Text & Photos by Darryl Reid
I was at a house show killing time before Germany’s Burial were set to play looking through some Lp’s a friend was selling, he told me to buy Anazazi’s 7inch going so far as to make the bold claim they were the best recent band he’s heard out of New York. A little research on my part later proved those claims to be accurate as fuck.
Anasazi played Ottawa sucks Vol.2 a few weeks ago. Unfortunately, Us poor souls in this region don’t get nearly enough post-punk/deathrock/goth bands rolling through, so when they do come through its a big deal: especially when it’s a band as good as Anasazi.
So what can I say about Anasazi?
Gaddamn, goddamn, goddamn: This band is even better live then recorded. Smoke machines, stobe lights, blacked out stage this is the envirment this kind of music was meant to be listened in: chaotic darkness. Anasazi take this shit seriously and it shows in their live set. In short they killed it.
Also Survival another great post punk band that shares a member with Anasazi killed it as well. Their sound in on the opasite spectrum of the Post punk sound in that minimal guitar/synth/drum machine vibe. Both these bands are killer live and I’m super jealous of anyone who gets to see them play Montreal soon.
LAKES is Sean Bailey from Melbourne, Australia, and he just released his fifth album, Blood of the Grove, via AVANT! Records. Today we are stoked to be bringing you a full stream of this rad peace punk/death rock album, certainly one of the most interesting to come out of this revitalized genre in recent years. The LAKES Blood of the Grove vinyl is all-black-everything with black wax in black paper inner sleeves and pic sleeves printed in black on the inner side. Pick up your copy HERE and stream the album in full below!
(Note: This article originally appeared, in an earlier form, at Souciant.com, here. It is reprinted with permission from the author.)
Manchester’s Warsaw changed their name in 1977 to Joy Division to avoid conflict with the punk band Warsaw Pakt. Coincidentally, that change served to mark the break between Joy Division’s punk phase and their later, better-known dark postpunk era. There is something important to this: Many bands at that time started as punk bands yet ended up becoming postpunk, deathrock, and gothic rock acts.
Although Warsaw’s output has its fans and diehard evangelists to this day, it’s the Joy Division material that garnered that band’s popularity. Easy Cure – a British punk band – became The Cure. Crisis became Death in June. The punk band The Outsiders became the postpunk band The Sound. And it goes on. But other bands have had the opposite problem: They are known for their punk material, but their later postpunk output remains neglected, or is seen (by purist punks, at least) as a kind of embarrassing deviation from punk purity, to be brushed under the rug. Rare are bands like Wire or Siouxsie and the Banshees, or Killing Joke — bands whose punk and postpunk material is accorded equal acclaim.
Well, here are five bands whose postpunk material merits reexamination. Audiophiles will be familiar with some of the releases. The material warrants broader exposure regardless.
Anasazi: A little bit Virgin Prunes and a strong helping of Southern Death Cult — add in liberal amounts of Christian Death, nuke it all in a microwave for a few minutes, and the finished result might look something like this New York City cult-punk-cum-deathrock outfit. The brainchild of urban warrior/poet/necromancer Chi Orengo, Anasazi’s discography (two 7-inch releases, two demo cassettes, and one split cassette with the band Survival) and song titles like “Horror at the Mass,” “Desecration,” “Bone Collector,” and “Mausoleum” tell the tale of Anasazi’s gloomier sonic inclinations. Recently I interviewed Chi about the band’s output and what inspires it.
NYC, of course, has been a natural hotbed of dark music since the days of Velvet Underground. Follow that lineage through to the late 70s punk and no wave scenes that produced everyone from The Cramps, to The Mad, to Lydia Lunch, to DNA, to Klaus Nomi, on through to the 80s NYC deathrock and goth scene that included bands like the Naked and the Dead, Of a Mesh, and Scarecrow (all ably documented in the excellent Dark New York compilation I reviewed earlier for CVLT Nation here), on through to current bands like Rosenkopf, and Anasazi doesn’t seem so out of place. Anasazi’s latest release is a 7-song demo on Inflammable Material.
Interview conducted by Oliver in July, 2013.
Oliver: Chi, let’s some get some basic information out of the way first for readers. How long has Anasazi been around, and who is currently in the band?
Chi: Well, Mr. Oliver, Ansazi was started in 2010 originally with the darkest rain storms and the howling of many trees. It was with myself, current geetarist, and creator Keegan and our friend Mikkey C. on bass, and Eddie from Psychic TV on drums. We jammmed awhile but that didn’t work out due to bears eating them in Jellystone Park.
2011 came around and we got new members. I got the talented Bread Barrely on drums, Jasper on bass, and Christian on synth — members of The Hunt. This began our journey. It was a perfect fit, like OJ’s glove. We started playing shows in summer 2011. Magic moons and whisps of violent ways were in hand, potions were boiled and 420 smoke in basements were in full effect. I KID! We recorded our self-titled demo in the famous weird night basement where the ghost of a lil’ girl roamed. Then Jasper and Christian passed on. RIP. Then the wonderful Haydne from Dream Affair stepped in on bass, then stepped off a ledge. Also RIP. Now we have the great Jess from Survival on bass, who is a delight and a awesome friend. AND DAT IS DE LINE UP NOW! (“SHHH” — MY MOM.)
In the world of 80′s Post Punk & Death Rock, one band created their own universe like no other. They went by the name of VIRGIN PRUNES and their live shows were dramatic beyond belief. I always loved this band because of their never-ending quest to do things that other bands were not doing at the time. Today CVLT Nation salutes VIRGIN PRUNES with a video essay that shines a light on their creative spirit!
Last year, we covered Portugal’s answer to Roadburn, Amplifest, for the first time (check out our coverage here and here). Amplifest 2013, the third edition, already has some big names on the lineup – Deafheaven, Chelsea Wolfe, Year of No Light, Uncle Acid & the Deadbeats, Aluk Todolo and Russian Circles – and this fall festival will no doubt live up to its reputation for being en “experience” more than a music festival. Taking over the town of Porto, Portugal, on October 19th & 20th, the festival will not only celebrate music but also the artists who are an integral part of this global community. Most notably in this year’s edition, one of our favorite artists will be showcasing his prints and paintings – we can’t tell you who right now, but he’s done work for some of the biggest names in doom. Last year showcased Malleus and Seldon Hunt, so you know this year will have some awesome artists as well. It’s also important for Amplifest to feature independent film and documentaries, so we can expect that there will be some excellent cinema at this year’s fest! Plus the surroundings for the gigs are stunning in a way that only a country like Portugal, with centuries of history and beautiful architecture, can present. Stay tuned for more about Amplifest in the upcoming months, and check out their promo video below plus the tour poster!
One of the best products of the contemporary underground dark punk/postpunk scene, Portland’s Bellicose Minds’ debut LP, The Spine, has been a long time coming. Although it was recorded over a year ago, in June 2012, it has slowly trickled out to the masses via mailorder and smart independent record stores that have an ear for good music. I interviewed the band almost a year ago for CVLT Nation when the only release under their belts was the excellent self-titled 2011 EP (and a demo tape); the 2011 EP had been previously reviewed by the late Kenn Kroosaficks for CVLT Nation. Bellicose Minds were one of his favorite bands, and they’re also one of mine. Although The Spine was technically released late 2012, it’s good enough to be on my own personal “Top 10″ list for 2013.
Whether you want to call it dark punk, dark postpunk, or goth-punk — and any of these terms would fit — The Spine recalls a time when bands like Vex, The Dark, and The Mob circulated freely between the punk and postpunk scenes simply because those scenes had not split apart into their own distinct worlds yet. (I’m speaking of the early 80s, when segments of the British music press referred to bands like UK Decay and Sex Gang Children as “gothic punk” and “positive punk.”) That’s the fine music and cultural line that The Spine treads – and it does so wonderfully.
The first track of the CD version of Troller‘s self-titled LP is called “Milk”; it’s nightmarishly gothic and genuinely creepy. Horror movie sound effects (or noises that remind me of horror movie sound effects) slash across a dreary landscape of synths and bass guitar, and after a slow build up Amber Ormand’s vocals – echoey, despondent, and ghostly – announce the arrival of an LP that is at turns darkwave-y, shoegaze-y, and eerily psychedelic. It’s a good and darkly atmospheric album by a younger Austin, TX band on Denton’s Handmade Birds label. (The original cassette and vinyl came out on Holodeck / Light Lodge/ Living Tapes.)
There are 10 tracks total, 4 of which are untitled dark ambient/instrumental pieces that thread together the 6 other songs with vocals, most of which have monosyllabic titles (“Tiger,” “Best,” “Milk,” “Thirst”). Although there is nothing quite as deathrock-sounding on the release as the opener, the rest of the LP is a multi-layered, lush journey through achingly sweet dark pop nostalgia (“Winter”) and early 4AD shoegaze-esque postpunk (“Best”). In fact, much of the music has a very Projekt Records “ethereal wave” vibe, a la bands like The Cranes – wails of tragedy and bliss awash in kaleidoscopic synths, vocals floating wraith-like above a melody anchored – barely – to earth by a drowsy, gloomy bassline. The Anti-Gravity Bunny blog called it “graveyard hallucination pop”. That’s not a bad description at all.
Text and photos: Darryl Reid
I show up to the show super late, France’s La Fraction are half way through their set. Before they can finish their set there is some drama – cops show up, find a bunch of punks drinking outside the venue, and fuck over Jo (half of Blue Cross and the man putting on the show).
For a moment, the night and the entire fest seem to be in peril. Fucking Pigs.
Soon as the pigs leave, La Fraction finish a killer set and Blue Cross sets up.
If you’ve been following Blue Cross you’ll know they aren’t the type to play live shows and I was curious to see how their sound translated live, since they are a two piece and use lots of drum machines and effects in their music. As mentioned elsewhere in the site, they borrowed a couple members from Asile, Pat and Joel (on Drums and Bass), to round out the band. The whole band were on point and played a blistering set.
I love this whole post punk/goth revival going on and Blue Cross are one of the best bands leading the revival. If you have the chance to see them live, do it – you won’t be disappointed.
by Oliver Sheppard
Ottawa, Canada’s goth-punk duo Blue Cross have just delivered their third full-length LP, “Conspiracy,” in under two years – a remarkable feat, considering that many bands nowadays take years to release new material. Originally a side-project of street punk band Germ Attak, Blue Cross’ music explores more mid-tempo postpunk and deathrock territory. Their sound, guided by Jess’ spectral vocals, recalls bands like the Superheroines, Madhouse, and more obscure early goth-y postpunk with female vocals like Your Funeral or Pink Military.
Chaos Rurale Records and Blue Cross’ own Bandcamp page have made “Conspiracy” available for streaming, coinciding with the physical release of the album. (Bruised Tongue is actually offering the LP on cassette!) CVLT Nation has been following Blue Cross since the beginning; the band’s debut LP, “Mass Hysteria,” was reviewed here; their second LP, “I am Death,” was reviewed here; and the band was interviewed by CVLT Nation last year here. Recently, Maximum Rock ‘n Roll also interviewed the band.
Click the graphic below to begin streaming “Conspiracy” now!