This week, what started out as a quick round-up of the best music I was listening to at the time (not necessarily new music initially), thanks to a request from another user on Livejournal, reaches fifteen years of posts.
/Subject /Anniversary /Fifteen Years of Tuesday Ten
/Playlists /Spotify / /YouTube
/Related /195/ten years, ten bands: ten years of amodelofcontrol.com
/Details /Tracks this week/15 /Tracks on Spotify Playlist/15 /Duration/69:00
It was never quite intended to happen like this. I thought I’d continue a monthly new music roundup, and perhaps the odd other post. My /Tuesday Ten series morphed into a monster, frankly, that can take up considerable amounts of my time to write, and of course, has involved countless other people: proofreading and offering corrections, suggestions for new posts, song suggestions on the various threads, those who share posts, and of course the promotional machine that sees promoters, PR or bands themselves sending me music. I’ve discovered new music and old music that was new to me, found new musical obsessions, and found new perspectives on so much. Thank you all.
This week, then, is something of an indulgence. I provide a variety of stats (I’m a data nerd. Of course I have stats) around posts and submissions, and I write about a band per year between 2007 and 2021, and those fifteen bands happen to be the most featured artists in my 483 /Tuesday Tens prior to this one.
I’d be surprised if this manages another fifteen years, but who knows? I’ll certainly be continuing for a while yet, and hopefully, you, the reader, will continue to join me on this journey of musical discovery.
/Overall /Artists/2,011 /Unique Entries/4,747 /Posts/484
/Tracks of the Month /Total/145 /Unique Artists/123 /Seeming/4 /Cyanotic/3 /Alter der Ruine/3
/Miscellaneous /Reader Takeovers/7 /Subjects/332
/Suggestions /Threads/144 /Suggestions/18,363 /Artists/4,844 /Tracks/12,694 /People Suggesting/880 /Suggestions Used/1,178
/Most Suggested Artists /The Beatles/154 /David Bowie/118 /New Model Army/117 /The Cure/116 /Nine Inch Nails/109
/Top Suggesters /Naomi M/779 /Sean P/592 /Karen B/586 /Jackie C/428 /Ian F/419
/Most Suggestions Used /Karen B/42 /Naomi M/36 /Daisy M/36 /Tim D/27 /Paul W/23
Even by 2007, it was five years since PSI, the final Pitchshifter album, and it was clear by that point that the chances of new Pitchshifter material were pretty slim (one previously unreleased track on a sampler aside). That said, they were still a touring band, and /Into the Pit/049 covered their raucous show at Rock City in October of 2007. I saw Pitchshifter a lot over the years – and of course saw them once again upon their return a few years back – and they were always a fantastic live band, even if perhaps a little less industrial and a bit more punk in their live incarnation. Weirdly enough, it turned out my now-wife was also a big fan and had probably seen them as many times live as I had! There is no doubt, though, that they were one of my formative bands: helping to foster even more of a curiosity about drum’n’bass in particular in the mid-nineties, but also making clear that genre boundaries were an anathema.
Talking of formative bands, Front 242 were one of the bands that genuinely changed my life when I wasn’t even a teenager, thanks to seeing the video for Headhunter on MTV. I’d never seen or heard anything like it: those aggressive synths, the punchy rhythm, the anthemic chorus and vocal delivery. I certainly knew nothing of EBM at the time, but it opened a door to a world of electronic music that in time, I enthusiastically lapped up, and that scene has since made me friends in a variety of countries, revealed some of my favourite bands, and of course, has seen lots of drama (it’s goth-related. Of course there is drama).
It took many years before I got to see Front 242: 2008, in fact, when they stormed Infest 2008 with a spectacular headlining set on Sunday night…and by a quirk of fate, I was the DJ that had to follow them. I think I did ok. I’ve seen them a number of times since, too, particularly in 2011, when I saw them four times in four countries (and three of those in a week, in December). The first time that year, though, was one of the greatest gigs of my life, as they closed out an exhausting May Saturday at Festival Kinetik in Montreal (/Memory of a Festival/011.3 refers).
I get to reacquaint with 242 live twice more this year, in London in July, and then on my first trip back to Chicago for Cold Waves in six years, in September.
The recent announcement of new UK shows by NIN has reminded just how much they seem to divide opinion these days (although the £75 ticket price – sadly an all-too-common pricepoint for “big” shows these days – didn’t help). Long one of the mainstream touch-points for industrial music – in other words, one of the few bands non-scene people might recognise if they ask you about the music you listen to – that visibility and the gradual evolution of their sound help to give an idea of why they are divisive.
But then, how many of us would be part of this scene were it not for the gateway drug of bands like Nine Inch Nails? I can’t remember exactly where I first heard them, but I suspect it will have been on MTV’s infamous 120 Minutes, and it will have been either Head Like A Hole or Wish that I heard first. I own most of what they’ve released over the years – although I never got round to some of the vinyl reissues, most particularly that remaster of The Fragile – and I still listen to various bits of their discography, yes, even the newer stuff, which has some fascinating moments.
2009 was their “Wave Goodbye” tour, which like so many bands in recent years, resuming touring ended up being too much of a temptation. By extraordinary fortune, I won tickets to two of their shows in the UK that summer, first the fantastic NIN|JA tour show in Manchester with Jane’s Addiction (/Into the Pit/078), and then secondly the Sunday of Sonisphere at Knebworth (/Memory of a Festival/007), which saw the kind of set I will never see again.
Swans are one of the few bands where I can remember exactly where I first heard them. It was in my first year at Uni (so 1996/97), and I’d been invited to a party by a friend, and Soundtracks For The Blind was playing. Not exactly the ideal introduction, perhaps, but I was hooked quickly and amassed copies of a fair bit of their back catalogue within a couple of years.
Their gothic blues period (anyone else that can provide a better description, do get in touch) from the early nineties has long been my favourite (I have an original CD copy of White Light From The Mouth of Infinity on my shelf that my wife got for me years ago, and remains a prized possession), but somehow, their resurrection after thirteen years in 2010 was an Event that didn’t disappoint. The succession of albums that followed have taken the band into realms of popularity that would never have been expected, and their live shows were something else.
Brutally, famously loud, of course, but also very, very long, as if the patience and stamina of the audience were continually being tested. That first show I attended, in 2010 (/Into the Pit/094), was like standing in the path of a gathering storm but was worth every minute.
Another band I’ve followed for going on thirty years are the electro-industrial powerhouse Front Line Assembly. Bill Leeb is the only constant member, and his associations with different people have helped shape wildly varying phases of the band – and indeed totally changed their live sound at points, too. One thing I’ve always admired about the band is how they’ve never stood still, and have always strived to evolve and work with new ideas, even if some of those sounds have lost me a bit (particularly the last couple of albums, which feel a hell of a comedown from the brilliance of Echogenetic).
2011 was a year where I saw FLA twice in one week – one of those times at the previously mentioned Festival Kinetik in Montreal. The other time, though, was even crazier – a relatively short road trip from Montreal across to Ottawa, where Tim and I got to see FLA in the small, friendly confines of the now-gone Zaphod Beeblebrox club, alongside Acucrack, and I met a number of the Cracknation/Glitch Mode squad in person for the first time, over way too many shots, as our hangovers the next morning attested…
Pulp were perhaps the reluctant “winners” of Britpop, who suddenly became huge stars, at least in the UK, after over a decade of futility as indie also-rans since the early eighties. Their time came in 1995, really, after previous album His ‘n’ Hers had set the stage. The Stone Roses’ big comeback at Glastonbury was scuppered due to injury, and Pulp stepped in to take unexpected glory as they unveiled much of the-then upcoming Different Class (Common People had already been a huge hit by this point, although not reaching Number One thanks to Robson & Jerome’s Unchained Melody).
I saw them at the gig after that Glastonbury show, when they headlined the Saturday at the Heineken Festival in Leeds, in July 1995. They were frankly untouchable, as if they knew they were Kings and Queens of the pop world. The end of 2012 saw a very different Pulp show, as my wife and I spent an evening in the utilitarian confines of Sheffield Arena. This was three hours of Pulp history, a ton of rare old tracks, most of the hits and a few unexpected songs, not to mention Jarvis telling entertaining stories and even thanking his mother, as Pulp bowed out (this was their last UK show). /Into the Pit/155 tells you more of the story.
2013 was the year where Suede released their first new material in over a decade (Bloodsports), that kinda saw them pick up from where Coming Up left off – probably a good thing that the two albums inbetween were rather left as they were. Interest in Suede was high again – they’d played a set of London shows in 2011 where they played each of their first three albums (with the corresponding B-sides, of course), that my wife saw two of (I was in Canada at the time) – and frankly the Britpop revival was already gathering pace at this point, at least in part thanks to club nights like Nuis@nce in Camden, that new friends of ours were behind.
Suede I’d heard first on the Evening Session, but I still remember their first Top of the Pops appearance (that, in fact, should be repeated on BBC Four this coming Friday, I believe, as part of their run through all of TOTP). They were fêted as the next big British thing, as if they alone were the answer to Grunge. It never quite worked out like that – other bands took up that mantle, and it was something that Suede quickly realised that they wanted no part of – but Suede, just for a while, were an utterly thrilling, subversive band, and one of the handful of bands whose best work was arguably saved for their most dedicated fans, who would buy all the singles (and thus get the B-sides).
2014 was a wild year, at least in terms of music. I went to more festivals than ever before (Resistanz, Infest and Bloodstock in the UK, Cold Waves in Chicago and BIMFest in Antwerp), and saw quite a number of bands for the first time. But the band I most associate with that year is the Manic Street Preachers. After something of a fallow period, they burst back to life that year with Futurology, an album that buzzed with creativity and a deeply European outlook and sound.
Unlike my FMF (Fucking Manics Fan) wife (perhaps the reason they have appeared in my /Tuesday Ten series more than any other band?), I’d not seen them live up to this point. We went to their Brixton show of that tour, and there seemed to be fevered expectation that there would be something coming around the twentieth anniversary of The Holy Bible around that time. After apparently, some years of barely referencing the album, a number of songs from it were aired that night, and my wife unusually vanished forward into the moshpit as soon as Nicky Wire mentioned something about “…horses and chains” (for a scorching Archives of Pain).
The Holy Bible anniversary tour got announced in the September – the day before we flew to Chicago. We managed to get tickets – at 0300 on the Friday morning, absolutely hammered after a hefty night out. The gig itself, when it happened in December, was one of the most thrilling and emotionally draining gigs I’ve ever attended. I could have left it at that, but we’ve seen them again a few times since, and it has been worth it every time.
I have the long-gone MusicNonStop to thank for my initial exposure to Cyanotic. An enthusiastic write-up in their release newsletter, one day in 2005, saw me pretty much order their debut album Transhuman on the spot, and then listen to it to death. I’ve since become friends with Sean Payne, whose wide-reaching remix and compilation work with other artists has introduced me to an entire scene of industrial/crossover music that has been fascinating to explore, and while it took a bit of time, Cyanotic did eventually play in the UK in 2014 (at Infest, and in London), and I saw Cyanotic for the third time as part of Rabbit Junk’s set at the Cold Waves kick-off in 2015 (the first of a couple of sweaty nights at the Double Door in 2015 and 2016 before it closed).
The band remain a potent industrial force, and indeed I finally get to see them live for a fourth time at Cold Waves X this September. I can’t wait.
I’ve been listening to Prince for as long as I can remember listening to music. My dad has been a fan since the early eighties, so it was perhaps obvious that I would inherit that love, and indeed the first CD I ever bought with my own money was Lovesexy in August 1988. Sure, his later material veered into indulgence and irrelevance, perhaps, but his 1980s output is practically unimpeachable.
Prince died in April 2016. Just the year or so before, we’d passed up the obvious chance to amble down to Camden and chance it for one of his short-notice “Hit and Run” shows, that were, by all accounts, incredible shows. I’d wanted to see Prince live for decades, and I passed up my last chance.
Thanks to ill-advised and abhorrent backstage comments revealed a few years ago, KMFDM’s star has very much fallen in recent times, it seems, with the latest new releases coming out to little fanfare or indeed coverage. Thus is the risk – and deserved punishment, perhaps – of doing so.
KMFDM, though, were another of my formative influences. Their thundering industrial-gospel single Juke Joint Jezebel got yet another new version last year (just a new master from the original tapes, and there are a couple of tweaks noticeable), and over the years, this has sold more than perhaps any industrial band ever has, but there was always more to them than just this single.
They did things their way – which wasn’t always the right way – and while the formula might have got a bit tired these days, they have always had moments of brilliance live. That said, the 2017 London show was mostly lacklustre, as I recall – the last time I saw them live.
My first exposure to Spiritualized? Hearing a blissed-out Take Good Care of It on a Glasto live compilation tape on the front of NME, sometime in 1993 or suchlike. Quite the difference to my live experience of them in 2009, that’s for sure – a titanic noise made by 34 people (!) onstage as they did all of Ladies and Gentlemen…. Anyway, Spiritualized were broadly my route into spaced-out rock and (certain) psychedelia, and were very much a formative band (as much of this list is/has been), and 2018 saw the release of the exceptional And Nothing Hurt, and next month, at last, sees the follow-up Everything Was Beautiful. No one sounds like Spiritualized, though, and I’m happy it stays that way.
The year before lockdown hit, Covenant appeared to be entering a fascinating new phase, that clearly the following couple of years has derailed. The Fieldworks Exkursion EP, initially only available on tour, but then made available digitally, saw different members of the band bring together field recordings to familiar Covenant motifs, and the results were fascinating. There were nods to Kraftwerk, especially, made more overt than ever, but also at least one barnstorming dancefloor track, too.
It also rather summed up the different sides to Covenant. Always a thoughtful group, they have often succeeded at both crowd-gathering anthems as much as they have at introspective ballads, a rare talent in the wider industrial/dance world, and perhaps that is why they remain such a popular band – and why I still love what they do. By chance, I’ll see them twice in a week in September, most likely, on either side of the Atlantic, and it will no doubt be a very different experience each time.
One of two bands in this list my wife really doesn’t like, this is another band I’ve got a long association with, and bizarrely, I can thank my dad for the initial interest. See, my dad speaks fluent German, having spent his teens over there, and keeps up with German culture (and football, in particular!), and so Neubauten was not a new name to him. Having probably heard Feurio! at some point (oh yes, 120 Minutes again), it was probably Tabula Rasa that converted me for good.
I was fortunate enough to see their extraordinary 2004 show in London, and have seen each of their London shows since, and while I’d rather lost hope for a new album, 2020 saw the release of the excellent Alles In Allem, an album that was something of a love-letter to their native Berlin and their past, and a couple of songs aside, saw them move even further away from the cacophonous sonic mayhem of repute to a dignified, stately balladry. That it suits them well is a testament to the brilliance of their songwriting that they long chose to hide under the noise!
The final band featured here is another German band, but one that I came to thanks to a German student who’d joined our halls during the first year. We were talking about music, as you do, and upon discovering I liked industrial, he passed me a few tapes of German industrial music…and the hulking power of Wollt Ihr Das Bett Im Flamen Sehen opened the first tape. This was late ’96, early ’97 sometime, and so I was prepared by the time Sehnsucht literally blew up over the next couple of years.
After some years of just touring on and off – I’ve seen them six times live, and they remain one of the greatest shows on earth – R+ returned with the excellent self-titled album a couple of years back, and I keep wondering whether I’m missing out by not doing it all again (even if the shows are a bit of a distance away this time around). Still, there’s another new album, Zeit, out in late April, and I can’t help but feel that the more restrained opulence of the title track might be throwing us off the scent of what else is to come…
Anyway. I hope you’ve enjoyed this slightly indulgent trip down my musical memories. Normal service will resume next week, with /Tuesday Ten/485 getting back to business with the best tracks of the past month (and there’s some incredible stuff to tell you about). See you then.