Welcome to Bushwick Loudly: your newest offshoot of Bushwick Nightly, where we used to highlight what cool things you could do on a given night in a neighborhood that was once called NYC’s party capital. But now, well, now we’re still at home.
But, y’know, so what if we’re no longer making weekly treks to the aging Victorian punk houses on Bushwick Avenue or to the local Rave-borhood of East Williamsburg, with its semi-derelict lofts and massive warehouses? There still remains a thriving community of artists and musicians keeping the dream of self-created, self-sustained, and self-defining music alive.
We want to showcase the depth of the scene that remains thriving in our corner of the world — still making, still collaborating, still sharing. We want to focus on the vanguard in sound, representation, vibe, and themes. We want focus on music that defies the mindbeams being blasted from the radio, denies the pablum resultant of corporatization of our artistic consumption and offers pure artistry without the filters of privilege, access, and gatekeeping that shrouds even the Pitchfork-iest of releases.
For now, we may be six feet apart, but we can still be loud. Bushwick Loudly.
Goth Girlfriend: “Bloodlines”
Sometime in the last couple of years the prefix “nu,” as affixed to, say, metal or hip hop, went from being wildly derided to being the apotheosis of the Soundcloud era of music. Noise, metal, hip-hop, trap, and rave have been put into a blender and what comes out is a kind of music that skates the line of unpalatable and the best thing you’ve ever heard. It’s like putting beets in your juice, you didn’t realize you’d like it this much and it makes you look like you’re pissing blood.
This is the landscape in which Goth Girlfriend exists. Her solo act makes goth, trap, industrial, and hyperpop music that speaks to the nihilism of the internet generation, a generation whose every move has been put through so many filters that everything comes out both perfect and horrifically refracted.
On her single last month, “Bloodlines,” Goth Girlfriend gave us a song that requires a strobe warning (ok, technically the strobe warning is just for the video but the song is strobe vibes all the way.) It’s a sound she’s been honing since her 2019 EP, Sex Sprain, but “Bloodlines,” is darker and more intense. Goth Girlfriend buries earworm pop hooks in layers of tinny synths and thwomping basslines and leaves listeners with songs that are as abrasive as they are re-listenable.
A NYC-native who moved to Bushwick three years ago, Goth Girlfriend was formerly a regular DJ, performer, and audience member at places like The Glove (RIP), Heck (RIP), Bossa Nova Civic Club, and H0l0 in Ridgewood, the latter routinely beckoning internet-era goth-metal-wavers beyond the easterly edges of Bushwick. With all of these locations closed, Goth Girlfriend’s aural onslaught is a welcome sojourn into the distinctly-of-our-time angst and cynicism, all delivered with a laconic smile.
Goth Girlfriend cites influences like Brooklyn’s Machinegirl, Marilyn Manson, and the Russian terror-core duo IC3PEAK, whose singer uses her scream-like high pitch vocals to spew the sardonic and gritty lyrics one expects from post-comunist Moscow. As we teeter on the brink, living in a country where ghoulishness pervades our politics and our public space, we welcome the hardcore, futurist sounds that reflect the hardcore, futurist times we live in.
Lights With Fire: Afterthought
The 90s were… a time. Girl-with-guitar folk pop swept through the country (or at least the soundtracks of Felicity and Dawson’s Creek) while quietly, in the Midwest, math-rock-emo and post hardcore bands were tumbling their way over the frets and into our ever-so-aching hearts.
Although the 90s are now long ago, in the intervening years those genres have remained highly gendered. Folksy guitar blues has remained centered around the emotionality of female soloists like everyone’s new favorite sad girl, Phoebe Bridgers. Math rock, arguably made famous by the cult fanbase of the barely-out-of-adolescence and all-male American Football, still features only a handful of female or female-led bands.
As R.E.M said “everybody hurts”, but when did we decide that our pain must be expressed across such a gendered binary?
Enter a bands like Lights With Fire, a recent transplant to Bushwick from Pensacola, Florida. The group has all the trappings of post-hardcore emo — occasional horn included — while lead singer Samantha Stott adds folk-tinged vocals more reminiscent of the Angel Olsens than the Mike Kinsellas of the world.
The group released their first full length, Afterthought last April on the heels of their 2018 EP, Disorientation. The new record, Afterthought is a Sufjan-style concept album that details a day in the life of a skeleton experiencing life after death.
With Afterthought, Lights With Fire delivers the yearning sounds and aching nostalgia of a melancholy past while decidedly speaking from a non-gendered future. It’s the perfect soundtrack for an era in which our hearts are on our sleeves more than ever. We’re all ready to explore our feelings. After all, what else is going on?
Does your Bushwick-based band have a new release? Contact Bushwick Loudly here.
Top image via Goth Girlfriend.
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