One month, then, of what is likely to be a difficult year for many of us, is out of the way. At least here in the Northern Hemisphere, the days start to get longer, it might stop raining quite so much, it even might get a bit warmer.
Despite the stresses of life generally, I’m at least still managing to write a /Tuesday Ten every week. I did, and do, have plans for other posts, but finding time and the energy to do so right now is, I’m not going to lie, quite hard. So I’m not able to promise too much right now aside from what I’m already doing.
That said, there’s some truly great music out there already in 2021, and as ever, my monthly /Tracks of the Month posts are only the tip of the iceberg, those that have really interested me. If you want to hear more of the music that gets me excited, my various Livestreams are where to hear more, much more, and there are two this week (full details on the link).
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).
/1000 Cuts (Lingh Chi)
/The Roots Of Saraswati
Since Scott Fox (of iVardensphere) had been announced as the new member of This Morn’ Omina, joining Mika Godrijk, there has been much anticipation around how material from this meeting of the two leading minds in tribal industrial would come out. This belting track is the first taste, and there is very much a feeling of a move back toward tribal power, jettisoning some of the psych-trance that perhaps had diluted the rhythmic effect a bit on the last album especially. This is ten minutes of exactly what TMO have long done better than anyone – long builds, epic climaxes and the best percussive attack in the business.
After the one-off single Puzzle last year, which hinted at the idea that the long-awaited third album from Youth Code might be on the horizon, the turn of the year flipped that expectation on it’s head. They’ve instead perhaps taken inspiration from the bruising collaboration with HEALTH, teaming up with trap-metal producer King Yosef for an entire album, and the first taste of that is Burner. Sara from Youth Code and King Yosef appear to trade verses, the track similarly changing pace from charging industrial to a slower, trap-led tempo, but it is no less aggressive and powerful for it. There may be some haters for the whole concept, but fuck ’em. Youth Code have long shown themselves open to new ideas and working with others, and this is a fascinating first taste of one of the most anticipated albums for 2021 in industrial music.
I would have totally missed this release had I not read a rapturous review on The Quietus this past week, and they are right – it’s fascinating stuff. An Indonesian duo who use home-made instruments and presumably influences from their own traditional musical forms, they have somehow twisted this into a titanic, imposing drone-based assault. It is ominous, strange work, this, and despite having listened to it a few times over the weekend, I still don’t think I’ve played it loud enough to do it full justice (I suspect my wife will kill me if I do so when she is in the house).
/Out from the Shadows Into the Light
/70 Years of Static
One I missed mentioning last month, so I must redress it this time around, as this album is outstanding. I was a big fan of Bloody Knives from the time I saw them blast my eardrums early in the evening at Cold Waves in Chicago a few years back. For the unititiated, they are a band (nowadays a duo, it seems, although I’m sure they were previously a trio) that bring shoegaze fuzz and FX together with punishing drums and industrial electronics, which results in a surprisingly melodic sound – although not without power and extreme demands on volume at points. The new album, released late last year, rips past with only a couple of the ten songs topping three minutes, and the shortest is this fabulous track, that feels like it has been built on an EBM rhythm, drones and ultra-distorted bass. Unusually, too, the remixes tacked onto the release are well worth your time (particularly Dean Garcia, of Curve and SPC-ECO fame, who takes on a number of tracks).
/Blacken the Skies
An intriguing new signing on Metropolis is Terminal, led by South African singer Thomas Mark Anthony, and working with two US-based musicians. They seem to be, like much of the newer breed of industrial-based artists, to be more than willing to look elsewhere for inspiration – and the rest of the excellent album this comes from bears this out – but the first track released from it, Deadline, has an excellent, cyberpunk-esque feel to the chattering synths, booming, baritone vocals and dense rhythm patterns. This is an artist I want to know more about, so with a bit of luck, look out for a /Talk Show Host interview with them in the coming weeks.
Tech-death metal from Minsk, Belarus, with an attention-grabbing, and broadly unpronounable name (the full name is (deep breath) Eximperituserqethhzebibšiptugakkathšulweliarzaxułum), and an appropriately savage logo to match (and yes, it was in Completely Unreadable Band Logo of the Week, seven years ago). But while the name and logo are cool, does the music match up? Too fucking right it does. It does exactly what I want from this kind of tech-death – it chugs, it has riffs the size of buildings, trying to foot-tap along quickly starts to need calculations to be made to stop twisting your foot off, and the vocalist probably needs a throat lozenge. Don’t expect to be singing along, mind, but if you like death metal, get on this, stat.
Continuing with European extreme metal, from Norway comes MORK, an artist devoted to the “classic” era of Black Metal, the raw, nasty stuff from the early nineties – and not, as my wife noted, anything to do with the classic comedy Mork & Mindy. Certainly the production here leaves the guitars thin and the bass tremulous, but the Black Metal here still has a bite, and also the power to shock – the multi-tracked, clean vocals on the late-song coda are entirely unexpected but work fantastically. Elsewhere on the album – if Thomas Eriksen needed any more evidence of his commitment to the style – Nocturno Culto of Darkthrone appears, and I’ll be fascinated to hear the rest of this album when it drops at the start of March.
/As The Love Continues
Mogwai release their upcoming new album on 19-Feb, which happens to be exactly 25 years since their first release, and broadly makes it nearly 25 years since I first heard them, too. I first saw them live 24 years ago last week, at an NME Awards show at the Astoria where they appeared to be in a searingly bad mood, and most of the set was the deafening static storm of Stereodee. They have, of course, evolved from the noise terrorists that they used to be, and the shimmering, synth-assisted beauty of some of their newer material appears to be the order of the day on As The Love Continues, with Richie Sacramento seeing Stuart on vocals again, but with a muscular, shoegazy force to the music backing his vocals, and the result is a stargazing beauty of a track.
It should also be noted that Mogwai hasn’t lost their talent for phenomenal song titles, either, with the opening track on the new album magnificently titled as To The Bin My Friend, Tonight We Vacate Earth.
I think I’ve mentioned before my distaste for yet another promo email that rambles on about “this is the artist’s take on lockdown”, as if I didn’t already fucking know what lockdown was about. This song rather slipped out at the beginning of the year, without ceremony, and pretty much nails the mental state most of us have right now. This the most melancholic and downbeat I’ve ever heard Rotersand, and even so they still make a heartfelt sad-banger of a song that I’m fairly sure will sound absolutely euphoric live, with an adoring crowd lost in the moment. That’s the thing about shared experience – some will only look at themselves, Rotersand have long had an uncanny knack of understanding what others feel, and managing to articulate that in exquisite song.
I’ve featured the excellent work of Cat Hall (who is Dissonance) a few times in the past couple of years since her return to regular releases, and her steady stream of shorter EPs is resulting in some great new songs. This new track, working with Melodywhore, has a stalking, stark beat and synths that provide a bed-of-nails for multi-tracked vocals that are by turn searing and sweetly melodious, and in a scene that can sometimes feel a little stagnant at the margins, this feels fresh, new and brilliant.
/Discipline (Patrick Codenys Jigsaw Mix)
/DEKLACKED Vol. 1
Matt Fanale and Eric Oehler’s side-project KLACK’s joyous tribute to the EBM of their youth has been one of the industrial music joys of the past few years, and a sign of how far they’ve come in that short time with this project is that the lead remix on this exceptional release (out on Friday) is by Patrick Codenys of Front 242. That’s not to say the other remixes on this aren’t great – they all are, unusually for a remix album – but the very fact that they got this remix in the first place is something for celebration. As well as that, though, it’s a cracking remix, where Codenys really does turn KLACK into Front 242 for five sweat-drenched minutes, turning up the heat on Discipline until it boils and bubbles, the drums kicking even harder, the synths that bit sleeker, but most importantly, reminds how great a song Matt and Eric had in the first place.
The track featured here is the only one currently available online, by the way – you’ll have to wait until Friday to hear the Patrick Codenys remix! On another note, the upcoming 242 Live Albums 91 and USA 91 sound amazing.