Keep Me, Kill Me

This is Beth Noir’s list-

It’s approaching Hallowe’en so I hope you won’t mind a rather spiky and dark selection for this week’s challenge. I am not optimistic that the list will be universally loved, but I hope there might be something people will like, maybe a little bit, perhaps, I like them all anyway and so does Carlos, my decorated skull.

Dias de los Muertos skull 2011

So here goes…


1) Release the Bats by the Birthday Party

This is song includes lyrics about horror, bats, vampires and sex and as usual with the Birthday Party straddles the line between utter chaos, discord and music.

2) Ruins by O.Children

Oh, that deep voice and moody atmosphere…

3) The Writing on My Father’s Hand – Dead Can Dance

I love Lisa Gerrad’s voice, accompanied by a harpsichord, a little oasis of calm in the storm.

4) Dead and Gone – The Unsettlers

In contrast, The Unsettlers have 11 members and tend towards a full sound, doesn’t it make you want to dance?

5) Ballerina by Razorbladekisses

Vocalists Layla and Azadeh have scary dolls, but they look so pretty in their gothic lolita dresses, I want to play with them.

6) Whitechapel by S.C.U.M

Swathes of sound that tick shoegaze boxes for me and the bass line is lovely. As it ends, I want to play it again.

7) Sleeping Pill -Queen Adreena

Sarah-Jane Garside is playing up Ophelia in this track, I think the delicacy of her vocals in contrast to the music is particularly effective.

8) Triple sex (March Violets remix) – Ulterior

Okay it’s repetitive and noisy, I do not apologise, get caught up.

9) Breathe by Abney Park

Steampunk have some good singers as well as costumes and books.

10) My Secret Friend (Featuring Imogen Heap) – IAMX

Chris Corner evoking a passionate and slightly disturbing relationship in a song, I hope he sometimes has a quiet, dull day.

11) Let Go – Siouxsie & the Banshees

A laid back finish with Siouxsie, couldn’t leave her out.

48 thoughts on “Keep Me, Kill Me

  1. We should have swapped weeks, beth, then your timing would have been dead-on.

    I’ll have to pack my list next week with plenty of songs from the dead.

    And other related ‘dead’ references……

    Will listen now, holy water and crucifix at the ready.

  2. Was so long since we got this up that i couldn’t remember what was on it!

    Definite keepers – Birthday Party, Ulterior, IAMX, and Siouxie of course, which was lovely. But if i have to choose one keeper, i think it would have to be Abney Park, that’s gorgeous. Bit Sticks-y?

    S.C.U.M. – Isn’t that the beautiful guy who married that annoying Geldof kid? She totally scored. Checked out their music before and thought it wasn’t bad. Like the one here too, but not as much as some others i’ve heard. But it does have some nice bass too.

    Toss – Dead Can Dance. Sorry Carlos, you handsome fellow, can we still be friends?

    Thanks, Beth!

    • thanks so much for posting this for me amylee, I am glad that you liked quite a lot of the songs. Yes, S.C.U.M’s lead vocalist is the rather Nick Cavesque Tom Cohen who is married to a Geldolf and was on the front cover of Hello! magazine. I still like the music though.

      That may not be the best example of Dead Can Dance, but I wanted more female vocalists, so I found a track without Brendan Perry, even though I love his voice.

    • I agree the Abney Park track is a bit Sticks-y, they bill themselves as steampunk, not sure what that means, but vocalist Robert Brown has a voice I really enjoy hearing.

  3. Good Morning Beth – And morning probably has affected my choices. A list I should be listening to closer to midnight I’d say. I really liked Queen Adreena, Ulterior(easy to get caught up), Abney Park & of course Siouxsie. Still if I’m keeping one, it has to be Dead & Gone. Can’t resist a dance even with the dead. One to bury? Sorry, but My Secret Friend should remain unknown (or undead?). While I’m here I’ll just leave these unclaimed “Spill points from last week. She Sells Sanctuary is easily my all time ski song and anyone who can balance a table while dancing to it deserves them. BTW if you can manage that balancing act skiing might be a piece of cake. Cheers. Off to work soon & hoping to see the first white up on the mountains.

    • Dead and Gone is addictive isn’t it? Glad you liked it. To be fair the table I was dancing on was of the sturdy wooden picnic variety, so it wasn’t much of a task to balance on it!

      So glad you liked Ulterior, I find them so exciting I’ve even pledged money towards their new album. Thanks for listening.

  4. 1) Release the Bats. Hmmm.. comic horror voice and drums reminiscent of the Glitter Band. Could have done with some verbs, adjectives, adverbs etc in the lyrics. Not v. impressed.
    2) Ruins. Another Hammer crypt voice but it fits well with the music. Convincingly muscular. Better.
    3) The Writing on My Fatherโ€™s Hand. Despite the threat of an over-dramatic warble in the voice, this is great. Slightly reminiscent of Nico’s Evening Of Light but, in a haunting song, that is far from a bad thing. Fix in place with a stake through its beautiful, cold heart.
    4) Dead and Gone. Like this too. Sounds like it’s being played in the saloon of a ghost town.
    5) Ballerina. More fantastic atmosphere. Love it, even as their teeth sink into my neck.
    6) Whitechapel. Nice initial build and I’m glad they cut back but the second build was a bit predictable. It needed a change from the four-chord repetition to make me like it. OK-ish.
    7) Sleeping Pill. Great rhythm track. Glad it resisted the temptation to rock out but I’m not sure it made the most of its foundation. Am I allowed to say I’m quite attracted to the ‘little girl’ voice (given current news revelations)?
    8) Triple sex. Played loud in a dark, sweaty club there’s a remote possibility I’d get ‘caught up’ in this. But not in the middle of the day.
    9) Breathe. Good voice. Quite pleasant. Is that an insult? Needed a chorus/bridge.
    10) My Secret Friend. Nice ‘storm brewing’ feel. What I’d usually view as drum-crime here provides an on-going threat rather effectively. Nice balance of dark and light. I’m a long-time fan of songs about death and rivers.
    11) Let Go. I like the sparse backing. Siouxsie is an artist that I’ve never quite ‘got’ but am so glad exists. PJH’s Mum.

    Release ‘Release The Bats’ into the night to fend for itself. It’s naff, even if it’s a parody (which I suspect it isn’t).
    Some enjoyable, interesting music elsewhere (particularly 3,4 & 5); thanks, beth.

    • I appreciate you listening to them, even though the list might not be quite to your taste, Chris. Thanks! Queen Adreena usually get a lot louder than Sleeping Pill, and Katie Jane Garside often shouts as well as whispers and the contrast is the thing, I do love the restraint shown on this particular one and yes, it’s okay to like Katie Jane’s voice, she’s older than she sounds.

      I suspect that Release the Bats won’t mind being left behind, after all, Nick Cave has been disowning it since it was released because he’s not a goth at all, no siree.

      Interesting that there is no consensus on which song to kill or keep yet.

      • It’s a lot closer to my taste than several of the 10-from-11 lists we’ve had so far, beth. I like a bit of oddity, just as long as it’s wrapped up in music. Most of these are.

  5. I’ve always had a sunny disposition, a relatively swarthy complexion and no eyeliner, so I enjoyed this more than I expected to ๐Ÿ™‚

    Bearing in mind that I’m listening while working on my laptop in the middle of the day, rather than by candlelight in a haunted castle, these are my initial responses:

    1. The Birthday Party – now, I love later Nick Cave and understand the necessity of The Birthday Party. It’s fun; but I can’t imagine ever really wanting to listen to it.

    2. O.Children – does what it does well, but doesn’t really do anything for me.

    3. Dead Can Dance – the affinity between Goth and medieval wyrdness is interesting. I like this.

    4. The Unsettlers – I think you posted some clips of them on a ‘Spill challenge some time ago? Like this a lot.

    5. Razorbladekisses – I like the theatricality of this

    6. S.C.U.M. – hadn’t heard of them/him, but really liked this – a wonderfully 90s sound and something Brett Anderson-y in the vocals. You can’t really go wrong with that 4-chord structure, repetitive as it is.

    7. Queen Adreena – is this her from Daisy Chainsaw? Great atmosphere and vocals.

    8. Ulterior – again, this does what it does very well, but I can’t imagine the mood or circumstance where this is what I’d choose to listen to.

    9. Abney Park – isn’t that a CBeebies show? Rich voice, lovely instrumentation – I’d have liked to have heard it slowed down, without the ticking percussion.

    10. My Secret Friend – similar drum thing going on here, but as Chris says, it works rather well. I wasn’t really following the lyrics, which I probably should have been. (I like what I’ve heard of Imogen Heap too).

    11. Siouxsie – surprisingly laid back. Nice.

    So, lose: any from The Birthday Party, O.Children and Ulterior.
    Keep: plenty, but if I have to choose one, probably The Unsettlers.

    Beth, our respective music collections have some very clear areas of cross-over, then diverge in very different directions. I enjoyed the journey into mostly unfamiliar territory.

    A Venn diagram of Spillers’ tastes would be fascinating…

    • Thanks for listening, barbryn, I did try to avoid the ‘G’ word, but most of these are bands that goths tend to like, if not actually goths themselves.

      You’re right, I have posted about the Unsettlers before. This track is from their most recent album, a double CD called “Oil and Blood”. I mistook the exchange rate of Canadian dollars so it was more expensive than I expected to import it, but worth it, I think.

      It is her from Daisy Chainsaw and most recently Ruby Throat, I liked them too. I’m not aware of a Cbeebies show called Abney Park, there is a Victorian cemetery somewhere in London of that name though. Actually there’s an acoustic version of the song, but I prefer this with the violins.

      Various Venn diagrams would be very interesting, wouldn’t they? I’m glad we share some taste in music and that you enjoyed some of these. Yay for the Unsettlers, I thought they might prove appealing to a larger number of ‘spillers than the others.

      • “Abney and Teal” is the latest (rather wonderful) creation from Ragdoll, the cuddly evil geniuses behind Teletubbies and In The Night Garden. It’s set in a park.

      • ah, our children are older now, so we are Cbeebies free, I do sometimes miss Wendy and Spud from Bob the Builder or the joys of Pingu, and I am out of touch with new characters. Sounds good though.

  6. Am being very disciplined and not reading anyone else’s comments until writing mine – I’m far too easily swayed…

    The Birthday Party: I should know this song, shouldn’t I? And yet I feel like I’ve never heard it before. I like the twangy guitar stuff and it’s always nice to hear Nick, but the falsetto shrieky bits are a bit daft for me.

    O.Children: Nice baritone vocal. The song’s not massively grabbing me, but that might be because I’ve got half an eye on some Bake Off spin-off.

    Dead Can Dance: I do like her voice. She was on the soundtrack to “Gladiator”, wasn’t she? (I’m so mainstream…) Yeah, I like this.

    The Unsettlers: Ooh, it’s a bit oompah. Yeah, this is fun.

    Razorbladekisses: Hm, this is the first one I’ve really not liked. I can’t get on with that vocal. I find it a bit silly, I think. Sorry.

    S.C.U.M.: I like the sound of this one much more. Yes, much more up my street.

    Queen Adreena: I like the backing more than the vocal again. Nice bit of squelch. Weirdly, the singing in particular reminds me a bit of Bjork at points.

    Ulterior: I could imagine enjoying that more live than out of my MacBook’s tinny speakers.

    Abney Park: I’m quite enjoying the (relative) gentleness of this. And again, a nice deep male vocal. Yeah, I like this. Favourite so far.

    IAMX: It’s such a balancing act pulling off this sort of sound with sincerity, isn’t it? You can end up sounding either po-faced or parodic/downright silly. I think for me this song just about gets away with it.

    The Banshees: Well, it’s been 11 newies to me. Siouxsie’s voice is so distinctive, isn’t it? I love it, perhaps more for nostalgic reasons than anything else. Keep.

    Well, I think this is probably the most ‘niche’ list we’ve had yet – and well done, Beth, for not watering your tastes down for the masses. I’m afraid Razorbladekisses get the heave-ho from me. And Abney Park is the definite keeper.

    • Thanks very much for listening, Bish, my heart is warmed by all the ‘spillers braving the list despite quite a lot of the bands being not very well known. What an open minded lot you all are. I am pleased that you liked Abney Park, I do have a terribly soft spot for a deep male vocal, I struggled not to have the whole list gravelly and deep!

      I don’t know why you should know the Birthday Party, they’re a long time ago and not anything very original, but I tend to like any early Nick Cave even the Boys Next Door!

  7. Damn. Don’t know ANY of these songs ( know some of the artists, obv). But til I can worm a cheap package upgrade out if BT, I just daren’t listen, as it would cost me as much to do that as it would to buy the damned things from iTunes on the first of a month.

    Busy for rest of week – including being in the Mayor’s Olympic Reception & Parade on Friday eve, you Manchester residents – and away in London til NEXT week’s TOFF after that, so see you in November!



  8. 1. Birthday Party – One of their handful of really good tracks. Great bass and drums. Stays

    2. O.Children โ€“ Into tricky territory for me as I’ve ever really got on with post-80s goth. But this was quite good – builds up well, reminds me a bit of certai big 80s bands

    3. Dead Can Dance โ€“ not my thing BUT we used them at our music so I really can’t bin this.

    4. The Unsettlers โ€“ Not what I expected! Quite liked it but I wouldn’t dance to it! Vocalist sounds oddly familiar?

    5. Razorbladekisses โ€“ I’ve seen these live! At Rebellion!! On a Sunday lunchtime!!! But I didn’t like them. The looked good but the music was too clean for me, which I find with a lot of later goth.

    6. S.C.U.M. โ€“ Didn’t kow what to expect but I liked it. My favourite of the ones I didn’t know. Atmospheric.

    7. Queen Adreena โ€“ Iteresting , would need further listens – and where would I fit further listens in these days? I might do though, definitely curious. Sounds like Andrew Eldritch fially sacked Doktor Avalanche who joined this lot instead.

    8. Ulterior โ€“ Sorry, I know you like them. Noisy and repetive can be fine but I didn’t like this despite the magic words “March Violets”

    9. Abney Park โ€“ No, didn’t like this

    10. My Secret Friend โ€“ Another one that would need further listens.

    11. Siouxsie & The Banshees โ€“ I know this song. On holiday at Minehead Butlins in 84 I remember trying to play Swimming Horses on the jukebox – it played this instead. Then one day it was played on a golden oldies show on Radio 1 by a certain dj who is deceased and in the news a lot just at the moment. He introduced it as Swimming Horses. Clearly there was a pressing mix up , I think this was the b-side. I like it, they were quite good at ballads.

    Abney Park go in the bin I think

    • oh, you’ve seen a band in my list and I haven’t, boo! I do think that is Razorbladekisses best song by a country mile and they look very good, sorry to hear they disappointed live.
      I thought you might be more familiar with the artists than most, glad you liked some of them. I think it was the B side of the Siouxsie song, I thought it showed a different side to the ice queen.

      Tracey Pew’s bass on the Birthday Party is always so primal, he and Rowland S Howard made a delightful noise I always think. I get the impression that punks generally don’t like the Birthday Party, but I love ’em.

      Thank you for listening.

      • I find a lot of punks tend to like a good old fashioned 3 chord riff with their noise whereas the Birthday Party didn’t really go in for that. I find a lot of their stuff difficult but Bats is a good one. I could be wrong but they were probably most influential on all those really noisy mid-80s indie bands eg The Membranes, more so than on other goth bands.

      • the BP did cover a wide variety of sounds, not all of them worked, but if I want something loud they work for me. Thanks for the insight.

  9. I just lost my whole post on the second to last one, and I’m disinclined to start over. I enjoyed nearly everything. Highlights are Dead Can Dance, SCUM, Queen Adreena and Siouxsie. Number One to go. Really enjoyed it Beth and again, thanks for the intro to SCUM on the Spill Challenge last year and the nod to the free sampler. I listen to it very often.

    • Sorry to hear you lost a post ๐Ÿ˜ฆ

      The female vocalists worked best for you then? I’m glad you liked some of them! I’m still ambivalent about SCUM, I like the music, but don’t want to like the band, the album has some good tracks on it though. Thanks for listening ๐Ÿ™‚

  10. Started listening to this at 23.59 … nearly the witching hour.

    1. Birthday Party – Nul points, I’m afraid. Is it serious?
    2. O Children – Good intro, good energy, not sure about the vocal but OK.
    3. Dead Can Dance – very lovely, definitely stays.
    4. The Unsettlers – Like this too, a sort of jolly Johnny Cash?
    5. Razorbladekisses – Vocal grates a bit but the backing lopes along like a shadowy wolf in the trees … keep.
    6. S.C.U.M – A bit too disco-beat for me but don’t feel violently about it either way.
    7. Queen Adreena – Confession time – I have A Queen Adreena CD, “Taxidermy”, so I like this.
    8. Ulterior – Yep, I could get caught up in this. Crank up the volume.
    9. Abney Park – Reminds me of track 2 in terms of vocals.
    10. My Secret Friend – I had lots of secret friends when I was young, but fortunately they never took me swimming. Now I just talk to the cat. (Nice vocal).
    11. Siouxsie Sue – Yes, it’s OK though my cat leaped off the table.

    So I like nearly everything, but Birthday Party has to be cast out in the sunlight to sizzle. Thanks for coming out of the coffin, and thanks to Amy for posting.

    Tired now.

    • Ah, we are getting a collection of nos for the Birthday Party, it is a bit comedy horror, I suppose, I think there’s a whole genre of it now, maybe it was a mickey take, but Nick Cave had the hair for it, when it was released.

      Thank you very much for listening, Ali, sorry Siouxsie disturbed the cat, I thought it was one of her less disturbing songs.

      Hope you had a good sleep and no bad dreams.

  11. The great goth songs are incredibly personal. They help me feel like there is after all another person in the world who could ever feel like this

    I could listen to Antony all day. And Murder By Death. But they can stab so deep it’s not so easy. (There’s a couple by Evanescence and VNV Nation that hit home, too.).

    These don’t – sorry Beth.. There’s a commitment of real feeling that seems missing. But in goth a song is either your BFF or it isn’t, so who am I to say!

    • I appreciate you listening, especially as the songs didn’t appeal, Tin. They weren’t as goth as all that really, kind of indie goth, or different genres from the artists you mention anyway. I’d be interested to hear which songs by Evanescence and VNV Nation you’d recommend and I don’t think I’ve ever hear Murder by Death. As to the list, well, can’t win ’em all, thanks for trying.

  12. Release The Bats – The first time I heard this I thought it was ok and hearing it again now I still think it’s – erm – ok. A bit like Pere Ubu in some ways. I still like their stuff more though.

    Ruins – Not bad but didn’t really engage me.

    The Writing on my Fathers Hand – Never heard this before – loved it. Skeletal and atmospheric. I know the band’s name but none of their songs. Should I assume that this is not representative?

    Dead and Gone – Jolly and doomy. Not a bad trick. Liked this more on the third play. Good one.

    Ballerina – I’ve been racking by brains about who this reminds me of. Drew a blank but I did like the vocal and the theatricality.

    Whitechapel – Hey fact fans – Valerie Solanas wrote the “Scum Manifesto” and she meant it to be read as “scum”. Her publisher invented the acronym S.C.U.M and it’s alleged meaning. Anyway I thought this track was pretty good in a Suede/Associates sort of way.

    Sleeping Pill – Oh now this I like a lot. Very hypnotic.

    Triple Sex – Liked this. Would have liked it a lot more if I could have played it louder and with more bass but my comupter and headphones were not sufficiently robust.

    Breathe – And what – may I ask – is “steampunk”? (asks Judge Cocklecarrot). Atmospheric enough but not something I would search out I think.

    My Secret Friend – Liked but didn’t love. Possibly could learn to love, Certainly very plaintive.

    Let Go – I do love a bit of Siouxsie but I am besotted with the first Banshees album and have to adjust my ears for any subsequent, more floaty, offerings. Still gorgeous of course. I’ve never heard anything by S or the B’s that I didn’t love.

    So I would rescue Siouxsie from the waves and consign O.Children to the deep. At least I’d do that this week.

    • very glad you had a listen and liked some of the songs, Severin, I sort of expected you to like the Siouxsie song, so I’m glad you did.

      Dead Can Dance cover a lot of different sounds really, at times folky, classical, world musicish, ambient… often they include the baritone vocals of Brendan Perry as well as Lisa Gerrard. I didn’t like them the first time I heard them, but was persuaded to persevere and I’m glad I did. My favourite album by them is Toward the Within, which is a live one. Sometimes I feel they take themselves to seriously, but they’re Australian, so maybe I’m misunderstanding them?

      Really happy that you liked the Ulterior track, they may not sound new, but conviction is all, I think. Thanks for listening ๐Ÿ˜‰

  13. Oct 30- Chris

    Nov 6 โ€“ Abahachi

    Nov 13 โ€“ Gentle Irish Punk

    Nov 20 โ€“ DsD

    Nov 27th โ€“ ?

    Schedule to date (has anyone seen our Irish friend around this week? hope he’s just on holiday)

    27th still open for any takers (Pairubu? Llama? Zala? Tempus? GHE? Blimpster?) before the series goes on hiatus for the holidays.

    Anyone seen DebbyM around? Hope she’s well. She always had some good tunes too.

  14. OK, comments as I listen, as usual, and a decision at the end.
    1) Release the Bats This suitably unhinged. I think that this one should stay.
    2) Ruins He’s very overwrought isn’t he? This sound is what I always think of as quintessentially Goth.
    3) The Writing on My Fatherโ€™s Hand I love Dead Can Dance and like you Beth, I love Lisa Gerrardโ€™s voice. Beautiful, in an unsettlingly otherworldly way.
    4) Dead and Gone This one is quite odd, a kind of dark Mumford and Sons? Not really moving me much. Possibly one to depart?
    5) Ballerina Razorbladekisses have that Japanese cosplay look about them, don’t they. Quite good fun. It makes me think of a Violet Elizabeth Bott with psychopathic tendencies.
    6) Whitechapel I suppose that there ought to be a genre name for Gothic Shoegaze? Maybe โ€œsilver-embossed winklepicker boot-gazeโ€ or something? This one is OK and can stay.
    7) Sleeping Pill I always forget exactly how much electronica is in the whole Goth/Dark Wave scene. This is pretty good, quite compelling.
    8) Triple sex (March Violets remix) OK, but not really working for me, maybe another one that could be expelled from the safety of the cold, dark vaults?
    9) Breathe Abney Park is the location of a huge cemetery in North London, not too far from where I grew up. I imagine the band got their name from that? This isn’t as Gothy as I was expecting. Is Steampunk music a separate genre? It is OK, but I think it might need more listening to.
    10) My Secret Friend (Featuring Imogen Heap) I like this one a lot, very dramatic stuff. This is similar territory to Siouxsie’s Melt.
    11) Let Go And here is Siouxsie herself, with The Banshees. Impeccable. There is no way I would consider expelling the divine Siouxsie. Undoubtedly this week’s Queen of Darkness.
    An interesting selection, one that goes beyond what I’d think of as being Goth, but that isn’t a condemnation by any means.
    So, who is getting to feel the sharp point of my stake, leaving it a pile of dust blown away by the cleansing wind? I am arfaid that it will have to be The Unsettlers, Dead they may be, but they are also GONE.

    • thank you for such a detailed review! I was trying to bring a fairly wide spectrum of music which goths like, rather than trad goth, which is quite like trad folk in its relative sameyness. I like it, but I’m aware that it is a rather acquired taste.

      Poor Unsettlers, being compared to Mumford and Sons! They are not my usual kind of thing, not sure what their genre would be, I found them on a Canadian radio station sampler.

      Love your description of goth shoegazing, you should patent that, funnily enough I believe Mr Cohen from the band SCUm does favour pointy boots. Possibly there is at least one member of each band that wears winklepickers, I may have to test this theory.

      Funnily enough, O. Children claim not to be goths at all, despite touring with Ulterior and calling themselves after a Nick Cane song. They don’t look the part, but that is a very deep voice, isn’t it?

      Glad Siouxsie won, I love that track too. Thanks again ๐Ÿ™‚

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