Your Goth Teen Is Trash

Illustration: SHALTMIRA

Read parts One and Two in our horrible goth parenting guide.

Remember that scene in Home Alone where Kevin spills the soda because Buzz Your Girlfriend Woof ate his cheese pizza and the mean uncle says “Someday you’re going to play a drug addict murderer (he screams this part right in Kevin’s face) and then start a band about pizza that everyone who isn’t a really sad person will hate, ya little jerk”? That’s your teen when you walk by their room and hear them playing Combichrist, loudly and with the door locked. They’re Kevin, who is a selfish child. Joe Pesci was right to hang Kevin on the door and threaten to eat him, though were it me I’d have bound Kevin firmly, of course. That way, even whilst in the throes of agony, I’d have him under my complete control as I devoured him. He’d almost certainly beg for mercy, but to be honest it would only serve to make me hungrier. Pesci blew it (twice!) but that doesn’t have to be you. Your teen needs to be taught a lesson, and the best way to teen-teach is through the power of music, and not with needles. Not again.

If there’s one thing I’ve learned as the parent of a goth teen, it’s that I’m not one, and that I don’t have one. That’s why I’m the perfect person to teach your teen: I am them. Way older but just as gross. I know the best way to turn a wayward teen away from the music that isn’t like the music that you like to like, so lick that lousy lout-about-town, tell them to turn that upside-down frown around, stop dressing like a sad clown and get with the program. You stick with me about your kid, kid, and I’ll have ‘em listening to the good Ministry albums in no time.

Youth Code is a great first taste for your teen. Anger speaks to the young; they’re a mean and spiteful breed, just the most horrible people basically every single second of the god damned day. Show them you care as you nonchalantly drive them to school with this playing. Turn the volume increasingly louder whenever they speak. At the end, make sure to play a clip of Rob Schneider saying “Oh-HOO, that’s not right” because it’s wrong to “Rob” a teen of the childhood joys of laughter. “Oh-HOO, that’s not right!”

3 TEETH are basically the prime-era Wu Tang of Industrial right now. Their debut LP hilariously beat James Blake on the digital sales charts, and with good reason. It’s one of the best takes on aggressive industrial rock I’ve heard in ages, and your teen will say the same thing when you play it for them if they want to rest well tonight. So-called “laws” erected by society crumble like cake in my fat mouth as I chews the right tracks for your teen. I’m the Barf Man.

Bruxa’s latest EP might be their best yet, a bumping club-killer of evil, heavy beats spawned from the ashes of witch house. The hip-hop elements might be a bit much for DarqDaddy to drop right from the get-go (that’s the next step), so instead of opening up a can of worms, play this one and watch the worm turn. It’s a real ear worm!

I wouldn’t necessarily refer to M¥rrĦ Ka Ba as witch house, but there’s definitely a witchy presence about it. This remix is a perfect bridge to bring you to my next point: I grew up listening to a lot of Aaliyah. Hip-hop played a formative role in my childhood, and I hear the same kind of darkness in much of it that drew me to stuff like Einstürzende Neubauten or The Virgin Prunes. Your Modern Goth Teen should one hundred percent be aware of this kind of stuff, because it’s 2014 and music is all about genre-blending and social networks. Play this while you look into their eyes to try to find any sort of emotional connection, anything to justify the seemingly needless amount of energy you put into raising them. “Oh-HOO, that’s not right!”

Replace all the names of the sexy anime characters in your teen’s fan-fiction with these: Blvck Ceiling, HTRK, ∆AIMON, Blush Response,  Tri Angle‘s entire catalog except for AlunaGeorge.

Replace the name of the obvious self-insert with Nerd Turdington. After your teen discovers the betrayal, refer to them repeatedly by this name. Be sure to hold your nose and say PEE-YEWWW, who let the NERDS out! Clown on that teen.

“Now hold on, I like the techno. Me me; and I’ll have a techno teen like my papa before me, somehow.” Well guess what: I did this, me me, to please your teen. This guide is over. ~

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More Albums For Your Goth Teen

Illustration: SHALTMIRA

As a teen, I’ve been around “the block” a few times. I’m what you’d hashtag as an #experiencedgoth. I know all the teen tips, and I know what your black-clad teen wants: a new family. But they also probably want the best in modern underground music, which you can learn about in this guide written by someone with more than eight black shirts. I’m cumming on a bat and sending it into the heavens to guide you. A gift…

NOTE: Batcave Army-types, before you unleash your dark rage about the subjectivity of the selections here and complete lack of ‘80s content, please see the previous edition’s caveat. Here’s my pass: Virgin Prunes Rozz Williams that one “No Tears” song etc etc.

In the first edition, I covered the genres that would be the most difficult to get that teen into, from Scott Walker to harsh, noisy metal, industrial and powernoise. Now I want to talk about some of the bands who are closer to ‘real goth’, if you want to put it the way a goth would. Music rooted in dark synth and post-punk, basically. There are plenty of fantastic variants of such stuff floating around in sub-mainstream blogworld—possibly your know-it-all teen knows about Trust, Chelsea Wolfe, and Zola Jesus. But I’d be willing to bet that piece of shit hasn’t heard of

Bestial MouthsBestial Mouths. I’d recommend listening to Bestial Mouths to just about anyone, really. If you’re at all interested in generally underground subculture, you’ll find something to love here. Their recent remix album is pretty fantastic as well, bouncing around from AAIMON’s driving industrial metal to Nightchilde’s haunting dark techno. Shove this in your teen’s face and laugh because that fucker won’t even know what’s coming. My teen told me today that they don’t think Fad Gadget is “so good”. I hate my teen and the choices I made as an adult.

Haus Arafna’s anything really. The harshness of the instrumentals also bridge the gap between noise and minimal wave nicely, opening two more gateways for your teen to explore. If your teen is a German teen, they’re going to ‘get’ this way more than other teens might. In this case, burn the album yourself and intersperse the tracks with different quality versions of “All Star” by nineties sensations Smashmouth. This will ensure your German Goth Teen doesn’t go Full Grufti on your ass. Some shit is just too dour for this mortal coil.

Troller’s TrollerA passion for 4AD’s early catalog is fairly fucking essential in a young person’s life, but that modern teen is going to be fairly fucking unimpressed when you try to sneak your awful attempts at record rips onto their iPad, iPhone or other Apple device. Troller’s debut is about as gauzy, weird and beautifully sad as anything released by Ivo & Co., but comes with the added benefit of being able to see the band live without feeling like you’re watching Grandad’s Pub Rock Experience.

Shadowlust’s Trust In Pain. Another bridge, this time towards the blacker shades of techno. Your teen is going to be facing a lot of pressure from his, her or their peer group towards some pretty abysmal techno offshoots (which we’ll be talking about more next week) and you need to put a stop to that right away. If this album doesn’t make your teen kill themselves, it’ll at least guide them toward something with more merit, aesthetically, specifically from your perspective. Fucking killed teen or mentally fulfilled teen, either way holla at the weekend approaching. Hashtag #TGIFridaysGoth.

Other amazing and super-cool bands to wave over your teen and make them feel horrible and stupid: Animal Bodies, Tropic of Cancer, HTRK, maybe you want to get old school and show them the Vanishing, actually you know what, if you just do a puppet show before they go to bed each night where you make a Diamanda Galas record and a Nico record kiss, I’m sure that will be fine.

NEXT WEEK: Industrial dance: know the dangers. Also, I grew up listening to Biggie and Bauhaus and so should your teen. ~


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Finding The Right Albums For Your Goth Teen

Illustration: SHALTMIRA

What the heck do you do when you’re a teen? You’re a hot and horny piece of shit with an attitude problem and no clear identity and smudge marks all over your desk where you always trace the anarchy symbol with your finger. This sucks—but it’s nothing compared to wondering what to do when you have a teen. Suddenly there’s this horrible, weird version of you who’s slightly taller and displays enough of your own particular quirks that you can never quite tell if you’re being subtly made fun of, even when the teen is giving you a hug or a familial kiss goodnight. Fuck my teen’s disdainful and sophisticated humor. But maybe you’re like me: a dude who consumes enough black clothes and dour electronics that saying you’re “goth” is slightly easier than just admitting you hate music. And maybe your teen takes after you, funny dad wears some crazy crap and that’s the teen life for me! But forget about clothing advice because your teen will look awkward and weird in anything because nobody alive is comfortable with their bodies and we don’t really learn to mask that until our twenties. So let’s talk music instead: let’s hook that goth teen up with some extremely good shit.


We’re just going to bypass the eighties and nineties on this one. It’s covered. Mick Mercer did it, as did some other people who remembered to include Siouxsie. Just give that teen some Cocteau Twins and Coil and tell them to never be like Morrisey; they’ll figure it out. Also, things posted will be extremely subjective and not even necessarily goth—rather, modernish things that I think a black-clad weirdo kid should listen to. There will be hip-hop at some point.


The first thing to remember is your teen is pretty much a person who hasn’t yet learned how to hide their true emotions. You don’t want to push your taste on that teen; they have their own teentaste and they’ll figure out what they like their damn selves. It’s fun and nice to share music but the last thing a teen wants to share is their time, with you. You have to trick and deceive them, stay one step ahead of the teen as much as possible.

Now, some people might say, “Go easy on my teen. Don’t drop the most difficult albums you can think of on them and freak them the fuck out so they rebel and turn in to some kind of piece of shit above-grounder”. Parents just don’t understand: nothing helps a person more in their formative years than being as uncomprehending to their peer group as possible. So the first thing you need to do is give that teen Scott Walker’s The Drift and Bisch Bosch. Your teen and their teenfriends are going to go wild for these avant-garde compositions, leading them on an audio pathway all the way back to Walker’s original 1967 solo debut—currently the number-one hashtagged topic in the lunch cafeteria, probably. Walker is also doing some improbably cool work with drone metal gods Sunn O))) as well, so that’s another topic you can take to your teen’s bank and cash.

If your teen is wearing black, they might be exposing themselves to mall metal. That’s cool (not really but talking trash about your teen’s taste is both mean, makes you sound old as hell and is likely to drive them closer to the thing you hate anyway), but check this out: those creepy clown men and Career Deftones Ripoffs whose music makes your stomach feel like punching itself can be a Stargate SG-Fun to drone, harsh black metal, anarcho-crust, and other pathways to a successful business career. A few essential pieces to hide under your teen’s pillow:

-Ash Borer’s Ash Borer. Can you imagine being a teen and hearing the beauty of “Rest, You Are The Lighting” at the exact same time you get your period or first pubic? Probably you’d grow up to be a pro-skater.

– Norymberga’s Norymberga. Throat-rendingly harsh, yet endearingly catchy. Made a friend of mine say “Holy shit”, twice, and he was a bully and a date-haver when he was growing up so you know this is serious business.

Neurosis’ Honor Found In Decay/Godflesh’s Hymns. Metal gateways to industrial, without any of the cheese factor that usually comes when you combine the two.

– reliq’s Empire of Broken Signs. Majestically powerful, reliq is one of the catalysts that got me into metal myself, with influences that range from hardcore thrash to spoken-word poetry. Full disclosure: these guys are now all very good friends of mine. Second full disclosure: so are a lot of other really cool musicians. You should check this out.

Other names to casually drop at dinner: Wolves In The Throne Room, Bone Awl, Deafheaven (cool-kid namedrop plus their backpatches are ill), Gnaw Their Tongues, or just e-text them a link to this awesome cassette blog if they have a tolerance for seeing the word ‘dark’ repeated every third sentence.

HEY—teen on tumblr?! Probably, there’s all sorts of places a teen can get into nowadays, but what you want is them to get into the same stuff as you. That’s the way parenting works. My own dad wanted me to be a hurdler, so he handed me a hurdle and made a big deal out of it, “How about a show of hands for the hurdle, son!” I wish I’d had an older person to take that hurdle off my hands and curb my hurdle hang-up; when I bought it I couldn’t keep my hands off it, I had a very strict “hands off” policy except for my hands. I’m over that hurdle now, so let me hand you some advice: tell your teen to take a flying leap into the noise posting scene.

Noise cassettes are usually produced in infamously small batches, because not that many people actually want them until they can’t have them anymore. Nothing inspires greed like a grainy shot of Jesus being flailed, xeroxed at Kinkos by a glaring student and placed in a case full of incoherence. Post that cover art with some lyrics about insects and sex crimes and you’re a tumblr teen In Demand. Better yet, there’s some extremely good modern noise musicians you can give your teen the cover art to. Prurient’s Bermuda Drain is an ‘obvious’ starter point, with haunting synth melodies that your weird teen will find as beautiful as others do alienating. Make it a ringtone, each time you call the teen they’ll hear Domick Fernow screaming at them. That will teach your teen about music. That will teach your teen about life. The best thing you can do for your teen is to purchase as much of the Hospital catalog as possible and stack it in strange geometrical configurations around the room of your own teen, a known teen or just a teen you’d like to surprise. Noise is also a flexible term, so that same MP3 folder with Pharmakon‘s hellish wails can also contain Lustmord’s ambient masterpiece The Word as Power. And that’s not even delving into ethereal techno bleakness like Ben Frost or Shapednoise, which I’m not going to because *digital shrug*.

Secret words to write in the margins of your teen’s school notebook: Alberich, Herukrat, Cremation Lily, Navicon Torture Technologies, Puce Mary, The Rita, Trepaneringsritualen, Docs With More Than Ten Holes Look A Bit Lame


NEXT WEEK: Modern adventures in dark synth, post-punk and other things that all the goths reading this were probably hoping to read about in the first place. Ha ha. ~


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