Today I found out that Goth legends the Bauhaus are putting out their first album in 25 years: Go Away White. And how did I find out about this? National Public Radio.
I never thought I’d hear about the Bauhaus on NPR. Then again I never thought I’d go to a BEA book party dj’d by the Misshapes either. Such is life.
This interview/review/report is inadvertently hilarious; it’s worth listening to if you like to (lovingly) poke fun at NPR or Goth, both of which I do frequently. Aired on LA’s Day to Day, British journalist/musician Christian Boudeaux reports that despite some poppy tunes, “me thinks the goth cap fits pretty well” on the new album.
New album, not so great. The original stuff, though, made from 1979-1983 is not just classic goth rock, it’s pretty fucking great post punk. Not in line with their Vampire tongue-in-cheek posing, a great deal of the Bauhaus’ music was actually very indicative of the name they took from the design movement: stark, cold, and angular. And despite being arbiteurs of horror kitsch, their sound was quite an original take on glam (Ziggy as silent film monster crossed with Artaud?). They were heavily indebted to Eno, Bowie, and T-Rex, artists the band acknowledge with several covers.
Daniel Ash’s sharp guitars and David J’s seductive bass are what always do it for me. While Peter Murphy was writhing on stage, Ash, David J, and Kevin Haskins infused heavy doses of dub-reggae and Kraut-style prog rock. What came out of only four albums (none palpably great full albums, but the compilations of singles and b-sides do them justice) is extremely idiosyncratic for such a short-lived project.
Leigh Lezark and Christian (Project Runway winner) both indebted to Bauhaus’ style?
Lead singer Peter Murphy went on to do folk-y pop albums and also converted to Muslim (making him a kind of post punk Cat Stevens); Daniel Ash made some astonishingly good music with Tones on Tail and a whole lotta hits with fellow ex-Bauhaus Kevin Haskins and David J in Love and Rockets.
Here’s to the Bauhaus and their many offshoots.
(all songs are Bauhaus unless indicated)
Kick in the Eye (Nice downtown NYC No Wave-era saxophone )
Third Uncle (Bauhaus covering Eno, very well, I might add)
Go!–Tones on Tail (A major club hit…later to become Starburst commercial background music….and a GREAT song. Very happy)