Dark Matter Will Flow is an multiproducer experimental project featuring four members from Finland, Canada, Wales, and the United States. DMWF is Jeff Vicario, Joe Wilkie, Jeremiah Boothe and Craig Williams. I was first introduced to them by accident in June 2020 after stumbling upon their debut album “Into the Netherworld.” I was originally planning (for quite a while) to do a review of that album due to how transgressive and different it was, but I had a chance meeting with member Joe Wilkie via his Limbocast show. Before going onto his show I had ZERO idea that he had been a part of a project that I’ve listened to regularly since it hit the streets. He let me know that DMWF got together another album, this time a self-titled, and released it on September 6th, 2020.

Dark Matter Will Flow’s self-titled album artwork was created by Rachel aka “pickledfey” on Twitter. Rachel also did the artwork for “Into the Netherworld,” which featured a very similar style focusing on hands as the primary focus. This image channels “Pan’s Labyrinth’s” Pale Man complete with eyeballs on the palms of some very unnatural looking hands. There’s an oddly erotic vibe coming off of this image, I adore the red and black gradient style color scheme as well as the chalkboard tears below the eyes.

What I immediately felt when I heard DMWF’s self-titled album is how different it was from their first album. Gone was a lot of the harshness and pseudo-metal distorted sounds sprinkled throughout. The self-titled album is much more focused, much more aware of what it is, what it’s doing, and where it wants to go—and it does so unapologetically. Each member of DMWF has a well defined role here, and ultimately I think that each person gets to contribute in a way that ultimately shows off who they are as individuals.

In terms of what this album sounds like, please consider any of Garm’s most notable works with Arcturus and Ulver. There’s a circus-like weirdness with what Jeff and Co. are doing here that reminds me of both bands. DMWF is ambient at times, occasionally beat driven, and kind of pitchy, but in a good way. I’m going to be honest, I usually don’t like the Billy Corgan type of vibe from any vocalist but Billy, but the way the vocals are done here are pretty damn good. My first spin of the album found me falling in and out of love with the initial stage setup by album opener “Weakness.” But those feelings melted away when “Darkness” kicked in, which I must say is one of the coolest tracks, if not the coolest on this album. After getting used to what DMWF was laying down, I began to get what they were doing and liked it all the better for it. The one surprise on this album that was also executed well was the inclusion of Joe Wilkie spitting some rap vibes. His voice is tastefully deep with a slight amount of vocal fry. This isn’t at all something I’ve personally heard before when it comes to the way I’ve expected rap lyrics to be performed. The kicker is that the way Joe delivers his lines doesn’t distract me at all from the music. In fact I view his voice as just another musical instrument being used effectively to further separate what DMWF is doing from everything else I’ve reviewed this year.

“Emptiness” is another wonderful track from this album, featuring some very bassy 90s tones, some nice phased guitars, and vocals (I think) by Jeff and Joe. I don’t often say this but I also liked what Sapphira Vee did with the remix version included at the end of the album. It’s more or less the same structure as the original cut, but it does several things differently that extends the listenability of both versions.

“Listen to No One” prominently features rapping for the verses of the song, while more traditional vocals are used for the pre-chorus and chorus. Again, there’s a really cool guitar solo that kicks in somewhere north of three minutes, as a guitarist myself, I think it would be kind of fun to play. Ultimately, this song shows off the playfulness of DMWF.

The weirdest track of the bunch would have to go to “Beat Zero.” I am drawn to the lyrics of this one:

“Left for dead I gaze up to a violet sky/My corporeal body/Breathes its final sigh/Some of us are a cut above/While the rest of us merely gather up dust.”

The way that Jeff’s vocals sound on this song make the line “cut above” sound like “carnival.” I’m not sure if that was intentional, but it sure as hell sounds like it. Regardless, I think a lot of people can relate to this line as it was written. The coolest little detail of the whole album, an actual sigh, comes in after the line “breathes its final sigh,” at roughly 3:09 into the song. Fuck, I love it so much.

Overall, Dark Matter Will Flow’s self-titled album is a weird little piece of art. And when I say art I mean it in the best way possible. These guys are just doing their own fucking thing with total disregard for what the cool kids happen to be doing. If you’re brave enough to let your guard down for a minute to check this one out, I think that there’s a whole lot to love. It totally kicks the vibe they were searching for on “Into the Netherworld” into overdrive. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED AWESOMENESS HERE.

Highlights: ALL. Start with “Darkness.”

RECOMMENDED FOR: Fans of Ulver, Arcturus, Run the Jewels, and people willing to give art a fucking chance—there aren’t a lot of these types of people out there.

Album Color Profile: #880E4F

You can find all things Dark Matter Will Flow at https://darkmatterwillflow.bandcamp.com/

Your Sister is a Werewolf is the Synthwave project of producer Josh Molen from Knoxville, Tennesee. YSIAW first burst onto the scene in February 2019 with their debut album “C.H.A.D.” Their latest album is entitled “Captain Video.” It was released on August 28th, 2020.

On the cover is a really wonderful image by Chrome and Lightning. It features someone standing in front of a video rental store in tight jeans and Reeboks. For those of you who have never experienced the absolute joy of entering one of these fine establishments, let me just tell you, it’s thrilling. This image perfectly captures the sheer level of excitement I used to feel going to the movie store. The blinding lights. The smell of buttery day old popcorn. The sticky floors. That weird plastic smell that strangely reminds me of petrol. Man, I miss the 80s and 90s. What a time to be alive. I feel truly blessed to live nearby one of the remaining video stores in the U.S. I still make weekly trips down there in spite of the Covid-19 pandemic. Interestingly enough, there still exists an actual Captain Video store in San Mateo, California. Now whether or not Molen took inspiration from this former Bay Area franchise, I’m not sure. Regardless, I love this album cover. It’s says a lot without saying much.

So how does “Captain Video” sound? Extremely authentic. It’s on point for the time period that it’s trying to emulate. This is a function of using the right tools in the correct context. From the word “go” “Jumping the Turnstiles” serves as the penultimate YSIAW track. It shows off a little bit of everything that this album does. And what this album does, it does well. I particularly enjoy the pointed synth that comes in at 2:12. I was almost instantly reminded of John Carpenter’s opening theme from Escape from New York.

While the presentation of “Captain Video” seemingly takes a lot of influence from early 1980s soundtracks its general vibe is much more akin to similar music being produced in the mid-eighties. You know, when producers of the time really started to get a little more comfortable with the tools at their disposal. The way that Molen was able to make “Captain Video” breathe is nothing short of amazing. Ironically enough, “Breathe Easily” highlights this quite a bit through some exceptional compression, reverb, and EQ choices that make the track come alive in such a way that feels effortless and easy to listen to. There’s nothing more satisfying than a little bit of audible air. My ears are in love with “Captain Video” because of it.

There are so many nuanced and deliberate details coming together here in order to create a fantastic nostalgic vibe. The nervous system of how “Captain Video” sounds so authentic lies in three key points: its wideness in the stereo field, it’s warmth (greatly aided by pitchbendiness), and the analogue sounding distortion that appears throughout the album.

In my opinion, “Neon Illusion” demonstrates the wideness of this album well. At 1:38, the bells and plucks sound three dimensional amidst the backdrop of a synthesized Juno-106esque sax. As this part continues the sax itself feels like it’s shifting from a more synthesized sound to a much more realistic version of itself. It’s quite impressive to hear if you’re paying careful attention.

Tasteful distortion and warmth are also incredibly vital to how the ear perceives whether or not music sounds vintage or not. And let me just tell you, Molen is a goddamn wizard when it comes to his command of how to implement these two things into his music. “Digital Image Correction” highlights an example of how to use warmth and distortion correctly. Good golly Molly the pads scream on this album. Listen in at around 1:30 to see what I mean.

Overall, what Your Sister is a Werewolf has done here is perhaps the most enjoyable Synthwave album that I’ve heard all year. This isn’t Synthwave in name only, this is actual Synthwave that was carefully crafted to accurately emulate a specific period of time. For serious, “Captain Video” was such a goddamn treat to listen to. Mr. Molen discounts nothing on this release, and uses the entire spectrum of hearable sound to make a memorable album worthy of your time. Please check this one out.

RECOMMENDED FOR: Fans of Mitch Murder, fans of movie soundtracks from the mid-eighties, Synthwave heads looking for authentic vibes.

Stand-Out tracks: ALL! But if I had to pick, listen to “Jumping the Turnstiles,” “Slow Going (feat. Gab Manette),” “Neon Illusion,” “Digital Image Correction,” and “Late Fees.”

Album Color Profile: #EBDEF0

You can find all things Your Sister is a Werewolf at https://yoursisterisawerewolf.bandcamp.com/

Winterquilt is the project of a nameless producer from Liverpool in the UK. Combining elements from symphonic black metal and vaporwave, Winterquilt creates a fascinating amalgamation of sounds that is bewildering, enjoyable, and cathartic. Winterquilt’s latest release entitled “O’Discordia” was released on August 24th, 2020 through Geometric Lullaby.


The cover artwork for “O’Discordia” by Fvckrender is quite a beautiful piece. It stands out amidst the rest of Winterquilt’s releases as my favorite visual style of the bunch. There’s just something incredibly pleasing about looking a giant chromatic serpent slithering through a rose bush. The artwork fits right in with the Satanic vibe of “O’Discordia.” Aesthetically, this is slick and well-executed.


Musically, “O’Discordia” reminds me of the first time I listened to Arcturus’s “La Masquerade Infernale”…way back in 1997. I feel that both albums do something really similar, where “La Masquerade Infernale” combined a Black Metal sensibility with avant-garde Symphonic Metal, Winterquilt combines the sensibility of a Vaporwave artist with Symphonic Black Metal. The result, at least in my view, is mostly successful, however, without the presence of guitars or any physical instruments it makes me wonder how this would’ve turned out had an actual band collaborated to actually perform what occurs on this release. From a technical stand-point, the virtuoso-esque dynamics explored throughout “O’Discordia” have been greatly demystified as the proliferation of DAWs becomes more commonplace in the hands of the general public. Don’t get me wrong, what Winterquilt has done here is breathtaking—but it wouldn’t exist in its current form without the exploitation of complicated MIDI-manipulation via Piano Roll “painting.” This is an album that wouldn’t have existed thirty years ago. Especially not at the hands of a single producer as a lot of what’s going on here would be near impossible to play. That said, I think that part of the fun of “O’Discordia” lies in that simple fact—its impossibility.

At about 2:30 into “His cloven hoof (feat. Naut)” I was flabbergasted by the sonic textures of what I was hearing. Winterquilt combines all of the good elements of late 90s progressive black metal (especially with regards to the drums), cartoony elevator jingles, and Bach. Winterquilt creates space by really laying down hard on the reverb but not so hard that it distorts the original sounds used here. The subtle use of piano is nice, as it creates a certain ambient kind of reflection allows the music to breathe. There’s a good deal of plucky metallics going on throughout “O’Discordia” that are filtered through various LFOs, pitch bends, and portamentos that give a bouncy sort of warmth to this album.

“I’m thinkin of you.. (feat. sage hardware)” stands out as my personal favorite from “O’Discordia.” There’s a couple of reasons for this. The strings on this sound vibrant and alive, but not so alive that they sound like the blah-blah soundtracky Hans Zimmer quality that’s all the rage in the Synthwave scene. These strings are cheesy AF and harken back to projects like Limbonic Art or “Prometheus…” era Emperor. The drums sound rather “human,” albeit in a Deathspell Omega “Drought” sort of way. Winterquilt also tastefully (and unironically) uses that familiar downsampled, slow as molasses, Vaporwave vocal we’ve all grown to love. The kicker, is that instead of coming off as a novelty, it adds real, tangible weight to this song. Go figure. Truly, this is the high water mark of this album.

The title track “O’Discordia (feat. fire-toolz)” is also nothing short of an orchestral odyssey, but it builds upon what the two tracks before it did. It also adds an extra dollop of glitch into the mix that keeps the forward momentum of the album fresh. I particularly enjoy the “applause” that occurs at around 7:30. It just adds a slight visual element that makes me think of some twisted kind of carnival stage show starring the Marquis De Sade himself. The first time I heard the “Boogie” vocal come in, I didn’t really like it, but after a few spins of this album, I think it’s a neat little nod to proper Vaporwave. I quite enjoy it.

The final song “The Pathos of Things” is an upbeat instrumental tribute to the dreamfunky t e l e p a t h テレパシー能力者. It reminds me (greatly) of Arcturus’s “Aspera Hiems Symfonia,” both in general vibe and execution.

I often wonder the direction music will take after the “new-car smell” of extreme automation, glitch, and filters finally wears off. Something tells me it’s only going to get weirder from here. As a traditional flesh and bone musician, I feel that the sort of thing Winterquilt is presenting with “O’Discordia” is absolute fucking sacrilege, but as an fellow artist I can’t help but absolutely admire what they’ve done with this album. I think that while Vaporwave can occasionally sound like nightmare fuel, Winterquilt has given that idea legs by creating something frightening, beautiful, and a little controversial (due to how it was artistically constructed).

I think it takes a lot balls to release an album like this. So please check it out. It’s definitely going to be a nominee on my personal list for 2020’s album of the year.

RECOMMENDED FOR: People who aren’t scared to admire art.

STAND-OUT TRACKS: “I’m thinkin of you.. (feat. sage hardware),” “O’Discordia (feat. fire-toolz)”

Album Color Profile: #8E44AD

You can find all things Winterquilt at https://winterquilt.bandcamp.com/

Vandal Moon is a postpunk/new wave project from Santa Cruz, California. It features the talents of producer Blake Voss. He’s been releasing music for Vandal Moon since 2013.


“Black Kiss” Vandal Moon’s fifth album featuring thirty-eight minutes of nostalgic postpunk feels. The cover artwork by Neil Scrivin features a very postpunk, almost vampire-like like aesthetic that perfectly matches the dark attitude of the album. I really dig this art style—it reminds me of something Patrick Nagel might have done, only reinterpreted for the Synthwave age.

The idea of union is an important theme to keep in mind into understanding why “Black Kiss” is artistically relevant in the post-Synthwave era. Keep in mind that “Black Kiss” is a concept album that tells of a “futuristic love story of two androids escaping enslavement and they have to do some unthinkable things to find that freedom.” Even though this is an overplayed theme that’s probably been used by quite a few synthwave albums, there’s something divergent about re-contextualizing it from postpunk perspective. Vandal Moon recognizes that staying tied to the past keeps us enslaved to our nostalgia—which in turn keeps us from moving forward into a mode of social progression.

Musically, “Black Kiss” is aesthetically perfect. In my mind, I could see models walking on a runway to this album. The song selection is arranged carefully, and I wish more producers would consider how important it is to properly order their songs before calling it an album. There isn’t a track on “Black Kiss” that isn’t single worthy. It’s sleek, romantic, catchy, dreamy, nostalgic, and atmospheric. This is a lovely album and certainly worthy of your time and attention. It’s definitely going to be on some “best of” lists, including my own.

RECOMMENDED FOR: Postpunks, gothic ravers, and people who like their music sounding retro as fuck.

Stand-Out tracks: “Robot Lover” (my favorite), “Hurt,” “No Future,” “Black Kiss,” “We Live Forever.”

Album Color Profile: #D500F9

You can find all things Vandal Moon at https://vandalmoon.bandcamp.com/

“BLEEDING WOUNDS UNEXPLAINED” is the latest “album” by nostalgic synthpunker(s) The Warhorse. It features ten microsongs with a total run time of about ten minutes. You read that right, The Warhorse produced a ten minute full-length album.

The cover of “BLEEDING WOUNDS UNEXPLAINED” is a pastiche of depthless post-postmodern insanity. There’s a very 1970s looking photograph of an ambiguously small person (who I’m assuming is a child) standing on the bottom left. This little creep is dressed in a clown suit, but apparently mom made him put on windbreaker. After all, Halloween is cold in the midwest. To be honest, you would think that the windbreaker would clash with the clown suit’s vibe but it actually works. Behind the little person is a house, a station wagon thing, and a basketball hoop. There’s also something strange happening on the far right side of the cover, I can’t tell if it’s a grill, a UFO (GRILL-FO), or something else. The photograph is framed by some very 80s looking wallpaper stained with who knows what. There are also some remnants of wrapping paper in the bottom right.

If I had to identify what The Warhorse sounds like I’d say it’s a mix of System of a Down, Psychostick, 1980s punk, vaporwave, and early 2000s grindcore. The audio fidelity of “BLEEDING WOUNDS UNEXPLAINED” is as you would expect: it sounds like it was recorded (with love) in a wet basement cellar somewhere in the midwest. As mentioned before, this album features microsongs that cut out all of the fat. Instead of meandering about, The Warhorse zeroes in only on what makes a song catchy. They don’t care about algorithmically engineered five second intros—they don’t have time for it. What’s left is a single verse and a chorus, and then the song ends. It reminds me of old commercial jingles—“Remote Control Dad” and “Balloonmaker” are indicative of this.

Micro song writing isn’t exactly a new concept. Aside from commercial jingles popularized between 1955-1995, the grindcore scene that Carcass (“Festerday”) and Napalm Death (“You Suffer”) came out produced a lot of this sort of thing in the 80s. Earache Records also released the shortest album ever with a total runtime of about a minute thirty back in 2012.

What makes “BLEEDING WOUNDS UNEXPLAINED” so goddamn bloody brilliant is that it is openly declaring war on social media culture by mocking it. The Warhorse is basically saying, “ya’ll motherfuckers are just going to scroll up on my music anyway, so this is all you’re getting.” As a thought experiment the idea of the ten minute album would seem crazy to me. But in execution, it absolutely works. With a whopping 40,000 songs being added to Spotify every single goddamn day something has to give. I mean—let’s do the math: 40,000 songs a day comes out to roughly 2000 hours of music. AIN’T NOBODY GOT TIME FOR THAT. Like—who is actually really listening to all of that? It takes me ten fucking minutes to listen to “BLEEDING WOUNDS UNEXPLAINED.”

While microsongs could be viewed as a complete joke, I think that the time is right for something like this to bleed over into the mainstream. I mean, just look at what’s happening to the Retrowave movement, almost all of the aesthetics that made it popular in the underground have been appropriated by mainstream artists. Could you imagine someone like Katy Perry taking just the hooks or bass drops of her songs turning them into one minute tracks and calling it good? It might sound crazy, but it could happen.

“BLEEDING WOUNDS UNEXPLAINED” manages to ride on the outer edges of so called vibe aesthetics while completely rejecting them altogether. This is an absolutely brilliant synthy punk album that is relevant in the moment. It offers a paradigm shifting social commentary on our attention spans, the music industry, and difference between what it means to be a music fan and an actual musician. If you have ten minutes to spare, check this out. It might change everything you thought you knew about music.

The album is fucking dead. Long live the album.

RECCOMENDED FOR: people who enjoy running through the street naked while on fire with scissors in their hands.

Stand-out tracks: “Remote Control Dad,” (batteries not included), “Hamberders,” “It’s Not You…Ok, yes it is”

Album Color Profile: #FF6666

You can find all things The Warhorse at https://thewarhorse.bandcamp.com/


“Negative Space” by Burial Grid is a collaboration with horror novelist B.R. Yeagar and New England producer Adam Michael Kozak. The album serves as the soundtrack to Yeagar’s novel also entitled “Negative Space.” The book focuses on a synthetic hallucinogen called WHORL. As WHORL begins to take over the lives of the four main characters, they come into contact with four “string-shaped” ghosts. The ghosts apparently teach the characters of the novel a lot of crazy shit.

“Negative Space” makes “Requiem for a Dream” and “John Dies at the End” look like episodes of Paw Patrol. Remember kids—drugs are bad, m’kay? WHORL will distort your reality, cause you to see ghosts, and turn you into a masturbating degenerate on collision course with ruin. Death magick might sound fun at first, but when rags start having faces remember that you were warned.

What Burial Grid has chosen to do with “Negative Space” isn’t so much musical, but rather a sonic translation of indescribable, otherworldly hate and animus. This creates a landscape that paves a road to somewhere so horrifying that words alone can’t accurately describe what’s going on here. This album is beautifully grotesque, experimental, and cold-blooded. With “Negative Space,” Burial Grid taps into the unsettling ugliness that exists within all of us. It is a violation of senses, and a masterpiece—on a colossal scale.

Burial Grid strays away from traditional songwriting and instead focuses on exploration over structure. Rhythm-wise, “Negative Space” is almost completely devoid of any proper percussion. Although it is effectively used in “The Rope Man,” which sounds like the ending theme to a really fucked up movie. In general, I really don’t have anything to compare “Negative Space” to. It’s like listening to a mix of Akira Yamaoka’s work on Silent Hill 3 and Stalaggh’s “Projekt Nihil.”

“Negative Space” is note-worthy and deserves attention. This is album of the year quality work here folks. Seriously, run, don’t walk towards picking up this release.

RECOMMENDED FOR: People who love horror. It’s truly one of the best horror-oriented soundtracks ever. I’m probably dreaming, but I hope “Negative Space” gets a movie.

Stand-out tracks: Let’s be real—everything stands out, but “The Rags Had a Face” was my personal favorite, followed by “The Woman Buried Beneath the Candle,” “A Poltergeist Drug,” and “The Rope Man.”

Album Color Profile: #7B241C