Tag Archives: darkpop

TunesDay: scary monsters

When we think about Halloween and art, we sort of automatically think of film. And why not. We have a decades-long library of movies designed to scare the pants off us. But there are some bands out there working the shadows with their music, as well. While it’s unfair to dismiss so many talented artists as Halloween acts – because talented and unconventional is cool 24/7/365 – it’s also true that during this week the veil between the mundane and arcane grows thin.

So, to help you prepare your playlist, here are some of our scary music favorites.

First, from Toronto, one of the absolute best darkpop bands in the world, The Birthday Massacre. This is their video for “Blue”: Read more

TunesDay: The best CDs of 2008, pt. 2 – the Platinum LPs

Our Best CDs of 2008 continues today with a review of the super-premium Platinum Award winners for Excellence in rocking and rolling. As with last week’s Gold Awards, these are in alphabetical order. Band Web sites link to the band name, and if the CD is available via eMusic, that links to the CD title. (Mike Smith of Fiction 8, in last week’s comments, recommended that you buy from the band’s Web site or Amazon, if possible, because the artists get a better cut of the proceeds that way. Duly noted.)

Speaking of Fiction 8, let’s get this out of the way first

Fiction 8Project Phoenix
I have a rule – I never include in my official ratings CDs that I had something to do with, no matter how great I think they are. And since I co-wrote “Hegemony,” the track that closes this disc, that means that Fiction 8 is officially disqualified. This doesn’t mean I can’t tell you what I think I’d think about the record if I weren’t laboring with a conflict of interest, though. Read more

TunesDay, pt. 2: Project Phoenix launches

Today S&R presents a second TunesDay, completely free of charge.

The anticipation is finally over: Project Phoenix, the new CD from Fiction 8, is now out. And was it ever worth the wait.

S&R readers may know F8 front man Mike Smith without realizing it: he’s a frequent commenter here (and I’ll let him unmask if he so chooses). So for us, this TunesDay is about family, sorta.

The new disc represents a significant step forward for the band. Read more

TunesDay presents our band of the week: The Birthday Massacre

One of my top CDs for 2007 was Walking With Strangers by The Birthday Massacre. And one of the top CDs of 2005 was Violet, also by TBM. About the harshest criticism I could muster for last year’s effort was that it wasn’t appreciably better than the 2005 release, but given how great Violet was, that’s hardly a damning critique.

If you’ve never encountered The Birthday Massacre before, let me see if I can describe them for you. The ’80s post-punk influences are evident and the haunted dollhouse goth edge to their aesthetic owes plenty to the likes of the late great Switchblade Symphony. Read more

22 Questions with Mike Smith of Fiction 8

Some of the best things in life we trip over completely by accident. A few years back a friend of mine invited me to come see his band play a warm-up gig at The Snake Pit in Denver. The headliner was Plexi, a band he was really big on, so it was one of those two bird/one stone deals.

Plexi no-showed, so the third band on the card became the headliner by default. That was my introduction to Fiction 8, a band I’d never heard of, and I became an instant fan. Not only was the music really compelling, the front guy (Mike Smith), his lovely wife (Kelly), and the keyboard wizard (Steve Hart) turned out to be darned nice people.

Since then I’ve followed F8’s growth, and Mike has taught me a little about industrial music, which I didn’t know very well (still don’t, to be honest, but I’m learning).

Recently the band released their third CD, Chaotica, and in my estimation it’s the best yet. To mark the occasion, Mike agreed to field a few questions from the Lullaby Pit. Read more