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“.
Do you remember a classic song by the title “Agent Orange“? It might strike a cord as it was originally released by Scots, Ski Patrol in 1980. In August, Vision Video, a four piece from Georgia in the USA brought forth their version.
This retelling still has that spine tingling feel to the anti war classic. It is post punk heaven but with extra goth punk thrown in.
The original starts off far more quietly and gains speed and volume while the Vision Video begins simply and takes off yet they are more up front vocally.
Love the floating guitar chiming in that adds to the ethereal feel of the music paired with the verbose singing.
An extra added bonus is the band having Tom Ashton involved with the production of this single. For those not familiar with the name, Ashton plays guitars in American goth daddies, The Wake as well as at one point, playing with Dutch icons, Clan Of Xymox.
Agent Orange was the defoliating chemical used during the Vietnam war and the song was a comment on the lasting effects of this chemical warfare, with severe birth defects and soldiers dying from cancer.
Vision Video now uses it as a political call to rise up from apathy, to take control of our future. Good protest songs are timeless and Vision Video has done a brilliant rousing goth version of “Agent Orange“.
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.
German composer and musician, AlexanderKling, just released his latest album, Love, which consists of nine song. You will find synth and piano lead music with soundscaping from his project, Dedalos.
This is the beginning and it starts with the “Ending“, a slow yet gradual building piece, with piano at the front and centre and synths giving depth. There is definitely the feeling of melancholy.
“Why” is a soundscape that taps into the MassiveAttack feels. A lonely expanse with whispered questions.
Third number is “Missing“. This is the loss of another or even a part of one’s self. A languid piece of realization that not all is right. There are musical outbursts along the way as the feeling builds. The buried vocals in the background lamenting ‘miss you so much‘.
Next is a bit of “Insanity“, a reflection of a mindset. The plodding rhythm of sadness settling into ones soul which then becomes the deafening noise that encapsulates all reason.
Darkness with bright areas is how I would describe “You“. There is such poignant bubbles of joy that slowly are eaten by the intruding dark fringes.
And so “Unbearable” follows. Low flowing and tidal with sound enveloping your senses. Nothing else but the feeling of being overwhelmed and that heartbeat rhythm.
“Last” is like the slow waking and a movement towards the dawn. It pauses for an effective break as the music builds. It is not joyous nor does it feel relieved but rather purpose driven.
The completion of any relationship is the “Farewell“. This is release with emotions still attached and yet within you hear the freedom to launch forward and leave the shackles of mental torment.
The conclusion is “Love“. Reflective and careful but with hope of the future, this is the title track and the end of a journey.
This is very much dark ambient/synthwave instrumental music which is very much based on real life. AlexanderKling explained to me how the album came about after the breakdown of a relationship.
‘Istarted with this album after the end of a relationship. But I started to recording this album with the burning pain. Sometimes I cried while recording, it is tear notes. You can feel the atmosphere, you can feel the pain, the depression and sometimes salvation and peace’. – Dedalos
This is an instrumental journey through the heavy realization that not all loves last and that there is a beauty in that suffering, though painful non the less. This is despair, loss and revelation with Dedalos and his Love.
Die Notwendigkeit der Notwendigkeit translated into English means the need for the need and is also the title for the first album release for the Munich based trio of PAAR.
This three piece comprises of vocalist LyNguyen, Rico Sperl plus MatthiasZimmerman and they can be found on the Berlin based label, GRZEGORZKI Records.
Can’t help but notice that German precision, perfect beats and timing. “Common Crimes” starts and is soon in the swirling heady territory of the wonderful Curve. Nguyen’s vocals curl and bedazzle, adding to a powerful wall of noise.
“Beauty Needs Witness” is brooding and bass heavy, seems to hold a great sadness of lost innocence. The guitars almost cry out to you.
The intro to “Rework” is delightful and breezy. This is what Siouxsie and the Banshees would sound like if in a lighter brighter world. The guitar work again is an exquisite construct to hold the vocal jewel.
“Modern” at the beginning makes itself known with frenetic buzzing guitar work and an almost imperceptible oriental quality to the tune at times. Nguyen is joined by guest vocalist Grotto Terrazza also known as Thomas Schamann, who’s deep sonorous tones melt nicely in accompaniment.
Again a nice lightness that highlights the darkness is heard in “Pure” which wouldn’t amiss on a Cocteau Twins album.
“Eis” is a little faster and more jaunty and the guitar work is wonderfully jangly and this song has a lot of personality. It would almost be a crime for it not to be a single.
So what lays in the “Lakes“? Not sure because either it’s unknown or they aren’t listening. But seriously a tune with mystery at its heart.
Last track is “Metal” and this is sassy, in same way as Blondie both vocally and guitar wise. That punk infused joy of new wave music, with a shimmy inducing last song, which is a great one to end on.
Earlier I mentioned Cocteau Twins and a lot of this is very much in the vein of that 4AD ideal and ethos. This embodies that movement of when new wave was developing out of the punk scene in the late 70’s going into the 80’s, fused with that sweet European cold wave/dark wave sound and cool culture.
Art inspiring music and music inspiring art which might explain the title, the need for the need or Die Notwendigkeit der Notwendigkeit, for art and music do not exist without the other muse and here PAAR are the catalyst.
Adriana Martinez and Miguel Bastida are the Mexican duo that make up Deer Mx. The band met, formed in 2013 and reside in Hong Kong of all places and released the beginning of the year, the single, “There’sNoFuture” with a video clip.
The video itself is made up of news disaster and war footage, conveniently called the WWIII Version.
This song seems to deceive you into thinking it is a slow number and for the most part it does start out that way. Though slow to start off, it is persistent even with Martinez’s dulcet tones.
This reminds me of 4AD’s time with the CocteauTwins that offered dreamy vocals to get lost in. Add in a small dose of P.J.Harvey with SlowDive and that’s a pretty close estimation.
The music starts to crescendo and crashes inwards with synths and a guitar blazing away.
Every time I hear this piece, it grows more and more on me. Pop savvy with industrial rawness. Enjoy Deer Mx and ‘There’sNoFuture”
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“.
Neon Tzigane are a London based duo, comprised of vocalists Howling Mina, who also handles percussion and Samson Deluxe on guitars and programming. They have released a third EP, Paramisha.
“The Lost Cities” has tried to incorporate a middle eastern sound which weaves through the song as this duo sing us a tale of civilizations gone forever beneath the shifting sands of mysterious desert climes.
You can hear the old 80’s goth wave jangly guitars on “lost without you”. Deluxe takes the reigns on this track vocally, with Mina doing a fine job backing him. This is a really good pop tune, though short, rather upbeat and quite unlike any other track on the EP.
“Nothing Is Forever” begins with a guitar riff that Pete Steele from Type O Negative would be proud of. Howling Mina and Deluxe harken back to parts of 60’s psychedelia mixed with Black Sabbath.
The last track on this EP is the title, “Paramisha” with its slow build up before the guitars chime in, laced with synths as the sound winds up. This is a purely instrumental piece, that we are confronted with, which leaves you wondering if there is more to come.
All four tracks are fairly different from each other, which isn’t always a bad thing if you like variety and hearing how a band can challenge themselves. Should be interesting to watch Neon Tzigane develop and anticipate what they will release next.