We like to start the year with a list of things we’d like to see in the next twelve months: some albums that haven’t been officially slated for release but seem possible, along with a few broad trends it’d be pleasing to have come about. Our track record on this stuff isn’t great (it’s a wishlist, not a certainty-list, which sounds kind of unexciting anyway), but there’s no harm in writing some of this stuff down and dreaming a little dream, is there? Things are tough all over and Our Thing is no exception, but that doesn’t mean we can’t do a little pie-in-the-sky thinking about ways that everything could be just that tiniest bit better and more relevant. You got anything you’d like to see happen in 2014? Don’t be shy: let us know in the comments!
A New Haujobb Record
Okay fine, so this is hardly something specific to this year; at any given time one or both of the senior staffers is probably staring wistfully out the window thinking about a new Haujobb album. We know they’re busy, with Myer fresh off his most recent triumph as Architect (our 2013 album of the year don’t you know) and Dejan hard at work on some new DSX material, so maybe we’re crazy for hoping the fellas might find some time to record a follow-up to 2011’s New World March. That isn’t gonna stop us from hoping though, while we’re happy for anything to come from either half of the ‘Jobb, there’s an intangible quality in their work together that just can’t be had elsewhere. And hey, what better year than the 20th anniversary of Homes & Gardens to remind everyone what they’re capable of? C’mon dudes, don’t make us beg.
The Explosion Of The “Indie” Industrial Scene
Let’s be clear: by “explosion” we don’t mean either the destruction of whatever you want to call the new burgeoning wave of dark electronics, nor are we pining for crossover success and mainstream acclaim. We’re talking about an aesthetic explosion. There are so many amazing young bands opening new ears to dark and grimy sounds, both classic and new, and while we’re not especially worried about this happening, we’d hate for this wave to codify and ossify to the point that it becomes a traditionalist or rigorously formalized sound (we already have and love anhalt, thank you very much). Much like black metal and punk before it, witch house’s brief moment of infamy and productivity quickly exploded outward, with truly creative minds finding all manner of new sounds and styles with the freedom afforded them by the rupture with tradition caused by their initial appearance (hello Fostercare and ∆AIMON). We’ve no doubt that we’re in for all kinds of fresh discoveries (a little bird has told us that the new High-Functioning Flesh LP sounds nothing like their debut tape).
Encephalon’s Second LP
Speaking of albums of the year, fellow canucks cinched our nod two years ago with their fantastic The Transhuman Condition debut. That record has held up fantastically in the interim, both on club floors here in Van (you still can’t help but pack the floor with “Rise” or “Drop Dead”) and on the headphones when we have a moment to take a break from our hectic review sched and listen to something we already know we love (and don’t have to write anything else about). Matt Gifford and co. released new track “Desertropolis” on a Dependence comp in the last quarter of 2013, and are hinting that we can expect THC‘s follow-up later this year. While instrumentally stripped-down, “Destropolis” has all of the songcraft, polish, and lyrical depth (not to mention vocal range) we loved about The Transhuman Condition; we can’t wait to see what’s changed and what remains the same.
A More Judicious Remix Culture
Before anyone gets it twisted, we totally enjoy remixes. Our problem is that there’s been a serious glut of them for a while now, and frankly they seem like more of a given than a necessity in most cases. No one’s gonna argue that it isn’t cool to hear one favourite band take on the work of another, or the co-sign that comes from a more established artist letting an up-and-comer cut loose on one of their tracks. But when the quantity of remixes out there is so vast (with many labels commissioning roster remixes for every single album they release), it’d hard for those effects not to get diluted. So long as there’s a reason for a remix to be a thing (it’s a cool collab, someone has something they really want to do with a song, the track needs a club edit) we’re good, but we hope that in 2014 it gets dialed back a bit, with alternate versions becoming less of an ends in and of themselves.
3 Teeth’s Debut
Man, talk about the difference quality control and timing can make. Releasing four absolutely murderous tracks at an even pace over the course of 2013, the LA collaboration between Bites, H3x3n, and the Lil’ Death crew steadily built their profile and rep to the point that we can’t think of another 2014 debut that even comes close in the anticipation department. Mixing new production and programming tics with classic chugging industrial metal guitars, 3 Teeth are poised to connect all the fucking dots and release the sort of record that defines Our Thing in the coming year.
The Consolidation of Festival Culture in North America
Okay, we’ve spilled a barrel of digital ink on this site about our annual returns to Kinetik and how awesome the second installment of Terminus was. We’ve talked plenty about what bands we were excited to see and which ones we still hoped would appear on festival bills. But as any vet of the European festival scene will tell you, promoters and bands can only do so much to create a great festival: a huge portion of that fate rests with the attendees. Kinetik didn’t become the institution it now is for us until we were getting ready to head back for its second year and thought about it in terms beyond its checklist of bands: seeing friends new and old, visiting a different city, getting buzzed off the sheer atmosphere of countless fans all coming together for the same purpose. No, no one “owes” any scene anything, but if you’re going to a festival you owe it to yourself to make the most of it: bring your own excitement, passion, and fun to Kinetik or Terminus, and we promise they will pay you back tenfold. Like our rallying cry at Kinetik 3.0 went, “Industrial Summer Camp Forever!”
The Return of Everything Goes Cold
Eric Gottesman (the guy, not the album) is busy being a live-member of basically every industrial band in existence, so we get that he might not have a ton of time to write and record a new record for neu-American Coldwave sensation Everything Goes Cold. The last taste we had (2012’s The Tyrant Sun EP) left us hungry like a Sun-Eater for more though; we’ve a weakness for the project’s particular brand of sci-fi inflected industrial rock. The trick that EGC has down so pat is simple but effective; while writing in the voice of a supervillain, their songs have still manage to have meaning and import that extends beyond that conceit. As unlikely as it may seem for a band that has an anthropomorphic fridge as their mascot, Everything Goes Cold makes music that means and is about something, and that’s something we always want some more of.
More Back-Catalogue Bandcamp Reissues
We don’t hide our love for Bandcamp, and think it’s especially cool when a band throws their whole catalogue up there for us to peruse. Make no mistake, we love a nice deluxe reissue as much as the next guy, but it’s also neat to, say, be able to scare up any given Legendary Pink Dots or Severed Heads LP at a moment’s notice and know that the money is going to the band (less BC’s fairly reasonable cut). If a record is out of print anyways, where’s the harm in giving your fans a direct way to purchase it? All upside for everyone as far as we’re concerned.
A New Iszoloscope Album
It’s been over three years since Yann Faussurier’s last full length Iszoloscope release: The Edge Of Certainty was a tragically underrated piece of work (we’re not excluding ourselves from that condemnation) which consolidated the project’s rep as the strongest project in rhythmic industrial going at the time, with plenty of new dynamics in production and composition being added to Yann’s already robust toolkit. As of the new year, work on a new album is underway, and we’re very interested to see how the cooling off period and Yann’s work with kindred spirit Scott Fox affects Iszoloscope’s sound (if at all). Oh yeah, the first new track from Memmaker in five years also came out a short while ago. Now, we don’t want to sound greedy, Yann, but while you’re at it…
A Renewed Focus on Live Shows
This might be where we wander off into “we’d also like a pony” land, but indulge us: without wanting to forecast utter gloom and doom, we can’t help but notice the decline of weekly club nights in our end of the pool. This isn’t a universal phenomenon, and the causes are multifold, but we’re hoping that both promoters and attendees see this as an opportunity to switch gears and focus on an experience that can’t be replicated by creating your own mixes or finding out about new bands online: actual live shows. We’re not going to address the sticky wicket of what makes a good live show here, but there’s simply no substitute for it. Whether you’re in a band, formerly DJed a club night, or find yourself itching to do something on a Thursday now that you can’t dance to “Headhunter” for the two thousandth time, give some thought to organizing or attending live shows, by local bands or otherwise, in your area.
An Update to Our Image
Guys, you know the whole thing on South Park where the goth kids are constantly getting confused for Twilight fans and emo kids? Well, many a true word is spoken in jest, and in 2014 the public perception of Our Thing is still that we’re death-obsessed, malapropism-spouting teenagers with bad black dye-jobs. We got love for all the DOMSTw/BBDJ’s out there, but maybe, just maybe, that sort of image is holding us back a bit. Perhaps it might even be a deterrent for fresh faces who might otherwise enjoy our club nights and our records but are turned off by goofy attempts to seem eeevil. There’s nothing wrong with using dark themes and imagery, but it feels like it’s time to expand beyond the same old vamp-and-cyborg-muppet stuff we’ve been playing off for years. That goes for album covers, club flyers, gig posters, anything that acts as a forward facing part of our culture: it’s not like we have much to lose from growing up a bit at this late stage of the game.
A New A Split Second LP?
Okay fine, so it’s pretty unlikely. But you know what else was unlikely? The Klinik, Die Krupps, Pankow, Vomito Negro and a few other assorted classic EBM groups putting out good new albums. And that actually happened in 2013! Given that, is it such a stretch to think that Marc Ickx and his merry band of body music innovators might take some time off from their fairly busy live schedule to bang out a few new tunes? As a key band in the new beat and EBM movements you can’t say it wouldn’t be cool to hear a new take on the genre from them, and at worst it might inspire some folks to look into a catalogue that goes much deeper than “Flesh” and “Mambo Witch”. This body armour ain’t gonna bend itself, guys.