Music Reviews

HUMAN GREED: Black Hill: Midnight At The Blighted Star

 Posted by Maurizio Pustianaz (@)   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
Dark / Gothic / Wave / New Wave / Dark Wave / Industrial Gothic
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Dec 11 2008
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Artist: HUMAN GREED (@)
Title: Black Hill: Midnight At The Blighted Star
Format: CD
Label: Lumberton Trading (@)
Rated: *****
Human Greed born in 1998 as musical outfit of Scottish writer Michael Begg. He was soon joined by Deryk Thomas, the visual artist whose burning bunnies became an iconic reference point for Michael Gira's Swans White Light/Love of Life period. BLACK HILL is their third album after 2001 "Consolation" (released for ex-Banshee Steven Severin's RE:Group) and 2006 "Pilgrim: New World Homestead" (released for Begg's label Omnempathy). This new full length contains fifteen tracks that are difficult to file under a specified musical genre because they tend to create an atmosphere rather than looking for a melody (even if here and there some melodies are used). On the booklet you find this note that it could be a good description of the album's atmospheres: "Sometimes, its like the silver coin of the moon is tossed, like alms for the poor, across the cold, midnight sky". Human Greed are creating night music where treated field recordings, vocals (here as guests you find Julia Kent, Fabrizio Modonese Palumbo, Clodagh Simonds and David Tibet) and instruments, make you feel like being living a nightmare while you are sleeping out in the wild. Sounds hit or seduce you without caring if you're enjoining it or not... check if you're ready for it at

BAIN WOLFKIND: The Swamp Angel

 Posted by Maurizio Pustianaz (@)   Dark / Gothic / Wave / New Wave / Dark Wave / Industrial Gothic
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Dec 08 2008
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Title: The Swamp Angel
Format: CD
Label: HauRuck! (@)
Distributor: Tesco Distribution
Rated: *****
Inspired by the New York waterfront street gang of the mid nineteenth century (one of the most successful waterfront gangs of the period, the Swamp Angels dominated the dockyards of New York Harbor from the 1850s into the post-Civil War era), THE SWAMP ANGEL is the second full length by Bain Wolfkind. With this one he brings to the lovers of bastard blues-rock a great album: its atmospheres are so dark tha it will be appreciated also by the neo-folk audience. The slow ballads and the mid tempo rumbling r'n'r songs seem coming from the sewer because of the reverb used on the whole mix. Try to imagine a slowed down mix of Cramps, The Jon Spencer Blues Explosion and Crime And City Solution and you'll have an idea of how THE SWAMP ANGEL sounds. During the '80s/'90s I've been also a Crypt Records lover and I'm used to these sounds but Bain Wolfkind added a certain noir atmosphere that you won't find into Oblivians or Devil Dogs. If you like it raw and slow and you aren't afraid of finding yourself diggin' your own graveyard into a swamp land (... admit, this is a good image, isn't it?) try this album!

The Psychedelic Furs: All Of This And Nothing

 Posted by Donovan Tate (@)   Dark / Gothic / Wave / New Wave / Dark Wave / Industrial Gothic
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Dec 01 2008
Artist: The Psychedelic Furs
Title: All Of This And Nothing
Format: Tape
Label: Columbia
Distributor: Amazon
Rated: *****

This is a video collection of The Psychedelic Furs on VHS format. Not on dvd yet. The band was formed in England. The group started out as a six piece and then later on 1982, it was down to four. The PFs made their mark in the 80's, which is known as the new wave/new romantic era. The video starts off with 1980 "Sister Europe". In the video, you see a statue of an African woman. 1981 "Pretty In Pink" follows, my favorite song and video. The band later also re-recorded the song for John Hughes 1986 movie with the same title that starred Molly Ringwald, Jon Cryer and Andrew McCarthy. This gave the band alot of recognition. Next is the slow motion images of the band doing their thing in "Dumb Waiters". Who can forever get their unforgettable 1982 black and white video "Love My Way" with background and outstanding images. The video shows the band standing and performing and moving around on a waterglass platform. The video was directed by Tim Pope who have directed numerous of bands videos including The Cure, Soft Cell, Hall & Oates, Siouxsie & The Banshees, Talk Talk and Men Without Hats. And later moved on to direct tv series and movies. We see Richard Butler in the bed sleeping and turning and a woman playing a cello in "Sleep Comes Down". Next is their 1984 "Heaven", which shows the band enjoying themselves playing in the rain as Richard sings. This video is also directed by Tim Pope. As 1987 rolls in, the British lads is in the Big Apple, New York City, where they moved to and shot another black and white video for "Heartbreak Beat". The final video is "All That Money Wants", which is filmed in black and white also. A collection of memories that any 80's child can remember when seeing this band on MTV and had their own signature sound and Richard Butler singing in baritone and voice very distinctive with amazement. The only video that's missing on this memorable collection is "The Ghost In You". Hopefully it'll be on dvd along with the rest of the videos collection, if ever it get to that.

Santogold: Santogold

 Posted by Donovan Tate (@)   Dark / Gothic / Wave / New Wave / Dark Wave / Industrial Gothic
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Dec 01 2008
Artist: Santogold
Title: Santogold
Format: CD
Label: Downtown Records (@)
Rated: *****
Who is Santogold? An African-American 32 year old woman, singer, songwriter and record producer. Born Santi White and held out of the City of Brotherly Love known as Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. This talented woman got her start in the music industry by working for a major label Epic Records as an A&R representative, but left the position to write and produce a song "How I Do", the debut from the singer Res. She also was a singer for the Philadelphia-based punk rock band Stiffed. While in this band, she was offered a solo contract. Her self-titled debut album breaks through the commercial music charts in the US & the UK. Santogold's album is a comparison to the sound of new wave 80's and punk and ska/reggae. Heavy synthesizers takes the toll with a rhythmic beat. Santogold vocals and vocal arrangments is reminder of Terri Bozio from Missing Persons and Siouxsie Sioux from Siouxsie & The Banshees. Her voice concocts in a soft haunting and wailing style.

The song "L.E.S. Artistes" kicks the disc off. A track similarly to the brushing tone vibe of Missing Persons and Blondie. The remix version is also included on this album. Composed and mixed with a dancehall feel. We get "You'll Find A Way", a new wave & ska combination that gives you an idea of the similar sound by The B-52's and British ska band English Beat (aka The Beat). Going deep for a joyride in the dub/ska/reggae genre format form, a deliver of "Shove It" with a slap in your face groovy funky tight kick ass bassline. Take a journey on a plane to Jamaica to dance. This reminds me of the five young black British boys Musical Youth, formed out of Birmingham, England back in the early 80's, who spun a hit "Pass The Dutchie" and video received a heavy rotation on MTV. Santogold gives us a punk reggae on "Say Aha". The Clash fans will love this one.

Entering the portal of electronic music genre, the progressive quirky bleeps and noises sparks out in "Creator" as Santogold adds rap on top of it. This song was used for a Bud Light Lime beer commercial here in the U.S. The seductive vocals stands out in "My Superman", as if we're wandering back in Berlin era of their first album "Pleasure Victim". In the 80's, remember those days at school there was a time when teenagers was dancing to music playing by live bands, especially in movies? Imagine Santogold existed in that time. Her songs "Lights Out" and "I'm A Lady" will be absolutely perfect featuring on a couple of film soundtracks. "Lights Out" has appeared in VO5 hair products commercials in the UK. Everytime I listen to it, I think of the all girl band The Go-Go's. The song is very well written, the singing and the background humming harmony is a reflection of female bass player Jane Wiedlin. "I'm A Lady" is thought provoking that goes down the line of Chrissy Hines and her band The Pretenders.

Sliding back in the electronic & synth-pop genre, the melodic "Star Struck" follows in the dark and shadowy steps of Depeche Mode, their darkwave era. We proceed on to another British band sound we all know, Bananarama. A personality of the female trio and a Jamaican accent added to make "Unstoppable" a complex track to make. Santogold did a superb job by pulling it off. The song is about a woman who's dangerous and carries a gun and different kinds of flammable sprays that is used to spray any attacker in the face. Furthermore, on the run, especially from the police. Finally we're now engulfed in the darkness and the ghost of "Anne" gives us the gothic and haunting reminiscent sound of Siouxsie & The Banshees. On this track, Santogold does sound like Siouxsie. Soft gloomy vocals will pull you in. The song will get alot of attention at a club where everyone wears black.

Despite today's mainstream music sucks and making people dementia in this day & time in the 21st century, Santogold wants to bring back real music that everyone can relate to and feel. She is rated as one of the top ten artists to look out for this year of 2008. Her music has already been receiving heavy rotation in clubs and airplay in urban Afghanistan. Her professional music skills is a promising in the near future.


 Posted by Maurizio Pustianaz (@)   Dark / Gothic / Wave / New Wave / Dark Wave / Industrial Gothic
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Nov 29 2008
Title: Love It Or Leave It
Format: 2 x CD (double CD)
Label: Ars Musica Diffundere (@)
Rated: *****
Three years in the making and stopped due to the sad departure of Pierre François Maurin-Malet, singer and writer of Rise And Fall Of A Decade, LOVE IT OR LEAVE IT has been finished by Thierry Sintoni (one of the other two band's member), who succeeded also into assembling a track wrote by Carla Picchiantano (singer of Speaking Silence) who virtually duets with Pierre François on the ballad "In the time when". The twelve songs of the album shows a band really inspired and freed from any musical boundaries. The opening "Again" has medieval atmospheres (on its opening) mixed with breakbeat rhythms and wave melodies. "In the time when" musically recalls me early Dead Can Dance but under a pop key. "The federation of love" mix beautiful orchestral arrangements with electronics for a great upbeat pop song. "Bagdad is shining" mix lounge melodies with pop wave sensibility (it recalls me the fresh sensation felt with some old Scritti Politti songs). Another great track is "Don't save the museum" which behind its happy melancholy enriched by electronics and orchestral arrangement hide a critics to society (the riff says: "Protect what makes money, protect what makes us richer but please, don't save the museum"). LOVE IT OR LEAVE IT is a great album which shows a band that after twenty years had plenty of ideas and also succeeded into renewing their sound. The second CD of this release contains a tribute to Pierre François Maurin-Malet containing twelve reinterpretations of Rise And Fall Of A Decade songs made by Collection D´Arnell-Andrea, Nemo Sandman, 2square, Speaking Silence, Ben Born, Thierry, Hide and Seek, Richard Bontempi, O Quam Tristis... , Pierre-Francois & Thierry and Thierry & Ariane. The double package is sold at a bargain price of a single CD!

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