Auger have been going from strength to strength since they hit the scene in the UK in 2017. With three albums under their belts, previously signed to the Dark Tunes label and a dedicated fan base, KyleWilson (vocals, keyboard, programming) and Kieran Thornton (guitar, backing vocals) have come a long way. August saw the release in a new single, “Sound Of The Machine” on The Big Chair label.
The beginning is a little depressing in its ambience though there sparks of electronics that hint at this being a set up for the chorus. The guitar amps up and synths chime in, with the use of vocal distortion. This is the rally, the cry to arms because if it can happen to me it can happen to you. They ask for a rope to pull them out from the dire onslaught of the machine.
It’s a catchy chorus and Wilson has a great voice for it, smooth, deep and even on occasion a bit menacing. The BigChair label is a new, independent record label created by the lads themselves and this can only be a good thing for dark music scene. This is the “Sound Of The Machine” that is Auger and it can be found on Bandcamp so make sure to have a listen.
As we have slipped into another year with the spectre of covid, overshadowing everything, it can be expected that most music has been influenced by this current climate and the new EP by darkwave duo, Johnathan|Christian is no exception. together, we’re alone, is the latest offering from Christian Granquist (lyrics and vocals)and JohnathanMooney (composer, piano, instrumentation), who are based in Los Angeles, California.
First song off the block is the flag waving “MyDying Words“. This is the line in the sand number about never giving up no matter the odds and it is rollicking piece. Sung with conviction and gusto, it weaves and rolls with the punches.
The title track, “Together, We’re Alone“, is a duet and fractured ballad between Elisa Mammoliti and Granquist. The theme of loneliness, a life lived without trying to find love that could have been a hair’s breath away. Longing and sadness prevail, like a weight on the heart.
A fair ground organ opens the track, “MyBeautiful, Broken Butterfly” and it rolls on fantastically after that. An instrumental piece that is slightly disjointed, giving the impression of being broken and yet, still beautiful in its composition.
“Never Trust A Man (With Egg On His Face)” is classic Adam Ant from the 1979 album DirkWears White Socks. Who can resist a song about beings from space giving advice about men with chicken zygote, firmly implanted on their countenance? Not me. This is whimsical and oddly satisfying in a proper sort of way. I don’t think Stuart Goddard aka Adam Ant, would disapprove at all.
together, we’re alone” is a quirky and interesting EP. Complied of an anthem, a ballad an instrumental and a cover…. it works oh so well for Johnathan|Christian. They definitely seem to be influenced by the late 70s and 80s British music scene making them a bit darkly dapper and you should check them out.
So maybe it’s time to get your goth on and revel in the debut single, “Glamour Girls” from Brisbane/Meanjin band, Sacred Hearts. The band explained in a radio interview, that they are femme fronted, LGBTQIA+ band, something that is close to their hearts, as well as their great love of retro post punk bands such as Echo And The Bunnymen, Nick Cave and The Cure.
Not going to lie, I don’t know much about these ladies other than that they are young and pulling on a lot of influences. There is the jingle jangle of guitar and those dark brooding bass lines, topped with delicate vocals, that swirl and lure you into the musical darkness. In true goth fashion, a la Dr Avalanche, a drum machine gives you the rhythm.
Lyrically this is a number about the dubious world of actresses and models, being beautiful doesn’t always translate to being treated well. It is melancholic and graceful. If this is a taste of what SacredHearts have for us, we might be in for a treat as they continue to create music. For now though, I hope you will enjoy “Glamour Girls“.
From the wild open spaces of Oregon comes Warm Gadget, ready to help you get your metal industrial on, with their new EP, Rituals, released in April. Tim Vester is the lead vocals and effects, Austin Williams on bass and backing vocals and then it seems Colten Williams maybe the insidious, evil mastermind who plays everything else, did backing vocals, wrote the music and produced it. This makes him a busy fellow.
First cab off the rank is the first single we previously reviewed here, “New Industrial“. There is the head to head clash of guitar versus electronic, that smacks of derision and angst at the system.
“Full Of It” is just angry, so very angry. A fuck you to the world who uses, then casts you aside when there is nothing left after giving promises of false dreams. Full on raging guitar and Vester screaming his discontent.
Not many relationships end on good terms and it seems “If I Only Could” is very much in that vein. I’D REMOVE ME FROM YOUR MEMORY; (YOU’RE DEAD TO ME) IF I ONLY COULD is a very telling line, conceding most songs talk about forgetting the other person. It’s a bit like if Tool met Queens Of The Stone Age in a fist fight.
“Symptoms” could be a commentary on the modern lifestyle where everything can be fixed taking medications. The music is steady and the vocals raw with emotion of wanting to live with the ‘disease’, so that they can just live.
The guitar riffs are great in “Dead To Me“. It’s a more electronically crunchy number that really rocks. The concept that love is binding and that the other person can suddenly turn on you, leaving you wanting to get the hell out of Dodge.
The last two tracks are remixes of “Symptoms“. The first by Witch Eyes which illicits a more old school industrial sound. The second is by Snowbeasts and this propels the track into a whole new stratosphere, going far more electronic and cutting out all the vocals.
This looks back to the metal bands of industrial such as KMFDM, Ministry and My LifeWith The Kill Thrill Kult, while giving it a more grungy effect, making it dirtier and slightly more unhinged. Keeping the blood pumping with their musical force, Warm Gadget gracing your lobes with Rituals.
Brisbane based, three piece band, Killtoys today released their latest single, “Come Alive“. They come from an alt-rock based background and their music has a flare for the grimly dramatic.
The lads are bringing on a darker game here with ommious synths, lovely deep bass and 80s influenced guitar jangle that rings clear and true. Are they singing about vampires or the children of night who wear black? Oh oh, you have to listen for the oh oh. Mick Bristow’s vocals just are the icing on this ghoulishly fabulous track.
I officially love love this. It’s speaks to my dark little gothic heart and reminds me of 80s post punk bands with those fantastic riffs. The backing aaahs are just some of those little things that really make a song just a bit more spectacular. “Come Alive” from the Killtoys may just wake the living dead for a chance to bask in the moonlight.
Far Away From All Of This are a Swiss band that released their second album last year in September. Called Outward Bound, this duo comprised of VEGA (guitars, synthesizer, harsh vocals) and IX (vocals, bass, synthesizer, drums), describe their music style as space rock/post rock/metal.
These guys obviously like an epic, as “Haven” goes for over eight minutes and is not even the longest number. The track honestly took me back to the early 90s. Teenage Fanclub and the Lemon Heads, IX even sounds a bit EvanDando. The return to psychedelic swirling, wall of sound guitars and keyboards that take you away on a cloud.
Nice light guitar starts “Reality Check“, a whimsy about not looking too hard at life or it will lose its magic by ‘breaking the spell‘.
They say we are getting older everyday and that this is the “Last Call” to get on life’s roller-coaster. It’s a very positive and uplifting piece with rolling drums and VEGA having momentary cathartic screams.
Break out the synths for a gliding space journey in the “Stellar Stream“. Smooth and relaxing as the engines whisper in the solar slips of this ambient soundscape.
“NGC 4063” is the final and longest of the tracks. It is a gradual build up of electronics, filling the empty places, like a space exploration facing the dark voids to bring knowledge and light, even though this is a very overwhelming prospect.
The first half is all the crazy human emotion of living with hopes, dreams and modern life, with guitars and a more frantic pace. The last two are after they have left Earth with its electronic life-support, going into the unknown. Really enjoyed this album due to my fondness of guitar jangle and wall of soundscapes which Ride were famous for doing beautifully as well. Well worth giving Far Away From All Of This a go with their Outward Bound.
March the 19th is the release date for the album And The Light Goes White by LA based act, TheDramedy, aka Dave Dramedy. The Dramedy have been around since 2014, with EPs and the album StrAngr(S)tiL in 2018 under their belt, so with this new LP, has come the joys of recording in a time of pestilence.
Kicking this off is “Vow“, and acoustic guitars starts the steam locomotive style rhythm. It’s a bit like a western and then you hear the bangs like gun shots and glass tinkling that might happen in a bar brawl accompanied by electric guitar and raw vocals.
The second single released off the album is “Parasite“, with wonderfully jangly guitars. Something eats away at the back of my mind… the way Dramedy sings and then it hits me. He reminds me of Stan Ridgeway (ex Wall Of Voodoo) in the animated drawl and the post punk ambience. This is a great little number with a lot of heart, even if it’s about the fact that all is lost. I think Buffalo Tom would have been proud to call this their song.
“The Clock Strikes Heaven” does sound very spontaneous, as if written in one sitting and they just said, this is it. For a tune about when you’re time is up, it seems pretty cheery and has a slightly live feel to it.
Heavier guitars herald “Popsicle” and can we say sexual connotations. Sucking on popsicles can make people very, very happy but the downside is addiction and a nasty case of diabetes. Gosh, I’m not sure if this a promise or a threat but it does make me giggle and even with the driving guitar, Dramedy doesn’t sound like he’s taking it all that seriously.
A more acoustic flamenco influenced turn with “Days“. Lyrically, it could be the verbalising of an abusive relationship, purposely going off key to set you on edge.
The first single, “Waiting On You” changes track again. Like a 50s doo whoop of teenage longing with a dose of blinkered crazy on the side, you hence get the slightly erratic guitar work upping the ante. This number also appeared on an EP in 2019 but less dressed up, let us say.
There is a very skiffle Brit-pop sensibility to “What’s Left To Say?”. It still it definitely overall American but the timing and rhythm have that undeniable joyous bouncing flavour that you got from bands such as Swervedriver and Suede.
Oh I hear a bit of the deathrock in “Life BitesMe” and quite frankly life can be like that in these times of covid… watching the time tick by. This could also be a reference to a dead romance that one can’t get over. A cacophony of guitar, drums and enthusiastic vocals.
On a more reflective note is “Circle The Road” which questions why someone else gets to walk away from a relationship and leave the other with no answers. I hear the influence of Jesus and Mary Chain in the guitar here.
As it began, so it finishes with an acoustic piece, “All Our Yesterdays“, which is a ballad with harmonisation from Caroline Blind. Again there is the sound of Jesus And Mary Chain in the structure and also the sentiment, with a bit of Screamadelica, Primal Scream thrown in for good measure.
Dave Dramedy comes with some lofty cred in the post punk/goth community, as the main live guitar player for Caroline Blind (ex SunshineBlind) and appearing on her debut solo album with a host of other heavyweights such as RichWitherspoon (The Wake), Dave Wolfenden (RedLorrry Yellow Lorry, The Mission), Gordon Young (Children On Stun, Pretentious Moi?), WilliamFaith (Faith And The Muse, Christian Death) and we could go on. Plus he was in the deathrock band Readership Hostile, which has its own claims to fame.
This is not some over polished jewel but then there is no fun if everything is over produced. You won’t find any voice modulation or slick production. You will get the bull, horns and everything though, with all the emotion and genuine candour. It’s a little western (pew pew), a bit more angst soul searching and a lot of jangly guitar. Get The Dramedy on and indulge in And The Light Goes White.
Brisbane, three piece band, The Blackwater Fever, just brought out on November the 20th, their new single, “My Weakness“. The trio comprises of Shane Hicks on vocals/guitar, Jed A. Walters playing bass guitar/rhodes and Trevor Gee on drums/percussion.
The first dropping cords kick in and that blues style can’t be mistaken with its laconic guitar interludes accompanied by piano. Married with an insistent grunge sound in the chorus plus lyrics that convey a one sided love affair, bring to mind acts like StoneTemplePilots. Hicks‘ vocals are like honey dripping into your ears as he tells you his tale of woe and want.
There are songs that paint pictures in your mind and are almost tangible to taste and smell. Grimy desperation, mixed with hot, sweaty lust, all in the name of a woman that would leave you to rot, if she so desired, yet they can’t let go of her. The red back spider on the cover, is an Australian member of the black widow clan, highly poisonous and will cannibalise its mate.
After five albums, these are seasoned professionals and it shows in the production as well as writing skills. This is delightfully moody and carnal, so if you have an itch that you can’t scratch, may I recommend TheBlackwater Fever and their remedy, “My Weakness“.
July has seen the release of the EP, Unicorn Bones, by Chicago duo, Karen Righeimer and Ivan Russia, also known as Bellhead. I can definitely say the rhythm section for this band is tight. Both Righeimer and Russia both play bass, low and high respectively, both share vocal duties, though Ivan is very much the lead singer and are backed up by their dependable drum machine.
The band in their bio, make reference to their influences from goth rock legends, Bauhaus to the alternative rock royalty that is the White Stripes to the gothic/post punk stylings of She Wants Revenge, yet truthfully, they definitely have a sound that is very much their own.
“Snuff Film 1974” is straight off the bat with it’s thumping heavy rhythm that grabs your attention before dragging said attention to the graveled out vocals of Russia and the disturbing lyric content about a small female child murdered in film for others entertainment. This is the only track not written by Bellhead but rather penned by Sheriff Michael Scabs of the Sheriff Scabs band of which Russia has also been a member of. A thing of nightmares.
Really dig “Unicorn Bones” as it is a very nonchalant, grooving number that just has that keep ontrucking feel. The vocals play tag as they paint a vision of glittering violence and sad demise of those that live in the shadowed, dangerous places. Sinister and sleazy.
A song about a conman or less than reputable fellow, trying to stay one step in front of oblivion but wanting to take to take one last stab of having the person they have always loved. A final last chance is of happiness is “Always (Running After The Sun)“. This is a far more poignant track, slower and thoughtful with intensity.
Annnd serial killer/psycho time. “Knife” is sexy whispers with the intent of maiming and destroying. Low and distorted noise backs the bass just for that extra creepy ambiance.
“Sidewinder” has a more rock flare about it, but it’s all the dirty bits of rock. The low and high bass building the sound up in such a manner that it feels angry and greasy, finishing off the EP.
The choice and use of high and low bass without any regular guitar is an interesting marriage of instruments but works well for Bellhead. Bass brings on the rhythm and produces a rich, big sound.
So if you fancy the darker, more nightmarish side of the industrial, gothic rock genre, then do catch up with Bellhead and their not so sparkly but equally intriguing, UnicornBones, with none of the guitar bull.
Finland seems a very small country, with an even smaller population and yet, somehow, they have far more than their fair share of talented musicians. HatefulChains is a four piece gothic/darkwave band from Turku, who started up in 2016.
From their stunning guitar to the striking female vocals, this makes your ears prick up on their latest single, “It’sAll Right“.
The guitar work is refreshing actually, light and almost joyful, not dark and dredging, reminding me of another Finnish band, Negative. Negative was for me a glam rock band quintessentially, so there goes my goth cred points but it works so well here.
Paired with the vocal talent of the female lead, FloraKok, who has a nice powerful range from alto to soprano, without going all operatic. Dare I say, a bit GraceSlick to my ears. Yep, I said it.
The Finnish always amaze me with their virtuosity with their instruments and ability to create such memorable songs.
This is a great single which deserves to be noticed in world full of the same old same old. I think this more than a bit of ” It’sAllRight“.