Tuesday Ten: 150: Tracks of the Month (February 2012)

This week my Tuesday Ten series hits number 150. There was going to be a special “awards” one this week, but time constraints have put paid to it. It might still become number 151 next week, we shall see. In the meantime let’s look at the awesome tracks you should hear from this month.


Track of the Month


See, this is why I always pick up label compilations when I get the chance. There is always something, even if it is just one song, that grabs your attention and allows the discovery of another new band. So a big hand to the WTII Records Spring 2012 Free Sampler, which among other gems, features this quite wonderful band. A Swedish synthpop act I’d never even heard of until now, this song is so damned good I pretty much immediately went and bought the album. It is terse, punchy synthpop that has a somewhat eighties-feel to some of the electronics (particularly that wonderfully-retro handclap effect), and has a chorus worthy of the greatest songs of that time, too.

Yesteryears (Septic Edit)
Septic X

A warm welcome back to Jan Dewulf, with his first new material in nearly four years – album Hotel Existence is due soon, and if the rest of the album is as good as this precursor, I’m all ears. Jan’s work under this name is an interesting sweep of different variants of electro-industrial and synthpop, with nods to dance music and rock at various points, too. But here, it is notable particularly for a gorgeous, melancholy feel to the melody and chorus, and a chiming guitar riff that sets it off perfectly. Somewhat under-appreciated in the past, here is hoping that this new album garners more plaudits.

Everything Goes Cold
The Iron Fist of Just Destruction
The Tyrant Sun

As it finally appears in it’s proper form (about nine months after the remixed version debuted on the Kinetik comp), it is also good to see the return of Eric Gottesman’s current project. Personally I felt that vs. General Failure wasn’t quite as great as it should have been (too much filler, not enough killer), but Eric does have a habit, time and again, of releasing brilliantly witty, snarky industrial rock tracks that on the face of it seem quite serious, but it hardly takes much digging to get the joke. And here is another of those, with the added bonus of guest vocals in the form of Brittany from I:Scintilla.

Guilt Trip

Word of mouth – always a good way to find new music, even if said word of mouth is on a like-minded blog. So, this one was discovered via the really quite great IDieYouDie, and it is yet more storming Swedish EBM. But slowed down. A punishing beat dominates things, complete with harsh vocals and some great synth programming. Veterans of the Swedish scene, apparently, but in other acts, this is definitely a band I’m going to be buying the album of in a few weeks time.

Dead Hand Projekt
Suck It Dry
The Lost EP

The Denver-based industrial label Vendetta Music has been putting out quality releases for a few years now (and more on this in a moment, in fact). And their talent for picking up interesting new artists has continued with this release. Veterans of a few bands including HexRX, this is snarling, dark industrial music with an intriguingly distorted sound – and yet more proof that a whole lot of North American industrial is out there that is not having to resort to co-opting hard dance, or dubstep, or whatever is the flavour of the minute, into the sound.

School of Seven Bells

Now on their third album, SVIIB have done a pretty good job of evolving their sound each time around, and having lost of one of the (twin sister) vocalists, I was a little concerned that this would be a turn for the worse. But intriguingly, it has seen a move toward a more electronic sound, perhaps, and some pretty gorgeous, euphoric songs. This one in particular is a perfect example – a marvellous, electronic beat builds and explodes into an MBV-esque vocal harmony, which turns again into an exquisite chorus. Yeah, so not all of the album is as brilliant as before, but I’ll let the lapses slide as at least five of the nine songs here are sodding glorious.

Killing Spree
Diesel Charm

Firstly, a big thanks to Rhys for the headsup on this. Once again, word of mouth. The latest new act on Ant-Zen is a Polish artist now based in the UK (Middlesbrough, apparently!), and it is savage, rhythmic industrial just the way I like it. It isn’t all punishing beats, mind, having an impressive dynamic range, but after a period where many of the so-called Noise labels seemed to be concentrating on more down-tempo material, it is great to hear someone pushing back. And the best example of that rhythmic power is on the closing track, a firestorm of onrushing beats and twisted static. I didn’t dare play this on Saturday at Autonomy, and in retrospect I should have done…

Show Me Everything
The Something Rain

Tindersticks are very much a band for certain occasions, and the cliche of the late-night band has hung around their neck perhaps for many years. They’ve never exactly done anything to dispel the myth, I guess, but when they continue to make music as wonderful as this I’m not really surprised. The new album is hardly a departure, continuing their soul-led excursions, no beat is rushed, Stuart Staples never sounds too far from a breakdown, but the songs have a warm heart, of well-meaning if not the right ideas. And this track, with dramatic female backing vocals and a climactic flourish to finish, is my favourite track here so far. Am I, by the way, one of only a few who still think this band’s best album is Simple Pleasure?

Blacklight Magick
Blacklight Magick

The return of James Geist (for he is Necrotek, and this is the second release mentioned today on Vendetta) has been something I’ve been patiently awaiting for a while, and thanks to a promo I now have the full, long-awaited album. A full review will follow in the next month (I’m well aware I have some review catching-up to do!), but in the meantime, I’m just going to mention this one song. Necrotek, aside from being very much influenced by the chaotic, cut-up sounds of eighties Skinny Puppy and similar, later artists such as Velvet Acid Christ in particular, have delved deep into the darkness for this new album. A seemingly concept-based album, the album has a coherent theme is broadly pre-occupying itself with magical rituals, and the sprawling, rolling title track is probably the best thing here. Full of repetitive motifs, ghostly synths and Geist’s quite unsettling vocal effects, horror soundtrack work is surely something that must come his way soon.

Toxic Coma
Church Is A Lie
Satan Rising

Well, this is a surprise. The return of Bryan Erikson has not been in the form of VAC, but as a “side-project” that sounds suspiciously like his main act, but with a sly sense of humour that has perhaps been lacking in VAC’s work for far too long. This mainly manifests itself in the song titles, and the many, many samples that pepper the album. Unexpectedly, though – I must confess that when I realised who was behind this, I really wasn’t expecting a great deal – this album is something of a triumph. By some distance the best release by Erikson in years, it seems that just by moving away from the VAC name he has freed himself from any expectations, and instead indulged in trippy, thumping industrial dance music that will sound awesome in clubs.

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