Nitty Gritty & Sexy All Over

This band has been taking off over the last year. Covid somehow has made this band strong as an old fashioned locomotive. In August of last year they release their first EP only of July last year. Their single Unicorn Bones caught the attention of many media outlets and their music video for Unicorn Bones received over 1,000 views in the first 2 weeks. I’ll admit I just heard about them in the beginning of this year but I’m quickly becoming big fan.

Rock out to Unicorn Bones

The band is considered Post Punk. Personally, I just want to call it dirty sexy music. Their music reminds me going to a hole in the wall punk or metal bar in a big city, like Chicago. You go into the bar and red is illuminated all over the place due to the neon beer signs. You walk around and see people wearing leather, jeans, fishnets, and eye liner. The bar floor looks like it’s had a few bar fights that were resolved fast enough; cleaning the after math, not so much. You grab a beer. You listen to the band on stage. Obviously it’s Bellhead. You head towards the bathroom. As you approach the bathroom, you notice there is a chunk of door missing. You peer through the hole in the door & you see a couple making out. One has a large mohawk but that’s all you can really make out without prying too much. This long description is what vibes I get from them.

This snippet pretty much strengthens what I just said.

Bellhead’s sound pretty much explains the Chicago nightlife from what I’ve experienced living here off and on. They are from Chicago and I’m happy to have them as part of this great big city. Their second EP comes out in a few days, July 16th. I’ve listened to the EP and love it. They continue their solid sound in this EP. I just wish they already had more music out so I can listen to more.

A sample of a song on the EP. WARNING- sex, drugs, & amputation in the very short video

With the 5 songs on the EP, 3 are faster paced and 2 are a slower pace. All are good and the order they put them in has a good flow. I highly encourage you to check them out and listen to their new EP. A goodie is one about Frankenstein’s monster. It has a touch of a rockabilly horror vibe.

Below are their social media links and where you can listen to their music








A Moment of Inexplicable Clarity

Automata [Deluxe Edition] by Slighter

Imagine if music can paint you a landscape of walking through the dirty city streets late at night or a grimy futuristic landscape. This is the feel it gives out. I love it.

The album reminds me of Massive Attack. The vocals are very similar and some of the songs sound like they could of collaborated. Now, not all of Slighter sounds like this cd. Each album is different and that’s refreshing.

One of my favorite songs is Walls. The female vocals just knock you off your feet. It feels like being in a grungy future but a goddess is calling out and saying what’s on her mind. I can see myself finishing reading Dune to these tracks.

As I go through the list, I see there are 5 songs I really enjoy. My second favorite is a toss up between The Hunt with Moris Blak and Undertow. The Hunt reminds me of essentially of the scene in Batman 3 where Robin goes into a weird back alley that’s black light and neon to beat up some bad guys. Okay. I can see these songs in most ’90s Batman movies as I’m sitting here listen to this and type.

You can let me know in the comments if I’m crazy or not.

On the Bandcamp comments, Darren Douglas Danahy says ” Not unlike some of my favorite science fiction films or books – where the more detailed my understanding of the work, the more I appreciated them – this album truly became unlocked to me after multiple listens.

Automata uses sounds like environments that describe large shadowy places where melody reaches out to you like a hand from the shadows, a hand you want to take but feel unsure of.

Take that hand and immerse yourself in these environments, say I. You won’t regret it.” I couldn’t of said it any better than Mr. Danahy.

I immensely enjoyed the first part of the album. Since I received the deluxe edition, the second half seemed to change a bit, it becomes the Automata Variable edition That part does not have vocals. It sets the theme to a dark movie score. It’s still quite enjoyable without the lyrics but I the vocals give it a different layer that I enjoy more.

All in all, this album is gritty sounding and let’s your imagination take hold. I don’t know how many times I have listened to this album. I honestly lost count. Every time I listen to it, it changes where my mind goes.

If you like industrial music, this is up your alley. If you enjoy imagining places like Altered Carbon, Tank Girl, Dune, or sometimes even Blade this band is for you.

Slighter has a new album coming out March 5th. I can’t wait!

Slighter music on Bandcamp

Slighter merch


Moving Up Villainy One Musical Album at a Time

At Chicago Steampunk Exposition, we had the great opportunity to day party with V is for Villains. They were the movers and shakers to get your partying started at the convention.

They have so much high energy that they bring to the stage. It was pleasant to see a local rock band play for a group of people in the middle of the day and transport them to a night showing.

After the convention, we had a chance to talk to Nicholas Santiago, Mr. Agitator, for a little Q&A.

*How long has the band been around?

“I started V Is For Villains at the end of 2010. I started my first band, Digital Mindy in 2000, and by 2010 I felt that I had hit a ceiling. I wanted to expand, to push myself musically and in live performance. I felt like Mr. Agitator and V Is For Villains was the next logical step.”

*What made you decide to get up & start a band? Did something just click at the right moment?

“Well when I was 15 I broke my back. Two blown discs, one of which was shattered. I was in so much pain I couldn’t move or stand up straight without help. I was stuck like that for quite some time. I started taking steroid epidurals and it helped me until I had my first spinal decompression. In that period of time I was on Painkillers, I couldn’t go to school or really focus on anything through the pain. Out of nowhere I started playing with music, sounds, audio engineering. It fascinated me. This idea that a song can be born. That it did not exist before, and yet after you hear it, it is always there and always alive. It give me a reason to live. That reason has served me well for many years. Through good and bad. It is the ultimate puzzle, and in my opinion the ultimate form of self expression. In 2013 at a convention I broke my back and knee on stage in my costume, but that’s a different story….”

* Has your sound stayed the same or changed in any way from when you first started? 

“My music has certainly evolved. My tastes, like most, have changed and refined through the years. I was never too worried about having a “good voice” or a certain “sound”. I was always more entertained by something that is interesting. I think as a songwriter, you end up in a very interesting position as creator and listener. You are creating while listening. If it interests me as a listener, that’s usually where I gravitate. I think my sound in Digital Mindy was different. I try to bring something unique to every album. I never want the listener to say “Oh well, I heard this album 4 years ago…”. I know that is what some people like, and that’s okay, it’s just not the story I’m interested in telling.” 

* Which do you prefer doing personally & as a band, live or studio recording?

“I honestly feel that they are two totally different experiences as a performer and as a listener. The Recording process is full of intimacy. Very internal. Where the liver performance is a group experience that is shared with the audience. Two different flavors and I honestly love them both. At the core, I am far more of a song writer and audio engineer at heart. Writing the song is usually the most fun aspect to me. I do however love playing with people on stage and pushing the expected envelope. Mr. Agitator is a fitting code name.”

*How did everyone’s personas come about? 

“I think everyone probably has their own personal meaning in their personas. Mr. Agitator is very much an amalgamation of all of these things that have influenced me and remain present. The persona is very inspired by Batman, The Joker, The Phantom Of The Opera,The Shadow, and so on. My only prerequisite was to not take ourselves and our influences too serious. I think humor is important. You have to be able to laugh at yourself and to take negative criticism. It’s all a part of the game.” 

*Who are your musical inspirations?

“I am a huge fan of 90s Industrial music. I love Nine Inch Nails, KMFDM, PIG, Depeche Mode. I have always been very big into this idea that a synthesizer as a tool can shred like a guitar if you use it correctly. I love the idea that Digital sounds are capable of what the writer pulls from them. On the same coin I grew up listening to film scores. I love composers and scores and still very regularly play them. I think it did a lot to teach me about the narrative of music. That sounds can tell a story. I also grew up loving mainstream artists like Billy Joel, Harry Connick Jr, The Beatles, Frank Sinatra. A good song is a good song. I love my influences but I don’t care to be those artists. I want to make something new.”

*What do you do to inspire yourself to write an album and the songs? 

“I feel like the album as a whole work is dying out. In the Digital Age, we are not thinking of works as a whole anymore. Just 2 minute YouTube bytes. I’m not saying this is wrong, but it’s not my favorite method. I like having a full album. I think it’s cool. I always go into a collection of songs trying to provide a greater feel. I always look at my albums as a collection of short stories. An anthology series like Tales From The Crypt or Creepshow. I write purely on emotion. I am not musically trained whatsoever so it just has to feel right. “

*What’s the best way for people to listen to your music? I assume the best way to purchase though would be straight to your website since you’ll all get the money then. 

“The latest album “Villains Never Die” is only available for sale on our website until around December. Then it will be available to stream on all streaming platforms. Our other albums “Evolve or Die” and “Murder In The Art” can be purchased on iTunes, through website or on Spotify. We also have dabbled in music videos on YouTube.”

*Why do you prefer the villain over there hero? (Personally I always do too) 

“I feel that what makes someone a Hero or Villain is only a matter of perspective. To some people we may be Heroes, to most we are Villains. That line has always interested me. In today’s society of cancel culture and social execution before trial, I feel that line is thinner than ever. I have seen people that I thought would be life long allies turn on a dime. It’s hard to understand or explain, its just a side effect of the current world. I think its so easy to be branded Villain. Why not wear the title proudly?”

*How have the Steampunkers & Chicagians responded to your music? 

“Honestly it’s been a very mixed bag. It’s been mostly positive I think. I feel like the larger community expects a certain “thing”. We are NOT that “thing”. I feel like that  can lead many to block out or avoid without truly listening or trying. If someone really gives it a chance and it isn’t their thing, I am 100% supportive of that. It’s not my intention to tell someone if my music is good or not, my job is just to present it. I want people to make up their own minds. Most of the people we have met in the community are very kind and supportive. I always appreciate when people listen.”

*What’s the best way for people to contact you for setting up a gig? 

“We are an independent band, if you would like V Is For Villains for you live show or Event you may message me directly at”

*Is there anything else you would like to add about the new album, you & the crew, or any random fun bits of information? 

“After being off of performing for over a year, we are back at it. V Is For Villains next show will be headlining the Cubby Bear in Wrigleyville on Saturday October 26th! Come out, see the show and make up your own mind. Until then, remember: Villains Never Die”

There’s Now an 8th Deadly Sin

This article is a joint effort between Sarah Harris and Kasandra Zavrie-Higdon.

Sarah: Victor & the Bully are two of the most energetic people I have met.
It’s great to see them come out with a new album. They told us their thinking process for songwriting and composing and essentially it is; make a tune and sit on it until it nags you and you can write ear catching lyrics. They just love making feel good music that you could hum to, or dance to. This new album, 8th Deadly Sin, is no exception. At times I have the song Barrel of a Gun stuck in my head while I’m sleeping.

Kasandra: Their debut album, Deathbed Confessions, was a good romp
through their musical talents and creative minds. They burst open the doors of the steampunk community and took it by storm. They are in your face and laughing, dancing and shooting at your feet making you dance (metaphorically speaking). Their smiles are as contagious as their music is dance-able. Also, who can resist a ukulele?

This, their second album is full of mischief and mayhem, a true musical delight to my ears. As I sit here and write this, I am dancing in my chair. My feet must tap to the beat. Whatever they have done to make this sound work for them, work it does. This is a splendid second album. I loved the debut album but the 8th Deadly Sin is even more fun and I didn’t think that was possible.

This is a great album to start off your collection of steampunk influenced music. It’s very upbeat and stomp-able to say the very least. The first release
from the album was F.R.E.A.K.S., which was very warmly received in part because it also featured Professor Elemental on vocals. I must admit when I
heard it, I was very pleased.

I love their energy. Every song tells a story and that story comes at a fast pace that will leave you feeling breathless but wanting for more. If you don’t want to dance when you hear these gents, then you are dead. I can see why Sarah likes Barrel of a Gun so much. She is probably singing the chorus in defiance in her sleep. It’s one that can get stuck in your head easily. My sing along song is Fur Better or Worse. Who’s afraid of the big bad wolf, is the question and I love it. If the true 8th Deadly Sin is being a Victor and the Bully fan, then I am guilty of that sin and proud of it.

If you haven’t heard anything from Victor and the Bully, then what are you
waiting for? You can sample them on Spotify or iTunes as well as Soundcloud for free.