Time to book your plane tickets to Germany for a cold-wave extravaganza: The second annual Cold Hearted Festival will happen in Dresden on the 18th of November this year! Described as a congregation of ‘international artists, labels and of course you, who love, live and breathe this music,’ this party will include cold wave, post-punk, synth wave, and other similar genres, sure to melt even the iciest of hearts.
This year’s stellar lineup includes She Past Away, Ploho, Vision Video, Kontravoid, Minuit Machine, Agent Side Grinder, and more. Here is a rundown of performers:
Turkish post-punk duo She Past Away, consisting of Volkan Caner (vocals, guitars and songwriting) and Doruk Ozturkcan (drums, synthesizers and production), experiments with the old/new aesthetics of synthesizer music and minimalist poetry sung in Turkish.
Gothic pop/post-punk duo Vision Video hails from the Peach State of Georgia, describing their sound as “goth pop for sad bastards.” Charismatic lead singer and guitarist Dusty Gannon, who served in the Army in Afghanistan and as a firefighter in the civilian world, is no stranger to the darker tendencies of humanity and death itself. “I wanted to write music that would help people remember that it’s okay not to be okay.” In addition to Dusty Gannon (also famous on TikTok for his role as “Goth Dad”), the band includes Emily Fredock on keyboards, Dan Geller on bass and Jason Fusco on drums.
Forever Grey was formed in Los Angeles, California by Kevin Czarnik (Milliken Chamber, Prudence, Belladonna Grave) and Samantha Kubiak. Soprano Anna Schmidt also participated in the last album and performs live.Their dark, atmospheric sound comes from driving rhythms of drum patterns with melodic bass lines, synthesizers and finely played guitar strings.
Kontravoid‘s masked mystique has remained for over a decade. Since the release of his self-titled album in 2012, Canadian Cameron Findlay has perfected dark pop with with his oeuvre that teeters between the EBM, electro and goth genres. His brilliant, scary and distorted echo vocals emit a deep sound, like an underwater growl, but the underlying synth-pop melodies always afford a degree of breathing room.
Parisian synth/cold wave outfit Minuit Machine present a subtle mix of mesmerizing and moving voices, poignant synth sounds and deep electronic beats. With their nostalgic yet modern melodies, they tell of their past, present and future: all those haunting and disturbing thoughts that remain taboo. Their cold electronic waves, catchy and mysterious at the same time, are emotional and extremely addictive.
Dark post-apocalyptic soundscapes driven by electropop-biting synth lines and minor scale hooks fuel the sound of S Y Z Y G Y X, the Washington, DC based solo project formed in 2018 by Luna Blanc. Luna experiments with different sounds regardless of what genre they belong to, which is why S Y Z Y G Y X’s music evolves from album to album.
Stuttgart coldwave outfit Die Skeleton emerged from the experimental post-punk project L U C ▲ at the end of 2010. Besides Gillian, whose musical roots lie in wave and neo-folk, the band consisted of the classically trained trumpeter Hannes Rief, who also played in an orchestra, and Max Rieger (later replaced by Samuel Savenberg), who was more influenced by techno. From these different orientations and the influences of EBM and synthpop of the 1980s a danceable, melancholic style, with fast beats, cutting bass lines, gloomy undercooled synth layers arose, underpinned by the coldness and dominance of the German lyrics – and, the last thing you would expect: a trumpet.
Swedish dark wave band Agent Side Grinder is strongly rooted in post-punk, industrial and dark electro, after which the band quickly made a name for themselves in the underground throughout Europe. They’ve expanded into a bigger and more structured sound, making them one of the leading synth-wave bands in Europe. In addition to many European tours and festival appearances, they have opened for Suicide and Laibach and collaborated with artists like Dirk Ivens, Kite and Henric de la Cour.
Geometric Vision formed in Naples in 2012. Currently the band consists of the 3 members Ago Giordano (Vocals, Synth, Drum Machines), Gennaro Campanile (Bass) and Roberto Amato (Guitar). The band combines a driving modern post-punk with the classic cold and dark wave. With each new release, Geometric Vision raises the sophistication of their music to a whole new level.
Russian post-punk/new wave band PLOHO formed in 2013 in Novosibirsk by vocalist and guitarist Victor Uzhakov, who was joined by Andrei Smorgonsky on bass and Igor Starshinov on synth. PLOHO’s music as well as the lyrics are influenced by the aesthetics and sound of Soviet bands of the late 1980s and early 1990s. The trio is one of the most prominent representatives of the newly created “New Wave of Russian Music,” also known as “Russian Doomers,” creating a dark and captivating blend of melancholic rock, post-Soviet post-punk, synth-wave and new-wave. The mainly dark songs reflect the cold and loneliness in the industrial metropolis, the tristesse of the harsh and cold everyday life in Siberia and growing up among crime and chaos.
Milliken Chamber is the creative synth-wave project of Kevin Czarnik and Anna Schmidt (ex-Prudence). Originally from Michigan, USA, Kevin and Anna now produce their music in L.A., creating an electronic cocktail of dark cold-wave and melodic danceable synth-pop. Kevin Czarnik is also successfully touring with Forever Grey and recently released a new album with his synth project Belladonna Grave. Anna Schmidt is a classically trained soprano and devotes herself to the more somber and experimental soundscapes with her solo project Jane Chain.
For more information about the festival and to purchase tickets, check out their website.
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