But Listen: 153: Ghost Twin – Plastic Heart

I swear that as a reviewer, things are getting harder to define.

What do I mean? The crossing of genres, the meshing of styles, is becoming so common as to make established genre descriptions almost defunct, and this is making the job of those of us that still write about music very much more difficult. Read more “But Listen: 153: Ghost Twin – Plastic Heart”

Into the Pit: 197: Summer Nights in Small Venues

For many, gigs in the heat of summer evenings are a tough sell, particularly in small venues (outdoor, festival shows of course are a different matter entirely). However, the summer is paradoxically a busy time for indoor shows, and two came up this week on consecutive evenings, and they were very different. Read more “Into the Pit: 197: Summer Nights in Small Venues”

But Listen: 152: 3TEETH – <shutdown.exe>

The cliché of the second album. It gets raised every single time, by just about everyone, but is it really a thing? I guess it depends on what happens with your first. If your first album isn’t great, though, will you have a chance to make a second? This second album expectation only really comes in after a first album that is either brilliant or simply shows promise. Can the artist build on what they’ve already done, or will they be a one-trick pony, forever destined to be remembered for the first and that’s it? Read more “But Listen: 152: 3TEETH – <shutdown.exe>”

Into the Pit: 196: Skinny Puppy: O2 Forum Kentish Town, NW5: 30-May 2017

The announcement of a European Skinny Puppy tour earlier in the year (“Down the Sociopath Too Euro 2017“) was, I have to say, a bit of a surprise. It has been seven years since their last UK appearances at least, and in the meantime they’ve released the excellent Weapon – but that was four years ago – and only last year cEvin Key was recovering from cancer surgery. Read more “Into the Pit: 196: Skinny Puppy: O2 Forum Kentish Town, NW5: 30-May 2017”

The Rearview Mirror: 009: Cubanate – Brutalism

I can’t remember whatsoever when I first heard Cubanate. It was in my early teens, and was either Body Burn or Oxyacetalene first. And then lots more Oxyacetalene, as it was everywhere for a time. I do remember picking up the single for Joy in the rather awesome Badlands record shop in Huddersfield, though. You know, back when every reasonable-sized town had at least one great record shop, maybe even two. For a while Huddersfield didn’t even have an HMV (it’s re-opened since, in a smaller unit). Read more “The Rearview Mirror: 009: Cubanate – Brutalism”

Into the Pit: 194: Sunn O))) – Barbican, London – 21-March 2017

I rather wondered, after the first time I saw Sunn O))) live, whether I could physically stand going a second time. It wasn’t that I didn’t enjoy it, it was just that the after-effects were like nothing I’d ever experienced after a gig. Read more “Into the Pit: 194: Sunn O))) – Barbican, London – 21-March 2017”

But Listen: 149: God In A Cone – The Sex Is Fear / Ambassador21 – Human Rage

Over the years I’ve had a whole host of releases sent to me for review. Time is often a factor in whether I can cover releases in any detail – please bear in mind that I run this site alone, funded solely by my own income, and I have a full time job. Read more “But Listen: 149: God In A Cone – The Sex Is Fear / Ambassador21 – Human Rage”

The Rearview Mirror: 008: Converter – Shock Front

Over the last year or two of the nineties, and then a good few years into the new millenium, the hybrid of industrial and noise took over the club dancefloor in our scene. It was everywhere. Noise clubs sprung up, existing clubs had noise sets or entire noise floors. Even Huddersfield had a noise night (Implant) for a while, that eventually moved onto Manchester and bigger things, as the main industrial festivals frequently put on acts from the scene. Read more “The Rearview Mirror: 008: Converter – Shock Front”

But Listen: 148: Covenant – The Blinding Dark

Covenant are perhaps in a strange position nowadays. Their days at the peak of the Futurepop “movement” – where they were one of the titans of the scene, something made by United States of Mind, and then rammed home by the skyscraping brilliance of Northern Light – are now well over a decade in the past, and in the following years have released a number of albums…none of which have quite measured up. Read more “But Listen: 148: Covenant – The Blinding Dark”

Memory of a Festival: 027: Cold Waves V

For the third year running – although it was a bit touch-and-go this year with the wedding and everything else, and my wife chose not to come along this time – the last weekend of September meant a trip 3,960 miles to the west of London. To the city of Chicago, to catch up with friends from far and wide, to enjoy a cool city…and attend Cold Waves, a festival of industrial music that commemorates, and celebrates, the life and loss of Jamie Duffy. It also raises a ton of money for good causes, and is generally a hell of a good time that has become a fixture in the calendar for many of us, no matter how far we have to travel. Read more “Memory of a Festival: 027: Cold Waves V”

Memory of a Festival: 026: Infest 2016

Over the weekend of this year’s Infest, there was some discussion over the current state of the industrial (and wider) scene. In many other scenes – or indeed in “mainstream” popular music, there is an air of nostalgia as record labels struggling with new sales, are relying heavily on reissues of the old, particularly on vinyl. Read more “Memory of a Festival: 026: Infest 2016”

Into the Pit: 193: Ruby – Live at Servant Jazz Quarters: London N16

Lesley Rankine’s career in music now spans a few decades, and more than a few styles. She first came to prominence in the vicious, no-wave influenced punkish-rock of Silverfish, a fixture of the Camden scene in the early 90s and unusual in their strident politics and just how confrontational they were. The band toured with Pigface, which drew Rankine into that loose collective, resulting in a couple of Pigface’s most memorable moments (in particular, the rampaging Silverfish track Big Bad Baby Pig Squeal became the iconic Hips, Tits, Lips, Power!).
Read more “Into the Pit: 193: Ruby – Live at Servant Jazz Quarters: London N16”

But Listen: 147: Youth Code – Commitment to Complications

A couple of years ago we were discussing the very evident trend of the time – that a new paradigm in industrial music seemed to be beginning. After some years of dominance of 4/4 rhythms, the same synth presets and a tiresome tirade of macho-bullshit lyrics and posturing, the tide suddenly shifted towards a disparate batch of bands taking influences from “classic” industrial and finding ways of fitting them together with other styles.
Read more “But Listen: 147: Youth Code – Commitment to Complications”

Into the Pit: 192: Laibach – Live at The Forum Kentish Town – 12-April 2016

I’m struggling to think of a single band in “our thing” that has had as much mainstream coverage – as in appearing in the news, not just in the music press – as Laibach did last year when their show in North Korea was announced.
Read more “Into the Pit: 192: Laibach – Live at The Forum Kentish Town – 12-April 2016”

Into the Pit: 191: The Black Queen – Live at Oslo Hackney – 05-February 2016

This was one of those gigs that I took a while to make a call on. The Black Queen is a new side-project very, very different from the “parent” band (Greg Puciato, the vocalist of The Dillinger Escape Plan has formed this with Joshua Eustis, a former touring member of Nine Inch Nails and Puscifer, and Steven Alexander, a tech of DEP among others), their newly released album Fever Daydream took a couple of listens to get hooks into my brain and I finally decided to get a ticket the morning of the show.
Read more “Into the Pit: 191: The Black Queen – Live at Oslo Hackney – 05-February 2016”

Into the Pit: 190: Massive Attack – Live at Brixton Academy – 03-February 2016

It is easy to forget, but Massive Attack are now very much veterans in the electronic music world. Formed as far back as 1988, they released one of the most perfect debut albums ever (Blue Lines), helped define “trip-hop” in the mid-90s (whether they wanted to or not), and then went a whole lot darker and heavier with the multi-million selling Mezzanine, before splintering somewhat over the following decade.
Read more “Into the Pit: 190: Massive Attack – Live at Brixton Academy – 03-February 2016”