It was a hell of a weekend here in Vancouver, one of the most musically packed we’ve experienced in a long time between Verboden Festival and various other extant shows. You’ll hear more about it on the podcast this week, but we thought we’d take a moment to give a shout out to Robert and the staff at Verboden and all the locals who have been putting in work booking bands, running club nights and otherwise contributing to the surge of the dark music community in our home town. It’s good to see the variety and spirit of collaboration that has risen up in Our Thing in our own hometown and we couldn’t be more pleased with weekends like the one we just experienced. Mazel tov!
DRI HIEV, “Seven Of”
Speaking of Verboden, a highlight of the fest was Calgary’s Dri Hiev, whose performance grabbed everyone in the venue immediately, making a roomful of fans in a tense 25 minutes. Combining raw synthpunk with a mix of shrieked and sung vocals and the addition of saxophone, it’s a blend of sounds as potent as it was unexpected. Check out their track “Seven Of” from the official festival compilation and be on the lookout when they come through your town.
Veil of Light, “Fact2019”
Zurich-based Veil of Light have been working their particular strain of mechanized post-punk pretty hard over the last couple of years, delivering several LPs of cool and sonically aggressive tunes. The first song we’re hearing from the forthcoming Inflict keeps with the hard hitting drum machines we’ve come to expect, but the bassline and metallic synth tones are giving off some serious 80s Mute catalogue vibes. Catchy stuff from an act who are low-key amongst the best plying this particular wave of darkwave.
Survival Paradox, “Night”
Emad Dabiri’s X-IMG label has done a solid job of establishing a particular aesthetic and raising the profile of plenty of acts Dabiri doesn’t have a direct hand in. The fourth of the label’s Self-Aware comps is on deck, featuring a laser-etched USB drive (designed by a fashion label for folks who don’t just wear band shirts and ballcaps) for its physical version. Info about lead-off hitters Survival Paradox is scant, but we dig the way atmosphere is built around a slightly sprained acid beat.
Corvx de Timor, “Mantidianos (feat Humanfobia)”
Ben Arp’s dusted off his witchier garb and returned to his Corvx de Timor project with a couple of releases in the past month. This collaboration with Chilean producer Humanfobia is a nice exercise in pure, minimal sound design, and draws a clear line between CdT and Arp’s powernoise roots in C/A/T.
Lizard Skin, “Warm Descent”
You can’t swing a bass without hitting a post-punk band in Portland, but newcomers Lizard Skin look to be doing well by their city with this track from their debut tape. There’s some quiet consideration happening in the corners here, and that contemplative mood contrasts with the brusque vocals, though by the end everything’s gelling quite nicely. Featuring production from our pal Susan Subtract of Physical Wash, we’re hoping the rest of the tape lives up to this promise.
Blac Kolor, “Nano Creator (Klangbild remix)”
One aspect of Blac Kolor’s Awakening LP from 2018 was the way it shied away from the obvious ways techno and industrial cross over to explore some more heady and atmospheric territory. Hendrick Grothe was always ahead of the curve in working that particular hybridization, so it definitely felt like an interesting choice to try and take his now venerable project in a direction that challenged listeners to follow. As something of a follow-up new single Awakening Remixes takes things back towards the dancefloor, with three new reinterpretations fit for more adventurous clubgoers like this acid-flecked cut from Klangbild.