Crisp fall evenings have been making for ideal listening conditions as we head into the home stretch of writing about 2018’s records. A listening environment can, fairly or not, hugely sway our reception of a particular record, and we often find ourselves having to make time for less distracted listening seshes. With that in mind, we’ve been taking advantage of just about any and all gaps in the Vancouver rain to walk about at dusk with our new releases in the headphones. Whether you’re living your best gothic life out in the chill evening air or blocking out the sounds of irritating officemates during your 9 to 5, we hope this week’s tracks help set the mood for the week ahead.

Agent Side Grinder

Agent Side Grinder

Vlimmer, “Krakenkombat”
Here’s a track premiere from Vlimmer, one of the most rewarding discoveries we made this year. Hot on the heels of the Angststand release, Alexander Leonard Donat has a double EP slated for release this Friday. This first taste from XI/XII has the darkwave bounce and immediacy which Donat uses on one hand, paired with the flair for pathos and drama that kept us coming back to Angststand. Should appeal to fans of Die Selektion, perhaps? Stay tuned for further comment on Vlimmer’s latest…

Agent Side Grinder, “Stripdown”
New track “Stripdown” might be the best indicator of what the new incarnation of Agent Side Grinder is shooting for. It hearkens back to the previous line-up’s early synthy post-punk (think classics like “Die to Live” and “Life in Advance”) but with a slicker production aesthetic and some welcome twists, like the saxophone that pops up late in the track here. We’re definitely down for an album of this whenever that comes around.

MZ.412, “Öppna Hegrind”
There’s been no shortage of quality nightmarish material from old god Henrik Nordvargr Björkk this year, and the announcement of a new LP from MZ.412 portends well for 2019. Alonsdige fellow Pouppée Fabrikk alum Jonas Aneheim and Jouni Ollila, Nordvargr will be releasing Svartmyrkr on Cold Spring in February. This sample of the LP delivers the sort of grinding aggression we’ve come to expect from the MZ.412 name, but with canny use of ambiance and dynamics to boot.

Front Line Assembly, “Eye on You (feat. Robert Görl)”
We actually had the opportunity to hear this new FLA track when we saw Bill Leeb and company play Cold Waves back in September, but didn’t realize it was a collab with EBM OG Robert Görl of Deutsch Amerikanische Freundschaft fame. That’s perhaps understandable, as the song sounds very much in line with the ultra-modern production style of contemporary Front Line, although we definitely hear some of DAF’s genre-defining flavour in the cycling bassline that drives the track. Out now on a single with remixes by Terrence Fixmer and Orphx, this is the first real taste we have of forthcoming LP Wake Up the Coma due early next year.

Stockhaussen, “Take Control”
Stockhaussen’s 2018 LP, XII, found the Mexican producer detouring from his brusque coldwave stylings for the sake of some heavily retro analog synth fun. This first sample from Angel Kauff’s forthcoming fourth LP splits the difference, using some of the minimal synth swing of XII but delivering it with a darker and more brooding tone. Brief and punchy, it’d be interesting to hear this style taken forward across a whole LP.

Villes Nouvelles, “Before Death”
Total freshness from those underground tastemakers Detriti, it’s the debut LP from Parisian darkwavers Villes Nouvelles. Actually, debut might be a bit of a misnomer as the duo have previously released music as Chambres Froide, but their new record At The End Of Truth is their first since renaming the project. We’re liking what we hear here: that slightly disaffected minimal sound but backed with more insistent drum machine patterns and strong vocals. One to keep an eye on for sure.