Gosh, this year is flashing by somewhat – we’re into March already? Still, at least that means we might be edging closer to something resembling more like normality in the coming months, but in the meantime, I’m continuing my weekly /Tuesday Ten posts, and this week I’m looking again at the best music of the past month.
As has been the case for a little while now – particularly as I’m doing a number of disparate livestreams at the moment – this is a pretty eclectic mix of music, covering industrial, metal, Alternative and quite a bit more, but hopefully, there is something to interest all readers here. I’m also trialling a third-party way of displaying Bandcamp playlists – see the bottom of the page for that.
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).
/The End of All Things
A French duo with extensive musical experience in the darker side of metal, I was not familiar with this band prior to this song arriving in my inbox, but now I want more. Apparently, this new release is a bit of an about-turn for them, but I’m not sure I want them to do anything else: vocalist Stéphane Azam has a deep, almost comforting croon amid powerful, expansive electronically-assisted rock, that in some respects reminds me deeply of Misery Loves Co.’s darkest moments (and I mean that as the highest compliment). My only sadness is that I have to wait over six weeks to hear the remainder of this album, as this song is fucking brilliant.
Late to the party with this one, but thanks to a glowing I Die: You Die review, this was bought on the spot, and happily, they weren’t wrong. This is outstanding, glowering cyberpunk electro-industrial of the highest order (there is even a graphic novel to accompany the album, one of two accompanying publications on this week’s list), and the droning synths and pummelling rhythms of Mirrorshades make for a hell of an introduction to this Italian artist. Industrial is nowhere near dead, we’re just having to cast the net a bit wider nowadays.
Not for the first time, I’ve rather slept on Emileigh Rohn’s previous work as Chiasm, and this new album – out this coming Friday – sees Rohn working with producer John Fryer, someone who knows a thing or two about sound, texture and impact. From the first minute, it’s clear that this is a collaboration that works, with excellent songcraft and punchy production, and for me Away is the pick of the bunch. A slower-paced groove that sees Rohn’s vocal delivery wrapping around the beats and adding ethereal melody to something that might have otherwise turned much darker, and it’s a song my mind has kept returning to since I first listened to it.
The recently reactivated Croc Shop (their album Resist! perhaps deserved a bigger audience than it got) are very much a different band than the harsher electro-industrial of yore, and perhaps nowhere is this made clearer than on the excellent Silver. Bright synths, squalling guitars (or at least, I think they’re guitars!) and 80s new wave basslines propel a song that seems to be holding something back, even while it is delivering quite glorious electro-synthpop. Well worth giving the new album a listen (it’s out on Friday).
So here’s a first – limited editions of this album come with a Tabletop RPG Book based on the content of the album (the story of a discovered fleet of ships that had been frozen in the ice – something rather similar to Franklin’s disastrous expedition in the Arctic). This distinctly chilly post-metal, originally – appropriately – from the Russian city of Chelyabinsk, has an almost orchestral, elegant quality to it, as it rides the frozen wastes of the subject matter and perhaps shatters a few preconceptions along the way, when it takes a few unexpected turns for minimalism rather than maximalism. Looking forward to the rest of the album next month.
/Complicit (Innocence Is Dangerous)
(Not Available yet to stream)
Released later this week as the lead track from an upcoming new album, Slighter has continued their experimentation with electronic sounds that, in many respects, are leading them away a bit from industrial realms. This is no real problem when the music being delivered is this good. Complicit has an elastic, catchy rhythm at the core, one that is delivered with a rolling boil of cavernous bass beneath it (seriously, this needs playing loud to get the full effect).
Released on the eve of International EBM Day (24/2) last week, which swiftly became clear was no accident once I pressed play. This is groovy, sweat-drenched electronic music, that nods to EBM, techno and industrial without ever getting bogged down in the past. Like all of the work involving Daniel Myer (this project also features Rinaldo Bite), though, it is made all the more impressive by exquisite production and a forward-looking feel, finding new ways to express old ideas. Oh how I wish I had a club to go to, to hear this in…
/Exhibition of a Dream
Originally recorded for, and only available in limited quantities at, an exhibition a few years ago within the Fundação Calouste Gulbenkian in Lisbon, this has now reached a wider release, and it perhaps wasn’t quite I was expecting. FM Einheit was of course once a member of Einstürzende Neubauten before they mellowed out somewhat, so it’s perhaps surprising to find this album, with a variety of guests “interpreting” dreams alongside FM Einheit, is a curious, otherworldly experience. Amid these blissed out times, though, are a few moments that could jolt you awake, like the thrilling, clanking machine-like construction of The Dungeon that feels like it was assembled rather than written.
/The machine is burning and now everyone knows it could happen again
A song of unexpected, pastoral beauty, this is the first track from the debut album by a French collective (whose name translates, simply, as “Noise”). Initially, mind, this song sounds anything but – what appear to be found sounds of nature mingle with gentle guitars and strings, but the song swells like a weather system into a shattering storm, before, like any powerful storm, abating and leaving a gentle calm in its wake. The arrival of this has good timing, too, with a special (for now one-off) post-rock livestream /Breadcrumb Trail coming next week from this website.
/The World Must Be Destroyed
/11 Years Of Chaos fundraiser compilation
One of the joys of last year’s 10 Years of Chaos festival (reviewed on this site as /Memory of a Festival/034) was the sheer variety of music on the line-up. From Black Metal to Post-Metal, from Jazz-Fusion (with a distinctly metallic sheen) to West African-influenced Doom, from Dutch Dark Rock to Norwegian experimentalism, every band had me stopping and taking notice in one way or another, and that variety and interest was all thanks to the curation of Chaos Theory. Of course, no such luck on the festival front this year for their eleventh anniversary, so instead, they’ve released a mammoth compilation that takes in most of the above, and considerably more.
A band almost entirely new to me last year was Norwegian duo Årabrot, who did two sets, and the later set was full of harsh, noise-rock like the thrilling track featured on this comp (from their recent The World Must Be Destroyed EP, which was all based on Heliogabale ou l’Anarchiste couronne by Antonin Artaud – an “embellished” and deeply odd take on apparently already insane events from Roman times), that grinds and pounds out of the speakers, with everything sounding physically as well as sonically heavy.