With eight bands ranging from goth rock, to noise, to hardcore, Sacred Bones and Stereogum carved a distinctly dark niche for themselves with their showcase at this year’s Northside Festival in Brooklyn. Held at Public Assembly in Williamsburg, I went over a half hour before doors to see a massive line stretching down the block. Despite their best efforts, very few people were able to get tickets at the door, though many stuck around in vain hoping some tickets would free up. Sacred Bones/Stereogum couldn’t have found a more fitting venue for this show. Public Assembly is a dark, industrial, brick and steel venue, with two huge rooms. As I would later find out, bands would be setting up simultaneously, leading to a ridiculous crush of people shifting from room to room after each set so as not to miss anything. Hot, grimy, crowded, and noisy the crowd gathered in the main room where a DJ was playing a crushing mix of metal and punk.
The year was 1983, the kids got bored with politic and revolution bullshit. Who said punk’s dead? They did not, they revived as a new positive form. As journalist Richard North stated in a February 1983 article in NME, “So here it is: the new positive punk, with no empty promises of revolution, either in the rock n’ roll sense or the wider political sphere. Here is only a chance of self awareness, of personal revolution, of colourful perception and galvanisation of the imagination that startles the slumbering mind and body from their sloth.” The ghouls and the night creatures started to dragged themselves out of the cave, the so called ‘positive punk’ (later known as goth) bands emerged: the likes of Bauhaus, Play Dead, Siouxsie and The Banshees, UK Decay, Blood and Roses, Ausgang and many others. Pale faces, big hairs, all dressed in black: punks has never been as ghoulish as this. Check out a rad documentary about positive punk movement (based on an NME article by Richard North), features some killer old punk footages and performances, also interviews with Blood and Roses, Brigandage, Glen Matlock of Sex Pistols, Siouxsie Sioux and music journalist Jon Savage, right after the jump!
1984 was an awesome year; my mom had just kicked me out, so I moved from L.A to S.F & 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, & without question Siouxsie, plus the March Violets, were different drugs unto themselves. There was one band that combined everything I loved about positive punk into one sonic force, & that was Germany’s X-Mal Deutschland. Anja Huwe, the vocalist had this ethereal but very powerful voice that just 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 live shows that took place in England & 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. Check this out: CVLT Nation has collected one of their 1984 concerts in full – this footage is rare & is dripping with emotion and killer dance moves. So after the jump, step back in time with X-Mal Deutschland & watch this rad gig, plus peep some stellar flicks!
When I heard the word “Rostov”, well what comes in my mind is Andrei Chikatilo a.k.a The Rostov Ripper. But no, we aint gonna talk about that maniac right now. Lets move on to Rostov-on-Don, my friend just recommend me a post-punk band named УТРО (well according to google translate, its read “Utro” which means “Morning”). I couldnt find more info about this band, their lastfm page only said that УТРО is a side project of another Russian post-punk band Motorama (which is one of my fav band). Have no idea if УТРО is the ‘darker’ alter ego of Motorama, or only featured some of the members. But sure, the music is much more gloomy than Motorama, its like Motorama meets Joy Division and The Birthday Party. I cant tell more, even their website kinda freaks me out! You’ll find nothing but weird things like old shoes, fork, spoon, vintage photos, random lines, symbols and illustrations. Some of the images linked to strange videos, but if you are lucky enough to click one of the image it will self download their songs. Well check out some weirdness, right after the jump!
When I was 13, I was obsessed with punk rock; not only the bands that were around when I got into the scene in the early 80′s, but the bands that came before me & paved the way for the bands of my day. I guess you could say I was also a bit of a punk nerd, I wanted to know all about the history of punks from California all the way to the UK. That being said, I loved reading Melody Maker, Punk, Flipside plus Maximum Rock & Roll had me hooked from the first issue. In my research as a young upstart I came across this band CRISIS, they sounded like no one else I had ever heard. This bunch of British weirdos created anarcho punk before there was even the term & went on to put out some killer singles from 1979 to 1981. CRISIS’ sound totally was a product of their multicultural environment & you could also hear this in their lyrics. This band was not afraid to wear their political beliefs on their sleeves. They went all around Britian performing against racism – you have to remember, this was during the time of the National Front, which they wanted to smash. These are the kind of attributes I looked for in my punk bands & CRISIS delivered the right amount of radical angst tenfold. Then there was the music they created – this band had some of the sickest basslines, every which one they drenched in their subversive cauldron of reggae. CRISIS also were on some positive punk shit before the term was coined; I guess you could say they were just way ahead of their time. Their song structure was off kilter, but at the same time very on point. You can almost hear a cheeky sense of humor in the rhythms this band manifested. CRISIS’ vocalist was top notch; he had this I don’t give a fuck vibe, but you could also hear he was intelligent. I know I learned mad info from this band. The cool thing that happened when this band broke up was that Douglas Pearce and Tony Wakeford went on to form Death In June, which is a whole other story of radness. So here is the deal, if you dig anarco punk, death rock or just good fucking music, do your research & get all of their music!
When one thinks of Neo-Folk, the dirgey melancholia of Nature and Organisation and Current 93 are the first bands to come to mind. With a sound somewhere between The Pogues and Death in June, Cult of Youth have breathed new life into a genre that often runs the risk of sounding overwrought and too plaintive for the thematic content. On their self titled LP out now on Sacred Bones Records, Cult of Youth have hit their stride both lyrically and acoustically. Produced by Chris Coady and mixed by Kevin McMahon, Sean Ragon and crew have crafted a moody, powerful, work that slinks from ominous folk to enraged punk. Lyrically, these songs are rife with occultism, invocations, and mysterious references all focusing on the search for meaning and truth in this world. It’s powerful stuff, no doubt enhanced by Ragon’s range. Whether it’s the chant-like baritone vocals on “The Pole-Star”, or the punk rock howling of “Lace Up Your Boots”, Ragon’s passion for the genre burns through. The clear vision with which this band operates is readily apparent in their mixing of various folk styles; Tropicalia to Americana to English to Middle Eastern; all these forms merge into an occult fever-dream. Post-punk bass leads dissolve into violin complemented by Glenn Maryanski’s drumming; a martial, stomping style which gets the blood going. Nothing is overpowering; instead the complex interplay allows for some intriguing experimentation throughout.
Opening with “New West”, we see the advantage of Ragon recording with a full band. Martial drumming, driving bass, and a delicate violin line give way to Ragon’s apocalyptic rally cry’s. From the singalong folk-stomp of “Monsters” to the unhinged screaming that closes out “Casting Thorns” Cult of Youth’s ability to mix folk music with a darker, occult punk energy is inspiring. Cult of Youth’s debut album as a full band is immensely promising, particularly for a genre that has had very few notable American artists. Mythic invocations of godslayers and cursebearers, this is music that speaks to that epic spark in all of us. Join the cult.
Check out a sample after the jump.
Hello there freaks, weirdos, cave dwellers, grave diggers and all the night creatures out there, I’m bringing you a mixtape of anarcho / gothic / post-punk / wave or whatever it is. I just simply call it as a PUNK mixtape, featuring well-known bands (that you might have known before) and also unknown gems from the 80′s (that I found via youtube or some cool blogs). Each song is my fav from each band, enjoy the tunes. Now drag yourself out of the cave, the airwaves will lead you to your own grave!
There are two things pop up in my head when it comes to the Swedish music scene: melodic death metal/Gothenburg sounds and d-beat/kängpunk, but we aren’t going to talk about one of those right now (but sure this one has a little relation to d-beat). Back in the early 80′s, the Swedish hardcore/punk scene was getting big and spawned many influential bands such as Anti Cimex, Moderat Likvidation and lots of others. That glorious era also bred some cool gems, and one of those was one of Sweden’s finest post-punk band Cortex. Active since the early 80′s, this band featured Freddie Wadling – who is an ex-member of controversial punk act Leather Nun (bass/keyboard/vocals/synth), Gerth Svensson (guitars), Uno Wall (drums), Conny Jörneryd (percussion) and Michael Örtendahl (synth). Jean-Louis Huhta joined them to play percussion in their early years (later he joined Anti Cimex in 1984 after left the band). This post-punk band has something different to offer, some of their songs also have dance-able “rock ‘n roll-ish” tunes (listen to “Mayhem Troopers”, “Jesus I Betong”, “Sleepwalking” or “Shotgun Treatment” for example). They released three albums on vinyl (“Spinal Injuries”, “You Can’t Kill The Boogeyman” & “Live At Urania”) and three 7″ singles (“Sleepwalking/Jesus I Betong”, “Shotgun Treatment” & “Animals…Looking At Me”) during their active years. Radium 226.05 (the record label now sold to MNW) re-released “You Can’t Kill The Boogeyman/Spinal injuries” on one CD, which I believe you can get on the label’s website. If you want to dance in your depressed times, I urge you to listen to this band. You can’t kill the boogeyman, dance with him! Well check out some flicks, right after the jump!
SEED OF PAIN is probably one of the most exciting Post-_____-bands there are these days. This Swiss collective started in 2007 as a Hardcore band in the vein of bands like Burn, even at this early point in their career way more experimental and open to non-Hardcore influences than most of their contemporaries. A bunch of years, line-up additions and releases later, SEED OF PAIN’s new album Red Suns is about to see the darkness of night and you can expect nothing less but the darkest and nihilistic, experimental and varied bit of music in years.
One of the best peace-post-punk records to come out of America in the 80′s was created by San Francisco unsung heroes TRIAL, & the name of their classic album, Moments Of Collapse. This band started out as a young peace punk band in the early 80s, but by 84 their sound really started to develop into more akin to post punk. TRIAL’s anarcho punk roots ran deep – their singer John was the younger brother of Matt from Crucifix; Chris, their drummer, played for Crucifix; & Cyrnai was once a member of the Sleeping Dogs, the 1st American band signed to the Crass label. Moments Of Collapse was a testament to the band’s creative spirit – the opening track, “Lobotomized Visions,” is a dense wall of industrial dirge that’s sound can never be dated. John’s lyrics were written from somewhere deep within his heart, but he wrote them in a way that we all can be touched by them. Songs such as “Unshackled In The Garden” have this eerie neo-folk vibe about them; his voice seems like a haunting fog rolling over the hills. TRIAL was not afraid to experiment with sound: how it could be bent, stretched & deconstructed, then built in to something new. Every song on Moments Of Collapse drips with damaged emotion, these are compositions that have layers of cold built around a warm skeleton. The drumming on this album is a voice unto itself, the way Chris plays, it’s like he is speaking different languages for us to decode. If you are into post-punk & would like to hear a record that was created from the heart, for our hearts, then TRIAL’s Moments Of Collapse will build your future. So now all you have to do is do whatever you have to do to find this album! After the jump, check out the album art up close etc.
TRIAL : Lobotomized Visions
TRIAL : The Border