What is on the slab you might ask? I may reply, well, Melbourne label, SpookyRecords, have released the single with video, from Velatine, called “All I Want“. Velatine is a darkwave duo, also based in Melbourne, Australia and this single is off the album I Won’t Be Civilised, that was released in February.
From the beginning, a sense of despondency is within the electronics, before the vocals take you away, dragging you towards a world of solitude. The synths are beautifully layered with the vocals, echoing and giving an air of melancholy mystery.
The band is composed of Maggie Alley and Loki Lockwood, and the video they have created for the track, is full of shadowy Hitchcock noir, as Alley gets Lockwood to drive her around, before making him dig his own grave. “All I Want” is smooth and chic like a rich dark wine from Velatine.
The last time we heard from Athens’ NEXUS, was February 2022, and now Mike Pougounas is back with a new single, named the “ShrinkingMan“, which was released May 13. Pougounas plays keyboards, vocals and programming and is joined on this track by DalaiCellai on cello, whom is part of the German Performance Art ensemble, Cirque Bouffon.
There is such an overwhelming sense of a loss of self in this track between the content of the lyrics, Pougounas‘ vocals and the extraordinary tone of the cello. There is a simplicity in the music that lends itself to the tale of a man that had a wonderful talents, that were powered by love, but without it he withered and has a rather unfortunate ‘accident’. The “ShrinkingMan” by NEXUS is wonderfully poignant gothic fare.
I have noticed that the Germans are extremely efficient at consistently putting out great music in quick succession. AlexanderLeonardDonat is one such German. I still have to bring you the review for his new album from Assassun, but his other project Vlimmer, just brought out a new single called “Fatalidealb/wRaceForThePrize“, on the BlackjackIlluministRecords label.
There is an idealistic air of youthful golden delight in “Fatalideal“, with the ringing guitar work that is strikingly joyful. Even Donat’s vocals are light and wonderfully graceful in his native German tongue. The second track is far more electrotonic and slower than the original…yes, this is a cover. The vocals are tinged with a sense of morose as “RaceForThePrize” wends its way.
“Fatalideal” definitely holds about it, an taste of TheCure, and their more absurdly happy music. It is coated in a dreamy haze and is genuinely delightful, with the vocals absolutely in perfect form The b-side, “RaceForThePrize” was originally released in 1999, as a single by US group, TheFlamingLips and in true Vlimmer style, the lyrics have been transcribed into German. I actually had never heard the original version before, and I have to say i prefer the Vlimmer cover… so there :P. Donat is proving himself more than a capable singer and a composer of enchanting darkwave.
Some of us have been hearing about TheBellwetherSyndicate for quite a few years, and now, we, and many others, finally are able to indulge in the debut, Vestige&Vigil, an album that has been six years in the making……. It has been absolutely worth the wait. We were tantalized by the singles, which eluded to a mammoth goth rock/glam beast. The core members are WilliamFaith (FaithAndTheMuse, MephistoWalz, ShadowProject and ex-ChristianDeath), and Sarah-Rose Faith, whom is more regularly known as Scary Lady Sarah, gothic DJ.
I remember in the 90s, being in the city on a Friday night, on a regular trawl of the alternative music stores. Skinny’s (RIP) was one such such store, below the street level, dark and inviting. It was here that we first came across a CD copy of Elyria, with its beautiful cover by FaithAndTheMuse, in the goth section. Without listening to it, the album was purchased and has become a treasured part of the collection. Faith has been involved with some monumental American groups and musicians, since the 80s, and still he has the creative fire burning full blast. Running the 13RecordingStudio, collaborations, playing live and writing fabulous music that is filled with truths and insights, with ScaryLadySarah. This album, Vestige&Vigil is an intoxicating mixture of beautiful guitars, sonorous vocals, fluid electronics and most of all, a beating post-punk heart. Scary Lady Sarah and William were gracious in talking to Onyx about themselves. their truths and of course, the debut album for TheBellwetherSyndicate. All I have to add is, woohoo ScaryLadySarah has magnificent taste…NMA rule!!!
Welcome to the Church of Onyx, William and Sarah-Rose Faith (Scary Lady Sarah). We love the night life, we’ve got to boogie, on the disco ’round, as long as it is nice and dark, with cool coloured lights.
William, many associate you with Christian Death but for me, truthfully, Faith & The Muse, Mephisto Walz and Shadow Project are the bands that really caught my ear. What was that period of time like for you and how do you feel it has coloured your music career up to this point?
William: All these experiences are ultimately additive, in that they were all different — creating with and learning from different people — but the end result is that it all becomes a part of you. Faith and the Muse would never have happened had Mephisto Walz and Shadow Project not happened first. I learned so very much during a very concentrated period of time (between Mephisto Walz and Shadow Project, we’re talking a span of 3 years), and those experiences informed my process going into Faith and the Muse. It certainly didn’t hurt having that pedigree.
Originally you were based in California, which was the beating heart of the gothic/deathrock scene and from what I have been told by others, the 80s/90s were a pretty wild time, so how did this shape you musically?
William: It was a fertile and open time. People were free to experiment, and often did. The results speak for themselves, really. I’ve carried that sensibility forward and , hopefully, that ethic and aesthetic still shows in my work. I love art that pushes the envelope, that broadens the boundaries of genre and style, and I actively avoid anything that panders to stereotypes, which was and is the whole point of it, ultimately.
Sarah-Rose, you are the well-loved DJ Scary Lady Sarah. For those of us that are not so familiar with the start of your music journey, how did you end up becoming a goth spinning the dark tracks?
ScaryLadySarah: Music has always been the most important element in my life, even as a child. I found punk rock in the very early 1980’s and that music scene became where I spent practically all my social life and time. My taste in music gravitated more towards the “darker side” of punk and alternative music in the mid- late 80’s and I dove in head first, attending as many gigs as I could, purchasing records and zines, and also exploring the other artistic disciplines and interests that inspired the musicians I enjoyed, such as poetry, visual art, fashion.
As much as punk inspired me as a younger teen, the proto-goth / darker postpunk music of those years was like fresh oxygen. It just immediately resonated with me and still does. I felt so passionate about the music, art, and style which I was into that I wanted to be more than just a punter- I wanted to bring all that to people and help grow the community of fellow enthusiasts. It was first my love of the music and second my love of the subculture that drove me to become a professional nightclub DJ and impresario for the goth scene.
I frequented a nightclub in Chicago called neo (lower case “n”) and became friends with one of the bartenders who also would DJ there on occasion. We discovered that we had a mutual love of dark music, especially the more ethereal side of it, and so we collaborated and pitched the idea to the manager of the club at the time – 1988- and thus, Nocturna was born and still continues, though it has been my sole “baby” since 1996.
Is Bellwether your first foray into playing music Scary Lady Sarah?
ScaryLadySarah: I was in one other band, semi-playing keyboards (I say “semi” because I really just triggered some cues and was hired to look spooky on stage!) That was right around 1990 and the band was called The Dark Theater. I only took up playing guitar in 2011, in anticipation of starting a band (The Bellwether Syndicate) with William.
Since William moved to Chicago, you been involved in created the 13 Recording Studio, also the label Sett Records and featured on quite a few tracks for other artists, as well as doing the odd bit of remixing. Where do you find the time and do you like being crazy busy?
William: I rarely sleep. When I do, it’s in a chair.
You both are the nucleus of The Bellwether Syndicate, which began around 6 years ago, but it has really been in the last year and a bit that this project has taken flight. What was the impetus to create The Bellwether Syndicate?
ScaryLadySarah: The band actually began in 2011, so 12 years ago. I had been seriously contemplating taking up guitar for about a year before I moved back to Chicago from Berlin, in 2010. It was a desire that had been brewing in my mind for a while, after having been on the “other side” of music as a DJ for so long. When William moved to Chicago, there was no question that he would continue creating music; it’s just what he does. I am fortunate that he is not only an incredibly talented player himself but also an excellent teacher, so my first guitar lessons from him began in 2011.
William: Coming out of Faith and the Muse, I knew I wanted to get back to playing rock ’n roll. Sarah was interested in learning to play guitar, and explicitly said she didn’t want to be in a goth band, which both delighted and surprised me. We discussed the kind of bands that were turning us on at the time, and we decided to give it a go. This is the result.
Since the inception, you have been joined by three more incredible musicians in Corey Gorey, Philly Peroxide and Steyn Grey for your live shows. Could you please tell us about them and how they came into the fold?
ScaryLadySarah: I first met Philly Peroxide when he started attending my club night Nocturna at the tender age of 18 in 2005. We became friends and eventually began DJing together at various parties and also for what is now our monthly shoegaze & dream pop music night, Shimmer. When William and I started TBS, we wanted live members who we kindred spirits not just good musicians, and as Phil is someone we both loved as a friend already, who also had piano ability, it made perfect sense to invite him to join the band. He has really emerged as an amazing force when we play live- he really gives it his all and is a joy to perform with and watch!
William: We are truly blessed to have some of the best musicians and performers in this band that I know. Sarah mentioned Philly, a dear friend and great performer. Stevyn Grey has been my right arm both as a brother and in nearly all of the same bands I’m known for (Mephisto Walz, Christian Death, Shadow Project, Sex Gang Children, Faith and the Muse, Frankenstein, etc.), and his contribution to Bellwether cannot be overstated. The arrival of Corey Gorey was the missing piece of the puzzle: I’d been a long-time fan of The Brickbats, and getting him in Bellwether was a boon indeed. From our first show with this line-up, we finally became the band I’d always dreamt of.
The debut album is titled “Vestige & Vigil”. Vestige refers to the last traces, while a vigil is when one watches for signs. Is there a particular reason for this title and why did you decide to bring out the album now?
William: It’s a view of the world from two perspectives, definitely informed, at least in part, by the Covid experience: Vestige – a celebration of what remains, and Vigil: an acknowledgement of what’s been lost. As this album was our first to be released on vinyl, we were forced to think in album sides for the first time in decades. As such, the songs, which evolved over the years, seemed to fall conveniently into one of the two aforementioned categories. So side 1 is Vestige, and side 2 is Vigil.
How good does it feel to know that the album is finally getting out there?
William: After a six year arc, and an absolute comedy of errors along the way, it is truly a great feeling.
ScaryLadySarah: It’s like finally exhaling. Such a relief and at the same time, a rush! It’s very gratifying to hear so many positive and happy comments about the songs.
We have been delighted to be able to hear singles before the album release, so I would like to talk about the significance of three.
“Dystopian Mirror” was written primarily about someone William knew in his past. I think a lot of us from the 80s and 90s, lost friends to excessive drinking and drug use. So is the track a catharsis, a gentle warning or tribute to a lost soul?
William: Very much a tribute to a lost soul. We lost a friend to the ravages of mental illness, brought about by isolation during a grieving process, which led to a concentrated period of extreme drug and alcohol abuse. In the end, he took his own life, and the resulting anger and grief we felt about the loss resulted in this song. The lyrics are meant to be the voices in his head as he descends into the realm of the unwell. The song was our way of dealing with it, as the feelings just hadn’t gone away, even years after the fact.
Feeding into this theme is “Beacons”, which are the people in our lives that guide us to safer shores. Can you tell us a little more about the song?
William: A love letter to our fans — our friends, our family. Connecting with them at live shows is what makes life worth living, and they’re the ones who guide us home every night. Their light never dims.
Your rousing anthem “We All Rise”, is kind of a war cry to the dark alternative community. It is about being proud of who you are, never changing for ‘popular’ opinion and never let the bastards get you down. Is some of this driven by the draconian ideals and laws being driven by the zealot far right in the US?
William: It’s a universal problem — it really doesn’t matter where you live, you are always subject to the prevailing order. It’s meant to rally our people and provide a word of support, while reminding never to lose yourself in the anger, which is always a danger. Never stop kicking against it, but never lose sight of yourself and your tribe — the ones who keep you alive, who provide laughter and support when it all gets too much.
Music has always been used to protest and make social/political observations, especially in the punk/post-punk genre. How important do you feel it is to use this voice and not let it be diminished?
William: It is all important. Having come up through the eighties punk movement, both Sarah and I know that your voice is all you have. You can use it for escapism which, while I begrudge no one the option, never really appealed to me; or you can use it to agitate and push back. My lyrics have almost always opted for the latter.
ScaryLadySarah: It’s essential, especially in these times when some of the media platforms with the biggest reach are so skewed. Music reaches people’s minds in different ways than news outlets. The politics in lyrics of the punk rock I grew up with were integral to me developing a curiosity about the state of things in government and policy. Not all songs need to be of this nature, but is important that they exist.
William, you have done quite a few collaborations, such as the stunning track “Cover Me” on the “Asylum” album for Kill Shelter. What do you enjoy about working with other artists and do you have any favourite tracks from these collaborations?
William: I love collaborating with other artists. It takes me out of my comfort zone and forces me to stretch and grow as an artist, which I really enjoy doing. Pete from Kill Shelter was a joy to work with. I also did a track for our dear friends and tour mates Then Comes Silence right around the same time I did the Kill Shelter track, a song called “Dias,” which was my first time singing in Spanish, despite the fact that it was my first language. I really enjoyed getting to do that.
Do you have a favourite track off “Vestige & Vigil” and if so why?
William: You’ll get a different answer out of me almost every day. Today I’ll say “Noir Thing.”
ScaryLadySarah: Like William, my fave can change daily, but I have to admit to being a bit partial to “Clarion.” I love the all, though.
Will there be any little cheeky remixes of the album?
William: Maaaaaybe. 😉
What is the Chicago dark alt/goth/industrial scene like and has it further influenced your music?
ScaryLadySarah: We have the most friendly goth scene that I’ve ever experienced. Maybe because it’s Chicago and though we’re the third largest city in the States, we still have a more relaxed, Midwestern vibe. There are at least five other people or groups of people who produce “dark alternative” club nights in town aside from myself, touring bands generally make Chicago one of their stops, and a few festivals are hosted here. It has changed a lot over the years, like everywhere, and now when I get 700 or 900 people attending Nocturna, it feels very different from when there were 200 and literally everyone knew each other, but the growth has felt organic and everyone seems to just really enjoy the atmosphere and music. I don’t know if it has influenced our music, per se, but there may be something connecting the face that I’ve always showcased some of the more ethereal and shoegaze bands at my club events and the two songs by The Bellwether Syndicate which I have solely written & sing on (“You Can See Through Me” and “Clarion”) are the most aligned with those styles.
How much do you like to play live and has it been good to be set free after 2 years of not really being able to?
William: For me, it was like being able to breathe for the first time in 2 years… Playing live is what I live to do, and being cut off from it for that time was absolute torture for me. Coming out of it with this line-up of the band was the true silver lining to the whole thing, though. We’re positively on fire now, and I think it shows live.
ScaryLadySarah: It’s my favourite thing about being in a band, especially now with the line up we have. Our on stage dynamics are fun and exciting and energetic and I can’t help but smile pretty much the whole way through a set. Being on stage and seeing people in the audience dancing or singing along is joyous. The connection is unlike anything else.
It is incredible how many married couples make music together in the darkwave scene? Is it easier or harder creating, recording and playing music with a spouse?
ScaryLadySarah: I don’t have another experience to compare it to, but I do know that aside from any personal relationship, it has always been an honour and humbling to be in a band with William Faith, a musician whose work I have admired before we ever met. I often feel undeserving as a relatively “new” musician myself- but grateful!
We do like ‘Aargh Like A Pirate Day’ here at Onyx and as they say, loose lips sink ships, so do the both of you go under the pseudonym, The Pirate Twins and how much of a kick is it to DJ together?
ScaryLadySarah: When we DJ together we go under the name ‘The Pirate Twins” which is a reference to the Thomas Dolby song “Europa and the Pirate Twins.” It doesn’t happen with as much frequency now but it’s always fun.
What are your musical influences? The bands and singers that drew you into the dark side?
William: I could fill volumes with this answer, but I’ll try and limit myself: It all started with KISS, but soon followed by Bowie, Alice Cooper, Black Sabbath, Phantom of the Paradise (film), Rocky Horror Picture Show (film), all of which led to the discovery of punk rock, which made the impossible possible for so many of us. Bands like Plasmatics, Germs, Dead Kennedys, The Damned brought the darkness forward in their style and sound, and then the “Hell Comes to Your House” compilation (1981) had tracks by Christian Death, 45 Grave and Social Distortion that set the groundwork for so much of what was to follow. If I had to hang the whole thing on two albums, though, they would have to be Christian Death’s “Only Theatre of Pain,” closely followed by T.S.O.L.’S “Dance With Me.’ Those albums created me, essentially.
ScaryLadySarah: Some will come as no surprise: Siouxsie & the Banshees, Cocteau Twins, New Model Army, Dead Can Dance, Bel Canto, Curve, The Cure…and many more.
What bands catch your ears these days and set your hearts pumping?
William: Fortunately, there are many: Then Comes Silence, VOSH, Actors, The Soft Moon, Drab Majesty, Bootblacks, Algiers, VOWWS, IDLES, Nyx Division, Kite, Blacklist, Bestial Mouths, True Moon, The Feral Ghosts, Bloody Knives, Bob Vylan, IAMX, Wovenhand, the list goes on…
ScaryLadySarah: Literally, all the ones that William mentioned, and dozens more- it’s such a great time for music- but so this doesn’t run on too long, I’ll just add Gvllow, Casual Worker, Autumn, Ash Code, Topographies, Haunt Me, Yves Tumor, Male Tears, Urban Heat, Nox Novacula, Cold Cave, Cerulean Veins, Ultra Sunn, the new material coming from The March Violets, Fever Ray, Softcult, Violentene, Linea Aspera, Whimsical, The City Gates, Pink Frost, Alvvays, Noktva… (I am forcing myself to stop here but one just has to look at my DJ playlists to see which bands keep popping up!)
You have been asked to create a compilation of your favourite gothic/glam tracks and record them with the original artists, which songs/artists do you pick? (Of course, they can be 6 feet under as all necromancy is on the house and we will get the witch doctors straight onto it…no mucking around here)
William: I’ve been blessed to play and record in a few of my own favorite bands already! This may seem like an absolute cop out, but the fact is I’m not one for looking backward (as the song “Golden Age” suggests) — I’d be much more interested in recording NEW songs with these artists, which would likely include: Bowie, David Sylvian, Stiv Bators, Peter Gabriel, Marc Bolan, Kate Bush, Einstürzende Neubauten, Lou Reed, Jim Thirlwell/Foetus, Paul Williams, Nick Cave, Gary Numan, Diamanda, Galás, and, if they could ever be found, Crash Worship.
If you will, please look into the crystal ball. What do you see in the future of The Bellwether Syndicate as well as William and Scary Lady Sarah?
William: For me personally: Record. Tour. Repeat. Never stop. ∞
ScaryLadySarah: I’m trying to live more “in the moment” but of course, I hope our music reaches everyone who would love it and that they all come out to see us play live!
You heard the Scary Lady…..go out there and hear the music live, because it is all too good to miss out.
Credit: Image by momento mori under Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic
Very few acts can say they’ve impacted the music industry for nearly 50 years, but that’s precisely what The Cure has been doing throughout their extensive career. They first emerged onto the scene in the late 1970s and quickly skyrocketed into fame in the 1980s when they enjoyed the peak of their success. They’ve inspired many artists, including notable names like Smashing Pumpkins, Depeche Mode, and Radiohead. To this day, they’re still making music and playing shows and are even set to embark on their first North American tour in seven years. Despite the ups and downs in the reception of their music, one thing has kept them iconic all these years: their sound. No matter the genre, their music and tone have remained uniquely theirs.
The Cure’s Gothic era
Throughout The Cure’s long career, the band experimented with a wide range of genres. Their first album, Three Imaginary Boys, took on a post-punk sound, perfectly showcased in the single “Boys Don’t Cry,” which was released in the American version of the album with the same name. They touched on a darker and atmospheric gothic rock edge in their early works, beginning with their second album, Seventeen Seconds, and continued with their subsequent two releases, Faith and Pornography —which all became essential records for the gothic rock and solidified their status as icons of the genre. After experimenting with more post-punk and pop tones in succeeding albums, Disintegration brought them back to their gothic sound.
A psychedelic shift
After their brief split, the group thought a tonal change could catch the public unaware, gaining them more attention. They shifted to psychedelic, dream pop-inspired tones on records like The Head on the Door and Kiss Me, Kiss Me, Kiss Me, boasting the hits “Close to Me” and “Just Like Heaven” respectively—the latter of which is one of Robert Smith’s favorite The Cure songs. Their most successful album Wish, featuring the iconic “Friday I’m in Love,” was their most pop-adjacent yet. These cheery, upbeat songs shocked old fans but gained a lot of love from new listeners. Around this time, the group achieved more success outside the UK.
Recreating the sound
Robert Smith’s role as The Cure’s guitarist shapes their sound. He used a lot of effects that are essential for achieving that atmospheric tone. Effects pedals are a simple way to enhance your guitar for a similar vibe. According to a 1996 rig diagram, Robert Smith favored pedals designed by Boss, a flexible choice across eras and genres. Flanger is crucial to The Cure sound, and the BF-3 Flanger is responsible for sweeping, jet plane-like guitar tones that lend well to the darker sound of gothic rock. Chorus is also a must-have for Robert Smith-type playing, giving the guitar a fuller, richer tone. He also uses a Boss pedal for that effect; the CH-1 Super Chorus is a prominent feature on his rig.
Amplifiers are also crucial for developing a specific tone, and Robert Smith’s runs his fairly clean. They’re used mainly as a platform for his stompboxes to shine. He also featured a similar number of both solid-state and valve amplifiers. One of the solid-state amps used by The Cure is the Line 6 Spider V 120, which was used in their Sydney Opera House residency during the 2019 Vivid Festival. It’s an excellent choice for either instant plugging and playing or tweaking your tone to perfection.
If you’re looking for bands who’ve taken a page out of The Cure’s book on musical style, tune into In a Darkened Room. The Texan band’s music is reminiscent of The Cure’s atmospheric tone with a darker spin that lends itself to the southern gothic sound. You can check out our interview with the band on Onyx Music Reviews.
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May the 4th was with you, and it most definitely was with AgentSideGrinder, with their brand spanking new album, JackVegas, Out on Progress Productions, the Swedish provocateurs of post-punk, doused in dark electronics, is composed of members, JohanLange (synthesizer, keyboard, programming, percussion, backing vocals) and PeterFristedt (modular synthesizer, tape loops), with EmanuelÅström (vocals).
The not so gentle thrumming pushes into your ears, stirring your senses in the “WaitingRoom“, a sensation of anticipation and nervous energy surging forth from this first track. “NumberByNumber” ramps on the building synths and crashing guitar, while the vocals chant, and “Bloodless” definitely has the air of dark crystalline beauty, as well as show casing the singing of lead vocalist, Emanuel Åström, in the spine tingling, swirling chorus.
There is most certainly an early 80’s, post-punk feel to the maudlin “Madeleine“, as the drum machine rattles and the synths drone, making key changes very noticeable. There is something so very profound in what sounds like wild winds blowing frigid into your soul. “FlawsAndFlame” wavers between grimy and angelic remorse, as the electronics screech in the background, before we get a bit funky with the title track, “JackVegas“. In Sweden, Jack Vegas refers to cheap slot machines, and the chiming keyboard riff has taken on the edge of a tune of a one arm bandit, after another loss, and the pressure builds, as the machines lull the addicted players.
It is so nice to hear the voices of Åström and Lange together in “Decipher“. You could swear you can hear a harpsicord creating an elegance over the drone and supporting the heart melting vocals. We come to the final track, “TheUnravelling“, and honestly, the atmosphere could be described as oppressive and yet sensual, as the electronica caress your nerves.
JackVegas has been a very anticipated album, especially after hearing the guys last year, featuring on the KillShelter track “TheNecklace“. So, after hearing JackVegas, I am not disappointed. In fact, it is a bloody amazing darkwave album, and in many ways, AgentSideGrinder are reminiscent of JoyDivision, creating beautiful music within the shadowy sphere of human limits and emotions. Perfection.
There was a stirring on the winds in New Jersey, and behold, the debut single “April” spang forth from goth rockers, TheAntoinePonceletBand. The band is made up of members, AntoinePoncelet (vocals), PeterQuilla (guitar), MarkMcClemens (bass), SantosMenendez (keys), GregBullock (keys) and JustinWright (drums).
There is the wailing and gnashing of teeth in “April“, for there does seem to be a questioning of why one has been left to fend for themselves, when the muses have fled. Is there meaning if you cannot see it? The music is boisterous, and the over all ambiance, reminds me a little of AndyPrieboy. There is also a b-side in the track, “VirginiaPlain“, originally released by RoxyMusic, back in 1972. They have retained that glam edge with the great keyboard work and lead singer Poncelet, pulls off a rather convincing modern take, of the sneering BryanFerry, though this version is more attacking.
Hearing a cover of RoxyMusic was rather delightful and a good reminder of what a great songwriter Ferry has been. The single “April” is this interesting dichotomy of 90s goth, grunginess and even honky-tonk blues at times, which is surprisingly enjoyable. It might no longer be “April“, but you can still indulge in TheAntoinePonceletBand.
Never ones to sit on their laurels, the crew of BeautyInChaos (BIC), with guitarist MichaelCiravolo, firmly at the helm, have been joined by JulianShah-Taylor (vocals/synths), for a brand new single, “Kiss Me (Goodbye)“. Just adding to the mix is long term BIC collaborator MichaelRozon on bass/piano/drum programming and drummer PeteParada of FaceToFace and TheOffspring fame.
There is an 80s electronic vibe throughout this track, though the guitars most certainly are at the fore, in the rich, surging chorus. Everything will turn out fine, sings Shah-Tayler, even if we are watching the world burn, so with the sweet lyrics and up tempo lilt to the music, you can believe him.
Shah-Taylor might be channelling the Thin White Duke, aka Bowie, especially in conjunction with the video. There is something warm and familiar about “KissMe(Goodbye)” that really resonated with me and maybe it is the 80s/goth glam feel. The track is both delicate and stirring, and the vocals are perfection. “So “Kiss Me (Goodbye)” as there is only Beauty In Chaos.
There is some really brilliant darkwave music coming out currently, and the Antipole &ParisAlexander album, Crystalline, out on Young&ColdRecords, on May 12th, is most certainly one of them. However, for now, sate your cravings with the latest single, “Bleached“, out on the 27th of April.
“Bleached is about a lost soul battling darkness and light. They still have an optimism and so strive for a more positive future. It is also set against a backdrop of Brexit and current social and economic struggles in the UK.” – Paris Alexander (Brighton, UK)
“We wanted to combine nasty-sounding moody synthesizers with ethereal guitars.”– Karl Morten (Antipole) (Trondheim, Norway)
From those first smooth synth lines, you just know who this is. The guitar strikes true and clear, and when you hear Alexander whisper,’takeme‘….well, just damn. You can hear the murkiness Morten mentions that creeps under your skin, while the rhythm carries you ever forward into the crumbling city, beneath darkening skies, hoping for something to change. “Bleached” is the darkwave dance noir, and it is a thing melancholic beauty from these bards of shadows, Antipole & Paris Alexander.
The second GirlsUnderGlass single has been released with video, called “DreamYourselfAway“, in anticipation for the new album Backdraft, out on DependantRecords. Original singer, TomLücke, re-joined the band in 2016, after leaving back in 1989, which has brought back those wonderful vocals that greeted us on the first GirlsUnderGlass releases and this track can be found on the Deluxe Version of Backdraft.
“It is a positive outlook on life in the present and in future. The text asks to deal with the important issues now and with confidence. The song is directly linked to my time with GIRLS UNDER GLASS back in the days, but it is also connected through the 1980s vibes within me to the present. To me, it nearly appears as if the days in between have never existed. I regard this song highly as a present and it moves me very much to see it being released as a single.” – TomLücke
There is a thrill that goes down my spine and I can’t decide if it is from the ringing guitars, the thumping bass or the succulent keyboards, but Lücke’s vocals definitely lend themselves to creating a mesmerising track. So builds the hunger for the new album from GirlsUnderGlass.