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.
For a little over a year I’ve been wearing a “Make America Goth Again” ball cap during appropriately socially distanced outings and errands for food and other necessities. I can say with absolutely confidence that I’ve never owned a piece of clothing that has taught me actual life lessons about the world around me. Predominantly, it has taught me that people see what they want to see and eschew reading and digesting content before making a hasty judgment. This hat has made people very happy and then very sad and vice versa. Or, it has garnered undue compliments from human beings emboldened in their own, and very opposite ideals, which calls to question their reading abilities and/or their internal sense of entitlement with regards to believing the world believes what they do.
As this election cycle closes, be both diligent and cognizant of the world around you, take it in, process it, question it, seek to understand it and let it guide you to greater understanding. In the meantime, I hope this column, and the music here-in, makes you happy and sad (in a good way).
Los Angeles-based queer post-punk quartet Agender have just released a new single/video for “PREACH,” a haunting anti-elegy,from their upcoming album No Nostalgia (set for release Spring 2021). The video was directed by Anthony Maldonado, who pairs the song’s staccato guitar stabs and eerie synth beds with skittering projections of manipulated VHS projections. The forthcoming album was produced by singer/guitarist Romy and David Scott Stone (LCD Soundsystem, Unwound, Get Hustle), mixed by Sean Cook (St. Vincent, Angel Olsen, Best Coast) and mastered by Bob Weston (Shellac).
Dan Barrett, the musician behind Have A Nice Life, Giles Corey and Enemies List Home Recordings has unveiled details for his sophomore album as the electronic project Black Wing. Due out December 11 on The Flenser, No Moon is a gloomy and glorious chillwave/post-punk record with nine bleak yet blissful songs and is a fitting close out to the year 2020.
The Gun Club’s 1982 punk-blues classic Miami is seeing reissue via deluxe double vinyl and double CD reissues via Blixa Sounds. The editions come with previously unreleased demos and hits the streets December 4. Jeffrey Lee Pierce and The Gun Club exploded upon the L.A. club scene in the early ’80s recording their debut album, 1981’s Fire of Love, for the local Slash/Ruby label. But when it came time to record a follow-up, the group decamped to New York to work with producer Chris Stein of Blondie and his new label, Animal. The results were 1982’s stunning Miami, an album that didn’t get its proper due back in the day. Blixa Sounds will right that wrong.
New Way Vendetta, a group whose members carry affiliation with Christian Death, Shadow Project, and more, release their Love:Light (“Love In Quarantine” b/w “Light As A Feather (Stiff As A Board)”) single this week via Mosquito Hawk Records. This is the second virtual 7″ single from the upcoming Rites Of The Black Mask full-length coming in 2021. Per usual, the pro-mask, dystopian era collective have called in Mike Doomsday (Floodgate Mission) for technical integration, mixes and mastering.
Salem have announced their long anticipated new album, Fires In Heaven, which arrives just in time for Halloween. Fires In Heaven brings a compelling progression to the classic “witch house” sound Salem pioneered. Now consisting of Jack Donoghue and John Holland, early sessions took place at a cabin in Northern Michigan, with the bulk of the album being recorded on the Gulf Coast of Louisiana. The album was completed with Henry Laufer (Shlohmo) in Los Angeles, and mastered by the legendary Mike Dean. While the effort is certainly a talisman of and testament to Jack and John’s creative partnership, it also foot stomps the cultural impact of the group’s work, which extends beyond music, as songs from their oeuvre have been featured in films such as The Place Beyond the Pines and Gaspar Noe’s Love.
Soft Kill are releasing their new album Dead Kids, R.I.P. City on November 20 via Cercle Social Records/Cobraside, but first they’re releasing a tribute 7″ to UK punk/Oi! vets Blitz on TKO Records. They’re covering both songs from the classic 1983 single “New Age” and its b-side “Fatigue,” and it’ll include artwork by original Blitz bassist Mackie, who also designed the artwork for Blitz’s first three singles. The “Fatigue” cover features guest vocals by Jerry A from Poison Idea, with drums by Adam Bulgasem (Black Mountain, Dommengang, Holy Sons). Release date for the physical record is TBA (soon though), but keep an eye on TKO and Soft Kill’s social media for updates.
Topographies began recording their forthcoming LP, Ideal Form, last November with Chris King of Cold Showers and is finally scheduled to hit the streets this December via Funeral Party Records. Helmed by singer/songwriter/guitarist Gray Tolhurst, son of The Cure founding member Lol Tolhurst, Topographies continues to transform from its beginnings as a lush tempestuous deluge of shoegaze and dreampop towards a more honed and cohesive post-punk infused project. Track down their recent charity release for San Francisco New Deal (sfnewdeal.org), an organization that that provides incomes for workers and services for at-risk populations in the California Bay Area.
Arriving off the heels of their recent Interzone LP, Brooklyn electro post-punk duo The Vacant Lots are sharing a remixed song, “Departure,” which has been produced by Black Rebel Motorcycle Club’s Robert Levon Been. Officially released as a 7″ by London label Fuzz Club on October 16, the track showcases the band’s significant chops with regards to blending two distinct and wondrous worlds, proto-punk and psych. In the past, they’ve released singles with Mexican Summer and Reverberation Appreciation Society, collaborated on their debut album Departure with Spacemen 3’s Sonic Boom, their second album Endless Night with Alan Vega, and on their two EPs, Berlin and Exit, with Brian Jonestown Massacre’s Anton Newcombe at his studio in Berlin. The group has also toured with Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, Suicide, Brian Jonestown Massacre, Dean Wareham, The Dandy Warhols, and Spectrum. If all of this doesn’t warrant a listen, I’m not sure what does.
Joe Vann has spent the last few months releasing a series of singles, including “Shuffle Around,” “Your Love,” “Can You Be Mine,” and “Houseplants,” which are streaming everywhere now. Most of the new music that Vann has been working on weds the freewheeling experimental aesthetics of his beloved indie band, From Indian Lakes, with the musical traditions on which he was reared while growing up in a trailer on an acreage in rural northern California. Phosphorescent synths, hushed vocals, and hardy guitar ensures this work is sumptuous and rich with color. It’s the work of a musician who left a childhood of no electricity and creek-swimming, lived the indie rock dream, and has now returned home with nothing left to prove.
Until next month, MAKE AMERICA GOTH AGAIN.