Hey, gang! We mentioned it on the podcast last week, but given that it’s a relatively short run ’til it’s upon us (or in case you missed it), we thought we’d lay out the skinny on the Verboden fest happening here in Vancouver this April. Thirty bands running the gamut from EBM to post-punk to synthpop are gonna be converging on The Astoria and The Red Gate on April 9th and 10th. While there are plenty of local heroes in the form of OHM, Animal Bodies, Koban, and plenty of others, out of towners like Rhythm of Cruelty, Technotron, and Vandalaze will also be trekking up. Hell, we’ll even be DJing between bands. It promises to be an excellent consolidation of all the New Dark Things blooming and festering up here in the Pacific Northwest, and if you’re nearby we’d love to play host. On with this week’s new tunes!
High-Functioning Flesh, “Human Remains”
In case you missed it, the A-side of HFF’s new 7″ dropped last Wednesday. If we’re being honest, this new jam sounds like the missing link between 2014’s A Misery Of Unities – A Unity Of Miseries and last year’s Definite Structures (our fave of 2015, as folks might recall). This comes just as Susan and Greg are set to hit the road with dark-synthpop all-stars Body Of Light. With well over thirty North American dates there’s no excuse; make sure you catch one of the greatest body music bands in the game right now.
Glass Apple Bonzai (feat. Hello Moth), “What They Say”
Calgary’s Hello Moth was one of the most pleasing and left-field surprises at last year’s Terminus festival, and we had a feeling that we weren’t the only ones impressed by his cut-up style approach to art-house synthpop. The proof’s in the pudding now, as friend of the site Daniel X. Belasco’s tapped him for this tune, a preview of the third Glass Apple Bonzai album, In the Dark. Both artists place a huge premium on vocals in their work, and Belasco’s clean synth style is a perfect base for their harmonizations.
Blac Kolor, “Spirits (Square7 Remix)”
Hendrick Grothe is setting out to shred 2016. He’s already got one EP out in the new year, and in the three weeks since then he’s already dropped two teaser singles to prime the pump for his second Blac Kolor LP, Born In Ruins. A far cry from the hugely apocalyptic title track, “Spirits” is a tense and shadowy shuffle of pensive techno programming and deep bass cycles. The Square7 remix appended to this single boxes things into a tight garage mode and speckles some grain on things.
Coldkill, “I’m Yours (Album version)”
Folks with more than a passing familiarity with Rexx Arkana know that the FGFC820 singer and DJ is also an expert on synthpop and melodic synth music outside the aggressive remit of his main project. The debut release of his new endeavour with Eric Eldredge (Interface) reflects his knowledge of and experience with those sounds, coming in somewhere in the neighbourhood of some of the excellent melancholy synthpop we were hearing in the early days of the millennium. “I’m Yours” is available as a pay-what-you-want download on Bandcamp, including a club mix and remixes from Covenant’s Eskil Simonsson and Mondtraume. Good stuff.
HEALTH, “Drugs Exist (Mr.Kitty remix)”
Mr.Kitty turns his incredible ear for the essence of a song on his new remix for HEALTH, taking on the exceptionally lovely final track from the LA band’s terrific 2015 LP Death Magic. Where the original is a sad coda for an emotionally intense album, the Kitty version is amplified into a beacon of hope, rising up out of despair and morphing into a gloriously cathartic dancefloor smasher. Available free via Soundcloud, we can only hope this will help raise Mr.Kitty’s profile with HEALTH’s legions of followers.
Rona Geffen, “My Girls are a Fire”
Finally, something special from female:pressure, an electronic compilation made up of songs by female artists, released in solidarity with the revolutionaries of Rojava. 30 tracks of techno, noise and other forms of electronic music, dedicated to the women who are literally on the frontlines, working and fighting to build a better world for the people of Kurdistan. Have a listen to the entire set, do some reading about what is happening in Rojava and consider a donation to a worthy charity lending assistance in the struggle.