Back on the usual schedule, here are the best tracks of the first month of 2023.
/Subject /Tracks of the Month
/Playlists /Spotify / /YouTube
/Related /513/Tracks/Dec-22 /Tuesday Ten/Index
/Details /Tracks this week/10 /Tracks on Spotify Playlist/10 /Duration/39:58
There’s been a lot to keep up with, and as usual there wasn’t quite enough time to cover more, but 2023 is shaping up to be another fascinating year musically. As well, there are tons of good gigs coming up, too (including four in February), so look out for occasional reports from those, too.
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
A chance find thanks to a Scottish friend mentioning them, this young band have released a belter of a debut single. A bruising alt-rock base sees squalling guitars and a thumping low end propelling the song forward, and the unapologetically Scottish vocals work brilliantly. Scotland has a long history of great alternative music, and hopefully this is the sign of a new generation of bands taking up the mantle. Highly recommended.
The striking group Mandy, Indiana have been making waves for a while, particularly after their outstanding no-wave-meets-industrial-dance … EP. The first new release since that is this new song, and once again it is a bracing listen. A mass of organ drones gives way to punchy percussion before vocalist Valentine Caulfield delivers apparent instructions to two computer game players to destroy each other. The sonic violence is perhaps more restrained than on some of their other songs, and thus the sparing use of discordant screeches of noise has all the more impact. It’s beginning to feel like this group have limitless potential.
Zanias is one of those artists that has remained at the periphery of my interests in recent years, and going on this song, perhaps I’ve been missing a trick (again). This track is a quite brilliant electro-industrial track that speaks of years on scene dancefloors, of soaking up the darkness and euphoria that often go hand-in-hand, but also of paying attention to what is going on elsewhere in electronic music (as the subtle thread of breakbeats that buzz away in the background at points confirms). The glitchy video also, though, suggests an element of the loneliness that can envelop at a club, with all around you dancing and lost in the music, and you at the centre of it all, wondering where you fit in, and making questionable choices to continue the night. Consider me converted to the cause.
/Got What You Wanted
/Machine and Bone
A new band formed by George Lynch of Dokken, this is a world away from that band’s sound, that’s for sure. Grimy, anthemic industrial rock is the way here – even if the band are terming it “dream punk”, and I like it a lot (and it weird to hear samples of Chicago Blue Line L-train announcements used so prominently, too). That said, there’s a lot of rock in here, with the guitars front and centre, and even a fantastic, shredding guitar solo that reminds us that we’ve a metal legend in our midst. But that’s not the only attraction, as the rhythmic, repetitive chorus is a surefire earworm, and with Richard Patrick (Filter) and Tommy Victor (Prong) also featuring on other tracks from the upcoming album, it should be an interesting endeavour to follow.
/Tall Tales EP
It’s been a whole lot of a time that has passed since the last new material from this excellent London band (Skeletal Blues came out nearly five years ago!), so a new single is very welcome indeed (with an EP to follow). Happily, they’ve not fucked with the formula that’s worked so well so far. This is dark, bluesy-folk that once again sees vocalist Locks telling stories of mystery and death, buried bones and strange goings on, and as the title suggests, we’re a long way from London. A quite unique band that seem to get weirder release by release…
/Full Of Hell & Primitive Man
There’s been a fertile cross-pollination in recent years between a number of extreme metal bands (admittedly, usually featuring THOU or The Body), but the idea seems to be spreading, and going on the quality that is resulting every single time, it clearly should happen more often. The latest is from grindcore stalwarts Full of Hell, who’ve teamed up with the suffocating doom of Primitive Man. The lead track from the album begins with the unmistakable, sludgy crawl of the latter, but near seamlessly accelerates into a blitzkreig of grindcore drumming for a period – all the while being heavier than anything else in 2023.
/Like a Dog
A pretty much instant contender for dancefloor destructor of 2023 arrived with weeks of the new year, from a Texas-based artist who has previously featured in bands, but has now gone it alone. All of the tracks on this release absolutely bang, but Like A Dog is underpinned by a Murderous synth hook that gets your head bobbing, before the thumping drum rhythm instructs your feet to move too. No vocals distract from the glorious purity of the track – the entire release is instrumental save a few samples – and frankly I want to restart DJing club nights just to play this song in the environment it richly deserves.
/Truth Is The New Gold
I last featured Feral Five on /Tuesday Ten /371, where Shake It was a boneshaking, three-minute groove. Their debut album arrives shortly, and with a few exceptions, things are perhaps a little more subdued. Opener Silver Sky is shimmering dreampop, anchored by another fantastic bass-led groove, but above that is lighter than air – and intriguingly what is credited as a “Synthetic AI Voice Instrument” is used for the vocals…
/Sky Void of Stars
The Swedish doomy metal lords are back with their twelfth album, and a unusually, there is a clear thread from City Burials (they often change things up a bit between albums, or at least have done in recent years). But then, why change what is working so well? Austerity opens the album, and wastes no time in crashing out of the speakers, a song full of guitar solos, a crashing, dramatic chorus and that soaring melodic power that no-one else in metal does like Katatonia do. I can’t wait to hear this material live next week.
/Kiss of the Dog
/The Predator Nominate EP
There has been much comment about 3RA1N1AC (or Brainiac, if you prefer) again just recently – even an article in The Graun last week – as the surviving members of the band, with fellow Daytonite Tim Krug joining them to help out, reunite for a short set of dates supporting Brainiac superfans Mogwai, as well as a London date and a handful of US dates. But as well as that, they released last week what will likely be the final recorded word of the band, some of the final demos that were being sketched out when Tim Taylor died in 1997, as the band were on the verge of signing a massive record deal with Interscope.
Critical things here – these were not complete songs, nor are they particularly high quality, but that’s not the point. They help give us an idea of where they might have gone, and the answer was… even weirder. There are electronic experiments, there are short bursts of synth-punk, and there are things that I have no fucking idea what they are. The most fascinating “what might have been”, though, is “Kiss of the Dog”, an incredible synth-led track that is full of whooshes of energy, a brooding rhythm, and Tim Taylor delivering another of his unhinged vocal performances.
The alternative music world lost a mercurial talent in 1997, and who knows where they might have gone. The tantalising glimpses here suggest it might have been one hell of a trip.