A weird thing happens around the I Die: You Die HQ around this time of year, a phenomenon that we have yet to be able to parse entirely. Although we’re pretty diligent about tracking forthcoming releases and staying on top of them write-up wise, for some strange reason our “to listen” list swells enormously in the last third of the year, often to the point that records start to drop off of it as we simply aren’t staffed to check out everything we might like to. We just did up a quick list of albums yet to release this year and the results were staggering; 2017 is pretty backloaded, moreso than most years even. Fortunately we’ve got the newly returned Observer feature every Friday to help with the load, and these here Tracks post to keep us honest. Speaking of which, let’s have a listen to this week’s selections.

Ritual Howls with that lupine appeal

Encephalon, “The Calvin Klein of Slime”
I suppose we shouldn’t be totally surprised that Encephalon came out the gate for their new release We Only Love You When You’re Dead with a pretty weird single. Considering all the chats we’ve had about Jim Steinman with project mastermind Matt G, it stands to reason that some of the former’s theatricality might make it’s way into the Ottawa electro-industrial project’s work. First listen to this one had us scratching our heads, second hand our toes tapping, third time we were all in. Never a dull moment with this band, a quality that has made them a perennial ID:UD fave.

Venus In Aries, “Never Enough”
After a couple of comp appearances and steady enough gigging, New York’s Venus In Aries have their debut LP out. Produced by Sean Payne of Cyanotic, the classic Glitch Mode sound Payne’s crafted is certainly apparent, but Verena May takes the songwriting and swing of things in a very different direction, as evidenced by the Curve-like slink and stomp of tunes like “Never Enough”. Worth investigating further…

Ritual Howls, “Blood Red Moon”
Somewhere between roadhouse twang and drum machine precision you’ll find Ritual Howls, still forging their way through obscure and unusual territory. New EP Their Body is due in September, and if this pre-release single is to be believed it’ll have all the driving-through-the-desert-at-night appeal we’ve come to expect from them, complete with dodgy headlights just barely illuminating the road ahead. Get these cats on a bill with VOWWS, there’s some kinda new sound brewing as we speak.

Sumerian Fleet, “This Game Has No Name”
We were big fans of Dutch trio Sumerian Fleet’s last release, although we discovered it a few years too late to cover it for this site. Our bad, because this sort of classic body music with gothy overtones is just the sort of thing we get excited about. New one Pendulum drops in September via Dark Entries and we’re definitely excited for it, especially now that we’ve heard this preview single. Give it a stream and see where it takes you.

Damascus Knives, “Damascus Knives”
There’s no real information to be had yet about the latest act to appear under the banner of David Christian’s (Cervello Elettronic) Squarewav label. The project could be another alias for Christian’s work; the cooler dark techno he’s been working with for the past couple of years is certainly here. But there’s also a sickly, gauzy haze to the whole production which brings Dom Fernow’s various incarnations to mind. One way or the other, it’s a promising start.

CYЯØX, “cybr23”
Some pleasant enough, halfway chill rhythmic noise from a newcoming German act which also has a slight whiff of early :wumpscut:. The self-applied “sounds for sleepless weird people” tag seems appropriate. Tip of the hat to Avi for this one.