Post punk duo, The Cold Field, released the album Hollows on August 6th, on the label Cold TransmissionMusic which is famous for their darkwave retinue. Their debut, Black River, was warmly greeted and so Hollows has been much anticipated by fans.
The emphasis is very much on the atmosphere which is created by the echoing vocals, the deep bass plus jangle and buzz of guitar. The album is comprised of ten tracks and notably, two are instrumental pieces for the most part. “RideThe Breeze” is the intro to set up the feel whilst, “FloatingAbove The Wasteland” is filled with gorgeous bass lines and guitar work, whilst the faint ghost like whispers are seemingly unintelligible and beyond deciphering.
“Reaching For Things Things You Cannot Hold” is a great example of the style, with the low echoing vocals, delicate guitar work which is layered in synth. Other stand out tracks are Beauty Expired”, with its rapid pulse and its variance in tone, while “Into The Light” actually does have a slightly more airy feel to the music, a
From the get go, you hear the influence of Joy Division, Lebanon Hanover and Ritual Howls in their music and the common themes in post punk music of isolation, a longing for what is denied and the nature of addiction. There is the ever present spectre of existential dead that pervades all, for this is music that sits on the edge of dusk asking how did this all come to pass.
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.
Lurking in Sydney, Australia, is a man of musical integrity and intrigues, only known by the moniker, INfest8. He is a producer and mix master of music but also a member of other bands such as ZCluster and international act, Konqistador. However, this month he has released a solo single called, “Under“.
So new, in fact, there is no YouTube video to accompany it. “Under” is dark and foreboding in its heaviness, given weight by the purposeful industrial beat and raw crunchiness. The squealing electronics and grinding guitar in stark contrast to the laid back vocals with light synth lines.
Currently, INfest8 is working on new material for both ZCluster and Konqistador but it is really good to hear some of his independent work. Not only is “Under” a great single but it’s also free to download from Bandcamp. So what are you waiting for?
The name Pink Turns Blue, for many, conjures to mind guitar lead, post punk 80s music. Initially influenced by Clan Of Xymox, Joy Division and The Sounds, Pink Turns Blue in turn became a touch stone band for many others. The legendary German, three piece, released on the 30th of July their third single, “You Still Mean TooMuch To Me“, off the album, Tainted, which will be unveiled in September.
As the title implies, this is melancholic with the pain of love rescinded and no longer reciprocated. A naked ballad about the inability to understand what happened and not being able to cope with that loss. This is a quieter track, full of emotion, made all the more raw with the simple guitar work and MicJogwer’s imploring vocals.
“How to overcome the grief / pain of lost love, torn between hate, very bad feelings and, at the same time, not being able to let go at all. As there is no understanding why you fall in love with someone in the first place, there is also no reason / understanding why love does end or your love of life starts to feel attracted to someone else. It all dissolves into nothingness” – Mic Jogwer.
“Still Mean Too Much To Me” will really strike a chord with anyone who has lost or been denied the love of the person they thought was their forever companion. The band is older and not the angry young men they were, now far more worldly and this translates into being able to craft music that touches the soul.
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“.
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.
June the fourth was the release date for the single, “Ten Points On The Damage Meter“. How To Loot Brazil are the German band behind the single, with Maik Timmermann at the helm since 2006, who proclaim to be a fusion of riot grrrl, pop/punk, under pinned by electronics.
I agree the beat has a D.A.F. quality to it and the female vocals are kind of cute but this really works for song. It’s short and punchy, meant to get you bouncing and bopping along. There are guitar riffs and rhyming gimme gimme gimmie with ten points on the damage meter.
It’s a tight number that packs a lot into under three minutes and is about the horror movie genre which is deftly referred to in the music video. “Ten Points On The Damage Meter” is in essence a fun song and it gets more ear worm like with every play. How To Loot Brazil will get you moving and they can be found on most music platforms, including Spotify.
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.
April has been the anticipated release date of the third album from Australian act, Sounds Like Winter. Fight The Stairs is the ten track offering from these Sydney gothic proponents with vocalist/programmer/guitarist Ant Bannister, guitarist/vocalist Andi Lennon, bass guitarist Sian Williams and drummer Leticia Ohlaberry.
I’m going to say The Cure’s , Pornography was a huge influence for Sounds Like Winter, just by the first few guitar chords of “Gathering (For The Fall)“. Bannister sounds like the circus ringmaster for a show of misfits and freaks which is going to hell in a handbasket in a stylish manner
“Who We Aren’t” picks up speed with that brilliant drum rhythm, countered with the jangling guitars. A track about being what you aren’t, fraudulently hiding behind guises which could fail, causing exposure.
The album’s title track, “Fight The Stairs” doesn’t get any more classic gothic rock. This conjours delightful warm feelings of 80s during the era of Danse Society and Bauhaus. The lyrics almost seem like a drug induced stupor for a dreamlike state.
Next is the single “The Monsters“, not a tale about real monsters but rather those that we create to punish ourselves for perceived failures, that come to find us when we are most vulnerable. Slower and serpentine, as it slowly wends its way with menacing purpose.
The guitars peel out frenetically in “Day To Day“, with the vocals a tad forceful in their contempt. A commentary on our society, where everything is a throwaway consumable and the idolising of celebrity status of the unworthy.
All perception of reality in life, is lost when there is, “TheWedding Feast”. This is a number that feels like it is on the move, as if it wants you to move. Bannister maybe channelling Andy Prieboy for a moment with his staccato spoken lyrics.
For the up tempo guitars, “Send The Boy” still seems a sad number about abuse of a child and those that perpetrated these crimes get to walk away…. but not the boy. The lightness is such contrast to the dark matter.
The tribal beats are unmissable here and maybe a harkening back to Southern Death Cult. “No Interest” is the cold reality that humanity isn’t so humane and will ignore you when you are at your lowest point.
A play on words, “Primal Smear” has heavy Christian Death overtones. This has a glorious sound to it with its intonations and a coy reproachfulness. The lyrics are thoughtfully descriptive and just flow.
Oh gosh. They saved the killer song for last… literally. A track about murdering plus consuming your friend while trapped in the throes of a deep winter and yet one must ask, who had gone crazy?! “He Was Gone” is a dark, brooding finishing track to leave you with goosebumps at the end.
In the end this is a great album. There are so many influences I can hear and many I haven’t mentioned but at the centre of Sounds Like Winter, is a tragically beautiful beating heart, that bleeds music for your entertainment on their terms. Fight The Stairs is truly an album worthy of your collection if you love the gothic/deathrock genre.