It’s been a really busy month – hence a relative lack of posting this past month, and no Tuesday Tens since last month’s roundup.
But I have still been listening to a lot of music, and as usual I’ve got some things held over that I’ll try and cover next month. Submissions of new material always welcome, by the way – so if you’ve got something you really think I should hear, let me know.
A reminder, also, that I’m DJing this weekend at The Post-Apocalypse JUDDER in Cheltenham.
Track of the Month
Nothing But Love
I first heard this during Seabound’s brief tour last summer, and even in a live format it was plainly obvious that this track was going to be something else when finally released (and, actually, the other new track Contraband was brilliant in a different way)…and it’s appearance at long last on Dependence 2013 confirms this long-held suspicion. This is Seabound like I’ve never heard them before. Euphoric, uncynical, danceable. As that chorus is unleashed, I’m picturing myself dancing through a storm with my arms outstretched, soaking in the rain and loving every bit of it. I’ve missed Seabound. Yeah, Edge of Dawn and Ghost & Writer were good (and often brilliant), but this is just something else: the release of Speak In Storms (from informed sources, so nearly finished, and likely out in the new year) cannot come a moment too soon.
Athan Maroulis’ return with his new project last year – in the form of gorgeous single My Dear – was something of a wonderful thing in my world, and needless to say it ended up in my 2012: Best Tracks list. The promised album has taken a while to come, but the first few tracks came on promo this past week, and it shows both how far he has come since the demise of Spahn Ranch, and also how much like the old band he sounds. And this track – of the four I’ve received, two are from last year’s single, by the way, but the rest of the album is new – is perhaps the most like Spahn Ranch. This, by the way, is no bad thing. Sparse electronic beats, lush strings, and Athan’s rich voice threading through the whole song. The album is out later in October.
The first new track from this Canadian band since their cracking The Transhuman Condition, and it shows that there is more quality to come. This is one of their harder hitting tracks, an incessant rhythm gives way to a melodic chorus and sweeping synths for only short moments, letting that rhythm remain the core. But even when hitting hard, this band never forget to ensure that there is a tune, an accessibility that so many industrial bands forget. And perhaps why I like this band so much – they are doing a great job of breaking down unnecessary boundaries.
Well, Arcade Fire know how to make a statement, that’s for sure. For the launch of their long-awaited fourth album, they have returned with a near-eight-minute epic, that doesn’t half have a thematic link to The Suburbs highlight Sprawl II (Mountains Beyond Mountains). That is, a dance sensibility in the loose-limbed groove, but it also has skyscraping peaks, a sense of wide-eyed wonder at the world, and a cameo from David Bowie. Sets the bar a bit fucking high for the rest of the album, mind…
Loud Like Love
Thanks to Lee Chaos for the headsup on just how brilliant this song is – I have to confess I left Placebo behind quite a while ago, with barely a look back, after the horrible mess that was Black Market Music. Their earlier music, though, was material I adored, having first seen them way back in autumn 1995, when they were a band with just a single on Fierce Panda. So it is great to hear they have at least one last brilliant track left – this, a glorious ballad of bitter regret, that takes a while to burst into life. All the better for Brian Molko’s seething jealous imagery in his vocals to be revealed, of course, and that emotion comes across most in his faltering voice in the chorus – and it’s an emotion many of us will be all too familiar with from one point or another in our pasts. Not sure on the rest of the album, mind, but this track could be worth it alone.
A number of people have told me in the past I should listen to this band, and I’ll admit that this is my first taste. It is certainly striking – thundering rhythms, handclaps, barked female vocals, at least parts of the kitchen sink appear to have made it into the instrumentation – and it’s got a poppy, almost R’n’B edge that makes surely a surefire hit. But what do I know…
I’m still digesting the utter brilliance of this album – and I suspect it’s going to take me a while. But the takeaway so far is that the whole album is an exquisite fragment of electronic art, one that has been sculpted and conceptualised like nothing I’ve heard in some time. Daniel Myer has explored whole new realms for his Architect project, even with a soulful female vocal (and it works a treat), and has also had some interesting collaborations here (particularly with Hecq and Comaduster). But tracks like this – where he goes it alone, and lets a liquid rhythm evolve over six enthralling minutes as electronic effects come and go – are just awe-inspiring in their simplicity and beauty. I’m with I Die: You Die in considering this a clear contender for album of the year.
I was quite a fan of this band’s last EP, and their previous album, so I was always going to be interested in new material. This first taster of the forthcoming new album is a real kicker, too – a industrial-rock-groove machine that has a dirty, grubby feel that I’m sure is deliberate, and it turns up the “rock” a bit from their heavily electronic previous releases. If this kind of hybrid is your thing, it’s well worth checking out. You can pre-order here.
(No Longer Available)
As a London-based Rivethead with a love of old-school EBM, I’ve missed Endurance terribly since it took a lengthy break (although a post over the weekend suggests that it may well be returning soon). There really hasn’t been anything like since, although I don’t think any other club could come near the atmosphere and shit-kicking DJing even if they tried. Anyway, in the downtime, some of the team behind the club have been making music. Needless to say, this would easily fit into their sets, and is more likely the point – sleek, club-bound (techno) body music that builds on numerous influences nicely.
I became aware of this band through word-of-mouth (from one or another breathless mention of them on FB), and it soon had me questioning how I’d missed them previously. Almost impossible to categorise, really, they are probably best lumped into that nebulous term “post-rock”, but like most bands in that realm, they have little in common with anyone else. There is rock here…somewhere. But there are also squalling electronics, trumpets and a sense that there is something deeply malevolent in their sound. I hear their live show is phenomenal, too, so I’m finally checking out that next Monday (on the day the new album is released).