I've picked up quite a bit of new music recently, so this was one of the easiest monthly lists I've done in a while. Anyway, here are ten tracks that have rocked my world in the last month.
Track of the Month
Alter der Ruine
State of Ruin [Assemblage 23 Remix]
State of Ruin
While the parent album (and original track) are really pretty damned good, this remix is truly something else – Tom Shear smooths off the edges a little, adds a stabbing, stadium rave-esque synth line, and emphasises the chorus some more. And the result? A stonking dancefloor tune that seems to have been a dancefloor filler on each of the times I've played it recently.
I took a bit of a punt on this album – it being an interesting sounding addition to the Tympanik roster when I was browsing the site last month – and my gamble on it has paid off handsomely. This is frankly one of the best albums I've heard so far in 2008, and this savage track is the opening track. For the full effect, listen to it loudly on a good pair of headphones – the bruising breakcore beats are cleverly phased across the channels and at points sounds like an airstrike going on around your head.
Bands bringing bruising, broadly-instrumental industrial dancefloor music seems to have suddenly become all the rage, many of them taking more notice of the harder "industrial noise" acts from both sides of the Atlantic than the "futurepop" sounds that dominated airwaves and dancefloors only a short few years ago. I'm not certain this trend will last much longer, but with albums like this and the forthcoming Modulate album, there is life yet. This track is four minutes-and-not-much-more of rampaging dancefloor material, with a sample used to spectacular effect for a heavy-duty breakdown more than once.
Late 20th Century Boy
Third Mall From The Sun
In my eyes probably one of the best of David Thrussell's sideways looks at consumer culture, this strange, trip-hop-esque track was for me one of the highlights of the Infest set on the Friday night. Like everything else Snog do, not to everyone's taste, but well worth a listen if you haven't heard it before – you may be surprised…
Peek-A-Boo / e-bay Queen
Alright, I admit it. I really wasn't keen on this lot when I first heard them, and it was their quite marvellous Infest appearance that converted me. Well, that and the track Ghost. Still, this track is just simply great synthpop (with an utterly killer chorus), and that's all I have to say about it, really…
We're Just Physical
Kloq have intrigued me for a while now, since I first heard You Never Know, and then seeing them live supporting VNV Nation last December. It has, somehow, taken months for me to finally pick up the album, and I'm now wishing I'd got it before. It's great electro that is perhaps a little more "mainstream" in it's aim than might be expected. This track is one of two featuring Douglas McCarthy of Nitzer Ebb fame, and is probably one of the strongest songs on the album.
Another track I've been aware of for a while, but never got 'round to picking up until recently. Basically, this is the best track S.K.E.T. have done – a feeling of restrained fury permeates from the track as the beats rumble on, interspersed with well-picked Dubya samples and also what appear to be recordings of explosions in war zones and the screams of civilians. It's pretty obvious what the track is about, and perhaps uniquely manages to make a point or maybe even protest without any lyrics whatsoever. How or why it was shunted off onto a limited-edition compilation, rather than a full S.K.E.T. release beggars belief – it deserves a bigger audience than this.
Sit and Wonder
The return of one of the few "indie" bands I still give a shit about has been something to marvel at – particularly as in almost every way they have been acting as if they never went away, even down to the apparently testy relationship between the band members.
The new album is a bit of a surprise, in that it has the similar, spaced out feel that they used to have before they become stars with Urban Hymns – almost a return to their roots in some respects. This track is the barnstorming, soaring opener that is worth getting hold of Forth for alone, in my opinion one of the best tracks the band have done.
Gasoline Man [acoustic]
Knock On Wood
Yeah, yeah, I know, a second Young Gods track in consecutive months. But this is so different as to be well worth a mention. After some time of prevaricating, I've finally picked up the new-ish acoustic album, and some of the tracks on it are a revelation. Like this extraordinary take on one of their best known tracks – played on acoustic guitars, while walking down a street in Paris. Here is the single (original) version , if you've never heard it, by the way.
Burn Out At The Hydrogen Bar
Talking of retro industrial…I'm not sure I could ever tire of Chemlab. Even when a recent mishap through communication channels with the ordering of a few CDs from the band meant a near-two-month wait for them. Still, props to Jared for then signing all of them, and providing a few signed small-posters, too by way of apology for the delay! Either way, this track for remains the high-point of the band's career, for me. Which is why I still play it a fair bit when DJing.