Tuesday Ten: 081: Tracks of the Month (July 2009)

A new month, so time for my usual round-up of tracks I think you should hear this time around.


Track of the Month

VAST presents Bang Band Sixxx
Loneliness Is Fine
Relay EP

Watch on YouTube

Jon Crosby finally remembers that he used to do more than just increasingly insipid acoustic balladry (I challenge “old-school” VAST fans to get through recent release Me and You without stifling a yawn, or simply turning it off). OK, so in the main it’s balladry swathed in electronics, but there are moments when it bares teeth for a short while, and this track is the pick of the six tracks here. I’ve been listening to this band for ten years-plus now, and this EP apart they barely seem to be the same band anymore. It’s a download-only EP, by the way, only $1.99 from the link above.

Alter der Ruine
Relax And Ride It (Be My Enemy Remix)
Beating A Dead Horse EP

ooooh yeah. ADR’s most dancefloor friendly track gets rebuilt from the ground up with new vocals and guitars all over it. It gallops in, then stamps all over your head. Which wins, obviously. Even more so when I finally found out who Be My Enemy is: it’s Phil Barry, ex-Cubanate. Also: this is a free EP, download it from the link above.

700.000 Tons To Wipe Out Humankind
Depleted Uranium Weapons

(not available online)

I mentioned this album in passing last month, and I somehow neglected to mention this, the pick of the album and indeed one of the best tracks I’ve heard all year. A thundering, relentless bass attack underpins a fast-paced industrial noise track that is likely S.K.E.T.’s finest moment so far. As I’ve noted previously, the entire album is well worth picking up.

Dies Irae

Watch on YouTube

In amongst an album of (mainly) pounding, mid-paced industrial with screeching electronics and harsh vocals – a couple of orders of magnitude above the usual level of “harsh” industrial, by the way – this track comes out as something very different indeed. The pounding beat is still there, but the spaces are filled by choral music. No, really. I’m sure it’s not the first time it’s been attempted, but it’s an intriguing trick that works well as a way of providing a breather from what is otherwise an astonishingly intense album. For me, this act are one of the more interesting and unusual industrial artists to be signed recently, and this new album is step or three above the previous release. Also, expect to hear the brutal Silence on dancefloors sometime soon.

Alice In Chains
A Looking In View
Black Gives Way to Blue

I first heard this on Sunday, of course, and I’m still staggered at just how good this is. You can hear it for yourself by watching the video on front page of website (not quite SFW, though – be warned), and it really is quite spooky, just how much William DuVall’s voice sounds like Layne Staley’s. Anyway, this is a lengthy, grinding track that has all the hallmarks of AiC’s classic mid-90s material, with a soaring chorus that could only be this band. And now, I’m really looking forward to the new album.

The Twilight Sad
That Summer, At Home I Had Become The Invisible Boy
Fourteen Autumns and Fifteen Winters

Ok, the latest in a long line of bands I should have picked up on long ago – clearly I’m losing my touch. Bizarrely, found in the Record Doctor section of OMM by Daisy in a one line suggestion that describes them as “My Bloody Valentine by way of Glasvegas”…and it’s not actually that bad a description.

Fever Ray
When I Grow Up
Fever Ray

Oh: and another I missed. All the more surprising as I love The Knife. Anyway, this is wierd, spaced-out electronics with a hint of “real” instruments at the base, but otherwise it’s as similarly dense as her work with The Knife, but somehow even darker. Not by any means an album that will gain mainstream acceptance, sadly, it demands to be listened to in the dark – it doesn’t work very well in daylight, I find!

You are here. [nowhere]

(no longer available)

One of the picks of a very unusual and varied album, that brings to mind Skinny Puppy in their more, er, experimental periods as well as a host of other electronic artists. This track is one of the more direct tracks on the album, with a charging beat that I would suspect is probably not a particularly safe track to drive to!

Remain Silent
Act.1 – Tension
Men – Machines – Souls

A lengthy – 27 tracks over three hours and thirty minutes – and free concept album about the destruction and rebirth of the world that I’d never even heard of until sent me the link, this is an awesome piece of work that I’ve still not finished listening to yet, simply as I haven’t had the time. The first couple of tracks are good enough, though – reminiscent of FLA/Noise Unit in particular.

Turn On The Bright Lights

This months look into the past is this. It’s amazing that despite being somewhat slavish in their own influences (the words Joy and Division are never far away, let’s be honest), that so many bands note these guys as an influence. Perhaps it’s the near-perfect indie-rock singles like this that do it – that and the cryptic lyrics that evoke images but never seem to quite give the full picture.

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