Goth Music 101 – In the Beginning…

As mentioned in my previous post, a basic knowledge of where goth music originated is a gothy must. The genres mentioned here are ‘goth rock’, ‘postpunk’, and ‘deathrock’ – all of which overlap to some extent, and all three emerged from the punk scene.

Fellow blogger, and gothicly inclined youtuber, Allison explained it best when she used the analogy of a tree: Picture a tree, with roots, a trunk, and lots of branches. The roots are in punk music, the tree trunk is what is usually referred to as goth rock, deathrock, or postpunk, and the tree branches are all the various styles and genres of goth music we know – and love – today.

The general consensus within the goth community is that the benchmark for when goth rock emerged was in 1979, when Bauhaus released their debut single “Bela Lugosi’s Dead”. Other bands to fall into this new genre of music are Joy Division and Siouxsie & The Banshees, after they were described as being “gothic” in the late 70s.

About the same time, in the United States, a genre referred to as ‘deathrock’ emerged from the local punk scene in Los Angeles, California. Similarly to the postpunk-movement, this too was a “gothier” sort of rock. Bands worth mentioning here include 45 Grave and Christian Death.

A few years later – in 1982 – the epicenter for goth music opened in the form of The Batcave Club in London. Regular acts to hit the stage at The Batcave include Specimen, Sex Gang Children, and the more electronica-oriented Alien Sex Fiend. Goth music fans now had a venue catering to their tastes, and the goth subculture was ‘officially’ born.

What is considered ‘goth’ music today, the branches on the aforementioned tree, may sound very different from those climbing out of the punk scene in the late 70s and early 80s. But the influences are still there, and thus the term “goth music” still fits, however remote it may sound. More about modern ‘goth’ music at a later date.

Babybat-tips – Gothy bands to check out:

45 Grave
The 69 Eyes
Alien Sex Fiend
Bauhaus
Christian Death
Clan of Xymox
The Cure
The Damned
Dead Can Dance
Fields of the Nephilim
Joy Division
Sex Gang Children
Siouxsie & The Banshees
The Sisters of Mercy
Southern Death Cult
Specimen

…this is by no means a complete or even comprehensive list of bands, but I have attempted to offer some variety. Chances are you will find at least some to your liking. Enjoy! And, do explore the genre further.

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