Tragic and difficult news coming out of Los Angeles over this weekend, with the deaths of The Soft Moon’s Luis Vasquez, Juan Mendez, aka Silent Servant, and the latter’s partner Simone Ling. While neither of us were friends with anyone involved, many of our friends in LA and around the world were, and are dealing with a tremendous amount of shock and grief. We’ll talk a bit about it on the podcast this week, but for now, having gone through similar experiences closer to home: carry narcan, test your supply if you can, and don’t use without people not using nearby.
Kontravoid, “For What It Is”
The new single from modern darkwave endboss Kontravoid brings together two of our favourite things to discuss; firstly (and most saliently) the way in which Cameron Findlay’s work has evolved while maintaining its atmospheric, foggy roots, and secondly the sneaky way some of what we’d recognize as futurepop sneaking back into scene music. Regardless of whether those little trancey arps that appear in “For What It Is” are a nod to the goth/industrial club sound of the turn of the century, its just exciting to have a new Kontravoid LP in the pipeline. Detachment drops March 1st on Artoffact, that should be an instant pre-order.
Keeping things in Toronto but on a very different stylistic tip, the forthcoming debut LP from Dermabrasion looks to be ready to put a fresh spin on the intersections between goth rock, post-punk, and likely hardcore. With far more pure riffage and weighty undercarriage than we ever got from the Bay Area post-hardcore/goth nexus decades back, tracks like this still have plenty of foreboding atmosphere while carrying over some of the most immediate appeals of styles of rock in which goths (mostly) fear to tread. Throw in some songs about goblins, D&D, and medieval weaponry and count us in.
Cyberaktif, “Broken Through Time”
If you listened to the cuts from post-industrial supergroup Cyberaktif’s forthcoming comeback LP eNdgame and found yourself wishing for a bit more of the classic sound of the project (and its component members Cevin Key, Bill Leeb and Rhys Fulber), here comes “Broken Through Time” to sort you out. While it’d be a lot to ask these artists to put all their contemporary musical ideas and inspirations on the shelf to do a throwback album, it’s nice to hear them dipping into the classic tropes like dialogue samples, rich melodic arpeggios and heavy hitting drum sounds straight from the playbook. Record drops Feb 2nd. watch this spot for our take.
Empusae, “Power Of The Eye God”
Between a high fashion tie-in and the reprisal of his celebrated collaboration with Shinkiro, Empusae’s been all over the map over the last few years, including Japan, as it turns out. Documenting the titular journey, Pilgrimage to Ganriki finds Nicolas Van Meirhaeghe leaning heavily towards the cinematic ambient/ritual side of his sound, though longtime listeners of his noisier fare will still find his deeply textured and evocative approach to sound design.
Poison Point, “Mysteries in Fire”
Timothée Gainet’s work as Poison Point has been a strong example of how the French scene has been combining the rich history of European minimal, cold, and dark wave sounds into tight, DJ accessible but still song-oriented tracks. We were big fans of 2022’s Poison Gloves for its rich atmospherics and “Mysteries of Fire” from the forthcoming Wandering Echoes is giving us many of the same vibes; a metallic bouncy bassline and busy percussion gives it dancefloor appeal, but Gainet’s vocals and its minor key pads and leads make it gloomy and mysterious.
Gallows’ Eve, “Oneirocide”
Collating and rerecording material from their initial singles and EPs plus adding some new tracks, the first LP from Swedish trad goths Gallows’ Eve gets their talents for arrangements and hooks across quickly. Avoiding the swampy morasses so many continental goth rock acts succumb to, things are kept pretty nimble on 13 Thorns with tracks like this grand and melodic but still reflective stormer. Should appeal to those still jonesing for a new record from Ikon, or for Marc McCourt to reactivate Snakedance.