Time once again for the best tracks of the past month, with a bit of a mix of styles on display this month, kinda reflective of where my tastes are at right now. As always, it’s not all heavy industrial, there are various textures of alternative music and indeed a couple of artists I’ve come across at recent gigs.
/Tracks of the Month/May 2019
Also, this week sees some minor cosmetic changes to posts to move toward a hopefully clearer posting style, and also a general tidy-up, of which there may be more as I toy with new ideas. Comments welcome on what you see and read, of course.
A quick explanation for new readers (hi there!): my Tuesday Ten series has been running since March 2007, and each month features at least ten new songs you should hear – and in between those monthly posts, I feature songs on a variety of subjects, with some of the songs featured coming from suggestion threads on Facebook.
Feel free to get involved with these – the more the merrier, and the breadth of suggestions that I get continues to astound. Otherwise, as usual, if you’ve got something you want me to hear, something I should be writing about, or even a gig I should be attending, e-mail me, or drop me a line on Facebook (details below).
amodelofcontrol.com on Facebook
They teased new material at their Infest show last year, and now, at last, it is finally here – a five-song EP with a couple of remixes tacked on. The first track released from it is exactly what we might have hoped for from Cubanate in 2019. Mid-paced breakbeats and a whole ton of bass back up choppy guitars and the trademark roared vocals of Marc Heal that whip up an impressive storm of a chorus to hold the track together. But, you might ask, how is the rest of the EP? Split Second is probably my pick of the bunch, a groovy rush of a track that I can’t wait to hear live sometime, while Vortex is a nod back to their techno-industrial roots, a relentless five minutes with an excellent chugging riff at the heart and a monstrous, chant-along chorus. Pattern Recognition has nods to dubstep in the queasy synths, but otherwise is Cubanate through-and-through, and the title track is a punishing return to open this. Rather slower paced, it feels even heavier as every beat and riff hits like a steam hammer, and is a reminder that the newly rejuvenated Cubanate are ready to move forward, not just relive past glories.
Cubanate of course play in London this weekend, alongside PIG and Randolph & Mortimer. I’m having to miss out, as I’d long since booked flights to Greece for a holiday that very Saturday…
/Darkest Future EP
Another of those artists that have come to my attention thanks to a promo e-mail in the past month, and this new artist is, yes, another who owes a lot to Skinny Puppy. Which is hardly news these days, but as long as they are doing something interesting with the sound, I’m all for it. And these guys certainly are, a dreamy, stuttering sound with synths that swirl like shrouds and spoken, treated vocals that make things sound less threatening, more unsettling. The production and depth of the mix is impressive, too, and I’ll be looking out for what else might come from this most interesting of new groups.
This London band I also know next-to-nothing about, other than that they come recommended to me by Beth from Where We Sleep, and I trust her judgement on such matters. Particularly when the song she recommends is three minutes of groovy, slinky filth. Particularly that bass line that rumbles away underneath the sleek beats and sneering vocals, with the repeated refrain that has been an incessant earworm since I first heard this.
/Lost in Everything
/And to the Wolves We Are Thrown
One of the many artists that has benefitted greatly, I would wager, from the open-minded attitude to music at Analogue Trash (see also /talk show host/052 earlier this week) is ded.pixel. Frontman Rhys Hughes has been a fixture of the Northern “scene” in industrial for many years, but only recently has begun to strike out with a singular vision as ded.pixel. Recent live shows have been impressive enough (I covered one such show eighteen months or so ago on /click click/001), but this expansive, mind-bending new song suggests that previous work was only a launchpad. It has mournful piano, a rolling rhythm, and gloriously over-the-top, progtastic guitar solos and space-age synths. Strap in, everyone, as I suspect that ded.pixel are going to take us for one hell of a trip at Infest this August…
/Show Me Life
/All Of My Dreams Are Of This Place
FIRES made an impressive splash with their debut album Red Goes Grey a little while back, which was a punchy industrial-rock album that had bagfuls of great songs. The follow-up is strikingly different in a number of ways, not least the life changes that have influenced it. Frontperson Aedra Oh has both become a parent and begun transitioning to a woman, and this album is very much informed by both. The lead track Show Me Life feels like the point where Aedra bursts into life herself, a song that fizzes with energy and positivity and comes armed with a whacking great chorus, that intriguingly is as much influenced by stadium-sized Emo as it is the industrial-rock of the first album, and it actually sounds all the better for it.
The intriguing support to dEUS earlier this month in London, this Belgian-American artist was another of those that straddles the line between soul, jazz and rock, pretty much smashing through boundaries as something to be ignored. This was her opening track, a moody, synth-and-loop-led track with impressive vocal acrobatics and a distinct feel of a piece that was making a mark. Judging on the ever-increasing rapturous applause she received during the set, it very much made an impression.
As this band gear up to release their third (or second, if you count the twin debut albums released together as one) album in the autumn, here’s another slice of exquisite synthpop from this band that appear to be unable to make a wrong move. This also seems to be a slight shift in style, too, as the song feels like it has picked up the pace somewhat from their often mid-paced songs, and indeed there is less in the mix, too, leaving a stark, elegant song where as ever, Isaac Howlett’s vocals sound oh-so-vulnerable. Much more of this and I’m going to run out of things to say about how great this band consistently are.
One of the finest post-metal/post-rock/whatever bands around nowadays – particularly live, it’s always welcome to hear of new Russian Circles material, and this first new song from their upcoming seventh album suggests that they have seen little need to change their approach. Dominated – as so many of their best songs are – by the phenomenal, powerhouse drumming of Dave Turncrantz, it initially appears that the guitars are toned down a bit, but little by little, the dial is turned on that front until the song eventually unleashes another, breathless, climax. They play in London again in August, just after my birthday, and I can’t wait.
/BUTCHER OF THE WORLD
One of the most extraordinary live performances I’ve seen in recent years was the thirty minutes or so I spent witnessing LINGUA IGNOTA at Electrowerkz in April. Unusually not performing onstage, she spent almost the entire time roaming through the crowd, with caged bulbs swinging on wires the only illumination, and was an astonishingly intense performer that I couldn’t take my eyes off.
The backstory of her music and songs makes for shocking reading, too – and helps to explain the intensity and confrontational nature of her live work, in that she wants you to endure it. She is just as impressively brutal on record, as this new track, the first from her upcoming album, proves. Swells of orchestral music lend a false sense of calm before the vocals howl in like a storm of utterly vengeful fury, and the music burns up into sheer static in the wake, and later, you get notice of just how extraordinary a range she has. This is extreme, necessary music that is terrifying, beautiful and thought-provoking all at once.
/i’m not where you are
/Any Human Friend
I adored I’m Not Your Man, Hackman’s last album that was a whole lot darker and bitter than it first appeared, but wrapped it up in gloriously melodic, folky-rock that made it suitable for daytime airplay. Judging on this first single from her follow-up, Hackman is still sipping from the same well of bitterness – amid chiming synths and multi-tracked vocals, she is questioning the value and point of some human contact, as perhaps, if others aren’t bothering, why should she?