It’s been a busy few weeks, and while compiling the list this week I realised that I’ve been posting regularly for the first time in a while. There won’t be so much in March, mind – I’m away on holiday for a week shortly and other things are likely to get in the way too. But I’ll be posting when I can.
In the meantime, then, here are the ten tracks I’ve been itching to rave about to you lot for the past few days (and weeks, in some cases).
Track of the Month
Holy shit. Dense, spiralling electronics and thundering beats that, yes, bring to mind the mighty Skinny Puppy in their prime, but, like Youth Code, Cardinal Noire do that amazing trick of taking familiar sounds and bringing them back to us in a fresh new way. Basically, this is hyper-dense industrial electronics, with paranoid, searing vocals (not to mention a killer chorus) that absolutely slays from start to finish, and this rampaging track is the pick of an exceptionally strong album, that is over way too fast. (Of note, by the way – to my shame I missed a promo invitation for this, and only discovered it courtesy of my friends over at I Die: You Die…)
Peasantry or ‘Light! Inside of Light!
Asunder, Sweet And Other Distress
In true Godspeed style, announcement of their second album since their reconvening a few years back kinda just sneaked out, no ceremony, nothing. It’s out at the end of March, and is true to form – only four tracks, and the preview track is an “excerpt” that is, by the way, eight minutes long. God knows how long this track will actually be. By now, though, we should except this, and this is a glorious, languid piece of music, that ebbs and flows like the tides and has bursts of louder moments that hit like being jolted with the mains.
The Creep (feat. Jaymie Valentine)
A Sign of Life?
I might have long-since tired of cookie-cutter (or is that cookie-monster?) aggrotech – seriously, how is it still A Thing? – but as long as synthpop keeps throwing back bands like Neuroticfish I’m quite happy to keep listening. With his long-promised “comeback” album finally nearing a release date (27-March, by the way), Sascha Mario Klein first broke the Silence, but this is one step further. A mid-paced ballad, with a lovely guest vocal from Jaymie Valentine, it soars and sweeps gloriously with melodies other bands would kill for. At last, there really is A Sign of Life.
The first track to appear from their much-anticipated follow-up to Mind The Gap (Thalys was a single between albums, and doesn’t feature here), this lovely track helps to bridge the gap between the themes of the two albums. Their first, of course, was all about urban transport, while the second is about (broadly) the Bauhaus movement, with the lead single being this wonderfully chilled-out paean to the early giants of the skies, the Zeppelin airships. Like their namesakes, this song floats along on a rhythm that feels lighter than air, the vocals that weave in and out, and it is quite simply a blissed-out joy. Also, by the way – B-side (We Need) Machines Without Romance is exceptional and worth the purchase of the single alone.
Back to the realms of post-rock, if I may, and some way away from the bliss of Metroland – after their disappointing third album, ASIWYFA come roaring back with the first taste of their fourth. Crazy time signatures, complex guitar riffs, gang chants, this is utter mayhem and all the better for it.
The Metal East
Not often I discover a band new to me in the NME nowadays, but here’s one – probably not new at all to many of my friends, but this fad for noise-rock bands really is pulling up some gems from relative obscurity. This is pummelling, angry rock music distorted and twisted into ugly shapes, with in particular an amazing drum sound that appears to be the work of a very accomplished drummer indeed. Also of note is their spectacularly lo-fi website that still tells me all I need to know while doing as little as it can design-wise.
Jumping around a bit this month, and here I return to industrial-electro with one of the genre’s most intriguing acts in Mind.In.A.Box. The upcoming Memories is their sixth album – and their fifth in the linked series that tells the story of Black, in a quasi-cyberpunk world. But like all of their greatest moments, the backstory is not the be-all-and-end-all, and the songs can be enjoyed on their own as the emotional hits that they are. Judging on the teaser that has come since, Synchronise is the most-immediately club-bound track from the album, stripping away the often dense layers that MIAB tracks have to broadly leave a wistful rush of industrial-club energy that gets better with each listen.
Benjamin John Power is one half of Fuck Buttons, and his work there is kinda referenced here. I say kinda, in that there are clever samples and unusual melodies threading through, but the ultimate focus here is on a barnstorming, multi-layered and fucking huge sounding drum pattern that flirts with tribal sounds but has one real mission – to pound out a footprint in your skull.
Bang Bang Romance
Bang Bang Romance EP
A random message from one of the members of this band last week brought them to my attention. There are actually connection’s to last month’s star turn Ganser (Alicia and Nadia from Ganser provide backing vocals here), which perhaps helps to explain how they reached me. Anyway, this is a two-man band, who manage to rock very hard indeed without the assistance of guitars at all (there are, as they put it, “Bass + Drum – Guitar = All Rock”). This track, the lead from a new two-track single available soon, also doesn’t forget a killer chorus and I suspect we’ll be hearing more from these guys, and not just in Chicago, soon enough.
There will be more industrial this year, I promise, but right now the bigger guns are keeping their powder dry, and indeed I’m not seeing a great deal else keeping me interested either, but I’m sure that will change (there is the iVardensphere single and album to come, but I’m going to wait for the album before I post from that). In the meantime, another band to have got my ear pricked up recently are these guys, a band who appear to have approached post-punk with a broken bottle and an armful of jagged samples and electronics – but remembered to include a tune in there too. This track is the more immediate end of what might be a challenging album to some listeners.