Playlist: Time to get your Goth on

Happy World Goth Day everyone!

Er… To be honest, it’s not a holiday I observe but it did give me occasion to start in on an idea that I’ve kicked around in the past. And that is making and sharing genre-themed playlists on these pages. So, yeah, starting things off with Goth.

Goth is easily the music genre, lifestyle, and subculture that is most misunderstood by mass media and the public in general. I remember the going joke amongst a few of my coworkers, some years ago, which centred around the term ‘practicing Goth’ (as in, ‘Look at all that black, it looks like Jennifer is practicing Goth today’). It’s a term we culled from an article, one of many that had wrongfully attributed the perpetrators of the Columbine massacre as members of the ‘Goth community’.

I’m not sure I even fully understand the idea of being and ‘practicing’ Goth and all of the different offshoots that now exist but I do enjoy some facets of the fashion (the adoption of Victorian dress, for instance). I am also quite a big fan of a lot of the music that inspired the original scene, though I completely missed out on it, being too young at the time.

Some people sneer at the term Goth as a genre of music, calling it gimmicky, and the truth of the matter is that many of the original artists attached to the genre disliked the tag and tried to loosen its hold. I can remember going to a Sisters of Mercy show in Toronto in 1998, seeing all the youngsters in the audience wearing black, leather, S&M gear, etc., and wondering what they thought of lead singer Andrew Eldritch coming out on stage with his hair bleached blonde and cut short, and wearing a loud red Hawaiian shirt.

The idea in creating this playlist was not to define what is and what is not goth but to celebrate those artists that inspired generations to wear black. It is somewhat chronological, starting with those post-punk artists that toiled in darkness (Joy Division, Bauhaus), continuing with those that took up the mantle (The Cure, The Sisters of Mercy), squeezing in some acts that are not technically goth but definitely don’t sound out of place (Nick Cave, Leonard Cohen), and finally, gently transitioning to those that felt honoured to play in the originators’ shadows (She Wants Revenge, The Horrors), many years later.

For those who don’t use Spotify or if the embedded playlist below doesn’t work for you, here is the entire playlist:

1. Joy Division “She’s lost control”
2. Bauhaus “Bela Lugosi’s dead”
3. Tones On Tail “Christian says”
4. Love and Rockets “Haunted when the minutes drag”
5. The Cure “The hanging garden”
6. Killing Joke “Love like blood”
7. Siouxsie & The Banshees “Cities in dust”
8. Sisters of Mercy “Alice”
9. The Mission “Tower of strength”
10. The Cult “She sells sanctuary”
11. Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds “Red right hand”
12. Concrete Blonde “Bloodletting (The vampire song)”
13. Leonard Cohen “Waiting for the miracle”
14. Dead Can Dance “Ubiquitous Mr. Lovegrove”
15. Cranes “Shining road”
16. Interpol “Obstacle 1”
17. She Wants Revenge “Tear you apart”
18. The Horrors “Do you remember”
19. Esben and the Witch “Marching song”
20. I Love You But I’ve Chosen Darkness “According to plan”

Enjoy.

For those of you who are on Spotify, feel free to look me up. My user name is “jprobichaud911”.

Vinyl love: The National “I am easy to find”

(Vinyl Love is a series of posts that quite simply lists, describes, and displays the pieces in my growing vinyl collection. You can bet that each record was given a spin during the drafting of each corresponding post.)

Artist: The National
Album Title: I am easy to find
Year released: 2019
Details: black, 180 gram, gatefold sleeve

The skinny: As promised on Thursday, I headed out to one of my local record shops on Friday to procure myself a copy of The National’s eighth and latest studio album, “I am easy to find”. I’ve seen a lot of pics on Instagram already this weekend of the special coloured and clear versions and of course, the expanded multi-coloured set but I opted to get the 180-gram, double album pressing in black for my collection, though I did hold the expanded set in my hand for a few minutes. The album is another change in direction for the five-piece, this time enlisting a platoon of female vocalists to add their touch to the lush instrumentation and to Matt Berninger’s by-now-well-known baritone. I am just now on my third spin through and will likely give it a few more goes on this May long weekend.

Standout track: “Rylan”

Live music galleries: The National [2014]

(I got the idea for this series while sifting through the ‘piles’ of digital photos on my laptop. It occurred to me to share some of these great pics from some of my favourite concert sets from time to time. Like my ‘Vinyl love’ series, these posts will be more photos than words but that doesn’t mean I won’t welcome your thoughts and comments. And of course, until I get around to the next one, I invite you to peruse my ever-growing list of concerts of page.)

The National live @ Ottawa Folk Festival, 2014

Artist: The National
When: September 12th, 2014
Where: Eh! Stage, Ottawa Folk Festival, Hog’s Back Park, Ottawa
Context: I had almost forgotten that tomorrow is the day The National is due to release their eighth studio album, “I am easy to find”. They have become one of my favourite bands still regularly releasing music and one of the few that are so reliable, I feel confident purchasing each new album for my vinyl collection without first hearing any of its tunes. I got into them with their fourth album, 2007’s “Boxer”, and by the time 2013 and their sixth album, “Trouble will find me”, rolled around, things had gotten serious between me and the band. While they were touring in support of that album, they headlined the third night of Ottawa’s Folk Festival, for which I had purchased a pass, mostly because The National were appearing there. That year was the final year the festival was held at the pastoral Hog’s Back Park and and the final year before it was rebranded as “CityFolk”. The National’s set on September 12th was mind blowing, my favourite of the festival and likely, of all the sets I had witnessed that year. All of that to say, the release date is remembered. See you all at the record stores tomorrow.
Point of reference song: I need my girl

Matt Berninger and Scott Devendorf of The National
Bryce Dessner of The National
Matt Berninger and the brothers Devendorf of The National
Aaron Dessner of The National
Bryce Dessner again
Matt Berninger and Scott Devendorf close up