First Tracks post of 2023, let’s get into it. Although the annual hiatus has usually been a time to catch up on all the stuff we missed out on in non-Our Thing genres over the course of the year, we’re gonna admit that we kinda slacked on listening all the new hip hop, metal and other genres we generally enjoy hear at the HQ, and mostly went to nice and comfortable favourites. There were definitely a few standouts amongst the stuff we did make a point of listening to (have you heard that Shygirl record???) but with the sheer volume of stuff from within the normal boundaries of our normal coverage that we didn’t get to last year still hanging over us like a cloud, we’ll have to put aside outside concerns and play catch-up for a bit. Speaking of which, lets get to it!
Ringfinger, “Chamber of Roses”
2023 is gonna be the year for Vancouver locals Ringfinger. We’ve been following the project for a few years and had the good fortune of seeing them play live a bunch of times in 2022, shows that put their goth rock and modern darkwave credentials on full display. Now with a fresh lineup and new single “Chamber of Roses”, the duo is set to rise to bigger prominence. Need proof? Hit that play button below and get ready for a rush of intricate guitars, saturnine vocals and hella atmospheric production. Crucial listening.
Involucija, “Ideološka Fatamorgana”
The new Involucija project, made up of a handful of producers from the former Yugoslavia, is a wonderful reintroduction to aufnhame + wiedergabe at the start of a new year. Linking the label’s recent placement at the front of the TBM arms race with its roots in outré darkwave and pointing towards some exciting new symphonic ambitions, the trio’s Crna Formula
Klack, “New Buildings”
New year, new Klack. Our favourite Wisconsin-based new beat duo return with a split release due on the always consistent Synthicide, teaming up with Inconscio Viola (the new project from a triumvirate of Italian producers Francesco Baudazzi of Violet Poison, Diana Berti and Andrea Riberti of Unconscious) for an EP that promises all the mid-tempo body grooves you can handle. “New Buildings” might be a cheeky Neubauten reference, but it’s pure Belgium in its execution, all funky cowbell, rhythmic vocal cut ups and sinister vibes.
Speaking of Italy, regular readers will know that the ascendance of italo-flavoured body music was one of the trend of 2022 with which we were most smitten. There will be few hotter spots at which to check the sound out in the year ahead than France’s Ritmo Fatale label, which is just about to release the Epifania comp celebrating its third anniversary. Icy yet bouncy cuts like this are exactly the sort of low-key club killers we’re looking forward to tracking down in the year ahead.
The Fourth Man, “Something You Can Break”
The last-minute reemergence of deep Vancouver scene act The Fourth Man wasn’t something either of us had on our list of predictions for 2022, but here we are! There was a spate of reissues and one-off tracks from David Collings and Gabe Abney about a decade back, but this creeping yet melodic electro-industrial slow jam makes for a welcome reemergence of one of the most cult acts in our fair city’s history.
We’ve never made any bones about how much we dig Neuroticfish; to our minds the long-running German futurepop act have a catalogue that hasn’t lost a thing over the years, and the post reactivation material has stood shoulder to shoulder with it. As if to drive that point home “Sleep”, the instrumental first taste of forthcoming album The Demystification of the Human Heart comes as the B-Side on Velocity N20 a two-decades on celebration of the band’s club staple “Velocity” complete with remixes by Assemblage 23, Faderhead and more. While the Sascha Mario Klein’s voice is absent from the cut, you can’t in any way mistake the driving, uptempo rhythm programming, tastefully moody touches of trance. Definitely a record we’ll be anxiously waiting to hear more about as the year wears on.