A Chilly Trip Through Houston Music's Dark Side

Tearful Moon challenges you to a Gothic danceoff this Thursday at Notsuoh.
Tearful Moon challenges you to a Gothic danceoff this Thursday at Notsuoh.
Photo by Angel Mavarez/Courtesy of Tearful Moon

Carl Jung did not know the beast that is 2016 when he said, “Knowing your own darkness is the best method for dealing with the darknesses of other people.” During these times of bizarre tension, this year seems to be particularly distressing: the rise of white nationalism; the strange, immediate terror of artificial intelligence; and don't forget our whirlwind presidential election that anointed “The Donald,” who in 1989 launched a board game called Trump: the Game. Who knows, Monopoly's Rich Uncle Pennybags might be on the ballot in 2020.

These are just a few things that have recently left a haunting impression on our psyche. But fret not, dear readers, for we must band together in strength and song, and not go gentle into that good night with these 13 darknesses from Houston artists who have devised their own doleful jives out of these heavy times.

SPLENDID EMBLEM, "A Vision of Hermes"
Catch the otherworldly psychic sounds of this ambient duo at Day for Night.

slowflood, "Wicked Game (slowflood dragged remix)"
slowflood's dense pop delivers a cryptic dose of witch house to Screw City. This seductive Chris Issak remix has just enough mystery to lull us into the night.

RICHARD RAMIREZ, "Retina"
Houston's own harsh-noise king creates a tumultuous, nosebleeding track sure to spook your neighbors.

TANNER GARZA, "Cowards Intuition (Chopped & Screwed)"
Experience Garza's ambient howling angst chopped and screwed, Houston-style.

//TENSE//, "Wasted Flesh"
Off their Consume EP, "Wasted Flesh" reflects the unknown lurking in the bayou. A highly danceable nod to Ministry and Nitzer Ebb.

TEARFUL MOON, "Rain of Sorrow"
Manuel Lozano’s moody synths and Sky Lesco's seductive voice lure the wary into Tearful Moon's Gothic dance-off. The duo opens for Soft Kill and All Your Sisters Thursday at Notsuoh.

SPIT MASK, "Choke Chain"
The in-your-face industrial outfit, another Day For Night artist, reeks of leather and lace, highly danceable muscle and hate.

DELPHINE COMA, "Moth Meets Flame"
Brooding synths and desire drive this talented female-led duo.

FRANK DAMBRA, "Cold Front"
Ambient landscapes reel in the uncanny with this intense, spaced-out track.

ROUGH SLEEPERS, "Savage Dream"
The dark-punk trio rises against the night with muffled and angst-ridden vocals sure to creep close to home.

AK'CHAMEL, THE MYTHIC TRIKSTERS, "He Who Swallowed the Universe"
Houston's unholy folk weirdos summon the sounds of the occult on this ominous ceremonial track.

SANDY EWEN, "Kangaroo"
The experimental guitarist brings Danny Karmis and Robert Pearson along on an avant-garde jaunt that sounds like a circus gone silently awry.

GIANT KITTY, "This Stupid Stuff"
Because what's more sinister than racism, sexism and transphobia in the American South?


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