Tag: Siouxsie and the Banshees

Formed back in 2016, the Asheville, NC-based goth/post-punk act Secret Shame — Lena (vocals), Nathan (drums), Nikki (guitar), Matthew (bass) and Billie (guitar) — can trace their origins to all of its members feeling a desperate need 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 a dark and atmospheric sound paired with lyrics that thematically touch upon issues of domestic abuse, mental health, political and social dissatisfaction and frustration. 

Interestingly, their full-length debut, Dark Synthetics is slated for a September 6, 2019 release through Portrayal of Guilt Records, and as you may recall, earlier this month, I wrote about the enormous Siouxsie and the Banshees and 4AD Records-like album single “Calm.” Building upon the buzz Dark Synthetics has begun to amass, the album’s latest single “Gift” is breakneck gallop of a song that will further establish their early 80s post-punk sound — in particular, the aforementioned Siouxsie and the Banshees, but the new single also subtly nods at Crocodiles and Heaven Up Here-era Echo and the Bunnymen, as the song is centered around shimmering and reverb-drenched guitars, rapid-fire drumming, enormous hooks and Lena’s plaintive vocals desperately cutting through the brooding instrumentation.

The members of Secret Shame will be embarking on a short East Coast tour to support their full-length debut and it includes a September 13, 2019 stop at The Broadway. What could be better than listening to moody post-punk on Friday the 13th? Check out the tour dates below.

Tour Dates

 

9/07 – Raleigh, NC @ Hopscotch Music Festival
9/08 – Richmond, VA @ Hypercube
9/09 – Baltimore, MD @ Ottobar
9/11 – York, PA @ Skid Row Garage
9/13 – Brooklyn, NY @ The Broadway
9/15 – Greensboro, NC @ New York Pizza
9/16 – Asheville, NC @ The Mothlight
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Formed back in 2016, the Asheville, NC-based goth/post-punk act Secret Shame — Lena (vocals), Nathan (drums), Nikki (guitar), Matthew (bass) and Billie (guitar) — can trace their origins to all of its members feeling a desperate need 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 a dark and atmospheric sound paired with lyrics that thematically touch upon issues of domestic abuse, mental health, political and social dissatisfaction and frustration. 

Interestingly, their full-length debut, Dark Synthetics is slated for a September 6, 2019 release through Portrayal of Guilt Records, and from the album’s latest single “Calm” the band will further establish their sound — an enormous reverb-heavy sound that draws from Siouxsie and the Banshees and 4AD Records: shimmering and angular guitars, a sinuous bass line, driving rhythms, razor sharp hooks paired with Lena’s voice slashing and cutting through the moody haze.  Underpinning it all is an emotional urgency — the sort that comes from lived-in experience.

“There’s not a single word I didn’t write from the pit of my stomach,” Lena says. “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.”

 

 

Formed back in 2010, the acclaimed Baltimore-based dream pop act Lower Dens can trace its origins to when its primary songwriter and founding member Jana Hunter had grown tired of touring and decided to take a hiatus. For what was supposed to be their final tour as a solo artist, Hunter recruited a backing band which featured Geoff Graham, Abram Sanders and Will Adams. Finding that playing with a band was much more enjoyable to them than playing as a solo artist, helped Hunter form Lower Dens. “During that tour, I realized that it wasn’t the touring life that I hated, but more so that the kind of music I wrote as a solo artist wasn’t something I felt entirely comfortable sharing in performance setting. Lower Dens then was the eventual result of the decision to make music with the specific intention of sharing and enjoying it with others,” Hunter said at the time.

Lower Dens’ full-length debut, Twin Hand Movement was released to critical praise from the likes of Pitchfork, who compared Hunter’s vocals to those of PJ Harvey and Beach House’s Victoria Legrand and Dusted Magazine, who praised the album’s lyrics for being “delivered without irony, yet self-aware enough to appreciate the obviousness.” While touring to support Twin Hand Movement, the band began writing on the road — but the limitations of writing on the road forced Hunter to work through a laptop and keyboard rather than a guitar, which lead to an increasing presence of synths on what would become their sophomore album Nootropics.

After they completed their tour, the band chose to record their sophomore album at The Key Club Recording Company in Benton Harbor, MI.  Hunter cited the studio’s remote location as an imperative part of the writing and recording process. Geoff Graham added that the amount of time spent in the studio allowed them to add extra dimensions to the material to make it lusher and thicker. Largely influenced by Kraftwerk‘s Radioactivity, Fripp and Eno and David Bowie‘s production on Iggy Pop‘s The IdiotNootropics was released to critical praise from the likes of PitchforkRolling Stone and Spin

Building upon a growing profile, Lower Dens opened for Beach House and indie rock legends Yo La Tengo at the Baltimore stop of the legendary act’s  2013 Fade tour. And the following month, they released “Non Grata” on a split 7″ with Baltimore-based band Horse Lords, an effort that was released as part of the Famous Class LAMC series, which benefited VH1’s Save The Music Foundation

2015 saw the release of the band’s third album Escape from Evil, which continued a run of critically applauded albums. Since then the band has gone through a series of lineup changes — with the band now being a duo featuring its founding member and primary songwriter Jana Hunter and Nate Nelson. And during that period, the members of Lower Dens had been working on their highly-anticipated follow up to Escape from Evil, The Competition.

Slated for a September 6, 2019 release through their longtime label home Ribbon Music, and the album is reportedly a pop album with an emotionally and politically urgent concept at its core. Competition, by design is the driving force of modern capitalism and the title is Hunnter’s term for a socio-psychological phenomenon that competition generates — a kind of psychosis that accelerates and amplifies our insecurities and anxieties to the point of overload. And as a result our intimacies, our communities and even our senses of self are corroded and distorted. “The issues that have shaped my life, for better or for worse, have to do with coming from a family and a culture that totally bought into this competitive mindset.  I was wild and in a lot of pain as a kid; home life was very bleak, and pop songs were a guaranteed escape to a mental space where beauty, wonder, and love were possible. I wanted to write songs that might have the potential to do that.”

Interestingly, The Competition‘s third and latest single is the atmospheric and slow-burning synth pop “Galapagos.” Centered around shimmering and arpeggiated synths, a motorik-like groove, a soaring hook, four-on-the-floor drumming and Hunter’s achingly tender vocals, the song evokes an unfulfilled and plaintive longing while sonically recalling Kate Bush and Siouxsie and the Banshees. And it may arguably be one of the most cinematic-leaning songs the act has released to date.

The members of Lower Dens recently announced that they’ll be hitting the road to support their new album. They’ll be opening for Of Monsters And Men for most of the tour with the exception of a three special album releases shows in Los Angeles and Baltimore. The tour will include a September 5, 2019 stop at Radio City Music Hall. Check out the rest of the tour dates below.

 

Tour dates – all dates opening for Of Monsters And Men except where noted:
08/31/19 Baltimore, MD @ Rituals *

09/01/19 Baltimore, MD @ Rituals *

09/04/19 Washington, DC @ The Anthem

09/05/19 New York, NY @ Radio City Music Hall

09/08/19 Boston, MA @ Rockland Trust Bank Pavilion

09/10/19 Philadelphia, PA @ Metropolitan Opera House

09/11/19 Toronto, ON @ Budweiser Stage

09/13/19 Chicago, IL @ Aragon Ballroom

09/14/19 Minneapolis, MN @ Surly Brewing Festival Field

09/16/18 Denver, CO @ The Mission Ballroom

09/17/19 Ogden, UT @ Ogden Twilight

09/19/19 Santa Barbara, CA @ Santa Barbara Bowl

09/20/19 Los Angeles, CA @ Lodge Room *

09/22/19 Los Angeles, CA @ Hollywood Palladium

09/24/19 Oakland, CA @ Fox Theater

09/26/19 Seattle, WA @ WaMu Theater

09/27/19 Troutdale, OR @ McMenamins Edgefield

09/28/19 Vancouver, BC @ Doug Mitchell Thunderbird Sports Centre

10/19/19 Maspeth, NY @ Pitchfork Octfest ^

11/01/19 Houston, TX @ Axelrad Beer Garden *

11/02/19 Mexico City, MX @ RadioBosque Festival ^

* Lower Dens headline show

^ without Of Monsters And Men

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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Over the past couple of years, I’ve written quite a bit about Holy Wars, led by Connecticut-born, Los Angeles, CA-based singer/songwriter Kat Leon. And as you may recall, Leon initially developed a reputation for writing material that focused largely on her obsessions with death and the occult as one-half of the Los Angeles-based electro pop act Sad Robot. Leon’s Holy Wars debut Mother Father was influenced by some of the darkest days of her life: she was reeling from the sudden and tragic deaths of her mother and father, who both died within months of each other.

Building upon the attention she received across the blogosphere and this site with Mother Father, Leon released the Hunter Burgan-produced, arena rock friendly Nine Inch Nails, Garbage and Siouxsie and the Banshees-like “Born Dark” last year. Interestingly, the track found going back to her literal roots, as she explored the very moment of her birth, with the recognition that she may have always been a bad seed. Leon’s latest single “Legend” continues a run of rousingly anthemic material. Centered around Leon’s sultry, pop belter vocals, enormous arena rock power chords and an even larger hook. And while the song is delivered with a larger-than-life swagger that recalls Evanesence and Queen, the track is rooted in a heart-on-sleeve earnestness. But at its core, the song is about triumphing over darkness and uncertainty.

 

 

 

 

 

Featuring Tête‘s and Black Flamingo‘s Ammo Bankoff (vocals, bass), War Tapes‘ and Rituals’ Neil Popkin (guitar), Popkin’s War Tapes bandmate Matt Bennett (guitar) and Magic Wands‘ Pablo Amador (drums), the Los Angeles-based act Brass Box can trace their origins back to around 2006 when Bankoff booked Popkin’s first Los Angeles area show along with one of her earlier bands. And as the story goes, the duo frequently ran into each other at local galleries and warehouse shows, occasionally exchanging ideas; in fact, in press notes Popkin recalls being drawn to Bankoff’s early projects and artistic vision but the two were also frequently preoccupied by their own individual creative pursuits, making working together difficult for a number of years. 

Interestingly, a chance encounter with Popkin inspired Bankoff to share some early demos and the duo quickly realized they were more creatively like-minded than they thought. They then recruited Bennett and Amador to complete the band’s lineup and to further flesh out the band’s sound.

The band’s first singles received praise from a number of renowned publications including Post-Punk, who described their sound as “. . . a surreal reverie [having] the sonic texture of crushed velvet imbued with the lingering scent of burnt incense and clove cigarettes circa October of 1993,” and LA Record who noted the band as “. . . dedicated to making the kind of music that should soundtrack a sand-dune-to-shoreline road movie by David Lynch.” Building upon a growing profile, the band will be releasing their full-length debut The Cathedral on April 5, 2019 through Dune Alter Records.

“Bats,” the moody new single off the band’s forthcoming debut is centered around a towering, wall of sound-like sound, featuring layers of feedback and distortion pedal-fed power chords, thundering and dramatic drumming and Bankoff’s ethereal and plaintive wailing — and while evoking the sensation of being lost at sea, during a massive storm and being tossed about by the waves, the track reminds me a bit of Heaven Up Here and Ocean Rain-era Echo and the Bunnymen and Siouxsie and the Banshees, but with a cinematic flair.

 

 

New Video: Former Keep Shelly in Athens Frontwoman Releases a Sensual Take on 4AD Records-era Synth Pop

Perhaps best known as one-half of the internaitonally acclaimed electronic music production and electronic music artist duo Keep Shelly in Athens, the Athens, Greece-based artist and activist Sarah P. released a critically applauded full-length debut album Who Am I back in 2017. Interestingly, the vocalist who has collaborated with Sasha, Mmoths, The New Division, Plastic Flowers, Holly, Hiras, The Bilinda Butchers and a lengthy list of others is releasing the much-anticipated follow up to Who Am I, the Maenads EP, a collection of songs to celebrate both feminine power (particularly its magic, strength and imperfect perfection) and the artist’s Greek heritage. 

Maenads’ latest single, the atmospheric and moody “Lotus Eaters” features four-on-the-floor drumming, shimming synths, a propulsive and sinuous bass line paired with Sarah P.’s ethereal crooning. In some way, sonically speaking the song will bring to mind Siouxsie and the Banshees, The Cure, Kate Bush and the early 80s 4AD Records roster while arguably being the most sensual song I’ve come across within the early part of this year. 

Filmed by George Geranios and featuring a concept by Sarah P., the cinematically shot visuals for “Lotus Eaters” stars a gorgeous collection of women appearing in some surreal and dreamlike scenarios. 

New Video: JOVM Mainstays Holy Wars Release a Socially Conscious, Horror Film Inspired Visual for “Born Dark”

Last year, I had written quite a bit about Holy Wars, led by Connecticut-born, Los Angeles, CA-based singer/songwriter Kat Leon, and as you may recall, Leon initially developed a reputation for writing material that focused largely on her obsessions with death and the occult as one-half the of the Los Angeles-based electro pop act Sad Robot. Leon’s critically applauded Holy Wars debut Mother Father was influenced by some of the darkest days of her life — when she was reeling from the sudden losses of her mother and father, who both died within months of each other. Building upon the attention she received here and elsewhere with Mother Father, Leon’s latest Holy Wars single “Born Dark” was produced by AFI’s Hunter Burgan, and while arguably being among the slickest produced singles she’s released, the arena rock friendly, hook-driven track is centered by propulsive tribal drumming, buzzing power chords and Leon’s pop star-like powerhouse vocals — and sonically the song manages to nod at Nine Inch Nails, Garbage and Siouxsie and the Banshees in a self-assured and ambitious fashion.

The track reportedly finds Leon going back to her roots — literally — as she explores the very moment of her birth, with the possibility that she may have been a bit of a bad seed, if not devilish, complete with a “don’t give a single fuck” swagger. Interestingly, the recently released video, directed by Kat Leon and Mel Hummel stars Leon as a murderous femme fatale/Barbie doll-type, pointing at the unrealistic representations of what women are supposed to be, act and look.

As Leon explains in press notes, “Growing up, little girls were given fashion dolls to play with as an expectation of what ‘women’ were supposed to look like and act like. It was an unrealistic representation of what we actually are and early on there were no variety to these dolls. There were no gothic or ‘darker’ dolls for years, or gender bending or anything other than what that skinny, blonde bubbly doll represented… the subtle brainwashing of our society. ‘Born Dark’ starts with the original pageant beauty queen doll but this doll carries a dark secret… she is a seductive killer with a thirst for blood. It all starts where the crown is given to another doll and our Born Dark Beauty grabs her first kill for the crown. The journey continues with each character introduced furthering the story of just how dark this doll is. Playing on the dark nature of the song, we decided to go with an overall moody, edgy and vintage vibe for the video starting with the French foreign film introduction to the song. The music video blends the reality between doll vs. human with foreshadowing and FX where the audience is left to question what is real and who is the true ‘character’ in this thriller. The murders are shown in a way where you aren’t sure of just who exactly the true killer is. Is the doll a figment of Kat’s imagination or the other way around?”

 

Last year, I had written quite a bit about Holy Wars, led by Connecticut-born, Los Angeles, CA-based singer/songwriter Kat Leon, and as you may recall, Leon initially developed a reputation for writing material that focused largely on her obsessions with death and the occult as one-half the of the Los Angeles-based electro pop act Sad Robot. Leon’s critically applauded Holy Wars debut Mother Father was influenced by some of the darkest days of her life — when she was reeling from the sudden losses of her mother and father, who both died within months of each other. Building upon the attention she received here and elsewhere with Mother Father, Leon’s latest Holy Wars single “Born Dark” was produced by AFI’s Hunter Burgan, and while arguably being among the slickest produced singles she’s released, the arena rock friendly, hook-driven track is centered by propulsive tribal drumming, buzzing power chords and Leon’s pop star-like powerhouse vocals — and sonically the song manages to nod at Nine Inch Nails, Garbage and Siouxsie and the Banshees in a self-assured and ambitious fashion.

Interestingly, the track reportedly finds Leon going back to her roots — literally — as she explores the very moment of her birth, with the possibility that she may have been a bit of a bad seed, if not devilish, complete with a “don’t give a single fuck” swagger.