Category: dark wave

Live Footage: Atlanta’s CDSM Performs “666” at Yellow Studio

Atlanta-based collective Celebrity Death Slot Machine (CDSM) — Ben Presley, Tyler Jundt and John Restivo, Jr. along with live accompaniment from Jack Blauvelt, Drew Kirby and Vinny Restivo — features current and former members of local acts like Material GirlsNeighbor LadyMothers, and Rose Hotel.

CDSM is a decided sonic departure from its members previous and current projects: The Atlanta-based collective’s sound blends elements of dark wave, psych rock and post punk in an edgy, genre-bending fashion. The act’s debut EP Hell Stairs was released late last week through Mothland and EXAG Records.

Hell Stairs which features the LCD Soundsystem from hell meets No Wave-like “GFH” finds the members of CDSM crafting material that’s simultaneously glamorous and bleak, swanky and derelict, uplifting and crushing. The EP’s latest single “666” is a dance punk song that’s one-part dark wave, one-part no wave featuring relentlessly tight four-on-the-floor, buzzing synth arpeggios and swirling sax lines paired with crooner-esque laments fittingly delivered with a Vincent Price-like campiness while detailing evil, murderous deeds over the course of a bloody, moonlit night.

Sure there’s murder and mayhem but that doesn’t mean you can’t dance the night away. Just make sure you don’t slip on the blood, eh?

The accompanying video features the band playing at the soon-to-be opened Yellow Studios.

New Audio: Italy’s IC2 Shares an Icy Yet Dance Floor Friendly Single

IC2 is the darkwave/post-punk solo recording project of Ivan Coppola, mysterious Villa Latina, Italy-based producer, singer/songwriter and multi-instrumentalist. Late last year, I wrote about the brooding yet dance floor friendly “Falling Down,” a track that sonically brought post-punk heavyweights like Siouxsie and the BansheesThe Cure and Joy Division — as well as contemporaries like ACTORSBootblacks and others to mind.

The Italian singer/songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and producer will be releasing the Bad Moon Light EP this year. The EP’s latest single, title track “Bad Moon Light” continues a run of dance floor friendly yet icy post punk centered around reverb-drenched and guitars, atmospheric synths, thumping beats, the Italian artist’s detached vocals placed within a hook-driven song structure. Interestingly, “Bad Moon Light” manages to bring Garlands era Cocteau Twins to mind, revealing an artist gently expanding upon his sound.

New Video: Canadian/American Duo Ritual Wave Share Sultry “My Sin”

This week is an extraordinarily busy week as I’ve been covering this year’s New Colossus Festival. So I haven’t been posting with the same regularity as I’d normally would. But I’m seeing live music and doing that valuable in-person networking one has to do to get by. And I’m having a ton of fun doing so. But as always, let’s get to the business at hand . . .

Ritual Wave is an emerging post-punk/dark wave duo featuring Toronto-based Judy Karacs and San Diego-based John Goodman. The Canadian/American duo bonded over a mutual love and appreciation for similar styles of music, which led to their collaboration together. Although they’ve been working on material since 2018, the duo’s work sonically sees them combining elements of old school post-punk with melodic dark wave undertones.

“My Sin” their second official single together as Ritual Wave features Karacs’ sultry cooing over glistening and icy synth arpeggios, a propulsive, angular bass line and subtle industrial clang and clatter. Sonically, “My Sin” — to my ears at least — recalls Cocteau Twins, Depeche Mode and the like, but fueled by a desperate, obsessive desire.

“My Sin” as the Canadian/American duo explain uses religious themes as a metaphor to express the psychological torment and destruction of a person willing to sacrifice everything in order to be loved. And as a result, the song explores the darkest sides of obsession, control and desire as is relates to romantic affairs.

“This track was really a labour of love for us. We actually wrote ‘My Sin’ very quickly, in 2018, but ended up re-working, re-recording and re-editing it ’till we finally decided it was ready,” Ritual Wave’s Judy Karacs explains in press notes. “With the lyrics and melody I really wanted to explore the subject of obsession and how that impacts the human psyche. I likened these feelings to a strong religious devotional experience. It was the idea of having such a profound faith in someone that you were willing to sacrifice everything just to hold onto what they made you believe was love. Obviously, this belief was based more on unhealthy fixation and desire instead of genuine love.”

Edited by Ritual Wave’s Judy Karacs, the accompanying visual is shot in a gorgeous and sultry black and white, and evokes the song’s central themes: lust and obsession through religious metaphors.

New Video: Atlanta’s CDSM Shares Menacing and Feverish “GFH”

Atlanta-based collective Celebrity Death Slot Machine (CDSM) — Ben Presley, Tyler Jundt and John Restivo, Jr. along with live accompaniment from Jack Blauvelt, Drew Kirby and Vinny Restivo — features current and former members of local acts like Material Girls, Neighbor Lady, Mothers, and Rose Hotel.

CDSM is a decided sonic departure from its members previous and current projects: The Atlanta-based collective’s sound blends elements of dark wave, psych rock and post punk in an edgy, genre-bending fashion.

Their latest single, the LCD Soundsystem from hell meets No Wave-like “GFH” is centered around swirling synths, wobbling disco-like bass lines, driving four-on-the-floor, copious cowbell, swirling synths and saxophone skronk paired with irony drenched baritone vocals. Underneath the dance floor rocking thump is a menace and paranoia-fueled fever dream of a tale that follows a troubled young man, who gets busted by the cops and makes a deal to reduce his sentence. The troubled young man agrees to become an undercover agent and wear a wire. During an operation, his cover is busted and he’s brutally killed. But through a weird bit of fate, he’s fittingly reincarnated as a rat.

The accompanying animated video by Anna Firth is fittingly a hallucinogenic and uneasy fever dream that follows the song’s story in an immersive fashion.

New Audio: Houston’s Victorian Death Photos Release a Brooding Single and Visual

Victorian Death Photos is a Houston-based post-punk/darkwave act that’s shrouded in a cloak of mystery: The Houston-based act features two anonymous artists, a man and a woman, who publicly go by He and She. The duo’s latest project can trace its origins back to a series of multimedia collaborations between the pair. Interestingly enough, the duo initially intended for Victorian Death Photos to be a metal album — but the best laid plans of mice and men, as 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.

Back in July, I wrote about “Radium Girls,” a song, as the duo explained was 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 harmless. But after being around and ingesting massive amounts of radium, the female factory workers wound up contracting severe radiation poisoning: the factory workers wound up with their teeth falling out, and bone deterioration in the jaw — to the point of having bones removed.

Ultimately, the track with revealed the duo’s ability to craft a rousingly anthemic hook within a song that bearded a resemblance to Garbage‘s self-titled debut and Version 2.0.

The Houston-based act ends 2021 with “Home.” Centered around glistening synth arpeggios, skittering, tweeter and woofer rocking beats and She’s yearning vocals, “Home” is simultaneously a brooding and icy bit of post-punk/darkwave seemingly inspired by early Depeche Mode and an earnest ballad expressing profound heartbreak and longing over a relationship and lover, who was confusing and dysfunctional.

Shot in a gorgeous and cinematic black and white, the recently released video for “Home” begins by following a young boy, who dreams of being an astronaut and of space exploration. In one of his dreams, he lands on an Earth-like planet, where he sees a woman digging in the sand. We see the boy as he explores a forest. The video ends with the boy being flung out into space.

New Audio: Italy’s IC2 Releases a Brooding Yet Dance Floor Friendly Single

IC2 is the darkwave/post-punk solo recording project of a rather mysterious Villa Latina, Italy-based producer, singer/songwriter and multi-instrumentalist. The emerging Italian artist’s latest single, the brooding yet dance floor friendly “Falling Down” is centered around glistening synth arpeggios, thumping electronic drums, wiry bursts of distorted guitars, crooned vocals and an enormous hook. Sonically, “Falling Down” may remind some listeners of post-punk heavyweights like Siouxsie and the Banshees, The Cure and Joy Division — as well as contemporaries like ACTORS, Bootblacks and others.

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.