When Mark Lanegan supports as a band as much as Creature With The Atom Brain, you know they should be taken seriously. Wandering along the tightrope between indie and psych almost effortlessly, Hit The Sky is a leisurely drive among deserted plains with stabs of organ and a wailing lead guitar that can only put a smile on your face. Whilst there is an essence of Queens that can’t be washed off, this Belgian group have their own mesmerising song writing ability that sits more on the easy listening front than Josh Homme’s lust for success would ever dream of. As the first track of last year’s The Birds Fly Low, it serves as a wonderful introduction to this incredibly trippy but ultimately great band and one you hopefully won’t regret.
Bracknell’s Ghost In The Static have a obsession with writing soundtracks for the impending apocalypse, but if your soundtrack is a 80’s inspired, industrial heavy dystopia, then you sure as hell have a winning formula on your hands. Downer from Open Eyed Dreamer Part One is one of my absolute favourite songs from last year with its instantly catchy chorus, minimal analogue synths, guitar outbursts that keep the tension high throughout and words spoken with such aching and passion, it’s an inspiring listen.
Formed from the ashes of seminal cult goth band Jack Off Jill, Scarling is the masterwork of vocalist Jessicka Addams and guitarist Christian Henjal. City Noise blasts open with a sense of urgency, guitar noise literally pounding away at nerves before the calming yet incredibly unsettling vocals of Jessicka speak over the ensuing cacophony underneath. It’s less disturbing in content than Jack Off Jill, but not any less haunting or distressing at a push. The quiet and loud dynamic works a little too in places but again that’s what makes the tainted beauty of Scarling an interesting listen if it makes us emote, only for a moment and second album So Long Scarecrow, is absolutely full of those moments.
Try putting a random word in a music streaming platform like Spotify and see what results you get (guess what word I put in here?). Anyway, Hollywood’s All Hail The Yeti are an awe-inspiringly heavy hardcore outfit with a hint of modern sludge-peddling thrown in for good measure a la Mastodon. Suicide Woods, taken from the self-titled album, in the right environment is a chaotic incitement and floor-stomping destroyer that makes me proud to call it my throwdown track. Plus it has one of the most ridiculous but infectious breakdown chants I have ever heard. I think this version is a demo or EP version of this song as it is more raw in areas, but you still feel the intent and ferocity being hurled through your headphones.
Let it be said that there are just some bands you shouldn’t enjoy, and some you shouldn’t enjoy way too much. Leeds’ self-proclaimed Tesco value Prodigy Petrol Bastard fall into the second category as their style of shouting abuse, often with as many curse words as you can throw a witches’ spell book at, over shades of techno, gabba, drum ‘n’ bass and dubstep is as memorable as it is diabolical. But it is deliriously entertaining which is why I keep coming back to it and Warrior Face is one of my favourites off of the Dripping Gash LP, released late last year.
Also in contention for this week’s track of the week, Australia’s Sub Atari Knives are a electronic rock crossover group, still in their infancy but rapidly making waves for their sheer energy and their intriguing hybrid style. Their first single DTX (available for FREE from their Soundcloud) is not quite representative of their works on their EP released last year, but contains that same unbridled energy and awesome musicianship which they are gaining acclaim for. If there’s any kind of justice in the world, they will be huge a few years from now.
(For this week)
This week’s track was a very close run thing but I love the other contender’s works so it was hard to pick just one song. That of course made Kavinsky the only choice. European electronic music is quite possibly the best in the world and while I’m not particularly keen on some of the output, this homage to the 80’s is amazing. I quite simply could listen to this on repeat forever. It is so engrossing to get lost in the synth splashes that fly everywhere, it is true nigh-time driving music by every measure of the imagination. Whether as a soundtrack or dance music, hypnotic does not quite cover the effect this track has and the hype surrounding Kavinsky is more than justified on this track alone. Doing it better than the masters of French electro music, this will be no doubt playing for quite some time on any soundsystem I possess.
(For last week)
I went back on the stoner/psych bender again and pretty much went mad with unearthing bands I’d never heard of and one of the best examples is this cruelly short but unbelievable nugget of fuzz. Minneapolis’ They Dead have distilled the torment of wandering lost in the desert into a series of powerful guitar moans, intoxicating vocals and thunderous drums. At its length, it’s hard to pinpoint the best parts as its individual elements are all excellently formed, polished and whipped into the air by a furious sandstorm but that makes it all the more astonishing. No wasted time, just you and the barely two minutes of a trip into an oasis of which you may never find your way out of again. Simply incredible stuff.
(YouTube video sizes are really annoying at times so it’s not really my fault if the sizes are a bit inconsistent.)
(For two weeks ago)
Seeming it was way too long ago and I don’t even think I can remember the track I picked for that week if indeed I picked one, I listened to this awesome glitch-infused dance number around that time so I’m making it my track of that week. Made by industrial royalty as an ex-member of Skinny Puppy, the instruments of Download’s predecessor have been completely stripped out for all electronic and synthetic engineering which is fine by me. But what is captured in the 5 minutes or so is a shining and entrancing ambience, rattled by the jitters of the track but still emits the radiance of a true dance classic. Nothing changes up too much, but it doesn’t need to. The beats pulse hard enough to get lost in and despite a few Aphex Twin-esque flourishes here and there, the track is a master class on the alternative side of dance music and its use to lure a dancefloor into ecstasy.
(For three weeks ago)
Funnily enough, I heard this in a compilation referred to as a metal dubstep mix, I’d refute that this is more firmly in the drum ‘n’ bass camp, which is why I fell in love with it. Soon to become a part of my expansive DJ material, the guitar at the beginning is enough to trick any hardened metalhead into coming onto the dancefloor with its immediate guitar hook. The guitar continues to tear effortlessly through the track until the drums start to build up and that’s when the excellent crossover appeal comes into play. With the decidedly metal scream of ‘WALK IN THE FIRE!’ a visceral and bestial bass smashes into your ears and will try to take half the club with it. There’s even a period of half time action in which bouncing is highly encouraged and of course has a truly metal style breakdown towards the end. Awesome crossover appeal, this should really be picked up by more metal clubs.