Settling in to spring means a few things here at I Die: You Die; firstly it’s time for us to start looking at musical trends of the year (at a glance we’re seeing the promised wave of Covid creativity and some Bandcamp Friday burnout) but secondly, and especially for this, our 10th year doing I Die: You Die we’re getting the ball rolling on some anniversary projects. Chief amongst them will be some merch drops, but we’ve got some stuff specifically for the site and podcast we’re pretty excited about. Keep your eyes on this space for more info as we roll it out.

XTR Human lookin fresh to death

XTR Human, “Wie Ein Gott”
One of our fave tracks of the year thus far has been XTR Human’s “Leben Ohne Licht”, a solid bit of electro-body with a synthpop finish that sticks in your head after a single listen. We’re super happy to hear then that the band have a forthcoming album on Braid entitled G.O.L.D.. New track “Wie Ein Gott” has the same genre mix as it’s predecessor, with a smooth build and fun production flourishes. Definitely a release we’re putting down on our calendars.

Null Command, “Compression Standards”
Not the Wisconsin synthpop combo (that’d be Null Device) not the French industrial rock project (that’s Null Split), Null Command are a minimal synth act from Victoria, British Columbia. And when they say minimal they mean it, every song is made up of a scant few layers of synth, some Speak-n-spell style synthesized vocals and a healthy dollop of robotic funk. Minimal doesn’t mean simple though; check some of the clever programming on “Compression Standards” from the forthcoming LP Control Language for Deviation for a taster of what Null Command have on offer.

Ghost Twin, “Blue Sunshine”
Another teaser from Strobe Light, the forthcoming second LP from our fave Winnipeg darkwavers, Ghost Twin. The whole faux-retro VHS aesthetic they’ve been using in the lead-up to the record is charming enough, but super-sweet synthpop confections like this one, bringing classic Erasure to mind, are the real delight. A reference to the film or the record? Not sure…

MVQX, “Hey You Sh1t”
After the straightforward but thoroughly engaging Social Disaster EP first brought Brazilian producer MVQX to our attention, a sharp turn’s been made with the About That EP. Much more furtive and minimal, tracks like this one put all the focus on dense, rubbery bass textures along with some classic, early Mute-type atmosphere and clatter. We hope we don’t still need to spell it out in 2021, but anyone sleeping on South America’s body music scene is missing out on some of the most vibrant and swiftly evolving producers out there.

Volt 9000, “Unbreakable”
We’re unabashed fans of Canadian oddball industrialists Volt 9000, from their lo-fi 16 bit origins right through to their complex and varied latter era. That makes the release of B-Side so delightful for us; each of the EP’s five tracks is a previously unreleased track from each of the project’s first five albums. If you follow Cory Gorski you know he’s got his fingers in a lot of pies – he wrote a book about VHS collecting, has a collaborative grunge (!!!) band with Brian Graupner and is prepping another episode of his stop-motion animated series for release – so we’re glad he could take some time to put this oHgr-esque cut from a decade back into the world.

Menthüll, “Happy Sunday”
Kicking along with Quebecois duo Menthüll, who’ve become one of our sleeper fave acts within or outside Canada during the lockdown era. A bit more trad synthpop is woven into the Hull act’s coldwave stylings on this track, but the dreamy, florid feel which first brought us in is still in full effect. Very much an act we suggest keeping tabs on from here on out.