As we edge into September, we’re looking this week at the last tracks from what has been a long, hot summer.
A mix of styles, as usual, with most of them, too, being individual releases (at least at this stage, albums may yet follow in a number of cases).
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
/Witch of the Vale
/Love of a Father
I first heard this ahead of release at their excellent set at Goth City in July (/Memory of a Festival /035 refers), and hearing it “on record” does nothing to dull the effect. This pummelling track takes up the reins from the title track of Commemorate, with hulking great rhythms that have the distinct hit of ancient ritual alternating with Erin’s clean, ever-so-pained vocals (the key line for me? “Nothing smothers hope quite like a death“). A song full of dread and horror, and one that also continues the journey of Witch of the Vale into pastures unknown and oh-so-slightly terrifying. Also of note is the outstanding video apparently filmed around the Calanais Standing Stones, far out on the Isle of Lewis.
A complete reworking of the (very) early Caustic track MMM Papscraper I Love You (it retains a couple of phrases and the general feel that it is riffing on Underworld’s sound somewhat), this was premiered last week at Infest to a rapturous reception. No wonder, really – Grabyourface delivers the searing words that clap back against the appalling rollback of women’s rights in the US by the striking down of Roe vs Wade by the Supreme Court. You’ll just have to imagine the placards that were displayed onstage at Infest, but otherwise this is just as brilliant and as raging as that version was.
Kalle Lindberg’s other project away from his main band Cardinal Noire returned this month with a cracking hit of EBM power. Cardinal Noire have always been darker, moodier and perhaps more difficult, whereas Protectorate strips away the detail for direct, thundering beats and warped synths that create hooks to drag you into the moshpit (as if this is played live, it will surely create). Forty years since the beginnings of EBM (Front 242’s Geography hit that anniversary just last week), and it still has the ability to surprise and delight – this is amazing.
/Tides from Nebula
/The Sweetest Way to Die
I’ve featured this excellent Polish post-rock band before, and this track appears to be the first new track from an as-yet unannounced new album (there’s another single coming this week). Like a number of other post-rock groups, their sound rolls and swells like a boat at sea, but where they differ is their use of electronics. On other tracks previously it has turned them into an almost unique industrial post-rock collective (try the propulsive force of Dopamine to see what I mean), but here they are used more sparingly, adding a tense atmosphere and depth, but it still couldn’t be anyone else.
A Toronto band with two members of Acid Test (who were an intriguing mix of grungy rock and baggy electronics for the most part), ON seems to be something of a hark back to their rock roots, and it’s a hugely enjoyable album for this child of the early-nineties (and yes, expect to hear this track on a future /thekindamzkyoulike livestream). The lead track Underdog seethes with the riffs and melody I’d expect from the period it is clearly leaning back on, and charges through like an unstoppable train.
/No Yes More Less
/The Merciless Light
The continuing, utterly relentless output of Raymond Watts – this will be his fifth full-length album in the past five years or so, as well as a number of remix albums, covers and singles – should perhaps be seen as a remarkable burst of inspiration. That said, the impact of Pain Killer last year was dulled a bit by the sheer length of it, and I thought it notable that the material released thus far from the upcoming The Merciless Light seems to be rather shorter and direct. Such as the excellent opening track No Yes More Less, which grooves and snarls over a solid chug of a rhythm – and with some of the lyrics in German and En Esch present and correct once again, there’s a distinct feel that Watts is – again – doing a better job of being KMFDM than KMFDM do these days, but also standing on his own as the pre-eminent industrial rock artist of the time.
/Giving The Past Away
Somehow, this track got left off last year’s album Distant Populations, and instead has been released as a standalone single before they began their latest US tour, with Clutch. Walter Schreifels leads the song as ever with his distinctive vocals, and the initially slower pace of the track rolls into a thick, heavy chorus and the distinct feeling of a weighty, crushing song. It might not quite be the “Greatest Quicksand Song Ever” (as was the working title, apparently), but on repeated listens, it might be close.
/One Twenty Two
A most unexpected new track this past month came from the long-split Botch, who quietly reunited to record just one new track as part of the upcoming reissue of We Are the Romans in November (comments on Consequence from songwriter Dave Knudson suggests the coming together was a happy accident, and Brian Cook on Twitter has more on it). The band that arguably created a subgenre of complex, facemelting metallic hardcore that countless others have followed, haven’t lost an ounce of their brutality, it seems – indeed the work in a host of other bands in the twenty years since they last performed has only served to sharpen the edges that bit more.
/Where We Sleep
Following on from the first WWS live show (with at least one more to come this autumn), and the excellent debut album The Scars They Leave from last year, comes the latest single from Beth Rettig’s solo project. This one is a slow burner, building from sparse synths and a looped bassline, finally reaching a simmering boil of melody and noise. Also of note, not for the first time this week, is the clever video by Ashley Jones, that brings us multiple Beths and even turns her into a Greek Goddess.
On a similar line of thinking to the excellent Caustic/Grabyourface release above, Seattle’s Black Agent have released a similarly furious track inspired by the striking down of Roe vs Wade. Their track, like their other output, has a dense, woozy mix reminiscent of classic Skinny Puppy, and continues the other classic industrial lineage, that of sampling extremist Christian sermons. An excellent postscript to their 2022 work, and Industrial Ruination remains highly recommended by this writer.