Call this an exercise in free advertising if you like, but I’ve always been happy to recommend and write about music that is released by people that I consider friends. I’d be lying if I said that I like every moment of every release by each artist here, but I’d much rather offer honest opinions than a simpering ‘yeah, that’s great’. And more importantly, all of the bands mentioned here either have new releases coming and/or are playing live soon.
Oh, and apologies if I’ve not mentioned your band. Obviously I only had space for ten!
The first of two labelmates here that have albums out today, in fact, and I’ve known both of them way back into my days in Huddersfield (a town I left nearly eight years ago, would you believe). What is even more bizarre, I guess, is that the label in question is a US one. But then, the outer reaches of industrial hardly has any prominent labels in the UK left to release it on. So thanks for labels like Tympanik, then, who’ve done a great job over the past few years. Tony Young’s Autoclav1.1 project has released a steady stream of material over recent years, keeping his trademark piano-led motifs but moving into harder, heavier realms at points and also adding unexpected, post-punk textures to spectacular effect. And I have to say – this broadening of horizons has done wonders for his sound.
New album Embark On Departure is out now.
Watching the crowd for Jamie’s appearance as ESA at Kinetik last year was something of a revelation: with the amount of other artists there to see what he did, it was clear just how highly respected he has become within “the scene”. And for good reason, too, as he has stretched the ideas of rhythmic industrial/noise into dark, almost gothic corners, with atmosphere and depth, and each of his albums have taken interesting themes. Not to mention use of vocals where appropriate, too, and some pretty amazing dynamics, and you have a surprisingly listenable “noise” artist.
New album Themes Of Carnal Empowerment Pt. 1: Lust is out now, and ESA play Resistanz in Sheffield next month.
Another artist I’ve known for many years is Geoff Lee of Modulate. In fact I still have his original demo CDs kicking around in my collection (both the first CDR, and the later release of Dystopia, material from which eventually formed the backbone to his debut album and live show), and I recall suggesting early on that big things were to come to Modulate – something I saw happen in spectacular style as the entire Kinetik crowd went mad for them last year. Geoff had put in the work, too. And his long stint DJing at the Wendyhouse has resulted in an artist who is aiming for the dancefloor, with great success and style: the new tracks last year created as much dancefloor mayhem as the old favourites played alongside them…
A new Modulate album should hopefully be coming in 2012.
While I’ve been into JLA for years now, I only met Paddy a while later: probably at an Infest through Tim, during the few years of radio silence that Paddy’s band kept following their impressive debut album. They’ve come crashing back into the UK industrial scene in the past couple of years, with some high profile support slots and an armoury of storming new tracks, the first of which saw a limited release at the close of 2011, in the form of the Phil Barry-produced FYA – by far their best track yet. Their 90s influenced stomping industrial sound is still present and correct, and from what I know of the new material so far, this is taking things to another level. I really can’t wait for the next release.
The new Je$us Loves Amerika album is due in 2012.
Labelmates of JLA, Concrete Lung were another band where I met the band later on, after writing at least one positive review of them. And it has been interesting following the band as their sound has changed over the past couple of years. For a start, make no mistake – this is harsh, ugly music. The sound of urban and industrial decay, grinding with spite and fury, this is (post) industrial with guitars, samplers and one hell of an attitude. No answers, but lots of disgust. In fact, perhaps, just the right band for these times, where Governments with barely a mandate can take decisions no-one voted them to do, and grind the underclass into the dust. Is it the eighties all over again, or worse?
The new Concrete Lung single ‘Die Dreaming’ is released on 16-April
I have to say, that since moving south, I wasn’t totally sure if these guys – the core of the band being old friends Eddie and Rob – were actually still going or not, but then news broke they are supporting Assemblage23 on 14-June. I wasn’t entirely enamoured with their debut album (back in 2006!), but as I said at the time, their futurepop leanings did have promise, and in these times where the industrial “mainstream” seems to be choked by bands with goblin vocals and some element of “hard dance”, maybe this time around this band will sound like a breath of fresh air. I’ll certainly be happy to see how they’ve evolved in the five years since, with a new album apparently on the way at last too.
Cybercide support Assemblage23 in London in June, and release a new album in 2012
A Leeds-based band who would probably baulk at being pigeonholed as goth, Theresa and Corin’s now long-running band have changed their style a little bit each time, and their new single comes loaded with a deliciously sleazy edge (Warning: Video may be NSFW in some ways). This song, in fact, sums up nicely what is so great about this band – a showy, decadent image, a magpie-like ability to take the best bits from different scenes, and come up with a hybrid sound that really makes them stand out. A bit goth, a bit darkwave, a bit bleepy, a bit of humour, too.
The new Zeitgeist Zero EP ‘The Blackout’ is due in April, and they play The Library in Leeds on 07-April
I’m not afraid to admit that Richard and I have not always seen eye-to-eye over music, and probably still don’t – but one of the joys, and pitfalls, of writing about music is that discourse is part of the whole thing. So, over the god knows how many years I’ve known him, we’ve gone in different ways in our music tastes. And while their more hardstyle-based newer material really isn’t for me, as I noted in November the “kids” appear to love it, and who knows where the next album will go? Kudos to Richard and the band for pushing the envelope, and forcing an opinion about them – I’d rather have bands that do this than be happy to fade into the background.
Uberbyte’s fourth album NFY is out now
Rik’s The PCP Principle seem to have bubbled under the radar for some time, despite having now had two releases on Hands Productions – perhaps a little under appreciated. But like so many artists on European noise labels like Hands, his material is hardly for mass consumption, and true to form, his albums take a little time to appreciate. But if you like your beats harsh, and rhythms complex, and for bursts of searing noise to reach your ears, this is for you.
The PCP Principle’s second album Rhythmus Ex Heretica is out now
Like The PCP Principle, Dirty K hail from Leicester, but interestingly enough I actually first came across them playing the basement of the Nelson in Sheffield, the pub where I used to run tcf and Stormblast. Their sound then, as now, was brutal, rhythmic noise at the Converter end of the scale (in other words, really bloody loud and quite extreme), although over the years they have refined their sound somewhat, sharpening the metaphorical blade. Now signed to Hands too, I’ll be intrigued to see what they will be like live this summer, as it has been a couple of years since I last had the chance.
Dirty K play Forms of Hands 2012 next month, and Infest 2012 in August