I’ve gotta come clean with you, dear readers: it was a tad difficult to do my due diligence and round up a batch of new cuts for you all on this Monday morning. Why? Because I’ve been binging on Bruce Springsteen records nearly non-stop in anticipation of finally seeing the Boss play live tonight. Yes, I’ve been a Springsteen fan since I was young enough to think that He-Man might actually be real, and I can’t wait to yell along with “Badlands” and “No Surrender” (though I’ll be keeping my fingers crossed for “Atlantic City” and his cover of Suicide’s “Dream Baby Dream”). In spite of all this, I was able to tear myself away from Asbury Park long enough to bring the goods. Enjoy; we’re riding out tonight to case the promised land.

VALIS, “Escape From Orientation”
VALIS unveiling fresh material is welcome news, indeed. Their track “Cold Hands” from earlier this year made a nice impression on us, and we’ve been folding it into DJ sets when we want some chilly synth sweetness. This new tune lends the same atmospherics to classic synths, but weaves a much more complex web of leads and fills and gives them plenty of space to rise and hang. It’s a veritable mini-symphony crammed into five minutes (which sort of reminds me of Gang Gang Dance, to boot). Still no official releases from these guys, but if they can keep up this level of quality they can damn well afford to take their sweet time.
Escape From Orientation by V A L I S

Leæther Strip, “The March Of Man”
The Papa Bear Of Dark Electro and all-around awesome guy Claus Larsen is back with a brand-new 10-track Leæther Strip EP. While Object is a punchy and aggressive listen on the whole, there’s one slow and somber cut in “The March Of Man” which leaped out at me. Might this track’s string programming presage a what we might be in store for on Serenade For The Dead II?

Rhythm Of Cruelty, “All That’s Left (rough mix)”
Last weekend I caught a fantastic show with a stacked bill: Spectres (whose new album I just covered), Portland’s Bellicose Minds, a knockout Spanish band called Belgrado (whose LP can be nabbed for free), and Rhythm of Cruelty from Edmonton. I’d never heard of the latter before, but the two-piece quickly set a sparse and moody tone which I dug. While they don’t have an official release as of yet, there’s a demo from last year to be had, and they’re workshopping some new material like this cut.

NTRSN, “Meltdown”
One of the great side-effects of digital distribution has to be how it’s helped streamline charity compilations. Organizers can pool and assemble tracks, and start taking donations in far faster and with a fraction of the overhead when it really counts, as is the case with the Digital Recovery comp, the proceeds of which go to Hurricane Sandy victims via the Red Cross. Amongst others, it features the aforementioned Leæther Strip, a Haujobb mix of an Ehron VonAllen cut, and a swan song from NTRSN. As you may have heard, the Belgian/Danish duo recently called it quits, a shame given that their skill in blending old-school EBM foundations with new, experimental flavours was nearly unmatched.

The Dead Milkmen, “Little Rebel Mine”
“Hey, 2008 Bruce, it’s me, 2012 Bruce!”
“Hey, man! Jesus, what’s with the doormouse cheeks?”
“Bite me, waif-boy, you still haven’t finished grad school.”
“Whatever. Anyway, what’s the future like?”
“Same old, same old. Don’t get your hopes up for the last season of Galactica, but the last book in Gibson’s new trilogy is pretty great, and the Blue Jays are finally making moves. Oh, and it turns out that Rodney from The Dead Milkmen is super into industrial and related stuff.”
“Oh yeah? That’s pretty cool.”
“Uh-huh. The band actually did a VNV cover a year back.”
“Now I know you’re yanking my chain.”
“No, for real! Turns out all of the talk about the Internet bringing people from all sorts of musical backgrounds together wasn’t just pie-in-the-sky bullshit. They just did a Rome cover, too.”
“Get the fuck out.”
“It actually makes a hell of a lot of sense. They accentuate the country swing underneath it and do a cool crooning duet, kind of bringing out some of the Nick Cave that lies dormant in Jerome’s work. It’s a b-side on their new 7″ which you can also nab digitally.”
“Dang, sweet. Anyway, don’t tell me about which records are gonna be great and which ones’ll suck. At least Ministry packed it in when they should’ve, eh?”
“Uh, yeah…”