Tracks: May 22nd, 2018

You know, we keep saying to ourselves that some day we’ll make the trip to WGT, just to have the experience of seeing a bunch of Euro bands that never come to North America, and just to soak up the ambience of 10,000 goths in a city not much more populous than Edmonton. For now though we have to settle for scene reports from friends who made the trek including which bands got wreck (we hear Wulfband and ACTORS scored big unsurprisingly), and exactly how bananas the line-ups to get into the venues were. Were you there this year? Holler at us about what you saw that was good in the comments! On to Tracks!

Inhalt in their natural habitat

Body Break, “four”
Ask a Canadian of a certain age about Body Break and they’ll probably say something about Participaction or namedrop Hal Johnson or Joanne McLeod at you. We have no doubt that those TV ads served as the inspiration for the name of the new project from Wire Spine/Weird Candle’s Robert Katerwol and Robert Recluse of Void Mirror, which sits nicely in the new beat/italo/EBM pocket. Word is that these demos will be developed a bit more with some guest vocalists and then compiled into a full release at a later date, so here’s your chance to get ahead of the curve.

Rhys Fulber, “Limited Vision”
Few people native to Our Thing have as many decades of studio experience in as many genres as Rhys Fulber. While the man himself needs no introduction, the notion of him tossing his hat into the techno/industrial ring (with a release on no less notable a label than Sonic Groove, to boot) merits some extra consideration. Having had a large hand in forging the sort of sounds and textures many contemporary producers are currently reaching for, it’s likely that his Your Dystopia, My Utopia record will offer a new perspective on that oh-so happening nexus. Expect a full review on this site shortly, and notice the slowly unfolding cinematic pads Fulber uses to add grandeur to this track’s core tension.

Agent Side Grinder, “In From the Cold”
The second taste of the new incarnation of Agent Side Grinder is suiting us just fine, thanks for asking. When the video for “Doppelgänger” dropped last month we commended AGS for going in a new direction that seemed commensurate with the new line-up, leaner and more tense and hypnotic. “In From the Cold” isn’t quite so rangy but does make good use of angular sequencing and a pleasingly melodic chorus to compliment the cold war samples that adorn it. We’re ready to hear what these good Swedish cats have in store for their first full-length in the new configuration.

Roya, “Away”
Here’s some gauzy work which rides the border between darkwave and synthpop with plenty of personality. Hailing from – where else? – Sweden, Roya’s tracks are full to the brim with atmosphere, and despite using some rather left-field instrumentation choices, presents her work with sharp senses of timing and songcraft. Worth digging into at greater length, we think.

Inhalt, “Alles”
Why, just the other day we were having a conversation about San Francisco’s Inhalt, with the question being when we would next hear new material from them. Turns out that the next release Content will be coming direct from Dark Entries, and consist of four new tracks and their instrumental versions. Hard to tell what direction the act has gone in although from the instrumental version of “Alles” linked below they haven’t abandoned their knack for retro-synth, with some added body music and komische flavour. Very keen to hear the rest of the EP, as we’ve noted before the fact that Inhalt have garnered so many fans on the basis of such a small catalogue is a testament to just how good their stuff is.

Dame Area, “Sfingi”
Lastly, from Barcelona come Dame Area, a duo who cite Coil and TG alongside Italian pop auteur Franco Battiato as influences. The pair trade in what might be most easily recognizable as minimal wave, but often offset with metallic percussion and a flair for the dramatic which isn’t often found in a genre commonly taken to be recalcitrant. Murky yet strident, it’s an interesting spin on some familiar styles.

Tracks: October 3rd, 2016

And so we enter…endgame. October always brings two friends with it when it visits the ID:UD HQ; firstly the sinking feeling that we are very very behind on listening to all the releases relevant to this website. Secondly, the impending dread that comes from knowing that our Year End coverage is nigh, and while we shouldn’t be making any final decisions until mid-December (for maximum accountability), we also need to revisit a lot of records from earlier in the year to ensure we have them clocked properly. All this is to say that we fully expect the next 10-12 weeks to pass by in a blur. Let’s get to it with some new tracks shall we?

Black Nail Cabaret
Black Nail Cabatet - Photo by Raphael Preston

Inhalt, “Occupations (Xultur remix)”
Inhalt have a frustratingly small discography for a group so talented and respected. Those waiting for new material from the San Francisco synthwave duo (currently signed to Cleopatra) will have to remain patient, but the band have recently uploaded 2014’s Simulacra EP to their Bandcamp, and even tacked on some bonus remixes (like this one from LA noisemakers Xultur) for your listening pleasure. Hopefully this is a nice harbinger of what’s to come, whatever form it may take.

Strvngers, “Nostalgia”
Edmonton’s Strvngers made quite an impression at Terminus, but it’s still hard to exactly formulate what the specifics of that impression were: alternately sleazy and enraptured, anthemic yet glitchy. The first tasters of their debut for Negative Gain are enticing but still aren’t enough to triangulate their take on dance and synthpop markers. InSoc plus The Big Pink and a neon blob of current big-market EDM? Engrossing, regardless.

Black Nail Cabaret, “We Like to Sufer”
Okay so apparently Sophie Tarr is no longer a member of Black Nail Cabaret, having been replaced by Krisztian Arvai (who had writing and production credits all over the project’s last album already). Good news is that Emese Arvai-Illes and her astonishing voice are still around, and featured prominently on new song “We Like to Suffer”, available now via Bandcamp. Electronic cabaret can be a real tough sound to nail down without descending into camp, but this does the job quite nicely so far as we’re concerned.

Marc Heal, “Failure”
Okay, maybe things got a little gushy on last week’s podcast when the topic of Cubanate came up, but we’re just excited to have Marc Heal back, okay? With his first LP Hum due in November, we’ve been eating up the recently released Adult Fiction EP as an appetizer. You may remember when we featured the Rhys Fulber remix of the Numan-esque title track a few weeks back, but we’re just as into this b-side. Get on over to Bandcamp why don’t you?

Veil Vitric, “Nothing Key”
We know we’ve been talking the Slack channel up a lot (e-mail us for an invite!), but it keeps paying big dividends in the form of new music discoveries. Here’s some straight up goth rock from Chicago that’s just wriggling in its own atmospherics, but still carries enough machine-beat drive to blast through the fog.

Invisible Sky, “Will You Wait?”
Something a little off-genre for us, but likely still of interest to some heads, Invisible Sky is the newest project from Jean-Marc Lederman, who folks’ll remember from his work with Ghost & Writer, and possibly also from the high-concept The Last Broadcast On Earth LP. He’s teamed up with Gabriella Aström of Me The Tiger (who recently turned heads at Infest) for an EP of super-dreamy and breathy electropop.

Observer: February 21st, 2014

Another year, another recurring feature named after a Numan song. Observer is an outlet for short, capsule style reviews of the type you might see in your town’s free weekly: basically a place for us to quickly throw some light on some things we don’t have the time or inclination to review fully, but still feel like we would be remiss in ignoring. Check it out, and feel free to leave suggestions of recent releases to cover in the comments section.

Kindest Cuts
Kindest Cuts

Winnipeg may be a frozen shithole, but as we’ve heard from plenty of emigres to and from as well as natives of the Slurpee capital of the world, it also sports a strong and uniquely supportive creative community. As our pal Jeremy of Distorted Memory noted, when you can’t go outside for half the year, you pour your energy into your own work, and that dedication’s easy to spot in Kindest Cuts’ debut EP. On a nineteen minute suite of darkly-touched but bouncy synth tunes, the duo of Patrick Edward and Stacy Gaudreau swiftly strike upon a smooth yet uniquely Canadian (not unlike a good rye) mood that comes across far more developed than what you’d expect from a band who’ve been at it for a year and a half (admittedly, I know zilch about these guys’ previous resumes). The already memorable instrumentations of “Villains” and “Handsome Killer” get a huge boost from Edward’s stellar and suave vocals, sitting somewhere beteween Encephalon’s Matt Gifford in his softer moments and the late, great Dean Russell of Moev. Very solid stuff – here’s hoping for a long winter in the Peg.

Buy it.


Reverse Polarity

Experimental electro-acoustic ahoy! Given Reverse Polarity‘s nautical themes (“oceans…planets…gender…oh my!” promises the copy) it’s tempting to make some awful “when seapunk gets deep” crack, but if I held off on weak aquatic humour while talking about the new Seabound, I can do so here. Anyway, Juliya Smith delivers a mini-LP of brief, haunting compositions made up of wavering drones, samples and programming all set about with unearthly vocals pitched both up and down. Opener “Ode to Jonathon” is as good a rosetta stone as any: a muted synthline trades back and forth with quavering voices and samples, occasionally punctuated with rhythmic stabs of what sounds like hyper-processed bass guitar. The funhouse mirror breaks of “Social Anxiety” make me think of Future Sound of London in their weirdest moments, or possibly even some sparser spots of Last Rights. It’s in the abrupt shifts from warm, soupy, and tranquil sounds to clattering squeaks and noise that Reverse Polarity gains its lasting effect. The personality flittering through on Smith’s vocals (and hell, in the sounds as well) is laden with emotion, yet also distant (there’s a loose “lost alien” concept attached to the record as well). More than enough fresh and arresting material here to put Yingthi on yr watch list.

Buy it.

Inhalt - Occupations

Dark Entries

Schweizerdeutsch Amerikanische Freundschaft! Inhalt’s sophomore EP for the always well-curated Dark Entries label is triangulated both by its members’ British, Swiss, and American backgrounds as well as its minimal wave, Neue Deutsche Welle, and synthpop touches. The four tracks click along at a brisk pace, with spritely drum machines which quickly connote, say, Christof Glowalla, but Inhalt show themselves to be quite deft at quick flips of the script. The breathy but simple English vocals repeatedly pressing in on the otherwise speedy “Black Sun” point to some dark depth in the programming that might’ve otherwise slipped by. “Programming” is a pan-European workout, segueing between French electro and Moroder worship with aplomb. Splitting the difference between a classic gem being dusted off at Systems of Romance and the latest minimalist club fare, Inhalt have their cake and eat it, too.

Buy it digitally or on vinyl.