Dark post-punk burnout became a bit of a hot topic on gothier corners of the internet over the past week or two. While tracking the rise (and often fall) of trends and microgenres within the broader world of dark music is always going to be part of our beat, we’ve been in the game long enough to recognize the cyclical nature of this sort of thing. Is there a lot of derivative post-punk out there right now, possibly buoyed by the hope of Molchat Doma-styled crossover success as well as drawing upon the usual, somewhat stale influences? Sure, but part of the benefit of that tradition being as old as it is is that it’s proven to be resoundingly flexible, with newer generations approaching it from different angles and linking together hitherto unconnected sources and sounds. In short, to quote Simon Reynolds quoting Orange Juice, someone’ll rip it up and start again soon enough.
cEvin Key, “Help Me Good”
That cEvin Key has become such an open book in recent years regarding his musical interests and history in innumerable projects over the past few years via his Patreon content has been a godsend for crate-diggers and amateur industrial historians such as ourselves. That such a foundational figure is willing to dig into the recesses of his own past doesn’t just fill in the gaps or make for good storytelling, it’s now paying off in terms of archival releases. The next instalment of the legendary Back & Forth series will unveil a host of hitherto unheard by the public material from 4-track tapes circa 1985. In addition to adding depth and context to contemporaneous Puppy sounds, a piece like this also underscores just how clear the influence of dub on Key can be heard even in some of his earliest work.
Total Chroma, “Lapland”
Isku Katerwol should be somewhat familiar to readers of this site, and listeners of our podcast; having tracked the Vancouver artist’s career from Weird Candle through Wire Spine and the birth of the city’s Verboden Festival, Katerwol has been a fixture of our coverage for a decade at this point. Solo project Total Chroma’s forthcoming LP Lapland promises to be something new and interesting for the nominally EBM project, drawing heavily from Katerwol’s Sami lineage in themes the and evocation of the Northern climes the people inhabit. Due October 10th via Negative Gain, expect some further exploration of the record in these pages soon.
Mildreda, “Friendly Fire”
We’ve been longtime admirers of the approach Jan Dewulf takes with his Mildreda side-project when he’s not working on Diskonnekted material. Digging deep into classic veins of dark electro, Mildreda is a project which straddles the line between the murky (and often lo-fi) atmospheres of any number of pioneering acts one might cite as influences, and Dewulf’s sizable skills when it comes to clean, hi-res production. A tune like this one, from forthcoming LP Blue-Devilled, nicely gets that ethos across with its nimble arpeggios and chilled, flowing atmosphere.
Super rare that we post more than one song by an artist here on Tracks, but we have to make an exception for grabyourface’s new double-A side single. Especially where each track speaks to one face of the fiery artist’s current work. “Haine” draws from the French born artist’s deep well of contempt and anger for the state of European and global politics, matching both a plea for reason with a hard, gabber-touched instrumental. “Guillotine” is less concerned with questions than solutions (the title is a hint, she comes by it honestly), all delivered in confident and matter of fact fashion.
Bootblacks, “Forbidden Flames”
New hotness from NYC’s Bootblacks. The Artoffact recording act have always had a knack for a strong melody and a clean melding of electronics and post-punk instrumentation, and “Forbidden Flame” is no exception with its strong synth-driven rhythm and a confidently delivered hook that should get real familiar to club-goers in the next few months.
Distortion Six, “Bow Down”
Y’know, some days you don’t really feel like melody, subtle mixing, or even much in the way of composition itself. Some days all you want is some raw, speaker-frying powernoise just like Hypnoskull or Noisex used to make. And on those days, be thankful for Norway’s Distortion Six. New two-track release Tartarus finds Nichlas Shermann taking a bit of a gabber angle, but the result is still just as blunt and punishing as anything else in his catalog.