Growing up right outside of New York City in the early nineties meant that I could actually discover music by listening to the radio – a novel concept these days, unless you’re talking college radio, online streaming or podcasts. Of course there was all of the mainstream crap that’s still out there today, but we also had stations like K-Rock that (back then) actually played current bands who weren’t wildly popular and/or didn’t create boring, formulaic radio rock. It was there that I first heard the Brooklyn “goth” band Type O Negative and became a huge fan. (I maintain to this day, however, that Type O is hardly a goth band – they’re way too sarcastic and not nearly gloomy enough.)
So I started searching for more dark music like them, and came across San Francisco band Switchblade Symphony (Cleopatra Records ). They were everything I was looking for at the time: creepy female vocals, synths, and drum programming. I picked up their first album, Serpentine Gallery , and listened to it constantly. The song “Dollhouse,” with its updated Siouxsie-esque sound, was probably my favorite. One of my good friends who I’d introduced them to bought Bread And Jam For Frances , and when we found out that they were playing live at Newark goth club QXT’s , we got tickets right away. At the show, they also played some new songs from the soon-to-be-released The Three Calamities .
I then somehow found myself in need of music that was even darker, and before I knew it I was at the local record store buying a copy of My Dying Bride ‘s The Angel and the Dark River (Snapper Music ). That album, while hauntingly beautiful, finally scared the gloom out of me. I understand now that My Dying Bride are classified more as doom metal than goth, but at the time I though they out-gothed my goth side.
I discovered what quickly became my favorite radio show, “The Industrial Revolution,” on WSOU , Seton Hall’s Pirate Radio (sadly, it’s no longer broadcast). The two-hour show aired once a week and played all of the latest and greatest goth/industrial/EBM out there, introducing me to acts like Front Line Assembly and Pigface . Pigface’s Gub even includes the track “Suck” written and sung by Trent Reznor before he re-recorded it for Broken .
Once I had heard enough on WSOU that I was no longer content just listening at home or in my car, I convinced my friends to come with me to QXT’s for their industrial night dance parties. Here we heard a lot more EBM, synth-pop and darkwave while dancing our butts off, including Haujobb , Bypass Unit , and Apoptygma Berzerk . The DJs would even mix in a few good natured 80s hits, like Gary Numan’s “Cars ” and Berlin’s “Metro “.
Nowadays, I go to indie rock shows, and Newark seems awfully far away from Brooklyn… But I’ll always hold a special place in my heart for the darker days of my past!