Morning, friends. Y’know what doesn’t happen too often? Walking away from a show saying to yourself “Damn, that band was a) a hell of a lot gother than I expected and b) owed a lot more to Hi-NRG than I expected.” But such was the way of things as we staggered out into the night after catching Boy Harsher. Pummeling but also super smooth and peppy, one of DKA’s finest exports from Savannah put on a clinic in high-tension, low-light body music; while a bit unnerving at first the black-out conditions ended up coaxing the crowd into dancing in a slightly more uninhibited fashion than they otherwise might have on a Sunday night. Boy Harsher still have dates in Madison, Detroit, Toronto, Montreal, and Burlington in the next week; we heartily suggest catching them if you’re near those locales. We also heartily suggest checking this week’s tracks!
Sturm Café, “Arsenal”
Figuring out exactly what Sweden’s Sturm Café are on about lyrically is always something a bit of a challenge; native German speakers have suggested to us that there’s something off about their wordplay that can’t really be communicated in English. That’s a nice enough parallel to the duo’s take on classic EBM: they clearly have one foot in the purest and most stripped-down schools of EBM, but on the other there’s clearly some piss-taking happening with the way they draw connections between EBM and overt pop tropes. In any case, new release Es Geht (the band’s first since 2015’s Europa!) should offer plenty of opportunities for tea-leaf reading. Is this cut a paean to the fates of WWII-era ack-ack soldiers, or the London FC? You tell us.
Longtime readers of the site will know that we’re big stans for Professor Frank Spinath. Maybe it’s his academic credentials, maybe it’s his distinctive vocals, probably it’s both of those things. His new project Lionhearts is a solo endeavour, albeit with Ben Lukas Boyson of hecq as his producer. And, uh, man, do we not know what to expect from it given this song. Sure, the music is in line with what he has done in the past, but the brutal sample and lyrics lean way darker than anything we’ve yet heard from him. Check it out, we’re intrigued if nothing else.
Plack Blague, “Body Talk”
Lincoln’s Plack Blague occupy that delightful intersection of leathersex and industrial, a hoary tradition we’re happy to see them carry the banner of. Where a lot of supposedly “sexy” bands are content to wink awkwardly a few times and act like it’s the naughtiest shit ever (we’re looking at you Junksista), Plack Blague are all about that rough trade body music, shot through with all the grit and grime of a night out cruising for action. Check their new release Night Trax for EBM so sweaty and nasty you probably shouldn’t be able to send it through the mail.
Welt In Scherben, “Eisen Im Feuer”
More exciting techno-EBM from Aufnahme + Wiedergabe, this time of a decidedly more speedy and frenetic cast courtesy of long-time produced Thomas P. Heckmann. Acid is still being used as a nexus point, but it’s also possible to hear echoes of the late 90s when acts like Leaether Strip and Apop started experimenting with broader palettes of sound. Moving forward, moving backward, moving from techno into industrial or vice versa; it’s getting impossible to tease out all of the trajectories at play right now, but we’re just happy to have labels like A+W dishing out so much of this stuff.
Field Agent, “I Who Am Speed”
We should have mentioned this back in April when it dropped, but the dude Stephen Lee Clark has a new jam out under his Field Agent moniker, and it’s a real change-up. Where his early drops have been techno influenced, we’re hearing some electro and even cold wave sounds on this new song. Lots of atmosphere, lots of interesting use of percussion and plenty of build over its eleven minutes. Sick stuff, check the 12″ with Granite Mask and be keep checking for the project, we have a feeling something pretty substantial might be on the horizon.
Ancestral Voices, “Galdr”
Some nicely developed from Manchester’s Ancestral Voices; yet another ostensibly techno producer who’s being won over by the seductive undertow of dark ambient and adjacent sounds. Really liking the sparse and more textural application of rhythmic elements here, and a quick scan of the new Divination LP shows a keen sense for drawing sounds and samples out into full tracks, including some surprisingly bright and open passages.