Category: cold wave

With the release of their debut single, 2021’s “Colder,” Los Angeles-based synth duo Sacred Skin — Brian DaMert and Brian Tarney — quickly stole the hearts of coldwavers and goths globally with melancholic undertones and pitch perfect songwriting.

A subsequent series of singles starting with “Eyes Closed” and “Far Away” earned them live shows at Substance Festival, the Hollywood Palladium and elsewhere. Building upon a growing profile, last year’s full-length debut The Decline of Pleasure saw the rising synth duo quickly establishing their sound and approach: dreamy New Wave-inspired arrangements made from the use of early digital outboard gear and samplers paired with DaMert’s vocal delivery, expressing lust and longing throughout.

The rising Los Angeles-based synth duo recently signed to Artifact Records. And to celebrate the occasion, Sacred Skin share a cover of Seona Dancing‘s “Bitter Heart.”

Seona Dancing was a short lived synth duo featuring Ricky Gervais (yes, that Ricky Gervais) and Bill Macrae. They released a two Phil Thornalley-produced singles back in 1983, which were released through London Records before they were dropped and never heard from again. Sacred Skin’s Brain Tarney has had a copy of the “Bitter Heart” 12-inch single in his DJ bag for about a decade. And when reflecting upon covering the song, he said that people always ask him about it, without fail, and that they’ve never been able to track down a single cover of the song — until now!

While the original was an icy, New Order-like take on post punk and synth pop, Sacred Skin manages to craft a fairly straightforward cover that subtly soften the song’s edges and gently pushes the tempo up a bit while retaining the brooding nature of the original.

“We are thrilled to announce that we have signed with Artoffact Records amongst so many of our peers and heroes. Our second LP (and first for Artoffact) will be released in Spring of 2024,” the band excitedly says. “In the meantime we are dropping a cover of a little known new wave anthem from Ricky Gervais and his short lived career as a recording artist before finding his second calling as one the world’s biggest comedians.”

Sat, Oct. 14 – San Diego, CA @ The Casbah w/ Forever Grey
Sun, Oct. 22 – Reno, NV @ Holland Project w/ Fearing
Mon, Oct. 23 – Salt Lake City, UT @ Liquid Joe’s w/ Fearing
Tue, Oct. 24 – Denver, CO @ The Crypt Bar w/ Fearing
Thu, Oct. 26 – Austin, TX @ LEVITATION – Elysium 
Fri, Oct. 27 – San Antonio, TX @ Vice Versa 
Sun, Oct. 29 – El Paso, TX @ Modern Art Bar w/ Fearing
Tue, Oct. 31 – Mesa, AZ @ Nile Underground w/ Fearing
Wed, Nov. 1 – Las Vegas, NV @ Backstage Bar w/ Fearing
Fri, Nov. 10 – Los Angeles @ Substance Festival

New Audio: aswefall Shares an Icy Club Banger

Founded in the early 2000s, Aswefall is a collaboration between two grizzled and accomplished music industry vets:

  • Clement Vaché, a DJ and electronic music producer, known for being a pioneer of the French Rave scene, an organizer of the Borealis Montpellier Festival back in the 90s, and for being the resident DJ of the Kill the DJ parties at renowned Parisian club Le Pulp back in the 2000s. However, over the past few years, Vaché has become one of the most sought-after musical directors in luxury and fashion.
  • Leo Helleden, a musican and producer, who has played in a number of bands including Camp Claude and Tristesse Contemporaine.

The duo’s full-length debut, 2005’s Bleed was released through Kill the DJ Records and features “Between Us,” a track used in ad campaigns for Air France. Since then, “Between Us” has amassed close to five million streams on Spotify.

The duo’s latest single “La nuit s’évapore” is a brooding track that sees the pair meshing elements of coldwave, goth and electro pop into a danceable, club friendly banger built around glistening synth arpeggios, icy and seemingly detached vocals and skittering boom bap with some incredibly catchy hooks.

Acclaimed Montréal-based artist Laurence-Anne has developed a reputation for being an architect of the intangible. Her work is a blend of elements of dream pop, coldwave and synth pop built around soundscapes featuring haunting melodies, lush synths, hazy textures and synthetic rhythms paired with a voice that’s capable of evoking and instilling both comfort and anxiety. Thematically and lyrically, her work is informed and inspired by her imagination and her experiences while being deeply infused with her unique perspective.

The Montréal-based artist made a big splash with her critically applauded full-length debut, 2019’s Première apparition, which landed on the Polaris Music Prize long list. 2021’s Accident EP saw the Canadian artist expanding upon the sound that won her critical acclaim. Her Félix Petit-co-produced sophomore album Musivision saw Laurence-Anne crystallizing her creative identity and sound.

Slated for a Friday release through Bonsound, Laurence-Anne’s François Zaïdan co-produced third album Oniromancie sees the acclaimed Canadian artist diving deep into the nocturnal world — with the material moving seamlessly between sweet dreams and paralyzing nightmares. Sonically, the album sees her continuing to blend elements of dream pop, coldwave and synth pop, in addition to elements of art pop and experimental pop, which gives the album’s material a denser and darker feel.

Drawing from its creator’s subconscious, the album’s material manages to be dreamlike, intimate and seemingly spellbound while inviting listeners to a universe that exists only to those who are willing to lend an ear. And with that ear, the acclaimed Canadian artists opens up more than ever, while still depending the mysterious aura that surrounds her.

Oniromancie‘s latest single, the breakneck “Vitesse” features a relentless rapid-fire staccato rhythm, which helps to evoke the woozy anxiety of a vivid and unshakeable nightmare fueled by the creeping dread of its creator’s deepest, darkest fears. Laurence-Anne’s urgent and plaintive vocal seems desperate to burst out of the confines of eerie synth arpeggios and song’s relentless, breakneck rhythm — but can’t. “Vitesse” is inspired by a particularly vivid bad dream and the 80s European coldwave scene, particularly seminal French outfit Martin Dupont. In the dream, the Montréal-based artist rushes full-speed through chaotic, Dali-esque landscapes in search of the source of unrelenting havoc.

Laurence-Anne will be playing a handful of dates across Fall 2023 and Winter 2024. She will be playing two album launch shows: September 28, 2023 at Montréal’s La Sala Rossa, one of my favorite rooms in town to see live music. September 30, 2023 at Québec City‘s Le Pantoum. All tour dates are below.

Tour dates
15/09/2023 – Pont-Rouge, QC – Moulin Marcoux •
16/09/2023 – Sherbrooke, QC – Théâtre Granada •
28/09/2023 – Montréal, QC – Sala Rossa (Oniromancie Launch – POP Montréal)
30/09/2023 – Québec, QC – Le Pantoum (Oniromancie Launch)
03/12/2023 – Gatineau, QC – Minotaure ◦
09/12/2023 – Mont-Tremblant, QC – L’Église du Village •
02/02/2024 – Terrebonne, QC – Le Moulinet •
03/02/2024 – Cowansville, QC – Espace Diffusion •
08/03/2024 – Lévis, QC – Vieux Bureau de Poste
15/03/2024 – St-Félicien, QC – Cégep St-Félicien – Salle Azimut
16/03/2024 – Alma, QC – Café du Clocher 

• Supporting Milk & Bone
◦ Double bill with Bibi Club

New Audio: French Duo Denuit Share Tense and Propulsive “I’m Bleeding”

French goth duo Denuit — Lis (vocals) and Ivi (keys) — specializes in a synth-driven goth that features elements of coldwave and post punk. Last year, the duo released their sophomore album Inferno.

Inferno‘s latests ingle “I’m Bleeding” features glistening synth arpeggios, relentless four-on-the-floor and an angular bass line paired with Lis’ achingly plaintive vocals and rousingly anthemic hooks. Sonically, the end result is a song that — to my ears — is a slick synthesis of Siouxsie and the Banshees and Whispering Sons, that evokes a creeping and unsettling sense of existential dread.

New Video: Distance H Teams Up with Saigon Blue Rain’s Ophelia on Brooding “Bitch 16”

Distance H is a post-punk/darkwave/coldwave recording project of French producer ManuH. The project sees ManuH collaborating with an eclectic array of female vocalists, who contribute melodies and lyrics.

Released earlier this year, the brooding and cinematic “Bitch 16.” sees ManuH collaborating with Saigon Blue Rain‘s Ophelia on a Cocteau Twins-meets-Sixousie and the Banshees-like song rooted in eerie atmospherics and razor sharp hooks.

Directed and edited by Anaïs Novembre, the accompanying video for “Bitch 16” is split between gorgeous and broodingly lit footage of the collaborators in studio, and Saigon Blue Rains Opehila dancing in a creepy, goth-like forest.

New Video: Reims, France’s Not A Number (N.A.N.) Shares Hopeful “Run Again”

Bernard Collot is a Reims, France-based singer/songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and creative mastermind behind the French post-punk recording project Not A Number (N.A.N.) Late last year, Collot signed with North Shadows Records, who released his Not A Number debut EP Wave earlier this month both digitally and as a limited run cassette.

Wave EP features the 4AD Records-like “Black Water,” which I wrote about some time ago on this site. The EP’s latest single “Run Away,” much like its immediate predecessor seems indebted to 4AD Records post-punk: shimmering and reverb drenched guitars, gated drums, angular bass lines and a soaring hook paired with Collot’s achingly plaintive vocals singing about a universal experience the lifting of deep grief and heartache and falling back in love again. And as a result, while being brooding, the song evokes a sense of hope.

The accompanying video for “Run Away” was shot on Malta and follows Collot wandering around the island nation’s shoreline and winding streets and alleyways by himself. With the video occasionally becoming glitchy, there’s a sense that we might all be watching in the matrix.

New Video: Nice, France’s BLC MIRROR CLB Releases a Creepy Visual for Scorching “Sleepwalk Time”

Nice, France-based act BLC MIRROR CLB was initially formed as a duo in 2017 featuring founding members Fabz (vocals, guitar, synths) and Marz (drums, backing vocals). The French act’s 2019 self-titled debut EP was release to critical praise nationally and internationally from Skriber, Rock Made in France, Indiebox and Eric Alper among a list of others, and the EP received airplay globally from stations like CT Rocks, London Radio, Nuevos Pero Rotos, CATA Radio, ODDScene, Radio Kaos Caribou and Radio Volna.

The rising French act expanded into a trio with the addition of Ben (bass, backing vocals). Shortly after Ben joined the Nice-based outfit, gradually went through a radical change in sonic direction, moving from indie rock into brooding electro post-punk, inspired by Portishead, Eagulls, Siouxsie and The Banshees and others.

BLC MIRROR CLB’s latest effort, the five-song We Are The Ghosts Part 1 was recently released through Shake A Leg/Exquisite Noise Records. The EP continues the act’s gradual movement into post punk and cold wave. EP single “Sleepwalk Time (A Song for M)” is a brooding and uneasy song featuring buzzing bass synths, scorching guitar lines, thumping beats, industrial clang and clatter and howled vocals in an expansive, dread-inducing song structure. Sonically, the song — to my ears, at least — brings The Fragile era Nine Inch Nails, Third era Portishead to mind but while evoking our near-dystopian reality.

Directed by Albin Lunareiff, the recently released video features grainy and intimate VHS-styled footage of the band performing the song in a bare studio. Bursts of computerized MS DOS-like text appears superimposed over the band. It’s just as creepy and uneasy as the accompanying song.

Rising Los Angeles-based coldwave/darkwave/dark synth-riot act Violent Vickie — Vickie (vocals, production) and E (guitar, production) — have released material through a handful of labels including  Crunch PodEmerald & Doreen RecordingsRiot Grrl Berlin and LoveCraft Bar, which the act has supported with tours with Atari Teenage Riot‘s Hanin EliasThe Vanishing‘s Jessie Evans, Trans XThem Are Us Too, Aimon & The Missing Persons and others. The duo have also played sets across the US and European festival circuits with stops at Insted FestSolidarity FestShoutback Fest and Gay Prides and Ladyfests. 

Their single “The Wolf” was featured in a National Organization for Women film. Violent Vickie’s Vickie was also interviewed for the documentary GRRL as part of the museum exhibit Alien She. Adding to the band’s growing profile, their album Monster Alley was voted best album by KALX. And if you’ve been frequenting this site, you may recall that their latest album Division, which featured the dark yet dance floor friendly “Circle Square” was released last September.

Since the release of Division, the band has been busy writing and recording material, including their latest single, a Mazzy Star-like take on Johnny Cash‘s “Ring of Fire” centered around a sparse arrangement of strummed guitar and Vickie’s plaintive vocals fed through gentle amounts of reverb. Sonically, the track is a marked departure from the chilly, dark and aggressive coldwave and New Wave-inspired tracks they’re known for, while retaining the longing of the original.


Picture One is the solo, synth pop recording project of Atlanta-based singer/songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and producer Thomas Barnwell. Slated for an April 3, 2020 release, Barnwell’s forthcoming self-produced, Picture One album Across The Depths of Seven Lakes is centered around self-aware 80s synth pop vibes and hook-driven analog synth melodies, chilly post-punk and New Wave soundscapes and Barnwell’s Ian Curtis-like vocals — but unlike his previously released material, the forthcoming album may arguably be the most pop-leaning and accessible he’s written to date. Thematically, Across The Depths of Seven Lakes navigates transcendence, resolve, magic and creativity and the turbulent waters of love and loss.

The album’s first single is the slow-burning, brooding and cinematic “Cycle of Belief.” Centered around, explosive, industrial-like beats, shimmering synth arpeggios and Barnwell’s detached baritone, “Cycle of Belief” simultaneously sounds inspired by early 80s Depeche Mode and Tears for Fears, and as though it could easily be on the Stranger Things soundtrack.