Normally we don’t feel any review crunch until late in the year, but 2018 has had the start for new releases pertinent to this site since we founded it back in 2011. That’s a blessing and a curse, as normally our January is spent checking out the notable music we missed from the previous year but didn’t get around to reviewing. Consequently you might be seeing some 2017 releases getting some attention from us well into 2018. Unless of course things keep up at the current pace, in which case we might have to get creative. Either way, why not check out some new tracks with us?

Actors look the way they sound: cool.

Actors, “Slave”
Another new one from Vancouver’s Actors, whose debut LP for Artoffact It Will Come To You is one of our most anticipated records of 2018. New track “Slaves” should provide you with ample evidence of why: sticky well-performed post-punk hooks that avoid genre cliches and recall the sort of catchy, danceable gloom of Echo & the Bunnymen or Sad Lovers & Giants. Did we mention that we’ll be DJing and co-presenting the record release party in March? If you’re in YVR you should come down to the Rickshaw, it’s gonna be large.

VOWWS have had their combination of surf-rock swagger and jagged electronic rhythms on lock for good while, and have been gearing up over the past few months with a couple of stand-alone tracks, hopefully presaging a follow-up to 2015’s The Great Sun. There’s plenty of bombast and rollick in this new cut, and we’d certainly be in the mood for a full LP of tunes in this ilk…especially if having the ever-reclusive Kevin McMahon at the boards doesn’t prove to just be a one-off collaboration.

Word Made Flesh, “The Forest (Entering the Void mix)”
We rather enjoyed the debut release from Word Made Flesh, the collaboration between Keef Baker and Phil Barry. That record’s mixture of massive guitars and stringent electronics was abetted by a goodly amount of the dub influence apparent in much of Baker’s work, and that sound is especially present in this new remix of album track “The Forest”. The big slabs of guitar are still here, but presented in a more nebulous and sinister context. Perhaps a whole dub-style remix record is warranted?

Night Terrors, “Watching Over You”
A still young act from Seattle, Night Terrors draw an intriguing line between Bites-era Puppy and synthwave which has caught a slight case of the vapors (if you get our meaning) with this preview of their forthcoming LP, Now, Here. A far step from their raw-as-death early demos, there’s perhaps an affinity with M‡яc▲ll▲ to be found on “Watching Over You”, but regardless of comparisons we’ll be interested to see how the act’s found their sea legs when we catch them at Verboden in April.

Totem, “Lifelines”
Terrific darkwave from brand new act Totem, aka Christoffer Bagge. While this is literally the first song available to sample from the new project, it’s got a good classic genre vibe, placing it firmly in the crop of new acts exploring the possibilities of the sound. Unsurprisingly Bagge is based in Berlin, which always seems to be the place where these movements really take root and flourish. Keep an eye on this one, we’re guessing you’ll be hearing a lot more from them sooner rather than later.

Neon Insect, “Thoughtcrimes”
Nils Sinatsch’s one man project trades in a lot of video game soundtracking, and even on standalone Neon Insect releases, like the forthcoming Glitches, there’s a whiff of old Doom .wads. Regardless, Sinatsch is able to strike a nice balance between stormy metal guitars and synthwave programming while maintaining a solid electro-industrial groove. Claus Larsen’s tapped for a guest spot on Glitches, but Sinatsch can carry things off just fine by himself, as this paranoid chugger proves.