Category: dark wave

new Video: German Dream Pop Act Seasurfer Release a Gauzy Cocteau Twins-like Mix of “Drifting”

Hamburg-based songwriter, multi-instrumentalist Dirk Knight is one of that city’s grizzled scene vets, who can trace his career back to the 90s: his previous band Dark Orange was a pioneering act in the Heavenly Voices scene — and as a result, he collaborated with Cocteau Twins‘ Robin Guthrie.

amburg-based songwriter and multi-instrumentalist started his current project  Seasurfer back in 2013, and interestingly enough, the project finds Knight eschewing the traditional rock band set up and collaborating with a rotating cat of vocalists and musicians. His first two critically applauded Seasurfer albums saw Knight work with members of acts like Trespassers William, Whimsical, Jaguwar and Last Leaf Down. 

Seasurfer’s third album Zombies was released last year through Reptile Music. The album saw Knight simultaneously refining and expanding upon the sound that has won him and his collaborators attention internationally. While still retaining shoegazer textures, there’s a much larger focus on cold wave and dark wave influences with the material employing an increasing use of synths, motorik grooves and beats to create what Knight has dubbed “electrogaze for dancers and dreamers alike.”

ritten and recorded during pandemic-related restrictions and lockdowns, Zombies thematically paints a picture of a society on the brink of annihilation. As a result of the pandemic, Zombies is the first album that features Knight playing and recording all of the material’s instrumentation and even contributing some vocals. The first part of the album features vocals from singer/songwriter Apolonia.

As the story goes, as the pair were finishing the album, they had the distinct impression of living in a world that was completely losing its mind: Naturally, there is constant fear and uncertainty inspired by the pandemic; but there’s also the increasing numbers of self-serving political leaders hellbent on power, greed, corruption and lust. And let’s not forget the looming global climate catastrophe that will likely occur within our lifetimes. It shouldn’t be surprising that the pair frequently felt as though they were like zombies struggling through a lost and dead world.

Shortly after the vinyl and CD releases of Zombies, the Hamburg-based act reworked album single “Drifting.” “Drifting” is a fan favorite on the album and as a result, Knight and Apolonia came up with an alternate mix of the song. Interestingly, the alternate mix is centered around gauzier textures while retaining the glistening synths and brooding air of the original. In some way, the alternate mix manages to gently push the song towards a Cocteau Twins-like sound.

For me ‘Drifting’ is the song with the coolest bass of the whole album Zombies,” Seasurfer’s Dirk Knight explains. ” For the first time I recorded all the basses by myself and learned to love playing this instrument. Basses are extremely important to us and determine the harmonies and melodies, similar to how Simon Gallup (The Cure), Peter Hook (Joy Division, New Order) and Simon Raymonde (Cocteau Twins) are doing it. For the single and the extended mix we let the drums run straight through to make the song even more mesmerizing.”

The recently released video is a trippy mix of nostalgia-inducing Super 8 shot footage of a young child going on a cruise on the open sea, projected over Apolonia’s face, as she sings the song’s lyrics.

“Drifting (Single Mix)” appears on Seasurfer’s recently released Drifting EP, which features a 12 minute, extended single mix, the previously unreleased track “Ghost Children” and remixes of “Drifting” by Spanish dreamwave duo STEREOSKOP, Russian shoegazers Life on Venus and French electronic artist GIIRLS.

Houston-based post-punk/darkwave act Victorian Death Photos are purposely shrouded in a cloak of mystery: Featuring two anonymous artists, a man and a woman, who publicly go by He and She, the mysterious duo’s latest project can trace its origins back to their previous multimedia collaborations together. Interestingly, Victorian Death Photos was initially meant to be a metal album — but the best laid plans of mice and men, and they say.

Once they started working on original material together, they wound up zeroing in on a “haunted synthy post-punk electronic sound,” which wound up comprising their Victorian Death Photos debut, The Basement Tapes EP released earlier this year. “We went with it,” She says in press notes. Interestingly, the mysterious Houston-based duo’s latest single “RadIum Girls” is the first batch of new material since the release of The Basement Tapes EP. And as the duo explain “Radium Girls” is based on a true story: In the early 1920s, female workers in watch factories, painted watch dials with radium paint. The women were repeatedly told that the paint was harmful. But after being around and ingesting massive amounts of radium, the female factory workers wound up contracting severe radiation poisoning: the end result was teeth failing out; bone deterioration in the jaw — to the point that they’d have to have bones removed.; stillborn babies and eventually death.

Centered around thumping boom bap-like drumming, buzzing bass synths and guitars fed through reverb and delay pedal, She’s ethereal vocals and a rousingly anthemic hook, “Radium Girls” evokes a slow-burning and creeping sense of unease and dread, while sonically bearing a resemblance to Garbage‘s self-titled debut and Version 2.0.

New Audio: German Darkwave Act NNHMN Releases a Feverish Visual for “Special”

NNHMN (pronounced as “nonhuman”) is a Berlin-based darkwave duo featuring Lee and Laudrag. Last year, the German darkwave duo released Shadow in the Dark, a six song album that received attention across darkwave and synth music circles for a sensual, propulsive and deeply emotional take on darkwave. Initially released digitally throughk-dreams records, Shadow in the Dark recently saw a vinyl re-released through Oraculo Records.  

To celebrate the vinyl re-release of Shadow in the Dark, the duo released the album’s latest single, the club-banging, early Depeche Mode-like “Special.” Centered around shimmering and rapidly oscillating synths, tweeter and woofer rocking beats, sultry vocals and an enormous hook “Special,” according to the duo tells the story of a borderline personality, who struggles with expressing love. 

Produced and edited by the members of NNHMN, the recently released cinematic yet feverish visual for “Special” draws heavily from Philipe Garrel’s 1972 film La Cicatrice intérieure, which features a similarly damaged main character. 

New Video: Lunar Twin Releases a Brooding Late Night Visual for Trip Hop-like “Leaves”

Deriving their name from a scientific theory that suggests that Earth may have had a second moon, a twin moon that was destroyed in a massive collision during the earliest moments of our solar system, Lunar Twin, which is comprised of vocalist Bryce Boudreau and multi-instrumentalist and producer Chris Murphy can trace their origins back to 2011’s Denver Underground Music Festival when Boudreau joined Murphy’s goth band Nightsweats as a guest vocalist. And by 2013, the duo started collaborating together full-time.

With the release of their debut, 2014’s self-titled EP and 2017’s Night Tides EP, the duo which is currently split between Hawaii and Salt Lake City have developed a unique take on chill wave/dark wave that draws from and possesses elements of synth pop, shoegaze, dream pop and others. A couple of years have passed since I’ve written about Lunar Twin — and as it turns out, the duo’s Chris Murphy has been busy sharing the stages with a growing list of acclaimed and renowned artists including Grimes, Bonnie Prince Billy and Peaches through other projects he’s worked in. But the duo have also been working on their long-awaited third EP Ghost Moon Ritual, which is slated for a February 16, 2020 release through  the band’s own imprint, Tropical Depression/Desert Heat. 

Ghost Moon Ritual reportedly finds the duo expanding upon the sound that caught the attention of this site and elsewhere with some of the material nodding at psych folk and desert noir-themed late night moon music. The EP’s latest single, the moody and atmospheric “Leaves” is centered around Boudreau’s sonorous, Mark Lanegan-like baritone, layers of buzzing and shimmering synths and thumping beats. And while simultaneously nodding at trip hop and dream pop, the song evokes — for me, at least — a a specific late night loneliness I’ve known — wandering a new town, a new country on your own, as a stranger, a man from far away. 

Directed by San Francisco-based Zoey Nyguen, the recently released video is set in a raw, late night, neon cityscape — her neighborhood of Russian Hill. ” I wanted to embody the song with visuals from my within my neighborhood and local surroundings and to include basically a collage of clips from different time periods and eras of the City,” Nyguen says in press notes. “I made the video as a simple Creative Commons project and then approached the group about a possible collaboration and then filmed them performing to add to the story I had built around their song into something more” 

“Collaboration with a new person is always a surprise creatively and I thought her vibrant and imaginative approach visualizing the song to be just right .. to curate this version of this songs story,” Bryce Boudreau says of the video. “Her choice of imagery really melds with the track. I’m very happy with the way the video develops and encapsulates everything we are trying to express musically” Chris Murphy adds in press notes. 

Over the course of this past year, I’ve written a bit about the Asheville, NC-based goth/post-punk act Secret Shame. And as you may recall, the act — Lena (vocals), Nathan (drums), Nikki (guitar), Matthew (bass) and Billie (guitar) — formed back in 2016 and can trace their origins to the desperate need that all of its members felt to create. “If I couldn’t sing or play music, I would tear my skin off.” the band’s front person Lena explains in press notes. Shortly after their formation, the band released their self-titled debut EP, which quickly established the band’s dark and atmospheric sound paired with lyrics that thematically touch upon issues of domestic abuse, mental health, political and social dissatisfaction and frustration. 

Secret Shame’s highly-anticipated full-length debut Dark Synthetics was released earlier this year to critical acclaim — while further establishing an enormous, reverb-heavy sound that seemed to be influenced by  Siouxsie and the Banshees and 4AD Records. Interestingly, album single “Calm” was a perfect example of that sound, while featuring driving rhythms, razor sharp hooks and Lean’s vocals slashing through and cutting through the moody and hazy mix. And underpinning the song was an emotional urgency that came from lived-in, personal experience. “There’s not a single word I didn’t write from the pit of my stomach,” Lena says in press notes. “The entire record- even though the song dynamics change- has one solid emotion, which is the struggle of inner turmoil and being trapped inside yourself. It’s the feeling of holding a scream in the back of your throat.” She adds, “Some people avoid writing music that puts them in a vulnerable place, but that’s the place I’m trying to get into, That’s where you’re your most raw and hopefully people will be able to experience it through you. There’s nothing else like it.”

Building upon the growing momentum the band has received since the release of their full-length debut, the members of Secret Shame have toured to support the new album, which included an apt Friday the 13th stop at The Broadway and a Halloween set that featured Joy Division covers.  Along with that, Secret Shame recently announced a series of remixes of Dark Synthetic material that they’ll be releasing over the next few months, as they return to the studio to record new music slated for release next year. The first remix finds XOR turning the guitar-led “Calm” into an icy and industrial synth banger, centered around shimmering synth arpeggios, stuttering beats while retaining the song’s intensity, vulnerability and ache, and Lena’s powerhouse vocals.

True Moon is a Malmo, Sweden-based post-punk/dark wave quartet, comprised of founding members Karolina Engdahl (vocals, bass) and Tommy Tift (guitar) — both of whom are former members of Swedish Grammy-winning act Vånna Inget, along with Linus Segerstedt (guitar) and Fredrik Orevad (drums). The Malmo, Sweden-based quartet can trace their origins to when its founding duo of Engdahl and Tift felt a desire to create something more raw and visceral than the material they were working on with their then-primary gig. “Karolina and I are bored with the Swedish music scene at the moment,” Tift explained at the time. “It feels like everyone has the same blueprint, like there’s an industry rulebook now for how bands must sound. We wanted to do something different.” Vånna Inget’s 2013 full-length effort Ingen Botten found the band sonically exploring New Wave and dark wave, and as Tift went on to say they felt a need to explore it more themselves.  “It was like an urge and we just had to do this,” True Moon’s Engdahl adds.

“We were listening to artists such as Joy Division, Killing Joke, Siouxsie and The Banshees, The Sisters of Mercy, The Mission and early Cure. There is a purity and honesty and integrity to that music that’s missing from the current scene,” the band’s Tift said back in 2017. “Those bands weren’t making music to be pop stars or rock stars, it is pure expression and pure art, and that’s the aesthetic we were pursuing.” Segerstedt and Orevad were recruited to complete the band’s lineup, and they began working on their 2016 self-titled debut, an effort that received attention across Scandinavia and elsewhere for crafting material that actively went for the sort of raw, urgent and unpolished feel and sound reminiscent of Martin Hannet‘s work with Joy Division.

As a result of attention they received from their self-titled debut, the Malmo-based post-punk act played shows across Sweden, the UK and the States, opening for Killing Joke, King Dude, MCC, Against Me! and a number of others. Building upon a growing national and international profile, True Moon’s highly-anticipated sophomore album II is slated for a November 1, 2019 release through Lövely Records —  and the album finds the band continuing their ongoing collaboration with with producer Jari Haapalainen, who also contributes guitar to the proceedings. Interestingly, the album’s first single “Poison” continues the raw and urgent aesthetic and feel of their full-length debut — and while clearly being indebted to Joy Division, The Cure, Siouxsie and the Banshees and others, the track reveals some ambitious songwriting, as it possesses an enormous, arena rock-like quality.

 

 

 

 

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New Audio: Arizona’s Body of Light Returns with a Brooding Yet Dance Floor Friendly New Single

Earlier this year, I wrote about the Arizona-based sibling, electronic duo Body of Light. And as you may recall, the act — comprised of Andrew and Alexander Jarson — can trace their origins to the Jarsons’ involvement in the acclaimed Ascetic House collective.  Interestingly, what hat initially began as a vehicle for the duo to explore noise and sound during their early teens has gradually evolved into an established electronic production and artist unit that crafts music that draws from New Wave, freestyle, goth and techno — and from the Jarsons’ individual and shared experiences. 

Body of Light’s third album Time to Kill is slated for a July 26, 2019 release through Dais Records and the album reportedly finds the Arizona-based sibling duo refining their sound with a bolder sonic palette while thematically, the duo focus on love and obsession within an era of increasing technological bondage and fleeting exhilaration. The Power, Corruption and Lies-era New Order and Upstairs at Eric’s-era Yaz-like album title track “Time to Kill” was centered around a brooding yet relentless, dance floor friendly production and a brooding Romanticism. Time to Kill’s latest single, the Depeche Mode-like “Don’t Pretend” is centered around and industrial/goth-like production featuring insistent and relentless beats, layers upon layers of shimmering and arpeggiated synths, a soaring hook and plaintive vocals — but unlike its immediate predecessor, the album’s latest single is an urgent, desperate plea. As the duo explain in press notes. “We are all hostages of need; we struggle to free our minds from confinement.” They add that the new single is “a song for those imprisoned by their own desires.” 

New Video: Synth Pop Act Body of Light Pair a Decidedly 80s-Influenced Single with Slick Cinematic Visuals

Comprised of sibling duo Andrew and Alexander Jarson, the Arizona-based synth pop act Body of Light can trace their origins to Jarsons involvement in the acclaims Ascetic House collective. Initially, what began as a vehicle for the duo to explore noise and sound during their early teens has evolved into an established electronic production and artist unit that specializes in music that draws from the Jarson’s individual and shared experiences and possesses elements of New Wave, freestyle, goth and techno. 

Slated for a July 26, 2019 release through Dais Records, Body of LIght’s forthcoming, third album Time to Kill finds the Arizona-based duo refining their sound with a bolder sonic palette while thematically  weaving stories of love and obsession in an era of technological bondage and increasingly fleeting exhilaration. Interestingly, Time to Kill’s latest single, album title track “Time to Kill” is centered around a broodingly cinematic and dance floor friendly production consisting of relentless, tweeter and woofer thumping beats, shimmering and arpeggiated synths and a soaring hook paired with plaintive vocals. And while the decidedly 80s goth/synth pop track recalls early Depeche Mode, Tears for Fears, Power, Corruption and Lies-era New Order and Upstairs at Eric’s-era Yaz, the song possesses a modern, studio sheen — without polishing away the swooning Romanticism at the core of the song.

Directed by Travis Waddell, the gorgeously shot, recently released video for “Time to Kill” is split between slow-motion, live footage of the duo performing in s small, sweaty basement club in front of ecstatic fans — and footage of the duo brooding in a studio in front of moody lighting. 

Manchester UK-based singer/songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Nathan Till is the creative mastermind of the buzz worthy dark wave recording project Ghosts of Social Networks. Citing the likes of The Cure, Bauhaus, Echo and the Bunnymen, Nick Cave, The National and Radiohead, the project according to Till upcycles old-school forms of songwriting while applying a fresh sonic veneer to them, reportedly pairing innovation with a timeless sense of melodicism.

Till’s Ghost of Social Networks debut single “Love Potion” began a string of acclaimed singles praised for their production and overall sound from the likes of BBC Introducing, several zines across the UK and the blogosphere — and he’s received airplay from Steve Lamacq‘s program and BBC 6 Music. All of this built up quite a bit of buzz before the release of his debut EP, My Lucifer.  Interestingly, Till’s latest Ghost of Social Networks single “Don’t Let Me Down” manages to effortlessly recall Heaven Up Here-era Echo and the Bunnymen, as its centered around a brooding and forceful rhythm section, angular guitar lines, an anthemic hook, the song captures a tempestuous and swooning love affair — the sort in which the song’s narrator may recognize will end in disaster.

 

New Video: Up-and-Coming New York Duo Death by Piano Releases Futuristic Visuals for “The Countdown”

Death by Piano is an up-and-coming New York-based dark wave duo comprised of Kalen Lister (vocals, keys) and Greywolf, a multi-instrumentalist and producer. With the release of their latest EP, The Countdown, the duo have established themselves with an atmospheric sound that’s centered around sleek and minimalist electronic production, including skittering beats, chopped up samples, soulful blasts of guitar, moody strings and synths, and Lister’s pop star belter vocals. Interestingly, EP title track “Countdown” is a perfect example of the sound that has begun to win the duo attention, complete with an infectious, radio-friendly hook that reminds me a bit of the classic 4AD Records sound mixed with JOVM mainstay Holy War. However, as the duo explain “‘Countdown’ is the first song we wrote together. It’s about leaving behind what you thought life might be and embracing the now. It’s about embracing change. External and internal. Facing what you fear to find more freedom.”  

Directed by Robert Lester, the recently released video is a decidedly retro-futuristic and New Age-y treatment that features Lister dressed as a cyborg/alien along with her bandmate, performing the song in front of a screen, playing psychedelic imagery. It’s interspersed with a humanoid character, wandering the woods. It’s trippy yet futuristic take on the familiar, much like the duo’s sound.