Last Tracks post of 2018! These always sneak up on us, as the last couple of weeks of any given calendar year tend to have us focused on making sure reviews happen for as many notable releases as possible. Still, it’s been one of the easiest years ever to do this feature, as the torrent of notable and interesting material to single out for a bit of a spotlight has been totally relentless. It’s something that feels integral to the site and to keeping us honest about digging for material and we’re happy to have another 12 months worth of these to peruse back through as we prep our Year End coverage. Thanks for reading ’em!
OHMElectronic, “Everything Is Gone”
We first got wind of this new rager from the good brothers in OHMElectronic (formerly OHM) a few months back and it’s been a song we’ve returned to numerous times, waiting for the moment we could share it with y’all. Like on their first album, Chris Peterson and Craig Huxtable are leaning in hard on their extensive experience as sound designers and programmers but with an added touch of meanness that fits their aesthetic to a tee. Can’t wait for this new album to drop via Artoffact in February. In fact you might say we’re amped (that’s a little electricity humour for y’all).
A Covenant Of Thorns, “Torn In Two”
Tip of the hat to our boy and yours, Alex Reed, for letting us know that one-man dark synth act Covenant Of Thorns not only has a new album on deck, but has actually been active again for a couple of years. We first caught wind of Scott-David Allen’s work way, way back in the days of dial-ups and Listservs, but hadn’t heard of any Covenant Of Thorns news in well over a decade. Regardless of the downtime, the first track from the forthcoming Shadows & Serenades is both anthemic and nostalgic; we’ll be sure to check out the full record.
Handful Of Snowdrops, “One Of Us”
Speaking of throwback dark synth, new-to-us Quebec act Handful of Snowdrops are preparing to release Noir, their fourth LP. The band identify as a “postwave” act, and while that prefix-suffix combo might look odd, we’re guessing you can fill in the blanks. While we’ve seen some comparisons to Xymox, the name which this tune more readily brings to mind is Ikon – though having originally formed in 1984 Handful of Snowdrops have the Aussies beat by nearly a full decade!
Razorback Hollow, “The Angel of Blood and Fire”
Did you peep that EP that our pal Daniel X Belasco (the mad synthpop magician behind Glass Apple Bonzai) released earlier this year as Razorback Hollow? That release was archival material being polished up for release, but the new two track single Into the Mouth of the Great Mutilator appears to be brand-spanking new stuff. While the programming and samples feel very much in the vein of the classic post-industrial that inspired the project, the vocals are unmistakably Belasco, which means, that they are smooth as hell.
Circa Tapes, “Pahn”
Btx3R/F01101/Exe might not be the easiest label name to recall, but the Spanish outfit’s done recent releases by Sarin, Wind Atlas, and Dame Area, not to mention a recent End Of Data reissue, so they make up in quality what they lack in brevity. Their new comp, Material Eléctrico III, features material by plenty of familiar acts like Klack, Celldöd, and Violet Poison, as well as two tunes from always moody ex-Kill Memory Crash act Circa Tapes. Digging how much the atmosphere adds to this otherwise dead simple track.
Leaether Strip, “Telephone Operator (Pete Shelley cover)”
Claus Larsen hasn’t ever been shy at all about paying homage to his influences in the world of synthpop and electronic music, with numerous recent digital releases dedicated to the folks who have informed his own legendary catalogue as Leaether Strip. The latest such release is a bittersweet one, as Claus released “Telephone Operator” as an homage to the song’s author Pete Shelley, who sadly passed this week. If you’re mostly familiar with Shelley’s unimpeachable work with The Buzzcocks, make a point of digging into this influential work as a solo artist, laying the foundations for electronic pop music as we understand it today. Claus delivers a fitting tribute to a true original. Rest in power.