(in no particular order - and yes, there's 11 - just like in Spinal Tap, not 10. I couldn't decide, really, I couldn't...)
An Atlanta band that blew me away the first time I saw them live and hasn't let up since. Its dark and melancholy just the way I like it. The lyrics are hands down the best I've ever read and the emotional sentiments knock right down into my very being. They've been compared to everything from 16 Horsepower, to Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds, The Swans (Michael Gira), Johnny Cash and Eno. I predict they'll go down as legends - just remember you heard it here first.
An eclectic group from Portland, Oregon who dabble in dreamy, sometimes ambient/ethereal music full of organic sounds and inspired vocals. Their darker songs remind me a bit of Myssouri. They were just signed to Middle Pillar Presents so be on the lookout for a new CD sometime this spring.
Another Atlanta band that deserves more recognition than they ever get. They float somewhere between darkwave and industrial - light enough for the goths but heavy enough and technical enough for the rivet heads. They're really in a class all their own. They've put out an *amazing* amount of material on their own (I can't imagine how they do it), and always wow the crowds when they play live. Every DJ that I've ever exposed them to has went ape-shit over them. They really are THAT good.
Back to my roots - batcave style! This fabulous piece of dark magic reminded me why I fell in love with the goth scene in the first place and redefined what I personally like in music. Its spooky and fantastical and dark, their hair is spiked to the heavens and there's no shortage of ripped fishnets. Almost an anachronism in this day and age, this is a band that I hope will go on to influence others. Bring back the batcave I say!
Hands down the most fun I've ever had listening and dancing to a CD. So its not the most musically challenging collection of songs - that's not the point. All you technical synth freaks need not even bother if you can't take something light-heartedly. This is balls out spooky, munsters-in-the-house, child-hearted energy. Think of Sesame Street but done by Tim Burton. I'm addicted to it. Really. I sing the lyrics all the time - try it, it'll make you giggle. They've since decided that the name Sneaky Bat Machine was "too limiting" and have changed it to Goteki (which is a non-sense word that I don't know how to pronounce, that carries no significance admittedly by the band). I haven't heard anything they've done yet at Goteki but I'd lie if I said that the name change wasn't disheartening. I will always love Sneaky Bat Machine.
Long time Dallas electronic/industrial musicians found a formula that will blow the competition away. Having only released a cassette, they've made big ripples in the pond and all are waiting anxiously for a CD release. The production is seamless, the loops are complicated, the details intricate and poly-rhythms are abundant. And I don't even like industrial music - go figure. I love this stuff. The musical quality is impressive beyond description and the band members are the nicest party-loving folks you'll ever meet.
Ghoultown sets a new bar for excellence in the world of Gothabilly as far as I'm concerned. There's no one else out there even close to what these guys do. They've managed to capture the spooky-fun of punk inspired Gothabilly and yet maintain an unusually high standard of musicianship where most bands of this genre are admittedly a little lax all in the name of fun. Adding their own SouthWestern twist (they're from Dallas), they feature everything from flaming cow-skull drums to a zombiefied trumpet player. Count Lyle tells tall tales with the best of them.
I'd be mistaken not to mention Soil & Eclipse in my top ten list. Their CD Meridian literally spent about 3 months solid in my CD player. I even took it with me when riding in friend's cars. I had to hear it. Masculine operatic vocals coupled with good lyrics are the hook for me here, layered over good dance beats and sometimes heartbreaking acoustic guitar. Yum.
I first met the boys when I had to pee - yup, I had went running into the women's bathroom at a venue only to find the three of them, their faces neatly stacked one on top of the other, cramming into the one mirror this place had, arranging their mohawks. How could I not love them? They gave us our first ever live interview - I still have it on tape as one of my most prized possessions, and went on to do one of the best live shows I've ever seen next to the Cruxshadows. With a solid punk background, Bella Morte produces some of the most melodic yet danceable music out there. Contrary to their spikey looks, they are a sensitive lot, quick to share smiles and inner most feelings so that you want to just scoop them up and hug them. Their music is sincere and honest - no super star image here, just some boys, from a small town, who humbly rock the house.
The best band I've ever seen perform live - and probably the band I've seen live the most times this past year. Rogue's theatric antics make for an entertaining evening and his purposeful inclusion of the crowd, whether it be him dancing with them on the floor, pulling them upstage, or shaking hands and telling them "thank you for coming" at the close of the show is something I respect greatly. My personal interaction with the band goes back a ways, and needless to say, their demeanor, professionalism and kindness towards their fans has impressed the hell out of me. I still get school-girlish silly with the prospect of seeing them live. Their songs are filled with wonderful lyrics - stuff most of us, I dare say, can relate to. Every album has not failed to bring tears to my eyes - "Sympathy for Tomorrow" on this CD does it every time. And dancing - well, just put it this way, a promoter in Atlanta who swore he'd never dance in public, was made to eat those words with their song "Deception" - now we can't MAKE him stop. :) I could go on and on about how much I adore them and why, but I'll cut it down to this: to Rogue, Rachel, Kevin and Chris - thanks for this music - its a beautiful gift.
The most innovative band I've heard all year. They should be legends already. Cyberina, my assistant editor, gave me their CD when I was visiting in Dallas this past summer and then the band sent me their newest (Who Killed the Cat) after my initial review. I was struck by the seductive but strong feminine vocals. She has a voice that'll tear your heart out and shred it to pieces while you watch. The mixture of spoken word, murmurs and melodies work like a charm. If you notice, all my other picks are typically groups with male vocals - which is my preference on most music it seems, but this one is an exception.
Honestly, I fear for music. A number of years now have brought with them too much apathy for the arts, and far too much acceptance of simplistic dance music as "brilliant" when often it's little more than adequate. I put forth my top picks: a group of mostly lesser knowns, because that's where everything begins, and so they are the bright future.
Karl Mohr is a musician I've been trying to find for the better part of two years now. How we hooked up is a long story that I intend to explain in a feature Starvox article that you can watch for in the near future. Karl Mohr does it all, and gives me hope for the future of music, Canadian and otherwise.
An underground band from Germany (featuring a member of Einsturzende Neubauten) that specializes in soundtrack music. Mostly noisescapes and the like, they blend experimental jazz with old school industrial into meaningful music.
Testing the boundaries of his art in Germany last year with the likes of Brian Eno, the Zentrum has returned and raised a thought provoking peice in "The Caliban Syndrome". While I would usually scoff at any 43 minute peice of music, this is not so much a song as it is a story in sound that paints a colourful picture in your head. This is the first peice to ever have such an effect on me, and I believe it to be unique in its formulation. A website is forthcoming.
The long awaited "Hypnerotomachia" continues to tease the whole world with its sonically complex club friendly music. Plagued by a seemingly endless stream of problems too grim to detail here, the release date keeps getting pushed back. Their latest sampling of the disc shows that they have overcome a lot of setbacks, learning much along the way.
Rik McLean's single-handed instrumental synth project which composes the soundtrack to life and all its various emotions. Rik deserves far mroe recognition for the work he does, both with his own project, and in organizing other, lesser known artists together in colaborative work.
Though this band is pushing 20 years of age, they've evaded my listening the whole time. The Fall's music encompasses a wide variety of styles and ideas, bringing many forms of art together. Welcome back to the 80's, my friend, where we didn't worry about fitting into a marketable genre of music. Don't mock the new wave, because the new wave is everything.
Poking and picking at your brain with sound, Nocturnal Emissions is a classic in the field of modulating your alpha waves. Play this before you go to sleep, and I guarantee you weird but pleasant dreams.
Mr. Imahori and collaborators breathe new life into Japanese animation soundtracks. A blend of many types of music including jazz and industrial, this disc moves away from Anime's J-Pop roots in an innovative leap not unlike the high budget "Wings of Honneamise" soundtrack by Ryuichi Sakamoto of 15 years before.
Poking fun at the world and making noisy dance music while remaining undercover the whole time, this is one band whose smokescreen of propoganda is fun to get lost in.
(in no particular order)
Possibly the most exquisite array of electronics ever. This cd does not leave my cd-player and is the ultimate sign of hope in a world of apops and vnvs. It doesn't get much better than this.
www.ynfynyty.com - coming soon
The most stunning compositions, filled with trance, drum&bass and orchestral parts. An incredible effort, both compositionally as well as in the production department. Finally a full-length after all the great remixes they've produced.
[no site available]
This sideproject of one of the members of Dryft presents well-crafted drum&bass with ambient atmospheres and flawless production work. Sounds orgasmic in the club, but tends to clear the dancefloor. ;)
The Humberstone twins continue to mesmerize me with their unearthly music. After almost 20 years there talent hasn't decreased one bit and Groundloop may very well be their best work to date. The power and drama of their classical arrangements connects seamlessly with their driven percussion and elegant electronics...incredible.
I have no words for this disc, only a sea full of respect and a sky filled with compliments...
Superb new material by the true heirs to the industrial crown (imho). 5.25 brought live, unreleased and remixed material, with most notably the orgasmic edit364, while the 36:6:115 7" was merely a teaser (but a brilliant one) for the upcoming album Trace. Sideproject o2 on the b-side of this record also sounds very promising.
My favorite discovery of the year. I wish they were as big (and prolific!) as the Cure and the Cranes, because their music is definitely of the same standard. Highly emotional and a touching honesty that is a rare find nowadays.
Painfully beautiful excuse to keep us all satisfied until April 17th (aside from Salival, that is.)
www.aperfectcircle.com (excellent site)
Wonderful, refreshing, seductive...it took me a while to get into, but since this was also the case with their first album I wasn't worried that I would eventualy come to greatly appreciate it.
Deftones - White Pony
I'm probably tainting the term eclectic with my #10, but come on...this cd kicks *so* much ass. Wicked, creepy, harsh yet melodious...and Maynard on guest vocals. Hell yeah.
The year 2000 produced many wonderful new cd's and it was quite difficult to pick only 10... and even more difficult to put them in any sort of order of preference... so here are my personal faves for the year 2000 (in alphabetical order).
Favorite tracks include "Wings of Steel" and a wonderful cover version of Grace Slick's "White Rabbit. This CD is a must have.
The CD Rom included with Manifest Destiny makes me want to see this band perform LIVE! High Energy!
Wow, what a fun CD! They even do a cover of Devo's "Whip It"!
I'm wearing this CD out... Brickbats, Sewn, The Horati, The Changelings, Faith & The Muse!!! This is, by far, one of my all-time favorite compilations.
Delight in the delicacy of this forbidden fruit... with lyrics to make even an aetheist cringe!
This comp features more of my faves... including The Azoic, This Ascension, Attrition, and Autumn.
Seattle faves SMP put on one kick-ass show, and Terminal takes me back to the show I caught at Berbati's Pan (Portland, Oregon) a few years back.
Dru's vocals are a dreamy delight (be sure to see the Starvox Interview!)
While I prefer Unquiet Grave I (with the inclusion of Written In Ashes), there are enough wonderful bands on this compilation to be included in this 2000 list... Oneiroid Psychosis, Attrition and Inertia (to name a few).
Last but certainly not least... My local favorites... I love this band! Portland Oregon's Written In Ashes captures my heart and assaults my soul again with their release, Ephiphany. Be sure to check out the CD review and interviews in STARVOX... and watch for Written In Ashes at Gothcon 2001!
Let's be honest here: kaRIN is drop dead gorgeous with the most beautiful vocals to match! And Statik is wizardry incarnate into electro-human form. Add water and mix with razor blades.
WARNING! Romantic pleasures Gothic Rock as performed by Kevyn Hay will make you a Written in Ashes whore-for-life, or -death, as the case may be.
You've simply NOT lived until you have seen and heard Sumerland (most recent Middle Pillar signees) perform LIVE!
No one says it quite as well as Blu Ashton. read her review: http://www.starvox.net/cbuy/3sks.htm
Great guitar driven femme vox band out of Seattle. Infectious percussions.
You won't appreciate this compilation until you have actually spun it in your own cd player. It's amazing! Awe-stounding!
Quite a X-section of electro-darkwave and industrial favorites from around the globe presented by two of Indie Music labels found inside The Collective, http://www.underground-collective.com/ A MUST own.
Fantastic departure from the standard fare of electro-industrial elegance usually found on other Doppler Effect compilations. Transcendence includes a heaping helping of Gothic and darkwave artists as well as some of the expected electro-industrial favourites ... all selections reflect pacific Northwest independent performing music artists.
Words cannot express the beauty of ATP. Though, I do hope someone else will make the attempt once obtaining a copy of Deranged Angel.
Dream goth-pop poured through a Korg Triton. **MADE FOR DANCE** Darkening dance music for the black-clad world.
Okay, so this is a tuffy! It is almost unfair to try to list only ten albums for this year as being my favorite, so I know I am going to leave some out that should at least be mentioned which is unfortunate, but I suppose even if I were to list all deserving CD's for the year I could write forever! This following list is pretty much in order as to my favorite being first all the way up to 10.
This is by far the best album I heard this year! Collide's new music direction is an alluring cross between trip hop and darkwave only done the right way! The lyrics and sounds are haunting yet extremely enchanting! Every time I think I have found that one song that's going to be an instant "Club Hit", I run into another! I honestly don't think there is a bad song on this album and think this is a "MUST HAVE" if not already owned! Buy it, BUY IT NOW!!!!
http://www.diaryofdreams.com/ http://www.accession-records.com/ http://www.metropolis-records.com/
This album is extremely dark yet with just the right tempo and melodic elements to entice fans into listening to over and over, time and time again! It is refreshing to know that some Darkwave/Gothic music still hasn't lost it's uniqueness and creativity! If you have been thinking otherwise I highly recommend giving One of 18 Angels a try.
I *heart* this album! And honestly, I am unsure how to explain why!? When I listen to it I feel like I am sitting in a spiraling tunnel that is taking me to the depths of that which I do not know! Sound odd? I know! Intrigued? You should be! Really, this CD has many different elements but the ones that come to mind would be best described as having harsh EBM sound with many strange layered kicks. It deserves mention and I am looking forward to hearing more from Yendri.
This album is by far the most impressive to me when you think of and compare Covenant's first works, listen to thier most current, and see how far they have come! WOW! From 1994 to present they have done an excellent job shaping, defining and growing into their latest album United States of Mind! This album blows my mind!! Now, if only every band could progress like these guys!
This album brought a whole new light to my way of thinking regarding L'ame Immortelle. I really enjoyed their previous albums but at times the harshness of Thomas Rainer's vocals was a bit more than I could handle for long periods of time and unfortunately, it didn't go over very well in the clubs for me either!! Their newest full length album was refreshing to find less distorted vocals and more female vocals. I really enjoy the the layering of male and female vocals in many of the songs and find this CD to be invigorating in both home and club settings! Definitely a must have!
I mention two albums here, only because both are absolutely amazing!! A friend of mine brought back Nova from Germany in the Fall and I instantly fell in love! Elfensex I just discoverd last week! Nova reminds me very much of the tribal aspects of Dead Can Dance combined with a more dramatic operatic voice!! Mila Mar's voice is very powerful and it moves me everytime I hear it! Her newest album is a beast all of it's own and very different from the Nova, but also notable!
http://www.clairevoyant.com/menu_ie.htm http://www.accession-records.com/ http://www.metropolis-records.com/
If you like Claire Voyant, don't let this remix album give you the wrong idea! While the artists who did the remixes may be more upbeat than their typical style, all of the remixes still stay true to the slow ethereal soundscapes they are known for, only with an nice added club friendly kick! I highly reccommend this album if you are a Claire Voyant fan or not, the remixes are incredible and it sheds a whole new light on to the swirly side of gothic dance songs!
Attrition has always been one of my favorite bands! The Hand that feeds is a collective of both old and new Attrition songs remixed by different artists! It is spectacular and deserves alot of recognition. Christine, Martin and Simon really out did themselves on this album and tour!
Ravenous a side project of Funkervogt really out did themselves this year as well! The more melodic aspect of Funkervogt is the best way to describe this album! Enough said!!
This album takes me back and reminds me very much of older Clan of Xymox recordings. I enjoy listening to this album in it's entirety and can honestly say that there is not one song that stands out from another.
Steph (50 ft Queenie)
Big surprise here eh? The amazing Ms. Harvey does it again. This album is loud, passionate, intense and full of energy and life. PJ is a goddess.
What a stunning, beautiful sophomore release from one of my favorite bands anywhere.
One of the bands that made it safe to dance again. 80's electronica with a cool 90's twist.
All samplers should be this good. This showcases the best of the bands on the label, and I can't figure out why The Unquiet Void aren't huge yet.
Wry, witty, playful and very sexy, the dashing Voltaire was a charming MC at C6.
Fun, crunchy goth-rock. They cover Kim Wilde *and* Motorhead on the same disc. Woo hoo!
Another very talented dance band that are clearly influenced by the great Kraftwerk.
Okay, so it's not exactly new, but who cares? Joy Division are forever and eternal beauty.
Wonderfully sleazy blues rock.
Bombast is back. Think big sound without no pretention and a fierce intensity.
*In no particular order*
(And my philosophy is to EP's = One whole CD ;P)
My top ten records for this year stretch back as far as 1998, though most are 2000 releases. I decided this was alright, they're still fresh and fairly new albums that deserve a listen this year or any:
I've seen them in concert five times, they always blow me away. *Will You Find Me* is their latest of touching strong songs with delicate vocal harmonization and interesting structure. Dan and Elizabeth Littleton's sweet songs mixed with Karla's almost early Tori Amos like piano numbers...
From the creator of This Mortal Coil, Ivo focuses this project with more constancy from beginning to end, using the same musicians on most songs. The album begins with a cover of Slowdive's "Dagger", very haunting and powerful.
All the folk tinge of early Dead Can Dance pulled out and magnified, twisted, and distorted into this eerie collection of songs about what humans face.
Good traveling music. I listen to this wherever I am in the country and it gives me this rich feeling, almost desperate to live. www.resnet.wm.edu/~hkrear
Capturing the young musician live. If only to have had the chance.
Slow, soft, melodic, at moments haunting, others just purely right.
Another soft and beautiful release. Faith & Disease at their most refined.
Beautiful doom metal, including hints of Candlemass and even a touch of early Dream Theater. Interesting music and strong emotions. www.eibonrecords.com
Singer/songwriter with a very produced album. Makes me nod my head, some catchy songs, some soothing, all thoughtful. www.bethorton.com
From one of the creators of Slowdive, on Mojave 3's third full-length, Neil Halstead goes more acoustic, more folk, but always as touching. www.4ad.com
~ Although this album came out in 1999, I had not heard them until this year. This band completely knocked me over with their technical skills, orchestration, and perfect blend of male and female vocals. If I were to write an album, I would want it to sound like this.
~ Anyone who knows me knows I love this band. Midian has burst forth from hell and complemented Cradleís already impressive catalog.
~ Pure Egyptian death metal at its finest! Amazing recording from start to finish. Any metal head that does not have this in their collection has, from this point forward, been placed under suspicion as an Nísync fan.
~ Yet another one from 1999 but itís so damn good, it carried me halfway through the year as my top pick
~ Seattleís finest have released the sequel to Dreaming Neon Black and have dug to their metal roots to release one of their heaviest and technically amazing albums to date.
~ Majestic but immensely depressing oaken metal from Oregon. Fans of Katatonia and Opeth should not be without this release. Although I only purchased it a few weeks ago, it easily made my top ten.
~ Black metal laced with thrash riffs. As the years go by, the production gets better as do the songs. ďThe Darkness That Embrace MeĒ is worth the price of the CD alone.
~ Peter Tagtgren is the modern King Midas of the metal world. In my opinion, Hypocrisy can do no wrong and this is yet another unbelievable album.
~ The Swedish thrashers have slowed down a bit on this album but it is still every bit as memorable as their other releases. This album leaves no doubt that these guys are the best at what they do.
~ This album blends the progression of Projector with the classic sound of The Gallery and The Mindís I. An excellent album by all accounts and a must have for fans of melodic, mid-paced metal.
Since it is IMPOSSIBLE to pick the top ten artists for the year, I decided to do a top ten compilations list that folks MUST own if they are on a budget. Even doing a top ten compilations list was NOT easy. Most, if not all, of these CD's are available from Middle Pillar Distribution at www.middlepillar.com
A choice selection of some of the hottest bands forging ahead with a new sound.
Great price with an awe inspiring body of work that runs the gamut of goth dance to more ethereal tracks.
Great for when I need that extra jolt of energy, especially around 3pm at work!
Beautifully compiled with an emphasis on more ethereal work.
Great bands from all over the globe showcasing some brilliant masterpieces.
The mystery and aura of vampire music is enticing. Great for setting a mood.
Great selection of Dancing Ferret artists for a VERY reasonable price.
More artists from around the globe showcasing brilliant tracks.
One of the best tribute CD's to have come along in a while in my opinion.
Ok, so I cheated on this one with both volumes. Euro goths will disagree with this selection, but the American goths would probably get into it very heavily.
If you buy ANY compilation this year make it this one! It is one of those rare CDs that are good all the way through. Itís a must have for any electro/industrial fan. Bands featured on this 17 track comp are: Inferno 5, Apoptygma Berzerk, Malaise, Leather Strip, Bizarre Alliance, Remyl, Neuroactive, Birmingham 6, Anstalt, The Insult That Made Man Out Of Mac, Chaingun Operae, Angst Pop, In Slaughter Natives, Reptilicus, Shade Factory, Active Media Disease, and Absentia.
Hear it here: http://www.cyberden.com/
As a Dominatrix I like this cd for itís obvious fetish lyrics and itís wonderful beat. I use this for conditioning on occasion and it has proven to be very effective in mood setting. It is great to dance to fast or slow.
This is a cd you CANíT sit down and listen to. Itís got a GREAT dance beat that will keep you moving as long as itís on. I recommend this to anyone who is into EBM. The cadence of the lyrics is just BEAUTIFUL. I always get chills when I listen to it. GET IT!!!
If you like Portisehead or Massive Attack youíll like My Scarlet Life. The WAY-better-than-Madonna-like voice of Christy Cameron Smith and the higher pitch of Julie Axis create a great sound. As they each sing lead on alternating tracks, the music is spiced up with their different voice ranges.
AWESOME! Everything about it is great. Beat, lyrics, vocals etc. You canít leave this life without at least checking it out! Seriously, itís really good.
Most tracks are slow and sexy. French vocals add to the eroticism (though I prefer the sound of German). I like to listen to this cd when I am in a lithely evil mood!
Hear this and others by Die Form on http://www.cyberden.com
A GREAT gothic listen. Wonderfully dark and beautiful. I enjoy this cd for itís random quirkiness and itís solemn tones. Male vocals are classically goth. Some middle eastern flavor in certain tracks only adds to the uniqueness of this spectacular cd!
This is different than the fetish cd I listed earlier. A very addictive cd. I dig listening to the whole cd over and over. Versatile in that you can dace slow or fast as your style dictates. I very much recommend this cd.
Another GREAT cd. I canít tell you how much I LOVE this cd! The only thing better than this cd was seeing them in concert! GORGEOUS music! Beautiful lyrics in the way that only industrial can make it beautiful. Buy this... Buy this...Buy this...
Mostly instrumental, I use this cd for mood music. It sets a great ambiance and it lets my mind wander through that dark imagination I call thought...
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