Text and Photos: Andy Social Photography
Barely drinkable draft, studded leathers and ear-splitting decible levels… Distort Fest Volume 8 was everything a punk fest should be. After a late start the crowd was thirsty for more than booze when opening act Absurdist hit the stage, and shit got gnarly fast. Short sets were the order of the night and before I knew it, Rapid Loss was closing out the show with more fury than a wolverine on bath salts. It would be impossible to name any one band as a highlight, they were all rad and put on one hell of a show. I didn’t make it to the after show show because I had to move the next day, but if it was anywhere near as good as the show at Iron Road Studio I totally missed out. Unfortunately night two didn’t go down as expected… Some douche nozzle broke a car window near the venue which brought in all kinds of unwanted attention. By the time I got to the show the place was shut down and everyone was scattering with no clear idea where the show would be moved to. After hearing a few different possibilities I decided to grab a sixer and go home. Weak, I know. Here are my shots from night number one, check em out! My buddy Ted Reckoning did the work for night three and he’s awesome so check out his shots too (stay tuned for those on CVLT Nation…).
Italy’s Dystopian Society, like Germany’s Tanzkommando Untergang, employ imagery and use a name that might make one think they were a political thrash band. But — wait just a minute! Although the band do have a strong sense of political ethics, they’re like New Model Army and Rubella Ballet in that they couple social observations with a compellingly gloomy postpunk sound.
They will be playing along with The Mob and UK Decay at this year’s Drop Dead Fest, on November 3rd, in Berlin, Germany. (Info below.)
Dystopian Society’s new LP, Cages, is much in line with this. It is basically a political deathrock LP — if such a thing could be permitted to exist under the heavens — much like Christ vs Warhol’s excellent Dissent LP married the sounds of postpunk and deathrock with astute political observations, including an anti-Tea Party song in the latter’s case!
Dystopian Society were originally interviewed by Oliver in May, 2012.
The late Kenn Kroosaficks accorded the 2011 self-titled Bellicose Minds EP one of “the top positive punk/deathrock” releases of 2011, here on CVLT Nation. Although Kenn passed away in February of this year — at the premature age of 20 — his taste in music was (and is) spot on. Portland’s Bellicose Minds have announced a new LP, The Spine, due out soon. This interview is dedicated to Kenn.
Bellicose Minds are one of the best dark postpunk bands around today.
Interview conducted by Oliver in August 2012.
by Oliver Sheppard
The best description I’ve heard of Bitter Fruit’s sound is “Andi Sex Gang singing for early Christian Death.” The band’s own Facebook page describes them as “grungey deathrock,” which is not inaccurate, considering the garage-punk vibes given off by the band’s high energy 6-song demo, “It Gets Bitter.” Bitter Fruit claim influences from turn-of-the-century Bay Area deathrockers like The Phantom Limbs, Subtonix, and Black Ice — among some surprising others. (In fact, their demo was mixed by Skot Brown of the Phantom Limbs/Black Ice.) There is an infectious, distortion-drenched, garage punk spin put on this sound, however. Singer Jack Bradley’s sneering, creepy vocals make Bitter Fruit standout.
I really like Internal Autonomy. This dark British punk band began around 1986 as the original wave of anarcho-punk was receding. The band continued to release records into the early 1990s and within the past few years the band’s two core members, Al and Nix, have gotten back together with a host of new material and covers of bands like Rudimentary Peni and Alternative. The band play a mix of anarcho-punk and gothy postpunk that reminds at turns of Siouxsie and the Banshees, Rubella Ballet, and Blood and Roses. Nix’s vocals can vary between sounding like Siouxsie Sioux, Eva O. of the Superheroines, and Anja Huwe of Xmal Deutschland. For all that, however, the band maintains a revolutionary, DIY punk spirit and approach. Internal Autonomy should be much better known than they are, and this interview is one small step towards remedying that.
Below, I got to ask Al and Nix what bands inspired them, what they think about filesharing and how it has impacted DIY/punk culture, as well as the anarchist philosophy that motivates them, and other things. Enjoy.
Internal Autonomy interviewed by Oliver in August, 2012.
Oliver: To get some basic information out of the way, when did you all start, what town was this in, and who was in the band then (1980s) versus now? And also, what instruments do they play?
Nix: IA really arose out of another band Al was part of. Al and I met at a gig in Frimley – where I was selling “Infection” zines with the writer, my other half at the time. Al came up and asked if he’d do a review in the zine. We became friends and one day Al rang and asked if I’d like to sing in the band – so I had a go… still do – lol. We began recording on an old karaoke machine, in Al’s room in Camberley, which swiftly morphed into a recording studio. Who is in the band??? Anyone. That’s always been the objective, which is why there have been so many varied and talented people passing through and leaving their mark. But, for the most part it has been Al and I as the driving forces. Drum and voice – rhythm and harmony?
Ottawa, Canada’s Blue Cross have incredibly just released their second LP, I Am Death — incredible because many bands nowadays wait years between releases, and this is Blue Cross’s second LP in just over 7 months. The LP is out on Noxious Noize! Records, a small label operating out of New Orleans, and it continues the band’s predilection for playing “old school”-sounding (a term I have a problem with) gothy postpunk.
The new LP is an important, flagship example of the newer deathrock being made by dark bands from the punk scene. Along with the recent announcements by Varning Montreal Fest 6 of a lineup that features Belgrado, Bellicose Minds, The Spectres, Crimson Scarlet, and Dekoder, and a European Dropdead Festival that will feature The Mob, UK Decay, Tanzkommando Untergang, and Dystopian Society, I Am Death makes a strong argument for 2012 being the year of goth-punk. I Am Death is extremely well-done; it’l surely be on any serious “best of 2012″ lists.
For now and forever, Siouxsie and the Banshees will have a special place in my musical universe. Not only has this band made some of my favorite music, but they have also written words that have painted my imagination with vivid colors. As a front person, Siouxsie Sioux has always in a league all of her own. What you are about to see is a very special show from 1983 at the Royal Albert Hall by the Siouxsie and the Banshees, featuring Robert Smith of the Cure on guitar. I have seen loads of footage of this band doing their thing, and by far this the best Siouxsie concert I have ever seen. The whole band were on the same spectacular vibe the night of this gig! Take a step back in time with CVLT Nation watch the Banshees in all of their glory after the jump!
Alaric have just released their new video for their song “Weep,” which was directed and edited by Sarah R. Brady. This visual is pure majestic, raw and uncut black magic – the director gave this already stellar musical composition the perfect cinematic treatment. I know after you play the “Weep” video once, you will be playing it again no doubt. The song was taken from Alaric’s killer split with Atriarch, out now via 20 Buckspin(read the review HERE). All of the magic happens after the jump!
If you like HIM or the Birthday Massacre, you will love Blue Cross. If you like played-out, passé bands like Madhouse, Part 1, or Rubella Ballet, you won’t.
In this very special interview, during which Blue Cross guitarist Jo recounts his role in the Catholic Church child sex abuse scandal, as well as the band’s involvement in laundering Nazi gold, the tape had to be stopped a few times. Many in the room would get too choked up to continue. I realized there were repressed, Satanic daycare ritual abuse memories coming to the surface. It was intense, and I feel privileged to have been a witness to this special time. Listening to the Blue Cross story I began to understand why people watch the Lifetime Movie Network. Of course, by “tape,” I mean “email.” And by “laundering Nazi gold,” I mean “transporting Asian sex slaves.”
Blue Cross have a new LP coming out, I Am Death, on Noxious Noize. Proceeds from the sale of the LP will go towards the Mitt Romney 2012 Presidential campaign, so please support. I hope they get to tour with Cradle of Filth or Aiden very soon. I would certainly suck off my own grandfather to see that.
Interview below the jump cut. Sensitive trigger warnings abound, so please use caution.
The year was 1983, and one of my favorite bands was Southern Death Cult/Death Cult – they represented where my spirit was at that in that space & time. The lines between positive punk & peace punk were almost non-existent; we were all one tribe. Southern Death Cult waved the banner of self expression for all of us dark-minded outsiders. On the lyrical side of things, they were not too far off from Crass or Flux of Pink Indians. Musically, this band pushed their sound to spheres where punk was not going in 1983. One thing that the band was known for was their mesmerizing live shows. It’s been said that Ian Ashbury would almost have out of body experiences while performing; this might be truth or fiction. Southern Death Cult did give 200% while performing, and would always bring the house down. CVLT Nation has gathered some of our favorite live footage of this rad band for your enjoyment. So after the jump, go back in time & check out Southern Death Cult live, plus some vintage flicks.