Category: gothic rock

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. 

The Cure “The Top” released 35 years ago today, April 30th 1984. (Spoiler alert – another big Cure anniversary coming up this week.) The Top was The Cure’s 5th studio LP; it went to #10 on the UK album charts though barely made it onto the US Billboard’s Top 200, squeaking in at #180. I really love The Top – I think I got this copy in ‘85 or early ‘86. It was unevenly received by fans and critics at the time. Some called it timeless psychedelia, original and witty while others labelled it transitional, self-indulgent and forgettable. It certainly is unique, with a fantastic mixture of swirling psychedelic rock tinged with world music exotica (“Bird Mad Girl,” “Piggy in the Mirror” and “The Top”), eery goth (“The Empty World” and “Wailing Wall” which has a lot in common with Siouxsie and the Banshees – not surprising as Robert Smith was the Banshees’ guitarist at the time and had just completed his work on their 1984 album Hyaena), stomping post-punk (“Shake Dog Shake” – one of my favorite Cure songs – and “Give Me It”), new wave pop (“The Caterpillar” which was the only single The Cure released from The Top; it went to #7 in the UK) and even some shoe-gazey dream pop (“Dressing Up”). The track “Bananafishbones” manages to mash all of those descriptives into one single song. Allmusic says about The Top “an album obviously recorded under stress, drink, and drugs. More wildly experimental musically than anything before it, it laid the foundations for the Cure’s pattern of unpigeonholable albums that were to erase their reputation built by Pornography and eventually culminating in Kiss Me, Kiss Me, Kiss Me… The Top is a transition, never really feeling like a full-length release, but it does meld all former phases of Rob and company, which would fully gel on The Head on the Door. At best an imperfect record, The Top is a necessary step in the evolution of the band.”

The Cult “Spiritwalker” released 35 years ago today, April 4th, 1984. It was the first single from their album Dreamtime and written back when the band was going by the name Death Cult (before that they were The Southern Death Cult) and still gothy alternative/post punk rock rather than the harder rock/metal band they evolved into in later years. “Spiritwalker” went to #77 on the UK singles chart and to #1 on the UK indie chart. It’s a really great atmospheric rocker with tinges of alt-rock jangle guitar and big 80′s drums. The B-side to this 12″ has two tracks: “A Flower in the Desert,” which is acoustic, sparse and melancholy (this track was originally written back during the Southern Death Cult days and was titled “Flowers in the Forest” – I’m pretty sure the version on this 12″ is different than the one on Dreamtime), and “Bone Bag,” which is kinda Cure-like: gothic jazz, evoking a late night stroll down dimly lit streets in black-and-white. 

The Cult “Spiritwalker” released 35 years ago today, April 4th, 1984. It was the first single from their album Dreamtime and written back when the band was going by the name Death Cult (before that they were The Southern Death Cult) and still gothy alternative/post punk rock rather than the harder rock/metal band they evolved into in later years. “Spiritwalker” went to #77 on the UK singles chart and to #1 on the UK indie chart. It’s a really great atmospheric rocker with tinges of alt-rock jangle guitar and big 80′s drums. The B-side to this 12″ has two tracks: “A Flower in the Desert,” which is acoustic, sparse and melancholy (this track was originally written back during the Southern Death Cult days and was titled “Flowers in the Forest” – I’m pretty sure the version on this 12″ is different than the one on Dreamtime), and “Bone Bag,” which is kinda Cure-like: gothic jazz, evoking a late night stroll down dimly lit streets in black-and-white.