Saturday, 5 February 2011

Dark and Goth-friendly music, part 3: New Romanticism, and punk's spookiest relatives

Very mixed reactions to my last blog post! And have been getting some constructive criticism too. Would just like to point out that I will definitely consider any negative points that people have to make; all comments, positive or negative, are welcome (although stupid ones will be deleted...), but I do try not to write or publish anything that I'm not able to explain or defend! However, we all make mistakes and if you point out to me that I have goofed up and I agree, I will always edit the post (you may have noticed things changing or moving around in several earlier posts thanks to commentors catching me out...).

Now, without further ado, on to part three of the ongoing guide to dark and Goth-friendly music... I'm re-capping some genres that I have previously mentioned in relation to fashion - sorry for being a little repetitive, but I am aiming for a complete guide and so don't want to miss bits out. :-/ Please use the search bar at the top of the page or check my archives in the sidebar on the right if you would like to read more about any of these genres. Or I could stop being lazy and add some links. Oh, and don't worry - there is some new stuff in this post too!

As you already know if you read my (much) earlier post on deathrock fashion, deathrock is a subgenre of punk rock which has fallen under the Goth umbrella and is much-beloved within the subculture. It is characterised by horror themes, surreal, introspective and/or dark lyrics which can vary from campy and tongue-in-cheek to melancholic.

Often deathrock music has a very 'harsh' sound to it. It often features a prominent bassline and repetitive beats in the post-punk tradition. Wikipedia says, "The frequently simplistic song structures, heavy atmosphere and rhythmic music place a great demand on lead vocalists to convey complex emotions, so deathrock singers typically have distinctive voices and strong stage presences."

For more about deathrock in relation to Goth, click here.

Deathrock bands include: Christian Death, Alien Sex Fiend, 45 Grave, Theatre of Ice, The Cemetery Girlz, Kommunity FK, A Spectre Is Haunting Europe, Bloody Dead and Sexy, Miguel and the Living Dead, Scarlet's Remains.

Gothabilly is another fashion and music subgenre that I have previously talked about in more detail; it's a subgenre of rockabilly, combining elements of punk and goth rock. The term was popularised by influential gothabilly/psychobilly band The Cramps.

Quick recap: the gothabilly sound incorporates the country and blues rockabilly influences, and often uses the traditional rockabilly upright double bass. Influences from Goth music include jangly guitars, heavy reverb, and lyrics that may involve romantic or paranormal themes.

Gothabilly bands include: Ghoultown, Cult of the Psychic Fetus, Vampire Beach Babes, Zombie Ghost Train, The Young Werewolves, Phantom Cowboys, Koffin Kats, Calabrese, The Witching Hour, The Coffinshakers.

Psychobilly is, obviously, a close relative of gothabilly, incorporating similar horror and B-movie themes, also similarly combining punk rock with rockabilly influences. Lyrics of psychobilly music often cover taboo or controversial themes, although often in a blackly humourous manner.

Acts including The Cramps and HorrorPops are especially popular within Goth subculture.

For more about gothabilly and psychobilly, click here.

Psychobilly bands include: The Cramps, The Meteors, Guana Bats, Nekromantix, Tiger Army, HorrorPops, Devil's Brigade, The Sharks, The Reverend Horton Heat, The Chop Tops.

Dark cabaret
I have touched on dark cabaret more recently in my post about burlesque Goth fashion; so we all know it adds Goth and punk influences to a musical style drawing on the sound and aesthetics of cabaret, burlesque and Vaudeville. The term is said to have been popularised by the release of the Projekt record label's dark cabaret compilation CD. Lyrics often incorporate dark themes (hands up anyone who's surprised).

For more about dark cabaret, click here.

Dark cabaret bands include: Dresden Dolls, Salon Betty, Stolen Babies, Tiger Lillies, Vermilion Lies,
The Carnival, Rosin Coven, Circus Contraption, Katzenjammer Kabarett, Jill Tracy.

New Romantic
Aha, this is a new one! New Romanticism was a youth fashion and music movement that originated in England in the late 70s and is often associated with the new wave music scene. It was popularised by nightclubs such as The Blitz and was considered to be a response to the burgeoning punk rock scene. By the late 70s, many felt that punk was losing its vitality and vigour and had become 'overly political'. New Romanticism developed as a direct contrast to punk; celebrating and applauding artifice and 'fake-ness' in both culture and music.

New Romanticism was heavily inspired by artists such as David Bowie, Roxy Music and Brian Eno, as well as genres including disco, rock, early electro-pop and even R&B. Since it developed in and around the nightclub scene, it was mostly designed to be danceable. There is great variety in New Romantic music, but it often featured synthesizers, drum machines and electric guitar.

Clubs playing New Romantic music were renowned for the flamboyant and colourful dress of their patrons. Clothing was often androgynous and both sexes usually wore make-up. The look was an exaggerated combination of the foppish English Romantic period, the glam rock fashions of the 70s, science fiction movies and the glamourous attire of Hollywood stars, which all put together was just about as surreal and outlandish as it sounds.

Adam Ant's flamboyant New Romantic attire inspired many a young Goth gentleman... including musician and author Voltaire.
Not all New Romantic bands are generally associated with Goth (e.g. Culture Club, the Human League, Duran Duran and a-ha... although I will admit I am a fan of early Eurythmics) - however, many enjoy popularity within the scene and can often be heard playing at Goth nightclubs.

Goth-friendly New Romantic bands include: Adam and the Ants, early Depeche Mode, Soft Cell, Visage, Flock of Seagulls, Tears for Fears.


Anonymous said...

Very informative1 Um, tell me if I ever make a stupid comment, okay?

ultimategothguide said...

@ Laurel - you have nothing to worry about! Stupid, aka spam, trolling, rude, pointless or TyPeD lYk DiS...

Thank you ^^


Another excellent collection of music, Amy! I've only recently found Dark Cabaret (like last year or so) but I find them quite cool. Especially Dresden Dolls. Pretty bummed out they ended, though.

Nox Artemis said...

Nice post. I'm trying to get into more psychobilly bands (one of my buds said that she'd take me to a show someday). But this reminds me of a wonderful genre that doesn't get mentioned often:

Goth Americana.

Well, some people say it's more of a feeling than an actual genre, but it's a coined term that has stuck onto a lot of bands. Basically, it's goth-friendly country music, a genre of music that I would have NEVER thought I'd listen to until I was introduced to 16 Horsepower and Woven Hand (two bands that I immensely recommend :) ).

Anonymous said...

Isn't Voltaire dark cabaret?

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