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Old 12-11-2011, 11:34 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Default It's Gothic Country Week!



Gothic country is a branch of Alternative Country that's typically got a dark sound to it and bleak subject matter. Couldn't find a definition for you, so you get my lazy and uneducated version.

RYM's GOthic Country chart.

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Old 12-11-2011, 12:35 PM   #2 (permalink)
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*Cracks fingers*

Your definition is pretty spot-on overall. Gothic Country often times rejects the trappings of current popular country music and chooses a more frontier/ rustic approach. This isn't always the case and some bands go more rustic than others. While there's no definitive birthplace for the genre, it's widely accepted that the genre saw it's modern incarnation in Denver Colorado, where many popular bands started, such as 16 Horsepower, Lilium, Slim Cessna's Auto Club, Jay Munly, The Denver Gentlemen, and Tarantella. Lyrically the genre usually deals with themes of alienation, religion, alcoholism/ drug abuse, abortion, murder, and relationships. The genre has seen a small explosion in popularity and has elements encompasses by other musicians who may not totally fit the bill like William Elliott Whitmore or the Willard Grant Conspiracy.

I guess the kid brother of the genre would also be the dark cabaret subgenre, which follows many of the same themes, but does so in a cabaret style, both in sound as well as aesthetics. Very showy with a heavy use of double bass, accordion, banjo and other instruments not usually found in modern music. Sometimes the music is apart of an actual show like with the band Circus Contraption. Lyrically the genres are very similar, however they differ in their delivery.

So yeah that's about all I got, have some music.

Gothic Country









Dark Cabaret





Sorry for the video overload.
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Old 12-11-2011, 01:44 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Circus Contraption is definitely my favourite group that I've discovered this year although Peculiar Pretzelmen are right up there as well.



Another Dark Cabaret group I've been digging is The Hellblinki Sextet.



Those Poor Bastards are definitely my favourite band from this genre though. Hellfire Hymns and Gospel Haunted are both brilliant.


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Old 12-11-2011, 02:10 PM   #4 (permalink)
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I don't mind Those Poor Bastards but they wouldn't be the first group I'd use to try and get someone into the genre. Their music is a little too over-the-top that it almost becomes comical. Still I do admire their steady stream of new music with either a new album or a new EP every year and their contributions with other artists to at least raise awareness of the genre. If Jay Munly had that kind of mentality I think the genre would be a bit more known, but he's happy doing what he's doing and I can't begrudge him for that.
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Old 12-11-2011, 02:12 PM   #5 (permalink)
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"Define the genre" was a poor choice of words. I just meant they were my favourite band in the genre.

And they certainly are over-the-top. But that's what is so great about them IMO.
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Old 12-11-2011, 02:19 PM   #6 (permalink)
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I find they get a little grating after awhile, however I do like how it shows the amount of diversity in a genre that sounds very niche. Still one cannot deny that they do embody the spirit of the genre in all aspects and that "gimmick" alone can be enough to intrigue people who's image of country is plagued by the pop shit on the radio. I've had a number of people tell me that they hated country before listening to a band I recommended and then fell in love with it after. That's really cool considering the stigma associated with the genre.
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Old 12-11-2011, 02:33 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Pop country seems to be the only thing the common person associates with the genre. It's usually "Country music sucks, but Johnny Cash is good." So when those people are introduced to something like Gothic Country and hear that it's classified as "country" it's a nice change-up to them, and they appreciate the eccentricity of it. I think weirdness is something alot of people are looking for in their music, regardless of whether it's a gimmick or not. It's certainly a major appeal for me. When I listen to Those Poor Bastards I feel like I'm being shouted at by redneck religious zealots, which is just cool. And I mean, if you like Circus Contraption, or any other Dark Cabaret group for that matter, how can the eccentricity of it not be a huge reason?
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Old 12-11-2011, 04:47 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Couldn't a lot of American IV by the JC be considered gothic country? I guess it's not always bleak or dark, but a lot of the covers deal in a sort of depressing subject matter.
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Old 12-11-2011, 04:52 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Oh of course, if anything the music of Johnny Cash and Hank Williams is largely the main influences for many of the modern Gothic Country/ Americana musicians. Almost every Gothic Country album I have has a cover of "Wayfaring Stranger" or "Walk the Line" or one of Cash's darker songs.

As for the TPB debate, I like a lot of the subtly found in some of the other Gothic Country bands. TPB is kind of like a sucker punch to the ears that does just tries a little too much to be the genre to the letter. I love their stuff, and I think it's important to the genre, but I kind of view them as the Immortal of the genre, detrimental to the progression of the genre, but not something one would want to listen to exclusively or even be chosen as the ambassador.
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Old 12-11-2011, 08:24 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Thom Yorke View Post
Those Poor Bastards are definitely my favourite band from this genre though.
Quote:
Originally Posted by LoathsomePete View Post
I don't mind Those Poor Bastards but they wouldn't be the first group I'd use to try and get someone into the genre. Their music is a little too over-the-top that it almost becomes comical.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Thom Yorke View Post
And they certainly are over-the-top. But that's what is so great about them IMO.
I'd have to agree. It's their over-the-top theatricality that clinches it.
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