Thursday, 20 January 2011

Guide to dark and Goth-friendly music, part 2: Punk and its various subgenres

Considering that the Goth subculture began with punk, it's hardly surprising that many Goths (particularly eldergoths and old-school or trad Goths) still enjoy listening to the subculture's musical roots. Punk, or more correctly punk rock, developed in the 70s and was characterised by short songs, fast, stripped-down music and controversial, often political lyrics covering anti-authoritarian themes. There are also dozens of subgenres of punk including Oi, hardcore, surf punk, Celtic punk (e.g. Flogging Molly, whom I adore), crust punk, folk punk, horror punk, riot grrl, ska punk, gypsy punk (e.g Gogol Bordello) and streetpunk, and punk has had a strong influence on many other genres - including Gothic rock.

Please note: punk and pop-punk are not the same. Most punks and Goths would be amused or downright offended if you suggested that their primary musical tastes covered bands such as Blink 182, Good Charlotte and The Offspring. Pop-punk is generally neither dark nor Goth-friendly, although I'm sure I'm not the only Goth who has occasionally been known to listen to one or two Green Day songs; and many mallgoths have shown a fondness for the likes of Good Charlotte.

Where was I? Oh, yes. Instruments typically used in punk music include electric guitars, an electric bass, vocals and a drum kit, nine point nine times out of ten eschewing fancy techniques and expensive special effects. Lyrics are often shouted rather than sung.

Punk and its various subgenres are considered Goth-friendly because of the influence it had on the Goth subculture, and the DIY ethic and non-conformist spirit that is inherent in both punk music and the punk subculture.

Punk bands include: The Sex Pistols, The Ramones, The Clash, The Adicts, The Gun Club (whose members included Patricia Morrison, later of The Sisters of Mercy, Fur Bible and The Damned, and Kid Congo Powers, later of Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds), The 4-Skins, The Jam, Motion City Soundtrack, Rancid and Vice Squad.

Protopunk is a term that has been retrospectively applied to bands and musicians who were influential in the development of punk rock. Some of these bands are popular in the Goth scene and can be heard at Goth clubs all over the globe. Despite all being tagged 'protopunk', these bands do not come from a single specific genre.

Protopunk bands include: The Velvet Underground, Roxy Music (who were, incidentally, the first band I ever saw live), David Bowie, Iggy Pop (and of course The Stooges), Alice Cooper (the third band I ever saw!), Patti Smith, David Peel, The Who, New York Dolls, Doctors of Madness.

Riot Grrrl
Riot Grrrl began as an underground feminist punk movement, whose bands' lyrics address topics such as rape, domestic abuse and female empowerment. It continues today as an underground subculture and movement, with strong political and (obviously) feminist views and the typical rebellious DIY ethos. Female musicians that originally inspired the Riot Grrrl ethos included Lydia Lunch and Siouxsie Sioux. Jack Off Jill and Hole have also been somewhat dubiously associated with Riot Grrrl on Wikipedia; Jack Off Jill enjoy moderate popularity in the Goth subculture.

Riot Grrrl bands include: Bikini Kill, Bratmobile, Heavens to Betsy, Calamity Jane, Excuse 17, Julie Ruin, Lunachicks, Tattle Tale, Voodoo Queens and Huggy Bear.

Emo as a music subgenre originated in 1980s America as a development of the hardcore punk movement. Nowadays it is a much-maligned subculture, often wrongly confused with Goth, and has spawned other subgenres such as scene, which is about as dark and Goth-friendly as most pop-punk music. I would suspect that most scene fans are relatively unaware of their culture's roots in punk.

However. Emo is generally characterised by moody and introspective lyrics and melodic musicianship, untypical of a lot of music that has its roots in punk rock. It was originally known as 'emotional hardcore' or 'emocore'. Modern emo music has been combined with indie rock, creating bands such as Panic! At The Disco and 30 Seconds To Mars.

Most crossover between the Goth and emo subcultures is fashion-based rather than musical, but because of its expressive lyrics and gloomy atmosphere, its punk roots and indie associations (independent music is, of course, a Good Thing to most Goths), I figured it was Goth-friendly enough to be included here.

Emotional (or emotive) hardcore bands include: Embrace and Rites of Spring.

Emo bands include: Dashboard Confessional, Hawthorne Heights, Jawbreaker, Matchbook Romance, The Used, Taking Back Sunday and Sunny Day Real Estate.

Apparently, as I am informed by commentor Becky, the difference between the two lists above is similar to the relations between Goth and mallgoth (and yes, I have seen fans of the latter list of groups referred to online as 'mall emos').

Horror punk
Horror punk (aka horror rock) blends horror movie themes with influences from early punk and sometimes rockabilly. The lyrics often express black humour and are generally non-political, although there are some exceptions. There are also a few, lesser-known subgenres such as horror hardcore (e.g. Samhain, Septic Death) and horror metal (e.g. Ripper, Necrophagia). It often has a heavier, more metal-oriented sound than traditional punk.

Horror punk has become associated with Goth via its dark and sometimes cheesily humourous B-movie imagery, and with the popularity amongst Goths of bands such as Misfits.

Horror punk bands include: Wednesday 13, The Creepshow, Michale Graves, Calabrese, Balzac, The Other, The Crimson Ghosts, Bloodsucking Zombies from Outer Space, American Werewolves and The Spook.
Source: Tumblr


Mark said...

Like your Post. Not too keen on the Blink 182, or the Good Charlotte stuff. It makes one feel like vomiting, when one classes these Nu Metal bands as Stink 182. I'm a Traditionalist. I love proper Goth in all its glory. Goth music came from Punk and then moved into Post Punk. What would you class as New Wave? I would say it's Goth. I'm not too sure?

Anonymous said...

Wow--again, I think the Sex Pistols have been found on my local radio at least occasionally. And my sister's "not goth" vampire friend introduced her and other friends to Flogging Molly (which is a little loud for my tastes, but could work very well when in an angry mood). And I grew up on some of the proto-punk stuff. It's so funny--we try to divide things out, only to realize just how closely related they are--or we try to draw connections between things that are completely unrelated! Ah, hunaity, I don't know what to do with you!

Stefanie said...

Another interesting post.

I know they're not punk but I was wondering where do HIM fit in the whole Goth/non-Goth music genre?


Great post! You really know yr music!
I'd add MC5 to the protopunk group. They're from the same time as the Stooges and I've always seen these 2 bands as the pillars of protopunk because of their music and attitude.
I really loved the horror punk suggestions as I'm not very familiar with any of them. Cheers!

Becky said...

Wow, nice descriptions of all these genres of music! I just stumbled on your blog and it's awesome - so much information. Not a goth, but I definitely appreciate the darker side of life and listen to a lot of ebm/darkwave/futurepop. Awesome post and blog!

Ashlee said...

As an avid listener of Emotive Hardcore, that section really bothered me. Dashboard Confessional, Hawthorne Heights, Taking Back Sunday, The Used,Sunny Day Real Estate and those bands are more... emo than emotive hardcore, if that makes sense. Like Mall Goth and Goth. has the most and best info on emo that I've found so far.

Mark said...

Do you know where I can get reasonably cheap cds of obscure Goth artists? I'm trying to find cds by Bella Luna in the UK. Where would you place New Wave, in terms of a Gothic scale? I rather like the early/mid 1980's New Wave acts, as a lot of them used Flange Bass and cool synths. I've got a new style of Gothic music. How about Skate-Goth?

ultimategothguide said...

@ Ashlee - I was attempting to cover a mix of both, but I'm happy to add a little section in there to make the distinction. Thanks much for the link; I will edit right away. =)

@ Stefanie - don't worry, I will be covering bands such as HIM in an upcoming post... XD Technically HIM describe themselves as love metal, they're not Goth but are popular amongst a lot of Goths and have played at several of the big festivals like WGT.

@ Becky - thank you ^^

@ Mark - you might like to try for rare CDs; I have covered New Wave music in a previous post, which you can find here:

@ ETERNITY KIDZ - thank you, it's more obsessive research than actual knowledge...

Thanks everyone for the great feedback!

ultimategothguide said...

@ Becky - the link you gave me came up as 'not found', so I have done what I can to make this post a little more accurate. Thanks for the advice. =)

Emily Lynn G. said...

I can't help but notice all the cynicism between Punk and Goth to pop-punk and modern emo, and I can't get the reason why, other than the obnoxious fans, where I can definitely see the draw back. But when it comes to music, you have to take it for what it's worth.
Dear Miss Amy,
What about pop-punk or punk-goth? are those only (if even "real") subculture fashions or are there music sub-genres for that to?

ultimategothguide said...

@ Emily Lynn - punk-Goth is the same thing as tradgoth or old-school Goth, characterised be early Goth bands like Siouxsie and the Banshees and Bauhaus. Pop-punk is a music genre; not sure if there is a fashion subculture that sits alongside it.

Emily Lynn G. said...

oh, I see... thanks for the response :)

Zella Morbidity said...

I'm so happy that you did a post on punk music in the sub-culture, but I'd really like to know this : Where are The Misfits in this post? They are one of my favourite bands ever and should, I think, be at least put into the Horror Punk section! Their lyrics are mostly about horror movies, things that happen in horror movies, or things they'd like to happen in horror movies! I was just wondering how you could miss out such an important player in Punk Music!

No disrespect meant!
*sending fluffy bats and purple roses*

ultimategothguide said...

Zella Morbidity - um, I DID mention the Misfits in the horror punk section!

"Horror punk has become associated with Goth via its dark and sometimes cheesily humourous B-movie imagery, and with the popularity amongst Goths of bands such as Misfits."

Krystal Fenix said...

As a goth, I like all forms of music as long as I like it and I am in the mood for it. This can range from Sleeping with Sirens and Pierce the veil to artists like The Cure, Sisters of Mercy, The Bauhaus, Sixsie and the banshees (I have shocking spelling), to things like Ghost Town, Natalie, DJ Nate and things like Within Temptation, Sirenia.

I think it widens one's mind, and helps develop your brain if you introduce yourself to new music genres and don't entirely close yourself down on others.

I think its quite childish when others try telling you what to listen to just to be consider 'goth'. I respect that not everyone will like everything, but I also respect someone else's choices of music taste, regardless of what subculture they may be in.

To me, I go by whatever I am in the mood for and whatever I find on Youtube, other peoples' blogs, Pandora and Grooveshark. I also think that as long as a song has dark-ish lyrics or a dark/sinister underlying sound, it can also be considered 'dark cultured'.

I also think that pop-punk/post hardcore shouldn't be too harshly looked down upon by the Goth Community. After all, many artists usually talk about more mature topics like government, freedom, emotions, life struggles, self harm.. things I assumed the goth community would be proud to embrace unlike mainstream music of Justin Bieber and Nicki Majai who sing about sex, hoes and what not.

I have a friend who loves old classics like Frank Sinatra, french music, Victorian inspired gothic fashion and lifestyles. He also enjoys post-hardcore, green day songs and swing music.

This is just my opinion and I, and everyone else, do not want to tell other people how to be themselves. That is the right of an individual and no one, no matter how long you've been in a subculture, should try to 'boss' one around.

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