First Bandcamp Friday of 2023 was last week, and we were happy to see the return of the now familiar semi-regular event; the fun of going through our own wishlists and seeing all the new releases hitting the site remains a rush of a very special kind. There’s something to the way we anticipate these occasions that reminds us of actual irl record shopping in the pre-internet age. Maybe it’s the volume of stuff to check out, or the “what the hell, why not give this a shot” way we fill our carts, but regardless of reason we’ve come to anticipate and relish the first Friday of the month. Usual reminders apply: you don’t need to wait for a special occasion to buy music on BC or elsewhere, and it doesn’t have to be a new release for you to put it in your shopping cart. That said, we’re relishing the influx of new music (if not the e-mails that accompany them) the occasion brings.

Male Tears

Male Tears bringing 1994 The Undertaker realness.

Lead Into Gold, “The Eternal Present”
The appeal of the reactivation of Paul Barker’s Lead Into Gold rests far more strongly, at least for us, on the uncertainty of what new music from the project might sound like rather than the hope for pat recreation of the past. Barker’s style, both in terms of composition and production, has always been far more subtle than that of most of his Wax Trax brethren, but retains an unmistakable X factor. Is the title of the forthcoming third Lead Into Gold LP an allusion to Frederic Jameson’s theories about the power of late capitalism to occlude the material realities of history, or simply a winking nod to the sense of nostalgia the simple mention of Barker’s name is likely to connote to rivetheads of a certain age? Either way, the lurking menace of the title track suggests that we’re in for one hell of a record in a couple of months.

Male Tears, “I Expire”
The moment many folks, us included have been waiting for came this past Bandcamp Friday, as Los Angeles’ Male Tears announced their Krypt LP, coming April 28th from AVANT! records. If you aren’t familiar with the duo, they’ve been making a name for themselves for a minute now with their mix of modern, club-ready electronic darkwave, and distinctive presentation, a mutant hybrid of classic goth looks and hyperspeed Zoomer internet aesthetics. “I Expire” sets the stage, we’re anticipate the grand entrance April 28th.

Belgrado, “Boixar”
It’s been so long that we’ve had new music from Barcelona’s Belgrado that seeing them (along with The Bellicose Minds!) play in Vancouver feels like it was a lifetime ago. While 2016’s Obraz saw them adding some more experimental sounds to their storming peace-punk/deathrock style, the lead track from the forthcoming Intra Apogeum shows that they haven’t stayed pat in the interim, working in all manner of dub and new wave quirks.

Autumns, “Fallen Sons”
Ireland’s Autumns have clearly been eating their Wheaties, setting some sort of early record with a full two LPs already released this year. No sooner did we get around to copping I Didn’t Mean To Send It Twice than we had Still In The Thick of It land on our desk. Chunky, hardware driven tracks like this one are a testament to how Autumns has become one of the most vital body music producers going, as well as one of the most omnivorous.

Nuclear Sludge, “Destroy”
Absolute banger from Jimmy Svensson, one of our favourite modern EBM producers. Like all Nuclear Sludge tracks, “Destroy” has elements of old school revivalist body music, but is shot through with both the punk energy that Svensson brings from his background in hardcore, and his other more ambient and textural productions under his own name. Nuclear Sludge’s track record on singles is pretty great, maybe it’s time for an LP?

Menthüll, “Tes Ailes”
Another catchy number from our favourite current Quebecois synthpop act Menthüll. “Tes ailes” (that’s “Your wings” for those of you who didn’t do ten or so years of French immersion at school) leans more deeply into the post-punk end of the project’s sound than some previous singles, but it suits them – the duo have always had a continental element to their sound that adapts well to the gloomy darkwave sounds that are brought here via melodic bass guitar and dark synth pads. Maybe one of the most slept on acts going, do yourself a favour and dive into the recent catalogue.