Obscura Undead - Fem Vox - Black
(Darkwave - Post punk revival - Gothic)
For Women’s History Month (and International Women’s Day) we present our Fem Vox series, where we highlight and appreciate female artists, female fronted bands, or tracks with guest female vocals. You won’t find the obvious legends in this mix!
Enjoy the accompanying mix by DJ MAUS while you read about a few of our favorite women of goth, darkwave, and post-punk from the last 40 years.
1. Selofan - Fouchsia Chameleon
Selofan is a Greek post-punk/coldwave duo fronted by the talented and often utterly alien Jaonna Pavlidou, aka Joanna Badtrip. Joanna has a beautifully husky and androgynous vocal delivery that crawls under the skin in the best way possible.
Besides Selofan, this badass woman also DJs and is one half of Fabrika Records who you may know from their impressive catalog which includes releases from bands like She Past Away, Lebanon Hanover, and Sally Dige.
The track Fouchsia Chameleon is off Selofan’s most recent release Vitrioli (2018), but my favorite album of theirs is hands down 2017’s Cine Romance, and not just because of the absolutely ICONIC album cover featuring Joanna.
2. Kaelan Mikla - Skuggadans
Icelandic trio Kaelan Mikla is Laufey Soffia (vocalist), Sólveig Matthildur (vocalist, keyboardist), and Margrét Rósa (bassist). Fluctuating between floating ethereal vocals and heart pounding shrieks, Matthildur and Soffia conjure primal emotions. From art punk origins just 5 years ago, a hand me down synth changed their lives and Fabrika Records caught wind of them.
Although feminists all, they never set out to be an all woman powerhouse churning out the haunting music that characterizes the band. Their most recent album Nótt Eftir Nótt (read DJ Seraph’s review here) draws heavily from Iceland’s history of witch hunts and visits to one of the sentencing sites, Drekkingarhylur - “the drowning pool” in Thingvellir National Park, deeply impressed the trio.
Matthildur has her upcoming sophomore solo album Constantly In Love slated for release on April 19th this year. The only track available is a collab with Deb Demure of Drab Majesty, and I couldn’t be more excited to listen to the full release!
3. Hante. - Wild Animal
Hante. is the solo dark/minimal wave project of French artist Hélène de Thoury. Her entire body of work with Hante. is absolutely gut-wrenchingly emotional and cuts deep with cold synths and melancholy vocals. Check out the interview we did with Hélène!
Hélène releases on her own self-made label Synth Religion. Later this spring Synth Religion will release the reunion for Minuit Machine, a project Hélène had started back in the early 2000’s with another stellar woman Amandine Stioui. While there is as of writing no set release date for the Minuit Machine release, this is another 2019 album I’m dead excited to hear.
4. La Scaltra - Visions of Glass
German goth rock act La Scaltra originally started as a duo between Aeleth Kaven and Dae Widow. Together the two women released their first album Cabaret in 2016. I still consider this album, which Visions of Glass is pulled off of, to be one of the best examples of 2010s goth. Aeleth and Dae are mesmerizing together and their vocals on tracks like Neverland and The Garden complement each other beautifully.
By their 2017 release Freakshow guitarist Jay Sharpe (of Aeon Sable) had joined. Eventually their fourth member Saeda Moreau joined on bass to free Aeleth up to rock the stage and focus on her trance-like vocals.
La Scaltra put it out there a few months ago that they will be releasing their third album this year titled The Third Eye. No other news on that yet! But seriously, 2019 is looking amazing.
5. Black Nail Cabaret - Bête Noire
Black Nail Cabaret is the Hungarian dark pop duo of Emese “Emke” Árvai-Illés (vocalist) and Krisztian Árvai (keyboards). Emese is well known for her striking stage presence and BNC live shows are well known to be dramatic and theatrical.
In addition to her work with BNC, Emese is also a co-founder of Dichronaut Records, and has an ambient/shoegaze solo project Emke.
I had actually never consciously listened to any BNC before Maus threw this song at me! Usually overly electronic and poppy music isn’t my speed, but Emese’s lyrics and charismatic vocals admittedly won me over a bit. Her ability to shift and convey emotions from song to song just in her tone and delivery is impressive!
6. Belgrado - Panopticon
Barcelona post-punk band Belgrado is fronted by the Warsaw native Patrycja Anna Proniewska. Her vocals channel the early greats like Xmas Deustchland and Parálisis Permanente, and she sings predominantly in Polish. Belgrado tours pretty consistently despite their last release being in 2016. “Panopticon” is off a 2012 EP, but the band has three killer full length albums.
In 2018, Patrycja together with Louis Harding started a synth side project FATAMORGANA, and released their debut album Terra Alta this past February. And it’s just as fun to listen to as Belgrado, and she shows us more of her range.
7. Garden of Delight - Blessed Minutes
Not to be confused with the more well known German goth rock band of the same name that rose to acclaim in the 90’s and later lived on in Merciful Nuns, the original Garden of Delight is a woefully forgotten obscure Norwegian band formed in 1982 that put out two singles in 1984 on Moonlight Productions before dropping off the goth sound. They supposedly put out another album in 1987 that abandons all goth stylings.
Representing women in Norwegian music at a time when the scene was apparently very male dominated, Garden of Delight was fronted by Mai-Britt Kristoffersen with Heidi Hansen (bass) and Atle Solberg (keyboards). They’re often given credit for helping establish the goth music scene in Norway. Kristoffersen later went on to form what I can only describe as a cabaret tuba band Einmal Kommt Die Liebe with Garden of Delight bandmate Bitten Forsudd.
8. Double Echo - La Danza
Flashing back to the 2010s, Double Echo is another one of those bands helping reinvigorate the goth/post-punk sound in the current decade. While the original lineup started as a collaboration betweeen Chris Luna and Ash Lerczak, Ellon Souter joined the lineup in 2015 as additional lead vocals and live synths for the release of their second album La Danza.
I love her addition to the band. Double Echo has been one of my favorites from the beginning, and her soprano only heightens the mystifying and tense atmosphere.
9. Artificial Monuments - Incremental Vex
Artificial Monuments is a Copenhagen based coldwave project with a short lived lifespan of five years between 2013 and 2018 that culminated in a single album release Illusions of Identity. The band was a collaboration between Kim W. Andersen (Chainsaw Eaters/MOTH), Johannah Jørgensen (Metro Cult), and Patrick Ringsborg (MOTH). Kim’s vocals and Hannah’s compositions are brilliant.
You may know Artificial Monuments from Hannah’s suicide attempt in 2017. She suffered from severe depression and the attempt left her with severe brain damage. The gofundme her family set up to help with her ongoing medical care is still active. Sadness and depression are often difficult to spot, and difficult to talk about. Please remember, you are not alone.
10. Sally Dige - Holding On
Music runs in the family. Sally Dige Jørgensen is a Danish born Canada based songwriter with an art school background and a lifelong passion for making DIY music on a budget. Dige debuted her first single on Fabrika Records in 2012. Her first full length album Hard To Please released three years later and, while more dark pop in places, hits New Wave vibes hard with Dige’s synths and vocals. Her music is her therapy, and this elusive artist evokes deep feelings of loss and loneliness in her music.
11. Lebanon Hanover - Gravity Sucks
Lebanon Hanover is the darkwave duo of Larissa Georgiou aka Larissa Iceglass and William Maybelline. If you’ve been around any of the darkwave made in the last 10 years, you’ve undoubtedly heard Larissa’s strange, alienated, and curiously nostalgic vocals. Another band that started on Fabrika!
12. Second Still - Altar
Suki San, lead singer of Second Still, brings vocals that are admittedly similar in places to another Goth fem vox icon - Siouxsie. But what sets her apart is the minimal ebb and flow of her pitch-perfect voice crashing over and making sense of the No Wave-esque timing of the bass and drums. Second Still will be releasing a new album later this year titled “Violet Phase”, and while Suki’s vocals on the teaser track New Violet are more singtalk than what she’s done before, they’re still very much entrenched in the band’s coldwave sound.
Suki San has also done a rather weird but very entertaining Asian gameshow/sitcom style diner skit featuring Deb Demure of Drab Majesty and Chris King of Cold Showers. Hopefully this wasn’t a one time thing!
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