Radkey: Dark Black Makeup

Washington DC’s garage punk trio dig up more dirt

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The title might sound like a goth beauty vlog, but don’t let that fool you.

This is the long-awaited debut album from garage punks Radkey, and it’s not only dirtier but also darker than anything they’ve done before.

Across 13 relentless tracks, this talented band of brothers mix the finest hardcore ingredients into a tasty stew of Bad Brains and early Misfits with plenty of seasoning from Minor Threat and Black Flag; think punchy classic punk rock with added pop sensibilities that mask lyrics of obsession and sadism.

The title track clearly pays homage to the mighty Glenn Danzig, not just through frontman Dee’s vocals but also in those beefy basslines and hi-energy choruses. In fact, the grungy Best Friends and the raucous Le Song even sound like forgotten Misfits tunes. The difference is that the monsters on here are inspired by Stanley Kubrick’s cult films and not the b-movies of yesteryear. Made in England rather than DC, Dark Black Makeup cleverly straddles that fine line between catchy and commercial without slipping onto the wrong side. Seriously impressive.

Natasha Scharf
Deputy Editor, Prog

Contributing to Prog since the very first issue, writer and broadcaster Natasha Scharf was the magazine’s News Editor before she took up her current role of Deputy Editor, and has interviewed some of the best-known acts in the progressive music world from ELP, Yes and Marillion to Nightwish, Dream Theater and TesseracT. Starting young, she set up her first music fanzine in the late 80s and became a regular contributor to local newspapers and magazines over the next decade. The 00s would see her running the dark music magazine, Meltdown, as well as contributing to Metal Hammer, Classic Rock, Terrorizer and Artrocker. Author of music subculture books The Art Of Gothic and Worldwide Gothic, she’s since written album sleeve notes for Cherry Red, and also co-wrote Tarja Turunen’s memoirs, Singing In My Blood. Beyond the written word, Natasha has spent several decades as a club DJ, spinning tunes at aftershow parties for Metallica, Motörhead and Nine Inch Nails. She’s currently the only member of the Prog team to have appeared on the magazine’s cover.