On Friday the 20th of December, 3 upcoming local bands of the dark electronic scene shared the stage of Death Disco club. The three bands, Lip Forensics, Strawberry Pills and The Man & His Failures are no strangers to the local Athenian scene. Their members have been active for many years in various projects and they all have collaborated together in one way or another.

First up was The Man & His Failures who appeared as a four piece fronted by main man Manos Karakatsanis. They began their set with tracks "Bathed In Moonlight", "Persona Non Grata" and "If Mississippi John Hurt Knew What I've Done" from their debut cassette that was released a year ago. Then they played a dynamic take of "Weird, Wild & Free", an A.R.E. Weapons cover that was a real shot of adrenaline. They ended with two new songs, "She Comes With The Dagger" and "Nothing" (the first single from the upcoming debut album "Survival Kit") that sounded really promising showing a more minimal synthwave direction, adding to their post-punk style, making us anticipate to listen to their future release.
By the time Strawberry Pills took to the stage, the club was packed. The duo, consisting of singer Valisia Odell and Antonis Konstantaras on guitar have resurfaced after a 6 year hiatus. After an intro, where on the stage backdrop a visual of their shadowy images was projected, they preformed some new songs like "Scooby", "Icarus", "Porcelain Face", "Dreams", "Voyeur" and "Verbal Suicide" from their forthcoming debut album "Murder To A Beat". Some of which have already gained fair airplay and have created quite a stir. The post-punk/minimal wave duo performed well with Valisia being the main focus with her characteristic singing style and stage performance and Antonis backing up, banging out the riffs on guitar and bass. They continued with the already known songs like their first ever hit "Sad Eyes" and "Disgrace" from their 2013 EP "Conversation Piece".

Last up was Lip Forensics, a duo that plays electronic, idm, electro, glitch music. I wasn’t familiar with their music and this was the first time I was seeing them live. They started their set with "Fo(u)r", a track from their 12"single "Cheiloscopy". Their stage presentation was spectacular, with both members wearing illuminated suits! They reminded me of acts such as Orbital and the 90’s English rave scene in general. They continued with "Ro(a) rschach", "The Awful Truth", "Talos", the digital single "Hybristophilia" released in 2017, "Senescence", "Forsaken" and "Prosopoagnosia".

Review by Nick Drivas.

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The darkwave duo, Twin Tribes, from Texas consists of Luis Navarro (voice/guitar/synth) and Joel NiƱo Jr. (bass/synth). In 2018 they released their debut album "Shadows" to critical acclaim. With their pop aesthetic and romanticism, they balanced well their chiming guitars, restless bass, and synths, bringing to mind acts like Drab Majesty. With their sophomore album "Ceremony", released in December 2019 on Manic Depression records, they continue in the same vein of their debut with dark melodic sounds.

The album opens with "Exilio", characteristic example of their dark melodic style, with 80’s synthesizers and drum machine sound. The next rack "Heart & Feather" is more danceable with a great shimmering guitar playing melodically throughout it. It was the first single to come out a few months prior to the album’s release. On the darker "The River" the duo delivers a moodier track. Here things get heavier with more melancholy vocals but still retaining their nice melodic lines. We notice that with their second album, their songwriting has matured and the band seems more confident. The beat speeds up on "Avalon", a track featuring nice guitar that plays over the driving rhythm section. Things slow down on "Obsidian". A song with deep moody bass, airy guitar and a low tempo drum beat with a lot of depth. The keyboards put a nice touch to the whole atmosphere, with Luis’s vocals fitting in nicely, adding to the moonlight mood of the song.

With "Fantasmas", one of the album’s stand out tracks, they sound like the new breed of darkwave/goth bands such as She Past Away, a band they recently performed live together in the United States. This was the second single to come out from the album and made us even more impatient, looking forward for the album’s release. The album in general doesn’t seem to falter, as the good tracks follow one after the other. Like "VII" that follows, the more dream pop of "Upir", the upbeat "Perdidos" finishing with another dreamy track "Shrine", this time more dark, ending the album in an appropriate way. Twin Tribes have proved with their new album that they are rightfully considered one of the hopeful acts of the genre, managing to contain elements of alternative, cold wave, gothic, indie, new wave and post-punk in the 10 songs that consist "Ceremony".

Review by Nick Drivas

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