Okay so it’s halfway through January already, which seems nuts but also kind of comforting? Like, the passage of time is something we’re probably overly concerned with if only because having done this here website for 12+ years we’re now deeply conscious of the ebb and flow of Our Thing, and the unexpected ways in which some aspects of it change and some stay the same. Does this read like we’re stalling because we don’t have any pressing matters to document in this space? God we hope not. On to Tracks!
SPARK!, “66 ton krom”
SPARK! is back, SwEBM is good again! Awoooooo (wolf howl). Jokes aside, we enjoyed the material that SPARK! produced in the years between the release of their definitive statement on quirky pop/body music Hela Din Varld, but the return of that record’s vocalist and founding member Stefan Brorsson to the fold for a new record is giving us reasons to celebrate. Why you ask? Listen to how god damn weird and perfect “66 ton krom” is and then get back to us: instantly one of our most anticipated records of 2024.
Anja Huwe, “Rabenschwarz”
Accompanying a massive Xmal Deutschland reissue campaign from Sacred Bones, we’re being treated to the unexpected reemergence of Anja Huwe; frontwoman for that legendary band and possessor of one of the most powerful voices in the history of goth. Solo LP Codes will be out in early March, and for now we have “Rabenschwarz”, a combo of thrashy goth rock and skittering darkwave electronics, with Huwe’s voice perhaps not as unhinged and careening as it once was, but still with that unmistakable tone.
Dionysus, “Blue Swan”
Speaking of Xmal, it would not shock us at all to learn that some of their records might be in the collections of Aussie newcomers Dionysus, whose debut Theatre of Dionysus dishes out swooning goth atmospheres and straight-forward stormers like this which picks up right where 80s US deathrock left off. Galloping stuff which manages to find equanimity between frenzied rhythms and the sorts of harmonics tunes like this need to add a certain je ne sais quoi.
Alison Lewis comes out of the gates strong in 2024 with the announcement that she’ll be following up her tremendous (and best of 2023 per our Year End coverage) Chrysalis with a new LP entitled Ecdysis. Per her social media posts, this is material drawn from the same inspiration and time period as the last LP, but more abstract in nature, and in some ways a counterpoint to the very direct self-reflection of that record. New single “Earthborn” certainly has that vibe. Mark your calendars.
Dancing Plague, “Fading Forms”
Gotta admit that despite them being a PNW act, we’ve not spent a lot of time with Portland’s Dancing Plague. The announcement of new LP Elogium seems like a good opportunity to rectify that oversight; due in March from the good folks at AVANT!, the two tracks put up as teasers are very much up our alley. Deep male vocals, interesting string programming, and some dancefloor pulse if you wanna spin it out at the club, plenty for us to latch onto here.
The Golden Age Of Wrestling, “The Chauffeur”
Are you feeling wistful and reflective as we are, dear ID:UD reader, now that we’re a scant seven weeks away from the retirement of legendary pro wrestler Sting? Jeff Cancade, aka Devours, certainly seems to be as the forthcoming Scorpion Deathlock LP from his The Golden Age Of Wrestling side project is named after the Stinger’s signature submission manoeuvre. But you don’t need to have a horse in the Scorpion Deathlock/Sharpshooter debate to enjoy the shimmering ethereal ambience of a piece like “The Chaffeur” (no, not a Duran Duran cover).