Gothtopia has a new, longer drive to the sheet-music mines every day, the upside of which is that we get to listen to a lot more music in the car. Since much of our dedicated listening time is taken up with official assignments, drive time is one of the few opportunities we have to really sit back and relax to music.
It was on the drive this morning that we revisited The Cure's 2000 album Bloodflowers. Bloodflowers is the album that will always sum up the best of goth to us. It's dark, desperation and emotional honesty makes it one of the best things Robert Smith and the boys ever put out.
However, that's just one goth's opinion. So we decided that it was high time to ask the Gothic Council which albums best sum up our beloved subculture's music.
Joining the council this week is Ex-Voto front man Larry Rainwater, Carol Daeumer of Vaniteaux Salon, model Sarah Hill, Punky Moms founder Sarah Fanning, Toby rider of the Ft. Worth goth band Ending the Vicious Cycle, and fashion designer Batty.
Gothtopia: What album best defines goth?
Larry Rainwater: For me, it's The Sisters of Mercy's 1985 debut release First and Last and Always. Everything before this more than likely in the late '70s [and] early '80s was referred to as Death Rock. Well, at least in Hollywood it was.
No one ever yelled out the window of a passing car "GOTHS! LET'S GET 'EM" until after the Sisters came about. Before then it was "Lets get them Punks or Death Rockers."
Gothtopia: Were you jumped, Larry?
Larry Rainwater: I said passing cars. No one had the balls to actually stop.
Carol Daeumer: I'm going to go with the Church's Of Skins and Heart. Not so much because it's such a great album, but because it's more obscure than anything else mentioned. As you know that's the main criteria for choosing goth music. That and I've got it on cassette.
Sarah Hill: Obscure? How about Red Temple Spirits? Or The Fields of the Nephilim's Moon Child? I love The Screaming Marionettes' "Like Christabel" and, Xtal Deutschland, and Sleeping Dogs Wake, and...
Gothtopia: How about one album, Sarah? The one album that really defines goth, and why it does so to you.
Sarah Hill: Ah, then count me out. They all have some attachment for me. But if I had to choose, it would be Siouxsie.
Sarah Fanning: I have to agree with Siousxie. I do have a soft spot for the Cure's Head On the Door and Disintegration. I grew up in Middle of Nowhere, Pa., during the heyday of classic rock and '80s metal. I knew I hated that music, but hadn't found what truly spoke to me yet. Then I was introduced to Siousxie and the Cure... bliss!
Toby Rider: I was a teenager in the '80s in Los Angeles County. At that time there was an amazing music scene. We not only had exposure to all the great English bands, but we had a lot of homegrown talent as well, like 45 Grave, Ex-Voto, Kommunity FK, Mephisto Walz and Roz Williams' band.
It was a great time to be a music fan and a musician. I heard this music on KROQ, I heard and bought it at used record stores, and I got the opportunity to play in bands. Looking back on it, I had no idea of how lucky I was, or what a magical time it was
Tracy Robertson: I'm going with the Gothic Rock Volume 1 from Cleopatra Records. We all know that all goths try to sound obscure like we discovered goth via some secret cult of cool. The truth is half of us really found goth via some shitty compilation we found in high school.
I ain't gonna lie, I saw some guys with big hair writing Cure lyrics on the chalkboard in ninth grade and was like, "Ohh! I want to listen to whatever it is they are listening to."
Sarah Hill: I didn't get my knowledge from a compilation. I got mine via my ex and from high school. Fuck comps. They rarely have any of the good stuff I want. Or I already have it.
Batty: I didn't get all my knowledge from a comp, but I'm just saying personally I appreciated they were out there. I knew about bands like the Cure and Siouxsie and Depeche Mode of course, but I'm not going to pretend that I personally knew what genre that all fit under.
Those comps helped open my world to a whole new world of music in the early 90s so I will always give them props. I know a lot of you had the fortune of being a few years ahead of me so you got to hear the good shit first hand.
However as a 14 year old 1992 whose world consisted pretty much of going to church and swimming on the swim team in a small Houston suburb it was a pretty eye-opening experience to me to hear the stuff on some of those comps.
Gothtopia: It is the decision then of the Council that no one album will define goth. It shall remain a personal choice.
Keep the Houston Press Free... Since we started the Houston Press, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Houston, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Houston with no paywalls.