Sad news this past weekend, as we learned of the passing of Gang of Four’s Andy Gill. His work’s relevance to and influence on the broader world of alternative music is unquestionable, but for our part we’ve always viewed Gill and Gang of Four as one of the best acts to fuse funk and dance rhythms with punk sounds and politics. Genre considerations aside, it should be obvious why that legacy is pertinent to Our Thing and to us personally. Godspeed Mr. Gill, and thank you.
Pouppée Fabrikk, “I Am Here to Stay”
The message when Henrikk Nordvargr Björkk and his compatriots in Swedish EBM legends Pouppée Fabrikk reactivated in 2013 was “Bring Back the Ways of Old”, a rallying cry for OG body music heads seeking the grit and sweat of PF’s classic sound. Some seven years later the message is “I Am Here to Stay”, the most recent taste of their forthcoming LP Armén. As you might expect it’s some dirty, thick and angry stuff that conjures the sounds of days gone, its bassline hitting with the impact of a kick drum. Album is due in March, we dare you to ask Henrikk if he’s sticking around after hearing this.
Sally Dige, “It’s You I’m Thinking Of”
Danish-Canadian artist Sally Dige’s 2017 LP Holding On remains a favourite around the HQ and in our DJ sets. Dige’s lush presentation of pop-touched darkwave and synthwave gets into your soul with ease and stays there. New single “It’s You I’m Thinking Of” brings classic AM polish and breeziness into the mix, with an Echo-esque guitar line which weaves alongside Dige’s vocals and has us looking forward to spring.
Viva Non, “Disorder”
Winnipeg’s Viva Non come through with a track that sort of splits the difference between minimal synth and sweet synthpop, and could be read as either. The duo are an act who have shown a lot of fluidity in how they approach their sound, which is to their benefit; being hard to peg, but broadly appealing is a blessing that lets them cross scene boundaries with ease. New two track release Play Forwards to Hear Satanic Messages is available now, new LP this year perhaps?
Nootropic, “Consuming Voltage 1”
Here’s a nice splash of icy and stripped-down electro-industrial from Seattle’s Nootropic. Carrying on from last year’s enjoyable Blood Vapor EP, the first half of an instrumental two-fer does a great job of putting forward roots programming as a base, and then adorning it with wispy and disquieting pings and pads. A full LP of stuff in this style would be great to check out, just saying…
New Risen Throne, “The Outside (I)”
It’s been a long hiatus for Italy’s normally prolific and now longstanding dark ambient act New Risen Throne. Gabriele Panci hasn’t released an LP since 2011, but the first piece of forthcoming release The Outside shows how he’s been keeping his skills sharp. Submerged orchestral passages gradually morph into harshly textured grind. Heavy but immediately rewarding stuff.
Look, neither of us is gonna front like we’re the biggest Xotox fans that ever lived. Most of our memories of the group are actually of their live performances at Festival Kinetik more than a decade ago, which were generally quite lively and positioned in the schedule as dance breaks for the attendees. Now at the time we interpreted them as a slightly more palatable off-shoot of rhythmic noise geared for the clubs, and new single “UFO” sort of scans that way, but couldn’t you also point to Xotox as kind of a sneaky progenitor of the current wave of industrialized techno? Have a listen and decide for yourself!