Tag: darkwave

New Video: Golem Dance Cult Shares an Anthemic Ripper

Split between France and England, the emerging, self-described “industrial heavy rock dance” duo Golem Dance Cult features longtime friends and experienced musicians: producer, multi-instrumentalist and vocalist Charles Why, who has played in Lotsa Noise, Nexus and L-Dopa and vocalist Laur, who has played in Sparkling BombsKevin K Band, Vague Scare and Other-ed. In many ways, Golem Dance Cult can trace its origins back to when its members were teenagers, playing in their first band together, a band in which Laur played drums.

During most of the band’s short run together, the duo have written and worked on material remotely, as a result of the distance between the pair and because of pandemic-related restrictions. But their work is structured around a couple of simple, agreed-upon parameters:

  • They had to work spontaneously, with each member following their instincts.
  • Mistakes should be expanded upon.

What the duo eventually settled on was a rock-inspired approach with electronic production but without the formal structure — or strictures — of either genre.

Back in 2021, the duo released their debut EP Grotesque Radio, which featured the Bauhaus-like “Nosferatu Waltz,” a goth/horror track with a playful nod to Tchaikovsky’s The Nutcracker. The duo start off the year with “Dalek Rhetoric,” a song which derives its title from the Dalek in Dr. Who. As the band explains: “Dalek are extraterrestrial killing machines with a binary thinking pattern: you are either a Dalek or they were will destroy you. This seems fitting with the mentality of the world we live in.”

Centered around buzzing power chords, thunderous drumming, rousingly anthemic hooks and arena rock bombast, “Dalek Rhetoric” manages to bring White Zombie and others to mind — with a nasty, gritty edge.

The accompanying video features footage of the band performing the song in desolate and forgotten places paired with edited footage of the Dalek in Doctor Who, reels of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, which the band has dubbed another Dalek-like move, and edited footage from Phantom from Space, Plan 9 From Outer Space. Max Schreck’s Nosferatu and Bela Lugosi’s Dracula also make return cameos — because, of course.

Golem Death Cult’s sophomore album Legend of the Bleeding Heart is slated for release this year.

New Audio: Stockholm’s Me & Melancholy Shares a Brooding Banger

Peter Ehrling is a Stockholm-based electronic music producer, musician and creative mastermind behind the solo electro pop recording project Me & Melancholy. Inspired by Depeche Mode, New Order, Camouflage, and Swedish synth acts like The Mobile Homes and Elegant Machinery, Me & Melancholy focuses on melancholy synth pop that blends retro and contemporary sounds to create a nostalgically upbeat yet introspective vibe.

Since starting the project last year, Ehrling has been rather prolific: he has released three singles, an EP and his full-length debut, You and me, Melancholy.

“I let you down (Dark Version)” is a brooding bit of goth-meets-industrial synth pop centered around tweeter and woofer rattling thump, glistening synths and guitar paired with Ehrling’s plaintive delivery and enormous hooks. Sonically, the song brings Violator-era Depeche Mode while rooted in self-flagellation, disgust, despair and heartache.

Ehrling explains that “I let you down (Dark Version)” is a complete and thorough remake of the the original, which appears on You and me, Melancholy.

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. 

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!”