A month without too many other posts, but that’s mainly because I’ve been so damned busy. Now begins the catch-up.
And I’ll start with this month’s ten new tracks – release schedules are slowing down a bit at the moment, the usual summer lull while everyone is pre-occupied with festivals, but there is still enough of note to mention.
Track of the Month
Pop Will Eat Itself feat. BNegão
Reclaim The Game (Funk FIFA)
Reclaim The Game EP
It should perhaps be agreed that the reignited Pop Will Eat Itself have not, so far, quite hit the heights of their previous material, although the live shows have been fun. But this? Well, maybe they just needed the right inspiration. And here they return with a kick-ass, furious track about football…and a serious diss of FIFA. Can’t see this being played at the tournament, mind. Oh yes, they’ve done a football song before (Cicciolina, which at least in part was about football!), but this is another level of skill – a summery, funky, loose-limbed track laying into the unpleasant side of football encompassed in FIFA’s actions, while celebrating the beautiful game with the assistance of Rio rapper BNegÃ£o. Could and should go into the later stages of the World Cup, John…
I probably should do a Tuesday Ten some time on band names, as there are certainly some interesting and unusual ones. Using a female first-name in a band made up of entirely male members is perhaps an unusual one, for sure, and it also nicely disguises what they sound like. One first listen, they bear a passing resemblance to the stark, percussion-heavy “noise rock” of bands like HEALTH, but listen closer and it’s fairly clear that there are far more synths and electronics at play here than just guitar effect after guitar effect. This track, mind, does both. A staccato beat, squalling guitars and squelching electronics provide a striking backbone for an unexpectedly melodic song.
My Life Is My Message
And Man Created God
The buzz, such as it was before this album was released, was tempered somewhat by reports that the band had jettisoned their harder-edged EBM influences for an acoustic-electronic Snog-style sound. This track, along with a few others, blows that away – an electro-rock-funk hybrid with an amazing positivity to the lyrics, reminding listeners that individuals can make their mark, they can make a difference. You don’t have to just sit back and take it. They play BIMFEST 2014 in Antwerp in December and I for one can’t wait.
TKO Mindfuck (No Safety Remix)
Arriving just in time for this week’s rundown (the physical edition arrived on my doorstep yesterday), this is the second release from Chris Connelly and Jason Novak’s take on the RevCo legacy, and the second to make it into these lists this year. There is a fucking good reason for this – this is muscular, thumping industrial music, with a dark, forbidding edge only made even more so by vocal contributions from Richard 23 echoing through the pitch black. Also, this is notable in being the first Wax Trax! release in many years, after Julia Nash brought the label back from the dead. Here’s to more – full album TVMALSV is released at the end of August.
An unsolicited promo that arrived recently – not a band I’d heard of before, but this is good. Hard-edged futurepop, if you will, with tough, near-EBM rhythms, what sounds like sampled guitars, and a good sense of melody that means there is actually something to sing along to. I like this a lot, and I’ll be looking out for this band’s next moves, for sure.
Henchman Follows Hand
Black Out The Sun
First impressions don’t always apply. Like this song, which starts out like it’s going to be chiptune-esque all the way (not something I particularly care for). So I nearly punched the air when the choppy industrial-metal riffage rips in around the fifty second mark. Yes, The Fridge returns, with Eric and others in tow, and I’m hoping that this is a pointer towards what to expect from the forthcoming album – weirdo electronics, a metallic edge and the usual smart vocals. If so, fine by me.
Rats In My Bed (Version)
Those Nervous Surgeons
After their stellar (and deeply odd) show at Infest last year, I’ve been patiently awaiting the recorded return of Click Click (their last album proper was seventeen years ago). The album doesn’t disappoint, either – although anyone who was expecting an uptempo dancefloor attack will be rather nonplussed. I’ve seen it described elsewhere as “industrial psychedelia”, and that isn’t far wrong. It’s full of unsettling effects, woozy synths, and is generally something of a disorientating listen, especially on the drug-vision nightmare of this track, one of the highlights of the album. It’s a much-changed, and maybe refined, version than the one on Skin and Bones a few years back, and is more texture than punch. Also of note is What Do You Want, which is underpinned by a phenomenal synth rhythm and jabbing drums.
Why Do The Heathen Rage
I guess a story of “openly-gay electronic artist covering Black Metal songs” was always going to gain an awful lot of attention, but the story is actually a little more nuanced than that, and indeed this is also very much an album where the artist covering this material really knows their stuff, too. There are some very odd moments indeed – the sparse, cold take on Mayhem’s Buried By Time and Dust works unexpectedly well, while Sargeist’s Satanic Black Devotion seems to start with to have been turned into an acoustic-led lament, before an abrupt left-turn takes it into glitchy, nightmarish realms. Venom’s Black Metal, though, is turned into a fist-pumping electro monster, that works so well I can’t believe that no-one has tried this before. Many Black Metal fans are likely to utterly hate it, mind, but those that are more open-minded may find more than a few things of interest on this intriguing album. Also, the cover artwork is something else.
Body & Blood
Light has been shone recently on many different corners of the hip-hop world, ones where such artists are finding different ways to accompany their rapping, using very different imagery and lyrical themes too to the “mainstream” or cliched view of the genre. clipping. are one such act, whose musical backing is frequently harsh electronic textures, rarely using recognisable hip-hop rhythms, instead using found sounds and also simply allowing the hyperdense and speedy rapping take centre-stage: on this track it does this latter thing, but the rhythm gains momentum like an accelerating train (and takes some stopping). For some it might be a tough listen – it’s intensity is something else – but for anyone looking for more than “the same” when it comes to hip-hop, it’s absolutely worth a go.
Electronic Saviors 3: Remission
Jim Semonik’s third installment of the greatest industrial compilation series ever was released recently, and it’s a set of releases for a great cause, too. Something about this cause and concept just keeps inspiring bands to provide great material for it, one of those bands being Stromkern. They have provided something new for the first (one of their greatest songs, Notes From A War) and now this one. The new track is perhaps a more low-key affair, a pulsing beat and Ned’s vocals being almost all there is, but then, there doesn’t need to be much more. The wait goes on for that long-promised new album, though…