Kill Your Pet Puppy is a zine from London, England. It’s got a lot of history to be backed up with, and might actually be called legendary. One of the men behind it all, or should we call him the ‘main man’, Tony Drayton – left his former zine Ripped & Torn to create this one. As the first issue emerged in 1979, it featured; Bauhaus, Crass, The Mob, Sex Gang Children, Southern Deathcult, The Associates, The Ants and Alien Sex Fiend. Including articles, in a range of topics from “Magick and Anarchy”, “In Praise of Stupid Songs”, “Gay Punks”, “Sid Vicious Memorial Day”, joined by “issues” such as feminism, squatting and the occult. Well, this was the first number of KYPP, and more were to come. It got distributed by Joly MacFie from Better Badges, and came out in six numbers from the years of 1979 to 1983. Even though countless things can be said about this zine, and its continual twelve writers from the joint group called ‘The Puppy Collective‘, whereas some of the members were; Alastair Livingstone, Kilty McGuire, Cory Spondence, Jeremy Gluck and Val Not-A-Puppy – nothing can be said better than by the man himself; Tony Drayton. Therefore, I sent a couple of questions to him, which turned out to give a lot of answers, as each answer tells a story in itself. So, I hereby welcome you to read the pretty long interview with Tony Drayton, about the Kill Your Pet Puppy-zine and things along the line of 1979-1983.
The Swedish public service program PSL have premiered a music-video which is something out of the ordinary. Maybe not the video itself, but certainly the music. A band called RA, which have been unknown to me have re-surfaced once again, since they released two demo songs in 2012, which had apparently been widely appreciated. They’ve been compared to the legend that are Bauhaus, but at the same time, they’re a lot more psychedelic and a bit more rock noir than gothic, per se, with large hints of equally as great post-punk. Their latest song “Bloodline“, is a single taken from their forthcoming release “Bloodline EP“, that’ll be released in the “early summer” on Double Sun Recordings.
This particular song is a stark reminder of what Sweden is sorely lacking, whereas I’m glad to announce that the ‘need’ and lack of this kind of music, has been covered by this wonderful band – in a wonderfully extravagant manner. Everything from the widely psychoactive and decadent music-video, to the lyrics in the song and the arrangements – can be considered to be flawless. Yet they’re dirty and fruitful enough to not frame themselves as an overproduced monstrosity.
They’re also going to be the supporting act when Peter Murphy comes to Malmö, performing Bauhaus material and celebrating 35 years of Bauhaus. Which is going to be on the 9th of June. Since there seems to be a little bit of a problem with the embedding, you can watch their music-video (in Sweden) by following this link.
Plunder The Tombs is a blog ran by the Australian gentleman James. It features in-depth writings about everything from goth to death rock, which means everything that could fit into that category or be related. His blog is an investigation into the heart of what goth rock was, as he proceeds to sift through every great release there ever was. With his expertise within the genre as a lodestar for his writings. He’s been involved with everything you could imagine, being a DJ since the 90’s in the Perth area of Australia, playing in clubs such as The Cell and Dominion, which were largely goth-themed clubs. He also helped found the 6RTR FM’s goth & industrial showcased called Darkwings. His blog also largely revolves around the first wave of gothic, which would be the years from 1979 to 1988. It is also a blog that I’ve followed or stumbled upon when browsing the internet, so I decided to interview him about everything from the first wave of goth rock, to the definition of goth rock and everything you’d ever want to know about that particular genre and the blog Plunder The Tombs. Hope you enjoy your stay and may The Sisters Of Mercy be with you.
Warm but dark music straight from the haven of the dead. First song “Intro + Black Rivers” contest itself by leaving me with awe, as I hear the baseline and the screeching riffs thrashing around me in a down-tempo fashion. Even though it sounds gothic, it also includes some of the vibes that you can get from deathrock. There’s also an alternate approach to the vocals, since it sounds more like something you’d hear straight out of a new wave-record. It’s everything I’d ever want to hear from a record that’s new and isn’t just going with the conventional traditional gothic sound. I must say that this is one of the best songs I’ve heard in a while from that genre, the riffs are great and the singing is entrancing at best. There’s something calling me from inside, and it’s the old fused with the new. They manage to keep the sound-scape at a level of enjoyability almost making it up to the top, by the greater The Sisters of Mercy and the likes of it. But there’s too much down-tempo in this song for my liking, I’d rather enjoy the thing they manage to do after the chorus, where they speed it up a bit and make it feel almost punk-ish with the great drums. I notice how they blend the earlier punk-influences they’ve brought with them from their former bands, within the song “I Like It When A Soldier Dies“, which is a perfect example of that kind of attitude but featured in a gothic environment. Here’s where the more deathrock influences come in, as the enthralling space between me and oblivion forces itself closer. The boundaries are no match for them, as they drag themselves through the conventions and smash them with their own sound.
It also becomes clear to me why they’ve chosen the epithet “peace punk“, because the songs pretty much revolve around it. With clear anti-war messages. Their song and sound, however, sounds like something in between Screaming Dead and Stiff Kittens, whereas the vocals are almost on point with the latter. Whilst the next song, “Corvus Corax“, is almost a repetition of the two first ones, I am still intrigued by the sound. I cannot let it go, somehow, but it’s still a chip on my shoulder. There are some good passages, like the chorus, where I find myself singing along with: “Are you singing for me? Are you looking for me?“. Still, I feel like there’s some kind of influence that I cannot pinpoint, that disturbs the whole formula. I know there’s sincerity within their music, but somehow it fades away because it sounds too desperate. But the sense of sincerity is quickly saved by the song “Everytime“, that employ a kind of old-school post-punk melody and rhythm that I recognize from other songs. When it couldn’t get darker, it gets darker.
Here, I’m swayed with a moral dilemma that is the theme of the lyrical content. I must say that their lyrical content is pretty good even though it can get ridiculous at times. The slowly-paced riffs in the background make for the more traditional goth rock sound, and the stomping bass continues in the same direction, as the repetitiveness is matched with the more melodic side of the song. Finally, I can say that they’ve managed to put the dots over the o (ö – like we do in Sweden), with the song “In Darkness”. As the intro is a very good reminder of what Horror Vacui could be and should try to be, at times at least. With a tempo that is unmatched within the other songs, but being contrasted by a catchy melody.
I feel at times that the peace-punk ambition harm the lyrical content at times, because it frankly sounds ridiculous at times. The only thing that saves it is: “In darkness you will feel alright“, which feels like it is the whole theme of the record as it is titled in that way. The next song “Yersinia” is also a tempo-ridden beast that just smashes its way in goth favor, lending its arms out to the death-rock influences. They’ve really managed to get it right within this song too, since they do not sway away from having a little bit of tempo. But surely, it fades away somewhat, but I like the melody of it since its catchy and give my ears a good rubbing. Also one of the more intriguing songs I’ve heard on this album. Once I manage to get all the way to the song “Arabian Spring”, there’s a sense of that they’ve managed to get the forceful momentum of the down-tempo into the up-tempo. In other words, they’ve managed to fuse those two together and create a greater sound. There’s not much you could wish for anymore, since this is the epitome of what they do. I feel like there’s a hint of Bauhaus in the singer’s voice, specifically in this song, and I wonder for myself once again: how come that this record is so overlooked?
I don’t have any good answer to that question, unfortunately. As I continue down the path of ultimate darkness, the last song before the outro, “Leave Me Alone“, is being played. I can’t really get enough of this, and it’s here where I realize how much potential the singer has and how he holds up the sound-scape. In total harmony with the other instruments. At times, in the other songs, his voice could fade away and I wouldn’t care the least for it. Here, I sense another sense of desperateness, where the singer really reveals everything in his arsenal. It makes for a totally great song overall and I’d paint my face in white, while treading around the cemetery, just for the perfect atmosphere to have when listening to the song. Even though the “Outro” of this record makes me want more of them, it’s not really a good closer for the album.
But what the heck, this album delivers much more than that. They uphold their promises, even though the peace-punk formula, at times, can sound a little bit too ridiculous. However, I’m not here for that, I’m here for the deathrock and goth rock influences. Because I think that’s what they manage to pull of like a charm. You should check out this record and buy it, because it’s a really great record. So go over to their bandcamp and order the digital download version or go to AVANT! Records and order the real deal.
I think it’s time to give you another treat, this time I’ll be recommending my favorite Gothic rock bands from the 80s. I begin with 1980-1981 (Part I) and then gradually move my way up throughout the years: 1982 (Part II), 1983-1984 (Part III), 1985 (Part IV), 1986-1987 (Part V) and 1988-1989 (Part VI). I’ll be continuing the fad of six different episodes and I’ll bid you my welcome into the world I knew and the world I’ve discovered and continually re-discover when I’m surfing the web. I want to give people another opportunity and to find out about bands and artists that they haven’t heard of before. Sometimes I occasionally sneak in a bigger band or two, but that’ll just be if the song is good enough. But by no means is this a top 30 of the best Gothic rock from the 80s, I’ll have to give you a top-10 list in the future of the Gothic bands that I think top my own list. I’ll also have some commentary beneath each clip as I had in the earlier parts that covered post-punk, mostly because it looks more aesthetically pleasuring and say something about the song or the lyrics. Let me take you into this world now.
You’re now entering Part I of the recommendation.
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I’ve been through with you in the 80′s now in about six parts, four parts were about new wave and two parts were about minimal wave. Now, because of popular demand (not really), I’ve decided to unleash the post-punk monster. It will feature six different parts, whereas each one of them will concentrate on important years. I will walk you through a decade of important music, I could almost call it the golden years of post-punk. The parts will go on like this: Part I, 1980-1981. Part II, 1982. Part III, 1983-1984. Part IV, 1985. Part V, 1986-1987. And finally: Part VI, 1988-1989. Hopefully you’ll enjoy this madness, featuring (mostly) obscure or unknown bands in this sphere. New for this recommendation will be that I have different commentaries under each video, some of them are humorous and others are not. It will cover the basic aspect of each video or text. Enjoy this one.
You’re now entering Part VI of the recommendation.
If you wish to continue, click on the Continue reading button.