At witching hour it approaches, cloaked in lustrous darkness: goth. Although oft-maligned, and typically mistaken for it’s younger, mall-lurking cousin, goth is ubiquitous. The Mountain Goats‘ Goths addresses “a subject closer to [Peter Hughes’] heart perhaps than that of any…album previous,” Dan Bejar‘s Ken is “definitely the most goth [Destroyer] record you’re going to hear,” and Princess Nokia is carving out a space for goths and emos of color — disrupting a genre dominated by white, cis men — with this year’s A Girl Cried Red. Fortunately, WORT’s Nocturne guides fledgling bats through the behemoth term’s forms during the Graveyard Shift.
“Goth isn’t one genre; it’s more of a label applied to music within other genres,” Nocturne (pictured below) indicates. “In practice, I usually play gothic rock, gothic metal, post-punk, darkwave, coldwave, industrial, dark classical, some electronica, witch house — a whole bunch of other stuff that’s dark, dreary, eerie, or spooky. I sometimes joke that we’re home to the ‘Black Tee-Shirt Inter-genre Alliance’. While one might not hear the 18th-century music Horace Walpole would have known as he wrote The Castle of Otranto, Nocturne emphasizes music from various eras. “Some people think goth is nostalgia at this point, and it isn’t, or it shouldn’t be, at least.”
Nocturnal audiences may encounter old-school, post-punk group The Bolshoi, contemporary, German-based artist Sally Dige‘s “exquisitely dark and beautiful electronica,” and perceived one-hit wonder Shriekback, whom Nocturne recommends experiencing “in the dark, with a drink or something else in hand.” Beyond these forbidden gems, undead listeners are likely to hear a spatter of punk, glam, metal — even some disco! “There’s a lot of beauty and variety to be had here,” offers Nocturne, dismissing arbitrary subcultural borders. “If it’s dark, it’s welcome.”
The welcoming Nocturne gives these misfit genres also extends to listeners. “High school was a very hard time for me,” notes Nocturne. “This music helped me discover myself in new ways, and keep a strong center.” While perhaps “unlikable or opaque” to those who have only superficially encountered it, audiences will find universal themes throughout the program. “Goth music is cathartic. It can be miserable, furious, cynical, trance-inducing, alienating, so beautiful it hurts, or any and all of these. Even if we don’t like these emotions, everyone experiences them.” One need not solely exist in this dark emotional space, but Nocturne believes “paying goth a ‘visit’ can be helpful for processing emotions that otherwise would lay unexamined and unaddressed.”
Nocturne, an occasional Queery co-host, freelances as a writer, is currently working on two manuscripts (including a self-study book about energy work and healing), learning to deejay at live events, and working on his own to convert publicly-available linguists’ materials into language lessons for anyone’s use as a part of the Montaukett’s language restoration efforts.
Creatures of the night may discover everything beautiful that sits in shadow by setting their dial to 89.9 FM every other Monday from between 2:00 and 5:00 AM. Those whose sleeping habits do not allow for pre-dawn consciousness may listen anytime on WORT’s audio archives under In One End, which alternates with the program. The Graveyard Shift next air Monday, August 20th.