Here are ten more songs and artists you should hear about, that have been rocking my world over the past month.
Track of the Month
Alter der Ruine
I Am Drugs
There’s Always One More Son Of A Bitch
It might be the last ADR album, but they are ensuring they go out with one hell of a bang. This album completes their transformation over the course of five albums from (just another) power-noise merchant to a wildly inventive electro-industrial band entirely unafraid to try anything if it sounds good. And here, frankly, it is all good. But this track, as I thought when I first heard it last year, is the simply fucking glorious highlight of this last release. A down-and-dirty groove is unexpectedly, suddenly, subsumed by a melodic chorus that is just awesome. Being the final track on the album seems pretty apt – a way of showing just what a brilliant group we’ve now lost.
God I Love You
Give Me Walls
Yes, I know this track is old now, and yes, I know they have a new single out (…And The Darkness Bangs, but seeing as this song has been stuck in my head for a couple of weeks, since I saw the band live and picked up the CD…this was oh-so-nearly track of the month. Searing, electronic-infused post-punk, made truly essential by the vocalist Maya’s scorching delivery and presence. This is the opening track to their debut album, a brazen, sexually upfront song that gets right up in your face, grabs your neck and won’t let go…and even suggests a little chink of weakness as it closes.
Want It Back
Theatre Is Evil
Released out to those of us that were Kickstarter funders a week or so back, this. So let me try and describe the joy coming your way if you’ve not heard it yet. In short: fuck me, AFP goes synthpop, and bats it out of the park. Seriously. This was played last September at Heaven, and then again the other week, and is currently getting better by the listen. Never has AFP so obviously played to the world beyond her devoted fans, and it would be frankly astonishing if this doesn’t break her through to the megastardom that must surely be beckoning, right? Full of hooks, cheesy synths and yet more hooks, I could suggest it was calculated if it simply wasn’t so sodding good. And going on the rest of the new material heard so far, the new album should be something else, even if it appears to be a step away from her roots a bit.
Plastic Makes Perfect
Still with female singers, but in a very different genre: Ayria is back at long last, with the first glimpse of long-promised album Plastic Makes Perfect. And it is, pretty much, what we expect from Jennifer Parkin – bouncy, good-natured electro with a darker edge, and the production work of Seb Komor seems to give it that bit…more. Rather oddly, the spoken outro reminds me of NIN’s Suck…
The Writing On The Wall
(The Death Of) Six By Seven
(no longer available)
The bleak, taut tension of Six By Seven perhaps never really was going to last, and as the band disintegrated, reformed and fell apart again, I was sadly proven correct. I only saw them live the once (an astonishingly furious performance in Leeds, back in 2002 sometime), so I was rather surprised to see this band crop up of late. It turns out to be vocalist Chris Olley’s latest material, which is very much in the style of his older band, but rather more mellowed out, as if the rage has been burned out of the system. The taut, restrained anger is still there, but rather than being unleashed in vocals, it is defined by the stalking rhythms, that always sound like they are about to explode but never quite do. This track is the ultimate example of this, stretching out the tension over six long, desperate minutes. The new group play the Hope & Anchor on 13-June.
Persona Non Grata
A few years after their best album yet (Breedless), this new EP arrived in my inbox last week, and the signs are positive for this band. The template hasn’t really changed – female-fronted darkwave – but what continually seems to improve is the songwriting and crucially, the production. Here it sounds lush, deep and the beats have a real power. Talking of power, Donna Lynch’s fantasic vocals really reach new heights on this track, soaring as the track does. How are this band not better known, particularly this side of the pond?
After some years of releasing extraordinarily extreme albums, Greyhound have in my opinion finally got the balance right on their new release. Yes, it is brutal beyond words at points, but they have remembered here to actually elements that make you want to keep listening, you know, like rhythm and some really quite cool effects. And for the first time in a while, this track is one that might just work on a (admittedly very open-minded!) dancefloor, if they can deal with layer upon layer of drum rhythms appearing in quick succession, and being just as quickly consumed by a storm of pure noise.
Talking of noise, this was another promo to drop into my inbox recently, and while it has taken a bit longer to get around to listening to, it has proven to be another impressive release from the Signifier. And more importantly, is another sign that harsh, jagged industrial noise is still being made, and is still being aimed like a torpedo at dancefloors. Like Greyhound, this is harsh stuff, but accessible enough to have a danceable rhythm while it is drilling into your eardrums. Needless to say, I recommend this wholeheartedly, and if I have time, I’ll be reviewing the album in full at some point soon.
Dead End Kings
It has been a while, but the Swedish masters of despairing, melodic doom metal are back, and apparently in fine form, judging on this quite wonderful first single. It has everything I love about the band – solid, hard-edged riffage, more reflective moments, and Jonas Renkse’s devastating vocals, the aching delivery of which simply drip with regret and bitterness. Yes, it is business as usual, but when business is this good…
Presence of God
The Light The Dead See
Speaking of bitterness and regret, this meeting of minds is perhaps a little unexpected, and quite brilliant. For a man who has actually experienced death, by all accounts, and endured quite a bit more than the rest of us ever will, the confessional nature of his contribution to this album is utterly enthralling. There is darkness, there is redemption, and at points more than a bit of Cash, amongst others, but Gahan’s rich voice is still as great as ever and truly dominates these songs – most of them wisely are left quite sparse, as in this one, easily the highlight of the whole album. Accompanied by just an acoustic guitar and strings, I’m struggling to think of a vocal as heartfelt as this in recent years.