New Dark Age – March 2018

Nights Out

Sun Feb 18

Dancer at Procession

Sunday night need not be a stay-at-home and vegetate in front of the boob tube night. At least one Sunday per month can be salvaged by attending the uber-Goth dance night called Procession held in Manhattan’s Soho, at Home Sweet Home on Chrystie St.
Deejays Joe Hart and Mark Cage Knight host this monthly event that draws a crowd of black-clad locals and out-of-towners. Doors open around 10 p.m., and the festivities last into the wee hours. Home Sweet Home has been renovated, but not actually spiffed up since the last time New Dark Age attended about a year ago. A previously broken floor has been repaired, so there are no longer any puddles of condensation, but the cement pavement remains charmingly—er—wavy.

This night the music agenda began with DJ Joe Hart in the booth, followed by Mark. Mesmerizing, irresistible dance tracks, many from newer, more obscure bands prevailed at the outset. It was a distinct pleasure to hear selections by Ladytron and by Turkish darkwavers, She Past Away and to see those selections energize the dance floor. There was no neglect of great classics like “Isolation” by Joy Division and “She’s in Parties” by Bauhaus, nor was there a shortage of Depeche Mode or Sisters of Mercy. The crowd included stunningly beautiful models of goth grooming and fashion in ghastly as well as clerical attire.

The atmosphere is still dank and dungeon-like at Home Sweet Home. Disturbing video images flicker on a peeling-paint-surfaced brick wall. Vicious-looking taxidermy specimens are still present, and the bar is illuminated by kitschy chandeliers. The restrooms are cleanly and serviceable, but the feel of the place remains that of a dive bar where all conventions and inhibitions go out the window, or – more appropriately in this space – down the drain. The gothic, punk and industrial clientele wouldn’t have it any other way.


Sun Feb 18

Flyer for Stimulate Valentines Blood Massacre

Xris Smack of Mindswerve Studios and STIMULATE hosted a Valentines celebration titled “Valentines Blood Massacre” at the Delancey, on Manhattan’s Lower East Side, taking over all three floors in consideration of the Monday holiday that was to follow. Besides presidents’ birthdays they were celebrating beautiful-but-bad Ashley Bad’s and that of DJ Cliff Cage. What’s more, the party was livened by the presence and participation of NY Fetish Tribe who conducted, well, fetish play including suspension on the top(third) floor of the venue.

Entertainment was by ZGRT and Hot Pink Satan. Deejays included Xris Smack himself, Paradox, Annabel Evil Zvetschka, JeffO Bang and Johanna Constantine.

Stimulate is a recurring performance-and-dance entertainment night and will be holding seven more events in the city, including their 10 Year Anniversary in September; Halloween, near the end of October; Black Friday in November; and the Triple-XXXmas Ball in December. The schedule is easily accessed on Facebook and their website or by contacting Xris Smack.


QXT’s Cure Tribute Night

Fri March 2

DJ Ash (left) and DJ Damian Plague (right)

Periodically, QXT’s, the all-alternative music club in Newark NJ runs a special night dedicated to – or in tribute to – a great artist or band. On March 2, the night of the nasty nor’easter, the theme was “The Cure Party.” Few is any bands in the alternative scene can claim the significance, the devoted following or the unparalleled recognition that the Cure commands.

Up on the main floor DJs Ash and Damian poured forth the hits by this celebrated band and similar artists from their heyday. Siouxsie, the Smiths and Joy Division tracks were interspersed with beloved works of the Cure including – but by no means limited to – “Lovesong,” “The Walk,” “Hot Hot Hot,” “Lullaby” and the monumental “A Forest.”

Downstairs in Area 51, DJs Mykill Plague and Wintermute churned out industrial pandemonium with the likes of Eisbrecher’s “This is Deutsch” in the aptly-designed techno-industrial environment installed by diesel punk artist CharleSilas Garlette.

Over in the Crypt, DJ Helixx enhanced the gloom of this shadowy cavern with dark dance tracks by the Sisters of Mercy, Peter Murphy and London After Midnight.

Considering the inclement weather, the turnout was good, owing to the zealous following of QXT’s and the appeal of a theme night filled with sounds of the most revered of all alt-rockers, the Cure.



Sat March 3

Dance floor at Necropolis

Father Jeff’s big-draw, monthly dance night takes place on the first Saturday of each month at Windfall. This installment of the venerable New Wave/Dark Dance party is the spiritual and cultural descendent of the foundational event Necromantic, Father Jeff’s early entrant into the NYC goth event cycle. His stand-up crew of deejays included Patrick, Templar and Aengel. As always, it was $10 at the door, $8 with pre-distributed flyer.

This special night as featured CD giveaways of last year’s Empire Hideous’s “Remixes Through Time,” a variety of sweet desserts by Annabel Fagan and crafted soaps and the like by Kitty.

Mandana manned the gate, Gerard was absent behind the bar, but Julia bravely endeavored on. Hilda cheerfully handled coats and Chris Savo oversaw the efficient running of things with his usual charm and hospitality. Songs heard included Siouxsie’s “Happy House,” “Transmission” by Joy Division and “I Walk the Line” by Johnny Cash.


The Red Party
“Welcome to the Reptile House”

Saturday March 10

A special edition of the Red Party dedicated in tribute to the Sisters of Mercy and billed as the 10th anniversary of “Welcome to the Reptile House” took place at Mercury Lounge on Manhattan’s Lower East Side. The name comes from the second independent EP by the Sisters of Mercy, released on 12″ vinyl in May 1983. Never released as a stand-alone CD, it was included on the “Some Girls Wander by Mistake” collection.

Representative couples at the Red Party

There was live performance at midnight by Rhode Islanders Way Out, a hard rocking and appropriately paired Post Punk trio. A fabulous night of dance and socializing went on into the night. We left around 2 a.m., but then Daylight Savings kicked in, tele-transporting those who stayed later straight into the mid-morning of Sunday March 11.
The band Way Out performing live at the Red Party

During the dance sessions before and after the live performance, videos of Andrew Eldritch and the Sisters of Mercy played silently on the back screen. DJs Sean Templar, Jarek Zelazny & James David spun out Goth and Deathrock, finding time during the early festivities to play “Sex on Wheelz” by My Life With the Thrill Kill Kult, and “Bad Trash” by Switchblade Symphony. I estimate that every third song played was by the Sisters of Mercy, which is – let’s face it – the best band to dance to.

Mandana Banshee (left) and Sean Templar (right)

Celebrities present at this Red Party included Ana Vice, Xris Smack, Ashley Bad, Paradox were joined by the usual suspects who will remain nameless at this time.


“Desenstized Parallels”


Cleopatra Records

March 2

Album cover art “Desensitized Parallels”

North Jersey-based Industrial duo, Xentrifuge has released “Desensitized Parallels,” a new album – their third – on Cleopatra Records.
Ten tracks are contained in this all-platforms release, each in its own way fulfilling the reputation of Xentrifuge for harsh, techno-goth dance music. Many a track will start slowly, then inevitably will pick up the pace as increasingly complex percussion beats will speed things toward a frenzy. Angry, hissing vocals allude to “darkest decay” and “nothing to believe in.”

Some tracks feature ethereal, minor key string melodies that contrast but integrate with electro-mechanical, rhythmic percussion. One example is track seven, “Unknown Divine.” A couple of tracks proceed in jerking, start-and-stop rhythms, but generally the cadences are steady, mechanized and relentless. The eighth track plays off the pronunciation of its title “N.M.E.”

The ninth track, “Circles of Dust” employs synthetic, erratic arpeggios that mingle along with rapid, repetitive percussive beats that intervene.

This album, like previous work by Xentrifuge succeeds in creating an alternate reality of a deliciously dismal, sci-fi world, driven by electronics and sunk in pessimism. The grim lyrics are poetic, carefully chosen and artfully composed. Their message is delivered not in full-throated vocals but in a raspy, theatrical whisper – as if in desperate protest by a dehumanized, computer-like being. I only wish that it were easier to discern the lyrics by close listening.

In any event, these tracks and this album are available from many sources. Several tracks can to be viewed in creatively visual Youtube videos. The album can be obtained from Bandcamp, Cleopatra records and various internet sources.


Grant Wood and “American Gothic”
Whitney Museum of American Art March 2 – June 10, 2018

“American Gothic” with a few parodies

“American Gothic”, is the most recognizable of American works of art, painted in 1930 by 39 year-old Midwesterner Grant Wood. It portrays a serious, no-nonsense farmer and – contrary to popular misconceptions – his daughter, not wife – as icons of America’s traditional agrarian roots. It is the centerpiece of an exhibition at the Whitney down in Manhattan’s Meat-Packing District, where it is surrounded by nearly 120 of his works that extol the charm, beauty and character types of Wood’s midwestern world. His accurate, low-key portraits are starkly realistic and capture the honest simplicity of people from the American heartland, including a telling self-portrait and one of the artist’s mother (shown nearby).

Grant Wood’s Self-portrait (left) and mother (right)

By contrast, Wood’s farm landscapes offer bird’s eye views of idealized, fantasy dreamscapes that are studies in curvaceous three-dimensionality.

Typical Grant Wood landscape

The exhibition clearly demonstrates the supreme artistry of this master artist. Most importantly, it shows that Grant Wood was definitely not a “one-hit wonder,” but excelled in all aspects of his art and his craft. Monumental stained glass designs and found-object pieces are on display along with stunning paintings in every medium. The iconic portrayal of the farmer and his daughter is so powerful, however, that it will overshadow all the rest of Grant Wood’s work for the foreseeable future. A tiny sample of the countless parodies inspired by “American Gothic” is shown nearby.

Goth Culture/Literature

Revisiting Frankenstein
“Victor Frankenstein is the Real Monster” – or –
“Mary Shelley’s Misunderstood Masterpiece Turns 200”
By Ronald Bailey

Boris Karloff’s portrayal of Universal Studio’s version of Frankenstein’s Monster

Science correspondent Ron Bailey has an important 5-page essay in the April issue of Reason Magazine asserting that complete distortions have been imposed by the innumerable retellings of Mary Shelley’s 1818 novel. In the original book, Frankenstein’s creature was anything but a monster. At 8 feet tall, with “beautiful features,” more agile, “able to [bear] the extremes of heat and cold” and far more intelligent than human beings, the creation is wantonly abandoned by Dr. Frankenstein and meets with uncomprehending revulsion despite these favorable traits. This turns him to a life of vengeance and violence. It was by the irrational revulsion of mankind and by Dr. Frankenstein’s irresponsible behavior that his creature was turned into a thing of horror.

When Mary Shelley’s cautionary tale of irrationality and irresponsibility got inverted, Frankenstein’s creature was portrayed as monstrous. This began in an 1823 play and continued through some 400 movie adaptations that, contrary to Mary Shelley’s proposition, render a narrative of dangerous and uncontrolled science. Countless spin-offs have further reinforced the slanderous notion that science is immoral, out-of-control and meddles in things that should be “reserved for God.”

This meme, Bailey asserts, has poisoned the popular discourse against advances in science and technology that offer the promise of immense good for mankind. He cites historical opposition to artificial insemination, in vitro fertilization, cloning, egg donation, gene splicing, recombinant DNA, disease resistant biotech crops, vaccines and the potential to delete disease genes from humans as ongoing scientific endeavors that can benefit individuals and populations at large. He points out the example of genetically engineered strains of rice that are made to produce precursors to Vitamin A so as to prevent blindness in developing countries. Childless couples and families burdened with serious genetic diseases might be relieved of certain ailments through gene manipulation in the future.

But these advances often meet with what Ron Bailey sees as knee-jerk opposition and irresponsible revulsion from activist opponents. Those who seek to hinder such efforts do so mainly on moral grounds. That, in his opinion, deprives individuals and populations of potential benefits that newer technologies can afford them. Bailey insists that the lesson of Frankenstein is not about the peril of science loosing a monster upon the world, but about the danger of failing to recognize and nurture new technologies that can benefit mankind.

February 2018 New Dark Age

Filed under: Events,Goth Stuff,Live Music,New Dark Age Monthly,Recorded Music,Reviews,Uncategorized — doktorjohn February 21, 2018 @ 11:01 pm

First, the actual pages as they appear in the Aquarian, probably too small to read here, but text will appear below:

Page 1

Page 2

Page 3

Nights Out

Late January and early February offered nightclub goers plenty of events to attend. Those within striking distance of Brooklyn attended DJ Cyclonus‘s night, Arkham and saw a return of DJ Jose Francis. The setlists which covered everything from Ian Hunter to Depeche Mode, Nine Inch Nails to Covenant and Project Pitchfork while classic horror movies played on the main screen as well as the brick wall including “The Shining” and “Devil Takes Five.”

DJ, writer and historian Andi Harriman¹s Synthicide, a monthly Thursday EBM night at Bossa Nova Civic Club in Brooklyn, was held Feb 1, hosting ­ as is the mission of this project – a group of deejays that might not always have a platform to spin their magic, namely Squarewav, Rexx Arkana, Zvetschka along with the erudite promoter herself.

QXT’s So80’s

Jan 26, 2018

Newark NJ

Every 2nd and last Friday of the month QXT¹s, the metro-area¹s singularly dedicated alternative dance club holds an 80s night called “So80¹s” following their weekly Happy Hour Karaoke. DJs Ash and Damian Plague play every danceable genre of music from the 1980s in the upstairs, main floor. On this “So80’s” night the theme was nostalgia, with hours of such iconic remnants of that era as Frankie Goes to Hollywood’s “Relax” and Talk Talk’s “It’s My Life.” Also heard were “Old” Ministry’s “Everyday is Halloween,” Gary Numan’s “Cars” and Flock of Seagulls’ “I Ran.”

The moving image of Molly Ringwold in cinema classic ³Pretty in Pink² played silently on the big screen and was conducive to transporting the dancers on the utterly packed floor back to three decades ago, when the whole world of music seemed to have moved in a new direction. VJ TM5 curated the nostalgic visuals.

Meanwhile, down in Area 51, special guest DJ Stalagmike of Defcon at the famous Pyramid alternated with DJ Mykill Plague playing industrial powerhouse tracks such a Combichrist’s “This S— Will F— You Up” to a crowd of serious pavement pounders. Eerie electronic wall designs in unworldly hues outlined their animated silhouettes as fabulous beams of laser light cut wildly through the darkness of this post-apocalyptic vault. DJ Victrola in the Crypt – the other downstairs hall – played classic goth, darkwave and alternative tracks.

Iron Garden 3rd Anniversary

QXT’s ­ Iron Garden

Jan 26, 2018

Newark NJ

Iron Garden held a celebration of its third anniversary earlier in the evening, just prior to opening Area 51 to dancers. This is a NJ-based organization providing a social setting for discrete, mature denizens of the dark demimond calling themselves “Nightkind,” and their various allies in the pagan, vampire, witch, and other esoteric communities. The idea is to promote and provide conducive haven for those pursuing creative lifestyles which include metaphysics, philosophy, arts, poetry and scholarship of various sorts.

Iron Garden¹s founder – Primus and Matriarch ­ Madame X, of the House of Dreaming, is a major figure in all aspects of nightlife and related culture in the Greater NY/NJ dark scene, and she opened the meeting with a discussion aimed at orienting participants to the terminology of covens, houses and guilds that they may encounter in this subculture. This was followed by invocation and triumphant celebration of the anniversary led by host Jabbar Martin in his role as Trismegistus Aga Khan, a title signifying his literacy in sacred texts.

The walls were decorated with the artistically designed announcement flyers from the past three years’ Iron Garden events. Various consecrating ceremonies and the yearly renewals of citizenship in Iron Garden took place. Entertainment was provided by violin virtuoso Liz Gonzalez who treated those in attendance to masterful performance of pieces by Bach, Irish reels and original compositions.

Ward 6

January 27 saw another iteration of the long-standing, recurring, Fr. Jeff Ward dance party, Ward 6. As ever of late, it was held at the upscale bar/dance hall Windfall on east 39th St in NYC.

Besides Jeff’s and collaborator Patrick¹s providing the very best selection of New Wave, Dark Wave and Industrial tracks to which to dance, this night they hosted a solo performance of Caroline Blind of the band Sunshine Blind. Starting around midnight, she took the stage and performed her set of folksy acoustic Goth rock, relying on guitar strumming as the only accompaniment to her extraordinarily beautiful voice. Opening with a blues-inflected version of “Ain’t No Sunshine,” Caroline proceeded into a number of original songs from back when Sunshine Blind performed regularly as a group which included Caroline’s then-husband, now occasional collaborator, Charlie as well as members of Faith and the Muse. To wrap up the well-received set, Caroline concluded with the late Dolores Riordan’s tour de force, the Cranberries hit “Zombie,” that left the crowd satisfied.

The rest of the night was spent dancing to the likes of the Cure and Cold Cave, whose little-played “Confetti” was a welcome rarity. The party was just heating up with Apoptyma Berserk when we left a little after 1:30, with a who¹s who of NYC night scene celebrities still pouring in. Among the notables in attendance were (in no particular order) Sean Templar, his lovely wife Mandana Banshee at the booth, Erik Aengel, Sir William Welles, Matt V Christ, Joe Hart, Jane “Paradox” Smith, reliable clubber Jorge Obando, DJ Arsenal, Annabelle Evil and Photographer Dario Valdivia, accompanied by lovely veteran of the music scene, Roe Paolino. Coat check girl Hilda was looking as beautiful as we¹ve ever seen her.

Some strikingly beautiful “Goth girls” (“girl” is not a put down!) remain unfortunately nameless at the time of this report. Likewise there were some well-groomed and smooth dancing Goths of the male persuasion whom we never get to know by name. Bill, beret-and-pony-tail wearing, perpetual and omnipresent pencil artist Bill, sat drawing images of the participants of Ward 6 by the illumination provided by his small flashlight. Gerard and Julia saw to it that everyone¹s thirst was quenched, and Chris Sabo saw to the details of running things and house hospitality.

Necropolis Feb 3

Jeff Ward¹s other long-standing dark dance event was packed almost to Windfall¹s capacity on Saturday night Feb 3. The same staff and many of the same attendees as Ward 6 from the preceding Saturday, one week earlier. First-up DJ Sean Templar, had earlier that evening attended the Town Hall appearance of Norwegian group Wardruna whose music would seem to resurrect the medieval, runic sounds of ancient Scandinavia with ribcage-rattling, vibrating percussion and ominous, vocal duets.

Never one to get stuck with musical cliches, Sean enriched the setlist with “Helvegen” by Wardruna and with an early play of “Hate Us and See If We Mind,” a seriously powerful piece by brilliant experimental neofolk group, Rome. Both Wardruna and Rome have met with spectacular success at Castle Party in Poland, I can attest first-hand.

Host DJ Jeff and regular DJ Erik Angel made their contributions to keep the dance floor activated with the likes of Wolfsheim, Chameleons UK, Sisters of Mercy and the Psychedelic Furs.

High-powered intellectuals huddled at the bar were overheard discussing the philosophical controversies of Nietzsche and Hegel as the music played on.

The Red Party Feb 10

A special edition of the monthly Red Party took place Feb 10 at NYC’s Mercury Lounge to celebrate the weekend closest to St. Valentine’s Day, called the 10th Annual “Love Will Tear Us Apart” St. Valentine’s Ball. Featured were a night of tragic love songs mainly in the dance category.
DJs Annabelle Evil and Sean shared the booth with an assist by Matt V Christ. DJ Jarek was scheduled but hadn’t appeared by the time we left at around 2 a.m. Hospitality hostess Mandana Banshee circulated and took photos of the attendees, among whom were such celebrities as gorgeously decked out Kai Irina Hahn of The Sedona Effect and Ana Vice of Memento Mori. Xris Smack and the stunning-in-pink Ashley Bad made a late appearance.
Remorseful, romantic tunes such as “I Was Wrong” by the Sisters of Mercy played and the exceptionally dark dance floor was illuminated by a large, rotating, reflective disco ball that showered dim purple spots around the room creating an atmosphere of festive gloom.



Trisol Music

Project Pitchfork

The just-released new album by Project Pitchfork bodes well for the Goth/Industrial music scene in that this iconic band, no entering its 28th year and with sixteen prior albums under their belt has the creativity and ingenuity to produce yet another major work. Frontman and creator Peter Spilles has apparently taken inspiration from modern scientific concepts and applied that inspiration to the dark, rhythmic style of synthpop for which his group is famous.

“Akkretion” is presented as a 2-CD set with 15 tracks. The last four,- the 12th, 13th, 14th and 15th – are remixes of four tracks earlier in the album. The eleventh is listed as a bonus track.

Science and science fiction as well as morbid philosophy play a role in setting the themes of this opus. The term “akkretion” in German ­ or “accretion” in English ­ is used to describe “the coming together and cohesion of matter under the influence of gravitation to form larger bodies,” i.e. the process of forming stars and planets.

Other tracks with suggestive titles include ³Gravity Waves² (just discovered in 2017), “The Collision,” “And the Sun Was Blue.”

The musical features are of course similar to what fans of Project Pitchfork have come to love and expect, namely well-defined, mesmerizing cadences, minor-key melodies and occasional, spacey, ethereal elements. On most tracks there is an intriguing introduction, followed by slowly accumulating beats until complex rhythms are formed, then Spilles’ hoarse, growling vocals, sometimes broached by spoken word narratives. The second track, “Good Night Death,” offers a peaceful, resolute acceptance of mortality.

“Akkretion” is a must-have set for fans of Germanic darkwave and represents the continuing growth and accomplishment of this exemplary representative of the genre.

Goth/Rock Art, Fashion & Culture

The Salons- “Dressing the Underground: Fashion for Subculture”

The Beauty Bar, NYC

January 25, 2018

Goth scene luminary and subculture historian Andi Harriman participated in a panel discussion hosted by Lady Aye of The Salons at Beauty Bar just off Union Square, “a series of learning and networking events dedicated to the history of beauty and fashion,” aimed largely at beauty-industry professionals. The topic of this night’s discussion was “Dressing for Subculture.”

Other panelists included Sonya Abrego, visiting assistant professor at The New School for design, who, in classic 40s pin-up style hairdo shed light upon hybrid rockabilly and mid-century fashion culture. Fashion designer and NYC nightlife legend Tobell von Cartier spoke about the evolving club scene styles that came and went, from grunge to the ascent of increasingly glamorous evening wear and over-the-top cosmetic application.

New Dark Age’s attention was focused on Ms. Harriman¹s presentation. Asked to define Goth culture, she offered the insightful “Three Ds,” namely Drama, Darkness and Death as foundational. She went on to point out the origin of Goth style in the era of British rockers and the punk scene. When questioned about the “cannibalization” of Goth style by mainstream entities such as Hot Topic, she further emphasized commitment to the dark music of 80s New Wave and paying homage to the creators of the scene to distinguish authenticity from poseur appropriation.

In tracing her roots, Ms. Harriman pointed out that she had emerged from a rather stultified, Southern background, but had become enraptured by the music of Depeche Mode and the discovery of the look of Goth on music videos. Her personal bio proved to be the most interesting topic covered that event.

There was much talk about the value of do-it-yourself attire in establishing the individual style in order to counteract the sameness imposed by mass production of clothes and accessories as available in mall outlets. The panel¹s overriding conclusion gleaned was that the underground fashion evolves by building upon rather than abandonment of preceding style.


January 25, 2018 marked the 40th anniversary of Joy Division’s debut performance under that name. Prior to that date, the quartet of Ian Curtis, Bernard Sumner, Peter Hook and Stephen Morris had performed under the name Warsaw. JD formed in 1976 by Sumner and Morris in a clumsy effort at emulating the Sex Pistols. Instead of continuing in the punk style of the Sex Pistols, with the drafting of vocalist Ian Curtis and bass player Peter Hook, the group launched the post-punk musical movement with its unconventional, slowed-down rhythms, amateurish command of the instruments and home-made synthesizers.

Joy Division is credited by many authorities on the subject as having been one of the two essential, post-punk bands to have spawned the genre of Goth Rock, the other being Bauhaus. Curtis – influenced by Jim Morrison of the Doors – gave voice to themes of darkness, pressure and crisis. Characterized by sparse, baritonal vocals, gloomy lyrics and a melodious bass line, Joy Division, is distinguished from the punk style by their use of electronics and by their emphasis on mood and expression rather than anger and energy.

Critically acclaimed – potentially the next Beatles – Joy Division was to tour the U.S. in 1980 when Curtis committed suicide on the eve departure.

The poignant sadness surrounding the brief life and untimely death of the band and its frontman mysteriously crystallized at that moment into a new musical genre and a new subculture built around darkness, introspection and death – that comes to us now, four decades later – and that we presently recognize as Goth.


Mark E. Smith
, singer and the only consistent member of Manchester based post-punk band The Fall, has died Jan 24, 2018 at the age of 60. One of the earliest and most influential British post-punk bands, noted for retaining the repetitive, guitar-driven feel of original, confrontational punk while expanding the musical and lyrical armamentarium with challenging topics and literate lyrics as well as creative musical originality.

The Fall released thirty-two studio albums, most recently, “The Fall Live in Manchester,” in January 2018 on Cherry Red. Sadly, they were set to tour the US for the first time in twelve years.

Jeremy Inkel, keyboardist and programmer of Front Line Assembly passed away on January 13th 2018 at the age of 34 due to complications from asthma. Inkel joined FLA in 2005 along with Jared Slingerland, and is credited with co-writing and producing the full length album Artificial Soldier.

Black Roses

Filed under: My Art — doktorjohn February 6, 2018 @ 12:46 am

Oil on Canvas 28″ X 22″
Still life painting inspired by a bouquet I received as a gift on the occasion of my first one-man art exhibition in many years. The mandolin is no longer with us, having yielded to the ravages of age while posing. Photos are from the 1940s and 50s. The color photos are from the 1970s.

Astronomical Paintings

Filed under: My Art,Uncategorized — doktorjohn January 31, 2018 @ 1:44 pm

Jupiter and Its 4 Galilean Moons – Oil on Canvas[/caption]Executed at One River School of Art, Allendale, NJ

Oil on Canvas

New Dark Age – January 2018

Filed under: Uncategorized — doktorjohn January 19, 2018 @ 8:38 pm

The Red Party

December 9 2017 was the last iteration of 2017 of the enormously successful Red Party at the Mercury Lounge. As always host Sean Templar and Jared started the night at the deejay booth, and were joined this night by DJ Jose Francis of the biweekly Dark Dance show on InClub Radio, an internet station out of Peru. The setlist included the Ramones, Misfits, Corpus Delecti, Siouxsie, Cocteau Twins and the Wake among many others.

Hostess Mandana Banshee Templar manned a merchandise stand selling “Red Merch,” i.e. shirts, buttons and the like with one form or another of the Red Party logo..

The high point of the party came with a live performance by a band called Pawns. Shortly after midnight, this anarcho-deathrock four piece group came on in a rather vicious, punkish form with pounding rhythms, insistent guitar chants and bellowing vocals.

The Pawns have a rather comely bass player in Jenna Graham. Guitarist Noel Mateus. And drummer Stephen Reader are led by frantic-energetic vocalist Gage, a Hollywood-handsome youth with a head of spiked blond hair and a political bent.

Pawns started up in 2013 with release of an eponymous 7”, and follwed with another 7” entitled “Eternal Return.” This past summer they released an LP, “The Gallows” under Mass Media records.
We spoke to gage in a quiet corner of Mercury Lounge and he cited as influence various bands like Bauhaus, Sisters of Mercy, Crass, Honey Bane, and others. Those in the audience whom I polled agreed that the dominant influence was Joy Division. To me they sounded like if Joy Division had died, gone to Hell and started broadcasting from the underworld.

Up to now, Pawns have gone on three tours mainly on the West Coast. New Dark Age looked them up on Bandcamp and found their recordings every bit as appealing as their live performance.

New Year’s Eve Party

“Forever Young”

Mandana Banshee, Sean Templar and the Red Party hosted what they called a “post countdown” party at Mercury Lounge which started around midnight at the turn of the new year backed by deejays Matt V Christ, Michael T and Ash with guest host DJ Erik Aengel. This time as promised it was an all New Wave, 80s night, and indeed it was with selections from the archives of such gems of that decade as Pet Shop Boys, Duran Duran, the Eurhythmics, the Pogues and Modern English filling the air and energizing the dance floor. Never-fail, consistently-played standards such as Bauhaus, the Cure and Joy Division also made the setlist, although they don’t wait for an 80s night, but make the setlist every weekend at every club in the scene.

The party went on until 6 a.m. and indeed it was packed from the start to finish with Red Party regulars and hordes of revelers from other, earlier parties who didn’t want to quit until the dawn’s early light. Gracious queen of hospitality Mandana circulated, taking photos and seeing to it that everyone had the best and most memorable night of 2018.

Such luminaries of the downtown NYC music scene as Christian Dryden of the Ritualists, Jennifer Bobbe of Night Gallery, Torrin Krrell and Sir William Welles were in attendance.


Under What Flag – A Tribute to Fad Gadget

Various Artists

Cleopatra Records

This compilation of 15 tracks, each featuring a different band, covers a wide sampling of the body of work of Mute Recording artist Fad Gadget, the British electronic musician who was active from 1979 until retiring in 1993, emerging briefly in 2001 to tour with Dépêche Mode before passing away in 2002 at age 45. The Periodic Table of Synthpop © lists FG as “foundational synthpop,” for its early contribution to the New Wave and Industrial genres blending pop-style rhythms with experimental, mechanical sounds, industrial noise and the sounds of found objects. Think drills, jars, cans and printing presses.

Twelve different of FG’s tracks (FG is Frank Tovey) get the treatment from 15 different artists who address, each in their own way, FG’s deadpan, bleak and sometimes comical criticism of our modern, mechanized society and its norms as well as deviants.

FG’s mix of rock, punk, folk and disco is no longer very popular. The first track, on this album, “Collapsing New People” is the only one currently being played with any frequency at clubs in the metropolitan area. Bioassay’s cover is very close to the original in vocals, rhythm and accompaniment and is immediately recognizable.

There are three versions of “Back to Nature” in which FG sets the tone with a slow, determined cadence, ominous vocals, tropical bird sounds and the hiss of a rain downpour. Noir’s version has a richer vocal style than FG. Leaether Strip’s is faster paced (what do you expect?) and Cortex Defect’s is the most faithful of the three.

There are also three versions of “Insecticide,” a nasty, noisy piece which features a distorted growl amidst a juggernaut of electro-mechanical sounds, and all three covers have eerie spoken word and synthetic belching sounds as well as a relentlessly driving rhythm.

There are two entries of “The Box” including one by Missing Witness that sounds distant like it is coming from someone actually trapped inside an elevator. There are single entries of “State of the Nation,” “Fireside Favorite,” etc. The cautionary tale that is “Rickey’s Hand” is jumpy and jivey in both the original and in Blicky’s faithful cover and it warns about drinking and driving. Canter’s version of it however is so mellow and dreamy that it fails to raise the alarm of the original.

Blakk Glass’ version of the once-popular “Lady Shave’ quite appropriately features a female vocalist which puts a whole different spin on FG’s original intent. Malegant’s viciously sarcastic, Cockney-accented mockery of gun ownership and presumed male privilege is way harsher than FG’s original, but the intention is the same.

There were too many tracks and bands with varying levels of originality vs. faithfulness to FG’s originals to review each and every. The scope of this tribute album is a testimonial to the foundational significance of Fad Gadget, who remains an icon of the post-punk, synthwave and industrial scene.


The Rubin Museum

150 West 17th Street NYC

This extraordinary museum is dedicated to the art, religion and philosophy of the Himalayas and surrounding cultures of India, Nepal, etc. From June until January of this year, the focus was upon the world of sound.

The exhibition provided an immersive experience wherein the visitor was led to listen with the whole body. It included placing hands upon sound-laden walls, lying on a slab in a sounding environment, a room where the sacred chant “Om” is is sung (chanted) by choirs in various ways. There are also countless stations where recorded voices, ambient drone sounds and experimental music can be sampled. A room with flashing color imagery was fitted with a “seizure warning” placard.

Tibetan ritual music, various instruments, contemporary audio artists and acoustic designers were all available to visitors. A parabolic metal disc sat at the bottom of the iconic spiral staircase, reflecting a re-issuing the soundscape that traveled up and down the building’s six-storey central atrium.

Masterpieces of Himalayan Art are on view until May of 2018. The Lord of Death image and The Lords of the Cremation are reproduced here.


Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Induction

Gothic, punk and industrial artists are used to being overlooked during the selection process by the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, and by mainstream media in general, for that matter. We still represent a marginalized, select – shall we say “elite” musical subculture. Many day-crawlers have heard of the Cure, but never took note of a single song by them. Maybe one, if it was featured on MTV in past decades. Mention the name Peter Murphy and your friends and family will generally draw a blank. I’m talking about rock & roll fans among them. Never mind Joy Division or Bauhaus. The vast majority of them will be clueless with respect to the music to which we are committed.

So it isn’t any wonder that this year’s inductees failed to include a significant contingent from the gothic, punk and industrial scene.

Eligible are those whose first commercial recording was at least 25 years before coming under consideration. Nirvana made it in 2014 directly upon becoming eligible. For this year, 2017, it would be 1992 or earlier. Inductees were chosen by a panel of 1000 music executives, artists and past winners. Some consideration was given to fans whose counted online votes usually gain entry for a few added artists.

Online fan voters succeeded in slipping New Wavers, the Cars in, among the usual suspects of pop, gospel and classic rockers, but weren’t able to place Judas Priest, Kate Bush, the Eurhythmics or Depeche Mode into the Hall of Fame despite campaigns in behalf of each.


Mainstays of the art and music scene in the gothic-industrial community of north Jersey, noted photographer Ben Faresich (Times Arrow Photography) and art educator Nicole Zanatakos (QXT’s barista/hostess) wed in a much anticipated, traditional Greek Orthodox ceremony on November 25 in Middletown NY surrounded by family and a cross-section of the QXT’s management and social circle. A spectacular and well-attended reception followed, with an afterparty lasting into the wee hours of Sunday morning. Best wishes from all in the north Jersey gothic, punk and industrial art and music circle!

John Fryer at Parlor Bar & Restaurant NYC

Legendary producer and musician John Fryer performed a rare weekend deejay gig at the upper West Side’s Parlor Bar & Restaurant, manning the booth in the downstairs lounge area both Friday and Saturday night.

Fryer has spent a stellar career contributing personally and heavily to two distinct musical styles: industrial – working with the likes of NIN – and the ethereal/trip hop sound – epitomized by This Mortal Coil and Cocteau Twins. One of two essential members of the 4AD band, This Mortal Coil, for which he performed keyboards, strings and synthesizer sequencing, Fryer is especially well known for work with Mute, Rough Trade and Beggar’s Banquet record labels as well as industrial giants Stabbing Westward and Nine Inch Nails and is the essential collaborator with Trent Reznor in producing “Pretty Hate Machine.” He has served as producer, mixer, engineer and musician with Depeche Mode, the Pixies, Lush, Bauhaus, Modern English and Dead Can Dance.

Fryer was fortunately passing through the NYC area on his way back from Senegal, working with African musicians before returning to his base in Los Angeles. His current venture is serving as musician and producer for his own project, Black Needle Noise. Publicist Rey Roldan tipped us off regarding Fryer’s appearance and was on hand to greet and orient attendees. A crowd of in-the-know devotees of PostPunk pounded the dance floor while Fryer served up an eclectic mix of synth pop, goth and industrial dance tracks, taking breaks to chat with admirers and offering tips on what was to come in the next wave of new music.

New Dark Age for December 2017

Filed under: Uncategorized — doktorjohn December 28, 2017 @ 3:50 pm

Radio Station

Filed under: My Art,Uncategorized — doktorjohn December 18, 2017 @ 10:10 pm

Old, semi-abandoned WMCA radio station in the Meadowlands, between Kearney and Jersey City. During the late 50s and early 60s, WMCA was the rock & roll music station to listen to, playing mainly doo-wop on your transistor radio, way down at the lower end of the dial, around 540 AM.

Radio Station acrylic on canvas 20″ X 16″

New Dark Age – Nov 2017

Filed under: Uncategorized — doktorjohn November 16, 2017 @ 1:39 pm

OhGr on stage at Irving Plaza

Motionless in White on stage at the Electric Factory

Goth Icons

Filed under: Goth Stuff,My Art,Uncategorized — doktorjohn September 8, 2017 @ 10:16 pm

The 2017 Series “Goth Icons” – a rogue’s gallery of fine characters who are admired in the Goth scene.


Edgar Allen Poe

New Dark Age – September 2017

Filed under: Uncategorized — doktorjohn September 6, 2017 @ 9:27 pm


Nights Out

Infernoir at QXT’s
Newark NJ

A weekend seems incomplete without an evening at QXT’s, the metropolitan area’s premier and only dedicated gothic dance club and watering hole in the heart of gritty, industrial Newark, NJ. So Friday night September 1, we stepped in early, taking advantage of the policy of free entry for ladies before 11 pm.

The theme this night and every first Friday, was “Infernoir” a portmanteau of the words “Inferno” and “Noir,” and sees itself as an import of a similar club night originating in Germany. On the main floor, upholding the standard, were DJs Damian Plague and DJ Ash who motivated dancers with some synthwave as well as beloved standards from the Sisters, Wolfsheim and Siouxsie and the Banshees. For atmosphere, the ultra horrific gore-fest, the original “Hellraiser” movie, was showing on the main floor big screen and on the various monitors around the bar.

We also popped downstairs to the Crypt which was just opening up, and were soon tempted over to Area 51, the other basement hangout, where DJ Mykill Hrunka’s heavy-duty industrial mix encouraged us to briefly punish the pavement before calling it an early night and heading home to prepare for the next day’s adventure.

The Redrum Ball at Bowery Electric

Manhattan, NY

In keeping with the tradition of holding this event on those Sunday nights which precede Monday legal holidays, September 3 marked another iteration of the Redrum Ball. Impresario and host Sir William Welles dedicated it with the theme “Grindhouse,” referring to the cult interest in exploitation style, low budget horror movies, popular among denizens of the dark-scene underground culture.

The Bowery Electric has a nicely decorated upstairs bar area where top-forties from the 70s and r & b classics prevail. The Redrum, however, took place in the cellar below this, where an adequate dance floor and a small, raised stage are situated a few steps down, separated by railings from the basement bar area. [caption id="attachment_2291" align="alignnone" width="520"] DJs Erik Aengel and Sean Templar

The DJ booth is perched way up in a far corner overlooking the dance floor, where celebrity deejays from the Goth scene, Sean Templar, Erik Aengel and Matt V Christ carried out their duties, still accessible to requests.

Celebrity guest host Colin Cunningham, current star of the Syfy Channel’s “Blood Drive” series opened the event and, along with Sir William made comments, ran raffles and introduced exotic dancer Cassandra Rosebeetle who performed a striptease while decorously applying theatrical blood to her lovely and mostly exposed physique.

Grindhouse favorite “Evil Dead” was projected onto a wall adjacent to the dance floor. A pull down screen was present, but mercifully it was left retracted, so the most disturbingly gory scenes were muted by the stone, brick and peeling plaster wall on which the images were cast.

There were raffle drawings and giveaways of posters and tee-shirts and – most notably – a $200 certificate for merchandise at Gothic Renaissance the famed costume, clothing and accessories emporium.

Matt V Christ menacing visitors with prop chainsaw

Makeup artist Joseph Drobezko made an appearance and ArchAngel came late to spin. The deejays did admirably playing the likes of the Cure ‘s “A Forest,” Ministry’s “Revenge,” London After Midnight’s “Kiss” and “A Day” by Clan of Xymox, among other favs.


Social Distortion
Starland Ballroom
Aug. 12, 2017

By Doktor John
Sayreville NJ

Just before the band took the stage – while the packed room was still dark – the faux ominous beat of Screamin’ Jay Hawkins’ “I Put a Spell On You” (1956) filled the room and his operatic baritone served as powerful intro to what was to follow. Bright and multicolored lights came up and Social D took the stage like a musical riot with the jubilant “Still Alive” off the most recent (2011) album, “Hard Times and Nursery Rhymes.” The sobering “99 to Life” confessional from “Somewhere Between Heaven and Hell” (1992) was next, then back to “Hard Times” for “Gimme the Sweet and Lowdown” and “California Hustle and Flow.” “King of Fools” and “Dear Lover” followed.

The set closely followed the recent performances earlier in the tour, hitting on “White Light, White Heat, White Trash,” “Mommy’s Little Monster” (the album, not the song) and the eponymous first album, with the iconic “Ball and Chain,” which seems to be about alcoholism, not drugs. A bluesy, instrumental interlude followed, then “Another State of Mind,” the title track for the motion picture documentary on the early 80s punk scene.

At this point, Mike Ness made reference to his band’s tradition for honoring and covering the great legends of rock and country music– what he calls “roots music.” In keeping with that he announced the next piece, ”Hope Dies hard,” a truly magnificent and emotionally stirring masterpiece by his guitarist, Jonny “2-Bags” Wickersham. Ness spoke about the issue of painful life experiences by way of introduction to “Scars,” an emotionally-wrenching song celebrating – rather than complaining about – a hard early life. Ness’ guitar skills were on display in this performance.

Ness announced that he was 55 years old. Looking around at the audience, I could confirm that so were many of his audience. Next came “When She Begins to Rock.” He made reference to New Jersey’s Prohibition Era crime scene introducing “Machine Gun Blues.”

After a brief intermission Social D returned with four encores including “Angel Wings,” “Misery Loves Company” from his solo repertoire, and “Story of My Life.” Ness invited a bunch of kids, from 5 to 11 years on stage and conducted brief but heart-warming interviews with them, at the same time admonishing them to stick to their studies even if they had intentions to follow in his footsteps to enter the field of entertainment. He faked asking for requests for the last, closing number, but then pretended he couldn’t understand the shouted suggestions. It was a foregone conclusion that he would close with “Ring of Fire,” the Johnny Cash hit written by June Carter Cash and Merle Kilgore, as he has with all recent performances on this tour. Thus ended an hour-and-a-three-quarter show in front of a sold-out audience.

Ness mocked the idea behind Prohibition and he criticized the current social atmosphere to suppress Freedom of Speech, but when one or two members of the audience began to shout “F— Trump!” Ness found that to be off-message and embarrassing. He didn’t seem to like the response, so he dropped the topic and said we weren’t here to get into that, quickly returning to the music.

There are reasons that Social Distortion is the longest-surviving and most successful of the original late 70s punk rock bands. One is, of course, Ness’ recovery and rehabilitation from use of drugs. The second is the delightful and beloved musical style that merges rock, honky-tonk, country and punk and the thoughtful, honest, autobiographical subjects. But equally importantly, it is Ness’ intensely warm, utterly sincere and emotionally naked connection with his audience. One comes away from Social D’s shows with a feeling that you have been talked to and sung to by a close and intimate friend


Aug 19
Gramercy Theater NYC

Impresario Jet Berelson and his online community of Gothic-industrial culture, Vampire Freaks, hosted a spectacular edition of, “Cybertron” at the Gramercy Theater, presenting four bands, including international superstars, Stabbing Westward, followed by a club night of dance, late Saturday night into Sunday morning.

Headlining the show were industrial rockers, Stabbing Westward, continuing to celebrate their 30th anniversary as a band and their second year since reunion. The first of 3 opening bands, Blk Emoji also proved to be an eye (and ear) opening act, performing an utterly superb set of frantic, alternative rock in a style reminiscent of 90s favorites, Living Color, but with elements and flourishes that were quite uniquely their own. Departing from their outstanding set of original music, Blk Emoji applied their considerable creativity and musicianship to a trippy cover of the Donna Summer “I Feel Love,” highlighting their mastery of rhythm and powerful vocals, ending it in an orgasmic finale.

Next up, rivet-head duo Xentrifuge captivated the audience with electro-industrial, mechanized tempos, hard-edge techno and harsh, desperate vocals, demonstrating that two people with advanced technology could produce as much sound as a Civil War artillery field.
Between acts, DJs V Christ and Xris Smack kept the mood going with appropriate selections from Skinny Puppy, Ministry and NIN.

Local New York quintet, Panzie opened with a an animated video entitled “Clowns,” then took the stage and combined theatrical elements suggestive of Manson (white-face jester masks, costumes, etc.) with, ultra-conventional, hair-band-style 70s, heavy metal along the lines of AC/DC.

Stabbing Westward’s act opened with the critique of drug culture, “Drugstore” in which the question is posed, “How can everything be justified by you?” “Falls Apart” followed in which the words “whither, blister, burn and peel,” are sung, echoing the title of the 1995 album from which it comes. The third song, “So Far Away” complained about a relationship emotional distance.

“ACF” followed, then “Sometimes It Hurts,” “Lies” and “The Thing I Hate.” A kind of delicious nihilism typifies the angry anthem “Nothing” – which came next – then frustration, expressed in “What Do I Have To Do?” and anger in “Violent Mood Swings.”

Chris Hall addressed the audience in a joking fashion, mock-threatening to end the show there, but immediately the familiar synthetic introduction to mega-hit “Save Yourself” filled the air which brought much of the crowd to their feet. When it concluded, it closed out the regular, hour-long set.

After a brief intermission, the band came out for two more, the relatively mellow “Waking Up Besides You” and the raucous, hard rock anthem, “Shame.” Stabbing Westward should patent their highly effective, ultra-satisfying formula for song structure, employing just the right amounts of anger, desperation, unusual guitar voices, minor key melodies and intermittent bursts of industrial-strength sound that explodes out between intervals of tension and restrained menace.
Following the show, the club night Cybertron turned the Gramercy into a dance scene with the band remaining to hang out with the crowd and music provided by the select group of top deejays.


“Red Goes Grey”
Metropolis Records

This 10-track album represents a new project by Eric Sochocki whose eclectic talent is reflected in superb recording studio wizardry as well as strong vocal style and compositional mastery.

Synthetic appeggios form the basis of these SynthWave compositions and serve to both unify and at the same time diversify the work as a whole. Sochocki’s vocal styles vary from emotionless narrative to desperate to plaintive. Electronic instrumental accompaniment here is best described as compelling melody layered into rhythms of complex and hypnotic electronica that never repeats itself.

Most, but not all tracks gallop along at a brisk pace. Some intros are prolonged on a number of tracks, and on the fifth track – a dark, mesmerizing and mechanistic symphony – there are no vocals at all. The eighth track, slows down the otherwise rapidly paced tempo with trippy vocals and ethereal accompaniment. The ninth track sounds like a full, electronic symphony orchestra, and the tenth is a soft and wistful ballad.

Rather than describe each of these 10 tracks separately, it serves this review better to report that there is a consistent level of satisfying melody wedded to strata of complex and coordinated electronic beats suitable for either industrial dance or focused listening.

Rating A

Enter Shikari
“The Spark”

This is the fifth album by these veteran British rockers fronted by vocalist Rou Reynolds who describes himself as agitated and overwrought by current world events. Indeed, Reynolds uses this record as a vehicle for leftist, progressive politics as an antidote to the “neoliberal” ideology of individualism and capitalism that has him so despondent. The bands abilities with complex, original and highly accomplished music certainly serves Reynolds well, whether he is expressing desperation or resolve.

The recording opens with an ethereal prelude featuring echoic bells and chimes, lasting 50 seconds. With the ten tracks that follow, the music becomes complex, astoundingly creative and to a great extent raucous. Rock idioms compete with choral anthems. Delicate odes accompanied by simple percussion express a depressed view of the current situation, but tumultuous choral anthems serve as a counterpoint emphasizing “light-at-the-end-of-the-tunnel” optimism with defiant lyrics and operatic vocals. The Polyphonic Spree at its most elated – or perhaps Queen serve as a good comparison, but there also tracks that incorporate hip hop-like runs of British rap to articulate the exact ideas being expressed.

There’s a real lot of music going on in this album. One might even say within each of these tracks. For a band of former punk rockers it is startling to hear the well-arranged orchestral and choral elements that pervade many tracks. And on a few tracks – quiet and pensive, Reynolds sounds more like a counselor offering sympathy and encouragement to the listener as well as himself. This is not guitar-driven music, but uses the guitar when appropriate for poppy, rapidly-paced anthems like the leftist-progressive ode “Take My Country Back.” Synthetic instruments and rhythms prevail. As one goes through this album, one never knows what voice Reynolds is going to use next.
Overall this album is impressive for the complexity and originality of the arrangements, the irresistibly catchy hooks, the versatile singing and the consistency of its philosophy. Rating
Rating A

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