Autumn is inching into view? At least it feels like from the weather, anyway. And as we move into September, the end of the summer (and the end of quieter trains into work, too), here are this month’s tracks of the month.
Tuesday Ten: 307: Tracks of the Month (August 2017)
2017 in Review
I’ve actually had to reshuffle my posting schedule a bit this past week (and for the next few). There are quite a number of posts in the works, the challenge right now is completing them all in good time to be able to post them as planned. At least two have already been shuffled back to allow them to be reworked and completed, so expect the posts as they arrive, as my original plans have already been thrown out of the window!
That said, please do keep me informed of new releases that I might be interested in. I by no means see or hear about them all, so nudge me, send me a message in whichever way you wish to reach me, I’d like to hear about it.
Posted over the weekend, too, was The Rearview Mirror: 010, where I look at the newly-released Curve re-issues.
Track of the Month
It’s felt like an eternity since Fearless blew our minds, but finally, we’re nearly at the point of LEGEND following it up. Seriously – entire scenes and movements within industrial seem to have come and gone in the time between the two releases, but maybe, just maybe, with the release of Captive, things are going to be ok.
An ominous beat opens things, with element by element gradually joining in subsequently, that eventually explodes into a soaring, emotive song that is frankly jaw-dropping in execution. Krummi’s vocals have never sounded better (and had a wider range), and the addition of guitars in the sound just gives everything that much more heft without detracting from what the band have done before. Their best song yet? Absolutely. God knows what else the album has in store for us – only five weeks left to wait.
Not the first long-promised album this week, but over the last month Comaduster’s much-anticipated second album was finally (self-)released, and the results are frankly staggering. It is an album of great depth and beauty (Réal Cardinal, if he isn’t already, can now be noted in the same breath as Hecq for his exquisite skill with sonic artistry), but never once forgets that all the design in the world counts for nothing if he doesn’t have the songs. And here’s the curious thing – an album with a pretty-damned-complex-looking sci-fi concept running through it (seriously, even the PDF of lyrics and explanations is a work of art and essential if you want to know what is going on), does not live and die on just the concept. Even ignoring that, these are great songs, and as they bleed into each other, the elegance and complexity (and length, interestingly) expands like a fractal pattern as you proceed deeper into the album.
What’s even more amazing is how unique it sounds. Yeah, so there are elements of other stylings in here, but Réal Cardinal’s utter brilliance in sculpting his sound is that nothing dominates or detracts from the songs, something that makes Emergent One one of the immediate standouts. One of a couple of contenders, this year, that are going to make picking album of the year exceptionally hard.
Undoing a Luciferian Towers
There is something genuinely moving about the fact that GY!BE still exist, never mind their majesterial, massive sound. After a near-decade break from recording after the millenium, they effortlessly picked up where they left off in 2012 with ‘Allelujah! Don’t Bend! Ascend!, which contained the titanic Mladic (one of their best tracks full stop). They are back in a few weeks time with their third album since their re-activation, and judging on this first song, perhaps things are a little more restrained. This builds slowly, like a fire flickering into life as the drones coalesce into something more substantial, and like a fire, it begins to feed itself as it gathers pace and power, then surprisingly ending before the eight minute mark, a relative pop-song length for this most epic of bands. They play live the night I return home from Whitby, and of course I’ll be there.
Hope Tragedy Myths
After a bit of an absence, one of the north’s most interesting industrial acts return with a three-track EP that is perhaps even more furiously political than before. Pick of the EP is the monstrous opening track Society, with a thumping electro-industrial groove and synth hooks bolstered by snippets of samples offering suggestions on what an “ideal” idea of society might be, and there is, I suspect, a sneering, satirical edge at work here as local and political ideas on what society have diverged enormously in recent decades.
Elsewhere on the EP, there is a feeling of R&M’s techno background nudging into the sound, certainly on Apply Yourself, while The Light has another slamming rhythm that would work well on dancefloors, that’s for sure. It is obvious, too, that a lot has been learned and applied from their sporadic live shows, and remixes of and by other artists in the period since the exceptional $OCIAL £UTURES €P, but the recognisable heart of the band brilliantly remains.
Dot in the Sky
OK, OK, I got this one wrong. When I saw Drab Majesty supporting The Black Queen about eighteen months ago (Into the Pit: 191), I was rather non-plussed with the near-mime performance art and Cure-aping sound, and so I held off a bit on picking this up. I’m glad I eventually did. The new album still has a Cure influence (are we sure Simon Gallup hasn’t done the basslines here (just kidding)?), but more importantly, it has some quite glorious songs. Dot In The Sky is the startling standout – a massive, soaring chorus and a feeling of wide-open space that simply demands this to be played on big stages, with a wind machine blowing. The is Drab Majesty aiming for the stars.
Out of Sight
Much of the attention recently has been on Dean Garcia’s historical work – with two of Curve’s pivotal albums re-released last week, see also The Rearview Mirror: 010 – but he’s returned with a new SPC-ECO album around the same time, and fuck me if the opening track on it doesn’t sound like Toni Halliday is doing the vocals. That, and the bass-heavy, industrial-shoegazey drone of the musical backing sounds an awful lot like Curve, too. This is no bad thing, mind. (The vocals are actually Dean’s daughter Rose Berlin, as usual)
Another band I’ve been tracking for a while are this Australian/American outfit, a duo whose members have histories elsewhere but seem to have rather wiped the slate clean for this new project. This is sleek, smart electro-industrial with an exceptional production style and a distinct feeling of a lean approach where nothing extraneous has been left. Like much of the industrial world right now, this is another act keeping one eye on the past, as they forge ahead into the future. One to watch.
Berlin // Crater V2
Since I picked this up at the end of last week, I’ve only had the one chance thus far to listen to it, but Android Lust releases are always worth hearing and digging into. This one is, apparently, an album borne of time spent in Berlin, the idea being to get under the skin of the city and experience. Having been to Berlin a few times myself, it’s an enthralling, chaotic city, one that still seems to be adjusted to the status of capital again, and a city that is in a near-constant state of renewal. The music here is less songs, more fully formed sketches that take in – if I’m not mistaken – the sounds of the city around her just as much as they take influences from the rich musical tapestry of Berlin. The most immediate song so far is the restless, scratchy Crawl, that actually drags me back to the similarly experimental, well-travelled sounds of Ruby.
Spinning In The Grave
Another welcome return – aside from one 7″, it’s been nearly four years since Tolerance & Dependency – is that of now-Australian based Concrete Lung. In their time as an active band, they’ve looked at both sides of the industrial/extreme-doom metal divide, and this new song (the first from a forthcoming album) suggests that they have found the balance between the two sides again. This grinds and snarls along similar lines to earlier Godflesh, with a similiarly blurry production (that only accentuates the nasty, heavy sound on show), and it is hard not to mosh along in slow motion.
Rebellion Ruin Redemption
American industrialists UCNX return with their latest album this autumn, and there feels to be a harder-edged, tougher sound going on with this first new track from it. The beat kicks hard, and the morass of synths only make the edges sharper along with the vocals that are just plain aggressive. Intriguingly, David Collings (of The Fourth Man and Numb) has been involved with at least one track on the album, and the sound of this track is very much indebted to the scorched-earth electro-industrial of Numb. Seeing as the chances of Numb ever returning are zero, this is no bad thing.