It’s October my darklings, the month of spook, where goths can be goths. So I need to start thinking about my Halloween soundtrack. I’ll fire through the latest batwings and eye lashes of newt falling into my cauldron.
Swansect: Kill Pop Goth – Adrian is always thrashing like a madman in a new direction. Always producing something he hasn’t done and something I hadn’t heard a million times before. Track #1 Horse of Grass has this cool percussion driven guitar strike. Almost a folk goth tempo with vibrating underwater vocals. Track #2 Kain is my favorite and has this sinister Tones on Tail Daniel Ash sex appeal. The words are in Norwegian telling the story of Cain. I love the old school batcave rockabilly riff. Swansect always takes you to a place in your mind with the music, and usually that place is a nightmare.
SpankTheNun: The Bunker Tapes II– This album is mixed by the legendary Claus Larson (LeatherStrip). Out of Texas Eric Hanes does a hard and nasty industrial, full of chant and eye beam precision. Track 2 Fight and Breed is a building whisper that holds aggression on a greasy chain to make a tension build you can feel on the back your neck. I think what really sets this above the bar are how clearly the vocals ring for industrial music. It has a bit of effect, but you can savor every growled line. Some amazing remixes here from Melodywhore, Sapphirra Vee, and Assemblage 23. My favorite track was Lies and Hate which unleashes a real Nitzer Ebb feel. I think what impressed me most of this album is how it never has to turn the volume up to 11 to hit you in the fucking teeth with it’s power. It’s a real skill to project that much rage without screaming.
Vazum: Rated V – Ok I know I recently reviewed the Detroit band Vazum, but they did this new release specifically for Halloween with a monster/ghoul theme. It’s stalking creature abomination horror full of heavy guitars and sinister keys. Zach unleashes and inner demon from behind his usually lovely lilting vocals to send a shiver up the spine. I said the same about the previous album Vampyre Villa but I love the use of 90’s alternative mixed into the horror. Emily has a soulful Concrete Blonde vocal style that is the perfect offset in every song. Each monster has it’s own tone and flavor, my favorite was Werewolf . This one really let Emily shine on vocals and truly laid out the primal transformation. Cool lyrical poetry, “Copper turns to gold, sell our gold for silver”. There is so much going on here stylistically. We had an interview with them last week (which will post soon) I am really bummed I hadn’t heard this to discuss before hand.
Vanity Kills : Chapter 2 Enemy – Hard rocking cyberpunk from Cardiff UK. The real beauty captured here is the driving rock 90’s aggression of Helmet phase shifting into pixilated time dilation of club smashing electro-core. The intensity almost rides the line of metal. Yet the distinctive dance stomp is catchy and clean. For personal preference I wish I could hear more of the lyrics and feel the melody lines. The music really placed me in an empty room of drywall I found myself smashing out of, I wanted to know more about why. Favorite track was “This is Gonna Hurt”, it had such a punch it made me picture Clutch smashing synthesizers on a flaming stage. This one shows great promise for the future.
UnderTheSkin: End This Summer – New single complete with some outstanding remixes from Poland. This one is a Cure heavy darkwave bird of prey soaring on a night sky. Mariusz has a beautiful and captivating voice. The bassline of the song is everywhere beneath the soaring wings. A powerful track in crafting and execution. So who could successfully remix such a track? Ash Code, Shad Shadows, Kill Shelter, and Antipole with Paris. Now that is a heavy weight endorsement of some of the great production tunesmiths of our scene. A lot of individual flavor here for each remix on an absolute scorcher of a track.
Twin Tribes: Shadows(Matte Black remix) – Holy shit how did I not know this was coming out? Also why does Matte Black get to remix Twin Tribes and I don’t? Ok now that petty jealousy is out of the way, this is my favorite Twin Tribes song. The song I discovered them from. I didn’t even recognize it at first in the best possible way. This is everything I want from a remix. It has taken their glorious violet energy and fired it through a prism to create something new and beautiful. I am jaw dropped on the floor right now. Buy this immediately.
Panic Priest: When Daylight Disappears – Brand new single from Jack, and it’s another burner. Such a master of blending sizzling guitar licks and neon streaming synths. His bellowing baritone voice is an trap I can’t stop falling into. This song is a prayer to the darkness that surrounds us. I want to sit on a Chicago roof staring at the moon as the city sleeps below.
Klack: Two Minute Warning (Depeche Mode Cover) – This is a beautiful cover with a beautiful and tragic story behind it. Claus Larsen (Leatherstrip) recently lost his husband Kurt after a long battle with sickness. It left a lot of medical bills and the community really rallied around him in this tough time. All proceeds go to assist their family. I’ve always loved this song and Klack of course didn’t disappoint to capture it’s energy and majesty.
Here we are once again sifting through the dark and swirling sands of the internet to find musical diamonds so that you don’t have to. Tonight the Terminus festival is taking place online. Several live Dj Shows on Twitch. So I seek out the sounds that makes my heart go thump.
Seven Federations – Brand new single from North Dakota. If you want slap this has you covered. Just a great rumbling storm rolling accross the plain with a Stabbing Westward distorted echo. Great sliding guitar riffs and a great push pull of the vocal dynamics to really make this move. I want a whole album of this stat.
Swansect – Adrian is firing out EPs faster than I can review them. Always with the best DIY lofi cover art that screams a story. This new offering Labyrinthisis is a bold shift from the atmospheric ambient terror. Full of orcish war drums and southern twang. Haunted high range vocals call from beneath muddy waters slithering with oil. The final track A’ano ‘nin is a swirling dervish of organ and chaos. This is not a pop album, it is abstract and terrifying. Sometimes that’s just what the party needs.
The Joy Thieves – Another killer new EP from The Joy Thieves on Armalyte Records. This one brings the fury right out of the gate. Chris Connelly is well…Chis Connelly and track #1 Genocide Love Song takes his voice off the leash and lets him do what he does best. Crunchy 90’s guitars and Dan Milligan smashing his drums with crisp and combative authority. The cadence almost has a PIL chant in parts. The re-imagining I Blew A Girl by Howie Beno is a romp of madness and energy. I was equal measures laughing and afraid. High energy dance anger.
Girls Under Glass – The Hamberg Germany post punkers cannot be accused of having a throwback sound. When you have been making records since 1987, they just call that keeping it real. This new EP has a classic goth/post punk feel in the darkest vein. Reminds me of The Chameleons but with claws and aggression. This is the sound track of some terrifying Berlin sub basement under a desolate warehouse. Not everyone is ready to walk into that party. I say find your courage and take this dive.
Trevor Something – Fuck yes I am in love. How did I not know this band? From Miami Fl this feels like Mr. Kitty on a bad trip. Beautiful flowing synth wave and throbbing base but the darkest most sinister version. It’s slow, sleezy, and leaves you quivering. This needs to be the chill room soundtrack of every post goth party K hole. Fall in this pit head first now
These tiny beings that we let into our lives change us in ways we cannot imagine. The relationships we build are the supporting blocks of our existence. That which gives it perspective and texture. When my three year old cat Freyja was diagnosed with a very aggressive cancer in her leg the full power of how much we invest in our tiny companions really struck me. My fear of a future without her and the big questions of how to proceed. What that would mean weighed heavy on my soul. Cats were once worshiped by the Egyptians and many cultures as deities. There is no other creature save humans that truly embodies the idea of pride and love. When I created the review page Sounds and Shadows I found in my love for new music the power in hearing and understanding the lives of the artists who make it and shared that with people around the world. In these dark moments with Freja’s life hanging on a knife edge these artists who I had woven a connection with reached out to me and ask “How can I help?” This was an affirmation which touched me to my core at a time I needed most to believe in the importance of those around me. From around the world they came together in collaboration and kindness to offer their time, their art, and their charity. Freyja required an amputation of her leg which was successful and I am happy to announce saved her and left her the same glorious, loving ball of warm energy as she was before, albeit on three legs. The cost of her operation was quite substantial but it was a sacrifice worth making for my tiny goddess. Buying this compilation of songs contributed by dear friends is directly funding Freja’s care and operation. Any additional funds beyond direct medical costs will be donated to a non kill shelter charity to help other animals in need. A special thank you to Pete Burns for the immense task of mastering the compilation. Cate McFarland for the wonderful cover art which I feel really captures the concept. Slade Templeton for releasing it. Collin Schipper for being my rock and helping me put it together. As well as William Zimmerman for helping me promote. To anyone who has ever written a song, recorded it, and released it, you know how much effort goes into each one. How much love I have for all the artists below is hard to put into words. I never could have imagined something so beautiful and powerful could arise from this dark event. I hope it’s power touches you and reminds you to pay a special homage to your tiny God today.
Also Here is the podcast Part 1 where we discuss the first 8 tracks
I wanted to do a quick breakdown of all the artists who contributed a song to save my baby. When I look at the list of the amount of talent here it is a bit staggering. We had submissions from all over the world and quite a few collaborations of people who never knew each other before this project.
Lorelei Dreaming – (Edge of the World Dj Senseless mix) Chicago based dystopian electro dance. Comprised of Laura and AJ remixed by Madison WI’s Dj Senseless. This song is such a different sound for Lorelei Dreaming, it was the perfect opener with it’s emotional swell.
2. Amaranth – (For Freyja) Goth/Industrial/Synth Rock from Kalamazoo MI. That’s us 🙂 I had some really deep emotions that needed uncorking with this song. Collin wrote a great song way out of our normal wheelhouse including Derick on a mandolin and Kam with some very delicate brushwork. It’s the loudest I ever screamed in anguish on a song. Hope you enjoy it.
3. A Covenant of Thorns the lovely sweeping romantic goth synth from near Chicago. What an amazing voice with this song remixed by Chicago Rock/Industrial super group The Joy Thieves. This is my favorite ACOT song and I don’t know how I could have liked it more. Enter Dan Milligan, this remix found another level of what I already loved in beauty and clarity.
4. Corlyx – England by way of LA and Berlin glitter grunge electronic duo remixed by EDM Industrial noise mechanics Electronic Substance Abuse (ESA). This song Deform is such a wonderful combination of both styles. Caitlin’s voice is ethereal and airy, floating through the void when the creeping digital build starts burrowing into your mind.
5. Antipole – Norwegian post punk revivalist of Karl Morten Dahl. Ft Paris Alexander and Eirene are experts of taking what is glorious of the past and making it rise again into the present. They are the most reviewed band in Sounds and Shadows history and true masters of the music craft. This song is such a different flavor for them and one I immediately fell in love with. That same signature Karl guitar but with this crisp sizzling dance beat. Together with Eirene’s smokey sultry voice it’s a real burner.
6. Ego Likeness – Maryland dark rock industrial duo of Steven and Donna have been such an important part of this scene for decades. This Dräcos Deep remix by Sombre‘ of the song Darkness really places a cool highlight on Donna’s voice and a crisp dance beat.
7. Machinery of Desire – Traditional goth rock of Adrian Auchrome. I trade music back and forth with Adrian often. I say as no light sentence I think this is the best song I ever heard from them. I was touched beyond belief that they shared it with me for the compilation. The vocals really cut loose and highlighted their unique and romantic darkness. Gentle crawling guitar lines of piercing intensity.
8. Adoration Destroyed – The glamour gloom stars of Austin TX remixed by Philly’s Authentic Impulse. I really liked the way Erik’s voice sits on the bouncing glitchy effects and pounding drum beats. AD does such a great job on remixes themselves it was really cool to see what William was able to do with their song.
9. Crying Vessel – Swiss dark glam star Slade Templeton gets a double credit here. Both for this amazing song remixed by Dead Agent, but also for helping me release the compilation. Ed Finkler (Dead Agent) did a sizzling breakneck dance song and let Slade’s voice ride on top like the crest of a wave. Such wonderful movement and balance. This was a beautiful team up that happened for the first time on this compilation.
10. I Ya Toyah – Chicago’s one woman sonic explosion Ania has been remixed here by Arcontas Blank for her single Code Blue. This sizzles with her intense soul and some intricate and beautiful synth pad work. I really love how varied and dynamic the different sounds used here are.
11. Twin Tribes – (Dark Crystal) The lovely princes of Texas darkwave. Twin Tribes was the first band we reviewed for Sounds and Shadows and they remain one of the bands that inspires me in the modern scene. This track is a beautiful, swirling ritual of emotion and pageant. The future is so bright for this band.
12. Radiograph – (Catnipped) This is the solo project of John Edwards Palais Ideal in the Netherlands. I love this sizzling disco prog synth with a early New Order guitar line. Palais Ideal is always finding ways to step outside the box of what post punk could be.
13. Caustic – (Fuck that Fascist Beat) Silverwalks Remix – Madison WI old school Industrial/EDM brings an intense shoulder tackle political hailstorm. Remixed in a smoother synth slither dance style by Pennsylvania based Silver Walks. This track slams so hard both in your mind, and in dat ass.
14. Seven Federations – (Syzygy) – North Dakota based goth Industrial full of rolling bluesy soul and electronic glitch. I love how hard it is to classify what I am hearing. This song has a really cool sample/spoken word effect that reminds me of 90’s VAST.
15. Vlimmer – (Schnittstelle) – Alexander’s Berlin based ambiant darkwave project is a masterclass in structure and sound creation. The rate and quality of the music he puts out never ceases to amaze me. This song is a intense and terrifying well of emotion and abstract prism to twist the mind.
16. Dogtablet – (Showtime Melodywhore Slave Remix) – The project of industrial titans Jared Louche (Chemlab) and Martin King (Test Dept) created this wondrous album based on the concept of totemism. Every track feels like a different creature embodied. This track is a sultry triphop prancing creature of grace and agility. It has a very feline quick quality.
17. Kiss of the Whip – ( The Pain is Ours) – I have been a fan of the Baltimore based retro synth weavers on Cold Transmission for a while now. Beautiful familiar feels with modern edge and a layered beauty. This track is a roller coaster of peaks and valleys gliding though a rainbow landscape of color.
18. Steven Archer – (The Showroom) – The amazing artist of (Ego Likeness and Stoneburner) appear once again showing his range in this synth prog builder. I really love how different his vocals come across in this song. Theatrical and with a Nick Cave flare. What is it he can’t do?
19. Cliff and Ivy – (Will to the Power) – Alaska’s darkest couple have been creating batcave punk fueled witchcraft for over a decade. It is raw, fierce, and intelligent. I love the drive and bloody claws of this track. Ivy and Cliff really show the power of two people in perfect lockstep making eachothers art stronger.
20. Orcus Nullify – (March of the Lost) – South Carolina’s Bruce Nullify creates a brand of unapologetic terrifying rumble of old school death rock. I love the over the top imagery and slashing guitars. I feel like this track perfectly captured that style but with a focused clarity which added extra weight and power.
21. Ritchual – (You Lied) – Austin TX based Ritch Napierkowski of Adoration Destroyed and Nimbus has done this synthwave solo project and it is absolutely lights out. This song could have been a missing track on Depeche Mode “Sounds of Faith and Devotion” Just a delicious dark ear candy jam.
22. Sister Sarin – (Split) – Baltimore Percussion specialist Hemlock has done this solo project where she weaves intricate texture and pulsing drum beats to create lovely isolated sonic paintings. This song has a driving dance beat and saber slash keyboard melodies to create an instrumental full of movement and dynamics.
23. Swansect – (Clovermouth) – Norwegian noise artists Adrian Kjosnes of Missfit Toys and writer for Sounds and Shadows unleashes this terrifying and avant garde solo project. It has this brimming intense Goblins feel of sinister noise and stealthy builds. This track is a haunting horror movie soundtrack to grab your nightmares with it’s claws and leave you screaming for more.
11 Grams – (DNA) Half Washington DC half Australia the industrial electronica dance floor lords have been a part of this scene for a long time and always bring the highest level of precision and technique. This track is a slow dark builder that crackles with life and a whisper that draws you in.
Sombre’ – French post punk with a very cool organic world beat feel. They always remind me a bit of the Happy Mondays. Cedric has a resonant and soothing voice and the baselines always really drive. Here he does a wonderful remix of Ego Likeness. I really love how Donna’s vocals are highlighted here.
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.
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 Men – Uninhabited Buses EP on Cold Transmission Records
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.
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”
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.
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.
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.