Words by Tim Anderl
Tim Anderl is a Dayton, Ohio-based writer whose work has published in Alternative Press, Strength Skateboarding, Ghettoblaster, New Noise Magazine among other alternative weekly newspapers, magazines and online publications/blogs. He’s the former host of the Sound Check Chat podcast and runs a boutique PR firm, Sweet Cheetah Publicity. Growing up in the rich culture of the ’80s lead Tim to a life-long love of music, including post-punk, new wave, darkwave, goth, dream pop.
It is hard to concentrate on music for more than a passing moment these days. Especially as I watch people of color continue to struggle for equality in 2020. I stand in solidarity with them, understanding that I can’t for even a second understand their human experience, but pledge to listen harder, talk less, and stand beside them as they demand equal rights from the systems of power that seek to abuse, subjugate and murder them. Black Lives Matter.
That said, I also have an obligation to provide news from the across the post-punk landscape, and there are several bright burning fires there this month.
First, allow me to mention that I’m a father of a beautiful four-year-old son. Although our musical tastes diverge significantly, he favors outlaw country and the Trolls Soundtrack to Echo and the Bunnymen, I get an occasional parenting win when he recognizes a particular song from Depeche Mode, INXS, and the like. I’m always searching for an opportunity to share my musical affinity with him in age appropriate ways. This month I discovered a family-friendly clothing brand that provided just such an opportunity. Looking for a shirt with Robert Smith as a bumblebee that says, “Why can’t I bee you?” Phoenix, Arizona’s, Baby Teith, offers a variety of options inspired by post-punk, new wave, and indie sounds. I may even have picked up the “Sad Dad” hat for myself. Check them out.
Philadelphia’s Korine is an electronic pop duo that blends new wave nostalgia and modern pop sensibilities in a swirl of upbeat rhythms and emotive lyrics and they recently set a September 4 release date for their new album, The Night We Raise, which according to the band “is largely about anticipation, like seeing the top of a steep hill and envisioning yourself as you descend.” The LP sees release via Born Loser Records (U.S.) and Data Airlines (Europe, U.K.). The first single hit the streets recently alongside a self-directed video that overs neon synth work that showcases their particular vibe nicely. The Night We Raise is largely about anticipation, like seeing the top of a steep hill and envisioning yourself as you descend. Between the dark and dense are feelings of optimism, admiring things that are beautiful, and being true to yourself. There is freedom in knowing who you are and I think this album is a representation of that idea.”
Featuring members of Sabertooth Zombie and Ceremony, California’s SPICE are set to release their self-titled debut album on July 17 via Dais Records. The self-titled debut diverts from a singular mood, tempo, or delivery, instead focusing on orchestrating emotional drain as single impulses—fast, slow, driving, simple, and layered—that coalesce in their machinations. They’ve recently dropped the album’s third single: “26 Dogs.” The track puts the group’s instrumental and lyrical prowess on display as it traverses guitar-driven indie pop and call-to-action impulse while interspersing violin melodies and layers.
In further news from the Dais camp, last year, Private World have shared “Hypnagogia,” a cut from Aleph, their debut album out in August on Dais Records. According to the band, “lyrically, the song is inspired by dreams, paranoia and the hypnagogic state. The grey area between wakefulness and sleep is where images usually begin to emerge from the mind of the sleeper. Somehow they make their way into or are relevant to our waking experience, conscience and fear, all of that stuff … the general tone of the music is intended to be consoling, like a lullaby.” The track’s accompanying video, from director Sion Thomas, was filmed at Cardiff’s Temple of Peace and Health.
Speaking of Cardiff, Wales and Private World, two members of the band also release music as Plastic Estate, a new wave/synth act who debuted their first physical release, the “This Place” 7” on June 19. The duo draw clear influences from UK artists like Dave Gahan and Paddy McAloon, but there is an innate freshness to their songwriting that allows them to pay homage while still sounding pristinely contemporary.
Athens, Georgia, has good news for fans of vampiric post-punk and death-rock in the form of Vincas, which features members of Maserati and Plaque Marks. The band infuses their dreary, punk-infused cemetery dirges with a southern flair that recalls The Birthday Party, The Cramps and Bauhaus. Their new album was mixed and mastered by Kyle Spence of Harvey Milk, who puts the appropriate growl on their macabre anthems.
Finally, ‘80s pop icon Limahl, best known for his predilection for love songs and hits “Neverending Story,” and his breakthrough with Kajagoogoo “Too Shy,” has made a foray back to the music world with “Still In Love.” The track is a soulful and sultry pop song that explores finding oneself after being crushed by love. Working with renowned German producer Miro Markus (Culcha Candela, Graham Candy), Limahl sympathizes with his protagonist though he doesn’t currently relate. “Dark days, unable to get out of bed with curtains staying closed… I have definitely been in the same place emotionally with the protagonist though I don’t currently relate,” he explains. “However, what a great feeling it is to have when you get through to the other side and start learning to love yourself again.”