I was utterly bowled over to be invited to DJ at Festival Kinetik 4.0 in Montreal, Canada. I was going as a punter anyway – and it was a crazy week and some out there, topped off by DJing on the final night. My plan to return to Kinetik at some point never happened, with it’s demise, but I’ve moved onto other North American festivals in it’s place. Read more “Setlist – Festival Kinetik 4.0 Montreal – 23-May 2011”
As Sunday’s show began, it was plainly clear that the early bands were going to suffer from the same issue that Infest Sunday does – that everyone had a very, very heavy night the night before (myself included, although that was mainly because I was so buzzing following 242 that I couldn’t possibly sleep for an hour or two). So it meant that the first couple of bands perhaps didn’t have the same sized crowd as everyone else, and to be honest didn’t have my total attention either, as we were catching up with a few New Yorkers we’d met and recommended the last Urceus Exit album to (an album I finally managed to pick up on CD after 18 months of trying this weekend) – well, I say New Yorkers. Read more “Festival Kinetik v4.0 – Phase 04: Sunday – Montreal – 22-May 2011”
By the time Monday dawned, I was starting to flag fast. To get through thirty-six bands – and to actually try and see all of them – while doing some touristy stuff and finding time for drinking in cheaper bars, too, is an exhausting enterprise, I can tell you. Read more “Festival Kinetik v4.0 – Phase 05: Monday – Montreal – 23-May 2011”
Just in case I thought this weekend couldn’t get any better or more fun, Saturday’s performances ended up being probably the finest day of live industrial music I’ve ever seen – and that was even with at least one act that I really, really don’t care for. Read more “Festival Kinetik v4.0 – Phase 03: Saturday – Montreal – 21-May 2011”
After a day exploring areas out of downtown Montreal (and having the wonder that is poutine from La Banquise), it was back to Metropolis for another evening of industrial music. And the Friday line-up was a pretty heavy duty one, too – including the two British acts on the bill. Read more “Festival Kinetik v4.0 – Phase 02: Friday – Montreal – 20-May 2011”
There were points over the weekend that perhaps, just maybe, I was thinking just how completely insane it was to fly a 6800 mile round-trip just to come to an industrial festival. And then there would be another moment that made it crystal clear that it was definitely the right thing to do. So, below and on subsequent page(s) is my take on Festival Kinetik 4.0 – and I saw at least something by every single band playing. I didn’t get photos of every band, but I tried to get at least something for most of them. Click on any of the photos for the full set. Read more “Festival Kinetik v4.0 – Phase 01: Thursday – Montreal – 19-May 2011”
At Nuis@nce a week or so ago – a night of otherwise pleasant throwbacks to a now long-gone indie-rock heyday – we were also reminded of the godawful side of Britpop. That of the lad-rock band. You know the kind. Boorish, bellowing and lumpen indie rock with vapid songs, and sometimes equally vapid fans. Watching a number of people last week in cagoules, going mental to Oasis with their beers thrust into the air, brought all those memories of the shit side of Britpop back. Read more “Tuesday Ten: 130: Bands We Can Blame Oasis For”
I first came across And So I Watch You From Afar at Damnation a couple of years ago – and even for the handful of songs played, I was one of a good number of people suitably blown away by this young and energetic band. Read more “And So I Watch You From Afar – Live at The Scala – 03-May 2011”
May already? Time for my usual roundup of ten great tracks you should hear from the past month.
Track of the Month
Benji Webbe has been around on the metal scene now for a good many years. First as the vocalist of ragga/(heavy) metallers Dub War, and then latterly as Skindred, and it always seemed that despite a lot of good press, and a whole number of good songs, it always seemed that his bands were always destined to be a niche thing. 2011 appears finally to have changed this, what with a seriously high-profile support slot on Rob Zombie’s first UK tour in twelve years, and now a new album that appears to have a fair amount of clout behind it – and more importantly, a cracking lead single. Easily the highlight of that support slot – it’s even better as a single, remarkably – this anthemic track kinda sounds nu-metal-ish, but with the crucial difference that this sounds like no-one other than Skindred, and has an absolute monster of a chorus that should see Skindred hit the metal big league at least. And about fucking time, too.
Beneath The Ashes
I’ve got a full review in the works for this album, but at the moment I’m struggling somewhat to come up with the words to explain just how utterly brilliant it is. So in the meantime, here is a mention of at least one of the tracks to give you an idea. So anyway, it’s been six years since the release of their previous album Only Human Remains, and while that was good, this is on another level entirely. Yes, it’s a band in the electronic/industrial realm, but what they are doing includes acoustic elements, glitchy breakdowns, some quite astonishing arrangements and glorious melody after glorious melody – and seems almost to be a logical progression from the ideas Flesh Field were doing a few years back, but with more style, variety and better tunes. This track features all of these elements, and more, and is only one track from twelve of what is a contender for my album of the year already.
The Tide of Ambition
For Cause and Consequence EP
The first new recorded output from this much-loved Nottingham band in ten years, and the waiting has not been in vain. The wierd thing is that their return is pretty much picking up from where they left off, without any real leaps into the unknown, and this is exactly what I – and no doubt many other fans – am happy with. After all, they never really sounded like anyone else in the first place, and just hearing more of their dry-sounding, unexpectedly anthemic metal is absolutely fine. Interestingly this track is not the one debuted last year at Damnation, as I recall, and more than anything, it’s also of note that this isn’t half as cryptic and difficult to get into as before, either. The newly returned band appear relaxed and confident, as they did live – and you know what? Welcome back, guys.
Let’s stick with the comebacks, as there are a few this month to note. The Gothminister is back for a fourth album, and lets be honest – not a lot has changed. It’s still oh-so-slightly overblown goth metal, but other than the opener Stonehenge (no, not a cover), the humour that was occasionally present has vanished. Still, it has it’s moments, and in particular this one – which is up with Gothminister’s finest moments. So it’s the bits you’d expect – a bombastic intro, and a brute of a chorus with some cracking electronically-enhanced rhythms and that trademark riffwork. I can’t help thinking, though, that this trick won’t stretch to a fifth album…
The Devil’s in my Details
All Beauty Destroyed
I made the last AP album A Violent Emotion my album of the year for 2008, and with good reason – it was plainly and simply a brilliant electronic/industrial album that was unafraid to play in poppier realms when needed. And Daniel Graves is back with more of the groovy electro-industrial poppiness, and he’s changed his vocals again – this time more of a gruff roar. If this is the new style he is going to use, it might take some getting used to, but the track itself is really quite fabulous, and suggests that he is ready to take a further step forward with the new album. Not quite sure why the rather great The Bitter Years has been banished to a rare B-side, though.
Also back after a bit of a break are Imperative Reaction, and it’s with a thumping new single. One thing is for sure – if you didn’t like IR before, this isn’t going to change your mind. IR hit a club-bound, clean sound about four albums back and haven’t let go of it yet, other than to polish and refine it somewhat with each release. And this first taster of a new album continues this – and I have to say that I wasn’t expecting the gang vocals for the chorus. They work well, though. It’s a new trick that elevates this track beyond what would otherwise be “oh, it’s a new IR track” to “oh, wow, this is good”.
Sick Sick Sick
Beating Dead Horses
I’ve gone on record noting previously that the last 16Volt album American Porn Songs was, to me, their weakest album to date – and one hell of a letdown after the monster that was the comeback album FullBlackHabit. Having listened to the new album (a promo, I might add) a few times now, this one is definitely better – less ballads, and a return to a more electronic-based production that adds so much more depth to the sound. Pick of the album, though, is this crunching, roaring track that is based around a mightily chunky rhythm. Again, another album that will see a full review in due course.
Nine Types Of Light
I was rather late to the party here, and not for the first time I’m wondering why I missed them previously. Anyway, this new album is as much of a joy as their previous one(s) to listen to. And it’s heralded by this quite fantastic opener – somehow a merging of post-punk and space-funk that doesn’t sound stupid or contrived, instead sounding entirely natural. Not to mention utterly joyous as the chorus kicks in. Sometimes bands are consumed by hype – anyone that can explain what is so great about the Vaccines, by the way, please get in touch, to me they just sound yet another indie band being overhyped by a desperate music industry – and in other cases, like with this lot, they transcend it because they are so obviously brilliant and different.
I have absolutely no plans to see the film this comes from (the rather mauled Red Riding Hood), but god this track is good. The first new track (as opposed to a cover) from Fever Ray for a while, this is another slice of creepy, twisted electro. Complete with a stalking rhythm, and what sound to be imitated wolf-howls. How does Karin Dreijer Andersson do it? She’s not released a single bad song yet.
Fight the Power (feat. Chuck D)
Homefront: Resistance OST
Watch on YouTube
Finally, a cover that actually has some bite. DEP teaming up with Chuck D? Fuck yeah! DEP rip the original beats up and bring a whole new sound to this legendary Public Enemy anthem, turning it into a hardcore punk thrashabout, but crucially not doing a lot with the vocals, including bringing Chuck D in to help and leaving the chorus well alone. I’d normally say that bands should leave songs of this stature well alone, but DEP have more than done this justice.