Vlimmer, German post-punk/electronic project for Alexander Leonard Donat, has released a split single comprised of “Erdgerurch” and “SpaceDementia” in January, on Blackjack Illuminist Records, which is also run by Donat.
“Erdgerurch” is a wonderful post-punk piece that has a retro feel with the sublime synths and deep vocals, matched with the drum machine that is spine tingling. Every so often you hear a fuzz of electronic noise creeping at the edges and this feels so warm and familiar that it is instantly likeable. The beginning to “SpaceDementia” is surreal and continues in that vein with the vocals. It is a bit like being on the deck of the Star Trek Enterprise, if they were a bit dark and flying to their doom. An impression of infinite space to be lost in forever as it wavers between soft orbits and growling flight. Originally written by Matt Bellamy and performed by Muse, Donat sings in his native German and it loses none of it’s impact, sung with such passion.
I really enjoy it when Donat sings and especially without electronics distorting his vocals and this is no exception. From the beginning, you are immersed straight into “Erdgerurch” and there is no escape from this beautifully crafted song as it captures your soul in sway while there is a crystalline quality to the cover, “SpaceDementia“, a reflection in the obsidian black of the expansive universe.
Post punk duo, The Cold Field, released the album Hollows on August 6th, on the label Cold TransmissionMusic which is famous for their darkwave retinue. Their debut, Black River, was warmly greeted and so Hollows has been much anticipated by fans.
The emphasis is very much on the atmosphere which is created by the echoing vocals, the deep bass plus jangle and buzz of guitar. The album is comprised of ten tracks and notably, two are instrumental pieces for the most part. “RideThe Breeze” is the intro to set up the feel whilst, “FloatingAbove The Wasteland” is filled with gorgeous bass lines and guitar work, whilst the faint ghost like whispers are seemingly unintelligible and beyond deciphering.
“Reaching For Things Things You Cannot Hold” is a great example of the style, with the low echoing vocals, delicate guitar work which is layered in synth. Other stand out tracks are Beauty Expired”, with its rapid pulse and its variance in tone, while “Into The Light” actually does have a slightly more airy feel to the music, a
From the get go, you hear the influence of Joy Division, Lebanon Hanover and Ritual Howls in their music and the common themes in post punk music of isolation, a longing for what is denied and the nature of addiction. There is the ever present spectre of existential dead that pervades all, for this is music that sits on the edge of dusk asking how did this all come to pass.
As we have slipped into another year with the spectre of covid, overshadowing everything, it can be expected that most music has been influenced by this current climate and the new EP by darkwave duo, Johnathan|Christian is no exception. together, we’re alone, is the latest offering from Christian Granquist (lyrics and vocals)and JohnathanMooney (composer, piano, instrumentation), who are based in Los Angeles, California.
First song off the block is the flag waving “MyDying Words“. This is the line in the sand number about never giving up no matter the odds and it is rollicking piece. Sung with conviction and gusto, it weaves and rolls with the punches.
The title track, “Together, We’re Alone“, is a duet and fractured ballad between Elisa Mammoliti and Granquist. The theme of loneliness, a life lived without trying to find love that could have been a hair’s breath away. Longing and sadness prevail, like a weight on the heart.
A fair ground organ opens the track, “MyBeautiful, Broken Butterfly” and it rolls on fantastically after that. An instrumental piece that is slightly disjointed, giving the impression of being broken and yet, still beautiful in its composition.
“Never Trust A Man (With Egg On His Face)” is classic Adam Ant from the 1979 album DirkWears White Socks. Who can resist a song about beings from space giving advice about men with chicken zygote, firmly implanted on their countenance? Not me. This is whimsical and oddly satisfying in a proper sort of way. I don’t think Stuart Goddard aka Adam Ant, would disapprove at all.
together, we’re alone” is a quirky and interesting EP. Complied of an anthem, a ballad an instrumental and a cover…. it works oh so well for Johnathan|Christian. They definitely seem to be influenced by the late 70s and 80s British music scene making them a bit darkly dapper and you should check them out.
The name Pink Turns Blue, for many, conjures to mind guitar lead, post punk 80s music. Initially influenced by Clan Of Xymox, Joy Division and The Sounds, Pink Turns Blue in turn became a touch stone band for many others. The legendary German, three piece, released on the 30th of July their third single, “You Still Mean TooMuch To Me“, off the album, Tainted, which will be unveiled in September.
As the title implies, this is melancholic with the pain of love rescinded and no longer reciprocated. A naked ballad about the inability to understand what happened and not being able to cope with that loss. This is a quieter track, full of emotion, made all the more raw with the simple guitar work and MicJogwer’s imploring vocals.
“How to overcome the grief / pain of lost love, torn between hate, very bad feelings and, at the same time, not being able to let go at all. As there is no understanding why you fall in love with someone in the first place, there is also no reason / understanding why love does end or your love of life starts to feel attracted to someone else. It all dissolves into nothingness” – Mic Jogwer.
“Still Mean Too Much To Me” will really strike a chord with anyone who has lost or been denied the love of the person they thought was their forever companion. The band is older and not the angry young men they were, now far more worldly and this translates into being able to craft music that touches the soul.
So maybe it’s time to get your goth on and revel in the debut single, “Glamour Girls” from Brisbane/Meanjin band, Sacred Hearts. The band explained in a radio interview, that they are femme fronted, LGBTQIA+ band, something that is close to their hearts, as well as their great love of retro post punk bands such as Echo And The Bunnymen, Nick Cave and The Cure.
Not going to lie, I don’t know much about these ladies other than that they are young and pulling on a lot of influences. There is the jingle jangle of guitar and those dark brooding bass lines, topped with delicate vocals, that swirl and lure you into the musical darkness. In true goth fashion, a la Dr Avalanche, a drum machine gives you the rhythm.
Lyrically this is a number about the dubious world of actresses and models, being beautiful doesn’t always translate to being treated well. It is melancholic and graceful. If this is a taste of what SacredHearts have for us, we might be in for a treat as they continue to create music. For now though, I hope you will enjoy “Glamour Girls“.
Brisbane based, three piece band, Killtoys today released their latest single, “Come Alive“. They come from an alt-rock based background and their music has a flare for the grimly dramatic.
The lads are bringing on a darker game here with ommious synths, lovely deep bass and 80s influenced guitar jangle that rings clear and true. Are they singing about vampires or the children of night who wear black? Oh oh, you have to listen for the oh oh. Mick Bristow’s vocals just are the icing on this ghoulishly fabulous track.
I officially love love this. It’s speaks to my dark little gothic heart and reminds me of 80s post punk bands with those fantastic riffs. The backing aaahs are just some of those little things that really make a song just a bit more spectacular. “Come Alive” from the Killtoys may just wake the living dead for a chance to bask in the moonlight.
The 90s saw the resurgence of goth rock, with bands such as Nosferatu and Rosetta Stone at the helm. Vocalist Caroline Blind, in 1991, lent her name to what would become, the New York band, Sunshine Blind. They released all up three official albums but there was also material that wasn’t made public, other than through live performances. The single, “Tribe” is one of these tracks that Blind has re-recorded and was on the 2020 album, The Spell Between.
There are three remix versions, the album track and also an original recording, live in 1992. The live version is hardly perfect and there is feedback from the guitar but holy crap, doesn’t it prove what a set of vocal chords Caroline Blind has on her. She is front and centre, crystal clear.
The album version, shows the progression of this track. It’s tight and just rings out joyously. You can’t help and smile about the wonderful guitar in the beginning that hasn’t changed from the original and was typical of the 90s in a way. It really kicks arse and Blind hasn’t lost any of that amazing range either.
Of the three remixes, the first is the extended She-Devil mix by Mark Gemini Thwaite(MGT) and Ashley Bad. MGT is an exceptional guitarist, featuring in such influential bands as The Mission and Theatre Of Tradgey plus currently in Lords Of Acid, where AshleyBad is a band mate of sorts, the latex burlesque queen on stage and MGT’s other half. There is a much more electronic edge to this version which has made it feel like a harsher mistress to the ears. Most delightful.
Andee Blacksugar of KMFDM and Black Sugar Transmission fame, is responsible for the second remix. It feels like a phantasmagorical, drug induced dream of whimsical eddies and near maniacal pursuit.
The last track goes for a far more guitar based production. Which makes complete sense with Ben Christo creating this remix who has been with the iconic, Sisters Of Mercy since 2006 as the lead guitarist. A great mixture of both acoustic and electric guitar.
The word that comes to mind is powerful. This is a link to the past and yet it exists in the here and now, sounding pretty perfect. I don’t blame Blind for resurrecting this track as it is very deserving of the revamp it has had, if not simply because we would have missed out hearing it and that would have been a great shame. “Tribe” was written in a time when they wanted to connect to others of the same ilk, to create community. That hasn’t changed and just as pertinent as ever. This is “Tribe” by Caroline Blind.
June the fourth was the release date for the single, “Ten Points On The Damage Meter“. How To Loot Brazil are the German band behind the single, with Maik Timmermann at the helm since 2006, who proclaim to be a fusion of riot grrrl, pop/punk, under pinned by electronics.
I agree the beat has a D.A.F. quality to it and the female vocals are kind of cute but this really works for song. It’s short and punchy, meant to get you bouncing and bopping along. There are guitar riffs and rhyming gimme gimme gimmie with ten points on the damage meter.
It’s a tight number that packs a lot into under three minutes and is about the horror movie genre which is deftly referred to in the music video. “Ten Points On The Damage Meter” is in essence a fun song and it gets more ear worm like with every play. How To Loot Brazil will get you moving and they can be found on most music platforms, including Spotify.
Mats Davidsen for a very long time, has been the central pillar for his band, Painted Romans. Somewhere in recording and releasing the mini album, Heart, which came out in October 2020, the band became trio with Jan Ottar Nystad (synth) and Thomas Sejnæs (bass).
“Fall” is a reminder of the electronic pop that flooded the airways in the late 70s/ early 80s. It feels light but with dark over tones. Nice clean guitar and bright keyboard with a fuzzy deeper undercurrent of noise.
They dance and get drunk to “Forget“. Probably something most of us have done before. Swirling electric organ is just the thing. Like the twisting feeling of a inebriated haze, it spins you around
PatrickWray is not only featured on the song, “Drives Me On“, but also has previously released music with Mats as Davidsen and Wray. Also featuring Roxy Dunn, this a percussion lead piece that should be played while cruising down the highway in an open top car… or at least that is the feel.
A gothic turn for “Formation“. This is very pretty with Mission style guitars that jangle away. The way this spins the theme of love with fire, ice and all that lays in-between.
“New Kind” is a far more bassy and laid back affair. How to find new life in the person you are with rather than finding it in another, a new kind of self.
Rather a Level 42 vibe from “Treat Yourself“. A light last track with funky undertones and a chorus of voices.
Overall, there is a very 80s tone to this album, paying passing homage to past styles, while the group are all contributing to a nice balanced style of electronics and guitar. Painted Romans are giving you their Heart, so it might be time to let them in.
April has been the anticipated release date of the third album from Australian act, Sounds Like Winter. Fight The Stairs is the ten track offering from these Sydney gothic proponents with vocalist/programmer/guitarist Ant Bannister, guitarist/vocalist Andi Lennon, bass guitarist Sian Williams and drummer Leticia Ohlaberry.
I’m going to say The Cure’s , Pornography was a huge influence for Sounds Like Winter, just by the first few guitar chords of “Gathering (For The Fall)“. Bannister sounds like the circus ringmaster for a show of misfits and freaks which is going to hell in a handbasket in a stylish manner
“Who We Aren’t” picks up speed with that brilliant drum rhythm, countered with the jangling guitars. A track about being what you aren’t, fraudulently hiding behind guises which could fail, causing exposure.
The album’s title track, “Fight The Stairs” doesn’t get any more classic gothic rock. This conjours delightful warm feelings of 80s during the era of Danse Society and Bauhaus. The lyrics almost seem like a drug induced stupor for a dreamlike state.
Next is the single “The Monsters“, not a tale about real monsters but rather those that we create to punish ourselves for perceived failures, that come to find us when we are most vulnerable. Slower and serpentine, as it slowly wends its way with menacing purpose.
The guitars peel out frenetically in “Day To Day“, with the vocals a tad forceful in their contempt. A commentary on our society, where everything is a throwaway consumable and the idolising of celebrity status of the unworthy.
All perception of reality in life, is lost when there is, “TheWedding Feast”. This is a number that feels like it is on the move, as if it wants you to move. Bannister maybe channelling Andy Prieboy for a moment with his staccato spoken lyrics.
For the up tempo guitars, “Send The Boy” still seems a sad number about abuse of a child and those that perpetrated these crimes get to walk away…. but not the boy. The lightness is such contrast to the dark matter.
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.
A play on words, “Primal Smear” has heavy Christian Death overtones. This has a glorious sound to it with its intonations and a coy reproachfulness. The lyrics are thoughtfully descriptive and just flow.
Oh gosh. They saved the killer song for last… literally. A track about murdering plus consuming your friend while trapped in the throes of a deep winter and yet one must ask, who had gone crazy?! “He Was Gone” is a dark, brooding finishing track to leave you with goosebumps at the end.
In the end this is a great album. There are so many influences I can hear and many I haven’t mentioned but at the centre of Sounds Like Winter, is a tragically beautiful beating heart, that bleeds music for your entertainment on their terms. Fight The Stairs is truly an album worthy of your collection if you love the gothic/deathrock genre.