Tuesday Ten: 200: Tracks of the Month (March 2014)

So, seven years – almost to the week – since I started this series, the Tuesday Ten hits #200. That’s 200 lengthy posts, and 2,000 artists, songs, albums, venues (hey, the subjects have got around a bit). New songs, old songs, favourites, ones I dislike, even recently music other people love. It was initially started to celebrate the new music I was hearing, so I guess it is appropriate that #200 keeps that tradition up.

Spotify_Icon_RGB_Green Spotify
YouTube-icon-full_color YouTube
sc_square_16 SoundCloud

The series has worked well as a brain dump of short snippets of opinions on the music I’m hearing – so much more never makes it here – and it’s got to the point where some people suggest new themes for me. Thanks to those of you that have, and to those of you that continue to inspire in other ways by either making some of the great music I post about here, or commenting and adding to debate. Or if you just read it, too, thanks.

I’ve not run out of subjects yet, either – there will be many more to come. But for now, let’s get on with the new music worth hearing this month.

Track of the Month

High-Functioning Flesh
A Unity Of Miseries, A Misery Of Unities

I wasn’t a huge fan of their scratchy demo – it was almost as if the sound was deliberately really, really poor – but now it’s been recorded properly, this is way more like it. This, the lead track from their newly-released EP, is a punchy, heavily-eighties industrial influenced beast that brings to mind a few influences, but particularly Portion Control and (to a lesser extent) Cabaret Voltaire. This is harsh, uncompromising stuff but manages to retain enough of a dancefloor edge to potentially broaden it’s appeal. You can buy the new EP on Bandcamp.

Bitter Ruin
Love Gone Left

Disclosure time first: I was a backer of Bitter Ruin’s wildly successful Kickstarter last year (with a not insignificant amount). They raised way more than they expected, allowing them to meet all their planned expenditure either, and the result was an album that us backers have now had for six months or so – and needless to say I’m pretty well acquainted with it. It was obvious even then that this was a far more ambitious album musically than their early material, and Georgia and Ben are justifiably proud of their achievements in writing, recording and releasing it. The full release, next week, was always intended to have a few less tracks, too, but I have to say that my eyebrows were raised at what was missing (Relief and Gentle Man in particular, both live staples for ages and hugely popular with fans), and the choice of first single (Diggers, one of the weaker songs IMHO).

Still, at least the second single is better. Much better. Love Gone Left is a lush ballad, allowing both of them to showcase their strong vocals and harmonizing, with a climax that could only be described as “rousing” – and with the apparent surge in support and coverage for the duo of late, it’s not a stretch to imagine them hitting the charts and wider success soon. The hard work, seemingly never-ending live performances (my girlfriend and I have seen them ten or more times since we’ve been back in London) looks about to pay off.

A Little God In My Hands
To Be Kind

After the epic, exhausting The Seer and the related touring, it seems Michael Gira has barely stopped. As a result, another new album is almost here (To Be Kind is out next month), and while I’ve heard acoustic sketches of the material (and an amazing acoustic take on Oxygen at Gira’s recent Hackney solo show), this is the first full track to break cover. Again, it seems there has been a move on from the last album, with this being more song-based, a lumbering, quasi-funk rhythm propelling the song forward (it gets almost trancelike as the song unfolds), with guitars and other instruments whipping up like tornados at points while Gira calmly intones the lyrics in his own unique style. The new album is another two hour, ten-track monster, but you know what? I can’t fucking wait.

Nerve Endings (single)

Yep, another I’m late to the party with, and yes, I know they have an album out of all original material now (which is great, by the way). But I’m plumping for this exceptional cover of a band that are rather obviously a big influence on them (the other being squalling, effects-laden guitars of shoegaze). They play it broadly straight, but a little faster, but any band that chose to cover Requiem are not really going to fuck with it too much, I suspect. By a stroke of luck, Eagulls were the support act to Suede at the Royal Albert Hall on Sunday night – and while their KJ-influenced post-punk was impressive live, it got lost a bit in the cavernous venue – I’d more think this band would work in a small, sweaty venue feeding off the energy of the crowd. A quick listen to the scorching single this was the B-side of (the appropriately frayed and furious-sounding Nerve Endings) confirms this is the case, not to mention the roaring, edgy Possessed.

3TEETH – Remixed

Can I mention this band again? Yes I fucking can, as long as they keep releasing music of this quality. Up until this morning, I was going to feature 3TEETH’s new single – lead track for their album due out early next month. But then this staggering remix by Sheffield-based kindred spirits Randolph & Mortimer dropped. The ominous, slower beats are tossed away, replaced by a Ministry-esque drum and shredding riffs rampage, and it suits 3TEETH very well indeed. I’m reliably informed new material from R&M is imminent (new video first, then an EP), too.

Tori Amos
Trouble’s Lament
Unrepentent Geraldines

Tori is back, and once again, it’s a change of style. She’s moved away from the lush, orchestral sound of her recent material, taking a step back towards what she did in the first place, but with a distinct “Americana” bent here. Soft brushed drums and acoustic guitars back up her usual, complex piano playing and a lyric about Trouble as a person, dealing with Satan and other problems…or something like that. So in other words, Tori at the top of her game and wonderfully oblique with her subject matter, too.

Powerman 5000
How To Be A Human
Builders Of The Future

Christ, didn’t even know these guys were still going. Rob Zombie’s kid brother, of course, and they have always traded in sci-fi themed industrial-tinged metal, and back with a new track for the first time in a while. Nothing has changed, then – it’s still oh-so-knowing industrial metal, but crucially with a kick-ass, catchy chorus that should mean airplay and attention again to a band who never quite got the due they should.

The Future’s Void

One of those artists I’ve been meaning to check out for a while, I really quite like this. A mellow, electronic song with a steely edge, and Erika M. Anderson’s husky voice floats elegantly on top. I read somewhere that she was aiming for a sound “not unlike a NIN demo”, and perhaps it is closer to How To Destroy Angels_, but with rather more of a human connection and a hell of a lot more interesting, too…

Everything’s Under Control
Machine Cold Wash

Ah yes, nice and nasty industrial with a noisy, ugly edge. Sent to me from a friend in London whose band this is, this is well-produced, accomplished stuff of a style that sadly isn’t as popular nowadays as it should be – many younger rivetheads/whatever-you-want-to-call-them appear to see Nachtmahr as the heavy stuff now. More’s the pity – this is an avalanche of brutal beats, heavily distorted samples and brings to mind flashing strobes and grimy, dark clubs with this pounding out. If you want something that bit heavier, get clean with this.

Troublegum (Deluxe Edition)

Finally, another twentieth anniversary, this time of Therapy?’s breakthrough smash (one of those unlikely albums to sell a million, thats for sure), and it will be good to hear much of it for the first time in many, many years next week at The Scala. Particularly this song, the blistering, breathless opening track that is over and done with in two minutes, mainly formed of riffs, drums and self-deprecating humour and rage in equal measures. That, of course, and the fact that like the rest of the album, this was where Therapy? hit upon the perfect balance between heaviness and accessibility.

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