Indie label Sacred Bones has been really killing it lately with experimental releases such as the upcoming Uniform 12 inch and the godlike John Carpenter Lost Themes volumes, as well as their reissues of classic weirdo stuff like Funeral Parade, the Eraserhead soundtrack, and my personal favorite: the Killed By Deathrock compilation.
Killed By Deathrock is, as the title suggests, a compilation of classic punk obscurities in the vein of the ever-popular Killed By Death series, but with a darker, creepier, white foundation and black mascara bent. “Deathrock,” for the uninitiated, was more-or-less the original unofficial name for what eventually morphed into the thing known today as “goth.” The term “deathrock” originated in the L.A. punk scene in the late 70s, used to describe punk bands that incorporated horror elements and spooky atmospherics, such as Christian Death, 45 Grave, Kommunity FK, and Radio Werewolf. For a time, some used it as a blanket term to also describe European post-punk bands such as Bauhaus or Southern Death Cult, but “goth” eventually emerged as the genre-identifier that stuck. There was certainly a marked difference between the campier, punkier L.A. bands and and the more brooding Euro set.
Whatever you feel comfortable calling these groups with pale skin and chorusy guitars and Bowie-impersonation to the nth degree vocals, there were a whole slew of them out there in the early ‘80s, many of whom are virtually unheard of today. Thankfully the good folks at Sacred Bones are plundering the graveyards to dig up some of these remains.
I can’t recommend Killed By Deathrock highly enough, so I was thrilled to learn that a second volume in the series is being released next month.
Checking the track list, I’m familiar with only about half of the bands, so this is going to be a treat:
1. Gatecrashers “Spectator”
2. Middle Class “A Skeleton at the Feast”
3. ADS “Waiting for the War”
4. Veda “Whiplash”
5. Skeletal Family “Promised Land”
6. Flowers for Agatha “The Freedom Curse”
7. “Dark Spirits”
8. Crank Call Love Affair “What’s Wrong Yvette”
9. Red Zebra “I Can’t Live in a Living Room”
10. Vita Noctis “Hade”
That’s a great Middle Class track from their underrated Homeland album, which was a far post-punk cry from their first seven inch—a record many punk historians consider to be the first “hardcore” record. This track has the Middle Class sounding much more like Bauhaus-like:
More after the jump…