My usual roundup of tracks new and old that I really like right now.
Track Of The Month
Machine Gun (16bit remix)
Machine Gun EP
I’ve never really been one for dubstep, but this track may be the one to make me realise there is something in this after all. It’s been around for a while, I know, but until recently I hadn’t actually heard a decent quality version of it. Hearing this at a good volume on good quality headphones is like being punched in the gut, repeatedly. Sweeping string samples herald the arrival of a fucking army of beats in slow motion, with more bass than I’ve perhaps ever heard in one track. This is perhaps the single heaviest fucking track I’ve heard in my life, and it absolutely rules. And is this what we might call industrial dubstep? If so, there’s legs in this as a genre, although I’m not sure I could cope with a full set of this – this is like being stalked by a particularly malevolent force, before it leaps from the shadows and attacks your ears repeatedly with a pair of blunt scissors. I’ve not yet dared see what this will do to a dancefloor, but I’m going to give it a go at some point in the next couple of months.
Rub Me Raw
The Human Animal
I’ve tried to get into Android Lust previously, but past releases had left me somewhat cold. A good many rave reviews – and a new month’s eMusic allowance – piqued my curiosity this time, and I’m glad I took the plunge. This is a little different to what I recall, and it’s a much more interesting sound, too. It’s…organic, in the way that she is now clearly backed by a band, rather than just banks of electronics, and it’s sexually frank lyrics help to make sense of the album title – none more so than the sweaty, clawing three minutes of pure lust that this track is. She doesn’t half sound like Ruby at points on the new album, too, both vocally and lyrically, which with my love of Ruby’s material, is no bad thing at all.
I got a marvellous “krautrock” compilation for my birthday (Deutsche Elektronische Musik), that has a number of familar and many not-so-familiar bands gracing the two lengthy CDs. And included is one song in particular that I did know before, this wondrous, hypnotic track that is extraordinarily simple in construction – layer after layer is added, but with vocals not consisting of much more than the title being repeated on and on. And it’s beautiful, and a good reminder that despite their protestations to the contrary, German music in the early seventies was not half as “difficult” as some might have you believe.
Also as a result of my birthday, I got the fantastic book Our Band Could Be Your Life, a book I’ve been meaning to read for ages. It features the stories of a number of US hardcore/post-punk/whatever bands that I’m already more than familiar with, but it also looks at a number of bands that I’ve never got into, or, in a couple of cases, somehow never heard of. Mission of Burma are one of the latter, and I’m still wondering how. Their scratchy, intense post punk – with all kinds of tape effects elbowing their way into the sonic chaos – is a clear precursor of later US alternative bands, but the one track that really jumped out at me from this album was this mid-album track, underpinned by a monster of a bassline, with the intro etched into the brain by a jagged guitar riff.
S.K.E.T. remain one of the few consistently brilliant “industrial noise” artists remaining, who not only create fascinating and intense music but also frequently have a coherent theme (and thus something to say). Their latest three tracks, all on this year’s Hands compilation, keep up the quality, but this retake on one of their slightly older tracks is all the more impressive for sounding like it is emerging from a riot. And I get the feeling that this is the point. There are rabble-rousing vocal samples, an ominous bassline opens it, and the rest of the track speeds by at a hell of a pace that, as I proved on Saturday at Autonomy, makes it a cracking dancefloor track, too. Even if the last twenty seconds spooked me again as it sounds like the CD is skipping like hell!
In The Dark
Pins and Needles
I’d heard musings that these Toronto goth-bleepy-rock folks had gone somewhat heavier for their new album (out next week), and the first song released from it shows it from the off – that is one chunky riff. It’s not all darkness and heaviness, though – it has another glittering, sweet chorus that has long been the trademark of this band, and I suspect that in reality on Pins and Needles, the band are hardly going to have strayed too far from their now-well-established style that has gained them an ever increasing army of fans. And long may it continue – they remarkably still sound somewhat unique.
The Magic In My Heart Is Dead
I’ve been meaning to mention a track from this EP for a couple of months, but it kept being elbowed out by something else. And really, it does deserve a mention, as the whole thing is much, much better than the jaw-droppingly bad horror clichés of the last album. The theme hasn’t changed one jot – so it’s still über-spooky themes and slightly ropey lyrics, but what has improved is the tunes (and the remixes, too, for that matter). Particularly this track, which despite the terror-EBM sound actually remembers that a tune and melody doesn’t go amiss (something many of the band’s peers forget), and it’s an encouraging sign that there is life in the corpse that is God Module yet. Also of note on this EP is a stonking cover of Gary Numan’s Me! I Disconnect From You.
Where Karin Dreijer Andersson continues to scare the crap out of us, this time not by singing freakish, pitch dark songs about dishwasher tablets, but by taking Peter Gabriel’s weirdest, creepiest song and making it even darker. It’s also both a faithful cover and a total reworking almost at the same time – keeping the curious rhythm but reworking everything on top, so sounding recognisable but fresh. I seem to recall Karin was suggesting one Fever Ray album would be it – hearing this makes me hope that she has changed her mind.
Lost and Found
I was approached on e-mail offering a review/DJ copy of this artist’s recent album, and a full review will be forthcoming, I’ve simply not had time in recent weeks. Anyway, I’ll admit that it was an artist that had passed under my radar prior to this, and it turns out that Jeff Danos (for Testube is he) has been releasing music for a good many years. The album is a curious mix of more straight up electro-industrial, and some (very) experimental glitchy electronics, that appears to be an album that demands to be listened to as a whole, rather than picking particular songs. However this track has me returning to it time and again – an off-kilter, melodic electro track that wears a number of influences (not least ohGr, rather than Skinny Puppy) on it’s sleeve but manages to make something striking and interesting from said influences rather than just following in the same trails.
Of the various industrial metal bands I remember from the mid-90s – pretty much a “golden age”, if you will – one band that vanished off my radar before I got the chance to get their albums were this lot. I’ve been looking for these guys again for some years, and finally found a couple of tracks on Youtube (the actual videos) a little while ago – of which the track that I first stumbled across was this one. Very much of it’s time, let’s be honest – and let’s excuse Tripp Holland’s awful hair, eh? Now to find the CDs, which could be very tough indeed, I suspect.