Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Goth Music for Beginners

For people already involved in the subculture this is going to be a little superfluous. (You'll have seen this post a million times. I'm just helping to spread the knowledge.)

This post is for anyone who's begun to show interest in Goth and need somewhere to start music-wise. All of these bands are widely acknowledged as some of the pioneers of goth, whether the artists themselves have excepted the term or not. Every babybat needs somewhere to start and I personally think you should have some knowledge of your roots if you're going to immerse yourself in a subculture.

One of the biggest mistakes people make when it come to goth is assuming that Marilyn Manson, Evanescance, Slipknot, Nightwish, HIM, My Chemical Romance, etc. are Goth. They're NOT. There's absolutely nothing wrong with liking any of those bands as long as you know that they aren't actually Goth. (I'm especially fond of My Chemical Romance and Gerard Way is one of my idols. Stand up for your music,  just know your genres.)

Here are some typical Goth basics to get you started.

The Cure

Fronted by Robert Smith the Cure was formed in 1976. Their dark, melancholy sound helped to front the start of the goth movement and more than one person went around sporting Smith's iconic teased hair and messy makeup. Of course with 13 albums to date there's been lots of room for experimentation and the Cure haven't always stuck to their Gothic roots, but their later songs are indicative of the fact that they really can make anything sound good can't they? (My totally biased opinion ^^)


The almighty Gothfather. They formed in 1978 with the legendary Peter Murphy fronting them and the music world was changed forever. Their debut single "Bela Lugosi's Dead" is infamous in the Goth scene and deserves every bit of credit given to it. When the band broke up Murphy started a solo career and the other members started Tones on Tail and Love and Rockets. They joined up again for a brief tour in 1998 and formed again in 2005 before breaking up in 2008.

Siouxsie and the Banshees

Starting off in 1976 as a product of the punk rock scene their style quickly became their own. Siouxsie Sioux and Steven Severin searched for a record label that would allow them full creative rights and thankfully that wish was granted. They broke up in 1996 and Siouxsie continued with her side project, The Creatures before starting a solo career.

The Sisters of Mercy 

The Sisters are an unusual case. Mostly because Andrew Eldritch is an ass. There are some Goths that probably won't even talk to you if you don't worship the Sisters (Some inner scene snarkery right there, which is ridiculous.) and yet Eldritch has spoken out against goths numerous times. We're a huge part of the fanbase and yet he alienates us? That makes perfect sense. The Sisters were formed in 1980 and have released three albums. A side project called The Sisterhood was formed at a point where Eldritch was having issues with other members (go figure) and later, when the other original members left, they formed Ghost Dance and The Mission.


A true Batcave band formed in the 80s. Specimen has been described as many things, someone even going so far as to call them a sort of "Death Bowie" (I'm not actually sure how to respond to that). Their mix of punk, glam, and goth made them one of the first ever Deathrock bands. An unusual fact about the band: The keyboardist, Jonny Slut, became the face of the band because of his sense of style. Unofficially he's sometimes credited with inventing the deathhawk.

Of course there's so much more. Christian Death, Fields of the Nephilim,  Joy Division...all of those bands helped front the goth scene.

Don't like any of those bands? Fret not! First of all, you might not like them now but who's to say you won't rediscover them later on. I despised The Cure when I first heard them a few years ago. People and tastes change. (And to be honest I've never gotten into the Banshees) Knowledge of your past is more important than actually listening to the music 24/7. It would probably help to have a fondness for Bahaus but it's hardly necessary.

There's all sort of other to listen to. The umbrella of music around the subcuture is enormous. Some more artists that are at the very least goth-friendly include Voltaire, The Cruxshadows, Emilie Autumn, Creature Feature, Rasputina, The Birthday Massacre, Johnny Hollow, Hannah Fury, Diva Destruction, Stolen Babies, Switchblade Symphony, Alien Sex Fiend, Clan of Xymox and 45 Grave. (Hopefully the hodge-podge of styles there will reveal something appealing to you.)

Try punk bands like The Misfits (despite the fact that hipsters  seem to have latched on to them) or the Damned.

Or maybe Steampunk is your thing? Bands like Vernian Process, The Cog is Dead, Abney Park and Dr. Steel might be to your liking.

What about electronic music? Try to get into EBM or Industrial. ( I confess I'm not very knowledable here so I won't be much help.) Clubs lately seem to play nothing but this, so you'll be in luck. (I've seen the lineups at the clubs nearest me and its depressing. I would like some "old" goth music, though I don't mind Industrial.)

I hope this helped anyone out there who's just starting out :)

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