This is a second list of the songs that I used to hear in ‘alternative’ clubs from 1988 to 1992. The shirt above is from the alternative club The Twilight Zone that was in Alameda California. You had to have a member card to get in because of the local laws and it was an all ages club. These songs were either played there, at The Edge in Palo Alto or at One Step Beyond in Santa Clara. The music was always very eclectic. Enjoy!
I went to my first ‘alterative’ club in early 1988 on my 17th birthday, and it was called One Step Beyond in Santa Clara California. For whatever reason their age limit was 17 and up instead of 18, and I had a friend that had a car so I know I was very lucky to get to experience this. My friend had graduated in 87 so I was the only teen from my high school that went. My mom was/is cool and never gave me a curfew and let me go.
What did I experience exactly? It was the tail end of new wave, so the older songs were still played regularly. Radio stations refused to play rap songs by certain artists like 2 Live Crew or NWA and alternative clubs such as One Step Beyond were among the only places that you could hear those bands being played. The American government was trying to get such bands banned for offensive lyrics so playing such music in a club setting was actually pretty forward thinking for the time.
Rather than me droning on and on I am going to be posting some songs that I vividly remember being played during that time at One Step Beyond, The Twilight Zone and The Edge. Each place had it’s own unique vibe. The Edge was close to Stanford University so it was where the wealthy students would go if they wanted to go slumming, but there was definitely a gaggle of weirdos that also went there. The Twilight Zone was in an old movie theatre lobby and had the best venue I have ever been to. It has sweeping staircases to a second level where you could look down on the dance-floor and it was all ages. Finally, One Step Beyond. It had the most diverse crowd out of the three. There were punkers, mods, skins, etc… and everybody pretty much got along.
These are in no sort of order and are songs that I heard during that time in the clubs. Notice how eclectic this list is? It’s why I loved these clubs. I think something was definitely lost when the goth nights started to pop up in the early 90’s and left a lot of this music behind.
Desireless – Voyage Voyage (1986)
Red Flag – If I Ever (1989)
Digital Underground – Doowutchyalike (1990)
A Flock Of Seagulls – Wishing (If I Had A Photograph) (1983)
Virgin Prunes – Pagan Love Song (1982)
2 Live Crew – Get It Girl (1987)
My Life With The Thrill Kill Cult- The Days Of Swine And Roses (1990)
Christian Death – Church Of No Return (1989)
Ofra Haza – Im Nin’Alu (1988)
Technotronic – Pump Up The Jam (1990)
Billy Idol – Dancing With Myself (1981)
Specimen – Kiss Kiss Bang Bang (1983)
Fake – Another Brick (1985)
Laid Back – White Horse (1983)
Blancmange – Living On The Ceiling (1982)
Grandmaster Flash & Melle Mel – White Lines (Don’t Do It) (1983)
A while back I listed some of the newer goth type bands that I found to be interesting. There are so many good bands coming out with excellent music right now that this second list really needed to be made. This time I am also including electronic/industrial bands. They may not be strictly goth but they are definitely goth adjacent. These bands are not in any particular order. All links will take you to the relevant Bandcamp page. Bandcamp Friday is on March the 5th, a day in which 100% of the sale of music and merchandise goes to the bands.
Jay Draper And The Subterraneans This is a hybrid band that contains elements of goth rock, darkwave and post-punk. I love the the soaring vocals, they are very distinctive.
The Last Of Us They play very heavy traditional goth rock, but with a feel of urgency. Keyboards are artfully added for atmosphere. Reminds me of Fields Of The Nephilim crossed with early Danzig because their music has a slightly sinister feel to it.
Corlyx Post-punk meets darkwave. This is a hybrid band that makes some very danceable tunes.
Stoneburner Steven Archer’s solo project that is at once industrial and electronic with other bits tossed together to make for some very interesting sounding music.
Dead Cool They don’t have a lot of music out yet, but what they have put out so far I really enjoy! A post-punk and darkwave hybrid band.
Rosegarden Funeral Party This is a post-punk band with some darkwave thrown in, surrounded by one of the most distinctive female voices out of all of the modern genre bands. The lyrics sound very personal in nature and give the music a deeper meaning.
S Y Z Y G Y X Mainly an electronic and darkwave band. Very driving beats and interesting vocals.
I Ya Toyah This is a one woman band that is fiercely industrial and electronic. Beautiful vocals paired with an urgency and great lyrics.
The Long Losts Very spooky sounding deathrock mixed with some touches of metal. The lyrics are very haunting!
Abu Nein Darkwave and electronic music with a flourish of post punk. Nice vocals and driving beat.
Steven Archer is a very talented musician who has supported the goth/industrial subculture through the years by being in the band Ego Likeness, and by helping other bands and people out. His solo project, Stoneburner, has just put out a new deluxe remix EP called No Light No Spark. It consists of interesting mixes of past songs and a new one called In This Place. You can’t really fit his music neatly into any single music genre box because he combines different styles together, which is what I find very interesting about his project. When musicians experiment with different styles and ways to bring them together it takes you onto a musical path that may bring you to a genre that you have never been exposed to before. Steven is a very cool human being so give his new EP a listen, and if you have the funds buy it this Bandcamp Friday on the 5th of February.