Queen City Sounds Podcast S2E27: Seraphim Shock

Seraphim Shock in 2017, photo by Tom Murphy

Seraphim Shock has been spinning its tales of the dark side of American society informed by themes of the occult, Satanism, hedonism and resistance to a puritanical culture that often causes the trauma and neuroses that drive dysfunction. Seraphim Shock’s music is an expression of solidarity with living with that legacy and purging it. It’s second full length album Red Silk Vow released in 1997 to great local fanfare in the local Goth scene with shows in which lead singer Charles Edward garbed as a Victorian Vampire, top hat and all, orchestrated a stage show with bandmates in corpse paint. Whether one was fully into the music or not the spectacle was undeniably compelling to the point where it helped to elevate the music in its Goth-industrial aesthetic. Generally snubbed by the local press and a good deal of the local scene in Denver, Seraphim Shock has forged a path as a band untethered to the usual local scene politics and its limitations. The group’s second ever show in 1994 was in Phoenix and most of its Denver shows since the mid-90s have been at larger venues like The Aztlan Theater, The Ogden Theatre and The Gothic Theatre rather than the gauntlet of dive bars and small clubs in no small part due to Edward not seeing his group as simply a local outfit. As the years went on the band’s style adopted a more hard rock sound and Edward’s stage appearance evolving into that of more a sinister yet benevolent glam rock professional wrestler look than a lord of the undead, think a body sculpted Goth super hero. In 2022 Edward and Seraphim Shock celebrate the twenty-fifth anniversary of the release of Red Silk Vow as a continuation of Edward’s creative vision as he ushers in the next chapter of the band with its impending release of the second chapter of The Fairmount Chronicles which launched in 2020. The stage show is back to being as theatrical as the early days with Edward exuding the undeniable charisma and commanding presence that has been a feature of the live show for decades.

Listen to our interview with Charles Edward on Bandcamp and go witness Seraphim Shock’s Twenty-Fifth Anniversary celebration of the iconic album Red Silk Vow at the Oriental Theater on Saturday, November 26, 2022 (doors 7 p.m.) with Dead on a Sunday, Whorticulture and DJ Celebrytie as hosted by the always enteraining, sardonic raconteur Sid Pink For more information on Seraphim Shock and to find music and merch, please visit the links below.

seraphimshock.com

Seraphim Shock on Facebook

Seraphim Shock on Instagram

Seraphim Shock on Apple Music

Queen City Sounds Podcast S2E26: Secret Shame

Secret Shame, photo courtesy the artists

Secret Shame formed in Asheville, North Carolina in 2018. Its members came from the local punk scene and the music they made together was, summed up by a quote found on one or more of its online accounts, “too punk for Goth and too Goth for punk.” But however its sound might be best described its style of dark post-punk struck an immediate chord with people that got to see the fledgling band and even the debut basement demo from 2016 revealed a band that was tapping into emotional spaces resonant with Siouxsie and the Banshees and Xmal Deutschland. Its songwriting quickly developed into the songs that would comprise its energetic self-titled 2017 EP and the 2019 full-length debut album Dark Synthetics. In that vital mix of death rock and synth-infused post-punk one could hear an emotional vulnerability that told stories of struggle and abuse sometimes couched in terms of cosmic horror. And yet there was a core of honest feeling that bled through the metaphors and abstraction. For the 2022 album Autonomy, singer Lena had been working from a place of wanting to not obscure her lived experience and emotional truth and one hears that reflected directly in the music too. It’s still beautifully moody and moving but less haze and more direct tonal expression. Also in the new set of music are more conventionally accessible melodies without sacrificing the grit and darkness that has made the group’s songwriting so compelling since its inception. Autonomy is an album by a band that has come into its own while also a demonstration of an evolution from where it’s been and hinting at further exploration of where the music can go when you feel like you can craft your art from a deeply personal place without needing to couch it in the stylistic terms of anyone else or their narrow expectations.

Listen to our interview with Lena on Bandcamp and follow Secret Shame at the links provided. The group is currently on tour including a date in Denver on Friday, November 25, 2022 at The Crypt with Voight, ilind and Verhoffst at 9 p.m.

Secret Shame on Instagram

Secret Shame on Facebook

Queen City Sounds Podcast S2E25: The Legendary Pink Dots

The Legendary Pink Dots 2022, photo courtesy Randall Frazier

The Legendary Pink Dots have left an indelible imprint on the worlds of psychedelic rock, post-punk, Gothic rock, the avant-garde, noise, ambient, industrial, synth pop and electronic music since its inception in1980. Fronted by Edward Ka-Spel, the Pink Dots have evolved through various lineups and shifting musical styles exploring musical and non-directly musical ideas for over four decades now leaving in the wake of that path of experimentation and rich a prolific body of work all worth a listen. From the late 80s through the early 90s there was a sea change in the band’s music as its membership expanded and its songwriting style shifted toward the kinds of lush atmospherics and dreamlike melodies and textures of 1990’s Crushed Velvet Apocalypse and even more fully on the 1991 album The Maria Dimension (now released in a 3 CD extended edition). That era of the band reached wider audiences and established The Legendary Pink Dots as a cult band with a wide international following from the alternative rock era to this day. Its enigmatic yet colorful and highly emotionally charged story songs provide a kind of parallel narrative to established cultural paradigms, sagely commenting on the prevailing culture in which we all live and which we all navigate and offering insight into civilizational themes and expressing deeply personal reactions to and thoughts on he lived human experience. The group’s highly imaginative and creative music never abstracts feelings but finds a way to make the complicated and difficult explicable. The live shows are a cathartic celebration of life and dreaming and seeking and finding deeper meaning set to sonically rich and transporting soundscapes. In 2022 the Pink Dots released its latest album The Museum of Human Happiness on Metropolis Records and following that, welcomed long time booster, publicist, tour manager and friend Randall Frazier of Denver space rock/ambient band Orbit Service into the current lineup alongside Ka-Spel, long time multi-instrumentalist Erik Drost and live engineer/producer Joep Hendrikx.

Listen to our interview with Edward Ka-Spel on Bandcamp and follow the further adventures of The Legendary Pink Dots at the links provided. Catch the band currently on tour in North America including two dates in Denver: Saturday November 19, 2022 at the Mercury Café with Orbit Service and The Drood and Sunday November 20, 2022 at the Mercury as well with Dead Voices on Air and Edward Ka-Spel doing a solo performance featuring Tom Hagerman of DeVotchKa.

legendarypinkdots.org

Queen City Sounds Podcast S2E24: No Age

No Age at Glob Aug 28, 2013, photo by Tom Murphy

No Age is a noise rock/art punk duo based in Los Angeles, California. Drummer/vocalist Dean Spunt and guitarist/vocalist Randy Randall had been in a band called Wives from 2001-2005 that had been a staple of the underground/DIY music world at the time. But Spunt and Randall scrapped the name and took their then musical ideas and recast their efforts as No Age with their first shows under the new moniker in early 2006 with their second show at the legendary DIY space The Smell in April of that year. From the beginning there was a refreshing lack of pretension and exuberance in the sound of No Age. Like a fusion of The Ramones at its most raw and the lo-fi experimentation and tape collage aesthetic of The Microphones. Within the often grainy and charmingly unvarnished early recordings one could hear a joyfulness and embrace of lived experiences that could contain and express a broad range of emotions and ideas in a manner often spirited and tender. There was always an element of vulnerability to No Age’s version of punk that transformed the music into something immediately accessible, like an unspoken invitation into a shared experience of thoughts and feelings it’s easy to think of going through alone and in isolation. No Age as artists and as a band have always approached its music and its operation as a band with a community spirit and that underlying ethos is something one an hear and feel in all of its albums and at its live performances. The group’s 2007 debut full length compilation of its early EPs and singles Weirdo Rippers (FatCat) is a fantastic introduction to the core No Age sound with a title that captures what you’re in for hearing, that is to say exciting music for people who embrace being different from mainstream expectation. From 2008-2013 No Age was signed to SubPop which helped to push the band to wider audiences. The most recent No Age album People Helping People (Drag City, 2022) is one of its most daring to date and bringing into the mix more fully the musique concrète element heard from its beginnings with gorgeously dream-like tape collages set alongside its signature vital rock songs. It may be the most fully realized No Age album to date and sonically among its most arresting.

Listen to our wide ranging interview with Randy Randall of No Age on Bandcamp and connect with the group at the links below. No Age performs at the Hi-Dive on Wednesday, November 16, 2022 with John Wiese and New Standards Men.

No Age Bio.Site

No Age on Facebook

No Age on Instagram

No Age on Drag City

No Age on Sub Pop

Queen City Sounds Podcast S2E23: Masma Dream World

Masma Dream World, photo by Giorga Liguori

Masma Dream World is the solo project of multi-disciplinary artist Devi Mambouka that incorporates elements of Butoh, drone, theta frequency and ambient music. In 2020 the debut Masma Dream World album Play at Night (now out no Northern Spy) but likely didn’t get a proper airing to a wide public because November 2020 was in one of the depths of the ongoing pandemic. The record is a mesmerizing listen that taps into parts of your brain that feel like a direct connection to the subconscious and one’s ancient ancestors. The use of percussion and unconventional tonalities and shamanic vocals creates a real moment throughout the recording as Mambouka makes sacred psychological space with the music opening a path to a mindset that exists outside the usual and unrelenting considerations of narrow materialism and demands on time at every moment from multiple sources. The music is a journey into a headspace that is always there for you to access but which can seem blocked from your conscious mind by habits of living that prioritize the needs of a corrosive economic system rather than what fortifies your life for real and that of everyone else and the rest of the world generally. It’s a therapeutic listen that exists outside the bounds of musical convention.

Listen to our interview with Devi Mambouka on Bandcamp and connect with the artist at the links below. Masma Dream World is currently on tour with an appearance in Fort Collins on November 15, 2022 with Kenyan-Ugandan industrial grindcore duo DUMA, Knife Band and at The Coast.

masmadreamworld.com

Masma Dream World on Northern Spy Records

Queen City Sounds Podcast S2E22: Holy Fawn

Holy Fawn, photo by Matt Cardinal

Holy Fawn from Phoenix, Arizona is a four-piece that has been exploring and evolving a sound that brings together an introspective ethereal soundscape with a heaviness of mood that reflects a depth of feeling found on all of its recorded output. From its 2015 debut EP Realms to its 2022 album Dimensional Bleed one hears in the music of Holy Fawn expansive melodies and tonal brightness paired with a textural grittiness that feels like a cathartic and transcendent journey into deep emotional spaces. In that sound one hears echoes of obvious influences in realms of shoegaze, post-rock, black metal and the more atmospheric post-hardcore and emo with lush swarms of intricate guitar and intertwining rhythms. But there is also an element of musique concrète to the songwriting bringing in field recordings and tape collages to augment a sense of layered meaning and lending Dimensional Bleed in particular a cinematic quality that can create a rippling shift of sonic focus in every moment of a song. Without attachment to a specific style of music, Holy Fawn is able to deftly navigate and even embody multiple genres at once as suggested by the title of its new record.

Listen to our interview with Alex Rieth of Holy Fawn on Bandcamp and follow the band at the links provided. Holy Fawn performs at the Marquis Theater on Sunday, November 13, 2022 with SOM and Grivo.

Holy Fawn on Facebook

Holy Fawn on Instagram

Holy Fawn on Twitter

Holy Fawn Link.to

Holy Fawn Merch

Queen City Sounds Podcast S2E21: Nora O’Connor

Nora O’Connor, photo courtesy the artist

Nora O’Connor is a singer, songwriter and prolific musical collaborator from Chicago who has made a name for herself as go-to talent for greatly augmenting the recordings and performances of other artists. People like Mavis Staples, The New Pornographers, Iron & Wine, Jakob Dylan, The Decemberists, John Wesley Harding and Neko Case (with whom she has recently been a member of the touring band) have benefited greatly from O’Connor’s gifts and ability to listen well and become a noteworthy part of the work at hand. But for the last few decades O’Connor has occasionally released records under her own name including 2022’s My Heart (Pravda Records). The beautifully eclectic record hearkens to country rock of the 70s but also great folk pop artists like The Roches, Norma Tanega and Margo Guryan whose 1968 song “It’s Alright Now” O’Connor covers for the new album. My Heart, song for song, showcases O’Connor’s vibrant voice, her keen ear for songwriting nuance and ability to evoke a broad range of complex emotions.

Listen to our interview with O’Connor on Bandcamp and connect with the artist at the links below.

noraoconnormusic.com

Nora O’Connor on Facebook

Nora O’Connor on Twitter

Nora O’Connor on Instagram

Queen City Sounds Podcast S2E20: Patriarchy

Patriarchy, photo courtesy the artists

Patriarchy is a band that came out of the ashes of vocalist/songwriter/musician/filmmaker Actually Huizenga’s solo project under her first name. Huizenga had intended to quit music and pursue film in more earnest but Andrew Means of industrial group 3TEETH encouraged further musical endeavors and worked on production for the 2019 debut album by Patriarchy, Asking For It. The name Patriarchy may seem like an unusual choice for a musical project fronted by a charismatic woman but it was a name that subverted the meaning of the term and explored the more mythological roots of its place in modern culture as well as drawing upon and commenting on the nature of that power in society and in the personal, lived experience. The music sounds a little like an industrial dance band with an array of influences in the mix like the high end disco production and composition of Giorgio Moroder and Trent Reznor’s deep dive into the dark places of the psyche for inspiration in crafting his own soundscapes. The 2022 album The Unself finds the project embracing an almost polished synth pop sound without compromising its darkly vital creative instincts in presenting pain and struggle in a context that reveals the vulnerability inherent to opening up to ideas and subjects many people would prefer to avoid or keep hidden. Visually the band taps into similar spaces as those of The Cinema of Transgression, the complex personal mythological noir of David Lynch and the lurid and stark visuals and moods of 1980s slashers. The cover of The Unself depicts Huizenga in what might be considered fetish gear and holding a pig. It’s that striking dream imagery that captures well the style and layers of meaning to be found in the group’s song titles, its presentation of the music bridging camp and glam and industrial culture and horror cinema while drawing inspiration from the world’s various ancient and modern mythologies.

Listen to our interview with Actually Huizenga and “The Drummer” (who along with “The Guitarist” perform anonymously) on Bandcamp and witness Patriarchy in all its glory on tour now including a stop in Denver at the Hi-Dive on Monday, November 7, 2022 with Street Fever, Sell Farm and sets by the Kill You Club DJs. Follow Patriarchy at the links below and check out some of the band’s beautifully transgressive music videos beneath the links.

actuallyactually.com

Patriarchy on Instagram

Patriarchy on YouTube

Patriarchy on Vimeo

Patriarchy on Facebook

Queen City Sounds Podcast S2E19: Lowertown

Lowertown, photo by Shervin Lainez

Lowertown is an avant-pop duo based out of Atlanta. Olivia Osby and Avsha Weinberg met in math class in high school and bonded over a mutual and deep appreciation for jazz. Weinberg was a classical pianist with aims of going to the conservatory and Osby was a fledgling yet prolific poet. Before graduating in 2021 the two released the Honeycomb, Bedbug EP (2020) and the critically acclaimed The Gaping Mouth EP after high school in September 2021 having been picked up by the Dirty Hit imprint. Those EPs revealed a great deal of creative sophistication and development with songs that tapped into electronic music aesthetics, pop, angular post-punk, jazz and folk for a sound that feels intuitive in a way that speaks directly to the lived emotional experience in a way vulnerable and knowing and comfortable in not being so certain. The 2022 debut album I Love To Lie retains all the insightful introspection but the songwriting seems more straightforward and accessible and its content is the most clearly political and incisively observant. “Bucktooth” in particular addresses gun violence, political extremism and the seemingly everyday crisis mode that pervades not just American culture but the state of much of the world. It’s an album written from the perspective of youth and informed by an underlying hopefulness in the face of the dire possibilities and likelihoods and its catharsis of that anxiety is heartfelt and immediately striking.

Listen to our interview with Lowertown on Bandcamp and connect with the artists at the links below. Lowertown performs at the Summit Music Hall on Saturday, November 26, 2022 opening for beabadoobee.

Lowertown on Instagram

Lowertown Streaming Links

Queen City Sounds Podcast S2E18: Vision Video

Vision Video, photo by Scarlet Lewis

Vision Video is a post-punk band based out of Athens, Georgia whose self-styled Goth pop is infused with gorgeous melodic hooks and emotionally raw and honest lyrics. Visually the band looks like what you might imagine a Goth band from a movie might look like with the appropriate make-up and sartorial flair. But there is something darker and different yet also welcoming about that appearance and in performance, reflecting the ethos of the members of Video Vision who recognize the band and fan dynamic as being one of community. There is disarming earnestness in the songwriting coupled with a clear sense of humor and self-awareness in how Video Vision conduct themselves as people that signals an approachable quality that doesn’t undermine the serious and meaningful content in what the band is putting into its art. In recent years frontman Dusty Gannon has been releasing videos on the Video Vision TikTok in which he adopts the persona of “Goth Dad” who presents information about the Goth subculture in which he came up as well as real life issues with a sense of humor, affection and sincerity in a way that comes across as wholesome, a quality one doesn’t always associate with Goths. In 2022 Vision Video released its second album Haunted Hours, the much anticipated follow-up to its 2021 debut Inked in Red. Fans of The Cult and The Cure will find much to like about the flavor of both records as will anyone looking for modern post-punk with solid production, urgent dance rhythms and songs that really tell it like it is with the state of the world and the importance of embracing your own humanity and that of those around you even and especially as the world seems to be crumbling.

Listen to our interview with Dusty Gannon on Bandcamp, follow Vision Video at the links provided below and catch the group on tour now including a date in Denver on Halloween at HQ with Radio Scarlet, Redwing Blackbird and Witchhands.

videovisionband.com

Vision Video on Instagram

Vision Video on Instagram

Vision Video on Twitter

Vision Video on Facebook