Tuesday Ten: 165: Tracks of the Month (October 2012)

A month without posts has meant a month without Tuesday Tens, too. Here is my return to that, with another roundup of ten songs you should hear this month.


Track Of The Month

Godspeed You! Black Emperor
Allelujah! Don’t Bend! Ascend!

The post-rock (or whatever) titans return with a new album at long last, and it is worth it alone for this gloriously intense twenty minute blast that live (last night) was utterly jaw-dropping, and remarkably even longer. Like all GY!BE, it starts slowly, ominous drones underpin almost random strings and guitar sounds until they all slowly coalesce into a march to a distant summit, whereupon it explodes into life with a thunderous climax that feels like the long-promised relief from the previous Gathering Storm. After ten years away – or at least ten years without recorded output – this feels like one last attempt to prove that they are the masters of post-rock after all, and that particular argument can now be considered settled.

We All Rage In Gold
Honor Found In Decay

The second, frankly incomparable band on this month’s roundup, five years since the last album has not changed a great deal. But then, why should it? The crushing riffs, and the rolling, punishing rhythms are still present, as are the vocals that have seen the world and despair at what they see. So far beyond any supposed followers that they should be regarded as a musical treasure, this new album is unbelievably even better than the last one. Roll on the gig next month.

The Prodigy
Smack My Bitch Up (Noisia Remix)
The Added Fat EP

Yeah, so it is yet another re-issue – the reasons for which are getting thinner and thinner – but when they add remixes like this I’m all ears. It appears initially that Noisia haven’t done a great deal with this evergreen dancefloor classic, but patience for the payoff is rewarded with an absolutely monstrous breakdown that I can’t wait to hear in a club, or at least loud enough to have my insides vibrating. Yeah, so it is Noisia doing what they do, but why break something that clearly works so astoundingly well, eh?

Prometheus Burning

One of the most intense, furious industrial acts return apparently with a searing rage, and a sound that perhaps points back in their history a little. And the raging, thumping industrial rhythms and Nikki’s harsher vocals suit them very well indeed, straddling the line between industrial noise and old-school industrial to spectacular effect, and hopefully their signing to WTII Records will finally allow them some stability (there have been all kinds of issues with labels in the past). Out next week, this has made it into this list purely based on the snippets on the WTII website.

Rabbit Junk
Own Up

JP Anderson’s habit of releasing a slew of killer singles continues with his most immediate track is aeons, one with more electro, less guitars and more hooks than an abbatoir. The fact that Rabbit Junk is still an underground artist, rather than being at least a star in alternative scenes, is one of the more puzzling questions of our”scene”.

The Soft Moon

This act’s debt to 80s goth and post-punk couldn’t be made any clearer here, the oh-so-slightly-tinny beats, and that low-slung bass… But alongside that, the squalling, screeching electronics, the barely audible/intelligible vocals, and you can just imagine the shrouds of dry ice enveloping everything. This music isn’t about visuals, it is about atmosphere – something The Soft Moon have now all-but-perfected over two albums and an EP.

Mind Games (cEvin Key/Ken”HiWatt” Marshall Mix)
Bent & Broken

I have to confess that I’ve not found the past couple of Collide albums as engaging as I’d hoped to, neither of them having anything close to the staying power of their earlier material (which is still gets regular listens in my house). So it is interesting to hear the new (double CD) remix album, which like previous remix album Vortex absolutely transforms some lacklustre material into some quite extraordinary songs. Once again, it is loaded with a couple of killer tracks upfront, none more so than this all-but-Skinny Puppy remix of one of the better recent songs, burying the vocals in tons of effects and bringing to the fore glitchy, near-tribal rhythms and a slinkiness that the original somewhat lacked.

Your Hearts
Distrust Authority

Watch on YouTube

I remember being fascinated by this artist at Infest a few years back, whereupon interviewing the artist it became clear that he was just as into old-school, anarchist punk as he was power noise. At that time, though, the music didn’t really seem to hit the balance so much – so consider this a correction. Here, there are punk rhythms, guitars – and vocals – all shredded and distorted through industrial beats and savage electronic effects. Think ATR, but rawer and with less sloganeering. But equally worthy of your time.

Chelsea Wolfe
Unknown Rooms: A Collection of Acoustic Songs

Chelsea Wolfe’s third album sees a departure in sound, but no real departure in style, which is definitely a Good Thing. Her doomy, pitch-dark folk songs bring together influences as disparate as Cohen, Patti Smith and Black Metal, but without fail always have a scratchy, unsettling atmosphere that is quite unlike any of her supposed peers. Of a number of outstanding songs on this short album, though, this one stands out – a rolling, dreamy ballad given added bite by the wailing, banshee-like violin accompaniment that dominates the melody, and Wolfe’s naked, unaltered vocals that sound exceptionally fragile.

The Jon Spencer Blues Explosion
Bag of Bones
Meat and Bone

Watch on YouTube

The mighty Jon Spencer returns for the first time in a while, and things still are where they were – ass-kicking rock, soul and funk. Especially on this song, where an awesome guitar lick heralds the howling Jon Spencer to take the mic and direct his band to have you shaking your ass and tapping your feet in seconds. Mission accomplished, then – and dude, welcome back. The only band to be even close to being as cool as his are The Hives, and they took a lot of notes from Spencer.

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