/Tuesday Ten /558 /Tracks of the Month /May 2024

It’s been another busy old month, with a lot to do, a lot of music to catch up on, and in the end having to hold over a few songs as I simply ran out of time to write about any more.

/Tuesday Ten /558 /Tracks /May 2024

/Subject /Tracks of the Month
/Playlists /Spotify / /YouTube
/Related /554/Tracks/Apr 2024 /Tuesday Ten/Index
/Details /Tracks this week/15 /Tracks on Spotify Playlist/13 /Duration/53:00

Even so, there’s still fifteen songs this month, unusually with perhaps more metal and rock than usual.

In addition, I may consider a testing a livestream or two in the coming month or so – keep an eye out for announcements.

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

/Houses of Heaven

Another band I was a little late to, but I cannot get enough of this band’s exceptional new album. Probably best described as a band who use industrial and EBM textures/sounds to fashion an intriguing variant of post-punk, the whole album is a fantastic collection of songs that keep confounding, and even a guest like Douglas McCarthy (on The End of Me) doesn’t remotely overshadow everything else. The track I keep coming back to, though, is the title track. Drum patterns shapeshift across the track, there are pitch-shifted synths that hark back to The Knife of old, while vocalist Keven Tecon yearns for connection, and all together the track is a four-minute thrill ride.

/Arab Strap
/Summer Season
/I’m totally fine with it 👍 don’t give a fuck anymore 👍

The rebirth of Arab Strap in recent years has seen an older, wiser duo return to action, that despite the title, very much does give a fuck. Yes, songs are still morose and downbeat, for the most part, but Aidan Moffat has moved beyond navel-gazing to put himself in the shoes of others, which comes across with warmth and compassion, and the general message is that life can be pretty shitty for pretty much anyone. That said, there are still songs about memories and echoes of the past, and on the latest album, Summer Season is by some distance the most devastating of them.

To the traditionally sparse drum machine and bubbling synths, Moffat takes the position of someone dragged down by desperate depression in the midst of a warm summer, wanting to reconnect but apparently unable to do so himself, promising that he will but secretly knowing it will never really happen. What’s worse are the nods to social media, where you can hide behind a mask of smiles and positivity without anyone ever knowing the reality.

Away from the sensationalist lyrics, perhaps Aidan Moffat is one of the greatest chroniclers of (real) life in our time – particularly for those of us that have aged along with him, living similar experiences – and it’s taken us three decades to confirm it.

/Insanely Beautiful

The temptation of notable nineties acts to reform just keeps coming, even though I perhaps never quite expected the shadowy electro group Fluke – a band who always shunned the limelight, and kept such a low personal profile that they were pretty much anonymous – to do so. But here we are in 2024, with Jon Fugler and Mike Tournier having resurrected the group. The interesting thing was that Fluke never really fitted in – having experimented with techno, big beat, industrial electronics and ambient balladry, they were never going to be pigeonholed – and so their return in an era that thumbs it’s nose to genre descriptions actually feels right. Especially when the seven-minute Insanely Beautiful takes us on a trip. Beginning as a twilight, piano ballad, it slowly but surely rumbles into life as a thunderingly heavy, rolling beat, with vocals that start out clean before being gradually degraded and distorted. A wonderful surprise release that delivers more than I could have ever hoped for.

/Crumbs Chaos and Lies
/The Red Room

The relentless work schedule of Raymond Watts continues, with the latest album from <PIG>, and happily The Red Room is snappier, shorter and better than any of his work in a while. It opens with the storming industrial rock of Crumbs Chaos and Lies, which sound huge: chugging guitars, dirty basslines and hulking great beats provide a platform for Watts (and guest vocalist Lex from 3TEETH) to growl their way through one of the most fun tracks from the project in an age. Of course, we know what to expect these days, but Watts does it so well – and with a glint in his eye, and tongue in his cheek a lot of time – that it’s hard to complain.

/Chapter For Not Being Hung Upside Down On A Stake
In The Underworld And Made To Eat Feces By The Four Apes

/The Underworld Awaits Us All

At last, metal’s best-known Egyptologists are back, with a title apparently referencing the 181st chapter of the Egyptian Book of the Dead (and long enough that it probably takes longer to say than some Pig Destroyer tracks play for), and a track heavy enough to knock you back a few millennia. I mean, it’s Nile: so expect head-spinning, gut-punching drumming, wild guitar solos and Karl Sanders’ distinctive vocals: you know, what Nile have been doing for decades and still do better than pretty much any of their peers. The best song from these metal veterans in many years, frankly.

/Body Count

Another long-promised album that felt like it may never come was the new one from Body Count, and while there’s still no release date yet, we took another step closer to Merciless with the release of a new single recently. As has been Ice-T’s way for many years, he explores and inhabits unpleasant characters in Body Count songs, and here he takes the point of view of an unpleasant psychopath (the kind of one that might have appeared in an 80s slasher flick), but the main attraction here is less the subject than the mighty, riff-driven nastiness of the song itself. Ice-T even makes time for his friend Joe Bad (Fit for an Autopsy) to drop in with a ripping guest verse. Anyway, roll on 30-June, when Body Count come to London.

/One Chance
/Back With Another One EP

Apparently one of the metallic buzz bands of the moment are this apparently anonymous, black-and-gold-clad band who are, to put no finer point on it, extremely familiar with turn-of-the-millennium rap metal. And, having been announced as support for Pitchshifter later in the year, I thought it time to catch up. There’s no doubt that they know their history well, too, with their sound polished, heavy and confrontational. Pick of the new songs recently released on their latest EP is this monster of a track, with a message to take life by the horns and do things now, rather than putting it off. Appropriately, One Chance has the kind of chorus that will see a moshpit nearly take the roof off – remember when Limp Bizkit did this kind of thing for fun? – as well as a breakdown that will snap bones. There’s clearly still a time and a place for this kind of thing – as the sheer number of Nu-Metal/etc club nights around at the moment attests – and BLACKGOLD deliver the goods.

/Knocked Loose
/Suffocate (feat. Poppy)
/You Won’t Go Before You’re Supposed To

The breakthrough metalcore band of the moment are Knocked Loose, who’ve busted through to the next level this year thanks to their monstrous new album (which is done and dusted in just twenty-eight minutes). The album is a riot of punishing tracks and seemingly endless drops and breakdowns, as if they’ve stripped away anything that might distract. The best track on the album brings in Poppy on vocals, for a feral, stomping track that tears through the speakers like a fucking hurricane – something you know that’s coming by those ominous cymbal taps as the track opens – and Poppy sounds fantastic letting loose their fury on the vocals – particularly one absolutely primal roar just after the two-minute mark…

/I Feel Nothing When You Cry

Playing heavy music at a slower – but no less brilliant – pace are Louisiana group Thou, who’s body of work over the past two decades has included a few albums of their own, some extraordinary collaborations and, of course, a host of grunge covers. It’s long been recognised that this band are not a sludge band like their supposed peers, and this album makes that absolutely clear. Sure, they still have the slow, supremely heavy riffs in their arsenal, but where they step away from that this album gets even better. Such as the overwhelming wall-of-sound that is the punky rush of <>I Feel Nothing When You Cry, which despite the tsunami of guitars, bass and drums, is surprisingly catchy… Anyway, a new candidate for album of the year has emerged…

/Siege Lord

The fascinating metal band Heriot – who made waves with the outstanding Profound Morality EP a couple of years back – are back with what appears to be a taste of their upcoming album. Siege Lord has a sludgy, dense feel: it’s really damned heavy but has a restless feel that characterises much of the metal scene these days. It borrows elements from sludge, death metal and metallic hardcore (that mosh-friendly closeout!) to make a satisfying whole that suggests this band are evolving very fast indeed.

/Eye New Dark
/Smile My Dear
/Tell Me / Smile My Dear

While Eric Oehler has long been busy with other projects away from Null Device (most notably of late the New Beat/EBM thrills of KLACK), his co-vocalist and bandmate Jill Sheridan has only now revealed a solo project. Her strong, almost ethereal vocals suit the punchy electronic rhythms that weave around her, with these new songs a definite step away from her work in Null Device: but the commitment to thoughtful, melodic synthpop does remain. An impressive start.

/Who Knows?
/Am I The Change I Wish To See?

A welcome return after four years comes from Ghostpoet, with a new EP. Obaro Ejimiwe has always been something of a musical magpie, borrowing from a variety of genres and styles to create his fascinating music, and this new EP continues that trend. Lead track Oh Lord! is dominated by a fog-laden, shuffling beat and deep bass you can feel in your feet, that drops the vocals deep into the mix, as if after some years away, he’s not quite ready to reveal himself fully again. Normal service is resumed on the excellent Who Knows?, as he takes stock of the world and shrugs his shoulders, as if everything is that bit too overwhelming to deal with. He’s got a point – where the fuck do you start in the fight for change, to make things better. There’s an awful lot to do.

/Mortal Realm
/Stab In The Dark

We last heard from Adam V. Jones in his main band HAEX, whose relatively recent album Aethyr Abyss Void was an intriguing industrial trip into esotericism. Judging on the first couple of tracks from his new project Mortal Realm, he’s gone a whole lot more direct here, but also spinning out in different directions. Death Debt is an unexpectedly melodic track that sums up the idea in my head of “death disco”, but even better is the pummelling Trash. A searing, punishingly heavy track that ups the tempo, the volume, the noise, the fury. More of this, please!

/Blood on the Horns of Taurus
/Pslams from the Astral Pulpit

Picked up at a recent extreme metal gig in Folkestone, this local artist is very much deep in the realms of industrial-tinged Black Metal. The blastbeats are a drum machine, the guitars thick with distortion, and everything is layered with a digital fuzz and peppered with samples that makes for an intense, overwhelming listen. Remember when The Axis of Perdition blew our minds? This isn’t quite there – I’m not sure anything could be as densely layered as early Axis material – but it’s aiming for it and sounds pretty damned good.

/I Don’t Fear Hell
/To All Trains

Obviously, I’ve already covered Steve Albini’s death and involvement in alternative music at length on /Tuesday Ten /556 just a few weeks back, but I couldn’t not include his last work, the new Shellac album released just weeks after he died. For those familiar with Shellac, there’s not a lot new – it’s what Steve, Bob and Todd have always done: taut, rhythm-heavy, unadorned rock music that absolutely bursts out of your speakers. Naturally, too, it’s impeccably produced, and sounds great on big speakers. The final track, though, is an uncanny bit of foreshadowing, as Albini considers what might happen when he dies (best line? “If there is a hell, I’m going to know everyone!“) on a song that has a lurching rhythm, and is perhaps more restrained in a way that few Shellac songs ever were. A quite remarkable close to an extraordinary career.

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