As what has been an exceptionally trying month comes to a close, I’m finishing off October with what may well be the last /Tracks of the Month round-up of 2019 – this time next month I’ll be beginning the usual end-of-year-coverage on /Countdown/2019, and I’ve still got quite a bit of thinking to do around that.
/Tracks of the Month/Oct 2019
/Tuesday Ten/Tracks of the Month/2019
This year in music has continued to be a strange one, as if we are transitioning to something new that isn’t especially clear yet. What is clear is that the enormous growth of streaming services – and paid streaming services at that – is beginning to affect how music is created and released (noticed how most albums are getting much shorter?), but happily in the music I listen to, at least, there is still a high level of quality.
So, this is the best tracks of October, according to /amodelofcontrol.com. The usual playlists are available on Spotify and Youtube, or listen to the songs individually below.
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).
/Track of the Month
I featured an earlier Scalping single (Chamber) back on /364/Tracks/Mar-19, but I’m featuring them again this month because this track is so fucking good. Described by some as an EBM band, that is rather selling them short. Like many of the best artists right now, they are picking from different styles and creating one of their own – one here that uses mechanised rhythms with live instruments and a whole ton of electronics and synths, but they build their sound by way of steady momentum and a nagging sense of fearful dread. From the first few seconds, you just know that this is going to flatten you at some point, but they tease it out for the best part of four minutes before it absolutely ruins you with a kick-down that hits full-force in the gut. Aim for 2020 – see this band live.
/Welcome to the Blackout
/Vision 2020 Vision
These Deutsche EBM veterans have been highly active again in the past decade since they reformed, although I was a little surprised to realise that it’s now four years since their last new album proper (V – Metal Machine Music). The wait for new material is over, though, as this is the lead single from their new album which is out during November. If you’ve been following DK over the past decade, the style won’t be a great surprise, but they do it so well that I’m not complaining. It’s a stompy, guitar-led industrial metal track, with a huge, bouncing groove and even bigger, anvil-sized hooks that Jürgen Engler growls his way over. It delivers everything I’d want from DK, that’s for sure.
The sole new song on a substantial collection released to mark this band’s 40th anniversary – the box set in particular is an impressive beast – the main thrust of the collection is to have all of the band’s singles, in chronological order, and smartly remastered where needed. They’ve gone through a bit of a renaissance in recent years, especially on the excellent The Punishment of Luxury which was quite a favourite on this site, and they continue that here with this elegant song, perhaps a little more downbeat than some of their other more recent material, but a style that suits the clean electronic sound that the band use well.
/And I Fall
/Line of Sight
Null Device have long been an intriguing band – synthpop with a deeper core, where songs often have to be considered in more detail to get under the skin of what otherwise often seem to be featherlight songs. So the new album Line of Sight comes across to me as a bit of a surprise. There is a tougher, steelier exterior to this release, the beats a bit harder edged, the vocals have a bit more venom in their delivery, but crucially none of the gorgeous melodic touches are omitted. I particularly love this track on the new album, which balances the two neatly, as the venom comes in the verses, before the chorus opens like a pretty flower, and quasi-choral vocals arrive for the coda.
/A Visit From Foxcunt
I’m not always a big punk fan. I like some of it, I intensely dislike other bits of it. But North London band Foxcunt (who, in full disclosure, are friends of mine) I like a lot. Seethingly angry and political – and a whole lot more polished than maybe they were to begin with, when they started a few years back – this album has been a while coming but the wait has seen them use the time wisely. The songs we already know have gained new life, and the new songs here are all uniformly great. One song, though, sticks out for me. Competition is a great, melodic punk song, about the insane lengths people go to be better than others – in this case, at the karaoke bar. Oddly enough, I hate karaoke so can relate, especially as I had to resist drunk colleagues trying to make me sing the other night. It ain’t happening, folks.
Mindless Faith have remarkably been around for well over two decades now, although I was perhaps a little later in catching on (Medication for the Misinformed was where I hopped on the ride). I wasn’t especially enamoured with Eden to Abyss, the last album that dates from 2015, and a first listen to this new – and rather delayed – release suggests a small pivot in the sonic approach, and it’s for the better. This song is a great example – it’s a slower, more measured pace to the song, with the loud, dense production cutting like a laser out of the speakers. Like the last album, many of the vocals are delivered by guests, but what’s notable is that how this doesn’t affect the continuity, as the guests seem to have been carefully picked to work with the music. An impressive return.
/Novo Sonic System
It wasn’t me that thought Hyperion – after a six year wait – was, well, a bit boring, right? Turns out we should have just waited for this EP instead, as all the bangers are here. Seriously – there’s more life and interest in the first, three-minute track Orck than on the whole of Hyperion, never mind the rest of it. But actually, do keep going with the rest of it. It’s only sixteen minutes, at points feeling like fragments of songs that should last longer, but the peak of the lot is the pummelling Dance X, a steady, thumping beat that kicks like a mule and should destroy dancefloors. More of this, less of the dull wallpaper music and endless guests, please…
/State of Play
Talking of dancefloor-bound music, the new EP from Crystal Geometry has had a fair bit of buzz on social media this week, and I can now add to the chorus. This is four tracks of thundering industrial techno – perhaps with the emphasis on industrial – and the lead track is a mighty storm of heavy beats, distorted vocals and squelching synths. It’s not trying to experiment into new realms, it’s not trying anything unusual – but what it is doing is fabulous, and doing it very well indeed.
/Do Or Die
Machine Head, while celebrating the 25th anniversary of their landmark debut Burn My Eyes, have gone through an awful lot of upheaval of late. With the departure of various members recently, it is now very much Robb Flynn and a supporting cast, although the turmoil seems to have inspired Flynn anew. I wasn’t especially a fan of the last album or two, but this new, one-off single slays. Clearly Flynn fighting back against his various detractors (who seem to have a rather unpleasant habit of shouting louder than everyone else, warranted or not), this track seethes with rage, and doesn’t overstay it’s welcome, either – blasting out of your speakers for three minutes and then getting the hell out of Dodge. Now, if we can have more Machine Fucking Head like this…
After a series of short singles and EPs, Matt Hart releases his debut album this week, and going on the first couple of songs from it, his sound has advanced a long way in a short time. There’s never been any doubt on his production chops – his songs are dense, complex beasts with a deep grounding in industrial/industrial metal – but for a little while I was concerned that he was a bit too close in sound to the bands he loves. Not so much anymore, it seems, as it appears to me that he’s found his own niche. There’s elements of classic industrial, there’s chugging guitars, vocal treatments, but critically it now sounds like him, as he builds his songs through a state-of-the-world address concept album, and this track is the bruising lead single for the album, one that seems to keep building right to the last second.