Tag Archives: Post punk

Deafheaven – Sunbather (2013)

Deafheaven - Sunbather (2013)

If every band is an island, and every album a town on that island, then Sunbather is a small desolate place with eternal dawn, somewhere near the bay of post-rock with a causeway to the black metal peninsula at high tide.

San Fransisco’s Deafheaven are one of those bands who manage to do something different. Here, on Sunbather, they have managed to perfectly meld the guitar-textured approach of post-rock and post-metal with the bleakness and heaviness of black metal. One of the stand out tracks on the album, Vertigo, starts with jangly post rock, complex drum rhythms, occasional hints at blast beats, building up a head of steam to a crescendo, just about getting started at the 4 minute mark, when most pop tracks are over and done with; there is no rushing this storm. Heavy is the hit of the wave and this is pure black metal territory, screamed vocals and fast guitars creating a wall of sound that envelops with terrifying intensity.

The fact that they, in company such as Wolves In The Throne Room and Alcest, had the vision to see that post rock and black metal did share similarities, despite them being in disparate musical circles, is testament to their vision.

I’m not the biggest fan of black metal, it’s true, I do like to listen to Marduk, Mayhem, Emperor, Carpathian Forest, Gorgoroth and the like, but I don’t go out and listen to every black metal band out there; however, this album is very appealing. It might be a somewhat “gateway” album to those who haven’t listened to black metal before, but I also fear that there might be a problem of audience here. Fans of black metal won’t necessarily appreciate the shoe-gaze nature of a lot of the album, and fans of post-rock might not bear the black metal sections, leaving a pretty niche audience.

Overall, it is a good album, both post rock and black metal are equally represented and neither is a cheap nod to the genre, this is authentic, intense, bleak and beautiful. A worthwhile listen.

Now what to call this genre? I’ve read “blackgaze”, which I quite like, but I think I prefer “blackened post-metal”.

Favourite tracks: Vertigo, Sunbather, Irresistible
Spotify link: Deafheaven – Sunbather

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ADULT. – The Way Things Fall (2013)

ADULT. - The Way Things Fall (2013)

Adult come from Detroit and seem to be pretty focused in what they want to present on this, their sixth album.

They offer an electro-post-punk sound, evoking what comes across sounding like a mixture of Bauhaus and Devo. The synths are retro-futuristic and the sound is generally interesting, but honestly I got a bit bored by the end of the album. There is nothing inherently wrong with it, and in small doses, I like it, but as a coherent whole, I wasn’t enthralled.

Spotify link: ADULT. – The Way Things Fall

Savages – Silence Yourself (2013)

Savages - Silence Yourself (2013)

Savages are a London-based post-punk band that have entered an anachronistic scene with this, their debut album. The all-female group caught my attention on one of the rare occasions when I listen to the radio. I was listening to BBC Radio 6 and after nodding my head and smiling with approval to Public Image Ltd, I was treated to a track that I hadn’t heard before, and I thought it was god. My immediate impression was that this was a Lydia Lunch track that I hadn’t come across, but it was Savages.

Their album cover and website offer up manifestos of sort, but while the aesthetic is undeniably important in the post-punk/goth culture, the music is most important to me and, frankly, Silence Yourself is brilliant.

The vocals really make this album; singer Jehnny Beth, to me, sounds like the perfect mix of Siouxie Sioux, PJ Harvey and Lydia Lunch and has a passing resemblance to Ian Curtis on stage, while the music is gloriously rich and deep. Stark solid drum rhythms underpin, at times, noisy post-punk. Big guitars drive on tracks like Strife and Waiting For A Sign, while Dead Nature is an dark instrumental piece. It would fit so perfectly next to your Bauhaus, your Cure, your Siouxie, and your Sisters; despite entering the scene 33 years after it began, they sound so authentic.

An interesting diversion, which jarred a little on first listen is the closer, Marshal Dear; piano led with a distinctively more jazzy feel, including a dark sax solo towards the end. Jarred on the first listen only, because it is a great track, and shows great versatility. If the goth thing doesn’t work out, there’s a dark jazz field out there to move into.

Overall, I loved it; time to dig out the black nail varnish and guyliner.

Favourite tracks: City’s Full, Strife, Marshal Dear

Spotify link: Savages – Silence Yourself
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Adam Ant – Adam Ant Is The Blueblack Hussar Marrying The Gunner’s Daughter (2013)

Adam Ant - Adam Ant Is The Blueblack Hussar Marrying The Gunner's Daughter (2013)

Adam Ant has a rough time of it since his last album. Two counts of affray, after throwing a car part through a pub window and brandishing a World War II revolver, followed by attempting to smash in a neighbour’s patio door, resulted in him being sectioned under the mental health act for 6 months in 2003.

However, here he returns with the much-anticipated new album.

Stylistically, it’s a real mixed bag, to be honest. The album starts well with Cool Zombies, sounding a bit like Fleetwood Mac’s Second Hand News off Rumours (1977), Marrying The Gunner’s Daughter has an 80’s electro-funk sound to it, while Dirty Beast begins with a very cheesy 80’s rock intro. Valentines reminds me a little of Sparks’ Sherlock Holmes off Angst In My Pants (1982), whereas Shrink is a hard-hitting industrial rock track reminiscent of Nine Inch Nails or more recent Gary Numan. There’s only one track that really sounds like old Adam And The Ants; How Can I Say I Miss You.

The vocals sometimes sound laboured, often multitracked and out of tune; while this does give a demo-like feel to the album, at times it gives it outsider charm, such as on Darlin’ Boy, Dirty Beast, and Punkyoungirl, and on more listens, it just feels “right”.

And, that’s the key to this album, it’s a real grower. It’s unusual, but not overtly and I think reflects a disquiet mind. On first listen, it might sound a bit amateurish, a bit hit or miss, or not quite complete, but I urge you to give it a chance.

Favourite tracks: Cool Zombie, Who’s A Goofy Bunny, Shrink

Spotify link: Adam Ant – Adam Ant Is the BlueBlack Hussar Marrying the Gunner’s Daughter
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