Orlando's Alien Witch gets seriously dark on new album 'Submission Is a Gift'

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click to enlarge Alien Witch releases new music - Photo by Jim Leatherman
Photo by Jim Leatherman
Alien Witch releases new music

It’s been almost a full year since I’ve written about Orlando no-wave standard-bearer Alien Witch. First, it’s because I wrote so much about their astonishing output in 2021, which averaged roughly an entire album per month. Second, it’s because 2022 has been somewhat fallow for this solo vehicle, with Dee Dee Crittenden shifting some focus into duo project Fabulous Weapon.

Of course, in Alien Witch terms, this relative lull has translated into four albums so far this year. Much of that material, though, has been more musical sketches rather than fully realized songs. However, the latest collection is single-mindedly cohesive, and it will pull you down into its dark rabbit hole like quicksand, slow and inexorable.

With a title that lyrically references the sketchy connection between Charles Manson and the Beach Boys, brand-new album Submission Is a Gift stays locked in a fever dream of droning deathrock over the course of 10 bloodletting tracks. From the pacing to the atmosphere, the album’s penetrating austerity is purposeful and strangely enveloping. As narcotic as it is nihilistic, this is the soundtrack of someone circling the psychic drain and beckoning you to follow.

Perhaps the album’s most salient spell is “Blood Witch” — a song that incidentally shares the name of one of my favorite fake bands (Graham Coxon’s ad hoc moniker for the soundtrack of Netflix’s I Am Not Okay With This). This is music so deathly serious that it makes most goth rock seem like Halloween LARPing.

Submission Is a Gift is available only on Bandcamp as a name-your-price download. It comes ahead of the upcoming launch of Pale Corpse Productions, Crittenden’s own DIY record label where most of their catalog will be issued, possibly along with other artists.

About The Author

Bao Le-Huu

Music columnist.
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