Category: dark wave

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. 

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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. 

Best known for stints as a member of post-punk acts DTHWBBA and White Fawn, the Halls Head, Western Australia-based singer/songwriter and producer Greg Weir has gone solo with his latest recording project UIU. Detonic Recordings commissioned Weir to provide two singles — “Wild and Innocent” and “Like A Doll” as the  fourth single in their Minimal Viable Product series, a monthly release featuring up-and-coming artists releasing A side and B side singles. At the end of the year, the entire series will be released as a comprehensive compilation. Interestingly, Weir is the first Australian to take part in the series so far — and that shouldn’t be surprising, as Weir’s UIU finds him drawing influence from  the likes of Futurisk, Suicide, Gary Numan, The Human League and others; in fact, the A side single “The Wild and Innocent” is centered around industrial-like drum programming, droning synths, a motorik  groove, a trippy yet ethereal sense of melodicism and  John Carpenter soundtrack-like cinematic bent.

Adding to the overall dark and murky vibes created by the sounds, the song thematically tells a tale of murder, loss and hopelessness from a woman’s perspective — but filtered through a murky, Blade Runner-esque lens.

New Video: Introducing the Brooding and Cinematic Sounds of Chicago’s Well Yells

Patrick Holbrook is a Chicago, IL-based electronic music producer and artist, and his darkwave, synth-based solo recording project Well Yells has received attention both locally and regionally for a spectral sound paired with surreal, dream-like lyrics that draws from much of the music he had admired and learned to play bass following along to  — in particular, Joy Division and Bauhaus, and the fragments of music he could remember from his dreams. Although unsurprisingly, his work has been compared to The Cure, Depeche Mode, John Carpenter, The Legendary Pink Dots, and Clan of Xymox among others.

Holbrook’s latest Wells Yell album Skunk was released earlier this year, and the album’s latest single “Near” is a brooding and cinematic track centered around layers of wobbling and arpeggiated synths, submerged vocals fed through layers of effects pedals, shimmering guitar chords and subtle, industrial clang and clatter. Sonically, the song manages to evoke a slowly unfurling and inescapable, existential dread.

As Holbrook told me through an email, the recently released video for “Near” was directed and shot by Toupee’s Mark Fragassi, and a segment of the of the video was shot at “. . . the Steelworkers Park on the South Side [Chicago], which have these really uncanny ruins of a steel mill — the walls are all that remain, but they’re 1/4 mile long!”