Have to say, folks, this weekend treated us much better than last. Rather than having to announce the cancellation of a beloved music fest, or, we dunno, the buying out of Parallel 49 by InBev (god forbid), we instead enjoyed a weekend of relaxing (if violent) indulgences. The Raid 2 isn’t as non-stop, “here are ninety nine ways to kill a dude you never even considered” as its predecessor, but widening the scope out to being a city-wide gangster epic was a good look, and the new supporting cast was pretty fantastic. Up next was a jam-packed pro wrestling card by our local ECCW warriors, topped off with local gods The Bollywood Boyz weathering some stiff work to reclaim their tag titles in an unforgiving steel cage match. Finally, we topped things off by checking out Koban and Animal Bodies (both acts we’ve talked up on this site before) on Sunday night. Animal Bodies’ new stuff sounds freaking fantastic, and we can’t wait ’til they release a sophomore record. Until then, we’ll make do with these new tracks.

Hammer Girl carved her way into our hearts in "The Raid 2".

Xenturion Prime, “Rise”
Progress Productions is one of those labels where we make a point of checking everything they release, based purely on the high level of quality control that marks their catalogue. That habit paid off, as we might have overlooked this new project from ex-Code 64 (a group we were never fussy about) members Hasse Mattsson and Bjørn Marius. Thick modern-EBM basslines, lotsa vocoder and some soaring vocals in a style not totally dissimilar from what the stuff Thyx/mind.in.a.box’s Stefan has been doing lately. Very different, hella melodic, and all potential right now, which is a good impression to leave a first-time listener with.

Vanligt Folk, “Rasseboogie”
Speaking of Progress Productions, we’re tickled that indefinable oddball act Vanligt Folk have a new EP coming out in a little over a week. Their debut was a pretty strange mix of EBM, folk, punk; just a whole mess of ideas all swaddled in a very accessible pop wrapper. This new jam has that kinda weird tribal drumming mixed with yelping vocals and some cool synth stabs. No idea what to compare it to, but that’s kinda the appeal, innit?

Atropine, “Churn”
Long-running Norwegian EBM act Atropine are priming the pump for what will, technically, be their first proper LP despite having been around for nigh-on twenty years. Consisting of rerecordings of tracks which have circulated on demos and limited releases, Recurring Nightmares is getting a proper EK Product release. The first snippet we’re hearing has a super-dry and minimal feel dominated by synth-bass, but some more evocative melodies work their way in as well. A nice taster.

Keluar, “Vitreum”
We were familiar with Keluar’s vocalist Zoè Zanias from her work with Dejan Samardzic’s DSX, but were by and large unfamiliar with the Berlin project’s original works. Looks like we’ll have to be rectifying that, seeing as the two songs they’ve used to tease their May 1st EP on Desire are right up our alley: atmospheric electro with lots of haziness around the edges and some serious machine rhythms. Not quite minimal, not quite darkwave, not quite EBM, but not entirely not those things either, which is the kind of genre-stepping ambiguity we can get behind. Peep the title track below, go hear “Rupture” at their Bandcamp, and we’ll let you know how the record is when it drops.

Oracles, “Unrest”
From Cincinnati comes this bit of crepuscular prettiness from Oracles. While their debut LP Dirty Martini looks to be a mix of slightly dubby downtempo and folky feels (I get the sense Phil Western would dig this), the lead single feels like a straight-up 90s darkwave/dream pop tune with a slight update. Should appeal to fans of Claire Voyant?

Seeming, “The City Sleeps”
Finally, we leave you with a just-released cover Alex Reed’s done of MC 900 Ft. Jesus’ “The City Sleeps”. The original is one of those vintage Nettwerk cuts that wasn’t specifically industrial per se, but very much fit into the odd nexus of industrial, pop, and off-beat hip-hop and dance which the label was gathering to itself circa 1990. Reed swaps out the original’s dusty trip-hop for Burial-like atmospherics. Good for the soul.