Hey, gang! As folks who read these pages are likely aware, we’re big fans of Artoffact. They’ve released countless incredible records from across the spectrum of Our Thing and beyond for nearly twenty years. We’ve long since lost count of the number of incredible releases of theirs we’ve discussed on the site, but we can tell you that five of the seven records we’ve chosen as our favourites in a given year since we started ID:UD have either been released or distributed by Artoffact. Pretty impressive by any measure. Anyway, we try to keep our nose out of other people’s business, but when Artoffact is facing a $10,000+ accounting error, and their legal counsel suggests that social media saber rattling is the best course of action, well, we saddle up. See, FedEx added an extra 0 to a shipping invoice and are now charging Artoffact $12,000 for a shipment which should’ve cost $1,200: not exactly chump change. However, FedEx have been giving AOF the runaround for months to no avail, and it looks like it might be up to all of us to give them a hand The dudes behind AOF are solid citizens through and through, and deserve our support. If you can retweet their petition or do anything to get FedEx to rouse from their slumber on this issue, you’d be doing a world of good for some of the finest purveyors of new and archival releases Our Thing has to offer. Thanks in advance, now let’s get on to this week’s Tracks!

Ashbury Heights. No, we told them it was casual dress – they just showed up like this.

Need For Speed, “c/o”
Progress Productions out of Sweden are consistently one of our favourite labels year over year. Partially it’s because they put out records by bands we already love, but a big part of their appeal is how they bring brand new Swedish synth music to our attention regularly. Such is the case with Need For Speed, a Malmö based duo who make sweet simple synthpop with pleasingly smooth vocals and relatable subject matter; new song “c/o” is about overdoing it on a night out and the associated shame thereof. First album drops in the fall, which is basically the perfect season for this sort of sound. We’ll be listening for it.

Ashbury Heights, “Recorded For MG Lewis (ES Mix)”
Whatever we might have presumed Ashbury Heights’ fourth LP Victorian Wallflowers to sound like was a fair distance away from this revved up club mix. True, this pre-record release remix appearing on the fifth volume of the Electronic Saviors charity compilations is likely a far cry from whatever Anders and Tea have in store for us in the months ahead, but it’s still fun to try to reconstruct the original from the remix…even if the side-chaining excesses of this club rager would make Lewis’ libertine monk Abrosio blush.

Cellar Graves, “Cold White Skin”
Very happy to have some new material from your dude Chase Dobson, better known to some of you by the work he put out on Tympanik as c.db.sn or from his guitar on some recent Black Tape for a Blue Girl. A couple years back Chase started circulating some demos for a classically styled electro-industrial project called Cellar Graves, but it wasn’t until just yesterday that we got word that a debut EP was nearly complete. The first song we’re hearing from it is “Cold White Skin” which goes heavier on the atmospherics and sound design, seeming both retro and timeless on that Doubting Thomas tip. Can’t wait to hear the rest of this!

XISIX, “Dirty Kiss”
We often like to talk about the still evolving industrial-techno matrix in somewhat florid terms. Between northern English art spaces and post-reunificication Berlin raves there’s plenty of chin-stroking to be done about the theory and intersection of these two aesthetics. Well, Seattle’s XISIX couldn’t give two shits about all that. His new release Jupiter’s Orbit via LA’s DTH X CMP clique is nothing but raw and noisy acid that certainly owes something to the legacy of Hymen Records but isn’t taking any time out between thumping kicks to pay polite homage.

Dead Voices On Air, “Plucked and placed in lines of five”
Mark Spybey’s new DVOA release purports to be a flashback to his Zoviet France days, with a focus on unique cassette distribution. In lieu of a clear way of purchasing said tapes, we’re left to skim the online iteration of One Hundred Titles. Few folks in the post-industrial milieu have zoomed in so closely on timbre as Spybey, and as this track shows he’s still a master of excavating the colour and shape of the noisescapes he’s been creating for decades.

Pod Blotz, “In Between Worlds”
Writing about music tends to lead to spending a lot of time thinking about things like genre tags and classifications, as we try to sort out the endless amount of music we have available to us into some kind of organized system of reference. Artists like Pod Blotz defy that kind of categorization though, shifting effortlessly through noise, ethereal, retro synth, ambient and industrial sounds, often in the course of a single track. If you haven’t checked out Suzy Poling’s work previously you could do worse than to start with new EP Light Mass Body, which arrives from Difficult Interactions replete with the intensity of the project’s previous work in a concentrated into a digestible form.