A Musical Review of 2017

2016

Another year has passed by and, on the verge of the next one, I reminisce and reflect. As in the previous years I have compiled a best of dark alternative music for you. As always in no particular order. Enjoy!

Wonder Dark – I Want More

Darkwave

One of the most positively surprising acts of the past year was the appearance of Wonder Dark from Brazil. The duo from São Paulo convince with ‘I Want More’, surely a dark club hit.

 

Paradox Obscur – A Different Hum

Minimal Wave

The glorious duo Paradox Obscur from Rhodes, consisting of Kriistal Ann and Toxic Razor, already have become an institution in the dark minimal music scene. 2017 saw their return with the amazing album Artifact.

 

Eleven Pond – Shimmering White Light

Synthpop

Eleven Pond, the project around Jeff Gallea, released only one album in the 80s, called Bas • Relief. This album reached cult status, mainly through songs like ‘Watching Trees’ and ‘Tear and Cinnamon’. Since a few years Jeff is back into music making and his music obviously lost nothing of its appeal.

 

Misfortunes – Hybrid

Synthpop

Another great project has entered the stage, specifically Misfortunes from Thessaloniki, Greece. It is the one-man-project of Ioakeim Vassiliadis, who has an extraordinary voice.

 

Shad Shadows – Moon Bay

Darkwave

Shad Shadows is a side-project of Schonwald from Ravenna, Italy. In the second year of its existence Shad Shadows released the EP ‘Fix’,containing the powerful song ‘Moon Bay’.

 

Kælan Mikla – Hvernig kemst ég upp

Post-Punk/Darkwave/Synth-Punk

Kælan Mikla from Iceland call their style synth-punk. The singer of the all-female band has unique cat-like vocals. Find out for yourself if you like them, I myself find them adorable.

 

Black Pond – Mistress Eyes

Minimal Synth

The aforementioned Jeff Gallea from Eleven Pond has a side project with the German synth mistress Beta Evers. Together they already released a series of great songs, in 2017 they returned with ‘Mistress Eyes’, which is basically a Shakespeare sonnet put in a different context.

 

Beatbox Machinery – Love is Gone

Synthwave

Beatbox Machinery is a synthwave project by Toxic Razor from Paradox Obscur, who released the album Glam Nights a month ago. The heart-warming song ‘Love is Gone’ is a collaboration with none other than Kriistal Ann.

 

Alles – Miasto Duchów

Industrial

The song ‘Miasto Duchów’ (‘City of Ghosts’) by the Polish industrial duo Alles was already released on their 2016 album Culture. However, it garnered some fresh attention through a video animation by Krzysztof Ostrowski, created for the 73rd anniversary of the Litzmannstadt Ghetto liquidation [1].

 

Two Moons – Silent

Post-Punk

Italian post-punk legends Two Moons from Bologna impressed with their marvelous new album Cognitive Dissonance. Emilio Moonstone’s vocals have never sounded better than on ‘Silent’. A deep-diving masterpiece.

 

Velvet Kills – Fill Me Out

Post-punk

This summer I have been to Portugal for the first time and had the pleasure to hang out with the adorable couple Susana and Harris from Velvet Kills, shortly before the release of their debut album Mischieveous Urges. If you like splendid post-punk with powerful female vocals, Velvet Kills are definitely worth your attention.

 

undertheskin – Burn

Post-Punk

Void from the Cracow-based project undertheskin was the first interviewee during our documentary we made about the coldwave scene in Poland. He is a likeable person who is also deeply engaged in organising concerts and events in Cracow. This year he released the single ‘Burn’ which marks an evolution in the sound of undertheskin.

 

The Glass Beads – Disorder

Minimal Post-Punk

The Glass Beads are a duo from Ukraine’s capital city Kyiv. Since their foundation last year they released several fabulous songs on Youtube and Bandcamp. I cannot wait for their debut album they are hopefully working on.

 

Get Your Gun – You’re Nothing

Dark Rock

Doubt is My Rope Back to You was the strange sounding title of this year’s album by Danish group Get Your Gun. How to call their style would be easy if “Nick Cave” were a genre. ‘You Are Nothing’ is a strong anthem with a great video clip.

 

The Black Veils – Dealing with Demons

Post-Punk/Indie Rock

On the ridge between post-punk and indie rock the trio The Black Veils from Bologna unveiled their second full length album Dealing with Demons. Compared to their debut Blossoms their newest music sounds darker, as evident on the title track of their new record.

 

SUIR – White Spheres

Shoegaze/Post-Punk

The project SUIR (pronounced as [syr]) from Frankfurt was founded only last year by Denis Wanic and Lucia Seiss. In 2017 the duo released their debut Ater which gained positive feedback for their music which is a blend of post-punk, darkwave and shoegaze.

 

Principe Valiente – Strangers in the Night

Post-Punk/Shoegaze

Sweden’s post-punks Principe Valiente are already around since 2011. This year’s album Oceans I’d consider their best one so far, the song ‘Strangers in the Night’ kicks one immediately back into the heyday of new wave music.

 

Cabaret Grey – Almost Frantic

Post-Punk/Coldwave

It was a very hot summer day when we met Cabaret Grey in Wrocław where they talked a lot about the reformation of their band. Here is their recent song ‘Almost Frantic’, an interesting coldwave-influenced tune.

 

Feeding Fingers – Fontanelle

Post-Punk

The German band Feeding Fingers, fronted by Justin Curfman from the USA, are already known for their surrealistic approach towards music making, as their video clips and song titles emphasise. Their new song ‘Fontanelle’ is no exception to that.

 

Collapse Under The Empire – Dark Water

Post-Rock

German post-rockers Collapse under the Empire returned with The Fallen Ones, proving another time that they are masters of their genre.

 


 

At the end of the list for 2017 I would also like to mention the release of two of my own songs/videos. One was a collaboration with Kriistal Ann. The clip was filmed in Ljubljana.

 
The second song was ‘Unscathed’, a “caustic and post-romantic piece”[2], filmed in my current town Košice, Slovakia.

 
And of course I must not forget to mention the documentary we made about the coldwave scene in Poland which can be watched for free here (don’t forget to enable the subtitles):

 

There is a playlist with all the songs here.

I wish you all the best for the year 2018! Hope you enjoyed the list and see you soon!


[1]Litzmannstadt was the name of the city of Łódź (the home-town of Alles) during the Nazi occupation.
[2] by Times from Venus in Furs

About André Savetier

Since 2011 André Savetier is actively working as a music journalist with an expertise on contemporary new wave music phenomena. His scientific specialization is anthropology of music and anthropology of popular culture. Savetier remains intrigued by the interplay between the aforementioned social phenomena, the told (and untold) legends of music and its roots.

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