26 June, 2011

Goth.. Wave 3 (or is it 4?)

The argument is, did goth go to bed or has it been consistent and concurrent. Same question, supplement goth for metal. I guess it likely depends on what side of the fence you are standing on - a fan or observer. I'm both. Early 80's goth scene that emerged out of U.K. is easily definable - and it's closest domestic relative was the deathrock scene from L.A. However, the late 80's and early 90's offered a wealth of rebirths and new bands. Goth divereged into darkwave, synthpop, ethereal, neoclassical, goth rock, and so many other classifications that I'm sure I could write them for another 20 minutes. The whole scene became tied into bands like Marilyn Manson and Kittie and what defined goth in popular culture morphed into anything weird, anything in black, and anything that may remind you of Halloween or a Victorian dinner party. It was essentially a death knell to the scene - because what was truly goth was bleached away when the media tied the scene to the popular bands and murders in Columbine. Labels like Projekt and Dark Vinyl left the light on, but goth music was back to it's indie status. Oddly enough, it's the indie music scene where you will find the newest blood in terms of the genre. Whether or not you want to define the scene as goth - really the media and press will make the determination. It is irrefutable that the label has already been thrown upon band, Esben And The Witch. It is immediately evident when listening to any of their songs, that the late 80's goth scene a la This Ascension, Trance To The Sun, The Prophetess - are influences upon the band. However, the measure is equally goth as much as it is the current lo-fi and slo-core scenes. The result is something refreshing and new, whether or not it's a breeding ground for a new influx of bands remains to be seen. When the goth hipsters hit the streets - I will send up the warning flag. Esben is not alone though - there's a crop of bands that clearly were paying attention or at least were being weaned on 90's goth music. Early singles by Dum Dum Girls and Veronica Falls are rife with a good percentage of my record collection. Since I am only beginning to dent the surface of the current indie music scene - I've been certain that there's more examples out there. Today, Maisy handed me an album and eliminated any doubt; The Waves by Tamaryn. The familiar beds here are Rain Parade, Mira, and Mephisto Walz.

Like I said - is this a new wave of goth? It's unlikely in my opinion, but if the press wants it to be - it will be. Esben And The Witch are the only band I know of that could wear the tag that are indeed being proclaimed a goth band... however - they are as much an indie band as Tamaryn is. It doesn't diminish my excitement to hear those influences, and to have some current, relevant, undated music to cling to and not have to dig out the lace, lipstick and manic panic.

19 June, 2011

Fear, Freedom .. Follow

This morning I watched a several-hour documentary that explained the Rise and Fall of the Third Reich. This wasn't the normal fare of familiar clips and Time Life journalism, this was an inside look at how it happened - and how Germany as a whole got enraptured by Nationalism. The footage was from journalists, residents, and party members within Germany. Much of the footage has never before been seen, and much of the documentary is illegal to show in Germany. Following WWI - Germany was destitute and left to their own devices - anarchy and viglante-justice were driving forces in dessimating any sense of normalcy for all classes of German citizens. It was in this atmosphere that the charlatans took stage and promised a new frontier for Germany - but only one managed to grasp hold of the hopes and possibilities of the populous. "An ugly, convulsive, and repulsive individual" was how even Hitler's own party members described him - but regardless - he showed the drive, passion, and understanding of how to rebuild a broken nation. Though he never won an election, and only achieved 37% of the popular vote - he still lead the largest political party in Germany and it led to his appointing of Chancellor of GErmany - a figurehead position without power. America's financial collapse sent shockwaves across the Eurpoean continent and left Germany's citizens desperate for change, and the only beacon of something new were Communists and Nationalists - and in a brilliant move - the Parliament was mysteriously bombed and the Communists were blamed. The populous suspected this as a cover-up, but immediately free press and free assembly were suspended. More concerning to citizens than the reality that their phones could be tapped and letters read - was that opposing the Nazi Party was hazardous to your health. And overnight - the population that wasn't already endorsing the new party - were supporting them out of fear. From then on - it was easy. The propaghanda machine kicked into overdrive and all Communists were expelled from the country, and then staged assaults on German towns were blamed on Poles, and Communists were nefarious rapists and murderers, on and on. As long as the war didn't come into Germany and people felt powerful and undefeatable - The Fatherland was infallable.

It occured to me how similar this was to recent events - and how the lessons of history seem to offer a blueprint on how to corrupt civil liberties instead of an education on history's mistakes and broken dreams. I recalled the Patriot Act - bringing a nation to follow it's president into an illegal war built upon lies and misconceptions and sacrificing our civil liberties without so much as a say so. I thought about the Taliban, how in their efforts to protect themselves from Soviet invasion, bonded together and developed a fighting guerilla force Al-Qaeda. Together - they became the saviors of the nation and thus - dictated Afghanistan's future. This happens all over the world - one person, one party determining the direction of a country. The revolution this incites is a natural progression, and it's the voice of the people being heard. Yes, it is frightening, devastating, and necessary.