When I received the new Bow Ever Down single, “Undercover“, I thought, oh yes, I’ve heard about this. Have to say I was not prepared for it to be so big as it is. I mean it’s generous enough to be called an EP. Kimberley Kommeier with her co-conspirators, John Ruszin III and Wess Fowler (Silence In Machine) have created a synthpop driven collaboration with an interesting crew, whose talents lay from darkwave to industrial.
There is the delicate and yet forceful “Trail Of Tears” that features Silence In Machine and produced by Ruszinthe III, which is followed with the electronic overhaul by replicant rme remix of “Burn You Alive“, off the previous album Let It Burn, released in May. Fiction 8 and The Bleak Assembly have created The Cure like “Slow Down Time“, full of wandering guitar and beautiful sadness with Kommeier’s vocals. Next is the slow and melancholy dirge of the Spungee written track “Human Emotion“.
Okay…. now we come to the cover version of Madonna’s “Oh Father“. I am not the biggest Madonna fan and the name didn’t ring any bells until I heard it, jogging my memory. Ah, yes, so you have the original cover with the music supplied by Artificial Zero which is a far more industrial interpretation. There are nine…. yes 9… remixes for your listening pleasure, from a plethora of talent giving their spin to this track, from acts like SysMachine, Addambombb, Raygun Girls and others. Oh, you want to know what they sound like? Well then you might just have to go to Bandcamp and give it a little spin
Danish electronic artist, John R. Mirland, is back with a new album, Motor Romantik, under the guise of his solo dark/synthwave moniker, M73. Mirland is also known for his other musical labours such as Mirland, AmTierpark, Mirland & Larsen and I could go on about his forays into rhythmic power noise, synthpop, Eurodance, techno and even black metal. September the 1st, saw the release come out on the Læbal music label.
The super cool “Take It All” with electronic vocals, graces out ears. The synths are lovely as the techno leeches through the synthpop cracks. Mirland’s melancholic vocals are at odds with the bright and glittering keyboard lines in “Wrong” and this leads into the stellar “Obsessed“, with its piano intro that breaks into a Eurodance style hybrid, which is a lot of fun. The sliding electronics in “Vampire” entrance your senses, a story of a vampiric type that lives off the fear and sadness of others. “Inside You” gives a glimpse of Mirland’s deft talent with industrial noise, crafting it to fit into a darkwave form, with fuzzed tones and glitched rhythms. Also pretty creepy and maybe about a parasite with lyrics like I’m inside you Wearing the perfect disguise.
The title track “Motor Romantik” is just a fantastic techno influenced track, which means the beats are free flowing and the vocals are low, luring you into the futuristic world where everything has been engineered, including humans. I wonder if “Empty“, is about mental health, burning bridges and spurning those who love, unreasonably destroying everything. The vocals reflect the emotional hollowness of a life that has no purpose. “Empty” was originally released in 2021 as a single.
There is something spine chilling in the icy synths of “Crucify“, as they run up and down your spine and a very oppressive tone of electronics that almost sound like christian chant in the background. The cyber world is wonderfully encapsulated in the music of “Perfect“. A cyber stalker or antisocial miscreant, living their fantasy world through a screen. “No Light In Sight” is another track previously released as a single. A drug induced stupor, though deep inside, the electrical synapses crackle still, slowly dwindling away.
There is always the beautiful synth graduations that Mirland conjurs up, running through each track, like silken fingers that shimmer across your skin, while the lyrics are about degeneration, dark lusts, eroticism, lost dreams and a future designed by others. I love that he combines his different music styles subtly to create something that is evocative and utterly enjoyable, either on a dance floor or driving on a dark night, down atmospheric roads. Yes, Motor Romantik is a treat for the ears with M73.
From Paimio, Finland, Eenian Dreams are beckoning you with their newest single, “Beacons (chroma null)“, released on September the 1st. Pauliina (vocals) and T. C. Newman (synths, producing) are the duo that make up this electronic project, founded in 2021.
There is anticipation at the start to see where the piano style goes to and then we aren’t disappointed. Pauliina’s vocals are electronically contorted though this seems to fit the ambiance of the track. There is such pain in the lyrics, a sadness that consumes all in its wake, a promise that there is a point of no turning back. The electronics are sympathetic and swell beneath the vocals
What do you do when all all hope seems lost for a planet that we are destroying? Most definitely write a song about it, because silence is being a complicit accomplice. It is almost like the vocals are the modern world, unnatural. I can see why they call this dreamy music, as it billows and wanders through your ears very pleasantly. “Beacons(chroma null)” are used as warning signals and Eenian Dreams have lit theirs in a beautiful manner.
PURE OBSESSIONS & RED NIGHTS have been in the French scene for well over 20 years, though previously under the guise of PORN, this original incarnation being a far more heavy industrial affair. Most recently, the band released the synthwave influenced album, Let Your Obsessions Run Wild, where every track is so good, they are all being set free upon the world as singles. The 7th of September will be dropping the latest single, “Don’t Let The Night Die In Vain“, with a lush video to go along with it. Of this four piece band, Philippe Deschemin is their lead singer and main writer, so honestly there is no better person to ask about the band, the foray into synthwave style and the new album.
Bonjour Philippe, bienvenue sur Onyx!
What is the darkwave scene like in France?
We have a small but active scene. France was never a country where this kind of music was very successful, but we always had some good bands!
Your project was originally called PORN, which was much more industrial. How did it all start?
I started the band a long time ago in the early 2000s. We were playing a kind of industrial rock, with some glam rock elements. The name of the band was PORN. I am a big fan of The Cure, so it was a reference to the album Pornography. At the time, I did not know how complicated it would become to be visible in the internet…
There was a three-album release about a strangler. What inspired you to write this?
In 2010 I was working on a Sci-Fi novel: Contoyen (a word I invented, made with CONsumer/ciTOYEN (means citizen in French). The main character feels like he is devoured from the inside by an Ogre. I wanted to go further with this “feeling”. Years after, I started to work on this triple album. The main character would be Mr. Strangler, a serial killer. During the first album of the trilogy, about his childhood, he experienced this feeling. And he became the Ogre, with an insatiable appetite. About the name, I practice a lot of combat sport: Boxing, French Boxing, Judo, MMA, Brazilian Jiujitsu. I had some choke specialties, worked them a lot (in MMA/BJJ), so the name Mr. Strangler came to me… I wanted to create a comic-like character. A dude that can be Batman’s enemy!
Since then, you have changed the band name to PURE OBSESSIONS & RED NIGHTS.What was the reasoning behind this change?
It was a nightmare. Our YouTube page was (and is still) ghosted, the Facebook publication restricted automatically, same on Instagram. And sending them tons of emails changed nothing. It’s was a big thing to do, and it was not that easy… At the beginning, I did not know what to do… Then I figured something out with the 4 letters. And the new name came! I was already thinking of a new trilogy or concept/story to work on. And The Night Trilogy came to me! And it suited perfectly with the new name: Pure Obsessions / Red Nights
Philippe, you have said that you are now pursuing a more 80s electronic/synth sound. What is it about the 80s that is drawing you to that style?
I grew up in the eighties. My first musical memories came from the mid-eighties. I remember listening to the radio, I discovered Depeche mode, The Cure, Tears for Fears… I did not know the names of the bands. I discovered their name later, when I saw the music videos… It was a “love at first hear”. I still love the era. Maybe it’s a kind of “Madeleine de Proust”.
You have a new album out “Let Your Obsessions Run Wild”. How long did it take you to write and record it?
It took me a year, I think… It was a very natural session. I did almost all by myself. I was very focused, so it was quick!
This new album is all about wooing the ladies, so is this a nice change from writing about stranglers?
I don’t know… but I hope it works!
Many songs have been released as singles. Was it something you were going to do from the start or did it just happen?
It just happened. It was also a way to prepare the audience, and not just drop an album without any guitars! Some of my followers are metalheads. But nowadays, even metalheads like synth music!
Did Covid affect the making of the album?
Not at all! But the gigs were cancelled… I hope we will be back on tour soon!
The new single is “Don’t Let the Night Die Vain” with the official video, out on the 7th of September. Can you tell us about this song and also about the creation of the video?
I think that this single, ‘Don’t Let the Night Die in Vain’, represents very well the essence of this new album. Half alive, half dead, Mr Strangler haunts the nights, and helps people in despair. He appears as a guide – teaching you how to live and how to fight, when you think that all hope is gone. In this music video, a young woman comes to Mr Strangler. She is looking for help, abused by her boyfriend. Mr Strangler gives her some advice, and a useful tool…
We’ve done a lot of music videos with Matteo and Chiara from VD Pictures. They work with great bands – Lord of the Lost, Powerwolf… and Matteo is also a musician. So, it’s kind of easier to work with them, ‘cause they understand the music. The shooting took place in an old paper factory in Switzerland. I wanted a place that looked big, wide, haunted… A place where Mr Strangler could be appearing, like a ghost…
Is Philippe a romantic at heart?
As Mr. Strangler! And Mr. Strangler is, and is not.
Who would you say are your influences for this new sound?
After the industrial rock / gothic metal of the ‘Mr Strangler Trilogy’ (triple album, 2020), and the alt-rock / goth / post-punk of ‘We are the Stranglings’ (2021); I wanted to dive deeper into my eighties influences for this 100% synth-driven album. I produced this new album using vintage synths and equipment: I wanted it to have that very warm, analogue sound, typical of the period. I tried to create something between my eighties influences and my industrial / goth-rock background – synthpop grooves and darkwave ambiances, but with an industrial rock energy. The influences: The Cure, Killing Joke, Tears For Fears, Nine Inch Nails, Depeche Mode …
Would you say this is the music you grew up listening to originally?
I will not have the pretention to say that I do the same as The Cure, Depeche Mode… I am not that talented. I do my thing…
Which modern musicians influence you these days?
I like TR/ST, Boy Harsher, IAMX, Kat VON D, Blakq Audio, The Soft Moon, Empathy Test, Cold Cave… The actual darkwave scene is great
Do you think you’ll ever go back to that heavier industrial style?
How did fans react to the new sound?
Our followers are very open-minded. Even with the Mr. Strangler Trilogy we were not a pure metal/rock band. We always had this darkwave / dark synth side. I was very surprised with the feedback, and it looks like this album, Let Your Obsessions Run Wild, continues to gain more listeners!
Are there any plans to play live soon?
We are working on it! I hope in 2023. I just finished a new album, so we will have more time for the gigs.
What might you do if you are stuck inside? You might listen to some music and that music might be the latest single from She 1 – Him 2, called “Stuck Inside“. Evan Nave (Lestat/PKS) and Cassie Bishop (Shy Moon) make up this electronica duo of power!
Nave is the electronic voice in the background, maybe trying to escape the confines of its box. All the while, Bishop’s feminine wiles and vocals delicately lure you in. Sweet and moreish in this synth laden wonderland.
I like how this pair share the lead vocal roles, there is a real symmetry in the singing and even the electronic dimension. It wavers between 80s synthwave and the modern era, which is both fun to listen to and quite catchy. Get “Stuck Inside” with She 1 – Him 2.
“Menticide” is when you try to brainwash another person with the intent of control. It is also the new single from Miss FD released on August 5th and let’s face it, I know a fair few people who wouldn’t mind being brainwashed by the lovely Miss FD.
The unrelenting rhythm is the constant background noise that media outlets use to influence your thoughts and memories. Global gaslighting. The vocals convey the act lulling you into a false sense of security, while the electronics glitch and frizz.
A serious message within a dance track, of an era where everyone is plugged into some type of online construct, owned by a few who want to control the masses. The music is indeed hypnotic and alluring with synthpop princess, Miss FD.
In California, you might meet a “Deal3r“, in the form of the latest Male Tears single, released independently, on July 15th. Comprised of members JamesEdward and FrankShark, this goth/ darkwave duo have been going from strength to strength, after being started by Edward in 2020.
Might be more than a touch Euro dance style mixed with future pop and lashings of creamy dark, sexy vocals. Instantly likeable with those club friendly rhythms and spiralling synths.
I’m sure you have probably met these creatures in your clubs and bars. They are seen as the pinnacle of perfection in the scene with all the right accoutrements and connections but it is all a facade, a lure and a means to an end. There is a huge cavernous sound to this track, almost verging on what could be taken as being live and if MaleTears sound anything like this on stage…. what a glorious thing to behold.
Brought to you on the German label, Blackjack Illuminist Records in Europe and self released in their homeland, Social Union is the Aotearoa (New Zealand) darkwave/synthpop project with their latest EP, Fall Into Me.
With the title track, “Fall Into Me“, kicking things off and it feels old school synth with beautiful rolling vocals entwined with the electronics, smooth and tugging at your heart strings. “Choke” has these lovely guitar jangles infiltrating the tune which gives this track a nice dark feel with the lyrics about needing a friend but instead, being put in a situation of wanting to escape.
Staccato beats between the drum machine, guitar and synths, herald in “Abscond” and the vocals fall into your ears, while the vocals in “Our Hands Don’t Fit“, are gorgeous as they sit hand in hand with the guitar. “Fall Into Me (Social Sport Remix)” just kicks this track into a new realm. Bass heavy with touches of power noise and trance, that pierce your insides in a rather pleasant way and this would be great on any dance floor.
What can I say? It is pretty lush mix between the vocals, electronics and guitar work. Social Union holds your attention with their wonderful compositions, borne of light thrown on murky corners, matched with soul touching simplicity. Fabulous darkwave coming from New Zealand that easily matches the likes of Twin Tribes or She Past Away.
Melbourne band, Roles, are about to unleash their debut album of post-punk/art pop goodness….I know this because I have been privileged to an early listen.
But before the drop of the album, Roles are doing something a little special. In line with their artistic pursuit of music, they will be giving registered participants, an opportunity to be part of a five day, rolling event for the album, There’s A Space.
En-Roles-ees will be immersed in the music, videos, art, reflections, bonus material and behind the scene scoops of how the album was created. It all kicks off on the 2nd of August, 2022 and you will be lucky enough to get all ten songs for free, before anyone else. So to register go to https://rolesband.com/retreat/.
The duo have created an album with the synths of Luis Gutiérrez, that remind you of early Gary Numan, while the soft feminine vocals of Louise Love, often clash with her far more fuzzed out guitar playing, with their beat perfect drum machine keeping tempo. It is about the art of words that can transport you and are only limited by your imagination. Often these words have been found in audio recordings and interviews, given new life and gifted back for others to hear.
About eight months ago, German EBM giants, Tyske Ludder released the single “Peststufen” but now you can get another bite of the cherry with Infacted Recordings‘, J:dead remixing and bringing his own vocals, in English, for this bi-lingual track. UK based, J:dead is Jay Taylor, who incidentally is also the live drummer for one Tyske Ludder.
The J:dead remix is a very polished affair, smooth and flawless synths in complete opposition to the growled out lyrics in German, with Jay Taylor’s dulcet vocals silkily sliding through. There are so great changes in tempo all building to a wondrous vortex in this dance friendly track. “Peststufen” has gone from a great, raw industrial track, to a great, sinuous and elegant remix….. and you can’t get much better than that.