Category Archives: A Year in Review

Best Gigs of 2016

Today is the first day of a new year and new month. But before we can dive into 2017 and everything is has planned, I’d like to look back on the all awesome gigs I attended this year. My current policy is to stay away from large festival gigs as I believe paying exorbitant prices just to see one band in the lineup is just not worth it. So I’ve been sticking to smaller clubs for those in the know. Sadly due to health problems and overall low energy, I was not able to do individual reviews for each concert, but I’ll give a general summary of all of them.

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My brother was able to get me last minute ticket to this show for my birthday and it really pumped a lot of energy into me in the beginning of 2016. Please see previous post for a full review.

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As I’ve been venturing more into the obscure side of alternative music, I came across Das Ich while searching for something different than mainstream industrial. Those guys give absolutely INCREDIBLE energy. It was hard to believe that they still rock out just as hard as when they’d formed in 1989. Despite not understanding all the words, the power of their performance conveyed everything they had wished which is a mark of a group with a truly international reach.i3__qyayunq

Considering that Russia doesn’t have a very big, organized or loyal alternative fan base, observing the Witch House genre and scene expand here has been like a very quirky sociology project. Bands like Dita RedRum, Cult of Cain and Fraunhofer Diffraction have gained cult following amoug young “baby bats” or those first dipping their toes into nu-goth. Such gigs either tend to have a very small audience, or are packed to the max, making it quite uncomfortable, even for a seasoned concert goer like myself. Moreover, going to any witch house gig is rather annoying as young drunk and high teens have created a new rave culture as normal clubs and discos are often over-priced and very face controlled. I feel like a rare flower for attending a gig to actually enjoy the music and sway like a 90s goth doing the tree dance. Sadly even for me, this young unruly crowd has become a deterrent from going to more concerts of this type. I must be getting old.

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Second year in a row seeing them and they always bring their A game. A rare opportunity to dance EBM and really let it all hang out.

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Much like Hocico, Alien Vampires’ harsh EBM brings the connoisseurs of industrial, EBM and overall darkling who not only mosh but also dance. Yet another opportunity to wear my biggest platform boots and stomp my heart out all night.

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I was quite uncertain what to expect of this band as attending had been a last minute decision. Their last album hadn’t particularly stood out for me. I had hoped their live sound would have been more EBM and Industrial but it the combination of harsh metal guitar and screamo vocals still made it work. Very down to earth guys who were more than happy to exchange hugs and selfies afterwards.

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This was Aurelio Voltaire’s 3rd year performing in Russia and each time it just gets better and better. I’m surprised that he has quite a sizable audience here since it does take an advanced level of English to understand his jokes and puns but at the end of the day, rum and vodka brought us all together. I cannot sing this man enough praises. Even though he’s unable to bring backing musicians on tour, forcing him to keep it acoustic, his sweet deep voice and guitar do not make the music boring. Each of his songs are always incredible well written and there is something for everyone, the goths, the nerds, or anyone who likes silly alcoholic karaoke-type singalongs. He bares his heart and soul on stage every night and truly values his fans as he never leaves the club until he has met, hugged and taken photos with everyone. What an extraordinary man who shows that being a label-less musician with big dreams and hard work, one can do anything!

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The crowning jewel of the top of 2016 was of course IAMX. Despite still being placed in the alternative category, much like Placebo, IAMX have a huge young Russian teenage girl fanbase. If you think you’ve seen big metal head guys moshing, that’s childsplay compared to what lengths young women will go to get the tiniest taste of their idols. This was my 4th time seeing them in Moscow and the whole band exudes sex and filth and an energy unlike any other. People may have differing opinions on how Chris’ writing has changed album to album, but no one can dispute how they deliver every song on stage as if it may be their last. While listening to the albums is fun, this is a band which MUST be experienced live to feel the real devotion and intense connection between an artist and their fans.

 

That’s all folks. Let’s hope 2017 will be a better year for all of us. Cheers!

 


Best of 2016

‘ello all. It’s certainly been a while. 2016 has been a very challenging year for many and myself included. Poor health and stress of my day job had certainly not made life easy. But enough excuses and on to the music!

I’d like to begin by thanking all the wonderful Djs over at Communion After Dark for being my primary source of new music for this past year. Due to my local scene severely lacking and causing me great distress, like many children of the internet age, I soon found relief for my condition by spending many hours pouring over alternative music podcasts on mixcloud.com. Rated number one on Mixcloud, Communion After Dark provides a wide variety of music for those darkly inclined hosted by some of the funniest people I’ve ever heard. So, thank you so much guys for making 2016 just a little less bleak.

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2016 saw an unexpected but an incredibly necessary revival of Industrial music. While Skinny Puppy, Nine Inch Nails and many others old timers in the scene hadn’t stopped producing music since their inception, new blood and a new audience was desperately needed in the scene. I’m well aware that 3Teeth had launched their debut album back in 2014 but it wasn’t till 2016 when they were invited to tour with Tool that they become the band on everyone’s radar. Unfortunately they have not yet planned to tour where I live but I am holding my breath in anticipation.

Since everyone already knows the debut album by heart, here’s something fresh from their Soundcloud.

IAMX – “Everything Is Burning” Metanoia Addendumsmokeheadcover-1024x1024

IAMX have become practically mainstream amoung the alternative crowd but that does not make the music or the band any less genius. They need very little introduction or explanation. I had the privilege of seeing them live for the 4th time this year and nothing can compare. Chris Corner writes truly unique visceral unbelievable music.

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Daniel Graves, more well known as Aesthetic Perfection is a true workaholic and never stops making something new. While there is no word on when he plans to release his new album, we have been getting teased with tracks like LAX and Love Like Lies. I can’t wait for what Daniel will think of next.

Mr. Kitty – I Hope You Fall Aparta0439911568_16

I’ve been a huge fan of Mr. Kitty since 2012. His soft synth beats and ethereal vocals call out to the jaded millennial generation who have seen the accomplishments of our predecessors and have decided there’s really no hope but nihilism and music. In 2016 he released the “-+ [EP]” and currently a new single now that’s he’s joined the label Negative Gain. I can’t wait for more. ❤

Victor Love ft. KMFDM – Bitchcrafta3194347266_16

Thanks to Communion After Dark and absolutely every alternative DJ for playing this as it’s serious earworm, but the good kind. The album overall is ok though it’s a tad repetitive.

Hands Off Gretel – Be Minea1893993551_16

I cannot thank my favourite Youtuber Dorian enough for introducing me to this band. I also absolutely adore strong gritty female vocals. As someone who grew up listening to The Distillers, Hole and QueenAdreena, and many many 90s riot grrrrrl bands, this is Riot Grrrl reinvented and brought into 2016! I cannot get enough of them!

Neon Midnight – Retribution3acee51162997f9d6897fe1ffb070770e01dc00dIt’s very tough to assign Neon Midnight a genre. Influenced by 90s grudge bands and gothic sources alike, majority of the songs are rather simple vocals and guitar. While it’s hard to musically categorize, the lyrics are truly impactful and resonate in one’s mind for days. Just give it a try. “Break Me” is my absolutely favoruite song and it speaks to me on a deeply personal level.

 

Nine Inch Nails – Not The Actual Eventsnot_the_actual_events

Of course who could’ve missed the biggest Christmas present of all this year and that’s the new NIN with Trent and Atticus Ross continuing their ongoing musical relationship. Listen for yourself and make up your own mind. I like that it’s more dark and gritty like the earlier NIN I hold so close to my heart.

Strvngers –  Strvngersa3959448815_16

Now with THIS, I’ve certainly saved the best for last. Strvngers is a band which I’ve discovered completely by accident sometime in November and became instantly obsessed with. If I had to choose a favourite album of 2016 it would have to be this. I’ve played it over and over so many times that I now hear the lyrics in my dreams. Heck, I could write an entire album review post singing this band praises. Now, I must caution you, as with much synth darkpop, you’ll either love it or hate it. That being said, it really is the perfect soundtrack to 2016. At first they reminded me of The Sounds with their 80s throwback sound. But, uniquely to them, having synthy upbeat melodies does not mask the dark desperation of the lyrics which might come across as a bit emo but then again 2016 has been a very dark year after all; and is it not the job of art to reflect the current times? The album tells a story about the rise and fall of a young relationship. Very few albums these days have such a cohesive bold story arc which transitions perfectly between each track. They speak very clearly to our current jilted generation who grew up on video games and empty promises. It’s no surprise they share the same record label, Negative Gain as Mr. Kitty whose music also very much taps into this aesthetic. A true gem amoung the coal. A+

Disclaimer. All music belongs to the artists. I tried to link directly to sources like Bandcamp where you can pre-listen and download to your heart’s content. I own nothing.


Best Albums of 2015

Hello everyone. My apologies for being quiet for so long. I haven’t been able to sit down and concentrate on a single piece of writing for quite some time. Anywho, this is my attempt to get out of my creative slump. Enjoy!

2015 has been a year of delving further into the nether regions of subcultures. I got more in touch with my goth clubbing roots with aggro tech and experimental industrial, as well as drag queen culture by listening to everything released by former Rupaul’s Drag Queens contestants. It’s been quite a learning curve.  So here’s my list, in no particular order of what stuck with me and what I hope to enjoy for years to come.

a1773505349_16One of the albums I fell in love with straight away was Beauty Queen Autopsy’s “Lotharia.” Erica Mulkey (of Unwoman) and Matt (of Caustic) make an extraordinary otherworldly combination of darkwave sound and macabre lyrics. This should be played in every goth club in the world!

Please go support them and buy the album here: Beauty Queen Autopsy

Metanoia (2)Among the alternative crowd, this album needs no introduction. Since the success of their previous crowdfunding, IAMX’s latest masterpiece was also crowdfunded with amazing results. After Chris Corner’s brief hospitalization, he returned full force to deliver another perfectly crafted dark electro masterpiece. Having just seen this album, it is gorgeous through and through.

Please go support them here: IAMX

HALSEY_BADLANDS-66t1k9lhizjmmbzjw7y0py8wt373yvcpl6ev5cv0un7_lmcrbgI tend to stay away from trendy pop music, even if everyone on Tumblr can’t shut up about it. Then a friend of mine sent me the song below. I was struck by how a simple and charming melody was accompanied by such deep lyrics. How Halsey opens up about her mental disorder is quite courageous. We need more pop music like this.

Go check her out iamhalsey.com

a1725536087_10Honestly, I’ve had Daniel’s albums sitting on my hard-drive for a while before I actually got around to listening to them. I think it was the dance pop sound in his work that mostly turned me off and I still prefer his first album to all the others. But, it bears mentioning that this last album sold out quickly and the single “Never Enough” has been his most successful single. Overall it’s a good album. Have listen to one of the mixes off the single. Oh and listen to acoustic album also released this year. I laughed until tea came out of my nose.

Go listen! http://www.aesthetic-perfection.net and download HERE

a2721623981_16It’s such pleasure to watch a young artist flourish and grow with each new release. Mr. Kitty has delivered another ethereal album. The lyrics show his growth as a person and musician. Additionally his side project Echo Strobes has released another album which shows tremendous personal growth.  It’s truly amazing what one person can do with just some vocals and synthesizer.

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Please support him!  Mr Kitty and Echo Strobes

anusI must say, the cover pretty much says it all. The runner up of the 5th season of Rupaul’s Drag Race has made the most addicting album of the year. Alaska’s charm is not taking herself seriously and being a hot mess of a queen, which is why we love her! I play this whenever I need to cheer myself up or getting ready to go out.

Go buy her stuff! http://www.alaskathunderfuck.com

Cover-art-of-Conchita-Wursts-debut-album-ConchitaSpeaking of queens, how can one not mention the biggest Eurovision success since Abba! Even if you’re not a fan of pop like I am, she is hard not to like. Her voice has a lovely range and she believed wholeheartedly in everything she says and sings. She is truly a diamond in a generic industry.

Go give her some love! http://www.conchitawurst.com

Honorable mentions:garbage-2015-tour-20-Years-Queer-poster-600x600I’ve loved this band since I was 15. Seeing them live for the first time this year just reminded just why they are is awesome and why Shirley will always remain my idol. The 20 year anniversary release saw an addition of 9 B-sides which had been previously known only to the most hardcore fans. It’s rockin’!

Look it’s a link! https://www.garbage.com

a1140978491_16I wouldn’t recommend this to everyone. Having a sick and twisted sense of humor is a requirement. Jimmy Urine decided to acquaint us with his old and previously unreleased back catalogue. This is it.

Should you decided to buy this monstrosity, it’s HERE

a0872251338_16Last but not least, I seriously lack drugged out nights at goth clubs in my life. This is the remedy. Quite frankly, all their albums sound more or less the same. If you want angry industrial electro, this is it. Good for workouts too.

I got lucky on Black Friday with a coupon from HERE


Top Albums of 2014

2014 is drawing to a close so I decided to compile my favourite albums of this year. This year I sure have been listening to more industrial… In no particular order .

All tracks belong to the artists and their respective labels. I own nothing.

 

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Mr. Kitty – TIME

I fell in love with Mr. Kitty’s music shortly before seeing him at InFest in the UK. His music is hauntingly beautiful. The delicate balance of synth sounds and quite dark lyrics make him a favourite for rainy fall nights with a glass of wine.

Mr. Kitty – After Dark

 

 

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The Gothsicles – Squid Icarus

Only after pledging to their Kickstarter did I realize what a great decision I had made. Described as “Lovecraftian geek culture dance party,” I couldn’t have possibly said it better!

The Gothsicles – Drop Dead Squid Face

 

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Voltaire – Raised by Bats

Another self-funded project I am glad I pledged for, Voltaire delivers another juicy goth album! With star-studded support such as Brian Viglione and Melora Creager, this album is a keeper.

Voltaire – Oh My Goth!

 

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Clan of Xymox – Matters of Mind, Body and Soul

The goth legends return from their haitus to deliver another haunting album packed with gorgeous lyrics.

Clan of Xymox – Falling in Love

 

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Combichrist – We Love You

The Revolver magazine’s reviewer wrote that Combichrist’s music should rather be labelled “Electronic Death Metal than Electronic Dance Music” and observed a “nihilistic” attitude. I completely agree.

Combichrist – Can’t Control

 

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Johnny Hollow – A Collection of Creatures

The band is appropriately defined as “Gothic Chamber Music for the 21st Century” on their Facebook page. The ever so seductive Johnny Hollow also hopped on the crowd funding bandwagon this year to produce their newest masterpiece filled with gorgeous lyrics and exquisite instrumentals.

Johnny Hollow – Devil’s Night

 

Honorable mention

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Karen O – Crush Songs

This was rather unexpected from the high energy empowering music Karen used to make with the Yeah Yeah Yeahs. This definitely shows how Karen has grown up and mellowed out. This album grew on me after a while. Not sure if I’m supposed to make out or cry to these songs.

Karen O – Rapt


2013 A Year in Review

Since 2013 is closely approaching its end, I decided it was time for my readers to get a bit more inside my head.
This post is dedicated to the following artists who have made my 2013. I am including a favourite song from each album and highly urge my readers to support the artists!

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The musical year started out when Mindless Self Indulgence dropped their Kickstarter sponsored album, How I Learned to Stop Giving a Shit and Love Mindless Self Indulgence,  on 14th of March. They certainly delivered hilarious and crass material they are well known for.

MSI  – Ass Backwards

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Following closely behind MSI, Chris Corner of IAMX also dropped his fan-sponsored album, The Unified Field, on March 20th. The response from the fans was overwhelming and love poured from all over the globe.

IAMX – I Come With Knives

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Unwoman is a Bay Area artist who is most known for her eccentric cello and a mixing of a variety of styles. On April 14th she released yet another covers album which included covers of Amanda Palmer, The White Stripes, Joy Division, and Florence and The Machine, to name a few and each cover chilled me right down to the bone. Lemniscate: Uncovered Volume 2 is a extraordinary!

Unwoman – Destroy Everything You Touch (Ladytron cover)

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On April 15th, Yeah Yeah Yeahs released their fourth album, Mosquito. Filled with much the same energy Karen O delivers on stage, it also showed more grown up song writing of the band. Sacrilege, which opens the album, is an anthem fueled by spiritual jubilee which begs to be sung loudly!

Yeah Yeah Yeahs – Despair

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Deviating a little from my usual taste in alternative  music, on May 10th I fell in love with the debut record from an indie-pop band named MS MR. Their pop songs are filled with intense lyrics and melancholy melodies that I couldn’t get enough of.

MS MR – Dark Doo Wop

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On May 28th, the industrial gods, Skinny Puppy dropped their newest album, Weapon. Compared to their previous 12 albums, this one was characterized by much more upbeat melodies yet more sinister lyrics.

Skinny Puppy – Illisit

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April 1st saw the ring master of dark cabaret, Joe Black drop his newest, also fan sponsored album, Satan in a Sunday Hat and it was no joke! Featuring new original songs, as well as a few covers, it was a ride through hell to be remembered!

Joe Black – Drink It Down

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As the heat of summer was just starting to sizzle, Studio Killers appeared on the scene and  released their first self titled album on June 14th. They first came to my attention when I saw the Ode to Bouncer video and proceeded to lust over Cherry’s sex appeal and proceeded to dance to them all summer.

Studio Killers – Jenny

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Just as fall started rolling in, Nine Inch Nails released their first album since 2008, Hesitation Marks on August 30th. The Industrial giants followed up with the Hesitation Marks tour which will continue well into 2014, much to the satisfaction of many fans, including myself.

Nine Inch Nails – Copy of A

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On 16th of September, alternative rock giants, Placebo released their 7th studio album, Loud Like Love. While it received mixed reviews from the media, many fans like myself grew to love this newest Placebo album and were only too eager to purchase tickets for the upcoming tour.

Placebo – Exit Wounds 

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Towards the end of 2013, The Tiger Lillies dropped their 27th (holy shit!) studio album, Either Or. This album coincided with the beginning of the latest Tiger Lillies tour in Russia, which I was lucky to be a part of. Much like all their work, filled with filth, wit and clever lyrics, Tiger Lillies had created another work of art!

The Tiger Lillies – Sailor

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To conclude 2013, on November 26, Puscifer released the soundtrack to their DVD, What Is… Puscifer. Including many live versions of previous songs, the CD showcases the energy and passion of their live shows, not to mention Carina Round’s extraordinary voice!

Puscifer – Rev 22.20 (live)