We both had a fun time this weekend playing sets at Coffin Club, part of the broader Restricted Entertainment crew we’ve been rolling with for twenty-plus years now. Would you even believe that happenstance pitted the Senior Staff against one another, with Bruce playing the goth room at the same time Alex was spinning in the industrial room? Kismet. Anyway, as we often talk about on the podcast, having the impetus of writing for ID:UD has immeasurably helped our DJ games, making sure that we’re never falling back too heavily on nostalgia and that we’re constantly field testing brand new tracks for Vancouver floors. Speaking of new tracks…

Houses of Heaven in the house

Soft Crash feat. Ready in LED, “Free Yourself”
What do you get when techno industrial maven Phase Fatale and italo-body king Pablo Bozzi team up? Pure 90’s NRG it turns out. We certainly were getting big nineties vibes from the duo’s preceding release Your Last Everything, but new release (appropriately titled) NRG is basically exactly what it says on the tin; balearic beats, gated pads, and soulful female vocals abound. The connection to Our Thing is getting pretty strained here(although the Alen Skanner remix of “Your Last Everything” on the EP will probs work on your dark disco dancefloor), but we’re not gonna lie, this still hits with us.

Rosegarden Funeral Party, “Doorway Ghost”
Between various reviews and podcasts we’ve been discussing the ways in which new crops of bands are linking classic goth tropes with more broadly accessible styles, and few bands remain as skilled yet also unpredictable at that as Rosegarden Funeral Party. The flashy, speedy glam of new cut “Doorway Ghost” has more in common with The Associates than The Virgin Prunes, and the deployment of sax here feels more in keeping with the long-lost “new pop” movement of the early 80s than saxgoth as we commonly understand it.

Ultra Sunn, “Shake Your Demons”
Poised for a big 2024, Belgium’s Ultra Sunn will have plenty of folks tuning into US, technically their first LP, when it drops in a couple of months. We’ve enjoyed the slinky grooves we’ve come to expect from the band on the first couple of pre-release singles, but the harder and stricter EBM foundation of “Shake Your Demons” doesn’t just show that US might find the duo casting a bit further afield, but also serves as a great counterpoint to the unexpected big beat/breaks sounds which close this one out.

Black Asteroid feat. Actors, “Ashes and Dust”
Sounds like Bryan Black is bringing his venerable Black Asteroid project to Artoffact Records, with a new LP Infinite Darkness due in May. The electro project has made a habit of working with artists we enjoy, from Zola Jesus to Wes Eisold, and the track listing for the new record suggests that’s a trend that will continue, with collabs and contributions from the likes of Front Line Assembly, LOUISAHHH, Speedy J(!!), Ian Astbury (?!), and our very own ACTORS, who bring some of their trademark polished darkwave sheen to single “Ashes and Dust”. Very keen to hear what this record is gonna sound like.

Houses of Heaven, “Within/Without”
We got a tiny taste of the new Houses of Heaven a few months back when producer Matia Simovich played some cuts at a DJ set a few months back, and have been waiting for the record announcement since. Unsure how Within/Without will follow from the tense, dubby sound of the California project’s debut Silent Places, but if the title track is an indicator, we’re gonna get lots of percussion, rich synthwork and some of the same slick melodies that caught out ears a few years back. Keep tabs on this one, we have it earmarked for special attention when it hits.

Trauma Phase, “Challange”
Bozzi & co. aren’t the only ones drawing upon brighter retro Euro sounds. Having woven a fair amount of speedy trance and futurepop sounds into their approach to TBM over the past couple of EPs, Poland’s Trauma Phase continue to expand, drawing on some 80s space disco and maybe just a little bit of 90s Eurodance in order to add colour and drama to this stabby number. They were perhaps hampered by their club-friendly debut being released just when the pandemic was breaking out, but as we’ve said before, Trauma Phase remains one of the most overlooked acts consistently putting out great club numbers.