Category: goth

The Cure “Concert: The Cure Live” released 35 years ago today, October 22nd 1984. Recorded on May 5th, 1984 in Oxford and on May 9th and 10th, 1984 at Hammersmith Odeon in London.

Haunting, dark and beautiful with a fairly high-quality live recording, The Cure’s first concert LP contains songs from their early albums including “10:15 Saturday Night” from Three Imaginary Boys; “Killing an Arab” from Boys Don’t Cry; “A Forest” from Seventeen Seconds; “Primary” from Faith; “One Hundred Years” and “The Hanging Garden” from Pornography; “Shake Dog Shake” and “Give Me It” from The Top. “The Walk” appears on the singles collection Japanese Whispers from 1984 and “Charlotte Sometimes,” until the release of 1986′s comp Staring at the Sea was only released as a single in 1981.

Peter Murphy needs to get his eyes checked; that’s not indigo. 

Siouxsie and the Banshees “The Passenger” 1987. Wonderland Records. 12″ single, “lllllloco-motion mix.” The single version of “The Passenger” – a fantastic cover of Iggy Pop’s version from 1977 (on Lust for Life, released as a single in ‘98) – appeared on Siouxsie and the Bashees’ 1987 all-cover album Through the Looking Glass and went to #41 on the UK charts. About a million other artists have covered “The Passenger” (well, not exactly, but there are a lot, and I do like the 1997 version by Lunachicks that’s on the We Will Fall: The Iggy Pop Tribute record), and Siouxsie’s is the best. Her voice is a great counterpoint to Pop’s masculine monotone growl, all clear soaring gothic gloss and mirrors, and a whole lot of horns. Pop quite liked Siouxsie’s rendition, stating, “She sings it well and she threw a little note in when she sings it, that I wish I had thought of, it’s kind of improved it. The horn thing is good.“ The “lllllloco-motion mix” is significantly longer than the single – I think about double in length – and seems to have even more horns plus what I think are tubular bells (well, bells at least). The B-side has two tracks, “She’s Cuckoo” and “Something Blue,” a lush lament that is perfectly and gothically sorrowful. 

Has a Shadow “Sorrow Tomorrow” 2017. Fuzz Club Records, limited edition on red vinyl. Psychedelically dark wave, Has a Shadow is two-piece from Mexico; if they recorded this in the late 70′s or 80′s, they would have felt right at home with the post-punk goth rockers of that era (Joy Division, Bauhaus, Sisters of Mercy). This is my first listen of Sorrow Tomorrow as Joe just picked this record this past weekend and so far I’m fairly intrigued. It’s the band’s second LP and has some similarity to dark stoner-rock bands like Black Rebel Motorcycle Club (especially the late-night driving tune “Cul de Sac”) as the music is very dense and trance-like but the prominent 60′s psychedelic organ gives it a bit more for the ear to grab onto and not totally fall asleep, even though I can’t understand anything (more because of the growling voice than any language issues). I especially like the opener “Sorrow” and the rockers “The Flesh,” “Attack of the Junkie” and “Not Even Human.” Some tracks go a little too shoe-gazey for more taste, like “Vampire Kiss” and “Horror Will Grow” (those titles alone reinforcing any doubt as to their goth influence). The recording quality with all the fuzzed out guitar, psych synths and beats is also surprisingly good considered that Sorrow Tomorrow was at least partially recorded at vocalist/guitarist/organist Daniel Graciano’s home. There was some question about keeping this record or letting it go – my vote: it stays. 

THE CURE Standing On A Beach – The Singles. 1986 UK 13-track LP compiling many great influential singles such as Killing An Arab, Jumping Someone Else’s Train, Charlotte Sometimes, The Lovecats & the sublime A Forest, complete with illustratedcredits inner, gatefold picture sleeve. The sleeve shows just a little light wear and foxing, the vinyl remains in excellent condition with just a few signs of play.

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The Lords of the New Church “Like a Virgin” 1985. 12″ single, Illegal Records. Today, August 16th, is Madonna’s birthday (b. 1958) so I’m spinning the best and most irreverent cover of her smash single “Like a Virgin” from 1984. The Lords cover of “Like a Virgin” is fantastically, and purposefully, horrible. Sneering, laughing and belching their way through the pop track, they also manage to make it goth and a bit creepy. The flip side of the 12″ (labelled “Side AA”) has two original Lords tracks: “Method to My Madness” which is a more typical Lords dark goth rocker from 1983, and “Gun Called Justice,” a stark bluesy acoustic track.

Siouxsie and the Banshees “Candyman” 1986. 12″ single. The second single from their album Tinderbox (also 1986), “Candyman” went to #34 on the UK charts. This is quite literally a UK import: we picked this up a couple weeks ago at Flashback Records in London, though I can’t remember if it was from the Islington or Shoreditch location.  Though the song’s subject matter is dark and disturbing (it’s about child abuse: “Candyman – oh candyman/ And all the children, he warns ‘don’t tell,’/ Those threats are sold/ With their guilt and shame they think they’re to blame”), the music is propulsive and upbeat, guitar-forward with a jangle that is reminiscent of ‘86 Smiths (played by recent band addition John Valentine Carruthers, previously of the post-punk industrial band Clock DVA) and an upfront bassline. Side B has two songs: “Lullaby,” a more typically lushly gothic Siouxise composition, and “Umbrella,” which has a fairly heavy industrial vibe. Both of the b-side tracks appear as bonus tracks on the 1986 CD release though not on the vinyl edition. 

The Cure “Charlotte Sometimes” 1981. 12″ single, Fiction Records. The Cure released “Charlotte Sometimes” as a non-album single about six months after the Faith LP and it went to #44 in the UK. The Cure included it on their 1986 comp Staring at the Sea: The Singles, an album that I listened to rather incessantly in the 80′s (this 12″ is a very recent acquisition, picked up at record store in London). Robert Smith’s inspiration for the song was the “children’s novel by English writer Penelope Farmer, published in 1969. According to Smith: ‘There have been a lot of literary influences through the years; ‘Charlotte Sometimes’ was a very straight lift.’ Many lines in the song reflect lines directly from the book, such as ‘All the faces/All the voices blur/Change to one face/Change to one voice’ from the song, compared to the first sentence of the book, ‘By bedtime all the faces, the voices, had blurred for Charlotte to one face, one voice.’. The song continues: ‘Prepare yourself for bed/The light seems bright/And glares on white walls,’ and the book continues, ‘She prepared herself for bed… The light seemed too bright for them, glaring on white walls’. The title of the single’s B-side, “Splintered in Her Head”, was also taken from a line in the novel. The Cure later released another song based on the novel, ‘The Empty World,’ from their 1984 album The Top.” [Wiki] “Charlotte Sometimes” is a great representation of my favorite Cure music: the early stuff. Rich, dark and gothic. Swirly. Mysterious. “Splintered in Her Head” is also dark, but more ominous with whispers of industrial goth. On the 12″ single, both of those tracks appear on the A side; side B is a very long live version of “Faith” which The Cure recorded in Australia in 1981. 

Siouxise and the Banshees “Hyaena” released 35 years ago today, June 8th, 1984. Hyaena was the Banshee’s sixth LP and is particularly notable for featuring The Cure’s Robert Smith on guitar and keyboards. Ours is the US version that includes the single “Dear Prudence” which the Banshees released as a stand-alone in Europe in 1983 (it hit #5 in the UK). It’s a a masterful rework of the Beatles classic. Siouxsie’s clear voice and the Banshees’ gothy psychedelic soundscape takes Prudence (Mia Farrow’s sister) out of meditation in India with Maharishi Mahesh Yogi and into the black-lit clubs of early 80′s Britain where she can transcend ego through trance dance. Also released as singles were “Swimming Horses” (#28 in the UK)  Robert Smith reworked the piano melody into “Six Different Ways” from The Cure’s Head on the Door LP (1985). The second and final single from Hyaena was “Dazzle,” a lush orchestral anthem introduced by members of London Symphonic Orchestra’s string section; “Dazzle” hit #33 on the UK charts. 

Siouxsie and the Banshees “Join Hands” 1979. Today, May 27th, is Siouxsie Sioux’s birthday (b. Susan Ballion, 1957). Join Hands was the Banshees’ second album and a fitting pull for today, Memorial Day. The tracks were inspired by the horrors of World War I and the themes of war and the loss of life in battle permeate the LP, starting with the opening track “Poppy Day,” the poppy being, of course, a symbol of wartime remembrance.  The lyrics to “Poppy Day” are based on the poem “In Flanders Field” by John McCrae from 1915, written to commemorate the loss of a friend in World War I. Then there is the track “Regal Zone” about the late 70′s Middle East/Iran conflict, “Premature Burial” (self-explanatory) and “The Lords Prayer” which the Banshees premiered back in ‘76 at the 100 Club Punk Special concert (that included performances by The Clash, Sex Pistols and Subway Sect; here is a link to the performance – it’s really crappy quality but that seems fitting) when the members of the band barely knew how to play. I also particularly like the song “Icon” – huge, gothically anthemic – and “Playground Twist” which the Banshees released as the sole single from Join Hands; it hit #28 on the UK charts.