The notion of “festival season” seems like more and more of a remnant of the past these days, with the recently announced Ombra Festival and the just announced Synthicide X Anniversary festival set to happen this December and January. In addition to the seasonal variety, we’re happy to see lineups like this which speak to a blending of artists from our side of things with other electronic scenes. While it’s all well and good to set up a stage of legacy industrial rock acts at some monster-sized metal or rock festival, events like these are precisely where exciting new evolution in Our Thing begins to take hold.
Sixth June, “Collapse”
Despite ostensibly trading in a style of darkwave which has become ever more popular since their landmark 2017 LP Virgo Rising, there’s something about the uncanny tropicalia Sixth June’s music often carries which just can’t be recreated by imitators. Like their best stuff, this new single finds Lidija and Laslo meandering in the twilight, somewhere between familiar comforts and deep, unknowable strangeness.
Mari Kattman, “URGOD.AI”
Always a pleasure to have something new from Mari Kattman, whose work as a guest vocalist for inumerable other acts we follow has always been impressive, but whose own solo material has become equally interesting to us. A large part of it is the way Kattman takes a track like “URGOD.AI” (from the recent single) and infuses it with such a huge amount of personality in power, both by her forceful delivery of the chorus, and the way she leans back on the verse to draw you in for the kill.
Piston Damp, “I’m Losing You (A New Tale)”
We had yet to check out Piston Damp, the synthpop project of Truls Sønsterud and Jonas Groth until new single “I’m Losing You (A New Tale)” dropped the other week. If the name Groth perked your ears up, yes, it is the Jonas Groth who is the brother of Stephan and an occasional member of Apoptygma Berzerk, but that’s not what Piston Damp is all about. Instead the project deals in sweet, classic synthpop with nice melodies, big arrangements and speedy programming. Not a bad cut for fans of the style and certainly enough for us to start keeping tabs ourselves.
KYMAVR, “All Ska I Jorden”
Speaking of Swedish synthpop, regular readers with long and sharp memories might recall KYMAVR as a side project of Martin Sax (V▲LH▲LL, EkoBrottsMyndigheten) which allowed him to dig into the trippier corners of electro-industrial. We’ve long wondered whether the project would ever return, but the first material under that name in five years is nothing like we expected. A cover of a song by Swedish indie/folk songwriter Stefan Sundström, “All Ska I Jorden” uses a surprisingly direct and heartfelt synthpop delivery to bring life to Sundström’s weary rumination on death as the great leveler.
Carrellee, “Stay (Patriarchy remix)”
We were happy to get to see Madison, Wisconsin’s Carrellee back in May of this year as part of Vancouver’s Verboden Festival; having heard good things about the synthpop artist’s lush stylings and performance, we were very taken by the natural warmth and charisma of the presentation of the material from LP Scale of Dreams. The remix companion to the LP Rescaled boasts quite the lineup of acts on it, including ESA, Bestial Mouths, Monta and live “it” band Patriarchy, who deliver this pleasingly groovy remix of “Stay”.
Lebanon Hanover, “Kyiv”
We’ll admit to tilting towards the Qual side of things when it comes to William Maybelline, but Lebanon Hanover can still turn our heads, as they’ve just done with their new 7″. Featuring this stoic, unblinking neofolk number expressing solidarity with those under siege in the Ukraine and bafflement at the capriciousness of fate, it’s a potent distillation of what made the band such a sensation in the first place.