A new month, so a new ten tracks of things that I’m enjoying at the moment. To be honest, we seem to be in a bit of a lull at the moment, after the flurry of releases recently (Seabound, God Module, Laibach, seeming and Aesthetic Perfection will all be reviewed separately soon, by the way – all are “in the works”), so I didn’t perhaps have as much to put into this list as I might have liked. But there is some interesting stuff here, that’s for sure.
Anyway, here we go with the ten:
Track of the Month
Robots Don’t Lie
Ok, so it looks like it could be a little while before we get another Mind.In.A.Box album, but the Stefan’s side-project THYX is once again doing nicely in the meantime. It’s not a million miles removed from the “parent” band, really – lush, multi-layered electronic music, complete with the trademark treated vocals, but without the potential constraints of the story-based themes of MIAB, it seems as if he is able to branch out somewhat. But either way, if you like MIAB, you will love this.
A thumping, thundering industrial track, from something of an underappreciated band. They call it Bodywave, and the cold, harsh intensity of this track suits the description well – with one foot in EBM, that’s for sure, but the other is firmly planted in old-school industrial, with the jackhammer beats dominating the track and daring you to dance. There is a cracking chorus here too, but frankly this is all about those beats.
This album – a collection of the first two EPs and another few new songs, and something that feels like it has been in the works for an awfully long time – is pretty much worth it alone for this glorious song (which was tucked away on the second EP and I must have missed it before). Chino Moreno croons over tense electro-funk, complete with a soaring chorus. Who knew that could be a thing, never mind something so brilliant? Still, if you are a fan of Chino’s more introspective moments, this album gives room for more of that than you could ever possibly hope for.
The Power and The Glory
…and lurch this does, with a filthy, distorted beat that (deliberately) stumbles and clatters it’s way through the track. It’s a small part of a fascinating album, actually, one that takes a step away from foot-to-the-floor techno and explores other electronic realms, some of them very dark indeed (in fact nearing pitch-dark ambient at points). But when it kicks, fucking hell it kicks very hard (just check the storming Take Your Body Off), and at other points, it descends into scratchy, harsh noise with barely a beat in sight.
It’s been a long, long time, but Mayhem are back again, sounding as deliciously uncompromising as ever, but thankfully having kept the better production of recent releases. No lengthy, atmospheric intros, we’re hurled straight into blastbeats and riffs, and for over three minutes, that’s pretty much where it remains. It also should be noted that vocalist Attila Csihar sounds on awesome form, too – although hopefully the rest of the album with have a little more variation, perhaps – as good as this is, at this pace it would be rather wearing over the course of an album. It is also worth noting, as their label Season of Mist point out, that Mayhem mark their thirtieth anniversary in 2014. For a band with a history as littered with controversy and disaster as theirs, that is one hell of a feat.
Do To The Beast
I can’t say that I ever expected The ‘Whigs to reform for gigs, never mind record new material, but now they’ve done both. The gig I saw was awesome, two hours of digging into the past and also some intriguing contemporary covers, which perhaps were more of a pointer toward the band’s thinking that we thought at the time. As this is a languid, sun-kissed song that perhaps even borders on alt-country in it’s soft-focus feel, but I still can’t help but wonder if this is going to be a red herring or a real notice of what the rest of the album will sound like. Only a month or so to wait.
The Crystal Method
Talking of long careers, I was rather surprised to see a new Crystal Method album drop last month (their first for five years), and also to realise that here is another band who’ve been around for about twenty years. This album sees them – after some experimentation in the meantime – back to what they do best – heavy, anthemic dance music with a rock edge. Yes, they are still rocking the Big Beat, and you know what? It sounds fantastic, and I only wish there were more artists who wanted to reach outside the 4/4 and throw down something that little bit more interesting.
Blimey, Douglas McCarthy is keeping himself busy at the moment. Not content with recent NE material, he’s had a solo album of late and now this, which is rather more of a departure than his solo work was. Glitchy, analog-sounding electronics dominate, with McCarthy’s voice soaring where needed but also – and unusually – brooding in the background where needed. Perhaps unsurprisingly the remainder of the EP follows in a similar vein, but it’s certainly worth picking up.
Well, it’s a hell of a journey from Dollshead (this, where I first heard her) and guesting with Cold on their spiteful Suffocate, to her new material, her new album produced by none other than Billy Corgan. The thing is? I much prefer the rather more low-key EP that was released a few years back, where more than anything she channels a slightly less caustic Fiona Apple, with sparse, taut arrangements allowing her strong voice to shine through.
Oddly enough, as I approach Tuesday Ten 200 in a couple of weeks – I first covered Freddy’s work in one of the very first Tuesday Tens (009), under his then – and much noiser – Dyspraxia moniker. His Needle Factory work has taken things in rather different realms, with some pretty vocal-led electronics, some dancier material, and then glitchy stuff like this, with beats and rhythms flashing past like they are being hurled out of a box. Nothing quite makes any sense, it occasionally stops for breath, and it’s really quite thrilling.