to home. About the glorious music scene in my very own Michigan. I know, I said Detroit. However as anyone from the D will tell you, all white boys from the suburbs claim Detroit even if they currently live in Kalamazoo MI. While doing the podcast with SYZGYX last night I got excited talking about our local scene. Then figured why not share it with all of you 🙂 Lets start with some bands.

East Side

Josie Pace – Nightmare pop that takes top 40 sensibility wraps a rusty chain around it’s neck and chokes the shit out of it. Josie takes singer songwriter hooks then feeds them through a spicy electroclash beat. With an LA aesthetic and a motor city grit.

Schedule IV – Post Punk synth wave with giant sound and piercing powerful vocals from Steph Strange. They do a wonderful live show that is wound tight and full of soul. One of our favorite bands to play with SIV are a must see.

Vazum – Dark Retro dream rock with a flowing minimalist style. I really like their crunchy 90’s grunge style with dark edges. Large thumping drums and Zach’s slippery shifting melodies carry you on a roller coaster of driving fuzz.

Heavy Water Factory – Textural industrial old school that has been a part of the Detroit scene since I was a high school kid in black boots and a trench coat. When it comes to perfect production and beats that take over the floor Jesse McClure is one of the most respected in the business. It’s electric, it makes you dance, it’s the soundtrack of my angry youth. Just out with a new album after a long hiatus, HWF has not lost a beat.

Ritual Howls – The sinister dark rock poets have brought their European style Nick Cave shadow twang to the motor city and continue to spew forth quality content from the void.

The Ruiners – Detroit Gothabilly royalty have been a little quiet as of late. They hold a special place in my heart. I had the honor of playing with their must see stage extravaganza complete with ex Amaranth singer Nina. Her husband Rick Ruiner is Iggy Pop 1977 brought forth and made flesh. There is no party not made better by throwing Ruiners on the stereo.

Siamese – Thicccc bass lines and lovely crooning vocals are the trademark of shadowy retro rockers Siamese. They really blend the synths and rock seamlessly to create that metal gauntlet in a velvet glove.

Detroit also sports one of the United States oldest and best Goth Clubs “City Club

https://www.facebook.com/pg/LelandCityClub/about/?ref=page_internal

Featuring Djs – Jay Itchon, Charles English, with guests like Sandra Katz, and Leo Oakley

As well as Smalls, my favorite Detroit venue for live bands. They also have a badass Industrial night on Fridays and Saturdays.

https://www.facebook.com/smallsbar/?eid=ARAUlR3Gcafk-qUXIzgdn3iotK5_tNdpe9NuJng0HVB1aUMWYzeVNzuRZ-v5fuoab96DgpJwEkr9Zbd3

Featuring : DJ Aaron Hingst, DJ Elektrosonik ,

Suburbs

Audrey Burne – Our dear friends dark fantasy rockers Audrey Burne bring that witchy energy from Bay City. Powerful vocals and intricate construction. They have a wonderful intimate live show.

Damien Done – He toured through Europe doing dark folk. Then returned back to Michigan and reinvented with incredible midnight alternative post punk with a dark humor. Deep, rich voice that just draws you in. Why have I never played with them? 🙂

Ann Arbor also has a great Monday night goth event I have tragically never made it too. I hear great things though. Djd by Jay Itchon and Leo Oakley

https://www.facebook.com/FactoryAtNecto/

West Side

My home town of Kalamazoo MI sports on of the secretly greatest goth scenes in the midwest. Smack dab between Chicago and Detroit this has been a stopover spot and music mecca for many years.

Katy Needs A Life – Synth Princess and S & S contributor these ethereal 80s prom dream waves are always a great show. It’s lovely, pure, and authentic.

Sexy Toxins – Eurotrash disco sex party duo A Toxin and B Toxin take performance art and ass slapping beats that are a guaranteed good time every time you see them. I can think of few live shows in this life I had more fun at.

Nekomata – These doom metal droning sound explosion are so fucking good they make me listen to metal. It’s beautiful sludgy filth. Have you ever had your ass kicked by sound alone, because this is how you do that. Plus Myah is in this video.

Drink Their Blood – Some like their metal with a little more speed and sizzle and Drink Their Blood are furious wizards of the keyboard. Ben Boggs is a vocal experience not to be missed. Plus Saxophone + Metal !!!

Thee Elder Gods – Kalamazoo’s punk rock icons. The play loud, mean, and take no shit off anyone

Deadlight Holiday – High energy goth slush from Grand Rapids Michigan play a wonderful shoegaze darkness and have an electric stage show full of leather, sweat, and fury.

https://kidsaintnothing.bandcamp.com/releases

Kid Saint Nothing – This brilliant new release from my dear friend Reggie left me floored. It’s tender, genuine and full of pop hooks that stick in my mind. It has transported me with a scope that goes from fury to elegance. You must hear this. I can’t wait to see it played live.

Amaranth – we make bullshit goth about Ninjas, Swordfights and Lambos.

Kalamazoo also sports one of the best goth dance nights around Chaos. Anastasia and Asher (Dj Wyrmwood) have created a beautiful and inclusive environment for music and dancing to thrive. Every time I bring someone from a big city to our local goth party they are blown away wondering how is this happening in the tiny hamlet of Kalamazoo.

https://www.facebook.com/ChaosKalamazoo/

I’ll try and keep adding to this. If your city deserves a great write up to celebrate it’s music culture than hit me up and lets tell people why you are excited.

Hot new releases I am thankful for: Sunshine Blind-Icy Men-Swansect-Schedule IV/Heavy Water Factory-Mark e Moon

I am sitting here on Thanksgiving thinking on all the great things in the last two years this page has brought me. The wonderful people I have come in contact with and now call friends. The wealth of music that has opened up for me. The way this page has grown in readership, content, and me as a writer. The podcast has been a real hit right from the starting gate and it gets me excited for the future. I have added in new voices like Collin, Katy, and Adrian. I wanted to take a moment to thank you all who read, submit, and have open minds to find and support new music. These are intense times, art and each other is what will help us get through them. All of you are what makes my future seem bright and meaningful. I hope you that believe in the power of music reach out today and show an artist you love that they are important to you. Maybe sharing something of theirs, buying their art, or sending them a message letting them know they matter to you. Here is some of what I am enjoying today.

Caroline and I at Stoneburner

Caroline Blind – Need to Say

https://carolineblind.bandcamp.com/releases

Sunshine Blind was a band essential to my musical evolution. Caroline has been a groundbreaking voice in the goth/industrial genre since I first discovered what that meant. A women who Andrew Eldrich said was “too goth” for him to play with. Her release Liquid really opened my eyes to the broader world of possibility in dark music. (If you have never listened to it you really need to get on that right away). Recently she released a cover of The Swans God Damn The Sun which was majestic, tragic, and gorgeous. Tomorrow her new original single Need to Say drops. I was lucky enough to hear it and I cannot stress the amount of power and emotion this song summoned. It was a vast change from her previous style. A slow heart wrenching ballad so personal and tortured I found myself with wet eyes and a quivering lip. To anyone who has known a crucial loss this is art at it’s most powerful to punch a hole in your chest and hold your heart. You will want to make it a part of your collection.

Icy MenUninhabited Buses EP on Cold Transmission Records

https://icymen.bandcamp.com/album/uninhabited-buses

Ukrainian Coldwave Post Punk Artists Icy Men have just released a new EP on Cold Transmission. I was immediately struck by how different this sounded from their other material. I think part of what makes Icy Men so intense is the mechanical urban feel of the music. I always think of subway tunnels and empty spaces. The lyrics are mostly in either Russian or Ukrainian (So I can’t understand) but the delivery and cadence of that low octave powerful drone put me in mind of Ian Curtis. The bass lines are forceful and thick. The remix of Carlo Onda is such a thumping jam of weighty low end with a sinister slashing guitar riff that crackles with electricity. The EP also features a remix of the song Raindrops from one of our favorite Philly synth wizards Kiss the Whip. Its such a surreal experience hearing the light dancing pop beats straight out of a John Hughes movie delivered with the power and brevity of Lytvyn and Den. The whole EP really transports you to the isolated streets of Kyiv. Fans of chilling dark melodies will be excited to hear Icy Men.

https://swansect.bandcamp.com/album/s-t-2

Swansect – S-T

Swansect the project of our very own Adrian has released this new EP S/T. I know they felt a little tentative of using the page to cover their new single and EP. Luckily for all of you I don’t care about standing on such ceremony and wanted to share this with you. This album is so hard to put in a box or describe. A truly daring artistic endeavor using sounds and ambient effects to set a mood. The tone and expression of each of these 5 tracks takes a drastically different direction. It’s frightful and truly outside of genre. Adrian’s voice roars from inside a gaping chasm. The drum beats of heavy handed and pound from inside you. This is a journey into the unknown I really enjoyed.

Heavy Water Factory – Remix of Schedule IV “Fault

https://scheduleiv.bandcamp.com/album/fault-heavy-water-factory-remix?fbclid=IwAR0dd_-GZZdHyJ0d9bhYrpY8iiRDzTEFWyEeVtrCv-tq8L__b8_Kq8M0_qk

Another blast from my past Jesse McClear of Detroit Industrial royalty Heavy Water Factory have come out of the darkness of the last 14 years with some amazing new material. Today it’s this remix of our friends Schedule IV. This remix is crackling purple lightning shooting out of the Emperor’s hands. Always one of my favorite Schedule IV tracks for Steph’s piercing power and sinister growl. McClear has infused it with a perfectly balanced electronic club beat sure to blow the roof off of your next party. I was smacking the steering wheel so hard to this beat I almost went off the road.

Lust For Nothing – Tired of Thee Unknown

https://lustfornothing.bandcamp.com/album/tired-of-thee-unkown?fbclid=IwAR3hFOW5JHaKviLP1-0z-7lGIZpU39h9vpollm6Bl5aCSYG_OgVhU23Xpfs

Philly’s lord of Darkness Michael Sky has just unleashed a new Lust For Nothing EP with two tracks. I was a huge fan of their first album (See Previous Review). These new songs are a huge leap forward in both emotion and production. Sky has this inane sense of the line between fiery energetic uptempo electronic and something sinister that almost puts me in mind of 1980’s The Damned. These songs will both get a lot of play in my rotation.


Mark e Moon – Refer

https://markemoon1.bandcamp.com/album/refer

We were recently on a compilation with Mark e Moon and I feel in love with his imagery rich lyrics and bottom of the well rich voice. This has tones of Mission UK and Sisters old school goth. Blended with crisp tight keyboard melodies and drum beats. A little extra sizzle with my darkness is never bad. Moons voice is really what holds everything together and I am going to deep dive this album soon.

Who are the great ladies of the Goth/Industrial scene today?

Music in general has always been a bit of a boys club. Sadly I feel like ladies have always faced an uphill battle particularly as producers and song writers. The goth/industrial scene has had it’s share of amazing and talented ladies as well as a progressive view, but it has never been a 100% fair shake. Since I have been getting back into the cutting edge of new music I have been overjoyed and amazed at the influx of talented female led performers currently putting out wonderful art that adds to the discussion and furthers the diversity of this scene. So I thought I would take a moment to highlight some of my favorite new artists creating music that places emphasis on the female perspective and makes this genre richer. I can’t add everyone I am listening to but i feel excited that it took me just a few moments to have several amazing artists currently enriching this scene. These will be quick hits, but I have more extensive reviews of many of the ladies featured.

Hante – Hélène de Thoury has an amazing voice and textural songs of beauty and effortless grace. She has such an unspoken coolness to her songs that paint a picture in your mind. I am transported every time i listen to her.

Sunshine Blind – Caroline Blind was an artist I grew up listening to that helped shape and mold me and changed my worldview of music. She has continued to make amazing music with the power and beauty of her voice. I always describe Sunshine Blind as a Steel gauntlet in a velvet glove. This is a cover she did of the Swans “Godamn The Sun”. It’s simple, striped down, and amazing.

Black Nail Cabaret – Emese Arva is a freaking force of nature. Her presence and power remind me of the first time i heard Annie Lennox. Her voice is pure raw energy, strength, and beauty. Wonderful range and a revolutionary song writing style that makes me want to charge up a hill and believe in a better tomorrow. I challenge you to listen to this song and not feel inspired!



S Y Z Y G Y X –  Luna Blanc has a voice that feels like a slow drink of whiskey in a club owned by David Lynch. It’s smokey, immersive, and full of desire. Can’t get enough.

Tearful Moon – Sky Lesco from Texas has such a haunting and lovely voice. It redefines barriers and has such an authentic concept and sound. She charges headlong into any subject matter while writing. It is deep, rich, and isn’t afraid to delve into the deepest concepts of the human experience.

Cliff and Ivy – Ivy Silence is a dear friend and all around wonderful human. Hailing from Alaska with her husband they do a sharp edge stabbing dark goth rock full of punk sensibility. Her voice is raw and unapologetic and as it crashes through you with sultry fierceness.

Kaelan Mikla – From Iceland is an amazing female group that hits on every level. It’s driving, fierce, gorgeous music filled with simmering intensity and textural beauty. They are truly a cutting edge sound for the modern age. Every time i listen to them i get lost in the picture they paint with every song.

Corlyx – Holy shit i love this band. Caitlin Stokes has a clear and fearless beauty and style. She really captures the raw sexuality and intelligence of the modern scene. This new album has a filthy glittering glory reminiscent of the 90s but with modern flare and strength.

Audrey Burne – I always love when i can give props to a fellow Michigan band. Lilith Gates of Audrey Burne is a immensely talented and haunting vocalist that has a lovely Natalie Merchant lilt and wonderful stage presence. I’ve had the honor or sharing a stage with her and they have a wonderful driving dark rock feel that really captures a room.

https://firesngp.bandcamp.com/track/show-me-life

Fires- Aedra is a freaking force of nature. She sings with such intensity and burning passion about her experience and her song writing ability really pushes the boundaries of industrial electronic music. This album really changed the game for me this year.

Angel Metro – Soft, sultry, understated glory. Virginia’s Angel Metro does a wonderful blend of subtle dance beats and lilting tender beauty. She really exposes her inner most feelings for every song and this courage lends the tracks a real power.

Schedule IV – Stephanie Strange again from Michigan is a friend and amazing energy on stage. This is perfect precision post punk glory that blends her high range intense vocals and intelligent lyrics to create an entrancing and intimate experience. One of our favorite bands to play with and wonderful people.

Lorelei Dreaming – Laura Bienz leaves it all on the floor every night. I’m starting to reflect on how many of these amazing ladies i actually got to share a stage with. The energy, stage presence and political savvy combines with the intelligence of the lyrics to create a wondrous and unique experience. Do yourself a favor and bask in the fiery glow of this album.

I Ya Toyah – Chicago based Ania Tarnowska brings a fierce and rocket fueled electronic dance symphony of raw sensual strength to every performance. I love these explosive pop hooks blended with crashing dance rhythms.

Leathers – Is the sultry synth dream darkness of Shannon Hammett of Actors. It’s so great to see when a performer in a band of the quality of Actors finds her own voice and shows the ability to create such staggeringly beautiful music like this with her as the center piece. I love how far this reaches from the sound of Actors to really allow her voice to shine because it is one that deserves to be front and center.

Ego Likeness – So Donna Lynch has had a long, successful, and storied career and I could have picked a lot of songs newer than this, but it’s my favorite so I’m going with it. Donna is a hurricane of passion and darkness. She has been taking on intense topics in her art for a decade and creating beautiful songs about the horror which resonates with the feminine experience and having an intimacy of truth for decades.

https://nowherenowrecords.bandcamp.com/track/dragonfly?fbclid=IwAR3QR3MKDGuVWBQoA78u_s_okui5EkkmvAMrpmJBP2_xub88iZ8s3k8ODVo

Bess – Aussie dark alternative rocker Bess Linda is making churning sultry dance beats full of world beat toms and off kilter warm toned vocals to shake a dance floor.

Bones Uk – This recommendation came from Collin Schipper, filthy wide room fresh sounds. It’s pop hook sensible but cutting edge in your face intensity. You aren’t wrong “Beautiful is boring”

Death Loves Veronica – Veronica Campbell is a slow, back beat, sultry drive down a long empty road. It’s effortless tension, and subtle whispers of reality laid barren with brutal honesty.

SINE – I must admit I heard about SINE and Rona Rougeheart  through her collaboration with Curse Mackey. However once i dug into the power of her art for itself I found an intense flurry of disco dance beats underneath powerful vocals and world building soundscapes which captured me and brought me to my knees to beg for more.


VV and The Void – Valentina Veil has a wonderful whispering smoke swirl style. Really great at building tension in her songs to feel like a story.


Dissonance – Cat Hall has such a rich soulful voice with I feel gives a unique flare to her dark dance electronic sound.

Lingua Ignota – Kristin Hayter voice is one of the most intense things I have ever heard. It makes me realize i am not trying hard enough as a singer. Ferocious intensity shot forth like a flame thrower.

Hide – Raw, intelligent, and political. Gabel is a force of nature attacking change through the unnerving unapologetic fury of her art. This band makes me think, it makes me think about why i need to be better.

Wingtips – The duo Wingtips from Chicago features the amazing keyboard stylings of Hannah Avalon. Her stage presence and beautifully blended synths help make up one of the great new bands of the last few years.

Bootblacks – So many of these bands listed are for the vocal stylings. Lets not forget some of the amazing female musicians in this scene like Alli Gorman of BootBlacks. A straight up shredding axe master of the highest degree. Her riffs are creative and nuanced and such a big part of what gives this band it’s signature sound. This band has a very bright future and she is a backbone of that sound. New album out this year from Jacknife studios.

I know I have missed so many impressive female artist which drive and push the boundaries of this scene. Just looking through what popped into my head without much through fills me with hope for a brighter, stronger future of diversity of the dark music scene. I hope you find something here you give a try to expand your horizons with.

Kat Squared was kind enough to put all these bands together on a Spotify playlist

Continue reading “Who are the great ladies of the Goth/Industrial scene today?”