Here is this month’s ten tracks you should hear.
Track of the Month
Koi No Yokan
After the astonishing career reinvention of Diamond Eyes, the first two songs to surface (officially) from the forthcoming Deftones album suggest there has been no let-up in this purple patch, where frankly the band are releasing the best music of their career. New single Tempest (hear it on the front page of Deftones.com) is an epic, grinding track, but the first track heard, Leathers, starts quietly, roars into life out of nowhere, before hitting with one of those monstrous, soaring choruses that Chino Moreno seems to have a never-ending supply of. Now, about more UK shows…
I’ve been quite taken with Rebekah’s music since I first saw her live back in the summer, and her gloriously rude new single Ménage a Moi manages to walk the tightrope between filth and fun in a clever way. Her music is quite lovely, showy pop music, full of big flourishes, multiple languages, and lots of intriguing imagery, and as an introduction to her, this song is just right. This is released as a single next week, the album follows the next week, buy them both here.
A couple of years on from the striking first record from the reconstituted Swans, it transpires that that album was only a taster for the extremes that Michael Gira was going to take us to. This album is extraordinary – a ten-track, two hour odyssey that sounds utterly, and completely unique. It could only be the work of Swans, but here things sound slightly different. There is none of the belting noise that opened the last album, at least not to start with (that starts to come with the thirty two minute title track), instead a beautiful, near-choral opener that ebbs and flows, seemingly endlessly chanting the title as the music crashes like waves around it. An album that demands your attention for the whole thing (this is not background music), and rewards listening to the whole rather than snippets, it is quite possibly the best thing Swans have ever released.
My Head Is An Animal
After failing to pick this album up while I was in Iceland in May, I had to wait another three or four months before it was released in the UK. Oh yes, another of those boneheaded decisions by the record labels to stagger release dates, despite this being the most obvious way to encourage piracy (I should note, by the way, that I did not download it, and waited patiently until release!). Anyway, this has been a huge hit everywhere else, and judging on the speed their shows over here are now selling out, they are hitting it big here too.
Anyway, while Little Talks has been the single getting the attention, the track I first heard was this, the album opener – a gloriously odd song riddled with metaphors of various animals, lives and challenges. Yeah, so it is whimsical, folky rock, but one with sweet melodies, a hook to die for, and a darker underbelly. A world away from dreary bullshit like Mumford & Sons (I’m so onside with this), the whole album is sweetly weird, the product of a world (Iceland) that has a culture very different from our own.
The Cursed Remain Cursed
I finally saw VoD live – a review will follow, I promise, it is half-written still on my “to do” pile – last month in a sweaty, chaotic gig at the Underworld that was one of the best hardcore shows I’ve ever seen. And remarkably, it wasn’t just an exercise in nostalgia. Yeah, so old stuff like Imprint was utterly thrilling (and oh-so-slightly dangerous being on the edge of a moshpit!), but the new stuff had a vitality that kept the whole venue rapt (and moshing away) for the whole show. The album opener – and aired early in the set – was this mid-paced, crunching beatdown, with the huge, melodic chorus just perfect for a whole crowd to bellow it back, and songs like this are the reason why I keep coming back to NYHC, even after all these years. The album is fantastic, needless to say.
Two years since Confessions, and we finally have a new single – and I have to confess that like JLA, this wasn’t the song I was expecting as being the single. This is the song that has been their set opener every time I’ve seen them, a brooding, bass-led musing on concepts of beauty and image that is rather biting in it’s own way. Recorded in an unexpectedly raw way, on first listen it all seems a bit thin – but I suspect Youtube compression is not helping here, and the song proper should sound rather beefier – it certainly does live. Buy the single here, and the band play Rattlesnake of Angel in Islington on 12-Oct.
Love This Giant
When I heard that this album – by two artists I really quite love – was going to be dominated by a brass band, I was initially not especially keen. But then I gave it a listen, and was instantly captivated. This is the extraordinary opening track, where the duo somehow manage to turn both of their individual sounds and styles into an astonishing, saxophone-driven, futuristic RnB track.
Less guitars, more hate with JLA’s latest single, a rampaging, dancefloor-aimed monster that has already been aired at Rivet, and indeed will be again at the next one. Little subtlety, but why should there be? This industrial dancefloor music in the mould of bands like Cubanate and other nineties-industrial titans, and right now should be heralding a return to decent music to dance to in industrial clubs. Buy the new limited edition single here.
Women Should Not Drink Alcohol
See You Next Tuesday
A curious side-project of two different industrial artists, the deeply tongue-in-cheek band name and song titles have certainly garnered them a fair amount of attention. Get past this, though, and the album is perhaps not quite what I expected. Holding back on the noise for the most part, this is a collection of languid electronics and some quite odd reference points, like this one that at least partly channels stuff like Felix Da Housecat alongside ominous samples in the background. Buy the album on bandcamp.
At Your Command
Last Shadow EP
Armalyte are putting out some really interesting material at the moment – and this is the newest signing. A solo project that takes in industrial influences alongside various extreme metal influences, the result is a curious hybrid that, while not being perfect, is a really interesting and unusual take on some quite familiar genres. Pick of the songs (as opposed to remixes) on the EP, for me, though, is this track, which is what Hocico might sound like if they suddenly added death metal influences to their sound. No, really – and it is to Simon Fuller’s credit that this actually works, as he never lets one side of this sound overpower the other, and the chugging riffs suit the beats brilliantly.