Tuesday Ten: 153: Tracks of the Month (March 2012)

I guess last week’s repackaging Tuesday Ten was kinda apt, seeing as this past week has marked five years of my Tuesday Ten series. That is five years of me carping on about music in various forms. And seeing as I’m not out of ideas yet for the series, they will keep on coming. So, on with this week.


Track of the Month


If it wasn’t for Storming The Base and their associated label Artoffact, I would never have come across this artist at all, and I suspect that I’m not the only one in this position. Recently reissued album Ganglion was impressive enough, but Monocyte is something else again. While Ganglion reminded me very much of Massive Attack and the darker realms of Tricky’s material, Monocyte seems to have no reference points to hang on it. Perhaps the closest point I can think of is DJ Shadow, with imaginative use of beats and instruments but not generally by sampling, from what I can tell. And in this track, languid beats are dramatically accompanied by violins and apocalyptic voiceovers. Other tracks feature ghostly female vocals, but all the way, there is a dark shroud over the music that lends an air of intriguing mystery. I really cannot recommend this album, never mind just this song, enough.

Battle In Me
Not Your Kind of People

They are back, after some years off, and seem somewhat revitalised. After Shirley Manson’s mystifyingly stillborn solo career, and that lacklustre last album, the first peeks at the new material wisely suggest a return to their more electronic sound, production trickery that cuts up the rhythms, and jagged, squalling guitars. And more importantly, a killer tune. Oh yeah! I was initially a little concerned about this return, but for once the hiatus was clearly needed.

Wannabe (Ashbury Heights Wonderland Funhouse Remix)

Finally, Yaz and Anders back together, even if it is just a (lengthy) remix. But oh my, this is wonderful. A dancefloor-bound epic, cleverly working both their vocals together amid the beat-driven storm, like the best AH material it drives towards the pop angle but keeps it’s dark heart. But it also shows what we lost when AH imploded after their impressive debut – there was clearly a strong musical chemistry, they worked well as a duo, and their material done seperately since just isn’t the same, I’m afraid… [Note: the Spotify playlist has the original version, which isn’t really as good…]

Needle Factory
Shut Up and Riot

Fuck me. An old friend, Freddy, is back (and I heard this, literally, the day after 151: All My Best Friends Are Metalheads), and this is fucking awesome. Pretty much what ATR should be like in 2012, this is bass-heavy, noisy electro-industrial-punk that sounds absolutely immense, and extremely angry. Something of a world away from his previous work as Dyspraxia (which I did enjoy, and have covered before), this is an outfit that is going to be worth keeping an ear out for – I understand they are quite something live, too.

Concrete Lung
Communal Slave
Die Dreaming 7″

I can’t recall the last time I reviewed a release that is coming out on vinyl, and a seven inch at that. But that is what brusing London industrial-metalists Concrete Lung have done for their latest release, although I have to confess that I got this on digital promo (I’ll be buying the actual release during this month). Aside from a membership change (one member leaving), not a great deal has changed with their sound, although this is a good thing. But if you didn’t like them before, this will not change your view – still uncompromising, grinding industrial, laden with guitars and a grimy atmosphere, but the two songs here are more like the bands earlier material than the perhaps over-ambitious album that followed. Looking forward to see where they take this sound next.

By Any Means Necessary
Waiting v.3
By Any Means Necessary

Yet another word-of-mouth recommendation, yet another retro-ish industrial act. Which, needless to say, is fine by me. Especially when releasing music as good as this. I’m a few months behind the curve with this release, though, especially as another EP is coming soon, going on the artist’s Facebook page. So to recap – this is beat-driven industrial, with an 80s-EBM edge, and snarling, hate-filled vocals. Works for me…

Dead Letters

The return of Stromkern, at last, has been a cause for celebration as far as I’m concerned. Seven years since the album Light It Up finally brought them wider recognition (just watch the reaction nowadays when you drop Stand Up on dancefloors), and after the drip of a couple of songs in the past couple of years, this new EP reveals a few things about the state of Stromkern in 2012. For a start, don’t worry, there is no new dubstep or hardstyle, or whatever, direction. The hip-hop influenced rhythms and vocals are still present and correct, but was changed is the feel. The sound is less electronic, and that bit more organic. There are live drums and guitars in the mix, more than ever before, and Ned’s vocal style has softened that little bit. The change is most obvious on Ruin(ed), a rebuild of one of the standouts from Light It Up, and as a way of signposting the change, it couldn’t be bettered. Lead track Intuit is the killer, though, but it takes a few listens to realise this, as the rhythm gently uncoils and snaps into place, there are snatches of guitars, and then there is Ned’s vocals, which burst into a staccato fury for the chorus. Next release Dead Language, due in the summer, can’t come soon enough.

I Am Colossus

Another band back after a while with new material are tech-metal gods Meshuggah, a band who after nearly twenty years are still some considerable distance ahead of the curve. With the extended times between albums (it is four years since their last studio album), and their trailblazing sound, like sort-of-peers Tool they still retain the sense of mystique…and each album is still an event. Unlike the last album, it isn’t opened by a brutal blast of force (hello, Combustion), but instead by five minutes of unremitting, heavy pressure, like a monstrous weight steadily sapping the air from you. Meshuggah, it’s nice to have you back, and the pretenders can go back and continue to work out how to follow in their wake.

Droppin’ Loads for Resistanz
Resistanz 2012

With Resistanz this coming weekend, I’m looking forward to hearing new music aired by various artists. And the recent Resistanz 2012 compilation has whetted my appetite nicely, particularly the nicely brutal opener from one of my favourite industrial noise acts. (A bit) less of the sheer noise here and instead concentrating on some heavy, heavy beats, it is nice to know that there is still no compromise whatsoever. For those who haven’t seen W.A.S.T.E. live, bring earplugs on Saturday, otherwise you’ll be hearing little else for the rest of the weekend. Shane’s sideproject, Vuxnut, also has a new track to enjoy, which is perhaps a hell of a lot more intense.

The Plot Sickens
Themes Of Carnal Empowerment Pt. 1: Lust

Also playing Resistanz this weekend, I mentioned ESA’s new album the other week, but I didn’t have it at that point. I do now, and after a few years, Jamie working on this and other projects, the release has been worth the wait. It is perhaps more pounding rhythms that the longer, well, almost prog-ish work of late, but he has proven before that he is more than capable of bringing the beats. Here is more proof – one of a few standouts from the new album, over four minutes of complex rhythms, underpinned by an unremitting beat.

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