The Pet Shop Boys have always held a special place in my heart because their first album Please was one of the first cassettes I ever owned as a teen in the mid 80’s. I used to listen to it so much that I still remember the lyrics. I kind of lost interest in them in the 90’s because I was so heavily into both punk and goth music at the time. I didn’t start disliking them or anything like that, it was just that before the internet came into being it was really easy to lose track of bands. So, imagine my surprise when this album was recently released: a 3 CD remastered collection of their singles. I jumped at it because I wanted to own more of their music.
I listened to the first disc very loudly yesterday and I have to say that this is one of the better remastered releases that I have ever heard. Seriously, it sounds bright and clear and so good that the 80’s songs sound very modern and not dated at all. Whomever did the mastering did a very good job. There is no extra bass or added fripperies which personally makes me very happy because I hate it when remastered releases sound nothing like what made the original releases special in the first place.
If you have never owned any of their music this would be an excellent place to start, and if you were around in the 80’s it will bring back lots of happy memories like it did for me.
How did I get my hands on this early? Again, Amazon delivered a new release to me a little early. Not a complaint, just an observation. There is an upside to living in the middle of nowhere.
Again, I am just going to give you my feelings on listening to this the first time rather than go in depth on every song. There are people really good at giving flowerly descriptions of songs…and I am not one of them!
First off I would like to say how much I love the instrumentation on this album. You have fast punk guitar, spooky keyboards and even horns! Phantasmagoria, Everything and Grave Disorder are all represented within these songs with some added psychedelic type guitar work. These songs actually remind me of the band Vanilla Fudge, which can only be a good thing. If you like a more ‘rocking’ Damned then this is the album for you!
This is a very political album which is so awesome! The Damned have never been ones to shy away from speaking out against bullshit and they do it here in spades. My favourite song so far is Follow Me, a little ditty about how shallow and fake internet influencers can be. Some ‘goth’ influencers are probably going to feel called out by it; which can only be a good thing of course.
Well, first listen and I really, really like this album! The title of the album is a very apt name for it; lots of psychedelic keyboard and guitar work. If you are new to The Damned this would be an excellent jumping in point, and if you are an older fan this album will make you want to boogie: From Your Lips made me want to uber-goth dance!
I can hear you asking ‘How is she reviewing this when it isn’t even out yet?’ For whatever reason I received it three days early in the mail, and my goodness am I impressed.
First a little background about my history of listening to this band. I got into the Black Celebration album when I was fifteen in 1986 but I stopped listening to them right after I turned sixteen because a friend who betrayed me was a big fan. So, for years I associated them with that failed friendship and just never listened to them outside of a club environment. Less than a year ago I thought about all of the crap that happened, was like ‘fuck her’ and then gave Black Celebration a listen for the first time since 1987. I instantly reconnected to it and I even remembered all of the lyrics so I am now back into liking them. Hooray!
I am so glad I per-ordered this album because it is very, very good. Seriously good. If you listen to it from start to finish it takes you on a journey of loss and trying to find your way back into the light from the darkness. There are no happy synth driven pop songs on this album, which is a good thing because such a song would not feel right within this context. You could say that the single Ghosts Again fits into that box, but the morose lyrics make it anything but that. As a whole the lyrics contained within this album show a maturity that heavily reminds me of the darker aspects of Black Celebration, but instead of looking outwards it’s looking inwards.
Rather than review the songs I am just going to tell you how I felt listening to it as a whole, because the songs are very interconnected. It starts out slow, but the further you get into the album the more it picks up speed. It is not in a flurry of synths or tons of bells and whistles, rather it is very stripped back and in some aspects very bleak. That aspect of it reminds me quite a bit of Lycia; ethereal and haunting. I love the way the vocals are intertwined with the music; weaving in and out among the beats.
This is a beautiful album and I highly recommend buying it. It is some of the best music that they have put out in decades.
Killing Joke is back with a very cool politically driven song and video. It is very good and if this is a preview as to what their new album is going to sound like then we are all in for a treat. It hearkens back to their punk roots which is very exciting!
EDIT: I am half asleep and mistitled this post! LOL It is now fixed! Iggy Pop is literally one of the people who helped invent punk music so to say that his music is very important is not an overstatement at all. When I learned the other day that this album had been released, and that people were praising the hell out of it, I knew I had to give it a listen.
Back in 1988 I went to go see The Jesus & Mary Chain open for Iggy. I knew a few Iggy songs back then such as I Wanna Be Your Dog and Cry For Love, but after watching his performance that night I went right out and bought a copy of his newer album Instinct and didn’t look back. I was also getting into punk music during that time so that album was definitely a step down the road of the musical journey I would take and that I am still on. So, as a musician he has always been important to me and I respect the hell out of him.
I am waiting for the cd of this album to get to my house so I have been playing the YouTube videos for each of the tracks and I haven’t been disappointed at all! In quite a few songs he is calling out rich pop punk musicians and their corporate bullshit, which I am totally here for because if one person has the total right to criticize that crap it is him. This album must be causing the boys in Green Day a huge amount of discomfort and that can only be a good thing.
Even the slower songs on this album have a huge amount of social commentary to them. It feels like Iggy got up one morning and said ‘fuck all of this bullshit’ and wrote out some of his frustrations about this rock in space that we are living on. I can’t overstate this enough, but I think this is probably one of the best social commentary albums to come out in quite a while. If you are into punk music you will love this, and if you are new to Iggy Pop this album would be an excellent place to start checking out his music.
I literally just heard this Bauhaus cover song today for the first time, and I feel obligated to share it with all of you. This is quite possibly the best Bauhaus cover I have ever heard. Until December covered Bela Lugosi’s Dead over thirty years ago, but their take on the song had a more traditional haunting quality to it. This version of the song by Chris Shape, featuring Su Eko, takes it into a more electronic beat direction. You know that club scene in Blade with the pulsating music and rain of blood? This song would perfectly fit into that scene. They add more beats, keyboards, vocals and a whole lot of distortion and it works. They added to the song rather than taking vital parts of it away, and that is how a great cover song is created. On top of all of this deliciousness is a very dystopian /apocalyptic themed video, which I love of course! Enjoy!
So, the members of Bauhaus have crawled out from whence they came and got together to produce something that sounds like it came from an album made 40 years ago. There are tons of younger people excited about this because OMG Bauhaus are just sooooooo goth, but this song really reeks of dialling it in for me. Everything that Bauhaus did over 40 years ago is in this song and it really doesn’t bring anything new to the table. All I hear in this song are the gimmicks they used that sounded new and ‘different’ in the 80’s. When done 40 years later it just feels opportunistic because the members know how trendy anything post-punk sounding is these days.
Am I against legacy type bands making new music? Not at all. I actually think it is pretty cool when such bands still regularly put out music. However, that really isn’t the case here. Bauhaus are almost on the same level as the Sisters Of Mercy when it comes to touring and relying on old hits to sell tickets. They did put out that one album in 2008 so they at least have that going for them.
Am I going to buy this? Probably not because I want to support bands who actually care about their fans instead of leeching off of them to make a buck. Sorry not sorry.
I have never been a huge Lebanon Hannover fan, mostly because their music usually sounds a bit like an 80’s video game soundtrack. However, on this new album they sound like a cross between The Virgin Prunes and Dead Can Dance. I can clearly hear the influence of both bands in this release and that can only be a good thing. I can even hear some Daniel Ash Love & Rockets style guitar playing.
Good on them for experimenting more with their sound instead of doing the same sound yet again. My respect for them has gone through the roof. There are people out there way better at reviewing albums than I am, but I can safely say that if you don’t like their earlier releases you will more than likely like this new one. Sci-fi Sky is available in a bunch of different editions on their Bandcamp page.
I usually don’t do masses of album reviews on here because there are a lot of people online who do it very well. I bought a ton of music on the latest Bandcamp Friday so I thought I would share these finds with you. I am only going to do two newish albums at a time because I like to listen to albums more than once before I talk about them. If I have bought more than one album from an artist I will touch upon those older albums sometime in the future.
OKVLTA – en Las enttranas de la bestia
OKVLTA is a band from Colombia that performs in Spanish. This is a good example as to why you don’t need to always know the lyrics of an album, because the intonation of the singing tells you exactly what is going on. They are a heavy deathrock style band with some pounding tribal drumming and experimental guitar playing. This album for me is the love-child of Sex Gang Children and 45 Grave. The vocals are sinisterly happy while the guitars echoing in the background set a driving pace along with the bass and drums. This album is best enjoyed if you listen to all of it at once rather than to just one song, because each one musically feels like it’s telling you a story that takes you to the next chapter. This is their first album and I can’t wait to see what they come up with next.
Electronic music with a background of synthwave sounding keyboards: the title of this album fits the music perfectly. ‘Tonight we rise and see their demise’ lyrics on Persona Non Grata are very political and represents what is going on right now in society. Very timely. It’s cool that she is taking a stand against the fascist crap that is going on. There are a lot of bands right now who try to sound 80’s retro but she owns it by the synthwave angle and the lyrics. The song Frenzy includes the lyrics ‘We are the wild things with violent mood swings’, and it sounds like it should be playing in a club in the film Blade Runner. This album, essentially, is a soundtrack for the dystopian times in which we are living in. She also touches on the covid pandemic, the environment and the BLM movement. This is one of the most political goth albums to come out this year and it deserves a place alongside Sex Gang Children’s Oligarch and The Joy Thieves’ American Parasite.
This is a single that Suzi has just put out and it rocks for all of the right reasons! It’s a political statement against all of the neo-nazi type people who have been trying to infiltrate the goth subculture lately. They have been coming out of the woodwork and this song tackles it.
I went down a rabbit hole on Bandcamp last night, and to my surprise I found a band that performs spooky Halloween music called Fright Night Club. Being a huge fan of Nox Arcana I got really excited because I think it’s great that another band is creating unsettling music.
They perform both instrumental and original songs. Some albums are filled with instrumentals, while others are packed with original songs about monsters, horror movies,etc… There are even a few cover songs which is pretty cool! I am currently listening to their album called Creepshow: Re-Scared, which as you can guess from the title is full of sonic landscapes that flesh out the scenes in the film Creepshow. It’s seriously good stuff! I love listening to this kind of music while writing because it gets me in the mood so that I feel extra spooky!
This band has a ton of people contributing songs to the albums, so it is a collective; a spooky version of a band such as The Joy Thieves. I honestly don’t know who the people listed are, but I am betting that at least a few of them are goth or horror-punk musicians. They put out one album every year and also some separately themed albums . They take an obvious cue from John Carpenter, which can only be a good thing! There are lots of keyboards and guitar mixed together which makes for a spooky unsettling journey through a horror filled landscape.
I seriously love this band, as you can tell. Surprisingly all of their albums, save one, are free to download off of Bandcamp. Sit down, because this next part is a bit shocking. There are NINETEEN of them! Their newest one titled Sounds Of The Season Part II, which was released last year, is a name your price album.
So, get your spooky behind over to Bandcamp and check this band out! It’s great spooky music to listen to all year, and to scare the kiddies with during Halloween.