Dissonant buzzsaw guitar that manages to be hypnotically soothing and psychotically unnerving at the same time is the first thing you hear on ‘Exil’, the first track on Ottawa post-punkers Aube‘s new demo, and it’s a perfect indicator for the mess of contradictions that is the record to follow. Screeching, bone-rattling feedback leads in and out of almost every track, and a menacing layer of discordant overtones trails through the air of each song, making sure you can never get fully comfortable, even when the occasionally completely crushing, heart-achingly poignant melody breaks through. It’s like blazing sunlight breaking through acid rain cloud cover over a miserable marshland. It’s beautiful and transcendent, but don’t forget you’re still standing in a dirty swamp getting acid-rained on.
CVLT Nation is stoked to be a part of the second Under the Spell this Sunday, March 9th at The Electric Owl in Vancouver! CVLT Nation’s co-founder Sean will be DJing a rad mix of deathrock and post punk alongside DJs Profundis Nacht’s collection of neofolk, dark ambient and experimental, and live bands Funerary Call and Night Profound. Shawn Haché of Mitochondrion & Vanessa Dandurand of The Ballentynes are the brains behind Under the Spell, and he is planning big things for this event series, which includes two live bands along with two guest DJs every second Sunday. Make sure you’re there this Sunday by getting your advance tickets here for $5 or for $10 at the door!
Well, we’re two years into these Deathrock mixtapes, and the fascination that dark postpunk and deathrock continues to hold over the punk scene continues unabated, even if many punker-than-thou bands refuse to acknowledge their own new swing into gothic territory, proud as some would-be tastemakers are. The punk scene’s dipping into the waters of this tradition is producing, to me, some of the best new music around these days. And the best of that is represented in the mixtape below.
Label: Rust and Machine Records
Jittery, up-tempo post punk is the name of the game on this new release from Melbourne, Australia band Masses. Horde Mentality is packed full of skittering rhythms, propulsive basslines and subtly melodic guitar-work, with a slight trashy garage rock vibe and a melancholic dark wave sheen emphasized by the gloomy, reverb-dripping production provided by the almighty Phil Calvert of The Birthday Party.
If you are an avid reader of CVLT Nation, then you know we are crazed SIOUXSIE and THE BANSHEES fans. It has been said that their greatest period as a band was when they had John McGeoch on guitar, and I agree for the most part. Many people don’t know, but he was the force behind some of SIOUXSIE and THE BANSHEES’ biggest hits. Anyway, check this out: a full set from 1981 of one of the raddest bands in the world… I will always regret not going to see them at the Santa Monica Civic, but it’s my fault for being a little hardcore kid (my bad). RIP John McGeoch…
El Paso D.I.Y. Borderland Massacre Fest ‘14
Punk culture is known to be very independent from what any other “big band” is trying to get: fame, money, contracts, awards. Cities like New York, Los Angeles, Austin, Boston, Philadelphia, etc., are known for their big festivals, most of them full of young punk bands from all across the country, but what’s happening in the desert? What do the people from West Texas do? Are there any punks? Any D.I.Y. Culture? El Paso has been considered “the pass” for many touring bands for years; people are used to going out of town to see bands. But if we talk about underground art and music, El Paso is becoming one of the most important cities in Texas. El Paso has now established itself as the homebase for D.I.Y. underground shows as the host of Borderland Massacre Fest since 2013. The struggle to get bands to come down and play in this humble city has vanished, there is actually a very solid network of bands in the crust/thrash/punk/grind/hardcore genres that has been developing as local bands from El Paso meet bands on the road.
First off: Buy this comp. If you care at all about the history of postpunk or gothy guitar music since the late 1970s punk explosion, you should own this.
Sacred Bones’ new “Killed by Deathrock, Volume 1” anthology collects, Nuggets-style, some of the less well-known dark postpunk, gothic rock, and deathrock bands from the 1980s. Although the internet and mp3 filesharing have dramatically changed what’s thought of as “obscure,” it’s fair to say that in the big scheme of things, the bands that Sacred Bones have collected here are indeed gathered from the more obscure recesses of deathrock’s history.
Oh, are there other deathrock comps that you’ve listened to? Of course there are. But herein, my ghouls and ghosts, is why this one is especially good.
by Oliver Sheppard
Portland’s Arctic Flowers will have a digital release of their long-awaited second LP soon, with a proper vinyl release following some time in the Spring. In the meantime, the new “Weaver” LP is available here at CVLT Nation for streaming.
After last year’s excellent “Procession” EP, an EP that showcased the Flowers’ talent for combining the tradition of anarcho/peace punk with a postpunk sensibility, the new “Weaver” LP (on Deranged Records – who are on a roll lately) continues in much the same vein. The first side kicks off with the energetic track “Magdalene” and the pace doesn’t let up too much from there, culminating in the barnstorming track “Anamnesis,” which employs a riff that reminds me of a Rudimentary Peni track (specifically, “The Evil Clergyman” off RP’s “Cacophony“). But it’s Side 2 that contains my favorite tracks off this new release. The second side kicks off with the memorable track “Byzantine”; guitarist Stan Wright lays down a chunky, Killing Joke-esque riff (think of that band’s song “Tension” mixed with “The Wait”), complemented by frontwoman Alex’s vocals, which recall the classic goth-punk of bands like Rubella Ballet and Lost Cherrees. The following title track, “Weaver,” is another winner – just a great mid-tempo punk rocker that, in true Arctic Flowers fashion, blurs the boundaries between classic punk, postpunk, and early gothic rock. Indeed, in an interview I did with Arctic Flowers almost two years ago, founder and guitarist Stan Wright stated, “Our sound is a mix of punk, deathrock, post punk, and goth. Aggressive but at times danceable and melodic.”
Since the 80′s, I have been a fan of Death Rock and I have never stopped digging the dark, rolling baselines of this genre! I’m also a huge fan of all of the young bands that have embraced the Bat Cave vibe and turned it into something all their own. Which is just the case with Olympia’s TRANSFIX, and their new self-titled album out now on Dutch Tilt Records is a gem. Over 12 catchy, dirged-out tunes this band will have you hooked, and you will realize that Death Rock is alive and well. CVLT Nation has been given the honor of streaming the new TRANSFIX song “Bad Trip” below…Also check out the videos for “Like A Glove” & “New Fix”…Congrats to TRANSFIX for creating an outstanding record that will be here for generations to come…Despair never sounded so good!
Criminal Code from Tacoma, Washington, play an anthemic, sneakingly melodic mixture of post-punk and post-hardcore. Formed in 2011, they’ve just released their debut LP No Device on Deranged Records, a welcome shot in the vein (or kick in the teeth) to an increasingly ethereal genre.
No Device harkens back to the raw, stripped down and primal intensity that characterised the early days of post punk, back when it was still considered just punk, only punk that was a little off and slightly more unsettling than usual. Criminal Code straight rip and rock with an urgency and rabid junkie unpredictability that was traded in long ago when post punk started investing wholeheartedly in synthesisers and chorus pedal collections and diverting down broodier pathways to goth and whatever-wave.