Halfway through 2010, and it’s time for another roundup.
Some cracking tracks here, too.
Track of the Month
Dead When I Found Her
The resurrection and reappraisal of old-school industrial gathers pace, perhaps? This is an artist I’d never heard of until I stumbled across a write-up on a recent Storming The Base newsletter, and since hearing this I’ve pre-ordered the album, and also I have this very track ready to unleash on my (much-delayed) podcast, that has been delayed for the past week or so due to technical issues. It will follow this week, I promise! Anyway, this? Think Skinny Puppy in their prime – complete with unsettling and jarring samples, chugging, processed guitars, and a dense production. But where this differs noticeably is the vocals. Rather than cut-up chaos, the vocals are much more measured, with an air of eerie calm that draws you in. I can’t wait to hear the rest of the album.
Anything That Gets You Through The Night
No apologies for featuring a second track from this album – listening to it a good few times since I picked it up has revealed this glorious gem of a track. A pulsating, sweat-drenched track that was perhaps recorded as well as written in the depths of the night, this is once again more direct, and perhaps more dancefloor-orientated, than anything from Seabound. The album, by the way, is yet another grower from the hand of Frank Spinath. There is still nothing that this guy has done that hasn’t been brilliant.
The Blood of Heroes
I’m surprised that this appears to have had little or no coverage at all. I mean, how? A collaboration of minds, including Justin Broadrick, Bill Laswell and End.user amongst others, it’s industrial-breakcore-ambient-hip-hop and broadly ace. This track is the one that really leaps out, though – pounding drum’n’bass rhythms meet Godflesh-style guitars for six minutes of (heavy) bliss.
Angels Walk Among Us
We’re Here Because We’re Here
The long wait – seven years for this album – has not really seen Anathema change a lot, let’s be honest. They are still in reflective mood, the album is elegant, mainly pretty mellow and full of the quite exquisite songcraft that this band have been so good at for a long, long time now. This is probably my favourite track on the album, as it builds from a so-so opening into a glorious, yearning epic. Those doom years do seem a hell of a long time ago, though…
This album very nearly didn’t happen, but for a pledge drive earlier this year that easily beat the required total (and yes, I donated to the cause). I’m glad it has, and I’ll talk more about the album as a whole when I get it, but in the meantime, the teasers put online sound pretty fucking amazing. Particularly this staggering rhythmic attack. Returning to their much noisier origins rather than the more straight-up industrial sounds of their second album, this is brutal, sparse rhythms coupled to distorted samples and scorching white noise. Talking of noise, the album is backed (on a second CD) with a full album of their even more extreme side-project Four Pi Movement, which makes this album doubly essential, in my eyes.
A second track from ohGr this year, while we are still awaiting the new Skinny Puppy album (now due at the tail end of 2010, following the issues with SPV in Germany). And it’s not bad, either. It’s following in the same vein as both ohGr and SP work, really – melodic, but oh-so-twisted electronics and his instantly recognisable voice. This kind of thing certainly sits better under his solo moniker, I think. As he continues to explore the (very) outer realms of poppiness, I’m hoping it will mean that SP can return to their heart of darkness. Somehow I don’t think this will happen, though.
Eyes Set To Kill
Shot By Both Sides EP
I’ve mentioned Phil Barry’s new project before, after he first came to my attention having remixed Alter der Ruine in spectacular fashion last year. This is his new act’s first release proper, and it’s an impressive start. If you’re familiar with his previous work in Cubanate, this isn’t going to be too much of a stretch to get into this. The thumping, quasi-drum’n’bass and snarling vocals are present and correct, but it is notably less nihilistic. A full album, This Is The New Wave, is coming soon, and indeed has already been reviewed by ReGen Mag, but in the meantime you can download this EP for free.
Join The Q
I got into this album a month or two back, and totally forgot to mention it last time around, so here it is. Of the many great, drum’n’bass-meets-alt-rock tracks here, this track featuring Mike Patton – and being just as demented as you think it might be – is definitely a highlight. If Pendulum had taken a different turn, their take on music using similar elements may have ended up sounding as awesome as this (for the best evidence of this, just check album opener Stomp Box, which might as well come with the warning “stand well back: dancefloor explosion imminent” written all over it). Obviously, I’m late enough to this band to now be finding that they have another album out next month. Which at least means I shouldn’t get bored of them too quickly…
Vertraut – Renegade Of Noise Remix By Daniel Myer
This is yet another cracking remix by Myer, of a track that rings a few bells somewhere. I could perhaps be forgiven for not remembering too much about it, it’s now an eight-year old track and the band have chosen to revisit it and release a collection of (very different) remixes of it. This remix is extraordinary, that starts out as a string-sample-laden, beatless rhythm, before bursting into a choral-backed, urgent beat that is quite simply heavenly, then morphing again into an even better, funk-esque breakdown and finally deconstructing back to how it began. Eight minutes of this is simply not enough.
This week from the “I really should have picked this up before” pile comes this lot. Hugely lauded last year, I never got around to finding out what the fuss was about, until curiosity finally got the better of me, and I gave the album a listen on Spotify. It’s nothing like what I’d thought it might have sounded like, either. Rather than being more shambling, miserable indie-rock, it seems to be rather more than that. Somewhere along the line, there are soul/R’n’b influences, and elements that sound like they should be electronic, but they appear not to be. I’m also quite a fan of the twin, boy and girl vocals, that all seem a little understated and fit the atmosphere perfectly. And, let’s be honest, it’s not often a small indie band like this are covered by a pop megastar at a festival.