Much as we did last year, we thought we’d make the first feature of the year a wishlist of sorts; basically a collection of broad trends and records we’re hoping will manifest in this calendar year. We may have jinxed a few artists last time out (of the five projects we anticipated records by, only one saw the light of day in 2012) but that’s not gonna stop us from talking up a few things we hope we get to hear but that haven’t been officially announced yet. Do you have anything pertinent to Our Thing you’d like to see or hear in 2013? Let us know in the comments!

The debut LP from Radioaktivists
So far we’ve heard one official track from this super-group – “Pieces of Me” which cropped up on the last Dependence comp a while back – plus a demo, but that’s been more than enough to have us licking our chops. The debut record seems to be progressing steadily but slowly, though that’s befitting of both the busy schedules and attention to detail which characterize its contributors: Daniel Myer, Frank Spinath, Krischan Wesenberg of Rotersand, and Sascha Lange. We’re sure we’ve expressed the sentiment before, but we’d listen to Frank read the phone book, let alone appear on tracks crafted by this braintrust. Come to think of it, some enterprising European city should really hire Frank to announce the stops on its metro line…
More aggrotech experimentation
You can say what you want about aggrotech (and lord knows we have), but it isn’t going away. Bands from Central and South America and from further afield are still churning out compressed beats, squelchy leads and over-processed vocals, many of which are a pale imitation of the style pioneered by the likes of Hocico. The two of us don’t tend to listen to releases in that mode much these days (Alex is pretty burned out on it, Bruce never got on board), but we were pleasantly surprised by two records in 2012 which livened things up by adding elements from musical genres well outside of the electro-industrial field: PreEmptive Strike 0.1 continued to experiment with all manner of folk instrumentation from their native Greece for their LP T.A.L.O.S., and God Destruction brought some black metal chops to the plate for Illuminatus. In addition to switching the formula up, records like this also provided some space between the more traditional harsh EBM motifs, allowing us to experience them in bite-size morsels and not grow weary of them as quickly. The possibilities of what can be added to the aggrotech template are pretty much limitless (Celtic instruments? Trip hop? Skiffle?), and we’d be curious to hear what more catholically-minded oontz fiends might concoct in 2013.
A new //TENSE// LP
Before we ever got on board with the wave of new acts from outside the traditional “scene” making body music, //TENSE// was a name we took notice of. Maybe it was their classic styling, both in their image and music. Maybe it was the deliberate obliqueness of how they presented themselves, maintaining a certain mystique when every band seemed eager to tell everyone everything about themselves. Maybe it was just that they’re that good, putting the lie to those who would snidely dismiss them as “hipster industrial” with a score of addictive singles, EPs and one killer album in the form of Memory. One thing is certain however, and that’s that we want more. We gather the band has a new line-up and is making a move to LA (more about that next), we sincerely hope that they find the time to record another full-length. Our turntables hunger with an appetite that has crossed over from whetted to ravenous.

More noisy, old-style LA EBM from outside of the scene.
On that note, plenty of people in Our Thing are suspicious when bands they haven’t heard of on labels they don’t know pick up some degree buzz from press organs they sneer at…with sounds and influences that are strikingly similar to their own. That’s understandable to a degree – no one wants their particular subculture to be hijacked as the Next Big Thing by monied interests from outside – but that is definitely NOT what is happening right now in LA. Bands like //TENSE//, White Car, and Youth Code are releasing kick ass records on their own terms, influenced by the likes of 242 and Cabaret Voltaire, and are gigging with everyone from Grimes to Suicide Commando. In our book, this sort of hybridity is exactly the sort of thing Our Thing desperately need, offering loads of people from all sorts of musical backgrounds the opportunity to check out bands and gigs they’d otherwise miss out on. For us, only one thing matters: the music. Is it dark? Is it good? Then who gives a fuck whether the person making it is wearing cyberfalls or tight jeans. Get yr priorities straight, get in the game, and don’t sleep on bands like these.
Another Pretentious, Moi? record
We said it last spring, but it bears repeating: Pretentious, Moi?’s stellar 2010 debut has legs. Long, skin-tight leather-clad legs that look great in the club or skulking around the park on a windy night. Having played it for friends and dance floors, it’s been great to see olde-tyme goth rockers get hooked on Tim Chandler & co.’s barnstormers. But younger rivet kids, who likely never heard or cared to investigate classic goth rock, are also equally drawn to the band’s instantaneous but tasteful beats, with the forlorn, evocative tone of their compositions slowly sinking in at a deeper level. In short, a band who can bridge generational divides in such a way is a godsend for us as fans (and DJs), and we’d love to see what the band could do a second time out.
More bands and labels on Bandcamp
While we’re always happy to get music for free or on a by donation basis, it’s not even that aspect of the platform which is its biggest appeal: paying for music and knowing that the vast majority of yr dollar is going directly to the artist in question is a model we’re happy to support. Factor in the variety of file formats Bandcamp supports, plus the fun of buying a record, getting an instant download, and then having the vinyl show up a month after is like year round Christmas, and we’re over the moon. THEN add on the ridiculously intuitive and addictive “collection” accounts they’ve added, allowing us to curate our own purchases and browse those of other like-minded folks, and you’ve got a recipe for the complete bankruptcy of music nerds everywhere. Don’t get us wrong: we’re still mourning the wasting death of the bricks n’ mortar record store, but the rise of Bandcamp has been a wonderful analgesic.

A new Gothsicles album
ID:UD has love for Chicago’s Gothsicles, in case you haven’t been paying attention. It takes a deft touch to make songs about gaming, other scene bands and getting loser drunk that aren’t one-note joke songs, but the proof is in the pie; the ‘Sicles do all that and more, with a wink, a grin and 40 litres of sweat per show. It doesn’t hurt that Brian and Mike are stand up fellas, guys who grew up on the same records we did and have distilled those influences into a two-man three ring circus of beats, keytars and unintentional mid-air collisions. We had the pleasure of finally seeing these dudes doing their thing at this year’s Kinetik (and even got to join them on stage for a rousing rendition of “Konami Code”), and much as we love the first three records, consider this our plea for another. Our Thing needs fun, Our Thing needs clever, Our Thing needs The Gothsicles.
More Blogs and Webzines
Once in a blue moon we’ll come across some wag suggesting that the web has ruined the fan community, that the bar for entry has been lowered and consequently just anyone can write something about a record. We think that sentiment is some elitist ol’ bullshit. Fan participation has always made up a part of every healthy music scene, going back to xeroxed fanzines and college radio shows, and the fact that the web has enabled anyone to contribute by reviewing, interviewing and generally holding forth on the music they love with the potential for a global audience should be celebrated and indulged. There’s lots of folks already doing it (shouts out to our homeboys and girls at Coma, Brutal Resonance, A Model of Control, Auxiliary, Intravenous and all the other folks already in the game), we’ve heard tell of a few more sites in the works, and we couldn’t be happier. No one writer or group of writers will ever be able to cover every record or show, but a whole community of us, each with our own thoughts and opinions can come close. A rising tide lifts all boats, and god knows, the embattled vessels that fly the flag of goth and industrial music deserve whatever recognition we can muster for them. There’s nothing to stop anyone (even you!) except the desire and the gumption to do it.

The first album from Ohm
Way, way back in the early days of this site a little bird told us that two longtime friends from Vancouver’s storied industrial scene were working together on something new and different, but swore us to super-secrecy. Now, some time later the story can be told; Craig Huxtable of Landscape Body Machine and Chris Peterson of Decree, Will and Unit 187 have a new project called Ohm, and we’re jazzed as all hell about it. You might know these cats from their contributions to the FLA oeuvre, but their importance to the industrial community of our city goes far beyond that; between LBM’s annual Canada Day performances at our resident club night Sanctuary, Chris gracing Van City stages at countless shows in countless guises and the enormous number of local acts (Stiff Valentine, Left Spine Down and Unit 187 amongst them) that they’ve collectively worked with in some capacity, there’s no question as to their relevance to the ongoing history of Vancouver industrial. Check the first track to surface below and keep your eyes on this site for an interview shortly.

More, better dialogue
You guys remember the thing at Kinetik right? Judging by how many people still find their way to our little patch of the web based on links and searches related to it, we’re gonna assume you do. Regardless of where you stood on the incident – or Jairusgate as it’s come to be known- you can’t deny that it got people talking, and beyond the gnashing of teeth, opinions based on partisan band loyalties, and endlessly long threads on Facebook and message boards, some honest to god actual conversation happened. We don’t bring this up to keep that particular debate going (it doesn’t need our help to do that, which is kind of heartening in and of itself), but as a means of delivering a challenge to everyone reading this: we want more dialogue regarding the issues within our scene and we want to see it take a better, more evolved form. It’s easy to dismiss someone who calls out a band you like as being a hater, or a malcontent or an attention-seeker, what’s difficult is looking at what they’re saying, stepping outside your comfort zone and trying to see if they have a point and how that point ultimately impacts you as a member of this community. We’re all in this together, and while that fraternity implies a network of support, it also implies a responsibility to think about the state of Our Thing, what we want it to be and how we can help it get there. That means dialogues have to happen between folks of differing opinions, and that can’t happen if we’re blasting each other with personal insults and unfounded accusations. Remember Feindflug’s old slogan, “Use your brain and think about it”? Do that, then make your voice heard.