If you’re anything like us, dear readers, you’ve been waxing and waning through this strange combination of banality and chaos which is now all of our lives. That’s bled over to our listening habits as well. Some days we wake up full of joie de vivre and are excited to strike out and find new music which is tackling all this head-on, some days we barely wake up and just want to listen to comforting records we know like the backs of our hands just for some semblance of normality. Thankfully, we were able to once again bump into enough of the former this past week to offer up this week’s batch of Tracks.

House of Harm bundled up for summer

Croc Shop, “Empowered”
New Croc Shop? New Croc Shop. The return of the electro group wasn’t one of the things we would have had in the office pool for 2020, but given how the year’s gone it’s quite clear that anything’s possible. Resist! is the first LP of original material from the group since 2002, and lead track “Empowered” finds them picking up right where they left off: wormy programming, a strong rhythmic focus, and sardonic vocals from Mick Hale.

House of Harm, “Vicious Pastimes”
Boston darkwavers House of Harm are teasing their forthcoming LP Vicious Pastimes with the release of LP’s title track. This particular style of guitar driven darkwave – gloomy atmospheres, big hooks, plaintive vocals – is ascendant right now, and this is one of the best examples you’re likely to encounter in the wild; it’s got huge dancefloor and headphone listening potential and pretty much immediately sticks. It’s a big opening salvo that has us eager to here more.

Pudeur, “Magie Noir”
Brand new stuff from Blind Delon’s Mathis Kolkoz, who has teamed up with guitarist Paul Brousse to form Pudeur. The combination of Kolkoz’s synth punk and body music styles and Brousse’s guitar playing is a potent one; it has the energy of original school black metal, but without succumbing to the myriad pitfalls that plague attempts to hybridize that most bleak of metal styles. Keeping it lo-fi really helps, and we daresay this release will sound best on cassette. EP up for pre-order now with remixes from Chrome Corpse, Imperial Black Unit and others.

Autumns, “Left It”
Derry, Ireland’s Autumns name makes a kind of paradoxical sense; while there’s nothing autumnal about the project’s propulsive EBM bass and drum programming, there’s plenty of moodiness in their use of pads and distorted samples. The songs we’ve heard from the forthcoming Laying Heavy LP show the project exploring buzzy synthpunk alongside instrumental body music, it’ll be interesting to see the way those styles resolved across the complete release.

Universo, “Energy Of All Empty Space Brings Quantum Silence Violation To Life”
Via a Bandcamp feature, here’s a mouthful of a track from the equally verbose debut of Polish producer Universo, How To Convert Human Bodies Into Synaptic Smoke Screen. While this tape bounces all over the map from downtempo to impossibly bright and squelchy techno, it also strikes upon this sort of interesting intersection between electro and the chiller proto-synthwave of early Gatekeeper.

Corvax, “Talk To The Man”
One-man London act Corvax impressed us a couple of years back with an EP on Audiotrauma of noisy and creatively quirky tunes. David Marvelly’s new Corvax track is quite brief, but manages to pack in a whole mess of angst, programming, and well-delivered guitar. Managing to make us think of Tweaker, 12 Rounds, and INVA//ID in less than two and a half minutes is quite the feat.