Tracks: May 14th, 2018

The spate of shows rolling through our neck of the woods continues, with a bit of an emphasis on old legends recontextualizing their work. Peter Hook brought his band through town to play through both Joy Division and New Order’s Substance comps, but we were both too bushed to go (ask us sometime about dancing onstage to one of Hooky’s DJ sets years ago). And this coming weekend, after a couple of cancellations and reschedulings, Kevin Haskins and Daniel Ash will be bringing their Poptone project to the stage. We’re keen to hear how the classic (yet always somehow obscure and underrated) Tones On Tail catalog sounds in this new incarnation. On with this week’s tracks!

Second Still
Second Still

Front Line Assembly, “Mechvirus”
The new track from Front Line Assembly is notable for a couple of reasons. Firstly, it’s a taste of the follow-up to Airmech, FLA’s lauded soundtrack to the game of the same name, which showed the project’s capacity for atmospherics as expressed through ultra-modern production. Secondly, it’s the first new music we’ve heard from the band since the untimely passing of Jeremy Inkel, and his influence as a writer, designer and arranger (along with Sasha Keevill, with whom he collaborated on recent Front Line material) is all over this. It’s a great track and a testament to Bill Leeb and company’s continued relevance in electronic music some 30 plus years since the band was founded.

Imperial Black Unit, “The White Rose”
Australia’s Imperial Black Unit just finished up some dates in their own backyard with Youth Code, and it’s through the latter that we were tipped off to this hotness. Their debut release on a + w, State Of Pressure, still doesn’t have a release date, but until then check out this hypnotic gem that owes more than a little to A Split Second but feels wholly fresh. Not sure if the title’s meant to honour die Weiße Rose or not, but it’s a nice thought.

Kollaps, “Heartworm”
Fellow Aussies Kollaps are also making waves beyond their home continent, though of a far more harsh variety. A new compilation tape from Italy’s excellent Infidel Bodies label finds Kollaps dishing out deep and gashed death industrial noise which makes an art out of procedural levels of distortion, but offsets things with some interestingly blunted drum programming. Nasty stuff to be sure.

Glass Apple Bonzai, “Fire in the Sky”
Your friend and ours Daniel X Belasco is back with a new single from Glass Apple Bonzai, Canada’s champions of charming neon retro-synthpop. As with many of GAB’s material this taps into the intersection of retro-futurism and good old pop music longing, hella melancholy while not being gloomy or turgid. And hey, the single also features a remix from likeminded artist Andy Deane’s The Rain Within and a wild-ass Jesus Jones-esque slice of sampledelia called “What’s Your Vector Victor”, so you’ll want to be picking that ASAP.

Second Still, “Ashes”
LA post-punk trio Second Still have a new EP out hot on the heels of their new Part Time Punks session being released. A quick first pass at Equals suggests that it contains the same lo-fi swagger that made their self-titled LP from last year one we felt stupid for having missed at its release. Some of the lighter points on the EP hint at Roxy or 10cc archness, but this churning number just grinds darkly.

Panic Priest, “Gaffer”
Chicago-based darkwavers Panic Priest are new signees to Negative Gain Productions, bringing some new American gloom to the label’s already impressive roster of dark music artists. Not much to go on yet beyond the tracks available on the Bandcamp pre-order, but we’re getting some hints of classic darkwave, some nice male vocal harmonies and a bit of the synthrock energy ported over from Jack Armando’s other project My Gold Mask. Good promising stuff, and only a few days ’til we get to hear the whole thing.

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