Tag Archives: Mr. Kitty

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.


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


Infest 2014 Festival review

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For this festival review I decided I will take a different approach. I was not able to see every single band on each day so it would be impossible and impractical to write a comprehensive piece about each performer. Instead I shall capture the spirit of the whole festival, while mentioning my favourite bands who need promoting the most. I had not previously attended Infest, nor have I ever been to a alternative music festival of this caliber before; so unfortunately I do not have anything to compare it to, but I shall try my best.

Infest is known for being the UK’s premier EBM/Industrial/Synthpop/Noise event. Starting in 1998 this festival has attracted alternative people from all over the UK, as well as the world. Previous bands to have played at Infest have been Alien Sex Fiend, VNV Nation, Projest Pitchfork, Caustic, and Covenant to name a few. I was personally looking forward to seeing VNV Nation and Mr. Kitty, whose music I was most familiar with. Especially after the cancellation of AltFest, I was really looking forward to an event to fill my summer festival needs and Infest certainly got the job done!

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© Infest Festival

Arriving in Bradford a bit groggy after a 6 hour coach ride, I was hoping my energy would perk up by the opening night. The University of Bradford was hosting Infest and was also providing housing for the festival goers. I was one of the lucky ones who landed in student housing right next to the venue itself. My housemates were most excited about seeing Dream Divide and I went along out of curiosity.

I was really surprised just how much I liked Dreams Divide. David, the vocalist had a really incredible stage presence! The way he roused the crowd was really entertaining to watch and made the music that much more enjoyable. Gem’s amazing backing vocals complemented David’s perfectly and made for one captivating performance. I certainly couldn’t get enough of them and hope to see them again in the future. Overall, it was the perfect start to a magnificent festival with the party progressing way into the night and surpassing dawn at the after parties.

 

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© Infest Festival

I was not familiar with any of the bands of the Saturday lineup and had spent most of the afternoon sleeping off my hangover. By the time I had gotten dressed-up and ready, it was time to see Juno Reactor. My friends assured me that they were a combination of bellydance and industrial so I was certainly intrigued. What I had not expected was dancing non-stop for more than an hour to what by far the best dance music of all three days of the festival. The beats pulsated throughout my body and the beautiful female vocals added sensuality to the hypnotic music. I felt like I had been transported to a futuristic club somewhere in Istanbul where traditions met alternative EBM music and had a passionate affair. I was not the only audience member completely mesmerized. The room was packed full of people with everyone, from the very front to the back of the room, jumping, dancing and inhaling the atmosphere. Juno Reactor played a combination of songs from their newest album “The Golden Sun of the Great East,” as well as some memorable tracks from their 2004 album, “Labyrinth.” I cannot name a favourite moment or specific song because of how effortlessly the set had flowed from one track to the next. All in all, Juno Reactor rocked Infest and made that Saturday very memorable.

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On Sunday, the last day of Infest, I leapt out of bed in anticipation of the magnificent day to come. I was predominately excited for the performance of Mr. Kitty, who I had only recently started listening to upon Caustic’s recommendation, and whose music I had completely fallen in love with over the course of the summer. Mr. Kitty’s music can be best described as dark synthpop with catchy melodies combined with dark lyrics addressing pain, loss and depression. It is primarily due to such raw honest lyrics that I fell in love with Mr. Kitty.

Mr. Kitty opened his set with the song “XXI” from his newest album “Time” and set the tone of the room. The fast beats got people’s feet moving and one could already pin-point the superfans out of the audience by the intensity of their lipsynching, as well as the Hello Kitty masks. Following a very warm welcome and reception, Mr. Kitty went on to play a selection of tracks from all four of his albums, including his most recent release, “Time.” Songs such “Insects,” “Destroy Me,” and  “Unstable” were some of the most enduring moments in his performance. Bouncing up and down the stage in a hooded cloak, Mr. Kitty delivered every lyric with enthralling passion which was truly intoxicating for the audience. Certainly Mr. Kitty is young and can still learn much about performing but he definitely has his stage presence down. His connection with the audience is undeniably real and can be felt from even the back of the room. Mr. Kitty finished his set with “London” as he reached into the crowd to touch his most adoring of fans. Even my friends who had never heard of Mr. Kitty’s music until that day became devout fans. Mr. Kitty makes incredibly genuine music where one feels connected – not only to the music – but to him as a performer and person!

I mingled in and out of the venue the rest of the day, catching snippits of Solar Fake and Ashbury Heights but didn’t stay long enough to hear full sets, as I was saving my energy for VNV Nation. That afternoon I checked out the marketplace and the merch tables. Looking at the beautiful clothing, corsets and accessories did make me a bit sad for being poor but did not damper my spirits.

Infest came to a crescendo at the arrival of VNV Nation on stage. The crowning jewel of the Infest lineup, VNV Nation are known for their mind-blowing performances wherever they may be and they certainly did not disappoint this at this year’s Infest. The main room of the venue was packed solid and the crowd were going wild! It was a true celebration of alternative culture and everything that makes us unique. The whole weekend I felt so loved and appreciated for being myself – I definitely did not want to let that go. I applaud the performers, organizers and all the fans who came together to make Infest 2014 as special as it was. I will certainly return for years to come!

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© Infest Festival