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Classic Album Review

Machine Girl Traverses a Synthetic Heaven with “SUPER FREQ”

Machine Girl’s latest EP is a perfect blend of frenetic beats and ultramodern digital rhythms. “SUPER FREQ” channels Machine Girl’s classic anime-infused breakcore stylstics with an uncanny twist.

Produced for FREQ Records, the EP stands as a pesudo-soundtrack for “FREQ,” a new manga project by Nicola Kazimir and Dai Sato. Written by Sato, acclaimed for his screenwriting work on “Ergo Proxy,” “Cowboy Bebop,” “Samurai Champloo” and numerous others, “FREQ” takes place in a universe governed by sound.

Finished Manga panel from FREQ Volume #0, illustrated by Good News For Bad Guys

According to the official “FREQ” Kickstarter, “The setting of Freq’s lore unfolds in a futuristic realm where the influence of sound frequencies governs all aspects of life. In this world, everything from traffic, AR visuals to warfare and of course music is orchestrated through the manipulation/extraction of sound frequencies [sic].”

Synthetic Heaven

Consisting of three tracks and with a total runtime of around 10 minutes, “SUPER FREQ” is fast-paced, energetic and futuristic. Though lacking in the stylistic complexity seen in earlier releases like “Wlfgrl” or “U-Void Synthesizer,” the EP is wholly solid.

While “SUPER FREQ” lacks the digital hardcore influence that underscores much of Machine Girl’s work, the EP’s “cleaner” vocal quality allows for Stephenson’s incisive lyricism to really shine through.

The EP’s first track, “Black Glass,” puts an esoteric spin on the digital age. The plight of the chronically online and technologically oversaturated becomes a “black mass,” with the human soul endlessly reflected as “shadows” across an endless expanse of “black glass.”

Crawl into the cave before it’s gone

Before the future turns to aches

Before your blood turns into plastic

“Black Glass,” Machine Girl

There certainly is no dearth of sci-fi futurist dystopias in media: decades-away worlds plated in chrome and illuminated in vivid technicolor. However, as Machine Girl suggests, the sci-fi dystopia is already upon us: our blood is inexorably laced with forever chemicals and our lives are consumed by synthetic stimulation.

Photo by Noah Buscher on Unsplash

Despite the song’s prescient message, it’s consistently upbeat. In fact, the whole EP maintains a sort of cavalier jubilation throughout. The next track, “Dance in the Fire,” is a techno-laced dance anthem. The third, “Big Time Freq,” a chipper instrumental.

Of the three tracks on “SUPER FREQ,” this one excited me the least. Compared to the mysterious “Black Glass” and the manic “Dance in the Fire,” “Big Time Freq” is…kind of bland.

There’s nothing particularly striking about this track, and it lacks the hypnotic frenzy of other Machine Girl instrumentals. My younger brother aptly described it as “video game idling music.”

Final Thoughts

While “SUPER FREQ” certainly doesn’t take away from Machine Girl’s artistic credibility, it admittedly falls short of its predecessors. The EP is fun and danceable, but it’s only “Black Glass” that really strikes me as iconically Machine Girlesque.

After nearly two years since Machine Girl’s last release, a soundtrack for the platform shooter “Neon White,” it’s fair to say that I hope the duo returns to producing the more involved and experimental LPs that have come to define the breakcore genre.

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Band/Artist Profile Classic Album Review

Bladee’s “Cold Visions”: A Portrait of The Artist

For years now, my obsession with Bladee has been a not-so-secret not-so-guilty pleasure. It’s one of the gaps in my music taste where most people go, really? You listen to that? 

Honestly and non-ironically, I find Benjamin Reichwald, known by the moniker Bladee, to be a fascinating, ever-changing artist who has created an intentional, deep mythos around himself and his work.

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Blog Classic Album Review

Album Review: “Symptoms of Survival” by Dying Wish

“Symptoms of Survival” is the second full-length album from the Portland, Oregon based metalcore band, Dying Wish. It was released on Nov 3, 2023.

Dying Wish is composed of Emma Boster (vocals), Sam Reynolds (guitar), Pedro Carrillo (guitar), Jon Mackey (bass), and Jeff Yambra (drums).

One would think it would be difficult to top their heavily praised debut, “Fragments of a Bitter Memory,” but Dying Wish continued to push boundaries in terms of sound and create another unforgettable album. By putting their own twist on inspiration from early 2000s classic metalcore, they keep evolving their own unique sound. It’s nostalgic, yet fresh and new. You can hear the passion and love for metal behind this group.

On this album, Boster showcases her seemingly effortless vocal talent, both clean and harsh. Yambra on the drums is a standout in this album for me. The snare, the cymbals, all of it…is heavy.  Lyrically, the album is dark and poetic. The lyricism of Dying Wish keeps improving with every EP and album they release.

The album circles around the theme of suffering, and how to cope with such trauma. In an interview with Kerrang!, Boster discusses the album and states, “Here, while there is all this suffering, there is hope.” This album is very vulnerable, but also relatable to many.

This is a no-skip album for me. Here are my top three tracks:

“Watch My Promise Die”

The first 15 seconds of this song will immediately hook you into the album. The drums in the beginning will make you wanna get up and dance, really. While the entire album has insane breakdowns, the one you find at the end of this song is my personal favorite. This song is about fear and self-sabotage. Being the second track, it opens up the theme of suffering.

“Kiss of Judas”

This song is full of anger. This track discusses what it is like to deal with suffering in terms of a more societal standpoint. My favorite element of this song has to be the insane riffs. I think this track encapsulates all strengths of Dying Wish as a whole.

“Lost In The Fall”

This is an example of a perfect album-closer, in my opinion. Boster adds clean vocals to this track, which adds melodic elements to an otherwise brutal song, flowing together effortlessly. This is Boster’s strongest song in regards to clean vocals. Lyrically, it also has to be my favorite. It appears to be about letting go of someone or something that is bad for you, making it a beautiful closer in regards to the theme of the album.

Dying Wish continues the path on becoming one of the greatest. While just on their second full-length album, the future is bright for this band. I highly recommend “Symptoms of Survival” to anyone in need of a solid metalcore record.

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Classic Album Review

Growing Up With “Vampire Weekend,”

I can’t remember my first introduction to Vampire Weekend, but I can remember how I felt listening to “M79,” at maybe nine or ten years old and feeling absolutely starstruck. From then on, the music stuck with me, dominating my ipod playlists. I carried Vampire Weekend with me everywhere. On the way to school, before bed, packing up and moving from our house in downtown Carrboro to Chapel Hill, sifting through all the boxes to find my CD player so “Campus,” could be the first song to grace my new room.

So, with all that history, I’ve been waiting patiently for “Only God Was Above Us.” The day the album came out I was waiting at the train station to visit my longtime friend in Washington, DC. I listened to the album once waiting in the lobby. I listened to it again staring out the window. Then again, then again. 

Read more: Growing Up With “Vampire Weekend,”

Staring out through the glass, watching the fields and farms and green trees race by, I was struck by how similar “Only God Was Above Us,” sounded to Vampire Weekend’s previous works. Not so much 2019’s “Father of the Bride,” but the albums that started it all, such as “Modern Vampires of the City,” and the self-titled “Vampire Weekend.” 

There was the sparkling instrumentation, the return to jaunty themes and arrangements, the tongue-in-cheek lyrics. 

To my suprise, this similarity was intentional. Reading about the album, the things that I had only thought sounded familiar were actually familiar. Keonig and his bandmates picked up some of the motifs from Vampire Weekend’s most popular songs and expounded upon them, calling back songs like “Mansard Roof,” on the song “Connect.”

The result is something strange, uncanny, and to me, a bit jarring. I was filled with an uncomfortable nostalgia. My mind wanted to take me back, but my body was rooted firmly in the present. 

On the first few listens, Vampire Weekend was trapped in a moment in time, back to when I was a young kid dancing around my bedroom on my days off from school, but more so, back to the hipster culture of the early 2000s. 

But then something clicked. I tried to separate the past and present in my mind, appreciating the artistry of returning to your roots, taking the songs that become so boring to perform and think about after 20 years, and adding new flairs to them, recreating history. 

All of a sudden, “Only God Was Above Us,” became something entirely fresh. Among the old there was new, the jazzy touches, the roaring orchestrations and the flurries of sound in “Connect,” and “Classical.”

“Classical,” I think, captures the whole of the album. Koenig sings, “I know that walls fall, shacks shake / Bridges burn and bodies break / It’s clear something’s gonna change / And when it does, which classical remains?”

When stripping away the legacy of the band, unpacking each of the songs, what remains? What pieces can be salvaged, what new things can be built? The classical is the old Vampire Weekend,the old me, the old you. I think this album can be seen as growing up, as rearranging the past messy bits of your life, of moving on and becoming a more well-rounded person. 

There’s also the song “Hope,” which is an almost nine minute long track which is epic, hopeful, and future-forward. “I hope you let it go,” says Koenig. “The enemy’s invisible / I hope you let it go.” 

In an interview with Exclaim!, he stated in regards to the song, “What does hope mean? Well, I hope I have the ability to let things go; I hope I have the ability to go with the flow of life; I hope I have the ability to love life, no matter what form it takes.”

I think this quote encapsulates what I didn’t recognize about the album before, what was missing from my view of the past. Stepping ahead and becoming an adult means re-contextualizing everything you’ve once done and being able to think more clearly. That’s what Koenig and his bandmates have done here, quite literally, extrapolating on their old songs and adding more. 

With that, my nostalgia doesn’t feel so uncomfortable anymore. This album secures fluidity in the legacy of Vampire Weekend. They don’t have to be trapped, they’re a living and changing organism like anyone else. I can still dance around my room, just a grown up kid, knowing this music will grow alongside me.

Top Tracks:

  1. “Ice Cream Piano”
  2. “Classical”
  3. “Connect”
  4. “The Surfer”
  5. “Hope”
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Band/Artist Profile Classic Album Review

If You Don’t Like Snakes, This Band Doesn’t Like You

Awesome Snakes was the tongue-in-cheek side project of Annie Holoien and Danny Henry of The Soviettes, a Minneapolis pop-punk outfit from the early 2000s.

Described by Holoien as a “f–k-around band,” the group’s iconic sound landed them not just critical reception, but a feature in the 2009 game Skate 2.

“[We] just needed to be a little more free and loose than the Soviettes could be,” Henry said in a 2006 interview with Silver Magazine. “So, we started Awesome Snakes, the idea being that we’d make a sort of jokey-mixed tape only we’d find funny. But we’d have total control.”

Photo by john crozier on Unsplash

The band’s first release, “Awesome Snakes,” came out through the cassette-only label Home Taping Is Killing the Record Industry in 2004. Two years later, the band put out “Venom,” their first and only LP, with Crustacean Records.

Despite the release’s highly focused subject matter, (centering pretty exclusively on “snakes” and/or “things that are awesome”) it was listed in the A.V. Club’s Minneapolis edition of “Best Music of 2006.”

In 2021, the band put out an expanded edition of “Venom” through Stand Up! Records as well as several vinyl pressings.

“At first, we approached them but they said they did only spoken word comedy,” Henry said. “But after seeing our show, they wanted to make a deal.”

“Venom”

Though certainly an accidental success, “Venom” is an objectively good album. Its pop-adjacent, lo-fi take on punk rock is interpersed with improv-like lyrics and incongruous soundbytes from random cassettes, giving it an uncanny multi-dimensionality that calls to mind the romantic eccentricity of 2000s indie films.

“It’s not a conscious way of entertainment,” said Henry. “We just do what we think is funny and good and if other people like it, great.”

Photo by Jan Kopřiva on Unsplash

Perhaps it’s this instinctual quality that makes “Venom” such a great release. The album feels like an expertly-executed comedic bit from the punkishly fab cover art to the discography itself, which features song titles like “I Want a Snake,” “Snakes Vs. Jerks,” “1950s UFO Vs. Snakes,” “The Future of the Snake Industry” and several others.

It’s clear from the album’s first track that Holoien and Henry are having an absolute blast.

It’s authentically fun and unintentionally genius. The cheery ebullience of Holoien’s vocals — at times reminiscent of 80s pop — contrast with Henry’s improvisationally unhinged and borderline inebriated spoken word. The lack of diegetic context — the question of why snakes? is never answered — only compounds the album’s bizarro humor.

Final Thoughts

Awesome Snakes is a great band for people who don’t take themselves too seriously.

Their work reminds me of the egg punk genre, though their sound is considerably less distorted or DEVO-esque. The staunch DIY quality of “Venom” is a refreshing return to what makes punk fun: f–ing around until something feels good, and chasing that feeling as far as it will go.

My personal favorite track, “I Want a Snake,” (featured in Skate 2) will live in my brain for years.

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Band/Artist Profile Classic Album Review

High-Functioning Flesh: The Industrial Duo You Didn’t Know You Needed

Darkness meets drum machine with Los Angeles electro-punk duo High-Functioning Flesh.

With a sound somewhere between DEVO, Molchat Doma and Portion Control, High-Functioning Flesh is an industrial hall essential.

Much like the word “flesh,” the band’s music is carnal, tactile and vivid.

And as per usual, I found them entirely by accident.

Expanses of “The Flesh”

Often abbreviated to HFF, the band emerged in Los Angeles after Susan Subtract and Gregory Vand attended a Youth Code show.

The band’s debut album, “A Unity of Miseries – A Misery of Unities” came out on DKA Records in 2014. The album struck a chord in the industry with its evocative style inspired by sci-fi, body horror and archetypal punk angst

According to the band, their work “seeks to revive us all from our spectacle-induced coma,” presenting a sobering sound to rend the veil of capitalist monotony.

Cover for “A Unity of Miseries – A Misery of Unities” by High-Functioning Flesh

HFF cites Cabaret Voltaire and Portion Control as major stylistic influences, though the duo certainly brings their own qualities to the craft through elaborate instrumentation and production effects.

“A Unity of Miseries – A Misery of Unities” is a dynamic album, highly tactile and hypnotically raucous through its sprawls of synth, drum and fried vocals. Its industrial quality is heavy-handed and walloping like metal slamming against metal.

HFF’s sophomore album, “Definite Structures,” came out in May 2016 through Dais Records. The album reflects the progression of the band’s electro-industrial style, leaning into further experimentation with sound layering and auditory effects. The album is a kaleidoscope, evoking the brutalist edge of Skinny Puppy.

Cover for “Definite Structures” by High-Functioning Flesh

Following this release, the band dropped the single “Human Remains” through the same label. The single features two tracks, “Human Remains” and “Heightened State.”

For this release, the band turned to mellower vocals with less distortion, leaning back into the style explored with their first album.

HFF’s most recent release, “Culture Cut,” came out in 2017. A blind comparison of “Culture Cut” against “Human Remains” would almost suggest the existence of two bands.

Cover for “Culture Cut” by High-Functioning Flesh

“Culture Cut” clearly draws more from the same inspirations as “Definite Structures.”

According to Dais Records, each new release highlights the band’s evoltion “from a handful of lo-fi flashback demos to aggressively realized synth-punk dance floor anthems.”

And Dais Records is wholly correct. The music of High-Functioning Flesh belongs on the dancefloor for leather and PVC-clad youths to gyrate to.

Song Highlights

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Classic Album Review

Rei Harakami’s “Lust,” Makes For Addictive Listening

The only time Spotify has ever recommended anything worthwhile is when the first track of Rei Harakami’s “Lust,” began playing on autoplay while I was sitting in a coffee shop studying. Instantly, I was transported. 

With simplistic sounds, Harakami captured a whole mood within his last album. It sounds like laying in a field of flowing grass in early June. The sun is hot, but not too hot, glossing over your skin. You’re in the middle of a big cityscape, possibly central park, listening to the sounds of happy kids playing and shrieking in the background while your eyes are closed, soaking it all in. You walk home the long way, feeling a soft wind against your skin. Maybe you stop and get ice cream from a truck, a chocolate drumstick like when you were little. The sky is bright blue and you feel at peace.

I immediately added the album to my library and it’s been on repeat ever since.

Rei Harakami got his start making music for student films. He preferred the simple sounds of electronic devices over computer-generated sounds, creating the entirety of lust with a Roland SC-88 synthesizer. These intentional, repetitive sounds contribute a lot to the magic of “Lust,” creating sounds that are almost meditative.

“Lust,” was Harakami’s last album, and perhaps his most masterful. My favorite tracks from the record include “come here go there,” “joy,” and “owari no kisetsu.” 

Harakami recorded the vocals for “owari no kisetsu” himself. Translated to “season of endings,” the song is a melancholic portrait of leaving something that no longer serves you. “The dawn burns through the horizon,” Harakami sings, “and leaves me with a feeling of salvation.”

These lyrics, to me, perfectly capture why “Lust,” is so addictive to listen to. Harakami has created something that feels like a new day and a new beginning. 

If you’re a fan of electronic music and soothing sounds, I’d highly recommend giving this album a spin.

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Band/Artist Profile Classic Album Review

Artist Spotlight: Zulu

I love heavy music. And as someone who is far from a genre purist, I love heavy music that experiments with the “hardcore” label. Music that challenges what hardcore can be is extremely special to me.

I’ve talked about bands that subvert the archetype of “hardcore” before. In November of 2023, I covered Agabas, a band that blends the chaos of metal with jazz.

This week, I’m covering a band that not only fuses genres, but is doing groundbreaking work to elevate the Black community in the hardcore scene.

The Future of Hardcore

Zulu is a black-fronted hardcore punk band from Los Angeles. Formed by multi-instrumentalist Anaiah Lei, the band takes a leaf out of the powerviolence playbook, presenting a raw and aggressive distillation of hardcore punk.

What makes Zulu different from other hardcore acts, however, are the samples of funk, soul, reggae and spoken word woven into their music.

Cover for “Our Day Will Come” by Zulu

For example, the track “For Sista Humphrey” features a heavy guitar-drum duo and guttural vocals before abruptly transitioning into a soft soul melody. In “52 Fatal Strikes,” rage gives way to serenity as a brief classical instrumental jumps in.

While the contrast sounds jarring, it works.

By injecting black-pioneered genres into their music, Zulu imbues their sound with a distinct and unwavering identity. This is especially important when one considers that Zulu’s lyricism is all about elevating Blackness and empowering Black individuals.

You see tension, aggression

Only anger

I see peace

Community

Black joy is divinity

“Our Day is Now” – Zulu

However, as Lei said in an interview with Kerrang! in 2022, the band’s connection to Black culture shouldn’t stand as their only defining feature.

“…when it comes to bringing in a band where all of us are Black, that is an important thing but also people make it a lot bigger than it is,” Lei said. “I guess only because it’s not the norm, and that is what’s the issue. It should be very normal.”

Zulu’s central aim, according to Lei, is to experiment freely within the scene and create a space for others to do the same.

“The one thing I wanted to do with this project was be myself entirely,” Lei said.

Discography

Zulu released their first EP, “Our Day Will Come,” in 2019. The following year, they released “My People…Hold On.”

Both EPs feature a melange of rigorous hardcore interspersed with samples from speeches, spoken word, rap, soul music and other historically Black genres.

Zulu’s first full-length album, “A New Tomorrow,” came out in 2023. The album features several singles the band released in 2022 and early 2023.

Cover for “My People…Hold On” by Zulu

The album’s opening track, “Africa,” features a bright classical arrangement before the proceeding track, “For Sista Humphrey,” fades in with a hellish guitar and vocals. A similar pattern continues throughout the album, with hardcore tracks contrasted with peaceful, slow-moving melodies.

Thematically, this poses an interesting narrative. As the band’s lyricism suggests, this contrast illustrates the dual narratives surrounding Blackness: the imposition of an aggressive, violent nature versus the reality of peace, community and creativity.

I’m looking forward to seeing the direction of Zulu’s future projects and seeing them live, since I missed their last live show.

Recommended Tracks

Categories
Classic Album Review

A “Convicted” Classic by Cryptic Slaughter

Wave after wave of inundating drum beats and hyper focused riffs shoot through my ears. I can’t stop whipping my head up and down. I wanna thrash and hit bodies in a pit just to feel the pressure of the music like Cryptic Slaughter is screaming about. Music that makes my ears want to melt; music that careens off the edge of highways into the abyss of night; music that creates fissures running through skin and bone – this is the type of sound people look for when we aren’t given enough answers. 

Cryptic Slaughter is one of the earlier thrash and crossover bands to make sounds like this. Starting out in the mid 1980’s, the band jumped onto the scene with a demo, “Life in Grave”, which cemented their early success. The band’s punk sounds combine perfectly with their hardcore attitudes. 

Their first full length release, “Convicted”, was pressed and released by Metal Blade Records in 1986. Cryptic Slaughter thrived on the road and in the studio for a few years before dying as all young bands do with differences of opinions. They resurfaced a few times since dissipating but soon after disappeared back into the grave (Interview from Voices from the Dark Side). 

Cryptic Slaughter, at the time of “Convicted”’s release, had Bill Crooks (Vocals), Les Evans (Guitars), Rob Nicholson (Bass, Vocals (backing)) and Scott Peterson (Drums) as members of the band. The youngest member of the band at the release of the album was about sixteen years old and the oldest weren’t more than a few years older than that. Cryptic Slaughter was just a bunch of kids making waves in the metal scene. 

Convicted

I wish this album would take me back to the time when it came out. I want to experience how the sounds of heavy drums quaked and rattled the foundations of the venues. I want to feel the rage and pain of everyone in attendance. “Convicted” has a bunch of tracks that make me want to let my fists and legs and body work into the crowd.

Specifically, “M.A.D.”, “Lowlife”, “War to the Knife” and“Reich of Torture” all exhibit the best of berserker inducing noise. They won’t quell the frustrations that so many in attendance like to exhibit at shows. These tracks encourage friendly violence (and that is only a thing in metal/ hardcore). It’s violence you know will be forgiven. Violence and anger at the unjust systems and actions of those holding the reins. 

The most interesting (and ahead of their times) tracks on this album foreshadow the rise of thrash metal.

“Life in the Grave”

This track in particular feels brand new for being released in 1986. If you placed this in the hands of an artist making similar noise today, I would absolutely call this modern metal. 

“Little World”

Quick to anger riffs and sadistic drum beats ring in my ears even after the music is paused. 

“Sudden Death”

Graphic suicidal lyric warning. The opening is dynamite. Gnarly explosive drums issue out earthquakes and aftershocks still coursing through my bones. This track feels so much like early grindcore with punk vocals and lyrics. 

Walking Free from the Prison

“Convicted” stands the test of time. Epic chaos ensues once you hit play. Cryptic Slaughter’s echoes and sharp head pains are a welcoming embrace throughout this piece of music history. I will be checking out Cryptic Slaughter’s later work over the next few weeks to see how their sounds changed throughout their short life. I’m glad I don’t need to ask where the bands making music like this now are at because we just gotta search for them. It’s not too difficult to do a little digging. Also websites like Chosic can help find similar sounding tunes with just a quick search.

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Band/Artist Profile Classic Album Review

5 Amazing Goth Bands with BIack Representation

The goth scene has a diversity problem. Most alternative music scenes, if I’m being honest, have a diversity problem.

While the contemporary state of the alternative scene is certainly facilitating some much-needed change, it’s important to recognize that people of color — specifically, black people — have always been part of the scene, and always will.

Here are five awesome goth bands that feature black musicians, proving that despite popular assumption, goth isn’t white.

Scary Black

A beloved artist of mine and one who I’ve spun on-air several times before, Scary Black is orchestrated by the brilliant mind of Albie Mason, a purveyor of “introverted darkwave.”

Based in Louisville, Kentucky, Scary Black redefines the term “southern gothic.”

Cover for “Live at Fascination Street” by Scary Black

With corpse-cold melodies, vampiric lyrics and a cultivated air of foreboding, each track is goosebump-inducing in the best way.

Scary Black’s debut album, “Are You Afraid of the Dark?” features some of my favorite songs, such as “I Will Crawl Inside Your Heart and Die.”

The Ire

If you like music with screamier vocals, The Ire may be for you.

Based in Philadelphia, The Ire draws inspiration from 80’s post-punk and infuses the style with deathrock dramaticism.

Cover for “Bacchic Dance” by The Ire

Their first demo album, “Demo,” came out in 2019. From then on, their command of style only refined itself, leading to their most recent album, “Bacchic Dance,” which came out Feb 2, 2024.

Light Asylum

I remember dancing to “Dark Allies” at the Wicked Witch back in 2023. The energy was electrifying, the air gauzy with fluttering shawls and swaying arms and swooshing leather.

Light Asylum is the Brooklyn-based solo project of Shannon Funchess, founded first as a duo in 2007 until keyboardist Bruno Coviello left in 2012.

Cover for “Light Asylum” by Light Asylum

Light Asylum’s music is powerful and inspired, with Funchess’s vocals fueling the project’s international appeal. With an 80’s-inspired sound, Light Asylum’s influences extend from Depeche Mode to the industrial clang of Nine Inch Nails.

She Wants Revenge

At this point, I’d be hard-pressed to find someone in the alternative scene who hasn’t heard of She Wants Revenge.

Their iconic “Tear You Apart” defined my adolescence.

Based in San Fernando Valley, California, She Wants Revenge presents a stilted and charmingly blunt take on post-punk and darkwave.

Cover for “She Wants Revenge” by She Wants Revenge

Consisting of Justin Warfield and Adam Bravin, the band emerged in 2006 after being scouted by none other than Fred Durst, every twenty-something-year-old teenage girl’s favorite man.

And the rest is history.

Shadow Age

Putting the dark back in darkwave, Shadow Age’s music is cold and diffused through fog.

Based in Richmond, Virginia, Shadow Age released their first demo in 2013. Two years later their first EP, “Silaluk,” hit the airwaves.

The album has a beautifully esoteric sound and a distant, hazy vocal quality that conjures images of blanched, glacial landscapes.

Cover for “Silaluk” by Shadow Age

The band’s 2017 album “The Fall” is comparatively warmer, though still with a lo-fi distortion.

Their most recent release, the single “Ours,” takes the band’s sound in an interesting new direction with stronger electronic and indie influences.

Final Thoughts

People of color have always influenced the alternative music scene, and for much of musical history, their impact has been ignored.

Lending recognition to the numerous artists who continue to operate in the scene is integral to building a more inclusive and representative space.