Another tough month, balanced out by a number of good moments that all-in reduced the amount of time I had to write about music. I’ve consumed more than enough (and been sent a fair bit, too), mind, and the result was this weeks Tracks of the Month, where I actually had far more than ten songs I wanted to feature – but with only limited time to write, I’m sticking with ten.
The big event musically in “our thing” this coming week is of course Resistanz Festival, but I’ll be taking a break from it this year (the wedding of two friends down in London taking precedence, for a start) – I’m looking forward to hearing about the festival from those of you that do go. In the meantime, let’s start with a band who are playing there.
Track of the Month
Sell Your Face
After not too long a break, 3 TEETH return with a savage new track to herald their first visit to European shores (playing Resistanz this week, then other shows in Belgium and Germany in the next couple of weeks). Now, the album was good enough (here on amodelofcontrol.com, of course, it was album of year for 2014), but this is an interesting upping of the ante. The production for the most part is impossibly dense, a swirl of electronics and hammering rhythms boil around Lex’s seething vocal about the ever-encroaching world of social media, while the chorus is a slow-motion jackhammer that hammers at the brain for attention.
Forest of Lights
A sensational arrival out of left-field comes this EP, a lovely goth-tinged release that comes stacked with concepts that simply burst out of the five tracks here. Pick of the bunch for me is this track: a scratching, squalling guitar paints a neon glow over a brooding beat and Katrina’s spiteful, bitter vocals. But all five songs on the release are each fascinating in their own way, and I will be writing a full review once time allows.
Choose Your Enemy
Reading, Writing, Revolution
As we lurch toward an election where for those of us on the left, there are few positives to find, Thee Faction have timed their return well to remind us of the enemies within – and needless to say, there are many of them, within and without the political arena. The song itself is a surprisingly positive slice of Thee Faction’s trademark “Socialist R’n’B”, and is unusual for featuring “Babyface” on lead vocals rather than Billy Brentford.
Ok, so I don’t normally feature more than one song from an album nowadays (to leave space for other new music), but frankly this is so damned good I’m breaking the rules for this. Motherfucker was, you know, OK, FNM being as awkward as they always were, but this feels like The Real Thing, if you excuse the pun. Actually, this sounds like something off Angel Dust, to me, anthemic, ominous rock with Mike Patton delivering scattergun lyrics and croons like only he can, crunching riffs, galloping mid-sections, and a general feeling that the most inventive band of their age are back to remind us exactly what we missed over the years by taking us into their bizarre world once again.
Alternative Light Source
Another unexpected comeback from one of nineties electronics brightest lights, even if nowadays it is just Neil Barnes (with Paul Daley having chosen not to be involved in this latest incarnation). Twenty years on, Leftism has, whether they liked it or not, loomed over everything they do, and it isn’t hard to see the ghost of it here – with the glitchy synths echoing in and out of the beats and heavily treated vocals lurching in from the sidelines. But also, this isn’t just a hark backwards, it is an suitably epic return that never feels too long despite it’s seven-minute length.
When the Wolves Return
When the Wolves Return
Ego Likeness return with an elegant sweep of a ballad, steeped in gothic imagery and Donna Lynch’s plaintive vocals, the jagged guitars that have permeated much of their much work replaced with an orchestral swell that suits Donna’s vocals very well indeed. An impressive song (and video) that leaves me intrigued as to how the album (soon to come) will sound.
A Tale of Two Wolves
Scott Fox’s tribal-industrial project has gained considerable exposure in recent years, playing all over the place and bringing in different members to assist depending on where in the world they play – but it has been notable that in recent albums, a more stable line-up has coalesced and the result for me has been even better music. I still maintain that The Methuselah Tree is the act’s best album yet, but Fable comes damned close at points. My favourite track so far is A Tale of Two Wolves, where subtle tribal rhythms and bludgeoning industrial beats happily co-exist in an impressive balancing act. (The juxtaposition of two songs featuring wolves in the title was entirely accidental, by the way…)
The Compound Eye
Compound Eye Sessions
Marc Heal and Raymond Watts both return with their first material in some time, and the results are an impressive meeting of minds. There isn’t too much that surprises here, mind – Raymond Watts sounds like PIG, and Marc Heal’s contribution sounds like a advance onward from Cubanate – but that is no problem when both have been absent for song long. Pick of the songs here is the first of Heal’s, the bruising grooves of the title track that come complete with the most memorable chorus Heal has written in *years*. Also, the Rhys Fulber remix of it reminds me of this quote from my recent interview with Marc Heal:
“I got Rhys Fulber from FLA to do a mix. I said I was no longer young. My hair is greying. Squeezing into leather trousers is problematic. I said I wanted a mix to restore my credibility with goth girls. He’s promised me the whole shebang – goggles, hair extensions and glo-sticks. So we’ll see.”
He wasn’t wrong – this pulverising remix is certainly club-bound…
With This Ending
The end of 16Volt has brought…well, a more metal take on 16Volt, really, but no less good. An album is coming soon, but in the meantime we have this blistering track. Electronics take something of a back seat to the bass-led chugging rhythm, and this coupled with Eric Powell’s vocals somehow make me thing of the more metal-end of Nine Inch Nails output, but I can’t put my finger on which song. I was rather sad to see 16Volt go, really – it’s been a long-held regret that I never got the chance to see them live (I went to Kinetik one year too late for that, for a start) – but this is a promising reboot in a new form.
The Party of Shaitaan
Finally, back to London for some furious rock music, courtesy of the female twosome Deux Furieuses. Translating, I’d suspect, as “Furious Two”, this certainly ripples with anger, and reports are that this band is quite something live (as the folk in Blindness keep telling me, and I really must follow-up seeing a show soon) – with a sound that reminds me equally of riot grrrl and bands like Silverfish as much as it does of PJ Harvey. Either way, this is blistering stuff, and well worth hearing.