ZyNg Tapes has just released the 5-track self-titled EP by Savage Goth. As usual with this label, the release is a complete work of art, this time issued as a turquoise cassette with on-body printing, matching turquoise case and full colour artwork, limited to just 50 copies. The band's name seems to be deliberately ironic - there is nothing savage about their music, and nothing particularly gothic, unless you're from the school of thought that sees dreampop as falling under the goth umbrella rather than the indie umbrella. Their style is influenced by classic indiepop and dreampop, whilst adding much to their sound that is new and creative. Ghosts is beautifully atmospheric dreampop, with lashings of cathedral-esque reverb, but presented in an updated form with the addition of electronic beats and synths. Manchester Tombstone Surfer Cult is in the best 80s-style DIY indiepop tradition. Lurker is brilliant jangly indiepop with ethereal undercurrents. Bloody Hell Fire is classic songwriting with a touch of laid-back US-style folk-rock, augmented by dreampop-style atmospherics. Revival is a multifaceted track putting an inventive spin on indiepop and dreampop. This is an absolutely fantastic tape; out of ZyNg's recent releases, this is the one that's most in keeping with my usual tastes, and I hope there will be more to follow in this vein from ZyNg in future. The tape has created quite a buzz already, and at the time of writing, only 5 physical copies remain, though a download version is also available for those who prefer that format.
In Savage Goth there’s Matthew Kenworthy, the dream-pop surf-gaze solo project from Manchester- please don’t mistake him for a heavy metal band. He’s set to release his self-titled, homemade album on the 4th of December, but two tracks are available to you right now. Manchester Tombstone Surfer Cult is the first, a beautiful ode to a Beach Fossils song. You notice the individual layers of sound, soft bass alongside the jangly, surfy guitar. And there’s a subtlety in it, the way the colours blend together, not too gaudy, not too bright. The vocals (it doesn’t matter that the lyrics are hard to distinguish) create a heartfelt harmony, in reply to the instruments.
Drum machines fade into Lurker. Toning things down a notch, warm synths, 80s gothic drone and same jangly guitar. It’s indefinitely pretty as it tenses at the chorus, a faint nod to a Mac DeMarco riff. Both songs are easy listens, gently joyful with plenty of emotional surge for when you’re feeling a bit romantic on the train ride home.
I’m pretty excited about Savage Goth, not only is it a cool name it’s possibly one of the best lo-fi releases to close off 2015. You can get your copy on limited edition cassette (only 50 copies worldwide from ZyNg Tapes) or on Bandcamp.