From the British hotbed, of goth music, Leeds, Skeletal Family broke out in 1981 with the single “Trees“. There has been a lot of water under the bridge and the band has become one of the lynch pins of the gothic sound. With a wealth of musical experience behind them, Skeletal Family are gearing up to release a new album and they have dropped the new single “My Own Redemption” with video.

The new vocalist is Anneka Faye and she compliments the Skeletal Family sound so very well, sultry and commanding. The guitar work is haunting in shadowy echos, while the keyboard picks out the tune, adding an extra layer of lilting grimness. The video, directed by Danny Hardaker, is shot in a black & white noir style, with thuggish heavy men and a sleazy underground promise.

So, this is the first call to arms for the faithful and the soon to be inducted, with Skeletal Family’s sixth studio album and “My Own Redemption” is a wonderful introduction to an eagerly awaited release. There is the pervasive Family sound but I like the fact they don’t try to stick to a formula either, just making a beautiful post-punk music with a soul.

My Own Redemption | Skeletal Family (bandcamp.com)

Skeletal Family | Facebook

Australia’s deathrockers, Sea Lungs, have launched the new single, “Truffle Pig“, as of the 27th of June. Out on the Sydney label, Mantravision Productions, this sees vocalist and lyricist, Andi Lennon with composer Jarrad Robertson, mixing & mastering by Mantravision’s Ant Banister (Sounds Like Winter). These gentlemen are scholars of past empires and though this seems like a commentary on the child labourers, as young as five years old, in coal mines during the Victorian Era, aka, the Industrial Revolution, it is also looking towards our modern times and the erosion of worker’s rights and dismantling/banning of unions.

The thing that hits me the most to begin with is the rhythmic pattern that is like being in a boat, continuously bobbing up and down, pounded wave after wave but never swamped, as Lennon’s vocals call out over the top as the tether. The guitars crash down, condemning, onto those who don’t learn from the past, in wonderfully poetic prose.

Truffle Pig” just proves that Sea Lungs are going from strength to strength, creating a diverse catalogue of tracks, with which they are honing their sound. It is deliciously dark, melodic and has a political beating heart, so you need your serving of “Truffle Pig“.

Truffle Pig | Sea Lungs (bandcamp.com)

Sea Lungs | Facebook

The duo, Johnathan/Christian have released the single, “Talkin’ About The Wolf“. It is a track inspired by the Ukrainian resistance against a much larger foe, trying to take by force, their county. Johnathan/Christian is joined by The Legion Of Whom, a mixture of talented humans, whom appear in the order of Matt Vowles: Black Angel (guitar), Lee Meadows: The Glass House Museum (bass), Athan Maroulis: NOIR, Steven Archer: Ego Likeness/Stoneburner, Claus Larsen: Leæther Strip, Martin Bowes: Attrition, Alla Miroshichenko: Attrition/Alia Synesthesia (cello), Jeff Diehm: The Last Dance and Ania Tarnowska: I Ya Toyah

Verbose gothic melancholy, wrapped in this wonderfully rich guitar and complimented by the electroincs in a most symphonic manner. Sliding between vocalists is a truly interesting experience, it drags you in to listen to the the words and marvel at the mixture of styles, accents and timbre. They ask what we want to know, ‘how many Putin?’.

“Since the Donbas Invasion in 2014, Ukraine has been telling the world the wolf is coming, and what have we done to help?  As the battle continues, now is not the time to move on. Ukraine needs everyone’s help now more than ever” – Johnathan

The title of the track refers to a Ukrainian saying, ‘talking about the wolf‘, which basically means ‘speak of the devil‘. All proceeds, from the single will be donated to the Come Back Alive Foundation in Ukraine, which was created during the War in Donbas. In return, you get a darkwave track of immense proportions, catchy and chock full of some legends in the business.. Mmmmm, very tasty and remember, you think you are safe until they are at your door.

Talkin’ Bout the Wolf (ft. The Legion of Whom) | Johnathan Christian | JOHNATHAN|CHRISTIAN (bandcamp.com)

Johnathan|Christian | Facebook

Berlin’s Vlimmer, has released the post-punk single, “Kronzeuge” (key witness) with backing track, a German lyric version of the Depeche Mode song, “It’s No Good“. Alexander Leonard Donat is Vlimmer and the man behind the BlackJack Illuminist Records label, releasing the single on June the 3rd.

There is a hint of early German post-punk, such as Die Artze, and “Kronzeuge” is melancholy with those deep bass lines and wistful electronics. Donat’s vocals play over the top and the harmonies between himself and the electronics is really breathtaking. The cover “It’s No Good“, is off kilter and has a slightly deranged air to it. Darker and more brooding than the original, though there is that fabulous synth line that has always been the underpin of this track, which you could never not have but given a new twist.

I am loving these clean vocals from Donat. It puts a whole new spin on the Vlimmer sound, I think bringing a new level of tenebrosity to the music. The cover version, though in German, I can still hear the English in my head which is an interesting thing and “Kronzeuge” is a wonderfully mournful and lugubrious track in an emotional wasteland, ready to suck you into Vlimmer’s fantastic world.

Kronzeuge b/w It’s No Good | Vlimmer | Blackjack Illuminist Records (bandcamp.com)

Vlimmer | Facebook

Blackjack Illuminist Records | Facebook

New Zealand’s post-punk purveyors, Vietnam, have released their third single off the album, This Quiet Room, accompanied by a video. Many of the members have, since the 80s, moved across the Tasman, to the shores of Australia, so with that in mind, some of “In Another Desert” is filmed in Sydney and other pieces, in their home town of Wellington.

There is the high paced jangle of guitars, matched by the drums. The vocals remind you, you have been to places you never thought you would be, left for greener pasture and ended up in another desert. The lead guitar gives us these most beautiful flourishes, whilst the adjoining guitars build and drop the tension so deliciously with the aid of the synths.

It is such a good single off the album, as it fare flies from the instruments with those gorgeous hues of tone. Shadows from the past, mixing with the reality of the present, incorporating a live sample of a stick countdown, by original drummer, Leon Reedijk, who sadly is no-longer with us. Every time I hear this track, it just gets better and Vietnam are kindred spirits to bands such as The Church and The Chills, and as such, masters of evoking sentiment and memories.

This Quiet Room | Vietnam (NZ) (bandcamp.com)

Vietnam – NZ | Facebook

The Drood are coming!!!! No less than with their single, “Psychic Institute“, which was dropped on April 21st. Hailing from Denver, Colorado, they have been around in different forms since 2012, but settled as a two man electronic/post-punk unit made up of original members, Nathan Jamiel (vocals, guitars and synths) and  Daniel Watts (drums, percussion and synths).

The playoff between electronics and guitar, The bleeps and synths have that very old school feel such as early era Gary Numan, while the guitar injects a more modern post punk feel, to a track that is a hurdy gurdy of resentment within the whirling noise.

There is the bleakness of the post-punk dribbling throughout, married to the cold industrial electronics while the vocals that are cajoling and pointing to the human error of sentimentality and erring into lies. “Psychic Institute” is a catchy track from The Drood which I rather enjoyed quite a bit along with the video by Tim Nelson.

Psychic Institute | The Drood (bandcamp.com)

The Drood | Electronic-Rock Band from Denver Colorado

The Drood | Facebook

New York’s, London Plane are soon to release their debut album titled, Bright Black in June but on April 20th they dropped a single, which happens to be the title track. This is all released via record company Declared Goods and the members of the band being David Mosey (guitar and vocals), Jessica Cole (vocals), Bryan Garbe (drums), Grant Parker (bass), Julian Tulip (synths) and Kristofer Widholm (guitar).

“Bright Black’ is at once an anti-war song and a simple, hopeful sentiment or a little prayer to whoever is listening (the universe, the gods, you), if there is no life after death, indeed if it “goes black”, then let it at least go bright black,” – David Mosey.

Photo by Alice Teeple

The bass guitar is huge and underpins everything, while the guitars chime in delightfully. With both female and male vocals, this makes it a little more different from the normal fare and that is where you hear the striking resemblance to Peter Murphy/Bauhaus. The lead guitar makes me think of The Cramps’ dark boogie surf style.

It is quite an engaging sounding track with that tight rhythm section and those wonderful guitar flourishes, though the lyrics are not as joyful. They speak of armies on the march and in the current climate, it is true that we need to find a little hope for ourselves. London Plane seem to have their roots firmly in the fertile post-punk ground, so this debut album looks extremely encouraging as one to look out for.

LONDON PLANE (bandcamp.com)

London Plane | Facebook

March 4th, was the release date of Naples band, Dead Rituals‘ single “Prisoners“. This post-punk/shoegaze trio consists of Andrea Caccese (vocals, drums, bass, guitars, synth), Paolo Cotrone (guitars) and Brita Penfold (vocals).

From the beginning there is something light and curiously uplifting about this track. Maybe it is the energetic beats or the flourishing guitar work or perhaps the sonorous vocals. But beneath it all is the lyrics that speak of the other, ruining a relationship, however they would do it all again as their prisoner. A happy masochist me thinks.

The guitars are wonderful and ring out, while the vocals are clear and melt with the music as it soars and dives in swirling shoegaze richness and in true punk style it only goes for just under three minutes. You can find this Dead Rituals little gem on Bandcamp, where it is name your price.

Prisoners | Dead Rituals (bandcamp.com)

Dead Rituals (facebook.com)

DEAD RITUALS

In 1872, Charles Gounod, wrote the piece, Funeral March of the Marionette and now in the modern era, we have the Illinois band, The Funeral March Of The Marionettes and I wonder if the name is borrowed from this piece (apparently this is a yes as I never read the press releases first – derp!) . They also released on March 13th, their latest single “Slow (Trapped In This Moment)” which will be on their new EP, when it comes out soon.

A stream of sound in the background, a graduation of vocal intensity due to an overwhelming sadness. The guitars wail in their loss as the electronics cover all like a death shroud. A constant reminder of what never can be again.

The band have been around since 1987 and their current configuration is Joseph Whiteaker (Vocals, Bass, Synths), Mark Tenin (Drums, Percussion), and Wayne Thiele (Guitar), with F. Love on this track providing additional guitars. So, if you are in need of gothic inspired post-punk of the morbid kind (and honestly, is there any other type?!), then you should have a listen to “Slow (Trapped In This Moment)” by The Funeral March Of The Marionettes.

The Funeral March of the Marionettes (bandcamp.com)

The Funeral March | Facebook

We here at Onyx have already given our opinion of Australian band, Sea Lungs’ single “Lighthouse Noir” – which was that it is a sterling piece of deathrock/post-punk. I am pleased to say that the band, who are with Mantravision, have created a video with the help of Bruce Nullify of Orcus Nullify and Sequential Zero. A psychedelic experience, so get your dark yo-ho-ho on with a bottle of rum.

Lighthouse Noir | Sea Lungs (bandcamp.com)

Sea Lungs | Facebook

Mantravision Productions | Facebook