Hail friends, and welcome to April, second quarter 2023 and a time where live shows seem to be picking up a lot. Although a lot of attention has been paid to the various mega-tours (and the associated discourse around ticket prices and accessibility), we’d like to take this time to remind you to support your local, small scale bands, artists, projects and promoters. Especially as the purse strings tighten and folks make choices about who is gonna get their entertainment dollars, consider putting some of what you have allotted for entertainment towards grassroots and DIY endeavours that enrich the place you live and provide non-corporate avenues for artistic expression. It’s a reminder we all need sometimes, but one that is always timely and can’t be repeated enough.
Slighter x Craig Joseph Huxtable, “Pulling Me Under (Single Mix)”
Sometime collaborators Colin Cameron of Slighter and our pal Craig Huxtable of Landscape Body Machine and OhmElectronic have joined forces again for new single “Pulling Me Under”, out now on Bandcamp with remixes by Matt Hart and SØLVE. As with all Slighter’s productions, there’s a deep sound design that spans subterranean dubby techno and modern bass sounds, while Huxtable (who it should be noted came to vocals later in his musical career after years of working in purely instrumental fashion) provides his own distinctive vocal presence to the track. The result has a subtle but totally unmistakable insistence, building intensity gradually and only releasing it as the song fades back into the shadows.
Rotersand, “Forgotten Daydreams (Full Mix)”
Between this number and the “Higher Ground” single from earlier this year, the forthcoming LP from longstanding futurepop giants Rotersand is coming into focus. More than most of their peers, Rotersand have shown themselves able to ‘mature’ and integrate broader sounds without completely giving up on the cleanly sculpted dancefloor approach which first endeared them to us, and the way some classic and understated synthpop is worked into this nodder is a textbook example of that.
Florida’s Donzii are looking back to the period when goth, post-punk, and no wave all still shared a good amount of DNA, and on their new LP Fishbowl they underline the fact that said DNA was comprised almost wholly of funk. Tunes like this one have all of the personality and flair you’d want in stuff of this ilk, but don’t skimp on the hooks, either.
Agent Side Grinder, “Bloodless”
We were big fans of Agent Side Grinder’s neon-reinvention of themselves post the change in lineup and vocalists on their last LP A/X. Consequently we’re keen to hear where they go on follow-up Jack Vegas due this year from Progress Productions, and the tastes we’ve got have only added to the intrigue; preceding single Waiting Room and now Bloodless suggest a sort of coldwave by way of the cabaret vibe, a little theatre and emotion injected into cold war analogue synth aesthetics.
Prophän, “Abdelhadid Stati”
The solo project of Moroccan producer Othman Cherradi, Prophän brings together a moody and enveloping combo of minimal dark techno, smoky pads, and traditional folk instrumentation. Tunes like this have a smooth and inviting air, with just a little hint of bite to them.
Devours, “Jacuzzi My Stonewall”
Stop what you’re doing and watch this video, please. Okay, There’s a lot to unpack here, but suffice to say off the top that Vancouver’s Devours (who put out our album of the year in 2021) is an absolute master of delivering emotionally meaningful and profound messages via uplifting and sometimes idiosyncratic electro-pop. “Jacuzzi My Stonewall” is now the case in point; as an examination of intergenerational queer politics (with a specifically personal Vancouver angle) and the conflicted feelings an examination of the same bring up. New album Homecoming Queen is due in May via Devours’ own Surviving the Game, we can’t wait.