British singer-songwriter Paul Roland, has remained a cherished figure on the goth and psychedelic pop periphery for 40 years, spinning musical tales of Victorian villains, eccentric Edwardian inventors and the supernatural against a backdrop of gothic rock, psych pop and dark folk, since 1979. This year he returns with "1313 Mockingbird Lane" his 20th album, released by Italian label Dark Companion. His last album was "White Zombie", released in 2016.

The album contains 13 tracks with the name of the album being taken from the cult 60s television show The Munsters, which was the address of the mansion where the family lived. The opening track, "Salon of the Senses", is a great example of Roland’s songwriting, a dreamy calm psychedelic piece. Where on "My Next Life" we have a quirkier Sixties pop with xylophones and trippy guitars. Paul’s characteristic voice is in great form, still able to captivate the listener to his storytelling. After the rhythmic "When Chet Baker Sings" with its nice acoustic guitar strumming and xylophone work, things speed up on "Whatever Happened to Baby Jane?" where we have the garage punk moment of the album. The trip to the Sixties continues with "She’s A Mind-Reader" while with the rockier "Voodoo Man" the electric guitar comes to play bringing a more rhythm & blues feel.

Roland returns to his acoustic guitar for "Joe Strummer Said", a nice song tribute to the late Joe Strummer of the legendary punk band The Clash. On the stripped down "Another Ingmar Bergman Interlude" we only have Paul’s subtle vocals and his lush acoustic guitar playing. He returns to his quirky Sixties pop on Little White Lies" and "Won’t Go Surfin’ No More" which is also enhanced with Hammond organ. On "She’s My Guru" and "Summer Of Love" we have more acoustic tracks which have some folk elements. The album closes with "1313 Mocking Bird Lane", which after a fairly long drum intro, burst into a 60’s garage songs with a great groove, winking an eye to the cult television show from which it is inspired.

Roland has a unique gift for song writing unlike anyone else. His highly literate lyrics, often macabre themes and strong melodic gift has attracted an increasingly large and loyal cult following while his proudly independent ethos has ensured he has remained a cherished niche artist. With "1313 Mockingbird Lane" he manages to deliver once again a lively great piece of work which sits nicely with the rest of his long discography.

Review by Nick Drivas.

Read More …

This year, Ejekt Festival celebrated its 15 years. To commemorate the event, they managed to get The Cure on the bill, something that was to make the festival a success. It proved to be to largest outdoor summer festival in Athens for 2019. The lineup had a bit of everything. The opening act was the Greek band The Steams, that I missed. Then came Khruangbin, a US band from Houston, Texas. The trio played their rock/funk tracks like "People Everywhere" that are widely known since they have a lot of airplay. They were followed by Ride and them by Michael Kiwanuka, the British soul/folk musician known for the song "Cold Little Heart" that was used for the television series Big Little Lies. He also performed other of his known songs like "One More Night", "Black Man In A White World", "Home Again" and "Love & Hate".

The indie/shoegaze band Ride gave a great performance despite playing in daylight. They started with their new single "Future Love" and then they delivered older classics like "Seagull", "Dreams Burn Down", "Leave Them All Behind", "Taste" "Vapour Trail" that Andy Bell sung, and "Drive Blind", sending shivers down our spines, taking us back to the early 90s. Mark Gardener was in cheerful mood, who with the others they delivered a nice set of old and newer songs like "Lannoy Point" and "Charm Assault" from the 2017 album "Weather Diaries". The ended with a new track "Kill Switch" from their forthcoming new album.

As the stage was being prepared for The Cure, it was nice hearing the track "Sea Borne" from Dead Can Dance’s latest album "Dionysus" played through the speakers.

Headliners, The Cure, played a set that was more focused on the albums "The Head On The Door" and "Disintegration", but also playing something from almost all their albums, leaving out something from "Pornography" unfortunately. They began with "Plainsong", a really great choice for opening a Cure concert. From the first sounds of the chimes at the intro we knew which of the two setlist they would play. Robert Smith, on an illuminated stage of blue light, was standing at the edge staring at the crowd before he took to the microphone to sing. Then "Pictures Of You", "High", "Just One Kiss" (one of my standout from the performance), "Lovesong" and "Last Dance" followed. The band, with Simon Gallup on bass, Roger O’Donnell on keyboards, Jason Cooper on drums and Reeves Gabrels on guitar, was in great shape and played flawless throughout the set. The song selection, although safe picks, kept on coming with favorites like "Burn", "Fascination Street", "Never Enough", "Push", "In Between Days", "Just Like Heaven" and "From The Edge Of The Deep Green Sea". Another memorable moment was with "Shake Dog Shake" that was delivered in a very dynamic way. Then "A Night Like", "Play For Today", "A Forest", "Primary", "Want" and a powerful take of "39" followed with "Disintegration" ending the main set.

For the encore, they played all the crowd pleaser pop songs like "Lullaby", "The Caterpillar", "The Walk", "Friday I'm In Love" that was received with the most enthusiasm from the audience. On "Close To Me" and "Why Can't I Be You?" Smith, who seemed full of energy and in great spirits that night left his guitar and moved around the stage with only his microphone. They ended their two-and-a-half-hour show with "Boys Don't Cry". Right after the concert finished, fireworks lite the sky, for the celebration of the 15-years of the Ejekt Festival, leaving the crowd with a spectacular sight.

Review + photos by Nick Drivas

Read More …

Das Noir is a new dark project from Athens created in 2019 by Nick Drivas, member also of the ethereal wave band The Moon In June. With his solo project Das Noir, he has a more experimental approach, using many samples taken from movies and music. This gives a more minimal and cinematic feel to his music. Samples used, as we see credited on the booklet, range from bands like Bauhaus, The Cure, Xmal Deutschland, Dalis Car, Dead Can Dance, Death In June, The Sisters Of Mercy, This Mortal Coil, and Lycia to name a few. An interesting pick of which many can not be easily identified in their new form.

The album begins with "Forbidden" which after a short intro of a dialogue from the film Fahrenheit 451, the track bursts with the thumping of the monotonous drums and a haunting piano. Somewhere in the mix we hear the voice of David Bowie too, amongst some medieval choir. On "Corrupt To The Core" that follows, we have a more atmospheric piece, with evident the use of samples from This Mortal Coil. The dialogues used from the movie 1984 are compelling. Next is the creepy track "In The Dark", inspired by the 1962 American horror film Carnival Of Souls. "Cured" that follows is a tribute to The Cure, where all the samples are taken from various songs from the Cure’s catalogue. For the use of vocals, the voice of Robert Smith has been taken from an interview.

Further down we find "Alas, How Many Thousands Lie There Bleeding!" a slow drone like track about the Great War with dialogues taken from the classic war movie All Quiet On The Western Front. Next is "Truth" a more intense track with the rhythm enhanced with metal noises and breaking glass. Parts of Molly Ringwald’s voice from the 80’s movie Pretty In Pink are carefully chosen giving a very emotional result. On "Remember", Nick also plays bass and guitar on top of samples taken from Death In June. Here we have a more glamorous choice of vocals with those of Marlene Dietrich and Bette Davies from the movies Just A Gigolo and All About Eve. The album closes with "B-city", a song about the turbulent history of the city of Berlin. Here Nick plays bass, guitar, keyboards and sings also. The result is that of a minimal post-punk coldwave track, like those found on obscure cassette compilations in the early 80’s.

Review: Rise&Fall

Read More …

Kalte Nacht is a dark synth, minimal wave duo from Athens that first appeared in 2018. The bands members are Nikos Konstandinidis (synthesizers, drum machine, bass) and Myrto Stylou (vocals). Until now, they have only participated in two compilations, one being Die Seele’s "Stimmen Der Seele Vol.3" with the track "Voices In Silence" and recently they uploaded a video for the new track "Ghost Dance".

Your name, Kalte Nacht (Cold Night), reflects very nicely with your music. Was your idea always along the lines of being a minimal synth, coldwave project?

Nikos: First of all, we would like to thank Die Seele for the invitation and generally for the support not only to us, but also to the local underground scene!
[Myrto: It is more than important for new artists to feel welcomed and that they have an open space to flourish and share their ideas.]
Our band name came out of the overall feeling that's reflected in the music we play, as you mentioned.
[Myrto: We actually talk about cold feelings, in a cold way, for cold nights.]
[Nikos: The truth is that I never really had in my mind a genre for our music into specific terms, that is why it is kind of hard for me to describe it, since personally my influences are so many bands and artists that have several different elements between them. Definitely though, the primary idea was to create a project where these synth, coldwave, darkwave elements would be present as a base].
By hearing your music, one can easily see that you have a soft spot for 80s underground sounds. What drew you to this kind of music in the first place? Any band/artist that influenced you towards this direction.

Nikos: Looking backwards at the past, I remember that I always enjoyed the sounds and styles of music that were created mostly in the 80s. This may have been somehow random though, since I firstly listened to the music, without much of an interest as to where it came from. After the first listening, and of course continuing to look around even more, I realized that these sounds were created in a big extend during that period. The influences are so many and so different, I cannot mention them all! The first significant though, were bands like Joy Division, The Cure, Bauhaus, Chameleons etc. After came the 80s Greek music scene as well. Bands like Alive She Died, Film Noir, Metro Decay, Libido Blume, In Trance 95 etc. Some more from the latest local and foreign scene: Human Puppets, Doric, Selofan, Lebanon Hanover etc.
Myrto: I have to say that I was always fascinated by the underground sounds that emerged in the 80s, these dynamic low synth lines and the haunting drumbeats, I believe carry a silent rebellion in them. Not to mention the punk experimentation that accompanied them on the total deconstruction of vocals, being something more of an internal expression-dialogue. And if you think about it the 90s music era that we grew up, had some echoes left from the 80s, or at least they were still present in a way. Nikos is more dedicated – if I can use this term- to these genres and I am glad that he brought me back to this world, because I am always wandering around all kinds of music genres both in song writing and performing. So, it's my point of view as well, that music doesn't need to have boundaries because it is an actual expression from the inside. In Kalte Nacht, I think we combined our love for the 80s sound and still are discovering our place in it, on our terms.

You first started out with Nikos as sole member. What made you become a duo with the addition of Myrto Stylou on vocals?

Nikos: When I started creating the project, I didn't have at all the idea of creating a band. I simply started trying to create the music I like, without knowing where this could lead. After a very short period of time and performing only once as a solo project, I started thinking that I would like to focus more on the instruments and not on the vocals. Apart from that, I always enjoyed so much female voices. So, somehow like that we met up with Myrto and worked on some material. We really enjoyed the result, so we continued as a band and this is how the project took the form it has today.
Myrto: I have to say here, that when we first started experimenting with Nikos, we both had no idea what would turn out, as we have never worked together before. But now, having both similar aesthetics and the excitement of further exploring this primary idea, I believe we have a long road ahead of us. On top of that, it’s more than interesting and challenging for me to deconstruct the idea of female vocals.

When playing live you use analogue equipment. In an age where computers can make things much easier, we see many acts playing with laptops, you chose the route of oldschool analogue. Is it the sound this type of equipment makes that makes you use it or also the challenge of performing live and not only with pre recordings?

Nikos: I can say both. Obviously in our times the digital sound is much more evolved and it offers an increased convenience by all means. I personally do not get into comparing or analyzing, this is clearly an individual’s or band’s choice. For me the idea of natural instruments and analog sound was and still is the most attractive. On top of that, I have no knowledge in the digital sound field! The analog sound offers the sense of reality, by having direct and physical contact, not only when writing music, but also when performing live.
Myrto: I agree that nothing really compares to the feel of playing something with your hands and soul, touching every key or string, transferring your vibe each second of it. The digital sound has indeed so much to offer, but the idea of being able to bring to a live stage the initial feeling you had when writing a song and the sense you want to share right at the moment, I think will never lose their uniqueness.

You have performed live a few times until now. What is it like for you being up on stage presenting your music?

Nikos: It is a very beautiful emotion because you are given the chance to share your feelings. Overall for me, being able to share is of outmost importance.
Myrto: The awkward first minutes where you feel utterly exposed and small on a stage that transform so fast through music to a mutual platform with everyone present, is something that I personally live for. The energy created by our need to express and the openness of the audience to receive, is every time so strong and precious.

Recently you uploaded a video for the new track "Ghost Dance", the first with Myrto on vocals, but also the first to feature bass expanding your sound even further. Shall we be expecting more changes, additions or variety in the future? Do you think your still finding your sound or do you think that the experimentation doesn’t ever stop?

Nikos: The addition of the bass is something that exists a long time now in many of our songs which haven’t yet reached the public. Therefore, I don’t really see it as a change, but as something that is happening either way. Apart from this, we are and always will be searching for our sound, trying to evolve by adding new elements.

Having played live and having released some of your material online, what is the feedback you have had until now? Do you feel there is a scene out there and an audience that will follow?

Nikos: In general, there is a great feedback so far and I am very happy for this. I believe that there is a scene and audience that dedicates time and love for this kind of music. People create bands, they are attending live performances, listen and play music, they are on the move in all ways.
Myrto: The feedback is actually amazing and of course it motivates us even more. I agree that there is a particular scene that existed but is also very present at the moment, with a dedicated and knowledgeable audience worldwide. I personally feel that this kind of audience is ready to embrace something new or even just be open to our sound.

We gather that you are working on finishing your first full length album. What can you tell us about this and when do you think it will be complete and released?

Nikos: Indeed, this period of time we are in the process of completing the recordings for our first album. It is a process that is taking us more than we initially anticipated, but that isn’t something that makes us rush it out, as we both want to feel content with the final outcome. If everything goes according to our plan, I believe that the album will be ready late 2019 or at the beginning of 2020. In the meantime, we are already arranging more live performances. Once again, we thank you so much for this chance and interview! Meet you when the sun falls!

Photos: Panos Dedepsidis

Interview by Nick Drivas
Read More …


Dead Can Dance finished their European "A Celebration - Life & Works 1980-2019 Tour" in Athens Greece, performing live at the ancient theatre Odeon Herodes Atticus under the Acropolis. Despite the heatwave, the setting was perfect, the hot evening was eventually cooler than expected and the crowd that sold out the concert was in joyful mood.

Dead Can Dance took to the stage at exactly 9:20 as scheduled. Lisa Gerrard, dressed in an impressive long white gown, and Brendan Perry were backed by six more musicians, one being Brendan’s brother, Robert Perry. They started in the best of ways with "Anywhere Out of the World" the opener from the 1987 album "Within The Realm Of A Dying Sun". They continued with "Mesmerism", "Labour of Love" and one of my favorites "Avatar". The setlist for this tour in general was a fans dream, with Lisa and Branden taking turns on vocals. On "In Power We Entrust the Love Advocated", Brendan’s voice was captivating and majestic, sounding even better than the studio recordings. Then they played "Bylar" and "Xavier", after which all left the stage except Lisa and Robert who stayed to perform the thrilling "The Wind That Shakes the Barley" on which Lisa’s voice gave us shivers down our spines. Straight after we were once again mesmerized by Lisa’s heavenly vocals with "Sanvean". Their performance continued with "Indoctrination (A Design for Living) " the spiritual "Yulunga (Spirit Dance)", "The Carnival Is Over", the otherworldly "The Host of Seraphim", "Amnesia" and the Deleyaman cover "Autumn Sun", the only track where we heard Lisa sing in a conventional way. They ended their set with a powerful ritualistic take of "Dance of the Bacchantes", the only track from their latest album "Dionysus".

For the first encore, Brendan delivered us a great version of the Tim Buckley song "Song to the Siren" followed by one of their most loved songs "Cantara". After an enthusiastic applause from the filled theater they returned for a second captivating encore with the songs "The Promised Womb" and "Severance". The whole band returned to the stage and bowed before the audience who showed their appreciation for the magical night and unique experience, applauding franticly.

Review + photos by Nick Drivas.

Read More …