We are hurtling at what seems like great speed to the end of the year already, and as such this is now the last tracks of the month roundup of 2015 – and yes, it’s a week late. The delay was for a couple of reasons – a chaotic, drunken and messy Whitby for one, and then a slew of great new songs released that weekend that I wanted to check out first.
So, here we go. There may be one more Tuesday Ten before the end of the month, in the meantime, and otherwise this month I’ll be trying to write about the enormous amount of great new music so that I finish the end of year lists in time.
Track of the Month
A new 7″ from the LA EBM-hardcore duo, to mark their latest tour with Skinny Puppy, and fuck me, this has teeth. I understand Rhys Fulber was involved in the production, and it shows – a less frenetic pace than before, perhaps, and a more measured tone results – with jackhammer beats, needle-sharp synth programming and a sonic depth some way beyond what they’ve done before. Another step forward for this enthralling band, their second album – when it comes next year – will be worth waiting, I’m sure.
Dig Dug Has A Posse
Another year, another absolutely belting Rabbit Junk EP? Oh yes. JP Anderson and SumGrrl return for another five-track EP, with not a weak moment, just twenty minutes of blasting industrial-punk-pop that I could never get tired of. The pick for at least today is the lead track, a bouncing, soaring track that has one of JP’s greatest melodic choruses at the heart of it. I could just as easily been saying how fucking great the slow build of Fffriends is, or the one-fucking-great-monster-of-a-breakdown that the title track is. In the opening seconds of Dig Dug Has A Posse, the immortal question from The Warriors is posed (“Can You Dig It?“) – emphatically, the answer is Fuck Yes.
Let’s Go All The Way
Let’s Go All The Way EP
I’m not one to make a habit of including covers, but this one I’m making an exception for, as it’s fucking great. A cover of an eighties synth-rock track (remember Sly Fox? The song rang a bell, the band name didn’t), that actually does something with the track for the better – for a start beefing up the beats to “thunderously heavy”, and making sure that the squealing synths are present and correct. Oh, and remembering that the original had a great hook, too, so they don’t toss that away either. Now, I really should do something about checking what else this band have done…
25 Years of Hands
A pretty damned lavish box – effectively a much-larger version of the usual Hands packaging in some respects – is part of the label’s 25th anniversary celebrations, and the 4CD box brings together almost every artist on the roster with an exclusive track each (in alphabetical order). I’ve not had the chance to listen to the whole thing yet, that may take a while, but I’ve picked on the stuff that jumped out of me, and this is the pick so far. Yep, it’s Greyhound, it’s really noisy, screeching electronics with a thumping rhythm elbowing it’s way through the distorted effects. Business as usual, then, but with a title like Headshredder, I was expecting exactly that and would have been disappointed with anything else.
I Am The Virus
There are many bands who mark their anniversaries and illustrious histories by harking back to the past, to celebrating it. Not Killing Joke, who while happy to continue playing the old material, have been busily forging a positive future too – and this has all come to pass with an album that is very, very good indeed. Pylon is simply brilliant, a thunderingly heavy – and furious – album that offers political comment, sloganeering and some damned good songs. The lead single is a case in point, with a momentum like a runaway freight train and a chorus I’d be expecting to be roared along at their shows.
Fuck In A Suit
Matt Fanale is back (again), with his second album release in a year (the other being the brilliant Beauty Queen Autopsy album that you should pick up now if you haven’t already), this time under his “main” Caustic moniker. The lead single is a nasty groove of a track, with a distorted vocal that helps hide, at least a bit, just how angrily political the track actually is. The revolution will likely be televised, and this is the sound of Caustic offering their chance to soundtrack it.
Ice (Fleisch Edit)
It’s been a fucking eternity (or, well over three years) since their brilliant last EP, but FORCES have finally got a follow-up track – and it’s another belter. Still very much of the old-school EBM flavour, but this one eschews monstrous hooks for a serious, dancefloor workout with no less panache. Vocals are not really important here, but the strict rhythm absolutely is.
A new signing to the gradually expanding Glitch Mode family, however rather than the frequently guitar-heavy, “cold wave” industrial sound to be found from the label, this is sleek, female-fronted “machine pop” – and it’s an impressive debut. Title track Burst is a pulsing, snapping beast of synthpop thrills, but it is bettered by Heart in a Machine, where the tempo is brought right down, and the sultry vocals and glowering synths quickly bring to mind Curve at their best. Also worthy of note is the belting cover of Nitzer Ebb’s Let Beauty Loose that closes out the EP – not a common choice, but strict adherence to the EBM power of the original shows a band that know their influences – and like the other tracks, in other ways they show heads well capable of learning from said influences and going in new directions with them. More like this, please.
Kill vs. Maim
The best song by a mile from her quite, quite mad new album – the one moment where she bares her teeth and gives her music some bite too, rather than losing her vocals in an avalanche of effects. This is four-minute torrent of fury, of spiralling angry vocals, thumping beats, guitars are wielded like a sack of angry badgers, but even with all of this unfamiliar territory explored by Grimes, it’s still recognisably Claire Boucher. Is there anything she can’t do?
Burn It All
International Blackjazz Society
I saw this – very, very – unique band at Bloodstock last year, and I must confess that while I liked them, watching them perform in front of a largely indifferent, boozed-up festival crowd was not the best way to enjoy them. Happily, there is now a new album to try and out, and it’s great. The band’s evolution was not like others – formed from an acoustic improvisational jazz quartet, they’ve ended up with an unusual fusion of jazz, black metal, industrial and rock. The jazz element springs through in the form of snapping tempo changes, what are clearly improvisational sections, and liberal use of saxophone. But wait, don’t let that put you off – one listen to Burn It All will likely bring you back. A searing, processed riff and screamed vocals result in a brutal breakdown of a chorus, while the rest of the track restlessly switches between styles and tempos, always looping back to that awesome chorus.
Sad Heart of Mine
Dust & Disquiet
Actually, have an eleventh this month. Thanks to my friend Kenneth for pointing me in the direction of this – glorious, heart-stopping post-rock from a band that have somehow completely passed me by over the past ten years. Oops. Either way, this track, and the album it comes from, is the best new post-rock I’ve heard in a while. Yeah, so it follows a familiar template – delicate, slow-burn intro that buildsandbuildsandbuildsandthenBAM! we get a kick of riffage that reaches for the stars. But you know what? With a track this great, they can repeat previous tricks all they like.