Panther Modern

One of the most notable aspects of Brady Keehn’s work as Panther Modern (and more broadly as part of Sextile) has been its genre mutability; PM tracks fit just as easily on industrial dancefloors as they do indie dance nights or techno warehouse parties. Latest EP Deluxe expands Keenh’s catholic view of electronic dance music even further, spiking the already project’s already potent mix of sounds with even more electronic dance tropes. Keehn deploys electro style drums on harried opener “Full Capacity”, the tracks dark and woozy bass running up against the wall of cymbals and snares until they align into a murderous groove. The EP’s title track digs deep into a similar well of sounds, but moves them forward a few years, the tweaky synthlines and disaffected vocals recalling any number of post-electro clash cuts from International DeeJay Gigolo Records. The back-half of the four track release throws even more in the melting pot; the funky bassline and mordant vocal on “Top Energy” are pure Panther Modern, but the breakbeats and warm pads that define the track have the air of 90s electronica, while “Last Wave” takes the Panther Modern toolkit and recasts it as a slick, high-speed techno club banger, its ecstatic climax appropriate for your local vampire blood rave.

Touched Fables - A Thousand Goodbyes
Touched Fables
A Thousand Goodbyes
Disown Me Records

It’s tough to find much background info about Ottawa duo Touched Fables, but even without their previous work on hand a quick skim of their debut release seems to support the PR claims regarding their tenure in various alternative projects. While ostensibly a coldwave/post-punk release, A Thousand Goodbyes adopts a very sage less is more approach which allows Touched Fables to sidestep most of the cliches currently clotting up those genres, and to work in tasteful touches from other sounds and scenes. Whether it’s linking up darkwave synth saturation with minimal wave percussion on “Hope In A Blackened Heart”, or placing the pulse and harmonies of “Cold Arms” within the skeleton of a hauntological rave track (which waxes nostalgic about “a lust for glory and a tape machine”), Touched Fables are savvy about finding the right instrumentation to suit a piece without overdressing it. As far as the core compositions, their twangy but weary guitar, as well as the band’s vocals, have more in common with turn of the millennium acts like the sorely missed I Love You But I’ve Chosen Darkness or the lesser known Beautiful Skin than any current eastern European gloom merchants or darkwave buzz hunters. Some thoughtful and moody fare for the colder parts of autumn.