You can look forward to a full breakdown of Verboden Festival later this week on the podcast, including our own personal highlights, but for now we are both exhausted after five days jammed full of some fifty-odd performances, and very proud of everyone who came together in our own backyard of East Vancouver to put the festival on. We had to wait two years, but it was worth it.

Fuck us up SRSQ

SRSQ, “Saved for Summer”
Not gonna, lie, we were suprised by the breakbeat infused “Someday I Will Bask in the Sun”, the first thing we heard from SRSQ’s soon to be released sophomore LP Ever Crashing. That said, the song ended being an important marker as our understanding of what the LP might end up looking like, as it primed us for the luxurious, uplifting dream-pop of “Saved for Summer”. Fuzzy bass, clacky drums, big buzzy guitars and Kennedy Ashlyn’s unmistakable vocal presence are all here, but what really leaves the impression is the hazy bliss that permeates the track. A song that musically evokes its title in every aspect, we can’t wait for this record.

SØLVE, “Black Silk Stone”
Seeing the evolution of Brant Showers’ SØLVE has been pretty fascinating: since the release of debut album the negative back in 2016, Showers has been gradually evolving the ceremonial and ritual sound of the project from the post-witch house beginnings it shared with his main outlet ∆Aimon towards a more sumptuously produced darkwave, akin to the work he does with Bestial Mouths. Check out “Black Silk Stone”, one of the tracks from the forthcoming Earth Inferno for a taste of what this unique and fascinating project has to offer in 2022.

Daniel Myer, “Broken Glas with Celldöd”
We’re not sure how this passed us by during Bandcamp Friday, nor are we sure exactly how to parse the titling of this track. Is it a collab with Anders Karlsson or simply meant as a tribute, as with the apparent shout-out to Gabor Schablitzki, formerly of Beefcake, which also appears on the A​.​N​.​W​.​N​.​T​.​D. EP? Either way, continuing collections of demos and outtakes from Myer’s now-long percolating new record are serving to keep our appetites whetted.

Fractions, “Dead Air”
Another peak-time contender from Czech outfit Fractions, who continue to do a great job of keeping a flurry of periods and styles on the go even in frenetic numbers like this. Big crossovers between not-so-dark techno, modern EBM, and throwback rave feels on this one. Looking forward to checking out the rest of the heavy-hitters on the forthcoming Daytona EP.

Rare DM, “Naomi”
We had the pleasure of catching Rare DM this past weekend at Verboden and were struck by the very distinct aesthetic they brought to a festival stage; focusing less of immediate fireworks and more on slowly evolving melodic textures that touch on hyperpop and darkwave in interesting while maintaining a focus on RDM’s own personality on stage. While you won’t get the full experience you would get live from listening to the recent “Naomi”, it should give you a primer on what this Brooklyn-based project is all about, and why they’ve been tapped to do recent high profile gigs with the likes of Molchat Doma amongst others.

Merzbow, “Baby Bird”
Trying to stay abreast of Masami Akita’s catalog is a fool’s errand (Discogs has him releasing 30 records last year alone), but when the surface elements of one of them comes together like Animal Liberation – Until Every Cage Is Empty, we take notice. Shout-outs to Crass and the ALF in an explicitly vegan-themed concept record, alongside Akita’s fixation on chickens? We can get down with that. The record is, of course, face-melting squelching noise, but you already knew that.