A new month, a new roundup of new and not-so-new tracks I think you should hear.
Track of the Month
Breathe In The Monochrome
Waste of Flesh EP
Heavy, old-school industrial by way of Godflesh and old, old Pitchshifter, with lashings of grimy, direct EBM, eighties-style. Picking a track from the EP is pretty difficult, seeing as it’s all ace, but I’ve plumped for the opening track, which is like a slug in the gut as it grinds out it’s relentless rhythms and the vocals are distorted enough to lose any form of humanity. Nice to see the old industrial flame being kept alive. Note to self: take earplugs when seeing them live, as I suspect they will be very, very loud indeed.
Piss and Vinegar
…And You Will Know Me By The Trail Of Vomit
…where Matt Fanale fully embraces his punk side, and makes a short-and-sharp electro-punk track that simply screams that he’s doing things his way, and he really couldn’t give a shit what you think of him. The whole album is a little more of what his Caustic project has done so well for a while now, and is proving to be a bugger to review, too (the review will follow soon, honest!).
Someone’s been listening to Psyclon Nine, that’s for sure. PN were for me one of the few bands who realised that so-called “harsh industrial” was rather limited in scope, and so moved into incorporating other genres and styles and resulted in a couple of albums that were far more impressive than their peers attempts at being “evil”. The bruising, storming beats and synth lines that stab through this track – the lead track on the EP – certainly bring to mind PN, and vocally they aren’t far off either (if the band are unhappy with the comparison, by the way, I’m afraid that are going to have to get used to it!). Not that this is too much of a bad thing, when it’s done with this much viciousness, but it’s also a good thing that they have some cracking tunes that follow it on the EP that are a little more experimental, and make me think that a full-length album can’t come soon enough.
Head On Collision
(no longer available)
It’s nice to finally hear a full album from these guys, as when I first came across them (playing live in the basement room of The Nelson in Sheffield, of all places, as I recall) they were an act with some impressive potential, but had seemingly grown disinterested in the noise scene. This album is conclusive proof that they haven’t, and instead have gone even more extreme than I recall previous output being. Pick of the bunch so far for me is this track, which balances out a calm, voice-sampled intro with a brutal, distorted rhythm that actually allows the odd moment of breathing space – but in the main is punching you in the head repeatedly. Just the way we like it.
Uberbyte continue their impressive evolution in sound, and with one of the first tracks to break cover from their imminent new album EXS, they appear to be cleaning up on the dancefloor already. I’ve been pretty critical of the takeover of industrial dancefloors by so-called “hard dance” music, but this track just about stays on the right side of the line to create a memorable dancefloor track. I’ll save my full rant for “hard dance” for another day! Also, the sample is really bugging the shit out of me, but I have a feeling it’s from a Chris Morris show (quite possibly the “Drugs” episode of Brasseye. Maybe it means I should watch it again just to be sure).
Clearly, going on the samples, this is about some event concerning man-made environmental catastrophe…and then you look at the lyrics in the booklet, and it’s seemingly about the former Soviet Union nuclear test site at Semipalatinsk in Kazakhstan, or more to the point the after-effects on the population. As for the song? The howl from Alex P. that heralds the music is impressive enough, and the pounding electro-industrial that comprises this track is good, too, and with my DJ hat on should be great for the dancefloor. In general, too, this album is vastly better than the last one (Borderline), with more of a variety to the sonic attack, a few more memorable tracks and intriguingly a removal of distortion from a lot of the vocals – and his voice sounds better for it, too.
They are back, after a few years of silence, and they are reaching back into their history a little with this first sign of new material. It starts slowly, and in a sparse fashion, with only Paul Banks’ voice and a guitar for company for the first two minutes or so, before building into a shadowy, post-punk epic that suggests a return to the form of old at last. We are promised, apparently, a drip-feed of new material in the same fashion as this in the coming months. Personally I’d rather have the full album in one go, but my preference for actually purchasing albums (and on CD, to boot, if I can) seems to be out of step with the times.
The Inconvenient (Imperative Reaction Remix)
Here’s To You EP
I wasn’t a huge fan of the last System Syn release, but if the new album is as great as the songcraft on this track, I should be perhaps going back for another look. Obviously the Imperative Reaction remix treatment doesn’t half make the music sound like an IR track, but it’s the vocals that are the killer here – they simply soar into a fantastic, poppy chorus. Another album to add to the shopping list, then…
Do You Swear To Tell The Truth The Whole Truth And Nothing But The Truth So Help Your Black Ass
The song that was released for free to “celebrate” her release from the Roadrunner Records contract, the first time I listened to it I wasn’t exactly enamoured with it – but then that might have been thanks to the fact that it’s been recorded rather too quietly. An airing of it at last week’s live gig, and hearing it at a better volume on my DJing headphones, has revealed the deliciously detailed lyrics and imagery that the song relies on. It’s also a bit of a shock hearing an AFP song without piano – she recorded it on a ukelele instead – but it still has the flow and warmth that all of her songs possess. What she does next – was the mention of a Radiohead covers EP last week a joke, or not? – will be interesting to watch, but musically I doubt that she’ll stand still.
For reasons I’m not exactly sure of, I’ve been listening to tracks from this marvellous album a lot again of late (it’s been a permanent fixture on my iPod for a couple of months). It’s kinda amusing, I guess, certainly to my dad, as I hated it when I was young. Anyway, it’s this song I keep going back to, the insane sea-shanty-esque opener to Rain Dogs where Tom Waits paints a picture of a nightmarish voyage (and crew!) that is way crazier than anything that might be portrayed elsewhere. But then, that’s Tom Waits for you I guess, telling the (tall) tales in song that barely anyone else ever has or will…