This will be the last monthly roundup of 2013, as at the beginning of December I will be turning my attention – as usual – to rounding up the year in music. There has been a hell of a lot to consider, too, as 2013 has been something of a bumper year for music as far as I’m concerned.
In the meantime, here’s the usual monthly ten songs that have grabbed my attention – as always a mix of styles and sounds. Submissions for this monthly post are always welcome, by the way.
Track of the Month
Resistance is Futile
There have been soundtracks, live albums, compilations, but no real new album for seven years or more now, so the arrival of Spectre soon (10-February, if I recall correctly) is long overdue. And in the meantime, we have a short EP to whet our appetite: and the results are damned impressive. So far, it doesn’t appear to be dancefloor-aimed, instead two apparently cerebral, political missives wondering about the state of “Europe” and the politics therein – that could likely have essays written about the concepts discussed – and then this… A seven-minute, loose-limbed electro-funk epic where Laibach lay out their own musical manifesto, suggesting assimilation and, yes, resistance to electronic music this awesome is indeed futile. Roll on Spectre – looks like the wait has been worth it.
Hate or Glory
There has been a hell of a buzz building for this artist in recent months, firstly from the sleek thrills of Pursuit, then this, which is quite different. It is a filthy, groovy, noise-influenced industrial/techno hybrid, for want of a better description, that straddles the links between the genres comfortably and suggests that, as we’ve seen a fair bit this year, that industrial really is getting out of it’s own corner at the moment. Mores the pity, too, that the album doesn’t really live up to the brilliance of the singles so far.
The Mawn Reproduction
I hadn’t realised just how long it has been since Humanoids From The Deep – although in fairness rather a lot has happened in the Acucrack camp since – and so perhaps it isn’t greatly surprising to find a stylistic shift. Here the emphasis is on groove – and this track is groovy as fuck. This is industrial dancefloor music all right, with a pace and style just right to throw shapes to on the dancefloor, but crucially not just co-opting the latest “cool” trend to do so.
In advance of their long-awaited debut album, following a pair of truly outstanding EPs that have made each of the last two end-of-year lists here on amodelofcontrol.com, the lead single has dropped, and it is another cracking track. Interestingly, the pace has been picked up a bit, revealing a clean, danceable edge to the air of malevolence that remains in their music, despite the lighter touch used here. Also, the twin male/female vocals are used to brilliant effect, twisting in and out of the synths, while the remixes are worth your time too…as is the seriously leftfield cover of Leonard Cohen!
Break the Sky
Break the Sky EP
It was clear from it’s live airing in the summer (when supporting Front Line Assembly) that they were onto something with this track, and hearing the final version, with Daniel Graves’ vocals, the result is even more brilliant. It takes it’s time getting going – barely there synths before Graves’ vocals float in over the ether…and then the beats arrive like a hailstorm and just keep on pounding away, while Graves provides his best vocal in an age. The album should be interesting…
I’ve been a fan of this band for a long, long time, and their new album proves that this perennially underrated band still have it. They aren’t doing anything particularly groundbreaking – mid-paced, melodic industrial-electro – but they do this so well that I see there being no need to change. This is a pretty good example of why this band are so good at it, too – an instantly memorable hook, and a sense of sweet melancholy pervades.
Deny The Absolute
Pelican are one of those bands I really should love more than I do. There are some tracks that I think are truly brilliant, and then there are others that really do nothing for me at all – and somehow I’ve never seen them live, either. Of the new album, though, this track stands out above all of the rest – a snappy, groove laden post-metal track that neatly manages to be heavy-as while retaining a sense of melody, and I also get that feeling that a version of this with vocals would be really interesting indeed.
plague star (black light returning)
The Dark Age Of Consent
One that I neglected to include last month, so let’s make up for that now. This is Jared Louche of Chemlab, joining together with other like-minded types (including members of Caustic and infocollapse) to result in a band that is basically working within the realms of pitch-dark, sleazeball rock – there is much less overt electronics than Chemlab, that’s for sure, but there is absolutely a link back to the older work, in the galloping beats and the snarled vocals. The album has been promised for an age, too, it seems, so good to finally be hearing at least something from it…
Johnny Borrell Afterlife
How to Stop Your Brain In An Accident
I was far too late to the party with this lot – while being aware of McClusky, I’d long since forgotten them too – so caught The Plot Against Common Sense‘s brilliance late (which also means I’ve not seen them live, which I should perhaps rectify next week). Anyway, the new (crowdfunded) album takes the wiry, post-punk snarliness of …Plot… that bit further, again with gloriously snarky lyrical barbs, and brilliantly inventive metaphors that elevate songs from merely interesting to essential. You know those bands whose lyrics are so great they make you listen again, just to make sure you caught it all? Yeah, this is one of those.
Love Hurt Bleed
Splinter (Songs from a Broken Mind)
Grinding, snarling industrial rock of the kind Numan has been releasing for a while now, and it is a style that fits his voice well. However, as The Quietus have already noted, this is his best album in years. The sound is, as noted, not especially different, I think what makes this better is the songwriting – there is no filler here whatsoever, and this track is one of the best here. A typically dense production somehow makes that bit more room for Numan’s vocal to shine through everything else.