EvilSponge has been following Tamaryn since 2010, which is why I was kind of surprised when I read her interviewed in an article called 17 Indie Artists on Their Oddest Odd Jobs That Pay the Bills When Music Doesnít. I guess I expected that by her fourth record she would be making enough to get by. That is apparently not the case, as the artists in the article point out that being in a band doesnít make money, and going on tour is usually an expense, meaning that most bands donít make money that way.
In the article Tamaryn says:
Anything emo or metal is gonna make merch ó thatís the way to make money. For the majority of time making music, Iíve lost money. There are a few moments where Iíve seen making music through a careerist lens, and I regret it. I want to keep it as a sacred space to heal myself through. I have friends who are famous rock stars who struggle financially. Any other job makes more money than being in a band. Even if youíre working full-time at McDonaldís, youíre gonna make more money than a lot of my peers. The industry structure is built against the artist. Itís not a lucrative dream. I still consider it a total privilege and luxury to be an artist. Itís not something that makes me money.
Okay, wow. I am sorry to hear that she is losing money, but I am glad to know that she is still out there putting out records. And so I went out to her Bandcamp and bought her fourth record, Dreaming the Dark. Hopefully it helps at least a little bit.
So I've been following Tamaryn for 9 years now, and her records have evolved from dreampop with shoegazish guitars (courtesy of her former collaborator Rex John Shelverton) to more of a synthpop sound. I enjoy both, so I was curious to see where her music has taken her on her fourth record.
Angels of Sweat kicks off the record with this starts with a chiming 80s keyboard with slippery synth bass drum machine. Her voice is deep and rich and sad, which makes the overall effect like Siouxsie singing for Erasure. And you know, that's pretty awesome now that i think about it.
She follows this up with Terrified, a chiming guitar pop song. Robin Guthrie did a remix of this for her, which in a way ties her in with all the stuff that i am obsessed over, and is a collaboration that I would definitely like to hear more from. I like this throwback to her earlier work.
On Path to Love a male voice seems to come in to duet with her. There is no real credit for this in the liner notes, which are kind of sparse. However, the voices work well together and the combination gives this song a hint of melancholy.
On Fits of Rage there is a sparkling guitar line that reminds me of her earlier records, and she sings lower in her register. This makes her sound very angry, and on the choruses she belts it out. This reminds me, in a way, of early Dead Can Dance. She uses her voice forcefully here, and the rhythm is a very cool scattered and deep thudding, which recalls those early DCD records. This is a good one.
Tamaryn gets her Depeche Mode on for Paranoia IV with percussion that clatters industrially like on People are People. This clattering works well with her voice.
Victim Complex is a magnificent 1980s throwback. The drums are that sharp synth hit sound, vocals are layered behind her voice, and there are synth claps. Wonderfully done.
She mixes things up by bringing back the guitarist for You're Adored, another song that sounds like Robin Guthrie was involved. This is a lovely dreampop song.
The Jealous Kind is another classic 80s tune, with layers of synths skipping around brightly. The song seems happy and fun, but then you realize the lyrics are a little dark, as the song starts with her singing "The void in front of me has a name". But that is very 80s -- there was a heart of darkness in the brightest and shiniest of the synthpop era.
And then we end with the title track, Dreaming The Dark which is almost more industrial than synthpop. The beats here are intense clattering, and the beat is a little slower. Her voice is echoed, which works well with the industrial noise.
So, this is pretty good. I am glad to know that Tamaryn is still out there making music, even if she is not making money at it.