In the last few years there has been a big revival of the post-punk scene, with younger bands emerging with the older stalwarts, proving they can hold their own. London’s Ghosts Patterns are one such younger band and September of 2021 saw them drop the album Infinite, which is their debut full length, after releasing the EP Oracle in 2020. Comprised of members Terry Hale (vocals/guitar/keyboards), Somrata Sarkar (vocals), Letitia Austin (bass) and James Walker (drums/percussion), they are going to lead you away with their shoegaze filled odyssey.
This album from the get go puts you in no doubt of what the band is about. The almost instrumental,”Intro(Death Wish)” is the beginning of the sonic journey through reverb and sound sculpting with sighed ahhs. From there, we are launched into “Lie In Wait” where we are truly introduced to the vocals of Hale, that grace the guitars without feeling like a separate entity and the insistent idea of a person waiting to pounce and while they do, concentrating on their breathing. Intricate bass playing marks “Oracle” with the vocals of portent by Sarkar. Dark and brooding with glimpses of Siousxie And The Banshees both percussion wise and melody, as the mists of Apollo close in on you.
No one can live in a “House Of Lies” for it is bound to fall and this track wends its way as a snake would before it strikes, with it’s cold reptilian beauty. The guitar and drums are so perfectly in sync. There is the buildup of “Sway“, where the vocals waver between discordant and resolving, maybe imitating the unpredictable nature of walking between danger and safety. The guitars and drums never letting you lose your focus. A joyous exuberance in “Feel It Out” and everything screams out that one needs to twirl around to this, as the guitars sing out in such an uplifting manner.
“Safe” drones away and I’m not sure if they really feel any more safe with the crashing music followed by lulls and then repeated. Title track “Infinite” has an almost languid Middle Eastern quality which makes this piece even far most interesting. A warm and inviting soundscape that seems to portray an eternal factor. The final track, “Goodbye, False Dreams” swirls and pulsates with the disappointment of lost hopes then wiping them away with the wash of melodic overload.
The band have taken the tracks “Oracle” and “Infinite” from the EP for the album and honestly they are great numbers that deserve a bit more attention. The noise-scape quality is akin to the early years of Ride or The JesusAnd Mary Chain, of whom both have used wonderful melodies wrapped in sonic walls of noise. It is nice to see bands that share the vocal duties as this often can give their music a completely different sound. GhostPatterns have an obvious love of reverb and driving rhythms mixed with ambient vocals that are wistful But nothing is infinite, so make sure you check out this album..
A new single has dropped for Norwegian band, Painted Romans called “In The Hour Of Fear“. Thomas Sejnæs (bass), Jan Ottar Nystad (keyboards) and original member Mats Davidsen (vocals, guitar, drum programming) making up the dark, post-punk/pop styling that is Painted Romans, who have been active since 2007 with an array of albums but are finding their niche in the renewed interest in post-punk.
Oh my, Davidsen is giving us the deep and gravelly gothic vocal treatment along with those 80s inspired guitars and hooks. The synths give a mysterious air in the background while the guitars chime out, unmissable and constant. Lyrically there almost seems to be a list of the types of people found in a horror movie, the types that get picked off one by one by some mysterious entity.
I love the guitar work in this because jangly guitar is very much a staple of the post-punk scene, though vocally I was reminded of the deep male vocals of many of the early 90s European goth bands. So, you might not be in need of a fright or even a bite but there is always time “In The Hour Of Fear“.
Black Doldrums are from London and since their inception, self released their first EP, before signing to ClubC30 and releasing two EPs on that label in 2018. 2021 saw the duo sign to Fuzz Club Records, become a trio and now fans are eagerly awaiting the debut album, Dead Awake, but in the meanwhile the first single has been dropped this month called “Sad Paradise“.
I am just going to put it out there, these guys could have listened to a lot of Joy Division and lead singer, KevinGibbard’s vocals are a dead ringer for Ian Curtis. Like Curtis, his voice is deep and emotive which spoke to a legion of young people of the day and still does. A song about watching people float through life without really leaving anything remarkable to show for their existence. The music is glorious and pulls at your heart imperceptibly with the guitar chiming out and the driving rhythm section. Some of the progressions reminded me a lot of EchoAnd The Bunnymen or Jesus and Mary Chain which is never a bad thing with the psychedelic swirling guitar noise.
Jared Artaud of Vacant Lots, who are also on Fuzz Club, produced and mixed the new album, which is due for release in March 2022 and so far he has done a sterling job. So we wait to hear this debut album but if the single is indicative, it’s going to be a lush affair.
Detonic Recordings released on November the 16th, the latest album from mnttaB called This Friction. Okay, it is a bit like this. We get an email with the album and cover plus a cryptic hope you like this message. That’s it. I know they are from Melbourne and possibly one guy. Is his name Richard Payne? Is he also known as Dik Detonic from Australian post-punk band S:Bahn? I bloody don’t know but have an inkling it is this ex Brit.
So we kick off with “Alison” and there is the drum machine diligently doing its thing while the synths take center stage until the vocals chime in, A very English accent tells you that Alison is always in the right place at the right time, The tonal electronics start before the bright synths for “Denominator“. The lightness of the synths is in contrast to the lyrical content which speaks of lost dreams and entrenched sadness of being.
Title track “This Friction” is actually glorious for minimal fare. It has this science fiction feel with the sound building and becoming a near cacophony until the sudden stop. There is a woman speaking… is she speaking English? Is is hard to tell but it may be German. “Ulrike” is like a dream where you think you are awake but cannot grasp anything tangible.
Hmmm what to make of “Burnt To A Crisp“. His dinner may be ruined or all his hopes and aspirations but he’s not happy whatever the case. You mention “Xerox” and I think of Adam And The Ants which was a very catchy tune and this as well will get stuck in your head. This possibly the stand out song and I really like it with the bleating electronics and the way kind of becomes a bit intense and crazed. “Sensurround” is the last track and it feels like it was lifted from Blake 7 or Tron. It is fleeting, for as you get into it, then it is gone.
mnttaB describe this album as moods raging from abrasion to a caress. Contrail or Chem-trail? Kaleidoscope or Rorschach? Its hard to tell until you get up close. They aren’t wrong and it feels like going back in time when synthesizers were more basic, conjuring up the ghosts of Fad Gadget or Cabaret Voltaire and yet there is a fair amount of punk attitude also. Punk, minimal electronica and we are having a good time!
Well let me tell a little story of a man named Jed, who lived on the Gold Coast of Queensland and proved he was not dead, who started up a solo project called Chiffon Magnifique and the post-punk was very chic. Jed A.Walters recently laid to rest his previous band, Tesla Cøils which made us a little sad, however since releasing the first single “Abomination” last month, things are looking up!
I should warn you that this will be stuck in your head for a while, though your good fortune is that it’s a brilliant song. There are the bright synth lines and gorgeous jangly guitar, that lead you to Walters’ brooding vocals because baby he wants to be your abomination. He really is a master at creating wonderful catchy tunes that get under your skin.
This small taste has me desperately needing to hear more. For a one man project it is lush and ChiffonMagnifique definitely is as good as other current post-punk acts such as TRAITRS, She Past Away and Twin Tribes. We like this musical “Abomination” and now wait with baited breath for what comes next.
Some bands are pivotally important to certain scenes and for myself, Red Lorry, Yellow Lorry (TheLorries) is definitely one of those bands. Leeds was a hotbed of post-punk acts which included the likes of Sister Of Mercy, The March Violets and in 1981, The Lorries. Though they have never claimed the mantel of goth, they are well beloved by the scene and highly influential. Between ’81 and ’92, The Lorries released five studio albums with Chris Reed (lead singer) and David “Wolfie” Wolfenden (guitar) as the longest serving members, Reed being a founding member and lead songwriter with Wolfie as his co-writer.
In 1992, the band decided to call it a day and did one last tour which according to some, was the best TheLorries had ever played. Their show at Batschkapp in Frankfurt, was recorded from the mixing desk but remained unreleased with the band. In 2015, when a very limited amount of CDs were sold at two exclusive concerts, they contained four rare studio recorded tracks. Fans have tried to track these down and there have been incomplete bootlegs of the live show, so with the consent of all the band members, GENERATE has been created for all fans, released on November the 1st, 2021.
For those who know and love Red Lorry, Yellow Lorry, this is going to be a walk down memory lane to a time when music was defining us as a sub genre and music was an escape from the worries of the world. Those that that may be unfamiliar, these guys helped define the genre that is post-punk, from the deep bass to the distinctive guitar jangles to the serious vocal tones.
There are all up twenty-three tracks on this album and I don’t think I want to pull them apart but rather invite you to enjoy such tracks as “Talk About The Weather” which is possibly their most famous track, strained with the insistent short guitar strokes while Reed sings about talking to someone who wants to small talk while he is soaked to the skin. Or “Monkeys On Juice” with those warm, undulating guitars, the gunfire drums and deep resounding vocals.
The quality of the recording is really brilliant and in all honesty, this album is so worth listening to. Yes, there is a little nostalgia but the music is still fresh and doesn’t feel like it has aged. So load up on some Lorries because this is something magical.
With the imminent release of their latest album, Horses In The Abbatoir onFreakwave Records, Shawn Tucker and Sean-Patrick Nolan from gothic/post-punk band TRAITRS, spoke to us about the album, friendship and the dark art of music.
Welcome to the rabbit hole! Having listened to the new album, Horses In The Abbatoir, I can say it stirs memories of another era, especially the around the time of the releases of The Cure’s Pornography or the Cocteau Twins Sunburst and Snowblind which is no mean feat as they are iconic albums. Do you think the events of 2020/21 have impacted on your sound for this album and if so how?
Nolan: I wouldn’t necessarily say the pandemic and events of the last 18 months impacted the sound of this album. Only in the sense that it motivated us to write the darkest album we possibly could to reflect these strange and horrible times. A lot of the songs on this record are about isolation, depression, paranoia, death, the passing of time and the meaninglessness of existence. If that doesn’t remind you of the events of 2020/21, I don’t know what will. Thematically, this is a very personal record for us both, but there is definitely overlap between that and where the world is at right now. We’re not a happy-go-lucky band, so we revel in the misery and neuroses of the modern age. It’s great apocalyptic fodder for current darkwave bands in the same way that the punk and hardcore bands in the 80’s were reacting to the Reagan era and Thatcherism. The album’s not about the pandemic or Trump or anything specific to 2020/21, but this record absolutely is the product of two people observing and struggling to survive in this depressing, anxiety-ridden age.
How do you feel your sound has changed since your first album, Rite And Ritual in 2017?
Tucker: I’d say the core elements of our sound on Rites And Ritual are all still there, but our songwriting and production has vastly improved. The post-punk and goth framework remains in tact, but we’re adding new elements and twists to our sound to further establish our own identity. The electronic and more cinematic parts of our sound have always been there, we’re just better at using them more effectively and prominently in our songs now. This is our most cohesive record front to back. We tried to have each song stand on its own individually as well as play a crucial role in the lyrical and musical narrative of the whole album. That was a big goal we set for ourselves: to write an album that’s as immersive as something Dead Can Dance, The Cure or Cocteau Twins would put out.
Nolan: I totally agree. James Lindsay from our old label Pleasence Records always used to say Rites And Ritual was our punk record and I think he’s totally right. It’s very raw and imperfect in some ways which is what I think people like about it. I’m proud of the album but we’ve changed so much as people and artists since then, it would be impossible to do it again. And we have no interest in doing it again. Formulas and repeating ideas contradict the reason why we started playing music in the first place. In that sense, Horses In The Abattoir is the next evolutionary step in our sound. Like Shawn says, we’re building off of and refining the ideas we started with on day one. We’re not going to start making trap or gabba goth all of a sudden, but our sound is definitely changing and evolving the more we write and record. The music and aesthetic will always be dark and macabre, but there’s so much room to experiment and play around with these sounds and ideas. Personally speaking, that’s the stuff that really engages me creatively.
You both have been friends for a long time before you started TRAITRS in 2015, so are there advantages and disadvantages to this sort of relationship in a band?
Tucker: Honestly, it’s pretty much all positive. There’s a trust and honesty and openness we share after being friends for this long. It makes it easy to create and share ideas with one another. Stressful things like telling someone something they’re playing could be better, or living together while on tour are that much easier since we know each other so well and get along as well as we do. Rarely do we ever argue, and even if we do disagree, we know it’s coming from a genuine place. There’s no ego involved or power tripping. We’re very similar in some ways and drastically different in others, but together we both balance each other out personally and creatively. TRAITRS wouldn’t be possible if you removed either one of us.
Nolan: Yeah the biggest thing is there are never any hurt feelings. The honesty and open communication really makes all decision making so much easier. At this point we’re more like brothers than band members even.
You describe your style as art post-punk. Many of the original post-punk/goth bands also met in art school, such as Bauhaus, and it was an outlet to express themselves both musically but also visually. Is this how it is for you and how do you feel your art influences your music or vice versa?
Nolan: Absolutely! I love when bands can bring in influences from different artistic backgrounds. The musical and art-based influences are intrinsically linked for us and they have been since the very beginning. We discuss the art direction in just as much detail as we do the music, sound and lyrics. The visual component of what we do has always been a huge focal point for us. From album artwork to merch to our live visuals, we see it as a supplemental outlet for us to further expand on the ideas and concepts we write about. Even more so now since we started writing and directing our own music videos, starting with “Magdalene” earlier this year. Shawn is a very gifted visual artist and designer, so it’s been a pleasure to see him apply his eye to directing our videos. It’s a natural extension of what we started years ago and I think the connection to visual art and film will become more prominent the further along we go.
The videos you have created for your singles have been visually stunning with a macabre darkness sewn through them. How much input did you have making these?
Tucker: 100% our input. We do all of it ourselves and our small crew. When the label got down to talks with us as far as videos and singles, we were a bit concerned because they wanted 4 music videos. I had my eye on some very specific people for the projects but when it fell through, Nolan came up with the idea that maybe I put my film background to use and we start doing it all ourselves. Lots of trial and error, but we just started figuring out what it would take to pull that off. The best part of controlling the video concepts and vision is I can get what I feel is the closest representation of exactly who we are as a band and what I want the world of TRAITRS to be. Basically I wanted to direct art house horror films and that’s what I did with the videos. I’m a huge fan of horror/art house films especially the New French Extremity films. From shooting into the descents of hell called nothing, to a real ghost town house hidden away from the world, to escaping the occult offerings in the woods and a hungry possession taking over the mind in the cold dark city streets. Each video allowed all of you to take a deeper look inside our world.
We all have bands/individuals that influence us in our future tastes in music when we were younger. Who were those influences and who do you now find yourself listening to?
Tucker: I still listen to many of the same artist as I did when I was younger: The Smiths, A-ha, The Cure, The Smashing Pumpkins, The/Southern/Death/ Cult, Opposition, Big Country, The Chameleons, Pixies, Samhain, The Police, Fugazi, Jawbox, Duran Duran, Tears for Fears, No Trend, Bauhaus, Tones on Tail, Naked Eyes. Currently Newer listens: JJ72, Interpol, Placebo, The Joy Formidable, Autechre, White Lies, Editors, Eagulls, The Twilight Sad, Blonde Redhead, Quicksand
Nolan: A lot of fantastic records have come out this year! Old Country New Road, Lingua Ignota, Emma Ruth Rundle, The Armed, Spirit Of The Beehive, Grouper, Parquet Courts to name a few. Our fellow Freakwavers Creux Lies put out a great record last month. Local Toronto stuff like Nailbiter, Breeze and Odonis Odonis has really been blowing me away recently. This city is rich with very talented artists. I loved metal, punk and industrial music as a teenager. I was born in the late 80s, so it was the heavier bands I grew up loving like Deftones, Nine Inch Nails and System Of A Down who actually introduced me to the post-punk and new wave bands that inspire me to this day. Bands like New Order, The Smiths, The Cure, Tears For Fears, Depeche Mode, Kate Bush, Can, Bauhaus, Jesus And The Mary Chain, Echo and the Bunnymen, plus great electronic bands like Underworld, Aphex Twin, Massive Attack and Portishead. The heavier bands would always mention new wave, goth, shoegaze and electronic artists as influences and I’d go check them out. Kind of like a beta version of the Spotify algorithm.
Thank you so much for your time and this new album is a wonderful addition to the TRAITRS discography so congratulations. What is planned for the future of TRAITRS?
Nolan: Thanks very much for the kind words for the taking the time to talk to us. Horses In The Abattoir comes out on November 19 on all streaming platforms and cd. Unfortunately due to vinyl manufacturing delays, the LP’s won’t be out until December. Aside from that, with all of the Covid restrictions slowly easing up, we’re finally booking tour dates for 2022 all across the world. So keep an eye out on our social media platforms to stay on top of where we’ll be next year. We have many new cities and countries we want to visit. Words can’t express how much we have missed our fans and live shows during this whole time. These first tours back will be emotional love-fests to say the very least. Come out and say hello to the Shauns.
The debut single, “Illuminate“, for the project named Revolution Above Disorder was released on the 22nd of October, 2021. The man behind all of this is Irish born Stephen Nicholas White, who now resides in Vancouver, British Columbia. Produced and mastered at Jacknife Studios by Jason Corbett and if that name rings a bell, that could be because Corbett is a member of the group ACTORS.
From the very beginning “Illuminate” has a dream like quality that lures you into a floating stream of synths that seem expansive and all the while White’s vocals are crystal clear, melding, becoming one with the universe it feels. Not sure if illumination refers to the finding of Nirvana but it does have a zen like quality. The remix by Delta Omega, who are based in Ireland, have added a future pop element with the sublime electronics. As can be imagined, the acoustic version is very stripped down, the raw bones that still retain the transcendental quality.
The production is smooth and music has all the electronic shoegaze silky goodness and whether this is a song about enlightenment or a love song, is up to the this listener. For those that have a fervour for ACTORS, you should really enjoy this track because there is the extra bonus that Shannon Hemmett, Kendall Wooding and Adam Fink, all appear and they also brought in Josiah Webb of Magic Shoppe fame. A simple and beautiful song for a world that spins too fast at times.
Permafrost began as a post-punk band in Norway, in 1982 and released their first album in 1983. Recently, this five piece launched three singles, all on vinyl only and due to the positive response they received, decided to collate these into a self titled EP, released October the 15th, 2021.
It is evident from the beginning that the guys from Permafrost never lost their love of the post-punk sound from the 80s. The prominent, deep plucked bass and energetic drums are all prevailing, the bread and butter for those with a penchant for Joy Division. “Sugarcubes” definitely tips the hat towards Magazine and is instantly likeable with it’s playful manner. A far more sombre tone for “Kingdom” which is slower and conveys a mind full of doubt, yet the music is incredibly beautiful in the seriousness of it. In complete juxtaposition is “Lifetime Commitment” which is actually quite poppy, full of life and strands of forever love. The final track is a Japanese remix of “Sugarcubes” with additional female vocals that are really quite cute.
These are carefully thought out songs and although they harken back to a time when punk had fallen out of favour for a more nihilistic and shadowy style of music, this still feels fresh and modern. Permafrost’s EP will infinitely draw in those that are moved by the music of Joy Division or Interpol.
Whilst in isolation, Tesla Cøils from the Gold Coast, Australia had been working on a single with video and now in July, “The Party” is out for our entertainment.
The band is made up of Jed A Walters, the writing mastermind/renaissance man on lead vocals, keyboards, guitar and programming with drummer extrodinaire, Chris Dennis.
“The Party” is aptly, as the name implies, the experience of attending a party…. and hating every second of it because you are a gothy antisocial, not a smoker, rarely drink or just dislike humans.
Love the line about latching onto the dog so they don’t have to interact with other people. This is very much tongue in cheek dark humour and yet so very relatable.
It has your attention from the beginning with the rumble of drums that suddenly come to the fore with Jed’s very distinct voice. The chorus it just a wonderful swell of sounds, jangly guitar and it just barrels you over. Just so good. Even after listening to it several times, I’m still finding new layers to marvel at. Even to the low baritone vocal sound in the instrumental interlude which makes it so rich.
I first saw Tesla Cøils live when they were the support for the 40th anniversary PeterMurphy and David J (Bauhaus) tour of the album, In The Flat Field, which left enough of an impression on me to video a portion of their performance.
Not only is this a cracker of a song that will worm its way firmly into your head but the music video is genius. Highly recommend having a look as it is really well done.
Whether you like or hate parties, this “TheParty” is so danceable and really deserving of airplay and you can find the lads on Bandcamp or support them on Patreon. Tesla Cøils are delivering the quirky yet intelligent, dark electro industrial we need in these times.