We’re halfway through the year (already!), and into a new month, thus it is time for another wrap-up of the best new music of the past month on /amodelofcontrol.com.
As has been the case for a while, this continues to represent my broad spread of listening at the moment, which doesn’t necessarily mean that I’m listening to industrial music all of the time. Indeed, I’m more likely to be listening to other styles at the moment, and that is very much reflected in this month’s ten songs, as it has been for some time.
My livestreams are beginning to wind down, with just three left on my schedule. This Thursday, /Stormblast/155 brings the curtain down on my extreme metal livestream (at least for now). All other upcoming livestreams will be detailed on this page as they are confirmed, as well as on my Twitch schedule page.
As usual, if you’ve got something you want me to hear, something I should be writing about, or even a gig or livestream I should be attending, e-mail me or drop me a line on Facebook (details below).
/Reinvention of Pain
/I Was Never Really There
I was a big fan of Jan Dewulf’s project Diskonnekted, so I was naturally going to be interested in what he did next – I just wasn’t expecting him to return to the stark power of his original project, MILDREDA. This was initially a project in the nineties, that never progressed beyond cassette releases at the time, but has now been resurrected with the benefit of time and advances in technology. It certainly tips the hat to two of his influences – The Klinik and classic Vancouver industrial, and those synths are prime mid-90s FLA – but it keeps the melodic heart that made Diskonnekted so great too. Honestly, this is a release that is absolutely top of my anticipated releases right now. It’s out in late August.
Probably the UK’s most promising, visceral metal/hardcore band right now, Employed to Serve have roared back to life with the first track from their upcoming new album, and like many bands, there’s a distinct feeling of fighting to be heard amid these weird times, but also a determination to keep going. The thundering, anthemic Exist (get ready to hear the chorus refrain of “THIS. IS. HELL” reverberating around metal festivals in the year to come) is the ideal way to return, as Justine Jones stares down and conquers her own demons in song, and in the video inspires a young girl in the ways of music.
This was rather mistakenly omitted from last month’s list, so let’s redress the balance. HEALTH have been through a period of collaborating with other artists (shown to best effect on DISCO4 :: PART I last year), and this track apparently heralds a second album of collaborations. And if they are all as brilliant as this, bring it the fuck on. Somehow, this morphs from a brooding NIN piece that for all the world harks back to The Fragile-era – the best work Trent Reznor has released in an age, too – into a killer melodic HEALTH track, and even though you can kinda see the joins, it works gloriously. I have a hunch that HEALTH might have punched the air when Reznor agreed to collaborate – the influence of NIN is all over the past couple of HEALTH albums, that’s for sure – and I’m so happy that they stuck the landing too. Anyway, am I alone in thinking that the two artists should just work on a whole album together?
/When You’re Gone
Like many bands looking to promote their new album by performing live, Then Comes Silence were unlucky last year – as it turned out, they had the terrible timing of releasing an exceptional album (Machine) literally as the world locked down last spring. This song appears to be an adjunct to that album, an additional song that certainly shares much of the same DNA – that is, slick, catchy gothic rock that has rich, deep vocals, huge chorus hooks and a glistening production that makes the song sound absolutely huge. I hope the next album comes post haste.
V▲LH▲LL feel like one of the great survivors of Witch House. Like so many of the groups within that realm, none of them really were doing the same as anyone else anyway, and so nowadays it is sometimes hard to find the links between the survivors. This duo’s ghostly, eerie and ritualistic music has long fascinated me (I still own the original split releases that they put out on Phantasma Disques), and going on the first single from their latest album (out in September), they are continuing to evolve. Any pretense of anonymity gone totally now, the vocals stand proud and centre of the mix, as the choppy, drowsy beats are shrouded by shrill synths and the song rolls into a tempo that feels faster than anything they’ve done before, while remaining really unsettling and strange.
Away from her work in ACTORS, Shannon Hemmett has her own project LEATHERS, and there is a distinctly more electro feel to this project than the dancefloor-aimed goth/post-punk of ACTORS. There’s no problem with that, as Hemmett’s songs are smooth-edged, neon-tinged works of art. I hesitate to refer to this as minimal-wave, as that suggests dingy underground clubs and battered synths to me, and this is nothing of the sort. This sounds like it should be soundtracking cyberpunk films in shades of black, purple and blue, which I suspect is at least partly the point. Hemmett has been promising new LEATHERS material for some time, and on the evidence of this single, my next words? “More, please”.
/Falling Into The Sky
Something of a bolt from the blue recently was the release of a new ENDIF album, which by my reckoning is Jason Hollis’ first release under this moniker in thirteen years (since the outstanding Carbon) – even if the genesis of some of these tracks go back further than that. This one feels like a more nuanced release than the punishing power of Carbon, mind. Tracks glitch and scatter like digital interference, but when they reform they make some amazing sounds. Dislocated is the pick of the album, and has the feel of Autechre dabbling in the fringes of industrial noise as the beat pattern never quite settles. A marvellous, welcome return.
/People, Let’s Dance
When I first heard the unusual conceptual work of Public Service Broadcasting, who knew that it would become such a big thing, even able to be part of the Proms? Each album or EP has been very much about A Particular Theme (the eponymous films, the Space Race, the rise and decline of South Wales and Coal Mining, the Titanic), but even I was surprised to find that their next album was going to be based around Berlin. Apparently J. Willgoose, Esq. has moved there, but even before that happened this was apparently the planned theme. Judging on this loose-limbed first single, which certainly nods to the electronic music of Berlin, even if it doesn’t outright become it, the new album is going to be brighter, more colourful and perhaps less bleak than the last couple of concepts. Sometimes, artists need to move to rekindle the fires of inspiration – here’s hoping Berlin has done that for Public Service Broadcasting. This joyous first song is a positive start, and I like the vocals by EERA a lot.
/Self Sabotage EP
After a first tentative track last year, Daevid Jael (best known for being part of Rome Burns) has at last released his first EP, and now the name makes sense, at least to my brain. This is as much shoegaze as it is gothic-influenced music, the guitars drenched in reverb and other effects, resulting in a dreamy, dark sound, as if indeed the colours of shoegaze had been faded out into the darker shades of goth. Daevid’s resigned, almost sad vocals fit the sonic template they’ve created perfectly, too. I’ve long loved this style of music – Lycia, whom I mentioned last month, certainly feel a reference point here, too – and this is a welcome addition to the musical landscape right now.
/I Love A Man In Uniform
/The Problem of Leisure: A Celebration of Andy Gill and Gang of Four
One of the joys of the best tribute albums are listening to songs you know well in a whole new light, or hearing them through the prism of someone else’s styles. The new Gang of Four tribute album – initially planned by Andy Gill prior to his untimely death as a 40th anniversary celebration of Entertainment!, but perhaps understandably expanded in scope since – is one that surprises and enthralls in equal measure. Some of the songs that stick to the script – IDLES rampaging through Damaged Goods, and Helmet similarly delivering a bruising In The Ditch – are brilliant, sure, and signal in huge, bright letters for both one of their primary influences. But where things take a left-field unexpected turn, it gets really interesting. Step forward German mainstream star Herbert Grönemeyer (he has two of the three top-selling albums in Germany ever, although you might better know him from classic German film Das Boot, where he played the war correspondent Lt. Werner), who delivers an incredible and impassioned electro-funk take on the searing satire on military recruitment, that might even be better than the original.