Tag Archives: gothic

April’s Swag – Free (& Legal) Music Downloads

April's Swag - bite-sized, but very tempting (and even a bit delicious)

Once again, there’s been so much going on this month that I’ve spared little time to dig up the best bits from the nether regions of the internet. Lucky for us both, I don’t have to look very far to find something worth bringing to your attention – to recap those I already have:

After that, I suggest sinking your teeth into these:

Heinali and Matt Finney – Plainsong
Shoegaze/Drone/Ambient | 15MB – 320 kbps MP3
You may have caught the recent Conjoined review over at [sic], if not, this duo blend heavy shoegaze-drone a la The Angelic Process/Nadja, with spoken word vocals. These guys have got quite a few things in store for this year, with another album set for release later this spring on Paradigms Recordings titled Ain’t No Night – keep your eyes and ears out for more info soon, as there’s some seriously good stuff going on with that. Currently available for free download on Bandcamp right now is their take on The Cure’s Plainsong and Radiohead’s Creep. To top it off, from May 1st, Dreamcatcher – a half-hour soundtrack over two movements (Lucifer 1 and Panopticon), which recently accompanied a photo exhibit – will go up as a ‘name your price’ download, with all funds raised going towards financing another album later this year; some very absorbing work all-round.

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Wild Dogs In Winter – Homba*
Post Rock/Ambient | 120MB – 320 kbps MP3s
Released last year but only just recently brought to my attention, this nicely done 10-track album has more than enough weight to grab – and keep – the attention of Blueneck, I Like Trains, Our Ceasing Voice and Her Name Is Calla fans. Available on Bandcamp as a digital download (or purchase the CD).

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Sleepy Sun – Marina
Psych/Stoner Rock | 14MB – 320 kbps MP3
If you know me, you know I can’t get enough of these guys and their particularly sparkling blend of hazy psych/stoner rock. To celebrate their upcoming US tour, Sleepy Sun have made a live version of the single Marina available for free download, which you can grab here.

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Other Lives – For 12
Folk/Rock | 6MB 192 kbps MP3
It was nice to see this new track go up on RCRD LBL the other day, as I’m quite fond of Other Lives’ self-titled debut. (Not so nice to see RCRD LBL decide to go the same direction as Daytrotter and disallow direct downloads without registering for a user account – they better not introduce a poorly functioning, site-specific “download manager”). Slightly more old-school psych-folk in this track, but very nice indeed – grab it here.

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NeTE – Greatest Non-Hits 1 LP
Industrial/Gothic/Lo-Fi – 73MB 128 kbps MP3s
Some of you may remember my Australian music special from a while back, and briefly mentioning I couldn’t recall any Australian goth bands I was into during the 90’s. Well, while I was trying to jog my memory, I happened upon a site called Shame File Music – a label dedicated to experimental Australian music. Long story slightly shorter, I grabbed this collection of tracks, and while I can’t say I heard them back then, I can say there’s some stuff here worthy of a listen now. Grab them from Internet Archive.

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*These are available as ‘name your price’ downloads. For Bandcamp releases, you are able to enter any amount, including $0. For Mamaleek’s Kurdaitcha, voluntary donations (via PayPal) to support the artists can be made through the Enemies List download page linked above. As always, though I know times are tough, I encourage sparing a few bucks where and when you can to support the artists making the music you enjoy.

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The Present Moment – The High Road

Some albums really do need to come with a warning. In the case of The High Road by The Present Moment, it would read a little something like: This album may cause withdrawl symptoms from the slightly dizzying effects of strobe lights; the dusty, lung-filling scent produced by smoke machines and the general heart-palpitation-inducing atmosphere of night clubs. It’s true, I’m a few years past the socially acceptable age of clubbing, but I very nearly grabbed my last pair of these and hit the town after listening to this.

Hailing from LA, artist Scott Milton has produced an album that, in terms of musical scope, fairly well epitomises that night club scene, the kind where nary a braindead pop hit is heard and music doesn’t just add to the ambience, it is the ambience – and the people are thriving on it.

The primary forces of The High Road draw on some of the more subversive elements of that scene – namely dark wave, goth and industrial. Opening with the nicely ominous ARRIVAL, an intro glazed with drone, the tone is set for a slightly jaded, occasionally cynical eye to be cast from the observervational point of a dark corner of the room, while those being observed remain completely oblivious as the beat goes on.

Tracks such as No Pieces Fit and the title track itself, The High Road, lean more towards synth numbers with subdued melodies and energetic rhythms, though things do get a little more sinister and occasionally aggresive. From the murky, droning bass in EMILY, to the outright frustration displayed on THE DAMAGE IS LOVED, where the frantic industrial core drives it to the point vehement despair.

The High Road, at the very least, should be played loud – much louder than is necessary to annoy the neighbours so that you can’t hear them knocking on the door. But for my money, it needs to be heard in that other place – the place where darkness and light coexist in the flash of a bulb, curls of smoke obscure and frame the dance floor, and where the energy isn’t just directed by the music, it’s responsible for creating it.

The High Road is available in a limited edition of 100 phsyical copies, which you can purchase via Desire Records; or you can download the album from Bandcamp.

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Dark & Darker

“…like a whisper taking you back to the dark part of your memory and dreams…”


That’s the self-described music of Opium Dream Estate, a musical project founded in 2006 by Sébastyén D. I recently chanced upon the EP Through the White Landscape, which was released back in August over on Bandcamp. Gentle and haunting, perhaps a little bit like Rivulets meets Boduf Songs with a decidedly French  shoegaze feel. The EP is currently available as a free download and well worth checking out if you like the sound of ambient, gothic neofolk. You can also take a listen to any or all of ODE’s  four previous releases – Estranged Memories, Anamorphosis, Spira Spiritum Noctis and Alpha/Omega.

Sébastyén D runs the label Seventh Crow Records, which has a few other releases on Bandcamp at the moment also for free download –  a various artists compilation titled The Haunted Looking Glass; a 12-track album released on 4th November by Art of Empathy called Posthuman Decadence, another Sébastyén D project called Orchid’s Children with Last Days of Decadence and Hourglass & Waterlillies – all of which are tagged with ethereal, goth, ambient, indie, industrial and neofolk.

Only The Tress Remember is the first of 6 tracks on the release.

 

 

More dark Bandcamp-ery with this fairly recent self-titled release by SIΔMESE NOIR. There seems to be pretty limited info out there at the moment in regards to this project, which could well be the point, all I can turn up is “New York based solo project”.

The symbol in the name generally seems to indicate “witch house” these days, and I suppose it’s fairly accurate. I say suppose merely because I haven’t made much of an effort to overly familiarise myself with the genre, but I will say the more I hear of it the more I become convinced it’s actually a new name rather than a new genre. Anywho, that’s beside the point, this music is of the eerily-slow-motion type – think Chinese water torture in a haunted room that has a creepy looking kid with black eyes playing trip-hop at drone-speed and in weird loops… Translate that, if you can, into sound and you’d be in the ball park. At night.

You might be a little unsettled, but you’ll be compelled to stay. You can download it for free here.

In Quiet is the first of 5 tracks on the release.

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Tragic Fixation – Dancing Bones, Cannibals & A Mysterious Watermelon Man

I have to admit I visit Amie Street only on the odd occasion, usually just to check up on the latest releases for anything that might take my fancy (the rec system leaves a bit to be desired – I have no idea why, when it’s based on my previous purchases as well as the top 50 artists in my Last.fm library, I keep getting rec’d Patsy Cline, and today, for some reason Pavarotti is up there on my home page. No disrespect intended for either of those two artists, but they’re just not my style…)

Anyway, the point is the above artist – Tragic Fixation – caught both my eye and subsequently my fancy. I don’t really need much more encouragement to download a few songs when they’re tagged industrial & gothic rock (or industrial devil music, according to the artist bio) – the fact that they’re practically being given away right now just makes it a bunch easier. Having had a few listens I think there’s some nuances of punk/post-punk in there, too.

Three tracks are currently available to download via Amie Street – Alchemist’s Broth, Oversized and Cannibals Anonymous – which are all pretty nifty and worth the effort to go grab (you need an account as well as either a credit card or PayPal account to add a minimum of US$5.00 to it before you can start purchasing, but at least it’s rather quick and painless and there’s no reason for begrudging the current price of $0.31).

Just for a frame of reference, at various points I was reminded in part of one or all of the following, to varying degrees: Big Black, Public Image Limited, The Sisters of Mercy, Black Flag, Suicidal Tendencies; as well as somewhere in the realm of the influences listed over on their MySpace: Nine Inch Nails, Lacuna Coil, Bauhaus… eh, stuff it, better to just let the music speak for itself, methinks. Take a listen to Oversized.

Thanks to that song, I now have an overwhelming urge to find out the name of the watermelon man. (Herbie Hancock doesn’t know, just seems to be a little hot an bothered by it all, The Gun Club don’t seem to know much at all except “he no dead“,  Dick Curless claims to be the son of a watermelon man named Dan, but it’s another name for The Night the Sun Came Out, according to Answers Encyclopedia… Stupid mysteries – I’m now on a quest for a definitive answer).

Oh, and click here to go get Tragic Fixation’s tunes from Amie Street.

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Spotlight on Android Lust & The Human Animal

When it comes to attempts to succinctly convey the tone of Android Lust‘s particular brand of electro-industrial music, there are a few common ones; like Female NIN, gothic, dark, aggressive, moody, seething, rawHR Giger even gets the odd mention, more than likely owing to the erotic overtones of the mechanical/android/alien aesthetic that’s prevalent in both the imagery and sound. I make no arguments to any of those (I’ve used them myself), but they don’t really do full justice to music that can sometimes be really quite haunting and beautiful.

Shikhee, the woman behind the moniker, has a fantastic knack for combining incisive lyrics that highlight some of the darker recesses of human nature – the ones a lot of us think or feel but would rarely, if ever, openly admit to – with music that somehow makes it not only ok to sing along with them, but to agree wholeheartedly with them as well. Stained, for example, from 2002’s The Dividing, takes a look at some fairly hateful thoughts – “I know not how to cease this feeling of hate in me / I just want to see you bleed  / I know what I want / I want to stop seeing red / I know what I want / I just want to see you dead“. Whether you interpret those words as being directed inward or outward, the purity of loathing is made pretty simple, yet the song itself is almost ghostly. The main vocals are strong and smooth, delivered with a sense of mild disdain, but there is no venom in them and ultimately the prespective takes on shades of a fragile hurt. The implication is made that the protagonist has simply become resolved to the desire, but it also seems to make clear that the anger is coming from a deeper, less accessable pain.


Fair warning: This video contains images not recommended for the squeamish

Of course, there are times when subject matter and music are more closely related and forthright. Sex and Mutilation, also from The Dividing, is a manic, glitchy and hyper-kinetic track where the title words are half-screamed with an edge of desperation, while Kingdom of One (and in particular, the remix from 2004’s Stripped & Stitched) is probably the only song I’ve ever heard that uses the normally preternatural sounding and “offensive” C-word in a pointed and derisive manner and yet keep it from actually feeling crude – i.e., it completely avoids the “shock factor”. It certainly puts it beyond merely interesting listening and right into intriguing.

One of the words I neglected to mention in those common descriptors is cold. There’s a couple of reasons for that – firstly, it happens to be one I don’t really agree with. Yes, electronica is rarely ‘organic’, and yes industrial elements tend to lend themselves well to the ‘coldness’ inherent in the mechanical; two things that can often see music of the genre feel cold. The other reason I point that out is that even if there are some older AL tracks that can earn that tag, there is no way possible I would apply it to The Human Animal.

The latest album arrives four years after previous album, Devour, Rise and Take Flight – those four years seem to have been quite well spent. According to the Android Lust website, The Human Animal is “a journey through the psyche of man, as man realizes the futility of living in the grips of ego and surrenders to seek answers within.” Even if you don’t get a good grasp on that concept, you’re unlikely to feel like the album is over your head – in a nutshell, The Human Animal is a very well executed, consistent and accessable album.

Taking a slightly different approach this time around, Shikhee spent some time on the streets and subways of New York, recording sounds that have been incorporated as “rhythmic and melodic elements“. More importantly, though, is the inclusion of live musicians during the recording process for the first time. Losing none of the trademark hard metallic edge, the entire album feels like a deeper, richer experience than much of what has come before it.

From the first few moments of the opening track, Intimate Stranger, you know you’re listening to an Android Lust album – Shikhee’s voice is unmistakable – but the sound has taken on some dirtier, grungier blues tones, which maintains the aforementioned gothic moodiness but also gives it a more prominent and wickedly seductive edge. (You know you’re hooked if you feel the urge to to sing a song like Rub Me Raw when out and about – it would be an interesting experiment to see how well other bus passengers would take to my vocal renditions of “Won’t you smother me ’til I’m sick of you / Crush me ’til I scream for you / Rub me ’til I bleed for you / Rub me raw“. I’m sticking to humming it for now).

There really isn’t a song on here that won’t get under your skin in a similar fashion. At times a little sinister (The Return), other times darkly bluesy with a cat-like fluidity (A New Heaven), and there is yet still moments that are murky and haunting (Flow (of Impermanence)). Android Lust really knows how to get into your head and seduce your darker side out to play, and The Human Animal will stalk you with every track in such a way as to make it impossible to resist.

But of course, why would you resist? In the words of Android Lust herself, it’s a sin not to want things.

You can listen to The Human Animal here, with option to purchase a digital copy, or better yet, buy a CD version here (a very nice deluxe package is also available).

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The Liar Script – Days Like Minutes, Minutes Like Years

I’ve mentioned elsewhere recently that lately I seem to be having a bit of a bout of old skoolism. More specifically, I’ve been digging up a bunch of old albums and rediscovering all those great songs I remember from the 80’s and 90’s. Which might be a little obvious to anyone who recognises at least a few of those album covers over on the left.

These things are generally cyclical, I presume, and has less to do with a disenchantment with current music and more that sometimes you just suddenly remember how great all that stuff was and need to hear it again. I mustn’t be the only one, considering the recent shoegaze revival.

If, like me, you always leant more towards the gothic, post-punk and/or new wave side of things, then chances are that – also like me – you’ll dig what San Francisco’s four-piece post-punk outfit The Liar Script have been up to. Relatively new, at least on my radar, The Liar Script give an assured dark and broody nod to all the classic elements that made gothic post-punk bands like The Sisters of Mercy, Joy Division and Bauhaus, well, classic. Offering consistently solid tracks that are fresh-sounding with touches of the familiar, the current 6-track album-to-be Days Like Minutes, Minutes Like Years is a sure-fire cure for old-skoolism if you’re suffering from it, or a perfect addition to your library if your’e a post-punk fetishist still revelling in it.

Take a listen to one of my latest favourites, Ghosts.

The Liar Script and Days Like Minutes, Minutes Like Years, as well as a two-track EP titled Twisting the Way (which features a cover of The Sound‘s Winning) can be found on Bandcamp. Pay no mind to notions of  new or old  school music, just pay them a visit and check out some great music. 😉

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