Tales From The Dark Side – Vol. 4

Welcome, to another instalment of Tales From The Dark Side where our esteemed UK reviewer/editor Goth Mark ventures off into the lesser known gothy scenes in his trusty winkle pickers – charting places unknown that smell of patchouli oil, snakebite, and strange nocturnal dwellings where the populace have an affinity with velvet, PVC, and throw shapes to spooky tunes. Sadly, we’ve discovered that HOLYGRAM have called it a day despite having some lucrative tours and a scorching album in the form of ‘Modern Cults’ (as discussed in Vol 2). They’re now frozen in time with the scene’s greatest acts, releasing an incredible album at the height of their powers before saying farewell.

STOP PRESS! Interestingly, in the past few days before publishing it appears that CORPUS DELICTI (as discussed in vol. 3) have reformed with their original lineup, and have posted a 30 second preview video jamming in the studio on their Facebook page. Signs may point towards a new album and/or a tour, but this is purely speculation at the moment and we’ll keep you posted in a future update.

Band: Asylum Party
Origin: France
Status: Disbanded

ASYLUM PARTY were a band formed in 1985 in France, a country that does this post punk/gothy music ever so well. The band was comprised of guitarist/vocalist Philippe Planchon. and bassist/vocalist Thierry Sobézyk. Initially, they were a duo of sorts until they discovered Pascale Macé to perform keyboard/synthesiser duties. The band’s sound comes across as more mysterious version of NEW ORDER, taking influential Indie cues from British post punk bands such as AND ALSO THE TREES, SAD LOVERS AND GIANTS, and THE CHAMELEONS. They released their first studio album in 1988 with ‘Picture One’, and went on comprehensive tours to critical acclaim as told by the scene elders. This was followed up with ‘Borderline’ in 1989, and finally the ‘Mère’ album in 1990 before disbanding. Sadly, Thierry passed away in July 2019 – leaving an enviable legacy as a legendary goth band.

Band: Castrati
Origin: France
Status: Active

Fancy stompy punkish goth tunes, that you can pogo mosh to energetically? Well, you’re in for a treat with these lunatics from Lyon. The band has been active since at least 2009 with ‘Let The Cat Out of the [Plastic] bag’; a 7 track EP that “tied up the loose ends” in their history. They’ve toured heavily with various bands from the scene, recruited new members, and went from strength to strength. Sounding like a deranged unholy mix of 45 GRAVE, CHRISTIAN DEATH and MR BUNGLE on magic mushrooms, CASTRATI released the ‘Box Birds’ EP in July 2016 and ‘Little Death Machine’ album in March 2017 to widespread acclaim. Catchy, brilliantly inventive, and infectiously addictive stuff.

Band: Soft Kill
Origin: USA
Status: Active

Active since 2010 from Portland, SOFT KILL’s sound are based around shoegaze/indie sounds (they refer to as “Sad Rock”) influenced by The SOUND and CLEANERS FROM VENUS. with touches of post punk and coldwave flourishes akin to LYCIA. In effect, like a modern day version of THE CHAMELEONS if they were born and raised in America’s west coast, that specialised in browsing musty record shops that could track down and source obscure anything. They have a number of releases beginning with the ‘An Open Door’ album, a mix of EP’s and singles that had captivating cassette tape releases – but their ‘Choke’ album is by far their best reference point. Weirdly, they toured the US as support to SKELETONWITCH so there’s some American readers that may have encountered them live. A new album is due this year, which on the basis of prior rave reviews is hotly anticipated indeed.

Band: Luckyandlove
Origin: USA
Status: Active

Based around swirling mystical synthesiser vibes established in 2017, LUCKYANDLOVE are a duo comprised of Loren Luck on drums/synths, and April Love on vocals/keyboards and guitar are one of the more interesting 1980s electronica inspired simulacra’s that are doing the rounds lately. Citing LADYTRON, PJ HARVEY, OMD, and COCTEAU TWINS as sources of inspiration, their output is almost how you’d imagine the “Stranger Things” theme was actually a full band that had albums out of its own – and that’s pretty damn cool if that’s your flavour of earworms. Sounding like a whole bunch of new romantic era synth heavy stuff that simultaneously did – and didn’t exist – LUCKYANDLOVE are the veritable Schrodinger’s Cat of the synthwave world, and people can’t get enough of them. They’ve released two albums in the form of their 2017 debut ‘Lucky+Love’ and 2019’s ‘Transitions’; and toured internationally – so keep your ears peeled if they show up at a venue in your town some day.

Band: Totem
Origin: Denmark
Status: Active

Founded in January 2019, TOTEM culture a bewitching blend of typically melancholic darkwave and post punk that could be classified as having a foot in both genres due to how they craft their songs with such cold precision. Featuring pulsing synth beats by Trina Echidna, with soaring guitar riffs and tenor vocals by Christopher Bagge, they are a hugely fresh and exciting new band in the goth scene that cleverly use their musical influences well to carve out a sound almost of their own making. They appear to be very much in demand, with a couple of small shows planned for Prague and Sweden and are bound to end up doing more shows that are further afield beyond the European mainland in other territories too – on the basis of how successful KÆLAN MIKLA became in a short time frame, for example. Mark my words, they’re destined for great things.

Until next time, keep it weirdcore.

Goth Mark

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