Morning, friends! As we’ve been talking about on the podcast for the past couple of weeks, it’s a great time for show announcements up here in Vancouver, what with Verboden continuing to announce its line-up (oh man are we ever pumped for Diesel Dudes), the next iteration of Vancouver Noise Fest on the horizon, etc. We’re also helping out with an upcoming show featuring local faves (who should be familiar to regular readers) Spectres and Actors, the former of which’ll be releasing their first LP at the gig, too! If you’re in the area in March, make a point of coming down to check out two of the city’s best live acts, along with Brutes and The Gathering. Should be a good one. On to this week’s Tracks!
ESA, “Carry the Noose (feat. Massenhysterie)”
While Jamie Blacker has become the defacto vocalist for tribal industrial powerhouses iVardensphere, his distinctive baritone hasn’t been a major feature in his own project, rhythmic noise act ESA. No idea whether his first album for Negative Gain Productions That Beast will change that, but one of the tracks currently streaming on Bandcamp features vocals from Blacker and Viennese electro act Massenhysterie. While the song has much of the texture and energy ESA displayed during the Songs of Carnal Empowerment cycle of records, we’re definitely hearing some changes in approach that have us intrigued. Album drops March 9th, stay tuned for a full take when it becomes available.
Group A, “T.O.P.”
Tokyo expats now in Berlin, Group A have self-released a handful of singles and albums wholly under our radar. That’s about to change around the HQ not just due to their new EP being released on the always stellar Mannequin label, but due to the sheer punchy power of Tommi Tokyo and Sayaka Botanic’s work on this cut. Fusing low-fi minimal synth feels with the strictness of classic EBM and dark electro, “T.O.P.” is a staticky, shuddering barnburner which delivers strike after strike to the gut but leaves you wanting more.
The first HIDE song we ever heard was dancefloor number “Flesh for the Living”, which erroneously gave us the impression of the band’s sound. What we’ve heard and seen since – including a terrific performance at Cold Waves a few years back – has us amped for their debut album Castration Anxiety due March 23rd from Dais Records. The droney, haunting intensity of Heather Gabel and Seth Sher’s work feels monolithic, with electronics coated in saturation and grit that borders on noise. Check out pre-release single “Wildfire” for a taste of one of our most anticipated albums of 2018.
Bring Her, “Then We Will Break”
Some darkwave which is practically wheezing with grit and atmosphere out of Pittsburgh. Bring Her already have a couple of EPs to their name, but this is the first preview of their first LP, due out on Germany’s Black Verb. The even-keeled doom of their sound recalls Forever Grey, but the distinctly grimy and American feel of their style has a lot in common with older acts like, say, Turn Pale or the wave of goth to come out of East Bay hardcore at the turn of the century.
Tranzmit might be a present-day project operating out of Toronto, but the feel of new EP Target and Release is straight out of 1980’s Belgium. Yes, we’re of course talking about Front 242, but the combination of straight-up EBM rhythm and sample-happy constructions and manipulations of found sound should also appeal to those yearning for vintage Cabs or Manufacture feels as well. Fun stuff which takes the classic art of sampling seriously.
Egoprisme, “I Am the Sun”
Finally, a big old darkwave rave-up from new-to-us band Egoprisme, hailing from France. Looking for something to compliment the classic genre sounds we discussed in our review of The Frozen Autumn’s latest last week? This should hit the spot as big dramatic synths, impassive vocals and good old European stoicism meet up for what ends up being a surprisingly sprightly dance party on “I Am the Sun”. Per Bandcamp their albumAmong Noise for Manic Depression Records was released January 15th, but still appears to be in pre-order there, hopefully that gets sorted soon so we can check out the whole release.