Neversea // Eden House

Because Chris has mentioned these folks several times and I’ve probably been negligent in promoting the “best kept secret” goth superband (members of Nephilim, All About Eve, Mission, Society, Skeletal Family, Faith and Muse, Van Morrison (violinist), Pink Floyd (sound engineer); amongst others). Almost no one plays on every song, but that’s often the nature of supergroups.

I think that Chris is the only other person I know who has heard of these folks independently of me. Every time I mention them, folks have seemed a bit surprised that these guys exist — often to the point of ignoring my recommendation to give them a gander. In ways, Eden House are a bit better of the sum of their individual efforts, but it depends.

For an idea of the sound — think Delerium (short-lived fame with Sarah MacLachlan singing Silence), except guitar and generally preferring “real” instruments over synthesized counterparts and less attention to mimicking Enigma witht he sampled dubs.

So… nothing at all like Delerium, but still whiffs of that feel/sound.

You tell me same old stories
All awash with pride
I've heard it all before
the eyes you hide behind... Never see
Why can't you face me?

You cross the line 
I cut my ties to you
I draw the line, 
I close my eyes to you

You break me down
I strike your back 
Under your iron truth
You've drawn your last breath

Vocals: Valenteen
Guitars: Stephen Carey (This Burning Effigy), Andy Jackson (Pink Floyd), Simon Hinkler (The Mission)
Bass: Tony Pettitt (Fields of the Nephilim)
Drums: Simon Rippin (Fields of the Nephilim)
Violin: Bob Loveday (Van Morrison, Jeff Beck, Kristy MacColl, others)

River of No Return // Ghost Dance

We’re going down to the river of no return
Where the four winds blow and the bridges burn

Ghost Dance was a band that I think I may have been the only person in Minnesota to have heard of them, let alone purchase some vinyl for. In fact, there may have been that one record in the whole state and the store was relieved to have sold it finally. I’ve never heard anyone mention them at the time, nor since, if I’m honest. Online or in Minnesota.

Gary Marx got fed up with Andrew Eldritch’s (Sister of Mercy) shenanigans and left the band to form his own. I believe this was the first he started after his gig as the original guitarist for Sisters, before Wayne Hussey left Dead or Alive and took Gary’s place. Wayne didn’t last much longer and, with darned near everyone but Andrew and his drum machine, Doktor Avalanche, left to form the Mission. But that’s another story filled with poison and mercenary rivalries.

I have always liked the 80s Bowie- and Velvet Underground-inspired goth the best (well, aside from the Cure’s Faith and Pornography era). This is nothing stellar, but it fits in with that sound — so I’ll foist it on you.

Mat’s Prozac // mice

mice was a band Julianne Regan of All About Eve started after the collapse of her former band. Between the original guitarist leaving AAE and the abysmal sales for Ultraviolet, the last true AAE album (the second with Marty Willson-Piper of The Church as guitarist), Julianne started this acerbic saccharine pop band (which ended up being a one-off). While it sounded nothing at all like AAE, I ended up loving mice almost immediately and not just because I have an never-ending crush on Julianne’s vocals. It was a complete rejection of what she’d been doing before and I can always appreciate someone trying to mix it up by moving well beyond their comfort zone. Plus, it seemed to give a middle finger to almost everything about pop music while, at the same time, embracing it.

The Blacksmith // Planxty

When I performed this song as a folk music duo called Two Penny Dreadful (before there was a television show of a similar name, by the way), we changed “may he reward you well” to “may he damn you to hell”. It was the kind thing we did around the time Flogging Molly and Dropkick Murphys were still unknown, just to make some songs ever-so-slightly “edgier”.

I had come up with the duo name, but it had originally been “Half-Penny Dreadful”. It was my argument that we weren’t worth a full two pennies and that even a half-penny seemed a bit much to place our value at. I was overridden (two musicians, two pennies), but the “Dreadful” part stuck, so I suppose I should have been content with that.

Of course, like everything with that band, the end result was not what I had originally envisioned when I sold the concept to the other guy. I hadn’t minded the idea of adding a few trad songs, but I had originally wanted it to be far less serious and not so Irish. But I was bullied into going less “unplugged” post-punk and more folksy with a heavy Irish leaning by the other guy. Needless to say, he hated it when I would break into “About a Girl” while he was trying to chat between songs. Or “Owner of a Lonely Heart”. Or the intro riff of “A Forest”. I wanted more TMBG and Wonder Stuff and less Planxty and Christie Moore.

Don't you remember when
You lay beside me
And you said you'd marry me
And not deny me.

If I said I'd marry you
It was only for to try you
So bring your witness love
And I'll not deny you.

No, witness have I none
Save God Almighty
And may he reward you well
For the slighting of me.

Her lips grew pale and wan
It made a poor heart tremble
To think she loved a one
And he proved deceitful.

Celebrated Summer// Hüsker Dü

80s Minnesota hardcore. Hüsker Dü are/were an acquired taste with their buzzsaw guitars, saturated distortion and tendency in the early albums to do songs in one or two takes without overdubbing anything. Essentially, they sounded mostly the same live or on a studio album and it’s hard to fault them for having a “fuckit” attitude when they had their own sound that others ended up mimicking in the late 80s and early 90s.

Celebrated Summer is a track that always evokes the smell of fresh-cut grass, cheap beer and the smell of creosote volatilizing from the railroad ties as you sat in the underpass along the tracks, smoking cigs and making out in the rotting couch someone had dragged down from somewhere along Lyndale Avenue for the express purpose of having a place to make out on. Or sit with friends and get drunk. Or plot world domination with your band that would end up only lasting for three or four rehearsals before you realized you didn’t quite mesh together as a band. Or… well, use your imagination.

It also brings back memories of hanging out at bare-ass beach, the unofficial nudist beach in Minneapolis (mostly at night, when you can’t see anything anyway) — smoking cigs and running through the woods to avoid curfew/after-park-hours tickets when the cops came by.

And then, school would come. And snow.

The End// The Doors

Lost in a Roman wilderness of pain
And all the children are insane
All the children are insane
Waiting for the summer rain

Some days, certain songs resonate better than others.

I can almost smell the napalm as I recall the beginning of the movie of which this was a part, the whirr of helicopters flying through the jungle. I can almost smell whiskey on the breath of the person standing next to me in the empty bar, the air heavy with summer heat and sex drive drumming. There was sandalwood and chimes and, in that dreamtime, the bright colors blinded even in shadows and the magnolias spilled perfume into the night, the darkness shattered by a kiss and we tumbled tumbled into the unmade mattress on the floor — the closer to the earth, we said, closer to mother’s embrace. We meant death; and we made a shadowplay of our death in the grunts and thrusts and sweat and sighs. Sure, there were drugs, but none were needed, high as we were on each other and the songs and the night. Locust drones and the cooling dripping sweat as we slumbered past dawn stretching warm fingers through cigarette burns in the curtains, drinking from Lethe as it pour from your lips to mine and back to yours, heady and full lipped love-bites full of delicious pain.

Krigsgaldr// Heilung

Sometimes…

On the rare occasion…

Intermittently…

Social media isn’t a complete waste of space.

I’ve been writing little pithy things on Facebook lately, mostly about how I survived a tangle with my bike or the weather. Stupid, silly, self-deprecation shit. Largely, because I am using it for other things (like finding a group or other people to connect with on a spiritual level), but I made some off-hand comment about probably feeling more complete if I could get another tattoo, but I haven’t found anyone that strikes me as the kind of artist I want to do my next piece. I’d mentioned I wanted photorealistic — or something very primitive and Neolithic looking, with an earthy shamanistic feel.

One of my high school friends saw it and, while she didn’t have suggestions for artists, she said I really really should check out Heilung based on my tattoo desires. Less than fifteen minutes later, an old bandmate from my gothic band chimed in, “Yes yes yes! Trust us on this one, dude.”

So this morning I watched the video they linked to.

FUUUUUUUUUCKING AWESOME. YES [fistpump]!

So now, I share with you.

I can see all kinds of influences that may or may not be actual influences, and they all happen to be influences that I love. It’s like a yummy meltaway containing all of them. Instantfan. Naturally, I have to foist it on you.

[Edit: Incidentally, the title, best as my poor skills at translation go, is “Warmagic”. I welcome corrections for those more familiar with the language.]

Drift.

©2021 Michael Raven

The leaves danced down the abandoned asphalt street, the sound of dried, hollow bones in their wake. Logan had not wanted to be here, had not asked to have this so-called gift, had not wanted anything at all to do with the past few eons other people measured in months. But no one had bothered to ask for his opinion on the matter, had even thought to ask him. Even now, the only reason he was here was yet one more thing he could not control: love. He loved her, and so he had fallen victim to the final sordid conspiracy surrounding this whole affair. Were it not for love… No. He didn’t want to think about such things.

Logan was unsurprised to see the man who was the cause of all these problems step from the shadows of the tangled tree like something from one of those cheap matinee monster movies from his youth. Everything about Klein oozed a plastic pastiche borrowed from some kind of camp warehouse. “You came,” he said, his voice slick with oil, and this, too, was something entirely predictable for Logan.

“I did,” he said without emotion. “Where is she?”

“We’ll discuss the girl after you’ve opened the door.” In his hand, the glint of metal reflected in the light of this place between worlds. Behind the tree, then.

It could be any door, Logan knew, so he walked up to the wrought-iron cemetery gate and put his hand on the rusted metal, cold to the touch. “Give her to me,” he said.

“THE DOOR!” Klein shouted. “Open the fucking door and you get the girl! That’s the deal! You stretch this out and I’ll slit her fucking throat!”

Logan cracked the gate, letting sunshine pour into this October country. Klein flashed a toothy grin.

“Give me Klaris, or I shut you in here forever.”

“I’ll slice her…”

“You slice her and I don’t care if either of us leaves. Do it, or give her to me.”

Klein paused, considered. And then dragged her into the dim light and pushed Klaris, stumbling, towards Logan.

Klein squealed as he ran to the gate, anxious to be rid of this prison. Until Klaris tripped him and he slid on his face to Logan’s feet.

Brushing herself off as she stood, Klaris spoke. “Not so fast, you bastard. We’re not done talking yet…”


Exploration. I occasionally consider returning to a terrible, no good, very bad novel I’ve been rehashing over and over in my head since about 1996. Actually, I wrote a two-pager in 1996 and forgot all about it until I stumbled on it around 2001 and I wrote the better part of a novel in serialized format until I painted myself into a corner with the plot. It was called “Drifter” and the biggest issue it had was that I never got around to connecting that initial fragment to the story enough to justify what the character “Drifter” was all about. But it was terrible in a number of other ways, while still having some promise in fits and starts.

After I had written about half of it, I rediscovered Siouxsie and the Banshees after a long hiatus of listening to earlier albums. One of the albums I hadn’t purchased carried a track called “Drifter” and this was probably another reason why the whole story fell apart so badly — I loved the lyrics and started to model the character after the song. In fact, if I were start from scratch, I think the song would be the primary inspiration for Drifter instead of the reluctant pseudo-vampire ash cursed thing he was supposed to be originally.

Anyway, the above is improvised, working off the ghost of a scene that I might write if I went back to it.

The lyrics are:

Drifter sleepwalk, drifter sleep talk
Awake to who is following
Moving like water, moving drifting on the wind
A drifter coming in

Then I dreamt that I awoke
And all around was asleep
With eyes in the back of my head
Awake to who is following

Drifter coming in
Never touching down, never leaving ground
A twilight world in which we roam
Still we don't belong, drift on

At daybreak, we walk
At daybreak, we talk
Ready to tear up the world

Drifter sleepwalk, drifter sleep talk
Your everywhere is home yet you never take hold
Wanting to live everywhere not wanting to live anywhere
A twilight world in which you roam
Still you won't belong, drift on

Drifter... Dream on.