This week: my usual weekly roundup of ten tracks worth hearing.
Track of the Month
This Is Happening
Of all the so-called “indie dance” acts of the past few years, James Murphy’s “band” has time and again shown everyone else how it’s done, and the first track from the forthcoming new album does exactly that. It’s nothing complicated – the usual smart-ass musings on popular culture (in this case, dealing with drunken party types, but not sneering at them), coupled with an incessant, new-wave-ish rhythm that makes me want to get up and dance, not to mention the refrain that stuck in my head from the very first time I heard it. Needless to say, I absolutely love this. It’s joyous, summery and so much better than a million moping indie acts. And I really ought to get myself sorted for tickets for the day featuring LCD Soundsystem at Wireless in July.
La Parade Monstrueuse
Like pretty much all of their albums before this, it’s taking a while to get into the new ISC album. It’s another extraordinary sound sculpture, but without perhaps quite the emotional heights that previous outings have reached. That’s not to say it doesn’t have some fantastic high points, though, of which this is unquestionably one of them. A crunching, meaty guitar riff sweeps across it, a chorus that reaches into the clouds, it’s seemingly about turning into a werewolf and then getting killed by a silver bullet (as you do), all told this is their most commercial moment in ages. The video is pretty creepy, too.
Severe Mais Juste
Ok, how the fuck have I missed this before? Going on the album cover featuring lego-men, band members with names like Mr EBM 1998 and EBMnator (and not to mention the hilarious lyrics), somehow I suspect that this is somewhat tongue-in-cheek. That’s not to say this isn’t great, though – thumping, sparse EBM. That is, the true form of Electronic Body Music, not hard-dance masquerading as industrial, and while it may be a nod to the past, this is certainly something that should fill a dancefloor nowadays…
8bits (Club Edit)
8 Bits CDM
MIAB have done it again. They have transformed a so-so album track into an extraordinary single. The first few listens to the new album R.E.T.R.O. have suggested an elegantly constructed album desperately in search of a tune – really, it’s got barely any hooks to it at all, something the band have done so well with previously – so it’s good to know that they haven’t lost it entirely. But then, I don’t really care for old computer game themes, or the shamelessly retro use of Commodore computers, so perhaps I was never destined to “get” this album. Another story arc for the next album or two, folks, please?
Violently Alive? No fucking kidding. This is brutal, punishing electronic music that for many will simply be too direct, too harsh, but for those willing to take the chance, this is simply awesome. And going on the chorus, I think there can be no doubt that religion is not of interest whatsoever to this band.
It seems like it’s been ages since they were last around, and finally Eugene Hütz’s punk-folk-dub bunch are back with a new album later this month. The good news is that the first track to break cover from it – the opener, available as a free download from the band’s website – is classic GB through and through. So in other words, it’s a good-time, singalong tune that just makes you want to get up and dance, and as usual I’m not sure exactly what Hütz is on about, either. Apparently the new album has been influenced by his time living in Brazil recently, so I’m fully expecting parts of the new album to sound a little different to before, but in the meantime this will do nicely as summer begins it’s return.
Full Metal Teknoist
…Like A Hurricane Made of Zombies
My long-held wish of a second Drumcorps album has clearly diverted my attention for too long – I should have been looking The Teknoist’s way instead. I was recommended it at the time by , but somehow forgot about it until played it to me last week. And…christ. This track in particular is pretty amazing – vicious breakcore with Linkin Park samples. Never thought I’d say that in one sentence. Oh, and this is one of the best album titles ever.
Remarkably, it does exactly what it says on the tin. That is, it brings together a stirring brass band sample, with brutal industrial power. But don’t diss it until you’ve heard it – this idea is so inspired I’m amazed no-one has tried this before. I’m going to have to try this on a dancefloor sometime, just for the fun of watching people go “WTF?” for the brass band, and then trying to keep up with the supercharged beats. This album got a ten (out of ten) when reviewed on Connexion Bizarre of late, and it’s a mark that is fully deserved.
We Were Exploding Anyway
Back after a little bit of an absence, and it appears from this first single that they have a little bit of their spark back, that they seemed to have lost on the last album. A skittering, bouncing, happy and dreamy track all at once – and not to mention a kickass breakdown that should slay live – this bodes well for the forthcoming new album.
The new album is just a bit good. Perhaps a little less of the electronic experimentation of Ire Works, replaced instead by even more technical musicianship, that you can’t help but gawp at just how fucking good it is. Much of the album is brutally heavy, too, but even more astounding is the multilayered, and lengthy ballad Widower, that at points appears to be two songs playing at once, such is the quality and precision of the mixes. The heaviness returns later in the track, while chucking even more elements into the mix. In some hands, this would have ended an overblown mess, but somehow these guys pull it off. Is there anything they can’t do?