Grave City’s first band interview was with THEM ARE US TOO, way back in July of 2016. I had had the privilege to book Them Are Us Too’s first show in Dallas the year before (under my Wardance moniker) at the sadly now-defunct Crown and Harp. At that point, TAUT was a Bay Area band; vocalist Kennedy had not yet moved to the North Texas area and/or started her excellent Denton-based SRSQ project (another band Wardance recently had the honor to work with). So Grave City’s first feature violated its self-imposed rule to only cover bands in the DFW area. This feature about Tearful Moon will be the second article on Grave City to do that.
Houston-based Tearful Moon came to my attention in 2015 mainly thanks to social media. Later I saw a great performance of theirs at Texas’ annual DIY dark postpunk/punk/deathrock fest, San la Muerte, in San Antonio (members of Aztec Death interviewed them at that show here). Impressed by their minimalist approach to darkwave, I asked them to come to Dallas in the Fall of 2016 to play with Eva O, a show that took place at Double Wide with iill and Static of Masses in October, 2016.
Tearful Moon’s second LP, Evocation, was announced and posted onto Bandcamp just as the band was being battered by Hurricane Harvey last month. “We were both out of work for two weeks during Harvey,” singer Sky Lesco explains. “And we hunkered down in our home in fear of our loved ones.” As the flood started to abate, the band incredibly decided to remain committed to a previously agreed upon tour, but the devastation they left behind affected their mood on the road. “While we were on the road we heard it started raining again back in Houston, and people were freaking out. It was a ‘we may never get out of the woods’ sort of feeling. I think we were all suffering from PTSD.”
Although the material on Evocation was written before the hurricane hit, the tone of the new album is reminiscent of the mood during the storm. The music is itself like the stormy weather — dark and tempestuous: “The world is ending now/Crumbling upon the ground/Madness is all around/This cruel, ole town,” the band sings on the dark dance track “Conviction.” A mournful atmosphere pervades the LP’s twelve songs thanks to Manuel Lozano’s work on the synths. Keyboards linger at the lower end of the scale and are used to embellish the gothy duo’s songs with a ghostly, cinematic texture.
The LP as a whole is built on a skeleton of dancey, drum machine-driven, eerie minimal wave sensibility. The iciness of coldwave groups like Das Kabinette and Kas Product provides the main sonic reference points for the band’s brand of electronic gloom. Track 5 on the LP, “Cold and Burning Truth,” would get play at dark dance clubs in a world where djs were not afraid to play new bands (but, alas, it often seems that we do not live in such a world).
Interview with Tearful Moon is below, below the cut!