Damn y’all, it’s December already! That means two things at the HQ; firstly the mad scramble to make sure we cover everything we were planning to write and podcast about before we get into 2023 round up coverage, and secondly the always contentious top 25 of the year list-making. This will be the 13th time we’ve undertaken the latter exercise, and while it’s always enjoyable, we always worry we haven’t caught everything. Not a single year of I Die: You Die has ever gone by without us discovering a record we wish we had included in a previous year’s Best Of coverage. So if you have anything we haven’t mentioned here yet, please post below, we’ll try and get it in under the wire if we’re into it. In the meantime, have some Tracks to start off your December with.
NY’s Bootblacks are two for two as far as tasters of their forthcoming LP are concerned. If Thin Skies felt like a quantum leap forward in terms of the range and sheen of their material, a number like the bouncing “Wilderness” looks like they’ll keep that exploration going, underpinning razor sharp new wave aggression with infectious hothouse balearic bounce.
Neuroticfish, “Impostor Syndrome”
In the interests of complete honesty, we should let you know that we’ve had a promo for the forthcoming Neuroticifish LP The Demystification of the Human Heart for a minute now, and can attest to its quality – you’ll see a review go up some time before it actually drops in mid-December because we want to make sure its covered before we get into year end stuff. If you want a clue to the vibe, check out opening track “Impostor Syndrome”, a moody number that foregoes much of the high bpm sound that has defined so much of the projects career and instead goes all in on Sascha Mario Klein’s emotional and always sincere balladry. Is it a ballsy choice to start your record with a largely atmospheric song, and also to release that as the record’s first taster? Yeah. Does it pay off? Spoiler: we feel it does.
Notausgang, “The Empty Figure”
We can’t remember if it was via X-IMG release Third Encounter where we would have first heard the rubbery, acidic approach to EBM of Paris-based producer Notausgang, but in either case the label is a great fit for his style. New tape Shredded With Time is full of tracks like this which absolutely nail the balance of rhythmic precision and range of well-textured programming we’ve come to expect from Notausgang.
Korine, “Mt. Airy”
Given how much staying power the best cuts from Korine’s 2023 LP Tear have had with us and the listening public, it’s not entirely unanticipated that the synthpop duo would get themselves a sick lineup of artists for that record’s accompanying remix LP. Kontravoid, Mareux, FM Skyline and others lend the already dancefloor ready tunes some slightly different flavour, and hey, would you believe that nu-italo standouts Nuovo Testamento bring some amazing 90’s 12″ remix to their version of “Mt. Airy”? Hit play below and hear the evidence, its just a lovely version of an already quite nice track.
Strategy Of Tension, “Bleeding Heart”
Phage Tapes are killing it right now, not just covering releases from sites faves still on the come up like Harsh R and Choke Chain, but also keeping their finger on brand new acts. That’s very much the case with London’s Strategy Of Tension, who played their debut show (with Puerta Negra and PC World, no less) barely two months back. Mean and snarly body music to be found here, with the punk edge not totally occluding the programming.
A rerecording of material that’s now more than a decade old, the Hypermotion X 2.0 tape just released by Ritualz is a nice reminder of just how many styles JC Lobo’s covered since breaking into the witch house game back when it was still fresh and cryptic. Tracks here run from spacey house to original drag beats, but we dig how this number draws a line between Lobo’s core style and grimy electro-industrial a la early Individual Totem.