Tuesday Ten: 136: Tracks of the Month (July 2011)

The first TT for a few weeks, and it is already back to my tracks of the month.

Track of the Month:

A Drowning Age
A Rose For The Apocalypse

Three years on from the fucking wonderful Turning Season Within (one of my top albums of 2008), Draconian are back, and when nothing is broke, there is nothing to fix: so we have ten tracks of staggeringly good gothic/romantic doom metal. Yes, it is an overdone genre, and god you have to sift through some shit to get to the diamonds, but this band are certainly one of the latter. There hasn’t been a single even remotely average, let alone bad, track on their past two albums now, and this track is the new albums’ opener – chugging riffs, lovelorn vocals, and a tangible sense of sweet despair that gives this band a dark heart that many of their peers can’t even come close to. One thing, though: I suspect I’ll be listening to this more in the depths of winter than in summer…

The Horrors
Still Life

I have to admit, I really did fucking hate the first Horrors album. Trying their best to be garage punk-goths, they seemed to forget that it helps to have tunes as well as an image. Second album Primary Colours saw a total change in style, to a more languid, gothy shoegaze sound – but I still never really gave it enough of a chance. My opinion finally changed when I saw them at Wireless the other week – the new stuff from their latest album Skying is glorious. Particularly this track, the first single from it. A shadowy stroll through a summers day, it doesn’t really appear to be up to much until it shifts gears into the chorus – an (early)-eightiestastic monster of one, at that – and the result is an anthem that cries out to be bellowed back at the band by massive crowds at gigs. No saviours of rock, mind, but it’ll do for now…

Rabbit Junk
What Doesn’t Kill You Will Make You A Killer

The second of four new songs this summer apparently, this is what I wanted – a savage, snarling ball of fury. Yeah, Lucid Summations was good, but it wasn’t infused with the sheer rage that this has. Not that you’d know it from the first couple of minutes mind, as it lumbers and booms with a near-dubstep rhythm, SumGrrl delivering the vocals, before ripping into life at the halfway mark with a guitar heavy swing. JP Anderson is clearly pissed, and that period of silence from him and his band has clearly been recharging the anger levels to nuclear. Welcome back.

Gary Numan
The Fall
Dead Son Rising

The first track from his forthcoming new album, and it is a continuation of his recent style – thunderous, brooding industrial rock. It’s a style that suits his cold, alien voice well. It is full of jagged, NIN-esque guitar treatments, a brute of a programmed drum rhythm – but strangely enough the melodic chorus seems a tad out of place and doesn’t quite have the same impact as what came before. Still, a good start for the new material, and I’ll certainly be checking out the album when it comes.

What’s Wrong
Full Frontal Assault – The Second Front

Easily the highlight of their support set on Thursday night, this is an old-school EBM/industrial rhythmic workout, where the emphasis is very much on the beats and rhythms, with little else here. Not that this is a problem in the slightest: this is a perfect example of why this kind of music was so awesome in the first place. This just benefits from more modern technology and the benefit of hindsight. If you like the punishing power of Portion Control, for example, you will love this. Just remember to turn it up loud.

Constant Now
Keep You Close

It’s kinda amazing that even after all these years – seventeen years since their debut! – that dEUS continue to confound. After the spiky, post-punk feel of the marvellous Vantage Point, it is a little bit of a surprise to find Belgium’s finest rock band return with such a lush sound. It’s now clear why it didn’t quite work live in London back in June – the production is very dense. There is a piano, a horn section and a multitude of voices crammed in along with the band: and the slightly muddy sound really didn’t help. But now hearing it properly recorded, it is quite a charming song, really. But with the quality of the material that they have put out in the past, they have earned the time it sometimes takes to get into their new music. Who knows, in two years time I might love this as much as some of the rest of their backcatalogue…

Dreaming Light
Falling Deeper

There was something about the last, long-delayed album that just didn’t click with me at all. I wasn’t sure why, but after a few initial listens it got put back on the shelf, and instead I was back to listening to the Anathema of old. Well, old-ish, post-their initial doomy phase. And now they are following up Hindsight with another album of reworkings of their old material. Accompanying the announcement of the release, though, is a video for one of the tracks off the last album, and listening to it on it’s own, it is suddenly utterly sublime. A reserved, piano-led ballad that finally bursts into life later into the song, this is the kind of glorious music that should have dominated We’re Here Because We’re Here, but didn’t. The rest of the album was, well, a bit dull, to be frank.

The Knife (64k Edit)
Face The Beat Vol. 1

Side-Line’s idea of a free compilation showcasing bands popular on Facebook in the “scene”…or something like. As a way of getting fifty bands coverage they may not otherwise get is a laudable one, but it has to be said that not a lot of it is really worth writing home about. I’ll do a more detailed writeup on the whole thing when time allows, but as it is an interesting concept for a compilation at least it is certainly worth a closer look. Anyway, of the various songs on here, a few jumped out straight away, and this is one of them. I’ve been vaguely familiar with SMP for a while now (their track on Electronic Saviors was fantastic, you may recall), and this track is pretty damned good, too. Overtly hip-hop based industrial, this has a confrontational style that I like a lot: and bonus points for the Crocodile Dundee sample at the end, too.

Be My Enemy vs CausticOxyacetylene

Yeah, so what if it is a note-for-note cover? A song this good will not be forgotten easily, and the airing of this at Resistanz in Sheffield in April (that I missed due to family commitments – needless to say I was kicking myself when I heard what I’d missed, but these things happen), as well as this recording, has done one thing at least – to remind the kiddies in the scene at least of just how awesome Cubanate are/were, just in time for their return. The promised new material (and live dates?) appears to have been put back a bit, but hey, we’ve waited long enough already, so I’m happy to wait a bit longer. Anyway, do you need me to say much about this? Surely you’ve heard the song before, right? Right? Anyway, just in case you haven’t: one of the most punishing, up-front industrial dancefloor stormers ever released, this is still played by many industrial DJs for a fucking good reason. Go get yourself a free download of this version here.

Gogol Bordello
Immigraniada (Bassnectar Remix) [Radio Edit]
Divergent Spectrum

Blimey. All sounds normal in Gogol’s crazy world, until the bass appears and threatens to blow you into next week. Oh yes, this is inspired. By far the finest track from the rather patchy last Gogol album is stretched and skewed by Bassnectar into a surprisingly successful dubstep rework, that even more amazingly does this by leaving half the song as it was. No, really: download it for yourself here. There is some good stuff coming out of the dubstep scene, it appears – I ought to delve a little deeper sometime. (Note: this is being released on Bassnectar’s new album)

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