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 OfThe Marionettes.
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.
The 15th of April, 2022 saw the release of Danish, post-punk musician, (((S)))’s single, “Mama, Do You Think It’s GonnaRain All Day?”, out on Aenaos Records. The title is attributed to the Danish poet, Poul Borum, as something he was heard to say his mother at age four. Later, Borum would be involved in the punk movement of the 80s in Copenhagen.
(((S))) has a very delicate touch and this track is genuinely sweet and full of light. The guitars are subdued in the beginning and eventually become a powerfully joyful affair, while his vocals convey a hopefulness.
There is no reproach or shadows in this track, far more a child’s wonder of a world and guidance from his mother. It is kind of refreshing to hear a song that speaks of childlike qualities that all of us have somewhere within, no matter how old we become and (((S))) proves this in spades.
Estetica Noir are darkwave/post-punk group, founded in 2013 in Turin, Italy and they released their second album this year on the Red CatRecords label, called This Dream In Monochrome. The band is comprised of founding members Silvio Oreste (vocals-guitars-programming) and Rik Guido (bass), as well as Paolo Accossato (drums) and Marco Caliandro (synth-programming-back vocals).
There is something beautifully serpentine about the track “Room Of Masks“, as we are introduced to Estetica Noir and their lead vocalist’s ringing tones. Basically if this is the quality of what is to follow, then the whole album is going to be a treat. The second single off the album is “Sweeper” which is simply a divine myriad of guitars, synths and vocals. So utterly catchy.
“Striate Body” has a harsher tone to it in the beginning but that all melts in the chorus, only to return for this song, that was the first single released. The contrast of abrasive vocals and sweeter singing is quite delightful. The rain greets you in “Autumn” with unaccompanied keyboards, building a soundscape where if you listen carefully enough you hear the heartbeat. I still suffer from the pain of hearing the old internet dial up sound. “N.U.” uses this effect within the track. There is a cyber coldness as you feel the icy tendrils of the synths.
Such a wonderful build up of guitar in “Dawn Of Pluto” that drives it along on a sonic wave and echos throughout the whole piece. Do you have a strong preference for the night or darkness? You might suffer from “Nychtophilia” and the track is sexy with a soaring chorus about those that inhabit the shadows. “X” could mean a kiss in this spine tingling track. Smooth and slick with the breathy chorus. In the next number, a short instrumental, truly feels like it is on a precipice and maybe that is why it is called “The Fall“. We hit the last track, which is the retrospective “Climbing Up The Loneliness“. Such a superb balance of vocals with the haunting instruments backing up the lament of never being satisfied,
This is perfect darkwave music. Expressive, melancholy with great bass lines and lyrics that grab you by the heart strings. Throughout there are the wonderful guitar lines that ring out and the synths that create a beautiful synergy. I love Oreste’s vocals, a really strong singer who seems to very competent in his role. Each track has this beautiful dark crystal sound to it, smooth and clean on the surface but smoky beneath that shine. EsteticaNoir’s “This Dream In Monochrome” should be on your have a listen list, so what are you waiting for?
Faux is French for false or fake and so we have the band, Faux Fear. They are based in Reading, PA, they have a double single called “Uncharted“/”Legacy” released on the 26th of March and they seem really cool….. yep that’s it. I have nothing else about them, so I guess we have to wait for them to give us clues. Oh and it is out on Death March Records!!
From the beginning of “Uncharted“, there is someone playing bass that sounds like it comes straight off the original DuranDuran album, circa 1981, which may I say was a very good year. There is the scratchy slide guitar sound which was a hallmark in Bauhaus tracks as Faux Fear lead us down this post-punk path. The female vocals hold you in a trance. “Legacy” is a far more fast paced track and there is something very bouncy about the chorus which would be very fun to dance to or yell out I didn’t need us at a live gig.
Okay I like these a lot and especially “Uncharted“. It is charmingly retro in some ways but still modern in flavour and it tastes like something a little forbidden and a secret to be hidden from those who won’t understand. Alright Faux Fear, keep your mysteries for now but I am sure we will see more from you soon!
Just when you thought it was safe again to go near the water, Sea Lungs have returned with a new single, “Lighthouse Noir“. I swear on a bottle of gin (it is only good for swearing on) that these guys are getting better every release. Maybe they are getting into their groove or finding their sea legs but whatever it is, they should keep doing it. The new single conjures up visions of Sexgang Children with a little pinch of The Virgin Prunes and wrapped in the ever perfectly spine tingling vocals of Lennon, eerily sounding ever so like Rozz Williams. A story of madness brought on by loneliness and extreme melancholy, a heay toll that brings on suicidal thoughts while the wonderful guitars smashing down like waves on the rocks below. “Lighthouse Noir” is out on MantravisionProductions, so we though there is no better time than now to talk to founding member Jarrad Robertson about the band and how they are navigating the waters of the music scene.
Aaarrrghh…. welcome Jarrad Robertson of the band Sea Lungs. Come sit in the wadding pool with our pet kraken, whilst we talk of tales and scrim the shaw with Onyx.
Seeing as you are no land lovers, can you please introduce the crew.
Sea Lungs is made up of Andi Lennon on vocals, Dase Beard and Micheal Johnson share bass duties depending on the tracks requirements ( Dase does the noisy guitar bits too), I play the guitars and cover the drums (both live and programmed) and Ant Banister provides the production skills and throws some keys in when needed.
Now, not all of you live close to each other do you?How much harder does it make to construct your music?
I’d say it has taken some of the strain out making the music. I write the main composition of each song and then send it off to each of the guys to do their thing. We all just do it when we have time, and with the understanding that it gets done when it gets done. That takes any pressure out of trying to create something to fit a deadline. It would be nice to get in a room and hash them out though at some point. Micheal and I live 10 minutes from each other, yet due to recent lockdowns and family commitments we haven’t really had much of a chance to jam.
You are all in the darker alternative scene, so how did Sea Lungs come to fruition?
In early 2020 as lockdowns were beginning and live music stopped I decided to record some stuff at home, as countless others did. But it was a bit unsatisfying so I reached out to people I’d met while gigging with my previous band and asked for help to fill the songs out. Apart from Micheal, I’ve only ever met the other members once or twice so it felt like a long shot. Luckily everyone I asked said yes and now we have my perfect lineup. The bands we are all from make music very different to the SL stuff so it’s a place to experiment.
Sea Lungs is a rather curious moniker and I am wondering how did you decide upon it?
Like so many band names I borrowed it from a song title. It’s the name of my favorite Baroness track. But it felt right in what I wanted the project to represent. At the time when the idea for this project first popped into my head I was going through a rough patch with my mental health. I found that seeing the ocean, even if just from my car while driving home, would clear my head and allow me to breathe. So it just fit. When I started writing with Andi, without me telling him the name, he took the lyrics in a nautical direction so it seemed it was destined to stick
Your latest single is Lighthouse Noir, which is a rollicking and crazed sea shanty. Between the guitar work and Andi’s vocals, this is a hybrid beastie, a cross between Sexgang Children and Virgin Prunes with that sing song manner at times. How did the band go about writing this little epic?
The main guitar part for the song was a kind of guitar warm-up, or even subconscious tick kind of thing. I’ve been playing it for years just as a thing I do everytime I pick up my guitar. Anyway I got a new guitar pedal and as soon as I played the warm-up it just sounded like something from an old mystery film. After fleshing it out I got the mental image of a thriller set at a lighthouse. This is the only time I’ve actually passed an idea for a narrative on to Andi and he dived on it. He is a master at spinning tales and the lighthouse idea was definitely in his hitting zone.
The artwork for Lighthouse Noir is bloody awesome.Bilge away and tells us who created this masterpiece?
An artist called Nikko who I’ve had a few dealings with now drew this up for us. He does amazing work and I could not be happier with it. I said ‘hey, can you do a lighthouse?’ and that was the total of my input. With just that tiny bit of info He ran with the idea and nailed it. He can be found at @nikko_s_den on Instagram for more info.
Your previous single Piss Up A Rope is a far different creature, bringing attention to how very few take advantage of the many. Can you tell us a little more about this premise?
Again, Andi has to take all the credit for this. We like to look at the idea of Empires, both past and present. While these days there is less of conquering foreign lands and taking colonial possessions, there are still empires being built at the expense of the masses. It unfortunately seems that now we willingly provide the means for these billionaires to do as they please and applaud them for it. But a tech giant taking all of your information and selling it or a multinational crushing small business should not be idolized. There is no comparison to the atrocities of historical empire building, but I’m sure horribly exploited workers the world over may see some parallels.
With three singles released, are you guys looking to keep going this way or release these tracks on an EP or album?
The goal is definitely to release something in a longer format and to get something physical out into the world. That’s hopefully in the works for later in the year.
Mantravision is the label Sea Lungs is with and Ant Banister also does the producing, mixing and mastering, which may we say is excellent and with that in mind, how did you get involved with Ant and Mantravision?
-I have only met Ant once when his band Sounds Like Winter (which also features Andi) came to Melbourne and played on a lineup with my previous band. We got chatting and liked each other’s music. After I decided to begin Sea Lungs his name was top of my list to collaborate with. Luckily he liked the demos I sent him, or he has been too polite to turn me down so far.
So is music for you a more political thing or just whatever inspiration hits you with?
Andi and I both share a love of History and take a huge amount of our inspiration and ideas from it. And the most fascinating parts are usually the most horrible. I think it’s a very common human trait to be drawn to diabolical tales, viewed from far enough away to not get blood on your shoes. There is no joy to be taken from it, it’s more just finding out what our species have been capable of and hoping we don’t repeat the horrors. And it seems that all of it has political ties so I guess it’s unavoidable.
I’ve always thought music should be a bit dangerous, a little uncomfortable. If you can listen to an album and not be left with questions or have been shifted in some way then what is the point? We aren’t necessarily making any blunt political points with our music but there are morals, like any good tale. How would a person react to the isolation of a lighthouse keeper’s work? Or in the case of “Piss up a rope”, how much wealth is enough, and at what or who’s expense?
Will we be getting a tale of swashbuckling pirates? Nay we do not want it but rather need it!
-I’m sure at some point there will be a mention of pirates, but probably not in a positive light. The romanticised idea we see of pirates from the age of sail is pretty far removed from reality. That being said my kids would love it, so maybe if this project fails and I move into children’s entertainment.
What music influences do each member bring with them?
One of my favourite things about Sea Lungs is the varied musical backgrounds we come from. Although we all kind of meet on the post-punk front we have all done very different things previously. Andi brings the Death-rock and punk vibes. Dase has played noise rock, post-hardcore, doom and sludge. Dase and Micheal both go pretty far down the experimental noise rabbit-hole too. Most of my influence is drawn from grunge, alt rock and a bit of metal so I guess when we throw it all together it makes for an interesting brew. Ant, besides being a local post-punk hero, loves all things synth and electronic so I’m trying to lead him astray by giving him heavier music to work on. But there is a strict no synths policy in Sea Lungs.
Do you think at some point youwill all get together to do some live gigs?
We are currently working out when that will be possible. It’s definitely going to happen, it’s just a matter of maybe outsourcing parts to people based in Melbourne or Sydney if we can’t all get together. But it will happen.
Speaking of live gigs, all of you are in other bands. How has covid affected your ability to play live and be creative in your other projects?
For me it stopped me in my tracks completely. Pigs of the Roman Empire released an EP just as the lockdown began but never got to launch it live. Not long after due to expanding families and work/ life balance we decided to call it quits. The last gig I played was in November 2019, which was the gig I met Ant and Andi at. Those guys are back playing shows with their band Sounds Like Winter which is great, and Dase is playing shows occasionally too, but for 2 years in Melbourne at least the live scene was dead. It’s regaining some momentum now but everyone is kind of holding their breath a little.
If you could be any famous seafarer (real or fantasy) who would it be?
While the idea of sailing the world is captivating, from everything I’ve read it is also terrifying and was for the most part extremely dangerous for numerous reasons. I’m not sure I’d be cut out for it. I think leading an expedition in the age of exploration, like Magellin or Drake, would have been quite an experience, but these voyages usually came at the cost of hundreds if not thousands of lives.
What will the seafaring Sea Lungs be getting up to in the future?!
Writing and recording more tracks. We have a few up our sleeves that we will be working on for a physical release in the next few months. Other than that just trying to stay as active in the musical landscape as possible.
Avast ye salty dog. Thank you for swabbing the decks so to speak young Jarrad and giving us insight into Sea Lungs. The kraken enjoyed very much nibbling at your toes and don’t trust the mermaids on your way out! Crafty wenches they be.
MikePougounas (vocalist, keyboards, bass, guitar) has been in the Greek scene for quite a while, starting in 1981 with the gothic Flowers OfRomance, Nexus and New Zero God. Nexus had been on a 17 year hiatus, but Pougounas found himself without a project during the Covid lockdowns and decided to resurrect the band and through his friendships, had Greek guitarists Yiannis Drenoyiannis (Anti Troppau Council, Yeah!, Captain Nefos, Sigmatropic) and Michalis Galaios (Ερεβος, Lost Bodies, Mavres Comodies), bass player Michalis Semertzoglon (New Zero God, GAD, Atria) and trumpet player Louis Kontoulis (Stress, De Traces) help him on various tracks to create the album Ninouki, which was released February the 28th, 2022.
Mark Gemini Thwaite aka MGT (Peter Murphy, Gary Numan, Tricky, Spear of Destiny, Theatre of Hate, Mission) contributed guitar on the track “The Words That Got Away“, as well as playing and remixing “You & Me“. “Rhythm Of Life” is mixed by musician/producer John Fryer (This Mortal Coil, Depeche Mode, Nine Inch Nails, Cocteau Twins, Black Needle Noise) and “Star Thief” was mixed by producer/engineer Steve Whitfield (The Cure, The Mission UK, Terrorvision)….. that is a lot of big names on the one album.
“The Words That Got Away” contains the title for the album. It is bright and joyful with MGT’s guitar work lighting the way. The trumpet melds so well as is not intrusive but rather a warm siren while Pougounas‘ vocals lure us into his world. A hypnotic beginning to “Do You Remember” with eclectic noises and the vocals give a hint of sadness, maybe remorseful about a time long ago. Suddenly the electric guitar breaks though and you are in a sonic place where time is ticking by. I love the start to “Star Thief” with those rhythms. It is bold and has a feel to it of something ancient swelling beneath while the modern music coasts above it. The lyrics capture your imagination in a story about foolish soul. It is beautiful and breathtaking plus reminds me very much of David J (Love And Rock).
“Voyager” does have a space like quality to it, traversing the inky darkness. The spoken words tell us we are but stardust. Psychedelic touches as we become one with the universe in a constant stream of consciousness. This MGT remix of “You & Me” is surprisingly on the more electronic side and the guitar work light and non-invasive. This track pumps along, not caring if anyone else is listening. It song is just for you, a sweet sentiment that time should not weary love. Some people seem to be able convey themselves into a track and John Fryer is definitely one of those people. “Rhythm Of Life” remix just oozes his touch with the glitching fuzzy tones and plumbing depths with electronics. The organic meets the stellar cool. “Turn Me On/Turn Me Off” is the last track is probably the most conventional post punk song with it’s riotous vocals and lashings of guitar, that set a merry pace towards the end.
Ninouki is a mixture of what was, what could be and what we shall become in the future. It all seems to tie into the theme of space and time, that we mere mortals are made of the same stuff of stars and return to dust…… so enjoy it while you can. Pougounas effortless flows from singing to dramatic spoken words, giving each track a nuance and capturing a moment. There are the the more rock aspects, mixed with the electronic and verbal artistry that make this new album from Nexus so easy to listen to, so 17 years have been worth the wait.
Some people out there are just so talented musically. One of these is Gold Coast based musician Jed A Walters with his newest project, Chiffon Magnifique. We previously looked at his debut under that moniker and it seems a shame to not display the wonders of the second single, “Ice Witch” which was released the 3rd of March, 2022.
Just a few seconds in, you can tell this is going to be good with the cold electronics and the unfaltering drum machine. Walters has said he has started to enjoy playing more guitar and it used to spine tingling effect here. The versus are in German and almost spat out with near poisonous contempt about a woman whose heart was as cold as the tundra she came from. The synths are scintillating as he proclaims in English, you’ve done it now and in an extra twist there is a near manic saxophone towards the end. And for those that have not guessed yet, it is about a relationship gone sour and a bad breakup.
It is really worth watching the video because there is the translation of the German and also you get the pleasure of watching a well made shoe-string budget video of Walters being chased across the Robina parklands by the evil ice witch (which I will tell you is no mean feat in Queensland weather being an ice witch!). ChiffonMagnifique showcases the growing prowess in electronic/post-punk music that I can only see Jed A Walters growing stronger in. Hurry up with the damn album. We need it!
Here on Onyx, we love our Australian underground music. To that end, we figured people needed to know about the latest video from post-punk provocateurs, Sounds Like Winter. “No Interest“, off their third album, FightThe Stairs, is a combination of footage from around the time of the original Wall Street Crash and the live online video of the band’s album launch.
We previously said…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. As their promoter, UTM Music Group said…..If you’ve been ignoring this band, you’re clearly a fucking idiot. Could not have really said it better myself.
Honestly, there are very few people who are into post-punk music, that do not know the name David J. David JohnHaskins, a founding member of Bauhaus and a member of Love And Rockets, also known as The Bubblemen, has worked on a solo career since 1983. While being very prolific in the avant-guard music world, he has had a huge influence on many musicians with his writing style, experimentation and most definitely his bass playing. To this end, David J has released a compilation of tracks, originally only available to his Patreon fans but now available on CD, digital and vinyl. Called “What The Patrons Heard“, these are previously unreleased tracks and it all drops on March the 25th, 2022, on the label GIVE/TAKE.
There is the overly jaunty “Lay Over And Lay” and it sweeps in and takes your breath away with a joyous veracity. What a start to this venture. “(I Don’t Want To Destroy) Our Beautiful Thing” is a far more subdued affair. A slight country feel in this one as David J goes deep on the title of the song. A love song about the person that has stuck with him through the good and bad… and it really is a beautiful thing. After being associated with one of the most goth bands and having a huge amount of input into writing the most famous and possibly longest vampire song ever, maybe you do get the “Vampire Blues“. However this vampire seems to be definitely on the fuzzy pedal of undead music. Slow and deliberate, with what sounds like something being dragged across the strings of a piano, give it all a deranged quality.
“Gimme Some Truth” is almost a throw back to the Love And Rocket days, with near staccato vocals ie “BallOf Confusion” style, mixed with hurdy-gurdy fair flare and cuts of Trump in full flight absurdity. There is some backwards tape playing and Spanish inspired guitar while David J narrates a story about “His Majestiy The Executioner” while the music swirls in the background in support, trickling like a train of thought. A story of a State were there is very little tolerance -not very nice having the ice cream seller executed! There is something so very charming about “The Shadow” even if they are a creature of the night, whom has a penchant for a touch of murder, for he is Death. The near whispered tale of the shadow that has no pity for the humans who are leaving this mortal coil.
The name “The Rape Of The Rose Garden” sounds a little serious but this is almost a Pogues style piece, it feels like a Irish dittie about apple trees being planted in the White House garden by Jackie Kennedy. There is such a overwhelming feeling of loss or being lost in “Scott Walker 1996“. A drone in the background and what is presumed to be castanets, keeping the time to the spoken word. There is a certain amount of absurdness in “Down In The Tenderloin“. And yet there is also a certain amount of wistfulness in this oddity. “A Girl In Port” is the last tune and it is a sweet track, with reference to Camden Town. A gorgeous homage about a girl, done on acoustic guitar, piano, some slide guitar and violin. His voice melts into you, warm and golden.
For me personally, it is heartwarming to hear David J performing these tracks. They are quirky, symbolic and have the ability to transport you away to another place or another life. It is also nice to see that unlike other “gothic” heroes, he still enjoys the macabre and dark, mixing grim history with his tongue firmly placed in cheek. As an orator Mr J is beautifully spoken and as a singer, he calls to your soul with a voice, it seems, untouched with age. My favourites are “The Shadow” and “A Girl In Port“, so maybe you need to discover yours from “What The Patrons Heard“.