Sometimes I’m late to the party. Most of the time. Actually. The river is deep and the valley is low in music. The internet, for music, is the cool older brother most music dorks wish they’d had.
Mi compadre and No Bad Songs alum, Eddie Tesla, turned me on to the exquisite dark wave beauty for Pac North Westers Nightmare Fortress who released their debut The Wanting earlier this summer on translucent vinyl, no less. I impulse bought the LP without considering I might want the t-shirt too. Fuck. It was a steal. That and the Mr. Tube and the Flying objects record today. I’m almost glad I inadvertently forgot about the release of Chelsea Wolfe’s Abyss record (nice write up in the latest issue of High Times for the Wolfe).
Nightmare Fortress exists in that Dark Wave realm but it’s really just Goth/new wave revisited. They could easily share a bill with Cold Cave or Chelsea Wolfe. Sweet spot between Siouxsie and the Banshees Join Hands and Depeche Mode’s Black Celebration, two perennial favorites in the No Bad Songs oeuvre – plus I’m partial to the nostalgia b&w weirdness of the “A Question of Time” music video, having danced the smurf shuffle to the tune at Ground Zero in Boulder in the long-time-agos.
So. The party started and I was there when I got the invitation but I was distracted by something else, some other pretty thing in the hallowed screen, and missed the introduction to Nightmare Fortresses when I got the link to the KEXP performance…But, timing man, it has a funny way of penetrating the noise. Like when a song hits you and you’re like, “How the fuck haven’t I always heard this song – looking at you Ryan Adams “Give Me Something Good” and QOTSA “The Vampyre of Time and Memory.” Is there a theme here?
No Exit is a play by Jean Paul Sartre about three souls in the waiting room in hell attended by a functionary. They suffer in mediocrity. Banality. Bored by one another’s company. Unable to feel pleasure. Unable to escape the stupidity of themselves or their companions or their confinement. Perceived confinement.
“No Exit” by Nightmare Fortress is a song about possession. Control. A struggle between everything and nothing and reconciling those experiences. Existential ennui. Of course. A dysmorphic reaction to the externality of the self. This KEXP performance is pretty spot on to the recording. No fidelity loss and the studio version is note for note except for a pop of breath on the mic windscreen.
The LP is great. Got a purple trans version on the way. Gonna do the smurf-toe dance late at night and dream about clove cigarettes and crunchy energy drinks.