Vinylthon 2020: The Grand Vin-ale with DJ D
by DJ D // Dark Entries: Goth Radio
Hi, kids. DJ D from Dark Entries: Goth Radio here. Like most of you, I have spent the last few months finding inventive ways to fill the time and take my mind off of, well, everything. In that spirit, while redesigning my office the other day, I dug through my old vinyl collection and put on some long-lost classics and oddities. I play a good bit of vinyl on my show, but I thought now would be a great time to show off some predictable Goth classics that have made their way onto the show, as well as some oddball selections you may not be familiar with. Here we go!
Black Sabbath — Black Sabbath (Warner Brothers Records – 1970)
Man, what can I say about this album that hasn’t been said by journalists way more talented than me? This is one of the black jewels of my collection, and it kicks off perfectly with “Black Sabbath”, which is not only my own personal favorite Sabbath track, but is the song that has been credited with single-handedly introducing the world to doom metal. While this is not the first album to explore darker themes in music, this single album was its own musical big bang that resulted in an undeniable distribution of gloomy DNA that can still be heard in several established genres today. Dark Entries: Goth Radio probably wouldn’t exist without it. For extra credit, I would also recommend Type O Negative’s cover of “Black Sabbath (From the Satanic Perspective)”. It is every bit as good as the original, with a twist only Type O could provide. (Editor’s note: Listen to Type O Negative immediately.)
King Crimson — In the Court of the Crimson King (Atlantic Recording Corporation – 1969)
Switching gears now. Here is my own back story with this one. It was the fall of 1996 and I was just getting to know my new freshman year roommate at USC, a music nerd named Matt. I knew he was into a lot of bands that I had never heard of, but I had no idea what I was in for. True story: Only a couple of weeks into the semester, I walked into the dorm one day to find this album blasting from his turntable, while he was hopping up and down on his bed, wearing nothing but a pair of tighty-whities and holding this album cover up to his face. And that was my proper introduction to Matt, King Crimson, and the world of prog rock in general. It wouldn’t take long for me to learn how much of a seminal album this was, and it’s one of my favorites to this day. It may surprise a few to know that when I’m not spinning spooky tunes, I spend a lot of time geeking out over fantasy lyrics and impossible time signatures. My side gig is as a major prog nerd, although I personally do it fully clothed. This album is iconic in the prog scene and was even once mentioned in a hilarious scene in The Venture Brothers. Plus, check out that gatefold artwork!
The Smiths — Strangeways, Here We Come (Rough Trade Records – 1988)
While the album originally came out through Rough Trade back in ’88, this particular record is actually a Brazilian pressing that was sent to me by my friend Molly, a longtime listener of the show. Thanks, Molly! Being a DJ at the station has its perks. While I used to be much more dogmatic in making distinctions between who is a Goth band and who’s simply gloomy pop, The Smiths, along with other bands like The Cure and Siouxsie and the Banshees (more on them later), were one of those bands that unintentionally straddled that line so well that their fanbase is embraced by all sorts. No matter where you sit on that argument, there is no denying their influence, unique sound, and impact on college radio. Plus, this album is just damn good, and contains one of my faves by them – “Death of a Disco Dancer”.
Joy Division — Unknown Pleasures (Factory Records – 1979)
Joy Division’s first album basically set the standard for a million post-punk bands to follow, such as The Editors, The Killers, and to some extent Interpol, although they deny that claim. This is essentially one of those albums that is perfection from start to finish and is absolutely required for any self-respecting vinyl enthusiast. Its only downside is the million t-shirts, memes, and bad tattoos that are inspired by its iconic cover and brandished by people who have no idea where that design originally came from.
Xmal Deutschland — Fetisch (4AD – 1983)
Here is another one that I have a very personal connection to. I first discovered Xmal with the track “Incubus Sucubbus II” on the first Gothic Rock compilation by Cleopatra Records. That comp also happened to be my introduction to the entire genre of Goth , but that’s its own post. I instantly fell in love with the track and had to find more by this band with pounding bass lines and shrieking German vocals. Years later, they would go on to become one of my favorites. I found this at Papa Jazz in Columbia, and it was the best $5 I’ve ever spent (note the sticker on the top right). They had a relatively short career (only four albums over the course of six years), but left a huge mark on the scene, even if their sound took a turn into the mainstream near the end by leaning more toward pop and incorporating English lyrics. The band split in 1990, and although all hope of a reunion is probably a pipe dream, I still have a massive crush on Anja Huwe, with her piercing eyes and shock of platinum hair. A boy can dream. Today, their influence can be heard in bands like Belgrado, who I also highly recommend.
Siouxsie and the Banshees — “Arabian Knights” (Passport Records – 1981)
This is actually the single for “Arabian Knights”, which appears on my favorite Banshees album, Juju. I have many amazing memories of walking around campus during my semester abroad in England a million years ago with Juju channeled into my ears via my Walkman (’90’s, everybody!). That album will indelibly be linked to those four months at university in my formative years. This quickly became one of my fave Banshees tracks during that time, and it still gets a lot of play on the show. The title track takes up all of Side A, while Side B has the three b-sides: “Supernatural Thing”, “Conga Conga”, and “Slap Dash Snap”. Of the three, I’d say “Conga Conga” is my favorite, although it sounds much more like something from their Kaleidoscope album, in my opinion. Side note: We have a surprising amount of Siouxise vinyl at the station, which includes albums and singles, but I believe I snagged this one at a record fair somewhere.
Dokken — “Dream Warriors” (Elektra/Asylum Records – 1987)
I had to do it. All horror fans know this one. It’s one of the most recognizable horror movie themes of all time, the official theme from A Nightmare on Elm Street Part 3. I SO miss the days when films, particularly horror films, had dedicated songs written by rock bands. We need to bring that back! While it is easy to write off some of them as cheesy novelty songs, the best ones, like this one, stand alone as genuinely good tracks. Well, it does to me anyway. This is the single of course, and the b-sides include “Back for the Attack” and “Paris is Burning”. But let’s face it, we all know why we’re here. I want to put this on RIGHT NOW and belt it out. “For-EEEEEE-ver…and EEEE-VERRRRRRR!”
The Elm Street Group — Freddy’s Greatest Hits (RIC Records – 1984)
Hooboy, this is a treat. Distributed during the height of Freddy Mania, this is a collection of tracks by a studio group called The Elm Street Group that actually features Robert Englund himself interjecting and cackling over the them. Most of it is as cheesy as you would think from the album cover, but I’ll admit I genuinely love tracks like “Obsession” with no irony at all. I scored this at a flea market years ago. I spotted it and immediately said, “How much do you want for that?” The dealer responded, “Ten bucks,” and before he could spit out the word “bucks,” I barked, “I’LL TAKE IT.” He could have said “a million” and it would have been worth it.
Obernkirchen Children’s Choir — Folk Songs and Fairy Tale (Angel Records – 1956)
This was given to me as a birthday present by one of my besties, Donna (or, as listeners of the show know her, fan favorite “Donna Purge”, the hottest mortician in Columbia). From the back of the sleeve: “These ‘angels in pigtails’, as the late poet Dylan Thomas called them, are 31 girls and six boys who came from the quaint little town of Obernkirchen in Germany.” The album features classics like “Freund Husch (The Elfen Friend)” and “Das Echo (Echo Song)”. You guys know those, right? It’s actually pretty great and relaxing, and my favorite part is the title of the album itself. You get some folk songs AND fairy tale. That’s one fairy tale exactly. Don’t you DARE ask for another damn fairy tale. The terms have been very clearly laid out!
Thanks for reading along about some of my weirdo vinyl collection. Oh, I also have the entire Gremlins storybook and record set that Hardee’s distributed as a tie-in back in 1984, but you’ll just have to take my word for it. You can hear some of the stuff discussed on Dark Entries: Goth Radio when it returns in the fall, and on the podcast, which has several years’ worth of episodes: just click HERE.
Keep it spooky!