What is the most recent piece of vinyl we got that caused a spontaneous dance party in the CVLT Nation HQ? It is Belgrado’s Siglo XXI – every time we put it on our 2 1/2 can not help herself but to get her dance on! Plus, I fucking love every moment of this album myself. So when I saw that Belgrado created a visual for the song “Jeszcze Raz” I was beyond stoked! Check it out right here and now!
It seems like every band these days is related to five million other bands, and Love Interest are no different, hailing from the incestuous musical underground of Olympia, WA, and sporting members from schizoid hardcore bands GAG and White Wards as well as dark post-punkers Soft Kill. You wouldn’t guess it though, as their sound is wholly their own and seems to emanate from an entirely different time and place.
Opener ‘Narco’ is a perfect little slice of brooding fuzz pop, aching heart vocals moaning over melodic bass, spectral synthesisers and yearning guitar lines in a track that splits the difference between eighties Euro-cold wavers Asylum Party and the ethereal mess of early Weekend. It’s a melancholy earworm of a track that makes you wish John Hughes was still alive and making teen movies. Listening to it immediately spawns involuntary but welcome visions of Phoebe Cates in the Sherman Oaks Galleria food court. I can definitely picture this song being played at a pastel pink high school dance in a town that doesn’t exist.
1984 was an awesome year; my mom had just kicked me out, so I moved from L.A to S.F and lived in peace punk bliss. During this time, I really started getting into positive punk & some of my favorite voices were female. I mean, when I first listened to the Cocteau Twins, I almost lost my mind; and without question, Siouxsie and the March Violets were different drugs unto themselves. There was one band that combined everything I loved about positive punk into one sonic force, and that was Germany’s X-Mal Deutschland. Anja Huwe, the vocalist, had an ethereal but very powerful voice that carried me off to another planet. I could not understand a word she sang, but I felt every word in my blackened heart. Musically, this band had the power of Joy Division but also had the transcendental quality of floating spirits. As a 15-yr-old, I would read about their shows in England and the music press would say that live, they were otherworldly. To me, that would not be hard to believe, because even on record this band pushed the limits. Now check out this off the chain X-Mal Deutschland video essay!
I’m under the spell of these ghouls from Indianapolis WE ARE HEX and it feels great! They are the bastard children of the The Birthday Party on meth, and I mean this in a good way. The have a new 7 inch coming out on Latest Flame Records in the Spring. Honestly WE ARE HEX create songs that are highly addictive. This is why it’s an honor to be premiering their brand new video for their infectious tune “Tongues”!
Kommunity FK are one of the founding bands of what came to be known as deathrock – that particular admixture of gloomy/gothy punk rock and postpunk experimentation usually seen as a regional byproduct of the late 70s and early-to-mid-80s Southern California punk scene. Although Kommunity FK’s 1st LP, the classic Vision and the Voice, was not released until 1983, the band had been playing out since at least 1980, and can be counted among LA bands like Christian Death, 45 Grave, the Superheroines, and others as one of the flagship acts of the movement.
In a broader sense, Kommunity FK are musical and cultural cohorts of other bands from the dark post/punk scene that was just beginning in the late 70s and early 80s, a milieu that includes bands like Bauhaus, Killing Joke, Specimen, Joy Division, The Damned, and Siouxsie and the Banshees. In much the same way that The Fall or Death in June crystallized into the musical outlet of their respective lead singers, despite personnel changes, so Kommunity FK persists into the present as Mata’s vehicle for expression. His early spiky-haired look (and two early KFK songs, in fact) were inspired by Discharge, but Mata’s vocals evinced a David Bowie influence; aesthetically, the influences of Dadaism (Tristan Tzara) and Surrealism (Jean Cocteau) weighed heavily upon Kommunity FK’s look and approach, as well. They were employing tribal drumming, more sophisticated and experimental tempos, and more poetic and introspective lyrics at a time when the punk counterculture largely demanded uptempo, political three-chord thrash from its bands. (In fact, 35 years on into the punk scene, many punks still insist on this, and nothing but this!)
Often compared to “Queen of Siam” or “13.13″-era Lydia Lunch, San Antonio, Texas’s Guilty Strangers appeared on CVLTNation’s “Deathrock 2013 Mixtape, Part 2″ earlier this year. Their 2012 “Oracle” LP evinced a mix of no-wave, deathrock, and postpunk along the lines of bands like Lung Overcoat, Executive Slacks, 45 Grave, and even Lene Lovich.
They will be playing a rare free show this Friday, December 20th, in Austin, TX at Funeral Parade, which is Austin’s only monthly deathrock event. (Show info at that link.)
Musically, Guilty Strangers’ approach is one of attacking the dark side of rock by taking the course that bands like the (early) Sisters of Mercy and Killing Joke did: They employ a traditional 4 piece outfit — that is, a live drummer and live guitarists — but come at the music by oblique and unexpected angles: Slashing, trebly guitars meet tribal drum patterns and strange, Sex Gang Children-esque basslines, all brought to the fore via singer Christine Terry’s classic deathrock-sounding vocals — which, again, recall very much the early 80s material of Lydia Lunch and even Dinah Cancer. Their covers of Killing Joke and Christian Death are only partly an homage to the tradition to which they belong.
I recently interviewed Guilty Strangers, below.
by Oliver Sheppard
It was a hard field to narrow down to only 6, but here’s my take on the Top 6 deathrock/goth-punk/etc releases for 2013. At the end of the list are further releases that could have easily rounded out a Top 10 or Top 20 (CVLT Nation prefers to do “Top 6″ lists, so that’s the format I’m following; see the end of the piece, however, for other releases that merit attention!).
As I mentioned in my Top 6 from last year, the term “deathrock” can inspire endless debate, both online and off. The strictest, least forgiving, and most pedantic definition of the term would be that it was a dark punk and postpunk phenomenon that lasted from 1979 until about 1986 or 1987, and was primarily local to Los Angeles — or the US southwest in general, including California (Burning Image were from Bakersfield; Shadow Image were from San Francisco), Nevada (Theatre of Ice), and Arizona (Mighty Sphincter, The Consumers). And yet for many later bands, like Cinema Strange, and current bands, like Christ vs Warhol, Los Carniceros del Norte, or Las Gorgonas, there is simply no other genre tag that fits, although increasingly terms like “goth-punk” and “dark punk” are used. Parallel regional music phenomena — Spain’s “Siniestro” music (Paralasis Permanente), Germany’s “Depro-Punk” (EA80), Japan’s “Positive Punk” (Auto-Mod and Phaidia), “French Coldwave” (Siglo XX and Clair Obscur), the East Coast’s horror punk (The Cramps and Misfits), England’s “positive punk”/gothic rock (UK Decay, Sex Gang Children), etc. — developed in tandem, but for simplicity’s sake I’m just referring to all this current interrelated material under one catch-all rubric. (I’ve even seen the phrase “dark neo-postpunk” bandied about. Arrrrgh!!)
HERE THEY ARE, IN NO PARTICULAR ORDER:
Written by Dave Garcia
The diy punk movement has produced many great offerings in music, but none quite so memorable as Barcelona post-punkers Belgrado. Their sophomore offering Siglo XXI is the equivalent of the aftermath of an improvised explosive devise. This isn’t music for a harrowing journey; it’s instead a reminder of survival and the affliction that follows.
Siglo XXI lacks the frenetic abrasiveness of the band’s self-titled debut, but this isn’t a complaint. The music is tightly produced, slightly progressive and is teeming with the kinetic energy of an oncoming blizzard. You will be forced to move from the start as I was when the guitars started screeching in opening track “Sombra De La Cruz.”
All Photos from Now This Is Gothic
Under the grey skies of San Francisco in 1984, I watched as peace punk took on a Gothic vibe. During this era, we all loved what was happening in our own city, plus all of the bands that were coming out of the UK. Me and my homie Gary would spend hours at Rough Trade looking through their import section and I will never forget the day I took home the first 7 inch from The Jesus and the Mary Chain. Then there were the nights were we would blast Death Cult as loud as we could could and sing along. What we all loved about these two movements joining forces was that we could express ourselves even more through our fashion. Today CVLT Nation would like to celebrate the 80′s goth scene with a huge photo essay, plus live footage/videos from March Violets, Play Dead & Red Lorry Yellow Lorry.
Photo via Impose Magazine
We recently reviewed Dreadlords‘ awesome demo tape, and if you haven’t checked it out yet, definitely go do so. It’s a stunning collection of apocalyptic delta blues infused with the menace and spirit of black metal, and it fucking rules. Here’s a new video of Dreadlords carrying on the age-old tradition of storytelling blues with a haunting murder ballad about slitting your parents’ throats, setting churches ablaze, desecrating graves and nailing Jesus’ ass to a tree. ‘Born Into The Arms’ was filmed at the Union Pool in Brooklyn as part of the CMJ 2013 Fest – in stark black and white, no less – and proves that when you’re this good, you can rock nothing more than a banjo, a two-piece drum and a microphone and create some truly unsettling shit.