Norway’s Mayflower Madame, released on the 19th of November, a single off their album, Prepared For A Nightmare. It is called “Ludwig Meidner“, named after the German artist, who is most famous for creating apocalyptic landscape art pieces. Meidner wished to evoke an emotional response from the viewer and these art works were created before even the First World War, which Meidner was a participant in.

A tribute to the man, the artist and the perhaps the madness of wanting to feel more… what extremes would you go to, to get that rush?

There is a harkening back to the early to mid 80s, when post punk was evolving into goth. It is serpentine in the way the music winds with the jangly guitars. There is a healthy dose of Mission like tunefulness and the keyboard chimes in giving the song an ethereal feel.

MAYFLOWER MADAME

These guys do a beautiful blend of gothic rock beauty, highlighted with that shoe gaze swirling guitar. Guitar based post punk is in good hands with Mayflower Madame, so do yourself a favour and have a listen to “Ludwig Meidner“.

https://mayflowermadame.bandcamp.com/album/prepared-for-a-nightmare

https://www.facebook.com/mayflowermadame

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/

The Greek gothic/post punk scene is very much alive and kicking. Lefki Symphonia are a part of the strong Mediterranean movement and last month released the single, “Black Twilight“.

These guys have been around since 1984 and you can hear that influence in the music. The guitar work is very reminiscent of Wayne Hussey, circa Sisters of Mercy period.

I could be wrong, but the lyrics might be waxing about those of a vampiric nature or at least emotional trauma that deadens all feeling, because in the end it is human to feel.

The vocals and over all feel of this number remind me of Finnish act, To/Die/For. So if you like your brooding, goth rock, then you might want to check out Lefki Symphonia and their “Black Twilight“.

https://lefkisymphonia.bandcamp.com/track/black-twilight-single

https://www.facebook.com/lefkisymphonia/

https://lefkisymphonia.gr/en/

Do you remember a classic song by the title “Agent Orange“? It might strike a cord as it was originally released by Scots, Ski Patrol in 1980. In August, Vision Video, a four piece from Georgia in the USA brought forth their version.

This retelling still has that spine tingling feel to the anti war classic. It is post punk heaven but with extra goth punk thrown in.

The original starts off far more quietly and gains speed and volume while the Vision Video begins simply and takes off yet they are more up front vocally.

Love the floating guitar chiming in that adds to the ethereal feel of the music paired with the verbose singing.

An extra added bonus is the band having Tom Ashton involved with the production of this single. For those not familiar with the name, Ashton plays guitars in American goth daddies, The Wake as well as at one point, playing with Dutch icons, Clan Of Xymox.

Agent Orange was the defoliating chemical used during the Vietnam war and the song was a comment on the lasting effects of this chemical warfare, with severe birth defects and soldiers dying from cancer.

Vision Video now uses it as a political call to rise up from apathy, to take control of our future. Good protest songs are timeless and Vision Video has done a brilliant rousing goth version of “Agent Orange“.

https://www.facebook.com/visionvideoband/

https://m.facebook.com/visionvideoband/

This year, the band, Amaranth, in conjunction with Sounds And Shadows, released the epic goth/EBM/industrial compilation, Tiny Gods Who Walk Beside Us. All songs were donated by the bands for a rather wonderful cause.

Most dark alternative types will tell you they are very fond of animals and especially cats. When band member of Amaranth, Ken Magerman found out his young cat, Freya, had cancer in her leg, Ken was devastated and desperately wanted to save his feline companion’s life. This is an expensive procedure, so musician friends from around the world offered songs to help pay for this treatment, so began this complilation.

The classical undertones of Lorelei Dreaming bring us “Edge Of The World” (I.X.XI Remix), which is grand beginning with beautiful choral touches that give this great depth and a glittering beauty.

For Freya” is a very raw piece from Amaranth, but then this is understandable knowing where this song is coming from. With bluesy overtones that expand to anguished gothic rock.

A quieter synth lead piece from US act, Covenant Of Thorns in “Dahlia” (The Joy Thieves remix). A sweet number that is both darkness and light at the same.

Got to say, Corlyx‘s “Deform” (ESA remix) is a really a great song and remix. A mixture of trap syncopation and lazy beats keeps this very entertaining.

Antipole and their sexy song, “1983” featuring the completely sexy Eirene (People Theater remix) show you their brilliance. Danceable, pop electro synth number which you can’t help but enjoy the airy joy it exudes.

Like silk, Ego LikenessDarkness” (Dracos Deep Mix) will grace your ears. This is smooth, electro beats and oh so catchy to boot with this remix.

Machinery Of Desire drip with gothic honey in the form of “Forever Remain“. I would not be surprised in the least of they were influenced by Wayne Hussey’s The Mission. That similar winding flowery style.

The synth musing of Adoration Destroyed in “Both of Me” (Authentic Impulse Remix) as they try to reconcile the two sides of their personally. Those that like Third Realm will really enjoy this number.

Crying VesselIllusions” (remix Dead Agent) is a throw back to the early 80s electronic period. A simple, clean track with a light touch in the remix, making this a really danceable track.

The haunting number of “Code Blue” by I Ya Toyah (remix Arcontas Blank) rings out with that wonderful heavy organ based synth filling it out. A song close to singer Ania Tarnowska’s heart, about the loss that comes with suicide.

Really digging Twin Tribes the more I hear them and “Dark Crystal” is a great example of their post punk, goth electro sound. Really fabulous tune that chimes away and gets into your head.

Radiograph is in essence John Edwards from Palais Ideal and he has contributed “Catnipped“, an instrumental piece centred on an electro beat/ synths with guitar accompliment. Edwards is well known musician in the scene and a deft hand at penning a tune.

Silver Walks has remixed “Fuck That Fascist Beat” by Caustic. This already a good song which now is even more urgent in the remix. The song is probably more poignant than ever before and is old school style industrial done well.

Straight from the beginning, you hear that this is going to be a bit special. Seven Federations gives you “Syzygy” or a celestial alignment. It is reminiscent of Attrition’s classic “Into The Waves“, with its simple beauty.

VlimmerSchnittstelle” is ethereal and unearthly as they try to interface. Even though ethereal, it feels so organic at the same time, natural.

Dogtablet are kind of a mini super group. “Showtime” (Melodywhore Slave Remix) is a rhythmic groove piece with piano as the standout instrument amongst the electronica.

If you like pure instrumentals with some sublime synths and an interesting configuration, then Kiss Of The Whip has “This Pain Is Ours” for you.

Welcome to Steven Archer’s The Showroom“. It’s s little dirty and has a bassy chorus which is never a bad thing. Archer who is also Stoneburner, is all class.

This isn’t even mixed and Cliff and Ivy have a tremendous earworm in “Will To The Power“. I have to say, Christian Death. It smacks of many the great things about Rozz Williams and company in the 80’s.

The off kilter start by Orcus Nullify, launches “March Of The Lost“. Very much in the vein of the Bauhaus vibe with a experimental edge. A dirge to the those forever destined to wander without end.

The sombre tones of Ritchual‘s “You Lied” lilt with a plaintiff anguish. This is clean, delightful synth wave with a European flavour even though they are based in Austin.

Sister Sarin is the project for Hemlock and she gives to you “Split“. This is a percussion heavy piece with all the keyboards rounding out the beat heavy sounds.

Get ready for the nightmarish spokenword performance of Swansect with “Clovermouth“. This is claustrophobic and sinister in the modern era electro.

Rob Early and Simeon Fritzpatrick are 11Grams and you are going to feel them in your “DNA“. This is a blend of old school industrial with a clever reinvention, which they are well known for. Slow and menacing, as it gets under your skin.

Ego Likeness is the last track on the album for the digital download with “Breedless” (Sombre Remix). The lyrics are truly interesting to listen to, with ‘maybe my mother was a hydra‘ as well fae folk and other such creatures making Ego Likeness the crooning sexy beasts they are.

This is a great showing of gothic, synthwave, EBM, darkwave and industrial being represented and definitely worthy of many listens. The best part of this story is that Freya may have lost a limb but she is still with Ken and a truly loved being.

My last cat passed away at 20 years of age and I mourned her death for many years until l adopted a rescue cat and to be honest, fell in love all over again.

Once cats were revered as celestial beings in Egypt and one can understand why. We love their arrogance, sass and let’s face it, they can be completely selfish pricks yet if you do love them, they will give you so much in return.

So show some love for Freya and her kind as well as all the wonderful bands that have been so generous.

https://theamaranth.bandcamp.com/album/tiny-gods-who-walk-beside-us

https://loreleidreaming.bandcamp.com/

https://acot.bandcamp.com/

https://corlyx.bandcamp.com/

https://antipole.bandcamp.com/

https://egolikeness.bandcamp.com/

https://machineryofdesire.bandcamp.com/

https://adorationdestroyed.bandcamp.com/

https://cryingvessel.bandcamp.com/

https://iyatoyah.bandcamp.com/

https://twintribes.bandcamp.com/

https://palaisideal.bandcamp.com/

https://causticngp.bandcamp.com/

https://sevenfederations.bandcamp.com/

https://blackjackilluministrecords.bandcamp.com/

https://dogtablet.bandcamp.com/

https://kissofthewhip.bandcamp.com/

https://stoneburnerofficial.bandcamp.com/

https://cliffandivy.bandcamp.com/

https://orcusnullify.bandcamp.com/

https://ritchual.bandcamp.com/

https://shadowsandrust.bandcamp.com/track/tripwire

https://swansect.bandcamp.com/

https://11grams.bandcamp.com/

Die Notwendigkeit der Notwendigkeit translated into English means the need for the need and is also the title for the first album release for the Munich based trio of PAAR.

This three piece comprises of vocalist Ly Nguyen, Rico Sperl plus Matthias Zimmerman and they can be found on the Berlin based label, GRZEGORZKI Records.

Can’t help but notice that German precision, perfect beats and timing. “Common Crimes” starts and is soon in the swirling heady territory of the wonderful Curve. Nguyen’s vocals curl and bedazzle, adding to a powerful wall of noise.

PAAR

Beauty Needs Witness” is brooding and bass heavy, seems to hold a great sadness of lost innocence. The guitars almost cry out to you.

The intro to “Rework” is delightful and breezy. This is what Siouxsie and the Banshees would sound like if in a lighter brighter world. The guitar work again is an exquisite construct to hold the vocal jewel.

Modern” at the beginning makes itself known with frenetic buzzing guitar work and an almost imperceptible oriental quality to the tune at times. Nguyen is joined by guest vocalist Grotto Terrazza also known as Thomas Schamann, who’s deep sonorous tones melt nicely in accompaniment.

Again a nice lightness that highlights the darkness is heard in “Pure” which wouldn’t amiss on a Cocteau Twins album.

Eis” is a little faster and more jaunty and the guitar work is wonderfully jangly and this song has a lot of personality. It would almost be a crime for it not to be a single.

So what lays in the “Lakes“? Not sure because either it’s unknown or they aren’t listening. But seriously a tune with mystery at its heart.

Last track is “Metal” and this is sassy, in same way as Blondie both vocally and guitar wise. That punk infused joy of new wave music, with a shimmy inducing last song, which is a great one to end on.

Earlier I mentioned Cocteau Twins and a lot of this is very much in the vein of that 4AD ideal and ethos. This embodies that movement of when new wave was developing out of the punk scene in the late 70’s going into the 80’s, fused with that sweet European cold wave/dark wave sound and cool culture.

Art inspiring music and music inspiring art which might explain the title, the need for the need or Die Notwendigkeit der Notwendigkeit, for art and music do not exist without the other muse and here PAAR are the catalyst.

https://paarmusic.bandcamp.com/

https://m.facebook.com/Paarband/

https://www.instagram.com/paarmusic/

https://m.soundcloud.com/paarmusic

http://www.paarmusic.com/

Norway…. land of Vikings, long dark days, extreme cold and musicians that wear hats, i.e. Tommy Olssen. However we have other hat wearing musicians to talk about in the order of a band called, Mayflower Madame.

On the 27th of March, they released their follow-up album, Prepared For A Nightmare, released on Only Lovers Records. Mayflower Madame are a three piece, made up of Trond Fagernes – vocals, guitars, bass, Håvard Haga– guitars and Ola J. Kyrkjeeide – drums.

A kicking this whole album off is the title track, “Prepared For A Nightmare“. What strikes me first off with laconic guitars that jangle away and I am transported to another time of bands such as Wall Of Voodoo and Concrete Blonde.

There are tinges of Fields of the Nephilim in “Vultures” which also happens to be the first single. The lead drawls like some dark, laid back, hellion cowboy, riding the wave of guitars chiming in over each other and a good beat which promises getting darklings on the floor.

A nice big bass line with psychedelic intonation brings you “Swallow“. No we ain’t talking about the birds here here either of you get what I’m putting down. Lovely vocals and this isn’t crass but rather artfully done.

Ludwig Meidner” was a German artist, most memorable for his apocalyptic landscapes which were created before the devastation of the First World War, in which he served. Later he became a writer of unnatural stories and maybe this is the vibe of this number… that darkness that lurks within. Such a great chorus with lyrics like, ‘I wanna go, I wanna stay, I want desire, And I’ll be dancing on your grave…”.

A little dramatic and expressive with “Never Turning (In Time)” as the lads give us the last thoughts before the ultimate journey which you can never come back from.

Moody, almost Cramps inspired guitar work with drumming that beautifully fits in throughout the sixth track. . “Sacred Core” vocally also makes me think of Wayne Hussey and The Mission.

The Night Before” is a tale of maybe not only having a partner die but the loss of an unborn child. This number is shorter but seems to meander with quieter harmonic vocals.

A slightly synth start to “Goldmine” although it doesn’t take much for the stringed instruments to come back with shoegaze swirls and that underlying guitar noise.

MAYFLOWER MADAME

Once, even fallen stars had “A Future Promise” but can’t always live up to those expectations. This is dreamy and I love how it harkens back to a sound that reminds me of old guitar based Clan Of Xymox.

The last track is “Endless Shimmer” and I can’t decide if this is a love song or a lament for what the vocalist can’t reach or have because of some inner flaw. A slow start that graduates with each word.

You can hear a multitude of influences though the biggest for me is that twangy insistent guitar led music of Fields Of The Nephilim. Fagernes does not growl like McCoy but similarly, sinfully singing doomed nothings.

There are so many layers to this music and every time you listen, you will hear something you didn’t hear before within the swirling psychedelic eddies. Mayflower Madame has based itself on shoulders of wonderful past bands and then taken it to the next level, making this uniquely theirs.

Prepared For A Nightmare is going to appeal greatly to those who love guitar based music that is an inspired piece of gothic rock. An illuminated piece of beautiful darkness.

https://mayflowermadame.bandcamp.com/

https://www.facebook.com/mayflowermadame/

Neon Tzigane are a London based duo, comprised of vocalists Howling Mina, who also handles percussion and Samson Deluxe on guitars and programming. They have released a third EP, Paramisha.

“The Lost Cities” has tried to incorporate a middle eastern sound which weaves through the song as this duo sing us a tale of civilizations gone forever beneath the shifting sands of mysterious desert climes.

You can hear the old 80’s goth wave jangly guitars on “lost without you”. Deluxe takes the reigns on this track vocally, with Mina doing a fine job backing him. This is a really good pop tune, though short, rather upbeat and quite unlike any other track on the EP.

“Nothing Is Forever” begins with a guitar riff that Pete Steele from Type O Negative would be proud of. Howling Mina and Deluxe harken back to parts of 60’s psychedelia mixed with Black Sabbath.

The last track on this EP is the title, “Paramisha” with its slow build up before the guitars chime in, laced with synths as the sound winds up. This is a purely instrumental piece, that we are confronted with, which leaves you wondering if there is more to come.

All four tracks are fairly different from each other, which isn’t always a bad thing if you like variety and hearing how a band can challenge themselves. Should be interesting to watch Neon Tzigane develop and anticipate what they will release next.

https://neontzigane.bandcamp.com/

http://open.spotify.com/album/15j4tBUh 

http://www.deezer.com/artist/55951002