Tag Archives: goth

Slimy Member Craft Spellbinding Goth-Punk on Ugly Songs for Ugly People

Slimy Member, Ugly Songs for Ugly People (Drunken Sailor; Occult Whispers)

“depression/is so real/consuming my brain”

Slimy Member is a four-piece based out of Dallas, Texas.  Named for a Rudimentary Peni song, the band has been active since 2013, having previously released a demo and an EP.  New LP, Ugly Songs for Ugly People, serves as their debut, full-length release.

On Ugly, Slimy Member comes across to these (aging, constantly ringing) ears very much of a part with 80s punk/hardcore – hell, there’s even a two-fer song (“Bomb Blast/Age Old Time”), how 80s hc is that?  Their sound incorporates not only the urgent anger of bands like RP and The Exploited, but also those who, like TSOL (check the galloping bassline on “Age Old Time” and the morbid imagery of “A Sight to Behold”), Christian Death and current fellow travelers like Institute and Anasazi, cloak their abrasions in goth atmospherics.  Heavily reverbed vocals and flanged guitars amplify an almost suffocating tone of angst, stress and tension, a tension and energy that the band carry all the way through the fantastic closer, “Always the Victim”.  It’s a thrilling reminder of just how exuberantly visceral these sounds were, are, and can be.

Ugly Songs for Ugly People is out now, via Drunken Sailor (in the UK) and soon via Occult Whispers (in the US).  You can also snap up a digital copy through the Slimy Member bandcamp page while you check out their earlier releases.  The band is on tour soon for you lucky chucks on the west coast of the USofA – dates here.

Highlights include: “Oceanic Feeling”, “Bomb Blast/Age Old Time”, “Always the Victim”.

Washington DC’s Flasher Shine (Darkly) on Debut, Self-Titled EP

Flasher, S-T EP (Sister Polygon)

Members of Washington, DC's Flasher.

Members of Washington, DC’s Flasher.

Flasher are a three-piece project involving members of several current members of the new Washington, DC DiY scene (I’ll refrain from collapsing them all into the ‘punk’ category).  Their debut, self-titled EP for Sister Polygon records is a thrilling journey through a panoply of late 70s and early 80s indie sounds.

Goth, death rock, new wave.  Those willing to reduce these genres to Dippity-do’d hair, corpse paint and Tiger Beat pin-ups, whose bloated corpses are reanimated on throwback radio and by tribute bands, miss the point (we dig Rio as much as the next blog, but there was more to it than that).  This was (largely) meant to be music for an uncertain future and, at its best, the attendant razorwire nervousness underpinning much of the musical output reflected the feelings of anyone actually paying attention to what was going on in the world at the time.  Small wonder, then, in the current climate, that so many newer bands are turning to this brooding, greyscale music as a framing device.

Flasher nails that feeling of unease right from the off on opener, “Tense”, with its tightly coiled, nervily picked guitar lines and short stabs of siren-like synths, and doesn’t let go.  In fact, it’s quite difficult to tease out one particular track here, as the whole EP plays more like a series of movements than individual songs.  For a band who, according to a write-up in WAMU’s bandwidth.fm, are still settling on a sound, it’s remarkable the way their energies fuse, the feel and texture of the tracks seem fully realized.  Highly rec’d.

Flasher’s self-titled EP is out now, digitally and on cassette, through the band’s Bandcamp page.  Sister Polygon Records will release it on vinyl November 18 – preorder your copy here. The band is also on tour (dates below):

Oct. 24 – Quebec City, QC @ Le Cercle w/ White Lung

Oct. 25 – Ottawa, ON @ House of TARG w/ White Lung

Oct. 26 – Toronto, ON @ Lee’s Palace w/ White Lung

Oct. 27 – Chicago, IL @ Empty Bottle w/ White Lung

Dec. 7 – Philadelphia, PA @ PhilaMOCA w/ Swim Team

Dec. 8 – Allston, MA @ OBrien’s Pub w/ Swim Team

Dec. 9 – Washington, DC @ Black Cat w/ Swim Team

Dec. 10 – Queens, NY @ Knockdown Center w/ Parquet Courts

Highlights include: “Tense”, “Throw It Away”, “Destroy”

Washington DC’s Flasher Shine (Darkly) On Self-Titled EP

Flasher, S-T EP (Sister Polygon)

Members of Washington, DC's Flasher.

Members of Washington, DC’s Flasher.

Flasher are a three-piece project involving members of several current members of the new Washington, DC DiY scene (I’ll refrain from collapsing them all into the ‘punk’ category).  Their debut, self-titled EP for Sister Polygon records is a thrilling journey through a panoply of late 70s and early 80s indie sounds.

Goth, death rock, new wave.  Those willing to reduce these genres to Dippity-do’d hair, corpse paint and Tiger Beat pin-ups, whose bloated corpses are reanimated on throwback radio and by tribute bands, miss the point (we dig Rio as much as the next blog, but there was more to it than that).  This was (largely) meant to be music for an uncertain future and, at its best, the attendant razorwire nervousness underpinning much of the musical output reflected the feelings of anyone actually paying attention to what was going on in the world at the time.  Small wonder, then, in the current climate, that so many newer bands are turning to this brooding, greyscale music as a framing device.

Flasher nails that feeling of unease right from the off on opener, “Tense”, with its tightly coiled, nervily picked guitar lines and short stabs of siren-like synths, and doesn’t let go.  In fact, it’s quite difficult to tease out one particular track here, as the whole EP plays more like a series of movements than individual songs.  For a band who, according to a write-up in WAMU’s bandwidth.fm, are still settling on a sound, it’s remarkable the way their energies fuse, the feel and texture of the tracks seem fully realized.  Highly rec’d.

Flasher’s self-titled EP is out now, digitally and on cassette, through the band’s Bandcamp page. Sister Polygon Records will release it on vinyl November 18 – preorder your copy here.  The band is also on tour (dates below):

Oct. 24 – Quebec City, QC @ Le Cercle w/ White Lung

Oct. 25 – Ottawa, ON @ House of TARG w/ White Lung

Oct. 26 – Toronto, ON @ Lee’s Palace w/ White Lung

Oct. 27 – Chicago, IL @ Empty Bottle w/ White Lung

Dec. 7 – Philadelphia, PA @ PhilaMOCA w/ Swim Team

Dec. 8 – Allston, MA @ OBrien’s Pub w/ Swim Team

Dec. 9 – Washington, DC @ Black Cat w/ Swim Team

Dec. 10 – Queens, NY @ Knockdown Center w/ Parquet Courts

Highlights include: “Tense”, “Throw It Away”, “Destroy”

Ride the Emotional Rollercoaster of “New Ways”, from CC Dust

CC Dust, “New Ways” (Night School (UK/Europe); Mystery Club (US))

The first breath of “New Ways”, b-side of the new single from Olympia’s CC Dust (VEXX’s Maryjane Dunphe and co-conspirator David Jaques), is a chilly one.  The duo’s follow-up to the stirring “Never Going to Die” (which we loved) proceeds along a rumbling, Joy Division-y bass line and a detached, whiplash-crack of a drum track – all portent.  Maryjane’s Lene Lovich-like croon speaks of waking in a “nuclear spring”, “bizarre fates”, a “crack in the self” – the feel of changes that could be the proverbial light at the end of the tunnel, or the oncoming train.

But then, the track slowly reveals itself to be of a more hopeful disposition, the mood lightening as Jaques’ bassline moves to a higher octave, pastoral synths enter and Dunphe sings of a return to the “old land”.  If “Die” was outwardly physical, “New Way” feels turned inward, more ruminative.  Chilly, perhaps, but there is space here wherein to to find warmth.  It’s an emotional rollercoaster, and I can’t wait to see where the band take us next.

The new single, “Shinkansen No.1/New Ways” is out October 7 in the UK and Europe on Night School.  In the US, Mystery? Club offers both a digital and cassette version.

Review: Rakta, Intenção

Rakta, “Intenção”

We were first introduced to São Paolo’s Rakta via their excellent self-titled album from 2013, and we’ve been following them ever since.  “Intenção” is the a-side of their latest 7” single, and carries on where they left off with 2014’s “Tudo que é sólido” 7” and their 2015 Rakta em Transe project with fellow Brazilians Cadaver em Transe.

Where earlier cuts layered garage and psych elements over a punk bedrock, “Intenção” continues to push the psych and the goth to the fore, even adding touches of early industrial – you get a sense of the Banshees in their trippier days (think Join Hands or Juju), the “in your faceness” of bands like Birthday Party and Crass, as well as moody psych rock bands like 13th Floor Elevators.  The track opens with a heavy, foreboding bass line and chaotic peals of guitar over a steady, tribal beat.  The feeling is primal, the song lurching forward like some sort of colossus.  A war dance around the firelight, or in the cellar beneath a single, bare bulb.  Not meaning to give short shrift, b-side “A Busco do Circulo” sounds like Roky Erickson jamming with Lords of the New Church – so, also great.

Scary?  Exhilarating?  Why not both?  “Intenção” is out now on Dama da Noite Discos/Nada Nada Discos (BR) and Dê o Fora (ESP), and is also available for download through Rakta’s Bandcamp page.

You can also check the band on fbook where, amongst other exciting discoveries, comes news of a forthcoming LP on Iron Lung (US), Dama da Noite Discos/Nada Nada Discos (BR) and Dê o Fora (ESP).  As if that weren’t enough, there’s also tour dates in North America and Japan to look forward to this summer!

New Music: CC Dust, Never Going to Die

CC Dust, “Never Going to Die” (Perennial/Night School)

CC Dust is a project involving MaryJane Dunphy, lead singer of frabjulicious Olympia, WA punk band Vexx, and David Jacques.  With “Never Going to Die”, she brings the energy and passion of that band from the pit to the dance floor.

Dunphy here sounds a bit like a combo of Alison Moyet and Lene Lovich, croon-whooping over a long lost 4AD track, with Jacques weaving a Hooky baseline.  The deep echo and reverb overlay on the bass and vintage-sounding programmed beats cloak the song’s glistening new wave bedrock in a bit of a goth and early industrial chill – whatever you want to call it, it’s a well-crafted track as good for dancing to as it is for just being with.

As it is with Vexx, Dunphy’s voice inhabits the song.  Moving from gutteral to delicate and back, it’s physicality caroms around, over and through the melody in a way similar to Dunphy’s live presence (check the video below), further animating the already dramatic arrangement.

Recorded last year, “Never Going to Die” is taken from a forthcoming, 5 track 12” ep, due soon(?) from Perennial (US – preorder here) and Night School (Europe).  Speaking of Europe, CC Dust is playing dates therein (venues included where I could find).

June

5 – Osramhuset, Copenhagen (DK)
7 – Hamburg (DE)
8 – De Gym, Groningen (NL)
9 – Butcher’s Tears, Amsterdam (NL)
10 – Au Picolo, Paris (FR)
11 – DIY Space, London (UK)
12 – Hope & Ruin, Brighton (UK)
13 – Undertone, Cardiff (UK)
14 – Tenterhooks, Dublin (IRE) 
15 – Barcelona, Sala Almo2Bar (SP)
18 – Valencia (SP)
19 – Logroño (SP)
21 – Leeds (UK)
22 – The Poetry Club, Glasgow (UK)
23 – Servant Jazz Quarters, London (UK)
24 – Soup Kitchen, Manchester (UK)
25 – Berlin (DE)
27 – Klub Famu, Prague (CZ)

Review: Flesh World, The Wild Animals In My Life

Flesh World, The Wild Animals In My Life (Iron Lung, 6/2/15)

Debut long player from San Francisco-based Flesh World, a fave of thegrindinghalt.com (check out our review of their mini-lp here).

In the proud tradition of bands like TSOL, Lords of the New Church, 45 Grave, The Damned, Siouxsie and the Banshees, The Flatmates, Savages – bands grafting elements of other music onto a musculature of punk – on The Wild Animals…, Flesh World continue to push and prod at the edges of their sound:  goth, rough C86-styled indie pop and shoegaze shiver and shake together over rumbling punk and hardcore undercurrents.

The title track adds a glaze of shoegaze swirl atop Scott Moore’s jangly guitar line.  “Just To Tear Me Down” starts like a ramshackle take on “Under the Milky Way”, then morphs into a buzz saw goth/punk rocker, vocalist Jess Scott channeling Morrissey as she sings to someone who wants to “tear me up just to tear me down”.  “Strawberry Bomber” sounds like Dance With Me-era TSOL fronted by Mikyi from Lush.  Personal fave “Poolside Boys” recalls the JAMC covering “Everyday Is Like Sunday”.

Comparisons only go so far though – these songs live and breathe as a result of the band’s great sense of melody, pacing and energy.  Earworms abound here for the digging.  Dig in.

Gloomy and glorious.  Check the stream above and support the band here.  Also, be sure to go seek out the band at one of their upcoming shows (sadly, the halt exists in lands outside the current itinerary – *sniff*).

7/30 New York              Baby’s All Right
7/31 Philadelphia          Philamoca
8/1 New York                 Williamsburg Music Hall
8/2 Baltimore                Windup Space
8/3 Richmond               Strange Matter
8/4 Washington, D.C.  Black Cat

Highlights include:  “Poolside Boys”, “Strawberry Bomber”, “Shaved Head”, “Your Love Is Like a House”.

Album Review: Cathode Ray Eyes, Eyes In the Melancholy Palm

Cathode Ray Eyes, Eyes In the Melancholy Palm (Cardinal Fuzz (UK); Captcha Records (US))

Dread.  The itchy, claustrophobic feeling of something terrible imminent; close; around the next corner.  It can be as universal as the looming spectre of time or as specific as a stalker.

Dread hangs heavy over Eyes In the Melancholy Palm by Cathode Ray Eyes, the one-man side project of Ryan Delgaudio from The Cult of Dom Keller (a Nottingham-based band I was not familiar with but, having listened to this album, am anxious to listen to).  Within, we have tales of grim reapers, dead whores, “drowning rats”, worlds on fire and places with “no beginning, middle or end”. Much like the dread in stories like Lovecraft’s At the Mountains of Madness, it is palpable but never quite comes into full focus – a slow-burn stressor, without resolution.  Is the evil real, or are we witness to the waking, post-traumatic nightmares of the protagonist?

Despite the Celtic Frost-summoning title, Eyes In the Melancholy Palm is psych rock par excellance.  Heavily distorted vocals leer from behind a gauzy curtain of drone-laden, looped guitars; narcotic splinters of gothic, ambient waves underneath:  Joy Division scoring 28 Days Later.  Expected reference points like Brian Jonestown Massacre and the darker side of Thirteenth Floor Elevators share time with The Cramps, Clinic, Spacemen 3, The Cure (I kept hearing shades of songs like “The Snakepit” and “Like Cocaktoos”), even Fad Gadget’s death disco.

While heavy (both metaphorically and literally), there are moments of bliss throughout – the resolution around the 2:40 mark of “Goodbye to Wonder”, the surf-reverb on “Drowning Rats” – finding another (friendly?) human face amidst the ruins.  It is also a rare record that actually get better, more fulfilling, as it slides along – the second half trilogy of “Goodbye To Wonder”, “1,000 Suns” and Wire-laden closer “Where There Is No Beginning, Middle or End” the most affecting on the record.  “Get me out of here/before I lose control” a most fitting lyrical coda to this collection.

Eyes In the Melancholy Palm is out June 1 on Cardinal Fuzz (UK) and Captcha Records (US).  Check out the band on their (his) Facebook page.  [Update:  the good folks at Cardinal Fuzz tell me the album is available starting tomorrow (May 20).]

Highlights include:  “1,000 Suns”, “Goodbye to Wonder”, “I Woke Up This Morning and the World Was on Fire”, “The Unsuccessful Resurrection of James Dean”.

Review: Flesh World, S/T; A Line In Wet Grass

Flesh World, S/T MLP (La Vida Es Un Mus, 12/18/2013); A Line In Wet Grass 7″  (Iron Lung, 6/24/2014)

A band I first stumbled upon last winter through great Late Riser’s Club program on WMBR, and then again more recently via the MaximumRocknRoll page on Facebook – apparently, the universe was trying to tell me something (or just reminding me that I was going to write this review, like, several fucking months ago – but who’s to say, really?).

Flesh World is a great new(ish) punk band out of San Francisco, whose members are long-time denizens of that city’s diy punk scene (SF Gate went so far as to describe singer Jess Scott as a “scene figurehead”). Their debut self-titled mini-album is a prickly blend of Dead Boys styled punk, the JAMC, C86 distortion-blurred indie pop, Belly-style 90s indie rock (“Reckon and Know” sounds a bit like the Primitives pogoing with the Breeders) and newer “noire rock” bands like Rakta and (early) Raveonettes. One of those great records that manages to pack in the (right) hooks while making your ears ring.

Subsequent single, “A Line In Wet Grass” dials up the goth side of the band’s sound – the ritual drumming and guitar melody reminiscent of early Banshees. Another winner.

Highlights include: Reckon and Know, Sturdy Swiss Hiker, Lost My Heart in Transit Thru the Post, A Line In Wet Grass.  Go like them.

New Music: The Soft Moon, Black

The Soft Moon, “Black” (Captured Tracks)

New music from The Soft Moon (the alter ego of multi-instrumentalist and producer Luis Vasquez), ahead of new full-length, “Deeper”, due March 31 on Captured Tracks.  You can pre-order the album here.

Where previous output largely worked within the grey scale of post-punk and gothic new wave, “Black” is shot through with bursts of obsidian.  Dark rumblings of the kind of late-80s, dancier (but no less menacing for it – think early Ministry and Skinny Puppy) industrial heard also in new bands like LA’s great Youth Code.  The track opens with a throbbing bassline and martial drum tone that grows closer like a descending fog.  No cat paws here, however- more like an army of Terminator machines from the year 2029 – the song bursting through with peals of air-raid siren synthesizers and the repeated phrases “I don’t care what you say/live life my own way” and “I don’t care what they say/live in life your own way” (or something to that affect).  This kind of thing can easily devolve into pantomimed angry disaffection, but the quality of the arrangements and the urgency of it all makes this a very strong single.