We’re in between Vancouver shows from Zola Jesus, whom we caught this weekend, and Chelsea Wolfe, who plays on Halloween (with Youth Code opening no less!). It’d be tough to think of a couple of acts of recent vintage who’ve done as effective a job of bringing darker aesthetics and styles to broad audiences in recent years – Wolfe shifting between droning darkwave to goth-tinted metal, Nika Danilova bringing her deep talent for noise to bear on haunting torch songs. If nothing else, their success shows that there’s ongoing interest in darker, noisier music from well outside the social circles many of us run in, regardless of whether it’s codified as goth or industrial or neither. As much as we love going to smaller shows full of friends and folks in the know, we don’t want to get so locked into our own niches that we don’t recognize what’s happening outside of them; things on the other side of the fence might be just as dark and gloomy, so don’t box yourself in. Here’s a fresh batch of tracks.
Kirlian Camera feat. Covenant, “Sky Collapse”
You know, we’ve been anticipating this collab ever since those videos of Elena and Eskil on stage together surfaced the other year. Covenent and Kirlian Camera joining forces just makes sense: both bands deal with emotion in a stoic, European fashion, both bands have a penchant for the grandiose, both bands who can make a club jam that doesn’t betray either of the former qualities. This one fulfills all those criteria, and tell us that Elena and Eskil voices don’t sound like they were meant to duet like this? Not sure if this is the only thing they’ll be doing together, but it effectively got us hyped for that new Kirlian whenever it materializes.
Koban, “You Don’t Know Where You Came From”
Plenty of acts have used the recording opportunities offered by LA’s Part Time Punks – a weekly party that trades in post-punk, industrial, synthpop, and plenty more – in a fashion akin to classic Peel Sessions; releasing slightly scrappier or more experimental takes on current material. Vancouver’s own Koban are doing something similar, but given the speed with which the duo turn out new work, their PTP session marks the first time all save one of these tunes have been released, if we’re not mistaken. The weight and oppression of Koban’s live sound comes across fantastically on these numbers, perhaps accentuating the band’s latent deathrock genome.
Wulfband, “Full Frontal Sabotage”
The seemingly interminable wait for another record from those mysterious body-Swedes Wulfband is interrupted by the release of new single “Full Frontal Conspiracy”. When we say mysterious, we’re serious: we’ve looked into it and despite having been in the same room as these cats for a whole weekend at Terminus this year, we’re still no closer to divining their identities. What we do know is that they’re responsible for some of the most compulsively playable EBM released in the last several years, and the new jam is no exception, just 2 minutes 42 seconds (!!!) of that punky body music that won us over in 2014.
Leaether Strip, “Into Its Eyes (Meathook Massacre II Theme)”
Uncle Claus has a new Leaether Strip album on the way, which’ll be accompanied with a collection of all the Depeche Mode covers he’s released as one-offs over the past few years (and if you’re a regular Tracks reader or follower of the Leaether Strip Bandcamp you’ll know just how many tributes to his favourite band Claus has made). As far as the original material which’ll be on 50, the lead track hits that particular balance of chilling creepiness and immediate dark electro bounce which Claus helped to pioneer.
Walk Onto Sun, “Hollowed Out”
We dug Walk Onto Sun’s 2016 debut EP for its catholic and electronically experimental approach to darkwave, and the project’s newly released follow-up EP feels just as comfortable moving from sound to sound, even if the techno quotient’s been upped a bit in parts. There’s some serious jack underneath this cut’s swarms of drones and horns, producing a tension between beat and unrelenting bleakness which reminds us a bit of Qual.
Xenturion Prime, “Propulsion”
We weren’t ever huge fans of Code 64, the band that would eventually become Xenturion Prime. Weirdly, it was remixing Roxette that brought us onside, and now we have a spot for these cats. Doesn’t hurt that their proggy, over the top 2017 version of futurepop is exactly the sort of thing we wish people had been pushing towards around the turn of the millenium. It’s big and fun and you can dance to it, but with enough complexity in arrangement to add dimension. New album Humanity Plus drops November 3rd, we’ll be checking in on it for sure.