Back from Whitby, and while I saw a handful of bands (more about those later in the week), today it’s back to the best tracks of the past month.
This will – as usual – be the last /Tracks of the Month post until the New Year, as I now get on with preparing the best of 2022 lists (which I’m a little behind on, and I really need to get on with!).
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
Four years ago, I interviewed Greg Mackintosh from Paradise Lost about the remaster and reissue of Host (/Talk Show Host /045), that divisive, mostly electronic album that seemed to jolt the band into reacting against it in the following years. As it turned out, though, time has been kinder than the fans were, and many have come round to the view I had, that Host was an exceptional album, just released at the wrong time.
So Greg and Nick Holmes have gone back to that style for an entire side project, with an album coming in the new year. It certainly picks up where Host left off, with an electronics-and-guitar backing to Nick’s warm, rich vocals and haunting melodies. Frankly, this is fucking fantastic.
After the release of Exit Guides rather unfortunately coincided with the beginning of lockdown in 2020, it’s been a little while since we’ve heard new music from this excellent duo. Spellbound, appropriately released on Hallowe’en weekend, and incidentally nothing to do with Siouxsie and the Banshees’ classic featured last week, is quite the return – and is the precursor of a new EP coming in the new year. A stately rhythm sparkles with a mass of synths and Emma’s vocals soar over it all, and it all sounds so effortless, as if they could knock out a song this brilliant anytime they liked.
Fresh from marking their 30th anniversary, Orbital have moved on already, baring their teeth in the process. The first taste of their upcoming new album is a grade-A, furious banger, as they bring in Jason Williamson from Sleaford Mods to unleash a raging political polemic that feels very much of the now (“You voted for ’em, look at ya! / You dirty rat“). Orbital step it up too, as they nudge into industrial techno territory for the kind of dancefloor workout that should have sweat dripping from the walls by the end of it.
/What They Call Us
Five years – and what feels like several lifetimes inbetween – have already passed since the last Fever Ray release, and as before, this new song dropped out of nowhere early in October. After the black-as-pitch debut, the second was a technicolour queer awakening, and this new song drags us back into the darkness. Karin Dreijer – working again with Olof Dreijer – has concocted something forbidding but unexpectedly full of love, at least in the lyrics. The cold, seemingly calypso-inspired rhythm feels deliberately mechanical and methodical, while the video appears to depict an office party in a horror movie. Business as (un)usual, then…
/The Burying Kind
Dan Milligan might be better known for his work organising the multi-headed industrial supergroup that is The Joy Thieves, but his work in The Burying Kind with Scott-David Allen is well worth your time too. They call themselves “shoegaze/dreampop”, but there’s also a mellow, 90s alternative vibe to some of their sound, too (and sounding uncannily like another vocalist of old that I can’t put my finger on, as well). While I’m loving all of the album, Coming Through is the pick for me. There’s something downbeat and deeply sad threading through this song, with a gorgeous, multitracked vocal on the chorus that had me swooning from the first listen.
/We Fight EP
Nasty, oppressive martial industrial from this Kent-based project, with beats like the thundering sound of a steel mill, ominous synths and distorted, threatening vocals. In other words, exactly as I like it, and with just a few songs released so far, I’d like to hear quite a bit more from this project.
An unexpected collaboration between members of That Which Is Not Said and MULTIPLE MAN brings some outstanding funk-EBM to the table, with melodic vocals and thumping kicks that have me wanting to storm the decks and play this EP on repeat for a night. Ok, so maybe that’s not realistic, but clearly I’m hankering for a decent EBM night again. Also of note: the unexpected Stuck in the Past that closes the EP, which is the best Depeche Mode ballad in about twenty-five years.
/Inner Controller (Lucid Running Home)
Grindcore veterans Cloud Rat’s new album is yet another solid slab of relentless metal rage, and tracks like Inner Controller help remind me why I love this genre so much. Breakneck tempos, neck-snapping riffs, and an outpouring of emotions that help me get stuff out of my system too. Not to mention, there’s actually a tune here too. There’s more to grindcore than playing metal/punk really fucking fast.
Talking of fast, Aaron Spectre has long taken to even more lunatic extremes (his album Grist is as good as metal-sampling breakcore gets), and his new album is seven tracks in less than twenty minutes. Lead track Antebellum is a riot of breakbeats, sampled drums and guitars at a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it tempo, and sets the scene for the glorious brutality to come.
/Mojave Phone Booth
/Hollow The Numbers
A notable return this autumn has been that of one-time members of Snake River Conspiracy (Tobey Torres-Doran and Mitchell J Doran), with Lynn Farmer of Meat Beat Manifesto along for the ride as Mojave Phone Booth. Don’t expect Snake River Conspiracy-style bangers (or covers, actually), as this is perhaps darker, more experimental. That said, nods to the old band do shine through (Tobey’s vocal delivery, for a start), but here the beats are buried in static fuzz and there’s an analogue electronics feel to what’s going on here. I like this a lot.