Tuesday Ten: 127: Tracks of the Month (March 2011)

Where on earth is time going? Time once again for my usual monthly roundup of great new songs.


Track of the month

Ice Cream
Gloss Drop

They are back at last, and christ this is odd. But then, it is Battles. The first band to make post-rock, or at least their highly technical take on it, sound truly fun on their last album Mirrored (I challenge you not to listen to Race:In or particularly Atlas, my top track of 2008, without a smile on your face), despite losing a band member it’s abundantly clear from the lead single from the new album that we’re about to see more of the same. Guest vocalist Matias Aguayo appears to have enormous fun contorting his voice around the odd sounds developing around him – and manages to help the song come to life initially with what sounds like an imitation of a steam train! This is infectious, summery music, and I can only hope the rest of the album continues in the same wide-eyed vein. If anyone can do it, Battles can.

Electronic Death Metal

Fuck me. I never thought I’d hear Johnny Violent’s industrial project return – and more than anything I never thought he’d return as fucking brutal as this. None of the cheesy shite that UVR descended to later on in their career, this could scare most of the ravers away in one fell swoop. I was hoping that there was more of this coming, as this is phenomenal – however as the blog post that presented it noted, this isn’t representative of where Ultraviolence is going. Mores the pity.

Atari Teenage Riot
Blood In My Eyes
Is This Hyperreal?

Talking of noisy, vicious blasts from the past…the Berlin noise machine that is ATR reconvened during 2010, and the latest new material is this single, the lead track from the new album out this month. A song with, as ever with ATR, a political purpose, this song is all about the murky world of human trafficking, and interestingly it’s Nic Endo on vocals. It’s not a bad song – and frankly is a little less extreme musically than I’m used to from ATR. Or maybe I’m just more used to this kind of thing nowadays?

Rearrested (v1.0)
Electronic Body Matrix 1

After the turgid, boring electro-nonsense of the last E-Craft album – now four years ago – how nice to see that their first new song in a while is back to the pounding industrial attack that made them so great in the first place. The lyrics are still clunky as hell (perhaps they are lost in tranlation) but let’s be honest, you ain’t going to be paying attention to the lyrics when stomping holes in the dancefloor to this.

Kill or Be Killed
Dependence 2011

This was a cracking live track when it made it’s debut in Dismantled’s live set last summer, and as a recorded version, like E-Craft, also shows a return to a much harder electro style than Gary Zon has pursued in recent years. Which is definitely a good thing, as while I’ve dutifully bought the albums over the last eight years or so, the last album was really something of a disappointment. If any of the forthcoming album The War Inside Me is as good as this, it’ll be the best thing Zon has done in ages.

Come On Go Off (Rotersand Remix)
Dependence 2011

The second barnstorming remix from the forthcoming KMFDM album (following the astounding dancefloor styles of the Komor Kommando Remix of KRANK – and yes, this is yet another track from Dependence 2011), this absolutely obliterated the dancefloor at Autonomy last month as my first track. Not bad for a song no-one had heard before. Still, it’s perhaps no surprise – this is Rotersand delivering a top quality remix as usual, unleashing a monstrous, dancefloor-slaying beat under KMFDM’s snarling political fury. The real killer bit in this song, though, is the intro, which builds and builds, telegraphing the pounding dancefloor mayhem yet to come and building a real sense of excitement. It’s damned shame KMFDM will be missing from Kinetik.

Audio, Video, Disco

God, is it really four years since D.A.N.C.E. was released? Maybe it feels like a lot less because of the sheer amount of airplay that and the other singles from got. So it was nice to hear a snippet of the new single, even if in all places it ended up being debuted on an Adidas advert. The weird thing is, to start with when you hear the full version, the single itself seems a bit of a disappointment. But give it time, and as it cranks up, it’s obvious that Justice are back in their oh-so-slightly-cheesy glory.

Explosions In The Sky
Trembling Hands
Take Care, Take Care, Take Care

Uniquely, perhaps, among the more, er, traditional (or earlier wave) of the post-rock bands, EitS always seemed more human in their sound. That is, their cascading, delicate take on rock music hit your ears with wave upon wave of emotion, the ecstatic heights contrasting with deep, mournful lows. Of the forthcoming new album, this is the short, ecstatic one (the rest of the album is the usual eight minutes per song or more, this is less than four!). And it’s utterly marvellous – urgent, uptempo and it rocks hard.

Ringo Deathstarr
Two Girls

You know, I’m really rather thrilled at the shoegaze revival. I know just about every genre going of the past twenty years or more has had a revival of late, but this one actually works. Mainly because so many young bands are now finding new and different ways of making scary amounts of noise while actually writing songs that are essentially poppy at heart. You don’t need to multitrack fifty guitars to overload the sound, but it still helps. It also helps to have a breathy female vocalist, too (see also: School of Seven Bells), but as always, great songs still shine through, and this is one of them. The video is probably NSFW, though. Oh, and additional points for the awesome band name.

Blut Aus Nord
Epitome 2
777 – Sect(s)

Somehow three albums from these French avant-garde black metallers have passed me by since the extraordinary Odinist, and it’s probably my loss. So I’m glad a friend linked to this recently, alerting me to the forthcoming release of the first of three (!) albums this year. Of course, calling Blut Aus Nord “Black Metal” frankly does them a disservice. Now far, far removed from anything resembling what most people would call BM, this is a work of bleak, atmospheric beauty. There is something resembling a wavering, trembling choral melody in here, slow, grinding beats a la Godflesh, and a menacing, oppressive darkness.

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