With one third of the year under our belts, we’re nowhere near ready to start eyeing up a potential year-end list (though there have been some very strong records thus far), but we’re always keen to start reading the tea leaves of broader sounds and trends. One that we’ve noticed is an interest in broader styles of darkwave. Sure, the club-focused, programming-heavy sound popularized by Boy Harsher is still a major force, but in recent months we’ve been noticing more and acts and records gaining attention which draw upon the more traditionally goth side of the genre. But, as with the baseball season, we’re still working with small sample sizes. On with this week’s tracks!



Black Asteroid feat. Louisahhh, “Love”
Of all of the various collaborations announced for Black Asteroid’s forthcoming LP on Artoffact, Bryan Black teaming up with Louisahhh seemed the most natural. A combo of noise-driven techno and electro-rock rave-ups, it deftly skims across the past few decades of darker club sounds, while keeping the undeniable charisma Louisahhh has lent to all of her recent releases squarely in focus. Black has the resume to handle all of the various contributors to Infinite Darkness; we’ll see how the whole LP delivers on its promise in a month’s time.

Run Level Zero, “Manifest”
The sun-skimming synth brightness which kicks off the latest single from Sweden’s Run Level Zero isn’t what immediately comes to mind when we think of their existing catalog, but comeback LP Swaerm indicated that the group wasn’t interested in simply reconstituting their North American electro-industrial influences. The thumping programming beneath its zippy fanfare shows that RLZ are still very much connected to their roots, though; here’s hoping we’ll have more material soon with which to fill out the picture of the band’s current outlook.

Wants, “To Surface”
We’ve enjoyed the material thus far from Calgary wave act Wants, but new single “To Surface” definitely feels like a level up. Despite working a sound adjacent to the eighties mining end of synthwave, the project has managed to avoid the trap of aesthetics of over substance thanks in no small part of their grasp of songwriting and arrangement. This cut has that classic feel without being a direct homage or ripoff, certainly the best yet from these up and comers.

Torch, “Atiit”
Dutch trio Torch gave us one of last year’s most classically gloomy releases, with Leaving Me Behind linking guitar and synth-focused strains of darkwave, yielding a morbid and atmospheric listen. New track “Atiit” picks up exactly where that record left off, threading a moody bassline with Hammer horror synths and getting Torch’s unblinking flair for the gothic across.

Hem Netjer, “Anubis (Echo)”
We’ve been longtime fans of Hem Netjer, and have been pleased to watch their evolution as both a live and recording act as their integration of industrial, world instrumentation and darkwave sounds have taken shape. The new version of “Anubis” linked below shows some of that growth as the original is leaned down and built outwards, suggesting vaster spaces and deeper wells of sound than the original = much of it thanks to added guitar and percussion that has expanded their live show. As always we’re keen to hear what comes next.

C Z A R I N A, “Exoskeleto”
We got hipped to C Z A R I N A via our friend Chris at Synthpop Fanatic (a website you should really be following), and immediately put our tabs of the Spain-based American act. The specific kind of regal, classic darkwave of the project is shot through with some millennial club sounds and puts us in mind of classic acts like Diva Destruction and Battery as well as modern purveyors like Ghost Twin Have a listen to new single “Exoskeleto” for a taste.