Posts Tagged ‘Synthwave’

Eaddy and TheOGM of Ho99o9

Cut to a chilly Saturday night at Bowery Ballroom. The stores are closed, but whole street glistens with spray-painted names and signs. A young *somebody* in a hand-altered hoodie is having his photo and video taken by onlookers. A clown-faced goth waits for her friends in front of a tequila bar. Randoms donned in black get their last burn of rolled flower before getting their wristbands. Some fresh-faced kid tries to take a piss in the waning daylight while his friend stands guard. New York City.

I’m mostly a stranger to the many worlds of hip hop. Until recently I hadn’t found that band that gave me an “in” to start really looking around the alternative hip hop universe. Then M-S-G OG Soda invited me to a free show one Halloween night to see Ho99o9, a band he saw open for Korn. Holy fucking shit. I got to watch TheOGM tear a wedding dress off of his body while being assaulted with the most guttural cyber-queer industrial noise I have ever heard. It was glorious and terrifying at the same time. So when Soda told me they were coming around again, I knew I had to be there.

The show starts with Baseville, a duo of New Jersey locals known as The General and Hoddy the Young Jedi. It didn’t take long until the crowd jumped into a frenzy and a pit opened up. Baseville’s beats are deep and deliberate and throbbing with noise, and it suddenly occurs to me how close punk and hip-hop really are in terms of attitude and rage. “Never Nothing No More” sticks in my head as a song with a kind of frustrated gravity, while one of their other tunes held a repetitious refrain of “I’m working” that that caught me as a little mischievous. The songs rang quick and short and burned with noisy undertones. The set ends, and Soda comments about already seeing a bloodied face in the men’s room. “He’s like, ‘do I need stitches? Do I need them yet?,'” quoting a stage diver worried about the impact of his head wound on his viewing experience. That kind of night.

I had no idea what to expect from N8NOFACE, only knowing that my friends heard good things. I’m burning up the last sips of a vodka double when up on stage comes this man with a glorious moustache and crazed expression. He simply declares “I’m N8NOFACE and this is synth punk.” Seconds later this man is shouting his stories of drugs and sobriety, murder and suicide, all over fast-paced darkwave synths. Who the fuck brings Xymox to the hip hop kids? N8NOFACE does, with an austere DIY setup and his own devilish madness. He pulls his shirt up over his own head and beats his own face while screaming in a kind of excited rage, as if reveling in his self punishment. He switches between devil horns and post-punk shimmying. His gruff facade fits right in with the gangster genre, but he’s got a sense of humor about himself, too. There’s also something nougaty he’s trying to show you in his mentions of lost friends, or his request for kindness at his sole acoustic number. I immediately swarmed his table and bought the good shit. N8 is one to watch.

N8NOFACE

Then came 999. Past mixtures of punk and hip-hop were never my flavor, but the two genres become blood brothers here. Eaddy ironically sports an L.A.P.D. tee to poke at the law, a favorite song topic. The cacophony is noisy and rhythmic, and the crowd pumps in time. Someone jumps on stage at the start, brandishing a shirt that says “God is Gay” to “a roar of enthusiasm,” as Olivia Cieri of Invisible Oranges writes. Stage jumpers make OGM and Eaddy light up. “Motherfucking Action Bronson” they call one tattooed fella who jumps into the crowd. I worry that the crowd parted for his landing. Dark thumping beats vibrate the brain stem during fan favorites like “Bone Collector” and “Battery Not Included.” At one point, Hoddy sits on the side of the stage watching the show, still in his orange jumper, before using his Young Jedi mind tricks to make eye contact with the pit and launch himself into the crowd. I swallow my last double so I can free my hands to pump with the crowd.

A brief interlude as we approach the end of the show and TheOGM lights a joint and sways softly to Crystal Waters’ legendary house track, “Gypsy Woman.” I see his head and shoulders hanging backward in a cloud of smoky ecstasy, thick dreads falling down his back, *feefeefeeling* it. The lyrics thicken now that they’re nestled between Ho99o9’s biting assaults on police brutality, politics, and dystopia. He then smiles and then flirts at Eaddy, who strips off his teeshirt to reveal a tattooed musculature. Eaddy responds with a grin. TheOGM is repulsive and divine… and terrifyingly sexy.

Ho99o9 is just full of these wild juxtapositions, sometimes darkly comedic, causing them to pull up a really diverse crowd. “Punks, goths, queers and queens,” Soda says, noting the sprawl, a melting pot of subcultures others would think too insular to meld like this. In front of me, a duo of elder punks make space to avoid of the clutches of the pit. Across the floor, rave kids in bunnies and rainbows talk to hip-hop kids in all black streetwear. Kids in Los-Angelean baseball jerseys share the floor with platform-boot goth girls and genderfuckers, all united by the horror and political rage and dirt of lives lived in America’s economic taint. It seems it’s the one thing we all have in common.

Hoddy & Baseville BandcampBaseheadTV Youtube

N8NOFACE BandcampN8NOFACE Linktree

Ho99o9 InstagramHo99o9 Website

I was doing some tourism in Oaxaca last February. Oaxaca is a punk town, painted in street art and radical graffiti. It’s not without reason – Oaxaca is a locus for economic and racial inequality in Mexico. Music and art posters are wet-glued to the same walls where spraypaint scrawls decry the harms of capitalism, femicide, and state violence. While I ate up the daytime’s offerings of street art, punk, and culture, I couldn’t get out to see much of the musical nightlife. Nonetheless, I snapped pics of these two posters of bands coming through town that would help me savor some of what Oaxacan music kids might listen to between making rad art and bucking the system. These two posters go back to a small party scene called the Gothic Oaxaca Underground, who seems to host all these dope little shows with bands mostly hailing from Mexico City. So I decided to dig into some flavors of the Mexican goth scene (bands only) and see what’s shaking en la discotheque.

Leonora Post-Punk

Leonora Post-Punk was touring behind the release of their new EP, Polvo. It’s very stripped down monotone goth descendent of Joy Division. It’s just enough for a stomp and a bob if you’re in that kind of mood. The EP’s sexy third track “El Contraluz” was recorded at Mexico City’s “Hipnotize Festival” in 2021. The fourth track of Polvo, “Torpe” grew on me most.

Leonora Post Punk BandcampLeonora Post Punk Instagram

Stockhaussen

Stockhaussen is the composer Angel Kauff, who composes dark electric music. I listened to their latest release, “Musica Electronica Oscura,” with some enthusiasm. It’s minimalist synth travels at fast pace, creating an energetic series of songs, but without too many vocals. “Let’s dance Tonight” probably pounds the floor into a sweat frenzy. Kauff does well to build atmospheric tension. Moments feel like twilight in the batcave – just the way I like it.

Stockhaussen BandcampStockhaussen Instagram

Werner Karloff

Werner Karloff’s Atemporal EP just came out in March. Even a passing knowledge of Werner Karloff’s two namesakes is enough to pin the tail on this artist. Danceable and darkly monotone, Karloff’s beats are just upbeat and accessible, and the vocals are nice in that German art-rock kind of way. Fifth track “Visitas” builds such good atmosphere and instantly sticks out to me.

Werner Karloff’s BandcampWerner Karloff’s Instagram

Schrödinger

Schrödinger keeps up the post punk tempos but is more a grandchild of Bauhaus than anyone else. Their debut, Last Days on Earth, is solid start to finish. “Visions” is a track that one could play for a goth fashion show, while “Murder” hits like an early Cure remix. To be fair, it’s because the vocals do sound faintly of a young and very distant Robert Smith. “Dying Sun,” the album’s tenth track, plays a lot more with guitar tones and is pretty gorgeous on its own, evoking lots of emotions, and should not be missed.

Schrödinger vis SwissDarkNights BandcampSchrödinger Instagram

P.R.E.Y.

P.R.E.Y. is a Oaxaca-based darkwave artist who makes some interesting and engaging keyboard choices on their self-titled Demo. It has an arty fashion flavor that has me seeing them play behind models stomping in black dresses. The vocals have a smooth chocolatey element that sticks out. “Knees Pain” is a standout track.

P.R.E.Y. BandcampP.R.E.Y. Instagram

Fledgling but upwardly mobile, Mexican goth is developing an interesting scene with new vamps who are adding some creative new entries to today’s worldwide Goth Revival. Spare some pennies for the up and comers via Bandcamp if you’re feeling sassy. But if what you’re looking for is some goth playlist clout, you’re sure to find some in the Mexican goth scene.

I need to throw some love at this duo. Hailing from an empty cargo freighter wired with black lights and a subwoofer the size of a Chevrolet (California), Male Tears are fresh off of their second album Trauma Club and are still going strong with new single “Domin8.” More Xymox than Depeche, “Domin8” is a cigarette-length goth-night-at-the-club stomper – 98% ethically-sourced pure cacao darkwave. Sturdy and kinky, the groans of “capitulate” and “rid me of my soul” reveal masochistic self-loathing, but that beat is all thrust, baby. Male Tears, comprised of duo James Edward and Frank Shark, seem to be mixing their potion a little better with each release.

Also check out the fun aesthetic on their recent video for Trauma Club banger “Model Citizen.”

Male Tears BandcampMale Tears InstagramMale Tears Linktree