Always exciting to see a band releasing their debut single and hearing their style. Based in Atlanta, Georgia, is the darkwave duo Now After Nothing, with the single “Sick Fix“, out on the 27th of January. Vocalist Matt Spatial and drummer Michael Allen are Now After Nothing and they are joined by the guitar virtuoso, Mark Gemini Thwaite (MGT). Just as impressively is the having the mixing done by Carl Glanville, who has worked with U2 and Joan Jett, and the mastering by John Davis, with names like Placebo, Jesus & Mary Chain and Suede under his belt.

A deluge of guitar and bass hits your ears, both raucous and refined at the same time. It is a punk like fevour that grips and further enforced with the vocals from Spatial, MGT’s guitar work and the synths moving together in a sinuous dance, fluid and whirling in a controlled tempest, while Allen gives us the drumbeats that keep this thunderous rhythm gracing our ears.

I was at one of the lowest points of my life and without a musical outlet. I was damaged, defeated, and deflated. One day in New York City, riding through Central Park with earbuds in place, I rediscovered a band that didn’t initially resonate with me. Hearing them this time was different though – I felt the spark. That emotional connection to a newly-discovered piece of music was the proverbial kick-in-the-ass I needed to ‘crawl out of cracks below.’ When I arrived home, I dusted of my studio gear and opened up files of previously unfinished song ideas, one of which was a rather bare recording of just a single bass line. It caught my ear and by the day’s end, Sick Fix was complete from start to finish. Listening back to it, I felt alive again. I felt the same spark I had felt that day in Central Park that inspired me and reminded me I had more music inside of me. I wasn’t going to let myself wither away. Though the band name came later, Now After Nothing was really born on that day, which is why Sick Fix undoubtedly needed to be our first
single
.”- Matt Spatial

So, there is great energy in this track and yes there is definitely a hat firmly tipped towards the old school post-punk such as Bauhaus, but I also hear strains of Alien Sex Fiend and Virgin Prunes in that maelstrom. Yes, originally I believed these guys were actually British going on sound alone, with their wonderful synergy and enthusiasm but don’t think you are getting some old rehash. “Sick Fix” is a wonderfully modern track and I am eager to see what Now After Nothing bring to the table next.

https://nowafternothing.bandcamp.com/track/sick-fix

https://www.facebook.com/nowafternothing/?mibextid=ZbWKwL

Burning Building” is the latest single from Lucy Kruger & The Lost Boys, out on Unique Records / Schubert Music Europe GmbH. Kruger was born and raised in South Africa but now calls Berlin home, and the creation of the single is a very international affair with the recording done in Berlin, the mixing in Cape Town and the mastering in Brussels.

Photo by Holger Nitschke

The music very much gives you the impression of a stalking cat on the prowl, looking for a cat’s paw, a plaything, while everything around them perishes, but that isn’t their concern. The angular guitars and jaunty rhythm with super sultry vocals make for a very bad-arse track.

If you will, imagine Siouxsie’s Creatures, fused with Sonic Youth and that might give you an idea of the grandiose sound of “Burning Building“. A post-punk aesthetic, married to grungy pop and Kruger’s delightful vocals definitely make this track both sexy and fun. This is the second single to be released off the next Lucy Kruger & The Lost Boys’ album, due in April and we are pretty sure that it is going to be hot.

https://lucykruger.bandcamp.com/track/burning-building

https://www.facebook.com/LucyKrugerOfficial

https://linktr.ee/lucykruger

https://www.instagram.com/lucy_kruger

The night(mare) before Christmas, came in the form of the track, “The Snow Queen Is Coming” by New Zero God. This is the first release from the four piece post-punk band since 2019 and their lead singer, Mike Pougounas, is a stalwart in the Greek gothic/darkwave scene since the 80s.

The best description would be a sinfully sumptuous amount of jangly guitar with the vocals delightfully crystal clear. A precautionary tale to not let the Snow Queen steal you away, for otherwise, you will never see another day.

I remember Mike from the MySpace days, when we would talk of music and he sent several pictures of Athens covered in snow, which is something a lot of people don’t realise, that it actually gets that cold in Greece. The snow looks pure and beautiful, but in essence, she will slowly freeze you until your heart stops. This is the Hans Christian Andersen queen of snow, as the song says, though the title made me think of the witch queen from The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe. For those currently in the grip of winter, will know her icy touch but can enjoy a warm dance to this fabulous piece.

The Snow Queen Is Coming | New Zero God (bandcamp.com)

New Zero God | Facebook

HOME (newzerogod.com)

I had heard of The Singularity, and then when the name Julian Shah-Tayler was connected to this project… I believe my brain went into a series of loops of thinking, wait, isn’t he an actor? He is, if I recall correctly. Well, if you are not familiar, British born Shah-Tayler is The Singularity, now based in the US, and his latest album, Elysium, was released on the 24th of October, recorded between the Bird of Paradigm studio and the TARDIS studio….. but is it bigger on the inside?!

Photo by John Travis

This album seems to have been about a year in the making due to the gradual release of singles, and this could be due to issues in the past two years, i.e., the plague but also from my perspective, a lot of effort and attention has gone into each track. And with fourteen tracks on offer, there is a lot to get into, so we thought we might draw your attention to some of the singles.

Melt” is about being with the person that truly makes you weak at the knees and yet light as a feather. The general ambience reminds me a lot of Duran Duran in their period of 1993, with their self-titled album that had the amazing “Ordinary World” and “Melt” has that same flow. Chris J Olivas of Berlin fame supplies the drums.

David J. is a solo artist in his own right, but best known as a member of Bauhaus, and he also appears on the track, “The Devil Knows,” laying down the bass, in this rather funky song. The music video is also well worth checking out.

The track “Kintsugi” is breathtaking in both its conviction and sound. A whirlwind of guitar and drums, again percussion by Olivas, with Shah-Tayler singing these beautiful lyrics. For those unfamiliar with the concept of kintsugi, it is a Japanese tradition of not throwing away broken pottery, however, using gold to repair the vessel, which in turn makes it more unique and precious. A metaphor for a once broken heart.

Shah-Tayler doesn’t have to make music, as the acting gig makes far more money than being an alternative musician, but it is very evident he does it because that is where his heart is at. His passion for the avant-garde and darkwave artistry is very deeply ingrained. This then draws together the talents of David J. and Chris J Olivas, as well as MGT, Gene Micofsky, and others. Elysium is a bit synthwave, a bit post-punk, and most importantly, never boring.

https://thesingularitymusic.bandcamp.com/album/elysium

http://www.thesingularitymusic.com/

http://www.facebook.com/thesingularitymusic

Not all darkwave heroes run around, brandishing you over the head with big beats and synth confectionery. Today, we are introducing you to German solo artist Meersein and his new single “Speechless” which is an acoustic version, and third single to date from this project.

There is such an extraordinarily palpable melancholy to Meersein’s beautifully clean vocals, only supported by an acoustic guitar and piano. His singing is beseeching to one he loves, to recognise the fact that he isn’t like other people and desperately wants to talk to them but has become speechless.

Speechless” was Meersein’s debut release, back in around June of this year, and it was a far different track in a completely electronic vein. The Germans seem to have this affinity to take a song, break it down to the bare bones, and imbue the track with an even more eloquent heart. It made me think a lot of Lord Of The Lost and the times they have done this with tracks or orchestrated them. A yearning heart from the dispossessed is “Speechless“.

Meersein (@meersein_official) • Instagram photos and videos

Alexander Leonard Donat... teacher, marathon runner, musician, man behind the label Blackjack Illuminist Records, co-conspirator for several musical acts, driving force behind his own project Vlimmer and very possibly a crime fighter by night (just saying Vlimmer man has a certain ring to it!). November saw Vlimmer’s second, full length album, Menschenleere, enter the watery light of day.

The first tastes of forbidden fruit came our way in the form of the two singles, the rhythm filled darkwave tendrils of “Erdgeruch” and the wondrously 80s inspired eccentricity of “Kronzeuge“. There are such gems hidden within, such as “Mathematik” with its giddy synths that remind me so much of the electronic trailblazer, John Foxx, even more so for the fact his backing band were The Maths.

Noposition” has a magical trance like quality within its warm embracing beats, while “Schwimmhand” leaves you not only amazed by the sheer brilliance but also experiencing tingles through your extremities. Even the title track has an ancient feel, whilst playing with time signatures. “Menschenleere” is vast and echoing in the chamber of what might not be a pained reality.

Yes you can dance to Vlimmer, but for me, there is something akin to multiple storylines. Each track is crafted just so, this one with a more science fiction vibe, another with more sombre tones and yet another with a spinning glorious shoegaze vision. All held together by Donat’s vocals, be they happy, sad or even imploring.

Vlimmer is the centre of this world he has created, and has the knack of spinning his musical tales that capture us up into this web of darkwave delights. Even better is the fact that Alexander touches back to the styles that have influenced him but he never let’s them consume him, rather experimenting to create tracks that encapsulate his music journey. Beautiful, fragile and ashened songs to drink, dance to, and watch the moon…Menschenleere (Deserted)

https://blackjackilluministrecords.bandcamp.com/album/menschenleere

https://www.facebook.com/VlimmerMusic?mibextid=ZbWKwL

https://www.facebook.com/Blackjack.Illuminist/?mibextid=ZbWKwL

December is the time to catch Lunar Paths new single, “Shine“. The transatlantic darkwave duo are back after the launch of the EP, Fuse.

There is a crunchy, broken glass like texture in the rhythm at times from the electronics. The vocals are beautifully clean and clipped, holding your attention, until they drift into another dimension, sliding you with them.

Currently, I cannot put my finger on what exactly but this track reminds me a lot of Siouxsie And The Banshees, around the time of A Kiss In The Dreamhouse (1982). Lush, charismatic and experimental might be some of the reason why. The way they have distorted the rhythm, giving it a modern industrial feel, mixed with the gorgeous singing. “Shine” is possibly my favourite Lunar Paths’ track to date yet.

http://www.lunarpaths.com

https://m.facebook.com/LunarPathsMusic/

Parisian, ManuH’s darkwave project, Distance H, has released the next single, “Reason To Rush“. In line with their previous singles, which feature a female singer, this time they have Cuban born and French based Liset Alea, gracing their track.

Alea’s dulcet tones are warm and inviting, like a lover’s breath, skipping over bare skin, drawing you into promise of more. The electronics are running there, besides the vocals, with the electric guitar breaking through, respectfully and even hauntingly in the background.

This is definitely music to zone out with, escaping the humdrum of regular life. Alea’s voice and lyrics are both soothing and inviting, coupled with ManuH’s music, it all becomes sensuous and a “Reason To Rush“.

https://distanceh.bandcamp.com/track/reason-to-rush-feat-liset-alea

https://www.facebook.com/DistanceH?mibextid=ZbWKwL

It seems The Bellwether Syndicate, lead by William Faith and Sarah Rose Faith, is teasing us again with another single off the soon to be released debut album, Vestige & Vigil. “Beacons” was released on the 2nd of December, on the Sett Records / Nexilis Records labels.

PHOTO BY DAVID STAUDACHER

Stabbing, deathrock styled guitars, combined with the low tidal tow tone of William Faith‘s singing and surging swells of vocals in the chorus, make for a rollicking track of nautical proportions.

In times long past, one’s kith and kin would create bonfires to lead you safely home in the worst weather. It is that premise that loved ones, family and friends are the “Beacons” guiding us to our safe havens…. even in the darkest of times when nothing else makes sense. It is truly a lovely sentiment, wrapped up in a majestic gothic guitar laden track of mercurial proportions, from The Bellwether Syndicate.

Beacons | The Bellwether Syndicate (bandcamp.com)

http://thebellwethersyndicate.com/

Covid decimated the music festival scene, around the world for 2020, 2021 and a good chunk of 2022. Things are coming back to normal and in fact, you can add a new festival to endeavour to attend. Dark Force Fest will kick off in 2023, over three days, March 31st to April 2nd, in New Jersey, USA.

The event is being run by VampireFreaks, at the Sheraton Hotel, in Parsippany and this is not the first time the venue has been used by the VF crew. The hotel was built like a castle, including crenulations (just in case you find yourself in a siege situation with all those goths).

There will be over 100 vendors, to buy things that make your little dark heart happy, clubs, costume competitions and sideshow performances. However, the most important thing is the music… there will be 30 plus bands/artists ranging from darkwave through to industrial. A chance to see pioneers such as Das Ich and Suicide Commando, big hitters Combichrist, Solar Fake, HEALTH, Empathy Test and ACTORS plus brilliant acts like MORIS BLAK, Third Realm, Bootsblack and Rabbit Junk.

That is a whole lot of music and an amazing line up, so you are spoilt for choice. As the inaugural show, you want to be able to say you were there for the first ever…. unlike myself, stuck in another country, half way around the world, who will have to live vicariously through others, and the buckets of fun they are having. (Insert gothic weeping).

Home

https://m.facebook.com/darkforcefest/

https://vampirefreaks.com/