Right, this might be the only time I do one of these reviews, but we will get back to that later. Thanatos is a dark electric/acoustic project that started in the 80’s between Sam Rosenthal and Patrick Ogle. November 26th found us with a new album called….. Country Covered. Yep. I was kind of dared into doing this by one Michel Rowland before I realised it was country music. The pedigree is there. Gothy band, recorded in William Faith’s (Faith & The Muse, Christian Death) 13 Studio and mixed at Martin Bowes‘ (Attrition) Cage Studio. What have I gotten myself into? Poop!

PATRICK OGLE – THANATOS

The album is the brain child of Patrick Ogle, who obviously loves country music or the fact he finds the craftsmanship of the music exceptional. There are nine tracks in total and they are all played on acoustic guitar by Ogle as he sings. There seems to be everything from oldies by Kris Kristofferson and Townes Van Zandt to more modern tunes. As with all country songs they cover a gamut of subjects that most other genre don’t. The loneliness of the wilderness, riding the open plains, gun slinging and bar brawls to missing your loved ones while working the land or simply watching the sky turn shades of orange, pink and hues of blue, as the sun disappears while you sit in your encampment.

The single off Country Covered is “Seminole Wind” was composed and originally sung by John Anderson in 1992 about Florida’s destruction and loss of the natural habitat that supports the ecosystem. The vocals and tone in this new version remind me a lot of legendary Man In Black aka Johnny Cash. The whole album is beautifully produced and it does almost feel like you are at a campsite around a roaring fire in the cool night air. Ogles’s performance never wavers nor does it ever sound like his heart is not there. For me, I grew up for the first six years of my life in small country towns where the music of choice was country and western as it was known back then. For some reason, even though I heard John Denver and the rhinestone cowboy, Glenn Campbell, all my life, I find it a really challenging genre to like and to this end, I am definitely no expert. If you found yourself in awe of what Johnny Cash did to Nine Inch Nails then you may very well find that this collection of country song soothes your soul. You will find this Thanatos album on the Projekt label and it name you price download.

Covered Country (name-your-price) | Thanatos | Projekt Records (bandcamp.com)

Thanatos – Projekt (facebook.com)

Nathan Amundson, from Denver, Colorado, has been at the helm of the band Rivulets, since 2000. The latest single to be released on November the 1st, is a song that can be found on the 2006 album, You Are My Home, however this version is a digital master of the track “Can’t I Wonder“, performed solo by Amundson.

NATHAN AMUNDSON -RIVULETS

This is literally one man and his acoustic guitar. The vocals are soft and Amundson has a very sweet timbre. For me, the song makes me think of snow and frosty mornings, when the day is quiet. You are alone in your thoughts because a new day has broken and it full of possibilities.

This is a very stripped back affair compared to the 2006 version though I feel both deserve their time in the light. The current single has a sense of both lament and hope, brought to the foreground because the bones and soul have been lair bare for all to see. You could describe the music as minimalist indie folk but we will just say that Rivulets do this really well.

https://rivulets.bandcamp.com/track/cant-i-wonder-solo-version

Rivulets | Facebook

rivulets.net – Official site for Nathan Amundson and Rivulets

September the 24th saw the release of Brisbane band, Daylight Ghosts, latest single, “In The Glow“. This neo-folk group is made up of two members, Adam Dawe (vocals/lyrics) and Karl O’Shea (acoustic guitar/keyboards/arrangement) and was given life in 2019. Since then, they have brought forth two previous singles and are looking towards the release of the EP, also named In The Glow.

DAYLIGHT GHOSTS

The drum machine hold the constant beat, the acoustic guitar winds it’s way around Dawe’s vocals. A melancholy about that they cannot live with nor without. ‘Lyrically In The Glow is a song about addiction disguised as the creative process disguised as addiction.¬†Erase. Start over. Erase‘, wrote Dawe. There is an insistent piano line in the chorus and synths that gently aid in the heightened emotions.

There is a lot passion and heart in this piece. O’Shea plays the guitar beautifully and Dawe never lets the lament break the smooth and clean vocals. Gothic tinged electro/neo-folk is probably my best description of Daylight Ghosts. They literally are like a blue flame in the dusk hours, illuminating the shadows into stories to be sung. Discover Daylight Ghosts and their eerily alluring “Into The Glow“.

https://daylightghosts.bandcamp.com/track/in-the-glow

https://www.facebook.com/daylightghostsmusic

March the 19th is the release date for the album And The Light Goes White by LA based act, The Dramedy, 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.

DAVE DRAMEDY

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 Bites Me” 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 Sunshine Blind) and appearing on her debut solo album with a host of other heavyweights such as Rich Witherspoon (The Wake), Dave Wolfenden (Red Lorrry Yellow Lorry, The Mission), Gordon Young (Children On Stun, Pretentious Moi?), William Faith (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.

https://thedramedy2014.bandcamp.com/album/and-the-light-goes-white

https://www.facebook.com/thedramedy2014/

https://www.thedramedy.com/

Brixton Alley are three lads, Alex, Ben and Jonny, from the UK, who somehow ended up in Brisbane, Australia. This punk/pop/rap fusion band also released this year a new EP called, “Nevermore“.

Alex Wells is the drummer for the band with his brother, Ben Wells, playing bass and contributing backing vocals, as well as Jonny Magro as lead singer and on guitar.

BRIXTON ALLEY

There are vibrant highs, through to staccato vocal punctuations in the first track, “Headache“. The frustration of finding work and trying to escape the hometown/village and its sad populace, in order to find something better.

The guitars sing out to you in “Voices” and it is a bit of an indie pop anthem to the youth of the day… the daily struggle with moments of beauty. The girl in the song might be hearing voices but maybe we need to hear those inner voices.

The brit pop influenced guitar lines bring us “Owl“. This is a cheeky observation on men out on the town, ogling girls to the point, their heads swivel around like the feathered night predators, as they greedily look for pretty prey. This has a really nice, catchy hook which you will hear in your head after the song has finished.

Animals” has a reggae sensibility with rap incursions. It is feels joyous and yet laments that we have forgotten our primal instincts. A good laid back rock number.

BRIXTON ALLEY

The acoustic beginning of “Outsider” shows a slower and more romantic piece. This is a modern ode to love, including cigarettes and a can of cider. This is laconic and slightly darker that it admits to, with the pleads to over look mental struggles.

The tunes are fun to listen to and yet are observations on modern existence in this age of excess. In some ways they remind me of one of my favourite post punk bands, New Model Army, with their swagger and revelations. It’s all about the journey, so it might be time time join Brixton Alley and have a listen to Nevermore.

https://m.facebook.com/brixtonalleyband/