Saturday, October 29, 2011

Friday, October 28, 2011

Fearsome Day 28: Combichrist "Sent To Destroy"

Now if you grab your big black sharpie and draw a line from the drum machines that the Sisters of Mercy used I think you could wind around through a dozen or so other bands and end up somewhere close to the angsty, dark sonic territory that Combichrist has staked claim to, maybe.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Sickening Day 27: White Lies "To Lose My LIfe"

Are these guys a goth band? I don't know. I'm calling them a goth band. Or influenced by death rock/goth. Or something. You know, in the grand tradition of deep voiced vocalists singing about love and death in songs laden with gloomy hooks.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Gloomy Day 26: Rasputina "Transylvanian Concubine"

Larger than life male figures in the goth pantheon like Peter Murphy, Rozz Williams, Nick Cave or Dave Vanian notwithstanding, the oddball bad neighborhood of pop culture called goth has always had its fair share of female artists. In fact, I would wager that most "goths" you're ever likely to see on the streets of real life are female. So it's only natural that truly artistically unique female figures like Rasputina (lol, awesome name) will find their spiritual home here.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Dreary Day 25: The Creepshow "Zombies Ate Her Brain"

More psychobilly excellence this time from Canada's The Creepshow. As always, it makes me think of the Cramps, at least a little. A good song for that point in your Halloween party when you're drunk enough to not mind if some of your furniture gets wrecked.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Fearful Day 24: Of The Wand And The Rune "My Black Faith"

"You weakened and tore my heart 
You ripped and purged my soul 
You invoked this night without a care 
Initiated the end of love 
All light bends into a hole 
Of utter nothing 
A hopelessness I can not comprehend 
Veils and thrusts and burns and tears" 

Proving that the Danish can get really depressed, Of The Wand And The Rune delivers this musical downer, "My Black Faith." Listening to one of their tunes is like having the serotonin drained out of your brain in less than 3 minutes, by the end leaving you on the edge of complete despair. Pretty effective songwriting, right?

In the org chart of Gothlandia Ltd., Of The Wand And The Rune occupy an extremely esoteric space out in the warehouse where not many visit. Neofolk, the label that gets pinned to this outfit, might not even be considered proper goth, or mainstream goth or anything-goth-at-all, but in a way that makes them true to the "eff you, I'm depressed and I'll do what I want!" spirit that I think goth was originally all about. Yeah? Yeah.

So anyway, you make the call if you so desire - gothic (or gothic-ish) or no?

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Deadly Day 23: Type O Negative "Love You to Death"

From the goth school of deep male voices comes Type O Negative's singer Pete Steele voice, added to the pantheon. The instrumentation is fairly straightforward hard rock, but the mood is appropriately melancholy, and from what I know of Type O Negative, their songs are pretty much always this way. Thus, we're stuffing them into the goth category as best we can.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Scarrry Day 22: The Horrorpops "Walk Like A Zombie"

 And you want a mountaintop 
 With a little castle 
 And you wanna name our kids 
 Morticia and Fester 
 And all the flowers you bring 
 Are always dead 
 And you howl at the moon 
 But i don't care...

 Very contemporary psychobilly band The Horrorpops deliver this tune "Walk Like A Zombie" - a fun loving rollicking stomper with an oldies feel. They lyrics are the best part for this ol' zombie... reading them over reads like an ode to modern love. The sound is a long ways away from psychobilly founders The Cramps, but the same sensibility is lying there, buried under the ground, reaching a hand up through the earth with a defiant rotted claw bursting through into the dark midnight fog. The sensibility that's always been there in this funny, odd cul de sac of pop culture - an inversion of every day life from the "normal" to the "abnormal," from "light" to "dark," from "happy" to "gloomy," from earnest and upfront to the ironic and to black humor. Same strain of the same pop cultural virus.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Terrible Day 21: Antiworld "Horror High"

Well, we're out of the 80s classic goth and death rock scenes of London and Los Angeles and now into the 90s up to the present era. Yes, we know we left out so many great bands from the old days. Specimen, Alien Sex Fiend, Xmal Deutschland, Southern Death Cult, Dead Can Dance, Clan of Xymox... and on and on and on. All great bands every self-respecting goth should learn about and love.

What started as a loose collection of very original sounding bands united in the minds of their adoring black-clad, Halloween-loving fans blossomed into a full on cultural presence, with all sorts of genres and sub-genres, and as a whole unlikely to ever go away. Cybergoth, industrial goth, goth metal, gothicky neofolk, psychobilly, horror punk, dark wave, ethereal darkwave - it all gets kind of absurd - but plenty of great bands to discover.

So many new sounds to hear since the "classic era," but for this post I'm going with an old-school flavored song by an awesome band I discovered for myself on youtube, Antiworld. I guess I'd call it goth punk or horror punk, but really, forget the genre thing. The song rocks, the lyrics and the video is frickin hilarious, and all in all this is a great continuation of the horror-camp strain of raw homegrown rock that stretches back a good 40 years now, maybe longer. Thanks to Antiworld for keeping the tradition alive, or rather, undead.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Terrorizing Day 20: Rose MacDowall "Let There Be Thorns"

Okay, so regular readers know we love Strawberry Switchblade, so it's no surprise that we also love ex-Switchbladetress Rose MacDowall's solo work. Here she is with her appropriately-named band Sorrow performing her own tune, "Let There Be Thorns." The word "melancholy" seems trite when attempting to describe the emotion in this one. Perfect for the deepest, darkest hour of All Hallows Eve.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Nightmarish Day 19: Nick Cave "Long Black Veil"

Birthday Party singer turned solo singer/songwriter Nick Cave performs an amazing cover of "Long Black Veil." It's an old country ballad originally written in 1959 and performed by Lefty Frizzell, and since then covered by all sorts including Johnny Cash. Cave's got impeccable goth credentials and so I'm going with his version. Plus, his back band, The Bad Seeds, provide excellent twangy instrumentation that evokes with a certain amount of humor and exaggeration, a ghostly and melancholy country western tableau.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Satanic Day 18: Diamanda Galas "Litanies of Satan"

Okay, now if you realllly want to scare the kids who come up to your door for trick or treating then have this "tune" blasting out of your house! Actually, maybe you shouldn't because it's not just a little scary - it's REALLY SCARY. I mean it, super scary. Scaaaary. You've been warned!

Monday, October 17, 2011

Melancholy Monday Day 17: Sex Gang Children "Barbarossa"

Out of London's 80s Batcave scene comes Sex Gang Children. This tune's got a rollicking Killing Jokey beat plus Fripp-ish guitars and best of all, Peter Murphy-like vocals. Though it's not really fair to suggest that Sex Gang Children is in any way ripping off Bauhaus, because of course, the high pitched affected warbling that both bands exhibit is a direct influence of the Pale White Duke, proto-goth glam master flash, Mr. David Bowie. I've always wondered if it makes any sense for Bowie-style vocals to have been adopted by so many goth bands, or if it was all a (fortunate) accident.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Sad Day 16: The Damned "Shadow of Love"

1985's "Shadow of Love" by The Damned has got that reverby romantico-melancholic soundscape that should work for any serious depressive goth-out rock-out session.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Freakish Day 15: Joy Division "Shadowplay"

Joy Division are British masters of gloomy downbeats and depressive soundscapes with few rivals for emotional impact and artistic originality. Probably not very good music for a party, unless you and your friends like to sit around and despair about the misery of existence. Which sounds kind of fun actually. Different at least.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Fearful Day 14: The Birthday Party "The Friend Catcher"

The Birthday Party's songs aren't necessarily always about depression and death, but a lot of them are.

In fact, the lyrics of this song aren't about depression and death at all - they're about something as mundane as smoking a cigarette, believe it or not - but the overall mood of this song is still dark and doomy nonetheless. It's like they can't help it.

And btw, I can easily see this song playing in one of the rooms in your backyard black plastic Haunted House. Something to consider.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Sorrowful Day 13: Siouxsie and the Banshees "Spellbound"

Big, BIG teased black hair and elaborate heavy eye makeup - Siouxsie was a proto-goth fashion inspiration for legions of young deathrock women as well as being singer extraordinaire for her super tight, badass group.

I don't know about you, but I remember that uneasy feeling I had as a child that the world might just fall apart and impossible things begin to happen. An exciting feeling, but scary!

"When you think your toys
have gone berserk
it's an illusion
you cannot shirk

You hear laughter
cracking through the walls
it's an illusion
you have no choice

Following the footsteps of a rag doll dance
we are entranced

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Sinister Day 12: Sisters of Mercy "Black Planet"

Gloomy and moody, but danceable! the Sisters of Mercy were goth night dance floor superstars in the mid 80s.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Evil Day 11: The Cure "One Hundred Years"

It doesn't matter if we all die!

This might very well be the goth anthem for the Goth People's Republic of Gothanistan. Actually, on second thought I think a goth country would be run as a monarchy, don't you?

Anyway, play this loud, go sit on the floor in a corner of your room and put your hands over your face.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Terrifying Day 10: Bauhaus "Mask"

Now we switch over to 80s British early deathrock/goth bands. Bauhaus. Often glammy and not really so creepy at all, when they wanted to they could creep things right up, and they often did as this song proves.

The transformation is invested 
With the mysterious and the shameful 
While the thing I am becomes something else 
Part character part sensation


Sunday, October 9, 2011

Deadly Day 9: The Misfits "Skulls"

The Misfits took the Ramones' trick of taking fairly straight forward rock song arrangements and melodies and then playing them very loud and very distorted. Then they added the additional twist of plugging in over-the-top horror movie inspired lyrics, often with extreme sexual references thrown in just to make sure someone, somewhere got offended. Some of their tunes, like "Hollywood Babylon" even had a little Cramps-like nod to rockabilly.

The corpses all hang
Headless and limp
Bodies with no surprises
And the blood drains down like devils rain
We'll bathe tonight

I want your skulls
I need your skulls
I want your skulls

I need your skulls

Job well done.

After making a couple of records they speeded up and went full on hardcore punk. Then they broke up and lead singer Glenn Danzig went full on metal. Or something like that.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Haunting Day 8: The Cramps "The Human Fly"

For all their relatively simple appearances - a small, albeit strange, 3 piece ensemble - the Cramps are actually a lot of things all balled up into one very weird sonic phenomenon.

Part throwback to early primitive rockabilly, part throwback to 60s novelty horror music (like our beloved Munsters theme or Screaming Lord Sutch, for example). Recall (or not) that the late 70s and early 80s had its own 50s retro revival that you can see in TV shows like Happy Days and bands like the B-52s and the Stray Cats. The Cramps were at the extreme end of that - the revival of the 50s underworld in all its pulpy, sleazy, drugged out, perverted and decadent glory. I love the B-52s, but the Cramps make them seem like the Carpenters, no offense!

And then to top it all off, the Cramps coined the term "psychobilly" to describe their music, and the genre has lived on up to the present in the form of bands like The Horrorpops and The Creepshow.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Frightening Day 7: Christian Death "Cavity - First Communion"

Ok, I admit it, I'm biased in my love for some of these bands - Christian Death is one of them.

Like 45 Grave, they're another one of those early deathrock bands that came out of Los Angeles. I won't bother to tell their story, there is plenty of info out there already, like here, here and here.

Let's just say that for one of their key members, it didn't end happily, sadly.

Most of the attention that Christian Death gets is focused on their ill-fated genius front man and band founder Rozz Williams. All well and good, but I have to confess that I'm just as much a fan of the entire band's musicianship, song writing and overall style. These guys wrote great songs by any standard. The two albums of theirs that I'm most familiar with - Only Theatre of Pain and Catastrophe Ballet - are chock full of perfect, hook-laden, beautifully depressing tunes.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Scary Day 6: 45 Grave's "Evil"

Jen's stories about being a teenage deathrocker in Los Angeles back in the 80s never cease to amuse me. Being deathrock back then required such commitment - especially as a teenage kid dressed up in all black goth gear riding the bus or trudging along the sidewalk during the height of a typical blindingly bright and hot LA summer. It still does require commitment I imagine, even though you're a lot less likely to get beat up for it.

Yet somehow Los Angeles became one of the main birthplaces of US deathrock/goth music. Strange. It all happened during that intensely creative period in the late 70s/early 80s when dozens of great punk, new wave and hardcore bands sprung up out of decaying old Hollywood, LA's rundown trashy beach neighborhoods and eventually the endless tract home dystopias at the city's edges.

Led by Dinah Cancer, 45 Grave was one of those early bands (along with others like Christian Death, for example). Sounding raw, very 70s punk and very new wave, "Evil" has got to be on your Halloween soundtrack.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Scary Day 5: The Sonics "The Witch"

Okay, here's another one you gotta crank up. Seattle's original soulful grimy gritty garage punks, the Sonics doing their classic "The Witch," another horror themed classic from the 60s. The trebly sharp attack of the guitar riffage plus warbly creepy organ makes for a solid Halloween party monster stomp. It's got a dash of Munster's theme plus a a bit of the garagey-ness of Lord Sutch. Don't leave your playlist without it.

"She got a long black hair
And a big black car
I know what you're thinking
But you won't get far...

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Crawly Day 4: Screaming Lord Sutch's "Dracula's Daughter"

This one strays back into novelty territory, but in entirely enjoyable fashion. Screaming Lord Sutch seems to have made a full on novelty act out of his love for campy musical treatments of horror film material and the like, including tunes with names like "Jack the Ripper," "Murder in the Graveyard," and "The Wolfman Strikes Again."

Sadly his love of the darker side of life wasn't a joke - according to this, he committed suicide by hanging in 1999. RIP Lord Sutch.

He left behind his musical legacy plus, interestingly enough, a British political party called the "Official Raving Monster Loony Party."

Monday, October 3, 2011

Creepy Day 3: Screamin' Jay Hawkins Puts A Spell On You

Too bad the quality on this version of "I Put A Spell On You" isn't better - still though, crank this up if you can. This tune is firing on all cylinders - gritty, dirty, bluesy dirge-like instrumentation accompanied by Screamin' Jay Hawkins' amazing textured screams, laughs and moans - sounding like something emanating from a dark basement voodoo club on some mist shrouded New Orleans night. Know what I mean? This one walks the line of novelty tune and full on classic, and well frankly, I think it's outright art.

Originally release in 1956, "I Put A Spell On You" is considered one of the greatest songs of all time and has been covered by dozens of other great artists.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Dying for Day 2: The Addams Family and The Munsters Theme Songs

In my semi-scientific surveys of the goths I've known, The Addams Family is usually seen as the superior mid-60's campy comedy-horror vehicle.

However, while I tend to agree, I gotta say the theme song for The Munsters is more groovy. Indeed it chugs along in a very enjoyable minor-keyed garage punked style. While The Munsters was the ripoff show, the theme song was kick ass.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

31 Days of Creepy Crawly Tunes: The Monster Mash

Here's Day 1's post in our 31 Days of Creepy Crawly Tunes. Check back everyday for another scare-tastic song or terrifying tune :)

Circa 1962, here's Bobby "Boris" Pickett and the Crypt Kickers doing the "Monster Mash," a necessary tune for any self-respecting Halloween Party. Is it the "Louie Louie" of goth? The "Rock Around the Clock" of death rock? I don't know. It sounds pretty fun and happy, maybe too fun to be proto-goth.

Learn more at this goofy old school style website: official Monster Mash website.