Posts Tagged ‘electro’

Taken from their album ‘Apocalypse For Beginners’, Rabbit Junk have released ‘Nostromo’ as a taster of their bold technoindustrial/electropop/metal crossover sound.

Rabbit Junk draws subtle parallels between the challenges facing our species as a whole and the challenges facing our own personal lives. These challenges are characterized as foreseeable and yet tragically unavoidable. As such, the album communicates the fatalism and frustration of modernity alongside the lack of control we often feel over our own lives.

The album’s lead track “Stone Cold" (Feat. Amelia Arsenic) exemplifies Rabbit Junk’s willingness to take risks and defy genre norms. “Stone Cold” is a gender-fluid and genre-mashing anthem with an infectious sing-a-long chorus. The song featuries lyrics in both German and English delivered by masculine and feminine vocal textures floating over a mélange of punk, drum & bass, metal, and hip hop.

Other standout tracks include “Nostromo”, a sci-fi influenced art-metal meets synthwave track which is quickly becoming a fan favorite, and “Love Is Hell”, a decidedly danceable and gritty homage to everyone’s broken hearts.

Check it here:

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French darkwave band, Divine Shade has just unveiled  their new single, ‘Stars’.

The track was performed live during Divine Shade’s set in support of Gary Numan’s 2022 UK tour.

The song’s theme is simple. It addresses the concept of our “inner child” disappearing over time. Says, Rémi Thonnerieux, “I wrote this song to talk about the fact that love and resilience are the true paths to dreaming again”.
2022 has been a great new start for Divine Shade. "Stars" is their way of saying "Thank You" to everyone for this year’s success. The song will also be part of a big musical project to be announced in 2023.

‘Stars’ was produced by Ren Toner and features Shan Moue on additional vocals. ‘Stars’ is available on all major digital platforms including Bandcamp. Listen here:

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12th December 2022

Christopher Nosnibor

The eponymous debut EP by South Carolina indie pop-rock duo The Yets is steeped in the tropes of quintessential vintage alternative pop, absorbing a range of influences, while keeping a clear eye on classic and ultimately accessible forms – embracing Fleetwood Mac and Cocteau Twins in equal measure, as the press release suggests with remarkable accuracy.

Robin Wilson has a superb voice, delicate, emotive, easy on the ear, and at the same time rich and gutsy. It’s key to the sound of The Yets, and the six songs on this debut EP really showcase both her versatility and that of their songwriting.

There’s a weird booming sound – not quite a beat, not quite a bass note – that cuts through the mellow drift of ‘Waterline’, and it’s one of those things that once you’re attuned to it, you can’t detune, like the duck in Whigfield’s ‘Saturday Night’ or the cowbell on ‘Don’t Fear the Reaper’, but if you can ignore it, it’s a superbly-executed song with a clean guitar chug that keep it moving along nicely while the lead guitar chimes and washes melodically.

‘Remember’ is perfection, a layered, easy alt-rock tune that’s Fleetwood Mac’s ‘Dreams’ and it floats along in a dreamy drift that closes out with a delicate guitar solo.

They strip things right back for ‘Lesser Evil’, which swings between brooding indie and moody post-punk with hints of Siouxsie, before spinning into ethereal shoegaze territory on the dreamy ‘Letter to a Boy’, which really does find the band revelling in the misty ethereal shadows of Cocteau Twins.

‘Fades to Grey’ makes an obvious reference to Visage, and the band’s 80s leanings are on clear display, but that’s where the connection severs: this is a smooth, atmospheric rippling piece with chiming, echo-heavy guitar that owes much to Disintegration-era Cure, and ‘Happy Now’ builds on that thickly atmospheric sound with a loping rhythm and layers of vocals that really fill out the sound as the guitars and it’s the most overtly goth song of the set.

With a broad pallet of tuneful wistfulness and textured, layered instrumentation, coupled with some smart and sensitive production, The Yets have landed with a seriously accomplished debut: there’s a lot happening here, and there’s a significant range but at the same time a cohesive feel to it.

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The Yets 4 - photo by Gordon Backman

Photo: Gordon Backman

Danny Elfman has unveiled a brand new music video for Boy Harsher’s remix of ‘Happy’, the latest visual to accompany his recent remix album ‘Bigger. Messier’ [Anti- / Epitaph]. Complete with unsettlingly saccharine smiles, laughter and cheerleading choreography that feel like a warped VHS tape unearthed from the deepest depths of the 1980s, the music video brings to life the duo’s darkwave pop rendition of the song with the help of directors Muted Widows and Elfman’s creative director Berit Gwendolyn Gilma.

Watch the video here:

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The release comes just in time for Elfman’s highly anticipated back-to-back concerts on October 28th and 29th at The Hollywood Bowl in Los Angeles, CA, both of which will feature Boy Harsher as a special guest. Entitled Danny Elfman: From Boingo to Batman to Big Mess and Beyond!, the live concerts will see Elfman presenting expanded, full-length versions of his internet-breaking, critically acclaimed performances at Coachella Music and Arts Festival earlier this spring. His first official career-spanning headline performances, both nights at the iconic Hollywood Bowl will feature Elfman backed by the same rock band, orchestra, and choir that he played with at Coachella, as they perform songs from Oingo Boingo; his solo career, including his 2021 album ‘Big Mess’; as well as a plethora of his film scores and television themes from Alice in Wonderland, Batman, Edward Scissorhands, The Nightmare Before Christmas, The Simpsons, and more.

The audience will be transported into Elfman’s vision and magical world; with his haunting compositions brought to life on stage and enhanced by visuals on the big screen. Fans who didn’t make it to the Coachella shows or those who were there and want to experience an extended version won’t want to miss it.   

The release of this music video also arrives on the second anniversary of the release of Elfman’s original version of ‘Happy’, serving as a full circle moment for him and a return to the origin of his expansive and wildly ambitious Big Mess project: the track that ignited it all two years ago. A biting social commentary, ‘Happy’ marked the first taste from Big Mess upon its initial premiere in October 2020 and saw the 4x Oscar nominated, Grammy and Emmy Award-winning artist deliver the unexpected yet again – just as he has all throughout his incomparably prolific career.   

Following the release of ‘Happy’ along with several other dynamic singles and aesthetically inventive videos, Elfman officially debuted ‘Big Mess’ in June 2021 to widespread acclaim. Clocking in at 18 tracks, the kinetic double album finds Elfman breaking bold new ground as both a songwriter and a performer while joining forces with drummer Josh Freese (Devo, Weezer, The Vandals), bassist Stu Brooks (Dub Trio, Lady Gaga, Lauryn Hill), and guitarists Robin Finck (Nine Inch Nails, Guns N’ Roses) and Nili Brosh (Tony MacAlpine, Paul Gilbert).  

Always continuing to push the envelope, Elfman then unveiled ‘Bigger. Messier.’ this past summer –a brand new genre-defying album of remixed and reimagined versions of music from ‘Big Mess’. The 21-track project is comprised of collaborations and guest vocal features from a sprawling array of artists including Trent Reznor, Iggy Pop, HEALTH, Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith, Zach Hill of Death Grips, Xiu Xiu, Squarepusher, Ghostemane and many more. With the help of his collaborators Gilma and Stu Brooks, and his longtime manager Laura Engel, Elfman enlisted a unique arsenal of artists to use the original Big Mess songs as their canvases and experiment in their own distinct voices.   

Both ‘Big Mess’ and ‘Bigger. Messier.’ channel the riveting unpredictability that has pulsed through all of Elfman’s projects to date, from his early days with the theatrical Mystic Knights to the rock band Oingo Boingo, to his prolific work scoring over 100 films & television series including Marvel’s new blockbuster Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, Noah Baumbach’s buzzing new film White Noise, and Tim Burton’s highly anticipated new series Wednesday.

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Photo by Jonathan Williamson

On September 9, darkwave artist Curse Mackey will release his highly-anticipated new full-length album, Immoral Emporium, the follow-up to his 2019 industrial masterpiece, Instant Exorcism. Curse will also embark on a North American tour as a special guest for darkwave legends, Clan of Xymox.
Immoral Emporium is an intense, dark electronic music experience. Curse emphasizes, “This is a NEW album for modern times, in the here and now.”

True to his word, Immoral Emporium pushes the boundaries of genre with a vast dynamic range, from a tortured whisper to a triumphant howl. The first single, “Lacerations” is a dancefloor stomper with hypnotic vocals, a hard-hitting chorus with wailing synths and bin-shaking beats.

The album moves into poppy, upbeat club territory with the earworm ‘Dead Fingers Talk’.  The buildups are big, such as in ‘Omens and Monuments’, with monstrous synths that bring Immoral Emporium to a goosebump-inducing, cathartic end leaving the listener looking forward to the future.

Curse says, “Immoral Emporium was created under very remote, unusual, stressful conditions. This record is a dangerous listen. By the time it reaches the last song, I, as the protagonist, am essentially already dead. However, my last words are meant to give hope to the listener, my friends around the world…that you can live to fight another day, knowing you don’t have to give in to the fear, pain, and worry. These things will pass and you are not alone."

Clocking the William Burroughs reference in ‘Dead Fingers Talk’, interest in the album is piqued here at Aural Aggravation, and never more so than by the promo clip for ‘Lacerations’, released as a taster for the album, which you can watch here:

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4th August 2022

Christopher Nosnibor

Back in November of last year, I gave ‘What If I Were the Boy?’ by The Vaulted Skies a massive double-thumbs up, having previously raved about their debut EP, No Fate back in 2018. And now ‘What If I Were the Boy?’ has been rereleased, this time as a remix courtesy of Mark Saunders, whose eye-poppingly extensive discography includes work with The Cure, Lloyd Cole, Depeche Mode, Siouxsie and the Banshees… and many others, including some truly huge names like David Bowie, but those I’ve picked out are relevant is they’re illustrative of his longstanding links with post-punk, of which The Vaulted Skies are emerging contemporary exponents. But Saunders also has a long history of wording on radio-friendly and more dance-orientated material, and it’s fair to say that his remix of ‘What If I Were the Boy?’ brings these two threads together very neatly.

The song itself draws on contrasts in its take on a ‘nostalgic tale that is filled with reflection and regret’, inspired by an encounter experienced by vocalist/guitarist, James Scott., who recounts how “In college, I was paired up in an acting assignment with one of the popular girls. She propositioned me and in doing so, verbally and indirectly alluded to a very troubled home life. I wish I’d recognized the cry for help underneath it all. This song captures the desperation I have felt when wondering what became of her.”

Saunders sensitively preserves the stark, haunted angst of the original, but subtly packs some extra oomph and wraps it in a dark disco groove. The chunky gothy bass of the original is smoothed into a more dancefloor-friendly sound, the drumming – the cymbals in particular – is slickened down and given a more buoyant disco twist. If the original sounded in some way tentative, despite its solid assurance, then the remix rolls it all out and effortlessly stretches it past the seven-minute mark in vintage 12” single style.

If the grit and flange of the driving guitar in the chorus is backed off a bit in favour of a more even sound, well, it works, as does the cleaner vocal treatment. In short, this version may lack the ragged punch of the original, but it by no means does The Vaulted Skies a disservice, and will likely be a major step toward connecting the band with the larger audience they so richly deserve.

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A Projection are a post-punk/darkwave act from Stockholm, who signed to Metropolis Records in 2019 for the release of their well received third album, Section. Initially inspired by the dark post-punk/proto-goth of The Cure, Sisters Of Mercy and Joy Division along with the electronica of Depeche Mode, the band are known for their compelling and dynamic live shows.

Following Section, the group released the singles ‘Darwin’s Eden’ and ‘No Control’ that saw them enter a more danceable electronic realm while still embracing their darkwave roots. Their brand new single, ‘Careless’, offers a further example of this sound and provides a taster for a forthcoming album that will be released via Metropolis in late 2022.

Recorded both during and after Covid lockdowns, ‘Careless’ reflects the restlessness and hope of the last two years. Additional recording assistance was provided by fellow musicians that included Henrik Linder of the group Dirty Loops.
The video for ‘Careless’ was made by Ukrainian filmmaker and artist Shorkina Valeri and shot in the band’s home city of Stockholm.

Watch the video here:

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Christopher Nosnibor

Having just spent a depressing afternoon hearing the new Interpol album for the first time, I decided I needed cheering up. Scanning my immense backlog of releases for review – and, with new submissions landing faster than I can open emails, let alone download and listen to albums, I realise that Hanging Freud’s album has been lurking unplayed for far too long for an album I’d been excited to hear since ‘Antidote/Immune’, released as a taster of album number six, Persona Normal back in June last year, landed in my inbox.

The release / review cycle is in itself a pressure we would all do without, since albums by their nature have a slow diffusion. In an accelerated world, PR campaigns are over a month or so after release, and I suspect that under the current model of pre-release hype followed by a rapid burndown, most releases shift 90% of their units within the first months of release, before things taper off and pretty swiftly drop off a cliff. But I digress, as I’m prone to doing.

Persona Normal is not the kind of album you’d expect to provide joy, but, in context, it’s a welcome reminder that there are still bands who are at a more advanced stage in their career delivering albums that channel difficult emotions and explore them in real depth.

‘Cureseque’ is a term that’s passed into parlance to make a shorthand reference to anything that draws inspiration from The Cure, but it’s trouble some and rather inadequate given the band’s range. More often than not, it seems to translate as ‘lots of layered synths like Disintegration’. Not so Persona Normal, an album that condenses the style and atmosphere of the unparalleled trilogy of Seventeen Seconds, Faith, and Pornography into a single set. The atmosphere is bleak, and the production sparse, but there’s some monumental percussion that’s more akin to Pornography.

It opens with the droning, wheezing synth of ‘Too Human’. It’s pitched against a trudging, monotonous drum beat with a dominant snare, and this provides the backdrop to a gloomy yet elegant vocal that aches with resignation, before ‘We Don’t Want to Sleep’ pounds in on a rhythm reminiscent of ‘A Strange Day’, and this is around the level of the bleak, brooding atmosphere. It’s thick and heavy with angst.

But then, amidst the doomy, droning synths and metronomic, motorik drum machines, Paula comes on with the sass of Siouxsie, with her enunciation and her glacial cool post-punk intonations. And as such, while Persona Normal really is pretty fucking bleak, dense, and dark, it’s uplifting to hear an album that so perfectly captures the spirit of the bands from which it draws unashamed influence. Elsewhere, I’m reminded of Chelsea Wolfe and Pain Teens; ‘Is This Why?’ may be sparse in its arrangement, but the sound is full, expansive, epic, and there’s something graceful and plaintive in its inward searching. An in an album of wall-to-wall quality, ‘Immune’ stands out as a snarling post-punk beast with the sharpest of hooks – and it’s all in the delivery.

More often than not, the sounds and overall sound and delivery convey so much more than words alone – and the production only enhances the experience. It’s dense, dark, drum-heavy, and even in the middle of a heatwave, it’s an album that will chill you to the core.

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3rd June 2022

Christopher Nosnibor

My partner in power electronics, the man behind the white noise aspect of the ‘white noised and shouting’ equation that is …(something) ruined, Paul Thingumy (he has more pseudonyms and variant monikers than the devil himself, or even JG Thirlwell), has gone and self-released another EP. Well, less of an EP than an LP: it may only contain four tracks, but with a duration of almost an hour, it’s a very long play.

Residing in Mirfield, Kirklees, West Yorkshire – or, objectively, the arse-end of nowhere, where trains are infrequent and tend not to visit after 9pm – is probably very like any other Little Britain backwater with a Tory MP. And it’s so often from our immediate environs we draw our inspiration, as the album’s title indicates. For reasons I can’t fathom, the title reminds me of Peter York’s strange book Dictators’ Homes and some TV show I can’t quite recall – probably because I never watched it – about celebrity pads. Or perhaps I’m confusing it with Pimp My Ride or some other wank. Because it all blurs, and fast. Mirfield Pads is blurry, but in a different way: everything melts together to create an ambient wash.

In something of a departure from much of Paul’s previous work – and there’s a lot of it – Mirfield Pads is surprisingly mellow, melodic, accessible. There’s a hypnotic Krautrock vibe about the shuffling oscillations, with sampled vocal snippets buried low in the mix in places. It’s an overtly synth work with a vintage leaning that’s strongly rooted in the late 70s and early 80s. If there’s a debt to Kraftwerk here with elements of Mike Oldfield and Harold Faltermeyer, then equally, Mirfield Pads is Paul’s nod to Tangerine Dream, perhaps in part spurred by the recent passing of Klaus Schulze. You wouldn’t necessarily call it a tribute, but an inspiration, almost certainly.

Tapering tones interweave and turn, glistening, fractal, kaleidoscopic, like beams of light dancing on an illuminated surface, dancing lightly across a millpond or flickering on a wall. Not a lot happens, and it doesn’t need to: the sounds turn slowly on an axis that exists in a space of its own.

‘Crystal Airfield’ – a title that evokes the spirit of JG Ballard – hits the numerical sweet spot of 23:23, and with additional guitar work courtesy of Neil Campbell, longtime collaborator and one half of another project, Early Hominids, it’s a richly atmospheric piece that rounds off the experience nicely in a wash of elongated droning feedback paired with bubbling analogue sounds.

It’s the attention to detail, to the vibe and sensation that really makes Mirfield Pads intriguing. It feels more like a document from a past time more than a nostalgia piece, and this is a good thing, because nostalgia has become dreary and weary very quickly indeed – probably because the smell of cash is so unappealing.

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1st June 2022

Christopher Nosnibor

It shouldn’t be a deal, really, but it is: Glytsh are a rare thing, namely an all-female industrial duo, comprising French singer Jennifer Diehl (aka Luna Blake) and Swiss guitarist Claire Genoud (aka Hella Sin). Like so many ‘rock’ and metal-orientated genres, industrial of all shades, from the electro to the metal end of the spectrum is depressingly the domain of the white male.

In this predictable, recycle-heavy world of white male angst, Glytsh are a breath of fresh air. But Glytsh aren’t a breath of fresh air because they’re women: they’re a breath of fresh air because they’re fucking exciting. While ‘(Hard)core memory’ still works with established tropes, their debut single, a cover of Nine Inch Nails’ ‘Closer’ set out their stall and managed to draw a fair bit of positive attention in the process. On the one hand, it was a pretty faithful cover, but also had enough of a slant to it to show that they’ve got game. And now, with the arrival of ‘(Hard)core memory’, Glytsh prove that they’ve got both style and substance, meshing together both electro and metal elements in an explosive three and a half minutes.

From a low, bass-heavy electronic intro, ‘(Hard)core Memory’ starts slow-grinding and sultry before tearing into a lumbering rock riff with screaming metal vocals, a collision between Rage Against The Machine and Marilyn Manson. It’s pretty full-on, and that’s before the Slash-style guitar solo blasts in near the end.

‘(Hard)core Memory’ has got the lot, and yet I somehow suspect that Glytsh have got a lot more to offer yet.

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