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

When I received an email from someone called Emperor Of Ice Cream…. well my eyebrows did go up a fair way. I was to find out that this is not a person, but rather a collective, from Cork in Ireland and they were releasing their newest single, “Winter Pages“, on November the 18th. John ‘Haggis’ Hegarty (vocals), Graham Finn (guitar), Edward Butt (bass) and Colum Young (drums) are the Emperor Of Ice Cream, and they are on the label, FIFA Records. These guys have been a thing since the early 90s but are only put out their debut album in 2020, which came out under the title, No Sound Ever Dies.

A chiming wall of guitar embraces your senses, dragging away your thoughts and the singing is as sweet as the nicest of memories of love, entangles you in the sonic web of glorious noise. They reach into a place where longing and loss are powerful body blows, leaving you in the cold.

Wow. Just ohmygod….wow. You would never think anyone calling themselves Emperor Of Ice Cream would sound like that. They truly did blow me away with that one song. Utterly beautiful in both lyrics and musically. Shoegaze, when done correctly, is magical and in many ways, these guys remind me of early Ride, whom I consider to have been the pinnacle of creating amazing walls of tone and sighing harmonics that take you away to some other place. Play it, play it, play it and then play it again. The Emperor Of Ice Cream has gifted you “Winter Pages“.

Winter Pages | Emperor of Ice Cream (bandcamp.com)

Emperor of Ice Cream | Cork | Facebook

FIFA Records – Forever In Financial Arrears | Cork | Facebook

From County Cork, in Ireland, we have the darkwave act, Arctic Lights with their new single “Belong“, released on November the 4th. Liam O’Callaghan (vocals, guitar) and Edward Butt (bass guitar)are the duo that are the nucleus of Arctic Lights, with Max Mac joining them on drums.

Low vocals greet your ears with acoustic accompaniment of a guitar, though all this is an illusion as the electronics break through. There is a sonic component, a see saw between vocals, synths and guitar that is quite mesmerising.

Darkwave with that shoegaze wall of sound and the sublime singing that creates a wonderfully textured track about the very human desire to be apart of a relationship of some description. Come and “Belong” with Arctic Lights.

https://arcticlights.bandcamp.com/track/belong

https://m.facebook.com/ArcticLightsCork

Is it worth revisiting a relationship to see if it can be rekindled? Harlow Syndrome actually exists and is about craving either the attention never received as a child or spark lost, the subject matter touched by Denver duo, A Shoreline Dream in their latest single, “Harlow Syndrome“. This is the third single off the Loveblind album, released on October the 18th on Latenight Weeknight Records.

Photo by Allan Cutler

And it is straight into the track. No mucking about, you are thrown into the swirling dirge of heady reverb with drums and the vocals echo angelically, through the layers of electronic haze. It touches your senses and caresses your ears with the suggestion of Cocteau Twins.

There is that robust wall of sonics and yet, with the singing, this track feels as delicate and fragile as glass, which could break if the wrong note is hit….though it never comes to that. A perfect mixture of shoegaze and darkwave together is A Shoreline Dream and their “Harlow Syndrome“.

Loveblind | A Shoreline Dream (bandcamp.com)

A Shoreline Dream | Facebook

http://www.ashorelinedream.com/

http://www.latenightweeknight.com/

Latenight Weeknight Records | Facebook

ManuH of French Darkwave act, Distance H, is back with a new single, “Waters Of Woe“, featuring the lyrics and vocals of Marita Volodina from STRIDULUM, Burial Fields, Blood Tears After. Known for working with different female vocalists, he has also on drums Amélie G and Louise Decouflé on bass guitar.

A hail of guitar hits your ears, marking the launch point into “Waters Of Woe“, with murky synths before it all resolves into a charmingly wondrous, spinning culmination. Marita Volodina’s voice slides like silk between the jangling guitar.

A gothic shoegaze haven of swirling guitar, mixed with the undulating, dulcet tones of Marita Volodina, create a heady mixture. “Waters Of Woe” is the second single from the soon to be released EP, Infinity,

Waters of woe (feat. Marita Volodina) | Distance H (bandcamp.com)

https://www.facebook.com/DistanceH

I literally made my head hurt thinking about what post post-punk is… Anyway, so we will tell you about Melbourne group, Leaching, with their debut single “Radiate“. It was released on the 18th of August and it is the epitome of post-punk style, with the extra bonus of two b-sides which are not exactly b-sides… but we will get to that..

There is something so simple to the music that transports me back to the 80s. Maybe it is the guitars or the staccato drum beats from the machine or the fact the synths swirl in the depths below the guitar or it could be the echoing and slightly aloof vocals in “Radiate“. The second track is a cover of the Go Gos track, “Automatic” written by Jane Wiedlin. Leaching’s version actually might be faster than the original and it is far more filled with the sounds of electronics, which flow nicely. “Commit Then Redefine” is the last track, tortured and twisted around the guitars. A funeral dirge worthy of the Pornography era Cure.

So “Radiate” is the announcement that Leaching has arrived, “Automatic” is there because maybe this was a defining song for Steven Smith, who wrote the other two tracks and pretty much plays all the instruments on this recording as well as the vocals. September sees their first album, End Themes released on Spooky Records, so “Commit And Redefine” is a preview cut to entice you. Are you enticed yet? We rate this single ‘I would definitely go to the pub to hear them live!‘ just on the strength of listening to “Radiate“.

Radiate Single | Leaching (bandcamp.com)

Leaching | Facebook

https://www.instagram.com/leachingband/

Detroit deathgaze duo, VAZUM have their latest single, “Angel“, awaiting your pleasure. Dropped on June the 24th, it can be found on Bandcamp for name your price.

There is a harkening back to a 90s sound, but my goodness, those guitars sounds so incredibly good. I do like it when they have the dueling vocals through the chorus and the lyrics speak of a person who acts self righteous, however, lacks moral fibre and blames everyone but themselves when caught in a lie.

This might be my favourite song yet by VAZUM. Zach Pliska is the lead vocalist this time and Emily Sturm does a stirling job at backing vocals. There is a heavier accent on the deathrock influence here. It’s hard to describe but the feeling is that VAZUM are becoming ever more comfortable and confident. A cohesive ease so to speak. Beware of any “Angel” as they might beguile you with their light and betray you with a kiss.

VAZUM (bandcamp.com)

VAZUM | Facebook

Berlin’s Vlimmer, has released the post-punk single, “Kronzeuge” (key witness) with backing track, a German lyric version of the Depeche Mode song, “It’s No Good“. Alexander Leonard Donat is Vlimmer and the man behind the BlackJack Illuminist Records label, releasing the single on June the 3rd.

There is a hint of early German post-punk, such as Die Artze, and “Kronzeuge” is melancholy with those deep bass lines and wistful electronics. Donat’s vocals play over the top and the harmonies between himself and the electronics is really breathtaking. The cover “It’s No Good“, is off kilter and has a slightly deranged air to it. Darker and more brooding than the original, though there is that fabulous synth line that has always been the underpin of this track, which you could never not have but given a new twist.

I am loving these clean vocals from Donat. It puts a whole new spin on the Vlimmer sound, I think bringing a new level of tenebrosity to the music. The cover version, though in German, I can still hear the English in my head which is an interesting thing and “Kronzeuge” is a wonderfully mournful and lugubrious track in an emotional wasteland, ready to suck you into Vlimmer’s fantastic world.

Kronzeuge b/w It’s No Good | Vlimmer | Blackjack Illuminist Records (bandcamp.com)

Vlimmer | Facebook

Blackjack Illuminist Records | Facebook

Portland, Oregon seems to be a hive of darkwave activity and one of the latest acts is Luscious Apparatus and as of the 27th of May, they dropped their second single, “Bricks & Bones“. This four piece is made up of members, Sandi Leeper (vocals, bass, synths), Cate Hukle (guitars), Jack Norton (synth, programming, guitar), and Daniel Henderson (drums). The inception of the band was 2019 with Norton and then gathering other members to the project.

There is definitely a shoegaze air to this track with those swirling guitars and lilting vocals in a Cocteau Twins fashion. The guitars strengthen as the drums propel them forward. Leeper’s vocals entwine with the synths, gracing the air with a lightness that belies the monster that has been disturbed from it’s slumber, so no amount of sticks will stop it and then it will grind your bones.

There is a pervading lightness in the whirling spirals of sound that harken back to bands like Cocteau Twins or Lush with those lovely female vocals but especially the sonic electronic noise of Curve. Beautiful, strong and downright bestial is “Bricks & Bones” by that Luscious Apparatus.

Luscious Apparatus (bandcamp.com)

Luscious Apparatus | Facebook

https://www.instagram.com/lusciousapparatuspdx/

March 4th, was the release date of Naples band, Dead Rituals‘ single “Prisoners“. This post-punk/shoegaze trio consists of Andrea Caccese (vocals, drums, bass, guitars, synth), Paolo Cotrone (guitars) and Brita Penfold (vocals).

From the beginning there is something light and curiously uplifting about this track. Maybe it is the energetic beats or the flourishing guitar work or perhaps the sonorous vocals. But beneath it all is the lyrics that speak of the other, ruining a relationship, however they would do it all again as their prisoner. A happy masochist me thinks.

The guitars are wonderful and ring out, while the vocals are clear and melt with the music as it soars and dives in swirling shoegaze richness and in true punk style it only goes for just under three minutes. You can find this Dead Rituals little gem on Bandcamp, where it is name your price.

Prisoners | Dead Rituals (bandcamp.com)

Dead Rituals (facebook.com)

DEAD RITUALS