A Trio of Dark Delicacies from Part Time Punks

Okay, I’m not entirely sure dark delicacies is the right descriptor. But it sounded good as I was typing it, so it stays. Anyway, I’ve been away for the last week, both busy with long hours at work, as well as enduring a wonderfully off-putting nasal cold, the type that makes all things way more difficult than they need to be. So due to the inability to do much of anything outside of the aforementioned, I was forced to take the week off from all things creative, including this blog.

That said, I didn’t stop my music-based explorations while I was lacking the ability to breathe. I do listen to quite a bit while I’m working. And this post I’m currently writing is a direct result of that. Plus, I originally intended to get it up before said sickness, as well as work overload, occurred and consumed my life. In fact, I had a lot of things planned for the duration that fell by the way side. So here’s an attempt to put things back on track.

I was out at the Echoplex last Sunday, seeing a Vancouver-based indie rock/coldwave act called ACTORS. They were great, of course, if you’re into those super-bass heavy grooves that lurk in the alternative pulse-pounding shadows. And many months ago, I even recommended their single, “L’appel Du Vide.” This show is one of the intended posts that fell by the wayside. But it will be covered, once I get my bearings realigned.

Anyhow, I bring this all up, because it’s a Part Time Punks sponsored show. And in between opening acts, of which there’s always two or three, their DJ’s spin a plethora of intriguing and unheard of tunes, spanning all things psychedelic, shoegaze, dream-pop, post-punk, and synth/cold/darkwave, and just about anything with a wall of reverb or a fountain of feedback.

Under these conditions, I managed to Shazam three unique and all around exciting tracks that caught my ear, with the full intention of adding them to this blog. And I can say with all honesty, that I knew nothing about these three artists, prior to the authoring of this post. So I’ll do my best to provide a little insight and info from what I’ve gleaned in the interim.

FTR. Photo by Arthur Weed; sourced from artist’s Facebook.

First up is the French trio FUTURE, or FTR, which seems to be their preferred nickname, if their Bandcamp or Facebook pages are any indication. The track’s called “Colors,” and it almost rings of old school synth-industrial, mixed with some Jesus & Mary Chain “Reverence.” It also surfs the coldwave front, more darkly psychedelic than gloomy goth. And it feels a lot longer than it’s 4:45 min. runtime, but in an entirely good and generous way. Because it’s got a progressive foundation, which gets pretty noisy in the latter third, totally unexpected but entirely welcome.

Here’s “Colors” by FUTURE.

“Colors” from Future’s 2013 EP “Abyss.

Cruz de Navajas. Photo by Amelia Merrick; sourced from artist’s Facebook.

Next up is an act from Mexico City called Cruz de Navajas, which I believe stands for Cross of Knives, or Knive’s Cross. Either way, you get the general idea. The track’s titled “Imperialismo,” and is sung in Spanish, which is kind of refreshing. Not sure if you’d be able to tell, though, since there’s a lot of delay and sculpted distortion, vocalwise.

These guys skew a little moodier than the previous track, kind of skirting the era of “Faith”/”Seventeen Seconds”/”Pornography” Cure-related ambience. I love the alternative quote-unquote goth rock gloom guitars from theses times. The Cure are masters at it, so anyone who references the sound is in quite good company. They’re so saturated with misty atmospherics, chiming with room to breath, spacious yet full. But ultimately, I think it’s the dominant bassline that wins this one, complemented by sharp punctures of percussive rhythm. Like the aforementioned influence, it’s the defining backbone that pushes this one ahead.

Here’s “Imperialismo” from Cruz de Navajas.

“Imperialismo” from Cruz de Navajas’ 2018 album “Dominacion.”

Kælan Mikla. Photo by Yume No Yukari; source from artist’s Facebook.

Lastly, here’s a coldwave offering from Icelandic trio Kælan Mikla. This track’s titled “Nornalagið,” and like most things Icelandic, I’m pretty sure I have no idea how to pronounce it, nor what it means. But that shouldn’t get in the way of enjoying this one. Like the previous two, this one slots into the coldwave front with chilly dark abandon.

From what I can tell, Kælan Mikla are three women with a shadowy penchant for goth-inspired synth-rhythms, as well as uninhibited banshee screams. “Nornalagið” possesses an abundance of both, as well as some percussive sounds of industry. Plus, there’s plenty of atmosphere to boot. I keep thinking of all those films that use Iceland’s volcanic landscapes to depict alien worlds … slightly desaturated, barren and freezing, black sand and serrated rock, snow covered and overcast, empty.

Here’s “Nornalagið” from Kælan Mikla.

“Nornalagið” from Kælan Mikla‘s 2018 album “Nótt eftir nótt.

That’s a wrap on this trio of Part Time Punks offerings. I probably should’ve posted these separately, as I typically do. But they all came from the same listening experience, so it seemed the proper way. I’ll also add that I love the fact that this style of music stretches into so many parts of the world … France, Mexico, and Iceland. Times have definitely changed since the alternative and goth-inspired genres first took shape back in the early to mid ’80s. These days, we call it coldwave or darkwave or post-punk … or whatever. But it all comes from the same source. It’s food for thought. And on that note, I’m signing off.