Tag: Nine Inch Nails (Page 1 of 5)

KANGA You & I Will Never Die

Hailing from Los Angeles, Kanga DuChamp has cultured a sound which manages to musically straddle industrial, synthwave and pop genres whilst meeting somewhere in the middle.

As well as being an artist, Duchamp has developed a sideline career in working on film soundtracks (focusing on the horror genre) including ‘The Conjuring’ and ‘Insidious’ franchises. With early support in her career from Gary Numan and previous production work from Rhys Fulber of FRONT LINE ASSEMBLY, KANGA has developed a sound which draws from a variety of themes including angst, melancholy and sexual fetishism, but shot through with an unmistakable pop sensibility.

Following 2019’s ‘Eternal Daughter’ EP, ‘You & I Will Never Die’ sees KANGA teaming up with producer Justin McGrath (NIN / TOOL) and distribution via a new label Artoffact. After the two minute ‘Preface’, ‘Home’ hits the ground running with a pulsating synth bass that recalls French synthwave artist PERTURBATOR and this leads neatly into the single ‘Godless’.

KANGA is quoted as saying that ‘Godless’ was “really satisfying compositionally, I felt like I got my masochistic Catholicism to dance”; the track documents a toxic relationship with lyrics about “loving you but you’re making me sick” and “I wanna believe so bad it’s gonna put me in a body bag”. Although lyrically dark, the track is melodic with blippy chorus synths coasting above driving effected guitars and a comparison made that this is a female NIN isn’t a million miles off.

‘Brother’ is lyrically the most twisted track on ‘You & I Will Never Die’; recounting a romantic relationship where KANGA herself was cast as a sister to the protagonist in the title. The artist herself seemed less worried about the controversy the incestuous lyrics might provoke; “Brother was intense. Everyone loved the instrumental but when I added those lyrics I had a handful of people say ‘no one is going to play this in a club.’ F*** that, I bet they will! Where’s everyone’s sense of humour?? Listen to the story, don’t get caught up in the disgust!”.

After the midpoint break of ‘Interlude’, ‘Moscow’ is the second single from the album and follows a similar musical pathway to the earlier tracks but the 4/4 kicks are thankfully more broken down and this does provide some sonic relief.

‘Say Goodbye’ stands out with its 909 drums, anthemic chorus and background vocal sampling / bass sound which deviates from most of the other songs on ‘You & I Will Never Die’. The intro to ‘Waiting’ is the most overtly NIN-sounding part on ‘You & I Will Never Die’ and the track features a more dynamic production approach. If a listener was to pick any song which lingers after the album has finished then ‘Waiting’ would be the one; less linear in approach with a vocal which wanders less predictably rather than steadfastly hitting the 4/4 beat. The sound design with sampled guitar plucks and JAPAN-esque synth sounds combines to produce the highlight track on the album.

Consuming ‘You & I Will Never Die’ as a whole, it sometimes feels that KANGA is striving to hone that one perfect song which defines her ‘sound’, to the point where many of the tracks have a tendency to blur into one another. Most feature the same driving 4/4 kick, 16 beat sequencer bass and vocal production style; this lack of variety is a shame as DuChamp is an undeniable talent but ‘You & I Will Never Die’ doesn’t quite seem to build on the momentum created by her debut and ‘Eternal Daughter’.

That said, ‘You & I Will Never Die’ is not a bad album, it’s immaculately produced with a stunning cover design, but lacks that certain je ne sais quoi which would help mark it as a classic.


‘You & I Will Never Die’ is released by Artoffact Records and as a CD or download from
https://kanga.bandcamp.com/album/you-and-i-will-never-die

https://www.facebook.com/kangakullt/

https://twitter.com/KANGAkult

https://www.instagram.com/k.a.n.g.a/

https://open.spotify.com/album/5IQ63F8M5jYE4wNT13lJOE


Text by Paul Boddy
18th April 2021

WITCH OF THE VALE Commemorate

Erin Hawthorne and Ryan Hawthorne are WITCH OF THE VALE, an unsettling electronic duo from the serene shores of Loch Lomond and the remote Outer Hebridean Isles.

Signing to Cleopatra Records, a well-known North American goth industrial imprint, they reissued a number of Gary Numan albums in the US at one time and are still the only label to have succeeded in officially licencing post-‘Autobahn’ material for a KRAFTWERK best of compilation in 1992 entitled ‘The Model’.

Like a mid-to-downtempo offering to Pagan spirits, ‘Commemorate’ combines misery with beauty, evoking confused but uplifting emotions of hope in an atmosphere where all is not quite as it should be… so real life then and very fitting with many isolated from the life they have previously known.

A debut album is effectively a relaunch, an opportunity to reach a wider audience but with the kudos that the long playing format accords. To that end, WITCH OF THE VALE have included the best material from their first three EPs and supplemented those eight tracks with four new songs and bookending instrumental themes. However, most of this previously released material has undergone some sonic fine tuning, but it’s all been fulfilled without altering the spiritual essence of the originals.

From their debut EP ‘The Way This Will End’, the unsettling ritualistic overtures and drone laden backdrop of ‘Fever’ and the textural rumbles of ‘Your Voice’ are threaded by an enticing high register gothique with folk inspired stylings. The poignant ‘The Way This Will End’ title song is included also, with a beautiful music box quality complimented by pensive strings that capture a wonderful melancholic airiness. It is all very sad but never depressing.

Of the new material featuring on this impressive debut, the ‘Commemorate’ title song provides the most intensely percussive flavour, throwing in industrial swoops and references to self-loathing in the manner of NINE INCH NAILS, but with a sinister feminine beauty. ‘Undressed’ sonically emulates any number of intros from Gary Numan’s apocalyptic ‘Savage’, although the soundscapes take a Nordic pop twist thanks to Erin Hawthorne’s treated delivery.

The brooding fatalistic doom of ‘Crash’ is offset by another angelic vocal that makes the words “I might be smiling but I hate you on the inside…” even more foreboding, while the clattering of a grandfather clock pendulum acts as a ghostly backbone to the eerily sparse ‘The Sky & The Sea’.

The rain swept ‘Death Dream’ maintains the solemn mood, while the four songs from the ‘Trust The Pain’ EP complete the commemorative picture. ‘Trust The Pain’ itself remains serene yet uncertain as ‘The Ghosts Won’t Know’ dresses gentle piano with a widescreen chill but with haunting harp-derived sounds for a divine celestial mood, ‘Suffocation’ displays an affinity with the understated Swedish songstress Karin My.

But as with its parent EP, WITCH OF THE VALE’s unusual gothic cover of Lana Del Rey’s ‘Gods & Monsters’ still stands out, transporting the gritty sleazy American original to the ominous location of ‘The Wicker Man’ for their most likely crossover recording.

Timeless and captivating, WITCH OF THE VALE offer something unusual with ‘Commemorate’ while connected to traditional, thereby producing something quite extraordinary and of another world.

In a short period of existence which has seen them open for ASSEMBLAGE 23, SOLAR FAKE, CLAN OF XYMOX and LINEA ASPERA as well as playing Infest 2019, their trajectory has been pointing up and the quality of this debut will ensure it will stay that way for a bit longer.


‘Commemorate’ is released as a download album by Cleopatra Records, CD issued on 20th February 2021, both are available direct from https://witchofthevale.bandcamp.com/album/commemorate-2

http://www.witchofthevale.com/

https://www.facebook.com/witchofthevale/

https://twitter.com/WitchOfTheVale

https://www.instagram.com/witch_of_the_vale/


Text by Chi Ming Lai
14th December 2020

NIGHT CLUB Die Die Lullaby

From the ‘Scary World’ of 2018 to the ‘Die Die Lullaby’ of 2020, LA based duo NIGHT CLUB have put their enforced confinement in lockdown to good use and channelled their angst to produce a wonderful 35 minutes of existential dread.

Emily Kavanaugh and Mark Brooks opened their account in 2012 with a self-titled EP. The second EP ‘Love Casualty’ included their first universally great song in ‘Poisonous’. But it was their excellent third EP ‘Black Leather Heart’ in 2014 that managed to truly harness the potential of their Britney Spears meets NINE INCH NAILS template across five tracks.

Their debut full-length album ‘Requiem For Romance’ turned up their love of heavy rock to 11 but they cleverly achieved it without the use of guitars or live drums, confusion some but delighting others.

‘Scary World’ was an extension of that sound but while ‘Die Die Lullaby’ is undoubtedly a refinement of its predecessors, like with Gary Numan’s ‘Savage (Songs From A Broken World)’, the more metal elements have been turned down and in its place is a more vulnerable demeanour that emotively is no-less weighty in its attacks and observations.

Sonically, the album contains a typically NIGHT CLUB twist. Co-mixing with Brooks is Dave Rave Ogilvie, a former member of SKINNY PUPPY known for his work with NINE INCH NAILS and Marilyn Manson. But crucially, he also mixed Carly Rae Jepsen’s 2011 worldwide smash hit ‘Call Me Maybe’ so for ‘Die Die Lullaby’, NIGHT CLUB have found their perfect co-conspirator .

As they begin to ‘Go to Sleep’, ‘Die In The Disco’ sets the album off proper with a slice of throbbing HI-NRG disco, donning its hat to Giorgio Moroder and Bobby Orlando with Kavanaugh asking to “take me to a place I can dance” before a haunting request for life termination. And when an unsettling ghostly pitch-shifted voice exclaims that ”This is my party and I will die if I want to”, that die is cast.

Following on, ‘Sad Boy’ is classic NIGHT CLUB, up there with their best but more old school Goth than metal with hooks galore. ‘My Valentine’ though is heavier and here, the Kavanaugh / Brooks / Ogilvie combination achieves a fine balance of edge and pop while throwing in a few exotic flavours too.

Trapped in her own personal hell and under the spectre of IAMX’s ‘Spit It Out’, ‘Miss Negativity’ sees Kavanaugh capturing the zeitgeist, singing that “No, I don’t want to go out cos I won’t have any fun, I am sick and infected with pure pessimism…”

On ‘Gossip’, Kavanaugh tells someone to shut their dirty mouth as a chilling horror movie Theremin announces its presence. ‘Misery Go Round’ though will surprise some with its sparse but effective verse structure that gets overturned with a chorus pitch shift and vocoder ending while our heroine tells everyone that “I don’t feel so good right now”.

The haunting music box on ‘The Creepshow’ will remind some of Numan’s ‘It Will End Here’ and that’s not a bad thing, while ‘California Killed Me’ captures Kavanaugh in a cage of anxiety because ”I feel like crying” as “I’ve nowhere to run”. However, mated to all of this intensity is a mighty chorus and synth solo.

Closing with ‘Civil War’, Kavanaugh channels her existential dread, unhappy that “I’ve become someone I hate” as she battles her demons because she “can’t escape the pain in the war inside my brain”.

A slice of dark DEPECHE MODE tinged pop that says “it will be over soon”, the words are worrying but on point, echoing how many feel in this strange world that was already becoming irrational and self-destructive even before the Covid crisis.

‘Die Die Lullaby’ sees the NIGHT CLUB motto of “Keep your friends close and your enemies in your songs” being maintained, but pragmatically looks within the psyche too.

Reflecting the times the world is living in, this is uncomfortable but enjoyably cathartic. When commentators and historians look back in a few years for an audio document that captures the introspection and paranoia of 2020, then they will need to look no further than ‘Die Die Lullaby’.


‘Die Die Lullaby’ is released by Gato Blanco on 9th October 2020 as a CD, purple vinyl LP and download, pre-order from http://nightclubband.com/

https://www.facebook.com/nightclubband

https://twitter.com/nightclubband

https://www.instagram.com/nightclubband/

https://soundcloud.com/nightclubband


Text by Chi Ming Lai
4th October 2020

KANGA Eternal Daughter

With the mix of the airy feel of MARSHEAUX and darker connotations of ZOLA JESUS, California based KANGA is no stranger to insidious sounds, having worked on the music for horror movies such as ‘Nightmare’, ‘The Devils Carnival II’, ‘Insidious III’, and ‘The Conjuring II’.

Kanga Duchamp creates an unforgettable symbiosis of hard and ethereal, wrapped in electronic soundscapes of Los Angeles. She likes mixing pop into her darker electro roots, not because pop sells but because the good hooks make a good song.

Her 2016 self-titled album, featuring SKINNY PUPPY guitarist Matthew Setzer and mixed by Rhys Fulber of FRONT LINE ASSEMBLY, created a buzz that continues to fuel the energy pushing the Santa Ana artist out into the open with her new mini album ‘Eternal Daughter’.

As all good things come in small packages, and EPs as well as mini albums seem to capture the listeners’ attention more readily, KANGA decided to release a bite size provision, full of punchy tunes, which are leading her all the way to the Numan support slots.

‘Burn’ doesn’t disappoint from the onset, weaving in the elements of vintage LADYTRON alongside layered vocals a la Greek goddesses MARSHEAUX. All that wrapped around gritty synth, melodic hooks and a fast paced musicality.

None of that stops, with the Persian inspired sounds of ‘Daughter’. Here the bass is heavy, with cinematic progressions and very cleverly inserted metallic elements. The outcome is rather Numan-esque but somehow fresher and readier.

‘Run’ resembles the achievements of KANGA’s LA colleagues NIGHT CLUB, with the vocal similar of that of Emily Kavanaugh’s while ‘Cocaine’ fuels the electronic fire further with inspiration from the artist she often mentions in interviews and clearly takes a lot of musical advice from, NINE INCH NAILS. Their sound magician has clearly had a massive impact of KANGA’s musical direction, with many describing her as a “female Trent Reznor”.

The closing ‘Control’ is a coagulation of rough and ready eclectic mix of sounds, punctuated by melodic inserts, driven vocals and immediate femininity, bursting with energy and wielding the power of objectification.

With total musical freedom and steering clear from constricting pigeon holes, KANGA’s style is difficult to classify; it is supposed to be a darker electronica with popular music elements, but the outcome is so much more than that. She’s contemporary, unconventional and current, without being too quirky and audience limiting, self-indulgent to the point of becoming too niche.

KANGA is your new mainstream alternative and simply superb.


‘Eternal Daughter’ is available as a digital mini-album direct from https://kanga.bandcamp.com/

KANGA opens for GARY NUMAN on his (R)Evolution 40th Anniversary UK tour, further details can be found at https://garynuman.com/tours2/

https://www.facebook.com/kangakullt/

https://twitter.com/KANGAkult

https://www.instagram.com/k.a.n.g.a/


Text by Monika Izabela Trigwell
10th September 2019

NIGHT CLUB Your Addiction

Deeply ominous and alluringly transfixing, Los Angeles-based synthrock duo NIGHT CLUB, who ELECTRICITYCLUB.CO.UK once affectionately described as sounding like “Britney fronting NINE INCH NAILS”, will be embarking on their first headlining tour of North America this Autumn.

Visiting over twenty cities, the extensive tour is apt reward for Emily Kavanaugh and Mark Brooks.

The pair had impressed audiences while opening for noted aggrotech exponents COMBICHRIST and alternative rock supercombo A PERFECT CIRCLE in 2018.

Having released a trilogy of EPs and two albums ‘Requiem for Romance’ and ‘Requiem’, as well as producing the soundtrack to the animated Comedy Central cop show ‘Moonbeam City’, the couple have just unleashed a sinister self-directed visual presentation for ‘Your Addiction’, one of the highlights from ‘Scary World’.

With a majestic synth boom that is both heavy and funky, ‘Your Addiction’ exploits Kavanaugh’s disturbed feline presence to the max with a cry of “these are your sins”. The video sees her preaching at The Church of the Anti-Heart where the gathered congregation comprises of those who have lost their hearts through their addictions. With them finding solace in this dark mutant cult, the imagery wouldn’t look out of place in John Carpenter horror flick, although some may consider the conclusion a gothic twist on a controversial scene from ‘Indiana Jones & The Temple Of Doom’!

NIGHT CLUB told ELECTRICITYCLUB.CO.UK in 2018: “‘Your Addiction’ is sort of like ‘Dear Enemy pt. 2’. That one fell together quickly and has a very personal vendetta behind it. In fact it’s about the same person as ‘Dear Enemy’”. Keeping their friends close and their enemies in their songs, they added “There’s nothing more impactful than having a friend turn into an enemy.”

Strung out by some unsettling deep vocal pitch shifting, the couple said: “We got tired of the vocals being one dimensional. So we started layering the vocals and fucking them up to create something new and original… we just like to tweak them to expand the sonic palette.”

With NIGHT CLUB’s live show centred around the intense moods and feisty motions of Kavanaugh, the tour appropriately begins at a place called Bar Sinister… “tell me you like the way it hurts!”


‘Your Addiction’ is from the album ‘Scary World’ released by Gato Blanco, available as a CD or download from http://nightclubband.com/

NIGHT CLUB 2019 North American live dates include:

San Francisco Bottom of The Hill (2nd October), Vancouver Astoria Pub (4th October), Seattle Chop Suey (5th October), Portland Star Theater (6th October), Salt Lake City Urban Lounge (8th October), Denver Streets (9th October), Chicago Cobra Lounge (11th October), Detroit The Sanctuary (12th October), Kent The Outpost (13th October), Brooklyn Sunnyvale (15th October), Philadelphia Voltage Lounge (16th October), Washington DC9 (17th October), Louisville The Tiger Room (18th October), Merriam Aftershock (19th October), Dallas Lizard Lounge (20th October), Austin Elysium (21st October), Albuquerque Moonlight Lounge (23rd October), Mesa Club Red (24th October), Las Vegas Backstage Bar and Billiards (25th October), Costa Mesa The Wayfarer (26th October), San Diego Brick By Brick (27th October) – tickets available from http://nightclub.soundrink.com

https://www.facebook.com/nightclubband

https://twitter.com/nightclubband

https://www.instagram.com/nightclubband/


Text by Chi Ming Lai
Photo by Marv Watson
22nd June 2019

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