Despite the blue skies and relentless sunshine of the desert, the gloominess of goth-inspired music has a strong foothold in our fair state.
Gothic rock first emerged from post-punk outfits in the '70s, though it's certainly changed substantially in the decades since. Some naysayers claim that goth in its “purest” form is dead — but it’s clear that elements of goth still exist and serve as a stylistic or conceptual inspiration for many of today's musicians.
These five Arizona acts take inspiration from the goth subculture and musical style.
Lav Andula is an electronic noise goth artist in Tucson whose work displays elements of gothic sounds, complete with moody beats and dissonant vocals that ripple underneath a blanket of noise. Described by its creator as “feedback-driven harsh dance music to cry and spit blood to,” Lav Andula’s music is nothing short of fascinating.
Lav Andula’s most recent single, “Give Me an Excuse to Relax,” is available on Bandcamp.
From the outset of Phoenix band Closet Goth’s latest album, Heat-Oppressed Brain, the goth influence is clear. Along with the darkness that trickles out from their music, there is also a pop-dance energy that accompanies it. Closet Goth are a great example of how goth and electropunk work well together.
We asked Closet Goth what goth means to them. “Goth means pretty much nothing,” says lead singer Col Bauer. “With goth, it is implemented in our name due to the whole closeted nature of those that view themselves as goth. Now that goth is more popular amongst people with money, my name and the style feels so much cheaper.”
Heat-Oppressed Brain can be found via Closet Goth's Bandcamp.
Lana del Rabies
Phoenix's Lana del Rabies is another artist who lets the grime and darkness of noise and industrial elements envelope her sound. There’s a raw, almost animalistic yet feminine quality to her music, something entrancing and gently frightening all at once.
“I don’t claim to be a subculture expert, but goth to me is a general personal attraction to understanding the darker aspects of life without necessarily embodying those concepts personally,” says Sam An, the musician behind Lana del Rabies. “I think there’s a cliche that goths look scary but are the most sensitive and potentially kindest people, and I think that sums up the concept of goth music as well. Darkness is just an aspect of being alive, and exploring it can be done in a way that broadens your understanding of the world without becoming a dark or cruel person necessarily. It can actually be healing, give you more empathy and motivate you to do something radical, if leveraged correctly.”
Sam An is currently working on a new project and musical direction under the name Beata.
Gothic glam and psych pop merge in the work of Godstar, a Valley electronic band who have all the doom and gloom of historical goth music and the limb-swaying vibes of modern dance music.
“I think when people think of goth music, they just think of darkness, but there’s more to it than that,” says drummer Matt Hainlen. “It’s lively, it’s fashionable, it’s even religious. Our goth tendencies seemed to come pretty naturally; it was never something we had to discuss or agree upon. “
Godstar are currently working on their debut record. Their cassingle can be found via Bandcamp.
Body of Light
Body of Light describe their newest album, UBK — Nothing You Can Do, as an “exploration of American Disease.” It's an interesting album that has some unique elements of goth. A mix of sound collages and dark synth beats, Body of Light’s music is an excellently produced package of goth-inspired sounds that tell a story without a single word.
UBK — Nothing You Can Do can be streamed on Bandcamp.
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