Back into a lockdown this week – whatever the Government try and spin, it’s a lockdown again, and it is what it is. There still appears no chance of live music or clubbing to any normal degree this year either (notwithstanding some of the enterprising experiments in new ways of dealing with that at the moment. Thus, I continue “as was”.
/Tracks of the Month/Oct 2020
/Tuesday Ten/Tracks of the Month/2020
This means continuing the livestreams that I’m doing (what’s coming up is here), keeping up the livestreams/events calendar (same link), and also continuing to write about the new music that is being released. There’s perhaps more than ever at the moment, or at least it feels that way, and the broadening of my DJing recently has perhaps assisted in me consuming more music, and in more styles.
Thus, the tracks of the month posts continue to cover quite a few genres, not just industrial, and is as ever very much a reflection of my own omnivorous tastes. Hopefully, there’ll be something you like here, and as always, every song has a streaming link somewhere (Bandcamp for preference), with Spotify and YouTube playlists linked in the box above.
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
/Born on the Outs
/The Malignant Fire EP
Refused pull no punches whatsofuckingever with their best track in a long time. Yes, War Music last year was a return to their hardcore-punk roots, but this goes further, harder and feels like it has an urgency reflecting of what’s at stake this autumn in politics. A full third of the track is a nervous, ominous build that then absolutely explodes into a ripping, hulking rhythm that is Refused through and through. They promised over twenty years ago that they were the Shape of Punk to Come. This brilliant political polemic is a reminder that they still can be.
/Machine Guns and Peacock Feathers
/Flowers of Evil
Is there possibly another band that has come from the Black Metal scene that has even remotely reached the scope that Ulver have over the years? Nowadays light years from their origins, their latest album was recommended to me (I’d rather lost track of what they were doing in the past decade or so, I must confess) recently, and I was rather staggered by what I heard. The sound now is one of sleek, pitch-dark synthpop, really, full of rich melody and ominous power – and a distinct lyrical feel of looking upon humanity destroying itself from within. The lyrics to this song are perhaps one of the best examples of the latter, even while the instrumental work behind it is a melodic, hypnotic joy.
It is, needless to say, no accident that there is a glut of political songs featured from the past month, and CHANT are one of a few to make direct reference to, as it stands, the current President of the USA (who of course is standing for relection today, 03-Nov). Bradley Bills has long been a political voice amid his percussion-heavy industrial rock, and the best track on his long-awaited new album HYDRA is this coruscating takedown of a deeply unpopular, divisive president that manages to be as anthemic as it is furious.
/The Crown Lies Heavy On The King – Destroy Donald Trump Mix
Another artist to make direct, uncompromising statements on Trump are The Cassandra Complex, with this seething, roaring track that takes him apart piece by piece, helping to disassemble that facade that he’s built, that the more it’s been examined, has turned out to be a sham. This a great song, too, CX continuing their long career with a vibrant slab of synth-drenched post-punk/darkwave, and Rodney Orpheus’s rich voice is still sounding great. I love forward to hearing the new album when it arrives, soon (and hopefully, get to see them live again at Infest 2021…).
The plan of a follow-up to Short Bus sadly dead in the water (although apparently, some tracks from it will feature in some form on this upcoming album), Richard Patrick has returned to the political ire of his recent work, and this song – satirising certain subsets of Trump supporters – has raised more than a few hackles on Filter’s social media pages, that’s for sure. Although, it’s not as if Patrick hasn’t been clear about his political views. Again, this is not a subtle track in the slightest, but it is the kind of pulsing industrial-tinged rock Filter have been good at for many years now, and I can’t imagine he’ll care if he loses a fan or two over this.
By a quirk of fate, London band Ventenner – who’ve often been compared to Filter in particular in the past, including by this site – have also released new material this month, with the first song from new album Hollow Storm breaking cover (the album is released digitally 06-Nov, and there is a vinyl release coming, too, which you can pre-order/back here). It perhaps heralds a slight change in direction for the band (that the rest of the album confirms, too), moving into a more alternative rock direction rather than the industrial-leaning sound of before, but that’s no problem, as it suits them well, with a impressive heft to the sound, and Charlie Dawe’s powerful voice is put to good use on the soaring chorus. The elegant video, by @bonniemakespictures, is well worth watching too.
/Man’s Best Friend
There are perhaps few more uncompromising artists in industrial right now than HIDE. Their latest single keeps the boot directly on the throat (as it has been for a few years, now), with a cacophony of industrial beats like gattling guns adding the rhythmic force to back up Heather Gabel’s rampaging vocals, as she tears apart an utter shit of a man who could be an abuser, could be an incel, he could be a misogynist, or maybe he’s all of those. The final line is a brutal kiss-off.
/Say Nothing (In the Absence of Content)
A late entry to the list – I’ve only just cottoned on to the band – this is fucking great and self-aware hardcore. Women fronting hardcore bands have never been particularly common – and there have been all-too-many saddening and infuriating stories of their treatment in an often-macho scene, something touched upon in my /Repeater series a few years back – but here, vocalist Lauren Kashan tears into the shallowness of too much hardcore with humour and fury (just check the mighty monster of a breakdown that vocally also has a point to make), and there’s a hilarious video to go along with it, too. Expect to hear this at /Stormblast/141 next week.
/Rattle In Your Chest
/Some of Us Are Looking at the Stars
Not a band I’ve been familiar with previously, but this track hooked me instantly upon first listen. A dreamy, melodic synthpop track that has a surprising rhythmic kick once it gets going, this is another band to add to the litany of such electronic groups that I love. Strong female vocals, interesting electronic sounds, and not to mention the impressive, non-profit and charitable nature of the record label that the duo behind the group also run in Washington D.C.. Looking forward to the album at the beginning of December.
/Allt þetta Helvítis Myrkur
We were only marvelling a few weeks ago in the chat on the /Stormblast/140 livestream about how much Iceland punches above it’s weight in music. Particularly in extreme metal in more recent years, where a thriving scene has resulted in a host of exciting bands, none of whom really sound like each other, but all clearly take inspiration from the harsh and beautiful landscape around them. One such group is Katla, formed by Einar Thorberg Gu∂mundsson (FORTÍÐ, POTENTIAM) and former SÓLSTAFIR drummer and visual artist Gu∂mundur Óli Pálmason, and on their excellent new album, they appear to have plumbed the depths of Icelandic darkness. The lead track Sálarsvefn is full of portentious darkness, heading into the realms of Celtic Frost and Behemoth as it thrashes in ways that transcend the idea of genre. The bleak video, too, around the ancient concept of the níðstang (Nithing pole) and bitter, searing revenge, only adds to the majesty on display in the songcraft.
/Love U More
Delayed by COVID, as explained by Shannon in my recent interview (/Talk Show Host/067), the additional time they’ve spent on their songs perhaps bodes well for the new album based on this excellent new single. The slick, electronically-enhanced post-punk of the band is still present and correct, but amid the pulsing synths and thick, bass-heavy rhythm is a lightness of touch to the melody (the addition of the female backing vocals is an unexpected, thrilling element), and the feeling of a band finding new ways to express themselves. Also of note is the great, horror movie-esque video.
/The Rite of the Enraged
A welcome e-mail to drop into my inbox recently was an announcement of a new Dirty K album, the midlands-based (once of Leicester, now I believe somewhat further west in the midlands) noise act whom I knew well when living in Sheffield and DJing in Leicester. Like a number of British industrial/noise artists of the time, they all made it onto prominent labels, with Dirty K managing one album on Hands Productions, and appearances at Forms of Hands and Maschinenfest if I recall correctly, too. The nasty, distorted industrial rhythms are still present and correct on this sixth full-length album, too – with lead track Rejection looping in hip-hop paced beats that have all the edges sharpened, assisted by a storm of static and distorted synths. Excellent stuff.
/Rock n Roll Refugee
/Pain Is God
Honestly, has Raymond Watts actually stopped since <PIG> returned from their slumbers? The count is now three full-length albums, three remix albums, a cover album, countless singles, three split releases…and all in five or six years? Still, the quality level hasn’t dipped, as proven by the new album, which while pretty long is still full of the classic <PIG> sound, and it’s a lot of fun. The lead single is perhaps a little surprising, as it goes full-on into a glam-industrial-rock stomp, kinda like Marilyn Manson attempted once upon a time. But Raymond Watts has the glamour, and glint in his eye, to do this straight and make it sound great.
/The Triumph of King Freak (A Crypt of Preservation and Superstition)
/The Lunar Injection Kool Aid Eclipse Conspiracy
The lead track from the first Zombie album in five years (it’s out in March) is, frankly, the most White Zombie-sounding track from him and his band in a long, long time. Built over a thumping groove and tar-thick riffage, it stomps and snarls like I always hope Rob Zombie will, but too many times in recent years it has just been dull and uninteresting. This sounds like he’s been jolted to the mains and returned to life like Frankenstein’s monster, and he sounds all the better for it. While there’s a lot of political music about – and rightly so – on occasions, I want an escapist thrill, and Rob Zombie delivers exactly that with this fabulous track.
/Shot In The Dark
They’ve been around forever, the surviving members of the line-up are back together (along with Malcolm Young’s nephew), and refreshingly, AC/DC sound like they always have done. With some bands, that might be a problem, but AC/DC aren’t like other bands. They set out their stall a long time ago, to provide hard-living, good-time rock’n’roll on an awe-inspiring scale, and why fix something that’s not broken? Lead single from the new album POWER UP does exactly what we want: there’s an Angus Young guitar solo, there’s a big chorus for crowds of tens of thousands to sing along to (when gigs can return), and the reunited band sound like they are having fun again. Fun has been in somewhat short supply this year, and AC/DC returning feels like a bright spot (and a triumph over adversity, too).