Greetings and Salutations!
2013 marks TEN YEARS OF MIDNIGHT CALLING EZINE!
Check out the new review, of Heathen Apostle’s fine CD “Boot Hill Hymnal” .
On Saturday, 9/28/13 we traveled to Plan B in Smithfield, NC to see Rebel Son. This was a great show! See our event review for their show at the Dog House in Fayetteville. Both shows were a blast, and at both venues, the staff and patrons were friendly. It’s interesting that we can go to Biker bars and find people to be much nicer than at local venues that cater to people who tout their affluence, education and culture. Read the event review for more on the topic.
Not long ago, we caught Jonathan Parker and the Bel Airs and John Howie, Jr. and the Rosewood Bluff at the Pour House in Raleigh, NC. Jonathan was pure Outlaw Country (and from Johnston County, no less. where I now live!) , and gave a fantastic performance. John Howie, Jr. and his band were high energy, and really pushed it to the edge. This was a great show. We hope to see Jonathan and the Bel Airs again soon, and if all goes well we will see Rebel Son next week. I am working on a few reviews (FINALLY). Check out the new reviews for Ghostfire‘s excellent EP “Skeleton Coast”; and electro artist MissFD’s fine “Comfort for the Desolate”. Look for a review of Heathen Apostle’s “Boot Hill Hymnal soon.
Sorry for the long delays. I decided to buy a house back in May, and the house hunting, closing, and moving have swamped me. My apologies to the bands and readers! Hopefully I’ll have a bit more time now. Hick’ry Hawkins, AKA The Last Outlaw Standing, has embarked on a magnificent project of posting an original song per day on his youtube page! I am planning a review and write up of his ballsy project soon! Reviews are still pending for Twin Machine and Melanculia.
Meanwhile, check out the interview with Jim Strange, and the review of the fine EP from Stupid Bitch Reject. We had the fortune to check out John Howie, Jr. and the Rosewood Bluff at Saxapahaws on May 25th. As usual, they gave a great performance, rockin’ their unique brand of galvanized Country. We also met one of the most unique craftsmen I’ve seen in along time, the friendly and personable Mr. Johnny Mack, who hand carves wooden bow ties and top hats. Yes, that’s wooden top hats! Our Steampunk meter immediately activated! Other festival goers were rather rude and unpleasant. More later.
Take at look at some of the bad videos filmed by yours truly at:
We are having some glitches on the website. We have lost our webmaster, so I am trying to muddle through. content buttons at the top of the page do not work (except for the Issue and Staff pages.) However, you can access all of our reviews and articles by on “The Issue” button at the top, clicking “next” at the bottom, and then scrolling through all back content from there. Or if you are only interested in reviews, culture, etc. you can click on the category headings on the right, then click on “next page” at the bottom. Not long ago I added much of our material from our original website back in 2003, some interesting stuff that well worth perusing!
I hope everyone enjoys the reviews, interviews, and articles!
“It’s not about the ‘scene’…”
It’s all about the music!“
From our Batcave friends in Poland:
“Return To The Batcave” celebrates its 5th successful year, and in honor of this anniversary, we decided to celebrate and expand the event into a mini-festival.
So that’s officially: Return To The Batcave Festival will take place on November, 30, 2013 in Wrocław (Poland)!
“Return To The Batcave” is the event which promotes crazy, spooky and twisted music known as post-punk, cold wave, deathrock, gothic-punk, gothabilly and other related weird and experimental music genres, as well as those with a lighter music touch and whose common denominator is the words “art” and “party”.
The Gothic-punk movement is amazing, both visually and musically, and very eclectic: combining the best and most fascinating music genres which have underground roots in the late 70′s and 80′s. As in previous years, “Return To The Batcave” would like to move back in time to the beginning of the 80′s and bring back the exciting atmosphere of the legendary London club Batcave.
Return To The Batcave Festival will feature the following bands:
Soror Dolorosa (FR)
Velvet Condom (FR)
The Proof (PL)
This Cold (PL)
Wieże Fabryk (PL)
Nacht Und Nebel (PL)
Augen X (PL)
After the concert, prepare for after-party until the pale dawn or you’re fallen, as you will.
Afterparty will be conducted by:
DJ Black Ossian (DarkItalia.it) (IT) (darkwave, post-punk, batcave, punk 70′, italian wave)
DJ Mss (Return To The Batcave / Bat-Cave.pl) (PL) (post-punk, deathrock, synth-punk)
DJane Novelty (Return To The Batcave / Ian Said Dance!) (PL) (post-punk, coldwave, 80 ‘)
DJ Woodraf (Return To The Batcave / Bat-Cave.pl) (PL) (goth-punk, batcave, coldwave, 80 ‘)
Doors open: 18:00
Gigs Start: 18:30
Tickets Cost: 50PLN (12,5€)
Location: Klub Muzyczny Liverpool﻿ Club, ul.Świdnicka 37, Wrocław (Poland)
Bat-Cave.pl / Return To The Batcave (www.bat-cave.pl)
Klimatyczne.pl – Dark Shop (www.klimatyczne.pl)
Chaorder Agency (www.facebook.com/SiedemZyczenpl)
DarkItalia.it – Music Magazine (www.darkitalia.it)
Castle Party Productions (www.castleparty.com)
Wrocławska Sekcja Alternatywna (www.wsa.org.pl)
Do you have any questions? Please email us at : firstname.lastname@example.org
More info: www.return.to.the.batcave.pl
Some time ago, I had the privilege of reviewing Mather Louth’s CD from “Radio Noir” so I was very pleased to see the advent of Heathen Apostles. (Mather is one of my favorite musicians, and I also admire her impeccable fashion sense.) Not only does Heathen Apostles consist of Mather, Chopper Franklin, and Thomas Lorioux, Viktor Phoenix, and Luis Mascaro, all accomplished musicians, but the band also combines two themes very dear to my heart: Goth and the Old West. I have always thought that the Old West teemed with Gothic elements. Here was not the brooding poetry of the drawing room and absinthe fueled dreams , but the open menace of a strange, dangerous, and alien land. The merging of Gothic and Old Western sensibilities only seemed logical.
Several bands have taken this path, and Heathen Apostles are among the foremost. Mather’s wonderful voice and darkly charming demeanor are a perfect fit. The Old West conjures images of vast desolate spaces, grim conflicts, and lonesome death, punctuated by roughshod towns teeming with a disparate mix of sophistication and brutality. It is no accident that Heathen Apostles rises from Los Angeles, that musical Mecca of the Far West, and that their music is steeped in 150 years of history and musical lore.
“Red Brick Dust” starts evocatively with acoustic guitar and low, moaning violin. Electric guitar suddenly punctuates the song like shotgun blasts in the alleyways of old Tombstone. Vocals are pleading, yet dangerous at the same time. Late in the song, violin emerges Paganini-like with a brief, impulsive burst.
Ominous, yet rich violin opens “Dark Was the Night”. Masterful percussion drives the song with a rocky gait, and the mandolin adds a definite western flavor. Vocals are exquisitely layered, sultry and moody.
‘Forget-Me-Not” is a rollicking tune, with sharp, syncopated percussion and edgy banjo, as the violin hovers in the background, only to suddenly rise with the fervor of an assassin. Vocals are strong and confident, yet with an underlying sense of foreboding.
“Never Forever” has a very edgy, evocative intro, with guitars in tandem and violin. They are joined by low-key, yet striking banjo that reminds me of some of Neil Young’s works. Vocals are slow and expressive. The song slowly rises in volume, and vocals drop to an eerie whisper at about 3:06. Then suddenly, some wonderfully cowpunk-ish guitar erupts, and Mather’s superb vocals rise to a crescendo. There is a cool spaghetti western vibe adeptly mixed with ’80′s alternative that makes this is a very compelling song.
‘The Reckoning” ramps things up with Saturday night saloon exuberance and energy. The intro reminded me of the movie “Dead man”, and there is a vague steampunkish element somewhere here amidst the rattling percussion and gypsy flourishes. Brief flashes of fuzz laden guitar add to the demented carnival atmosphere, as Mather’s vocals are both enticing and dangerous.
“The Dark Pines” is one of my favorite songs here. With what I call a ‘Western Cabaret” style, haunting mandolin and menacing violin accompany Mather’s darkly vibrant vocals. Rousing guitar licks and driving percussion propel the song to a very ominous finish.
“It All Came Down” starts with a great little vignette of a tinny Blues song playing as the actions of various firearms are worked and clicked. Then the song launches with syncopated percussion, slow banjo, and low bass that brings a smokey Speakeasy to mind. Guitar is low and menacing, and the organ gives an unsettling edge. This is further heightened by the sardonic, yet sinister male-female vocals that deftly weave around each other.
“Murderer of Souls” is awesome! This is pure Cowboy Gothic for the 21st century. There is some excellent post-punk guitar and sparse, eerie banjo over a gripping electro background. Very edgy violin emerges, then grows stronger as the song progresses. Percussion is as rhythmic and pounding as hooves along a lonely trail. Vocals are smooth, with a nice touch of layering, which heighten the sense of desolation and fatalism that the song evokes.
“Darkness of Dawn” is more Cowboy Cabaret, with Mather’s soulful vocals, wandering violin, and sparse banjo. The percussion canters along, while the guitar adds a darkly expressive touch, especially on the moving, yet dynamic refrain. This song makes me envision a high mountain range on the horizon, with miles of emptiness behind you.
“Lonesome Whistle” is languid and moody, with an ominous carnival-like beginning. Vocals are refined, yet a bit ominous, while the guitar has a definite edge. The backing atmospherics are measured, and inexorably move the song towards a doleful finish.
“Boot Hill Hymnal” is superbly produced, and the arrangements are precise and striking. The band clearly takes their music seriously. The wonderful thing about “Boot Hill Hymnal” is that Heathen Apostles are not bound by the usual boundaries. For example, they are not just a Gothic band that dresses up in Victorian and Old West fashions and makes a few literary references amid the standard doomy droning. They are not a Steampunk band. They are not a Country/Roots band trying to be “authentic”. Heathen Apostles have skillfully created their own innovative sound and vision. There is a delightful variety of musical here, including Gothic, Cabaret, Blues, and Gypsy Jazz, that is deftly bound together by the band’s dark and sometimes brooding sense of a bygone age. This is all filtered through a wholly contemporary level of musical excellency that is both relevant and unique.
This is a very fine work, indeed. I look forward to hearing more from Heathen Apostles.
“To the East, the blood moon rises
And the blood is burning in my veins”
When I moved back to NC in 2008, a mechanic at the garage where I took my car noticed I was into music, and recommended Rebel Son. The band played locally a few times, but due to work I unfortunately missed them, including the famous show where they opened for David Allan Coe. About a year ago I suddenly remembered them and looked up their videos on Youtube. I was instantly hooked. According to Rebel Son’s website, their CD’s are available locally at Schoolkids Records in Raleigh, NC. After work one day I stopped in and bought one. I had a nice chat with guy behind the counter, who was very knowledgeable about the band. We were overjoyed to be able to make the show at the Dog House in Fayetteville, NC on 9/7/2013.
We drove down to Fayetteville that afternoon, stopped to eat, and finally wandered into the Dog House about 6PM. After our experiences at some venues in the Triangle area, we were sort of wary, but this was totally needless. The Dog House was laid-back and everyone was just hanging out. Staff was friendly, and we struck up a conversation with a couple of guys who turned out to be manning Rebel Son’s merch table. They were super nice, and invited us to come an see them at their table when we finished our drinks.
There was a pretty diverse crowd, from hard-core bikers to Country/Metalheads, and no one paid anyone else any mind. Everyone was respectful of others. This was very refreshing after attending area music events where people looked at us with hostility and disdain for not “fitting in”. This was definitely NOT the case at The Dog House, and we had the most fun we have ever had at a concert! No one cared what you wore or how you sounded. They were there to RAWK out to Rebel Son, and party with friends. This is how all shows should be.
Lee Johnson and the band blew us away! The music was high-energy, shit-kickin’, and boot-stompin’ for nearly three hours. This was a real raise-hell concert that everyone thoroughly enjoyed. Johnston is vastly underrated as a guitarist. He is phenomenal, switching from covers to his original material with ease. The band is fabulous. It is hard to believe that you can get this sort of sound with only three guys. Rebel Son is one of the few bands I have heard that actually sound better in concert than on their studio releases. There was no “live-show-sloppiness” here! Everything was tight and spot-on. There was fine coordination and interplay between all the band members, and some of the songs were bass-driven!
Lee performed his classics, such as “Bury Me in Southern Ground” (our personal favorite); Chain Gang; Drunk Out; It’ll Probably Kill Us All; Mr. Confederate Man; Whiskey in the Jar; Hog Stompin’ Man’ ; Quit Your Bitchin’; Please Stand Up; What You Think ; 1-2-3; Southern Wind; Spanish Lady, and more. There were also some great covers of Waylon’s Lonesome, Ornery and Mean, Belle of the Ball; Cash’s Rusty Cage, and others. During the second half of the show, the band pulled all the stops, and it was no-holds-barred all the way to the end. Lee did some fabulous improvs, including a masterful one based on “When Johnny Comes Marching Home” that turned into “Sittin’ Up Drinking With Robert E. Lee”, a song I dearly love.
No, Rebel Son didn’t always sound like “classic Country”. There were a lot of things thrown in. But it was pure REBEL SON. When Lee played Waylon’s “Lonesome, On’ry, and Mean”, it suddenly sounded more “authentic” than anyone else’s cover that I’ve heard. Waylon and his music had an edge. An edge that is sadly lacking in many of the classic country bands. Rebel Son weren’t trying to sound like a dead Country star, be “authentic”, or imitate anyone. They weren’t trying to be inoffensive and tame. NEITHER WAS WAYLON. Waylon didn’t give a bloody damn about whether he “offended” anyone or not. Rebel Son plays it like they feel it: sharp and mean as a Confederate bayonet at Antietam, and with heart. This ain’t no coffeehouse honky-tonk.
At The Dog House, hearing Lee Johnson and looking at the bikers, the girls drinking, and the head-bangers pushing up to the stage as they shouted out the lyrics to every song, I thought “Damn. This is what it must have been like back in 1973 listening to Waylon in some beat up Texas roadhouse.” Now THAT’S Country. At least to this old Southern boy.
A lot of people have songs about Country and Southern pride, including Merle Haggard; Rhett Atkins; Hank Jr; and, of course, David Allan Coe. But Rebel Son does something not many bands do in Country-related music. They express a direct sense of resentment and anger at the class prejudice aimed at “down home” country folks and Southerners in general by affluent Cultural Elitist types. My girlfriend and I have experienced this many times in the NC Triangle area. This Elitist crowd displays an open contempt for all things Southern. When they hear a Southern accent, their disdain is palpable. They disparage and mock Southern culture as being “redneck” or “hick”. A lot of them are the equivalent of modern day Carpetbaggers. They move down here to make money, then arrogantly insult everyone not like them. Apparently they can buy everything but manners. When I heard Rebel Son, it was like a rallying cry for those of us who are PROUD of our Southern culture and heritage. But their music is not only for Southerners. Anyone who has ever been looked down upon for who they are or where they come from from can relate to Rebel Son’s music. And yet, they don’t take themselves too seriously. Their music contains a large helping of humor, and deftly manages to be tongue-in-cheek and deadly earnest at the same time.
Rebel Son also understands that Country-inspired music is all about basic human emotions. Someone once complained that Country music “is all about screwing, getting drunk, and crying”. Well, when you strip life of the veneer, this is largely what it is. Sex, love, hate, revenge, and pain are the realities that most people face everyday. This is where Country music came from. This is what ALL music is about in one form or another. Sure, a lot of it is couched in high-blown, lofty metaphors, but it comes down to the same thing. If you’re feeling philosophical, read some Milton or Shakespeare. But if you’re “All Horned Up” or “On The Warpath”, go to a Rebel Son show. They don’t pussyfoot around!
To sum it all up, Rebel Son is an original. They are Southern Outlaw Speed Metal Country with balls! It doesn’t get any better than this.
“I may not have been born with a silver spoon in my mouth,
But I’m proud to be a no bullshit boy from down south.
I’m 100% workin man that’s what I’ll always be,
So you upper class can kiss my ass cause you ain’t worth a shit to me”. - What You Think
“You don’t like the South, you don’t have to stay” – On the Warpath.
MissFD’s third studio album, “Comfort for the Desolate” delightfully continues to move into different musical territory, while clearing building on her past works.
“Never Felt Better” is a masterful juxtaposition of dark Pop vocals and poignant, evocative piano. Vocals, as usual, are superbly layered and fraught with all sorts of subtle nuances.
‘Wanting is Not Enough” changes the pace. Some people might consider this to be a “dance” track because of the prominent beat. But this would be a gross over-simplification. And frankly, I don’t even consider to be a “dance” track at all. The beat is not overpowering and simply adds energy to the incredible vocals and the edgy electronics behind them. It’s a pretty infectious track.
“Dissolve” has wonderful robotic-type vocals, and futuristic electronic flourishes. A bit of understated layering adds depth, and there is a dramatic foundation here that is filled with urgent tension, that manages to be introspective at the same time. Shortly before the end of the song, the robotic effects fade and MissFD’s voice comes through in all its pure magnificence.
After an eerie, discordant intro, and low, sinister vocals, “Consciousness of Awe” picks up a steady “dance” beat, but this is low keyed and lends a vital emphasis to the song. Vocals remind me of Siouxsie Sioux and Sinead O’Conner. The rhythmic backing electronics are low and very effective.
“Lover of Fate” is also eminently danceable, fast paced and energetic. Vocals are urgent and harmonious, lending a distinctly Pop flavor to the song. Which is not a bad thing at all! I would love to see this played in Goth clubs. DJ’s, oh where art thou?
“Incomplete” has a wonderfully dark intro, leading into edgy vocals that are slightly distorted. There is a sense of poignancy and introspection, heightened by fine operatic vocal layers. The backing arrangements are excellent, with ominous and brooding overtones.
“The Grand Version” is perhaps my favorite track. This song is a sheer epic, from the plaintive, haunting arrangements to the stunning vocals that seem to be on the verge of soaring. At about 1:43 there is an almost medieval quality to the layered vocals The low, nearly Baroque backing arrangements are fabulous.
This is truly a fine album. The production and arrangements are just phenomenal, and this is a critical thing I look for in an album. I have always loved MissFD’s vocals, and it is always a pleasure to see her develop them more and more with each release. “Comfort for the Desolate” has a generally optimistic theme (at least to my Gothic sensibilities). I am very happy to see this, as I know this artist has had some trials and tribulations, and no one deserves success more.
I look forward to seeing her next release!