It has been a chaotic, busy month, as we’ve dealt with my father in hospital (still, although he’s now recovering at last), my wife being ill with tonsilitis, and me preparing to start my new job (today). But even among all of that, I’ve managed to find time to write about another bumper batch of new tracks worth celebrating.
/Subject /Tracks of the Month
/Playlists /Spotify / /YouTube
/Related /476/Tracks/Jan-22 /Series/Tracks of the Month
/Details /Tracks this week/16 /Tracks on Spotify Playlist/15 /Duration/64:29
As is usual these days, there’s a variety of styles and sounds on display across this list, with new and existing industrial artists rubbing shoulders with (very) disparate sounds. You’ll be able to hear some of these, as well as something of a celebration of the work of Mark Lanegan, on Tuesday 08-March, on /TheKindaMzkYouLike/018 livestream.
A quick explanation for new readers (hi there!): my Tuesday Ten series has been running since March 2007, and each month features at least ten new songs you should hear – and in between those monthly posts, I feature songs on a variety of subjects, with some of the songs featured coming from suggestion threads on Facebook.
Feel free to get involved with these – the more the merrier, and the breadth of suggestions that I get continues to astound me. Otherwise, as usual, if you’ve got something you want me to hear, something I should be writing about, or even a gig I should be attending, e-mail me or drop me a line on Facebook (details below).
/Track of the Month
The first new album from Jeff Dodson’s Defrag project in eight years was well worth the wait. An album of such exquisite sound design that it begs to be listened to on the best equipment possible (and perhaps, too, high-quality headphones), it has apparently limitless bass and a curious weightlessness to the rest of the sound, as if the bass is keeping it airborne. Glass Ship has complex synth lines weaving in and out of each other, with washes of gentle chords lapping up at the edges of the bass-led beats, while Dodson murmurs a few distorted words over the top. One of those albums where it is genuinely difficult to pick a highlight, as the whole damned thing is so good.
Austin, Texas based Dread Risks have been releasing high-quality industrial for a few years now, but there is a genuine feeling with their upcoming album that they have stepped up a level. Amid the glowering intensity of modernised (and unproblematic) aggrotech-influenced stompers here, there are also a number of more melodic moments, where the distinct influence of bands like Faith No More and The Cure shine through, and somehow the band stick the landing. Pick of the tracks so far, though, is the juddering, stop-start dynamics and deep, deep bass of Comadose, a swirling storm of a track that should be on your playlists right now.
/The Afghan Whigs
/I’ll Make You See God
The first ‘Whigs release in a few years – indeed since the release of In Spades in 2017, and the death of guitarist Dave Rosser that same year – came by apparent chance on the same day as the death of Greg Dulli’s longtime friend and collaborator Mark Lanegan was announced. Perhaps appropriately, this is grungiest and scuzziest the ‘Whigs have perhaps ever sounded, paring back their traditionally soulful sounds for a garage rock charge that sounds rough and ready, but oh so alive. With a new album reputedly due, is this where Dulli is taking us next?
/(the storm before) reform
No less than sixteen years after their debut, Chri5 Harri5 and his band of industrial rabblerousers – featuring a host of Chicago industrial luminaries – return with a snarling album of Chicago coldwave that delivers just what I might have expected and hoped for. This track, a tip of the hat to Harri5′ hometown, is built on a filthy, industrial funk bassline by Charles Levi and is catchy as fuck. Elsewhere, the band dip into Ministry-style thrash (such as on the roaring nastiness of Forty Four, and doing it better than Ministry have done in thirty years), and even slower, more brooding tracks (like Murder Weapon). An impressive return.
/Then Comes Silence
/Rise To The Bait
After the sleek, powerful thrills of Machine a couple of years back, Swedish goths Then Comes Silence released a set of interesting covers last year, and are now preparing their new album Hunter. The first single from it is the surging Rise To The Bait, which leans back into goth-rock a bit, and perhaps with less of the sparkling, upfront production that characterised Machine (I didn’t, but I know others thought it was a bit over the top). What hasn’t been lost, though, is their way with huge, anthemic choruses and a habit of providing day-long earworms. Bring on the new album!
Hot on the heels of the excellent Flood EP (and the equally brilliant, accompanying remix EP), comes the debut album from SCALPING, and judging on Flashforward, the lead single from it, they are leaning ever harder into cyberpunk than ever. The sleek, machine-industrial rock of the track is tempered by a choir of soothing voices that provide pretty much the only real human element to the track, such is the precise nature of every element in the mix. The cyberpunk feel is only enhanced by the smart, digitally created video that hints at a few things past, but also the machine-human hybrids of some science-fiction futures. Excellent stuff.
/what is keeping you alive makes me want to kill them for
/for you who are the wronged
Kathryn Joseph’s last album (the exceptional from when i wake the want is) felt like an album recorded (and best listened to) in those disorienting moments between sleep and being awake, when your brain is fuzzy and nothing quite makes sense – and appropriately began to snap into focus on later tracks. At least from press coverage of the upcoming album, it may have even more weight, as it deals with violation, abuse and survival. This first track sounds wracked with emotion, accompanied by what I’m presuming is a treated piano and muted drum patterns, and in the glimpses afforded by Joseph’s words, there is a desire to see a perpetrator punished in one way or another.
/Röyksopp & Alison Goldfrapp
Röyksopp had suggested previously that they were not going to release albums any longer, but Profound Mysteries certainly looks like one (even if they are calling it an “installment” in a “conceptual project”). They’ve long had an excellent ear for collaborators, too, and they’ve hit the bullseye once again with the dreamy, swooning beauty of Invisible, which features Alison Goldfrapp providing her trademark, breathy vocals that are a perfect fit to the laid-back electro-funk bedrock that Röyksopp provide here. Now, hopefully we might see new Goldfrapp material, too…
/Lord of Chaos
/Lord of Chaos EP
The first new Killing Joke track in some years sees Jaz Coleman and the rest of the band on familiar territory. A thunderous, bass-and-low-end heavy track, it rumbles with apocalyptic malice, one grimly appropriate to the times. Coleman has much to say, again, on the subject of the end of the world, too, as he sees insects taking the place of human hubris, as the world burns and the oceans boil. Not for the first time, Killing Joke are the perfect soundtrack to the end of the world.
“You know, there’s never been a good band from London”
How do you know a British band isn’t from London? Well, a line like this would be a good pointer, and certainly a headline grabber. That said, for balance, they do also note later in the song that there aren’t any good bands below the age of 25, nor from their own base of Leeds.
There’s certainly the latter, going on the snarling spite of this band’s new album, anyway. Noisy, dischordant rock that doesn’t appear to particularly give a flying fuck what you think of them, although Freddy Vinehill-Cliffe’s vocals will either appeal or repulse – I don’t think there is any middle ground at all. Dread, though, hits like an anvil, such is the directness of this track, which juxtaposes the worldly dread right now with issues closer to home (and jibes about the capital city, of course).
/The Abysmal Eye
Meshuggah appear to have drifted into deep space for their new single, with a shadowy, dystopian video set on a planet that is fairly clearly not Earth. It provides quite the visual accompaniment to the music, which is Meshuggah doing what they do best – neck-snapping, brutal tech-metal that, as is so often the way with the band, feels like each member of the band is pulling in a different direction, but are anchored by Tomas Haake’s powerhouse drumming. Just five minutes long, there is so much going on here, and it is a fascinating, thrilling listen.
/The Agony & Ecstasy of Watain
Also back from Sweden are fiery Black Metallers Watain, who after a period of perhaps more experimental (and not especially interesting) releases, have returned firing on all cylinders – literally. The Howling sees them back unleashing a thrashy, Black Metal sound and it suits them so well – and lyrically, like a number of other bands recently, they seem to be tapping into these uncertain times as if they could sense that war was coming. The video is full of fire and grime, naturally, a reminder of what to expect if you see them live on upcoming dates.
/Anti Body Language
Signed to Greg Puciato and Jesse Draxler’s label Federal Prisoner, Trace Amount takes us deep into industrial noise territory. The vocals of Brandon Gallagher aren’t quite human, an element of pitch-shifting making them sound freaky as shit, while the thumping beats hit like hammers – and sure, part of it is in 4/4, the remainder feels like they hit at random points for maximum effect, and impact. This is ugly, nasty music and I’m here for more of it. Remarkably KANGA appears elsewhere on the upcoming album, and I’m fascinated to hear how she will fit in.
/Apocalypse for Beginners
New Rabbit Junk is always welcome, of course, and especially when Sum Grrrl has returned to add her vocals. With new album Apocalypse for Beginners due later in the year, hopefully this is a pointer to what’s to come – a fantastic meshing of industrial punk and pop hooks that J.P. Anderson has long been a master at, but he perhaps hasn’t hit the heights of this for a little while. The guitars chug, Sum Grrrl offers her signature sneer, and by the time of the chorus, you know they’ve hit it out of the park once again.
/BELOW THE TERRA PT. 1
There’s definitely a feeling this week that post-apocalyptic music has dominated my listening this past month. That hasn’t entirely been the case, but it certainly isn’t surprising that there is a lot of new music that is, at least obliquely, referring to or being influenced by wider world events. The cold, icy imagery of the cover of MATT HART’s upcoming new album seems apt, too, as the new tracks so far definitely give an idea of a world not doing well, as well as MATT HART continuing to define his own sound. Screaming synths and a punchy beats accompany a mechanised voice telling us to “stay strong, don’t be afraid”, before the inevitable drop hits, and it morphs into a riotous, dancefloor stomper.
/Progress (or the lack of)
/The Day Before Yesterday
Another Leeds band to release new music this past month are post-punks KLAMMER, who I’ve featured on this site before. There is a muscular, gruff feel to this new material, and definitely a bit of a nod to goth and post-punk of the past from their home town. It has a great, anthemic quality to it, though, as the band charges into a big, skyscraping chorus and a smart sneer to the song, as it asks bluntly, just how far have we actually come?