image by Becky Munich
Here’s what Haute Macabre writers have had on heavy rotation recently
I have spent more time obsessively streaming TANIS than listening to music this month, so I can’t not include it. Made by the same people who do The Black Tapes and the just-launched Rabbits, TANIS is the podcast equivalent of faux documentaries and found footage. It’s fiction, but the fiction is composed of interviews and monologues — it’s a far cry from the radio dramas we grew up with, and it is so very up my weird and incredibly specific alleys that I almost can’t believe it exists outside my head. The plot focuses around Nic Silver and his search for “Tanis,” which is maybe a person, or a place, or a thing, but can perhaps best be described as a kind of focal point around which supernatural events occur. The narrative combines folklore, secret societies, and esoterica from history (Atlantis! The Ordo Templi Orientis! Baba Yaga!) with a happening-now plot involving government conspiracies, cults, creepy stuff in the forest, a brilliant female hacker named Meerkat, and basically every single thing you ever stayed up Googling. I LOVE IT. New Jack Witch did a great interview with producer Terry Miles earlier this month, if my praise isn’t enough.
King Woman // Created In The Image Of Suffering
This album is some tremendously beautiful shit. I’m not a great music journalist, to be quite honest, so I’ll save you my paltry descriptions of the sound and focus on the feel. Think of it like the best perfume reviews — the magic is never in clarifying the exact notes, right? King Woman is the darkness of late nights and candles burnt down to the table and Kristina Esfandiari’s vocals are raw in a way that reminds me of old PJ Harvey, very I am a Goddess and I will cut your legs off kinda stuff, and all together the atmosphere is potent and powerful and maybe swirling with incense.
Knifesex // Deipna
I discovered Knifesex when Slutist profiled Vanessa Irena back in January. It’s a 3-song EP featuring two original tracks and a cover of Tori Amos’ Me And A Gun, with each song created specifically for ecstatic dance. The album is summer heat and sweat droplets and the sun shining through red curtains and filling the room with a bloody light. It’s the kaleidoscope of pushing down on closed eyes, of gauzy veils and quick, rapid breaths. Holy, holy.
Moon Duo // Occult Architecture Vol. 1
According to their press releases, Moon Duo’s fourth album offers a “cosmic glimpse into the hidden pattern embedded in everything”, and is “an intricately woven hymn to the invisible structures found in the cycle of seasons and the journey of day into night, dark into light.” I don’t know what all that means exactly, but I can tell you the the darkness of Occult Architecture Vol. 1 promises a hazy, hypnotic ride, buzzing with repetitive grooves, long, droning synth-laden refrains, and drowsy vocals. This is the background music I imagine playing if William Hope Hodgson’s reclusive narrator in The House On The Borderland were to describe his time spent astral-traveling to all those freaky, terrifying dimensions that he mentions in his manuscript, but through, you know, the filter of rose-tinted glasses, and with an “…ahahaha, guys, so THAT happened” kind of attitude. It’s not all woozy sonic delirium and a miasma of languorous psychedelia, though; to my (admittedly untrained ear) I hear fuzzy, feisty post-punk garage band and 80s new wave influences, and the pulsating, throbbing beat of some far-flung space rave, at the outer edge of the galaxy. The cold, machine-like yet passionate beat of the album’s second to last track, “The Will of the Devil” even has a goth pop/cold wave vibe to it, that I especially dig. If this is Moon Duo’s dark side, I cannot wait to see what they deliver when they step into the light with Occult Architecture Vol. 2, due out in May.
Dance With The Dead // B-sides: Volume 1
What do you call this stuff? Synthwave? Retrowave? I came across Dance With The Dead a few years back, and in enthusiastically trying to describe their heavily electronic but also decidedly dark sound to my sister, I hesitated, fumbling for a description: “…it’s like…you know…in cheesy 80’s horror movies, when zombies are chasing people around a movie theatre or a high school or a mall? And there is an eerie, yet catchy, beat-heavy score? Zombie mall music. Yeah. That’s it!” She misheard me and thought I said “zombie mom” music, but ok, whatever. Dance With The Dead is one of many such acts in this nostalgic, neon, glitchy mishmash of a genre, but they are so ridiculously fun to listen to that I can forgive them for maybe not being overly original. Their latest albums of B-sides seems a rather eclectic selection with tracks that are both no doubt fantastically danceable (if you dance, which I do not) as well as those that recall aggressively headbangable power metal influences. Delivering amazing synth melodies, crazy guitar solos, and sublimely spooky sounds, Dance With The Dead’s is a gloomy, glorious assault of the senses.
Samantha continues to listen to The Smiths and Morrissey on endless repeat. #foreverswoon
What’s been in your ears this month?