It’s unlikely that there will be much more content on amodelofcontrol.com for the coming week – I’ve got a busy few days before my birthday on Saturday, and I’m spending the whole weekend at Bloodstock. Needless to say there will be a review of said festival from my perspective online next week.
But in the meantime, here are the ten tracks for July.
Track of the Month
We Are Many, They Are Few
The Bunjies Test
We need more people like Philip Jeays. I’m beginning to wonder if he’s a lone voice shouting out with music amid the carnage that is resulting from our current Government and the policies towards the poor, disabled and those without work in particular. This song is an utterly furious, seething take on the economic injustice of our country as it is at present, with a biting sarcasm in the comparison between the rich and the poor, and how the same ideals are turned round. This song comes from his recently-released, low key album that is perhaps a stepping stone to his next work, and frankly is worth the price alone.
Late to the party, yes, and seemingly everyone whose music taste I respect in North America has been raving about them of late…but what the hell. This is frankly brilliant, soaring pop music that takes some unexpected influences for a Canadian band (I’m hearing the long-departed Geneva here somewhere, for a start, I’ve seen someone else suggest they are Britpop influenced) to a synthpop/indie-rock sound with a killer line in dramatic choruses, the pick of which is this astonishing track, that is for some reason hidden away at the tail-end of their recent album. Pick this album up – it’s all great really, this track is just even better.
Alternating Dilemmas (Edit)
Worst Case Scenario
The only track we’ve yet heard from the imminent album Worst Case Scenario, it was initially released on the Merry Glitchmas compilation and has since appeared on ES3 too. This is a slow burner, a languid pace made elephantine by the vicious, metal-as-hell guitars and multi-layered programming. A good song, this, but I can’t imagine all of the album will stay at this pace – but it certainly shows that Sean’s production has come on in leaps and bounds, with the guitars in particular leaping out of the mix.
The wonderful Metroland return, with an officially-sanctioned (!) tribute to the multi-country rail services of Thalys that effectively have a hub in their home city of Brussels. Not a lot has changed – this is still an electronic act taking the obsession with travel that Kraftwerk had to another level of interest entirely, and this track isn’t far off a twenty-first century update of Trans Europ Express – but their debut album was so sodding good I was always going to give their next material a try, and this delivers on every level. Glittering, sleek electronics that somehow bring together the rush of travelling somewhere fast with the feeling of loneliness that can arise when you travel alone, far from home.
I have to say I was somewhat surprised to find that this track was going to be the next lead track on an EP from the band. After all, JLA have made their name with searing, full-on industrial music, with confrontational vocals and themes. So, a ballad? Well, of sorts. It is certainly a slower paced, more thoughtful track, but it certainly isn’t entirely devoid of the aggression that I might normally expect, it is just rather more nuanced and disguised, and it is actually quite a pretty melody at the heart of the song. Something I’d never thought I’d say about this band – the machine rolls on, just in a slightly unexpected direction. The EP is out soon.
The Negative One
5: The Gray Chapter
They’re back, with their first new track in six years, and they sound really fucking angry. There are no melodic choruses here, or breaks from the neck-snapping pace, this is a white-hot stampede of percussion and guitars that reminds me of why we were taken in by Slipknot in the first place. I can’t imagine the whole album will sound like this when it drops, but more like this and I’m sold. More importantly, this track should utterly slay live, too (which has always been the best way to enjoy Slipknot, frankly – even back in 2001/02 they were one of the best live acts around).
The Other I
It took me a while, but I really did quite love this band’s first album in the end. Their edgy, sultry post-punk-influenced sound was and is quite glorious, and this first taster of their second album does nothing to dispel the magic. Indeed, here, there is an additional nod (to my ears) to the now sadly-departed School of Seven Bells, which needless to say also works for me.
I hadn’t realised it was so long since her last striking album Conatus. Yes, there has been a mini-album of re-interpretations with J.G.Thirlwell, but it was her next steps forward that I was interested in, and it seems that she’s decided to strike out into a more poppy realm, or at least with this song she is. An electronic beat pulses like a heartbeat, with synthesised strings sweeping around while her cold, controlled vocals act like the eye of the storm. At least until the chorus, where she allows her voice to soar above and it is just wonderful. I’ve got to wait until October for the album? Man…
Tear You Down
The World We Left Behind
The sad end of one of the most interesting Black Metal bands in the United States last year (after Blake Judd’s arrest as a result of his drug addictions) has a slightly happier ending in the rekindling of the project to release at least this album, that was initially meant to be out last year before other events took their course. And true to form, this isn’t really Black Metal as you might expect. They’ve always played with convention somewhat, defying expectation and taking their own path, and they certainly do that here. It starts off in ominous enough fashion, but the woozy, squalling guitars and synths take this into neo-psychedelic realms, and then when the blastbeats do arrive, it gets very trippy indeed. If this is the direction this album is going in, count me in.
After a long wait, Iceland’s most progressive metal band return, and their outlook is just as epic as before. Like a few other bands who once used to exist in extreme metal circles (Anathema in particular), they’ve long since left that port before to sail uncharted waters. The first few songs from their forthcoming album are all restrained, mellower mediations (in Icelandic, naturally) that use cymbals like crashing waves, guitars that sweep like the wind across Icelandic shores, and vocals that hint at a lifetime of sadness and suffering. In other words, it’s truly, truly wonderful. They are also playing the UK for the first time in a while…at Damnation (and I’m going to be at Whitby, so can’t go…).