It’s Verboden eve here in Vancouver, the traditional kick-off to the festival season for I Die: You Die. As usual we’ll be in attendance this year and handling some MC’ing, as well as catching as much of the tremendous lineup as possible. If you see us in the crowd, please, come up and say hi, we’d love to chat. Beyond that, we’re angling for a couple interviews and maybe a feature or two, depending on schedules. Until then, please enjoy this Tracks post.



LEATHERS, “Divine”
Vancouver’s own Shannon Hemmett has been working her way towards her debut as LEATHERS for a few years now, with singles and EPs that have highlighted the project’s evolution. Its been quite a journey, with Hemmett developing her performance and vocal skills (no doubt honed by the busy performing schedule she maintains as a pillar of local post-punk icons ACTORS) and songwriting, bringing the sound of LEATHERS to its sleek, neon reflected electropop form. With debut LP Ultraviolet on the horizon, “Divine” serves as an excellent reminder of what LEATHERS is about, and what to expect from them going forward.

Front Line Assembly feat. Seeming, “Molotov (Remix)”
Despite being well aware of how Front Line Assembly has been releasing remixes of the material from the instrumental 2018 Warmech soundtrack featuring various artists from the Artoffact roster, it never occurred to us that Seeming might be one of the folks tapped for the project. More fool us, as Alex Reed delivers a stirring call to action that simultaneously criticizes the aestheticization of revolution and social progress, and reminds us that change is incremental, requires hard work, and above all is about showing up. Did you expect to hear the best political industrial song of the year come out under the FLA banner? We didn’t, but here it is, and we can’t stop listening to it.

Ani, “Vampira”
Visitor side-project Ani has been starting to gig a bit more frequently of late, but those shows have really been the only way to get a sense as to how the Edmonton-based duo have changed up their sound in this incarnation. Now with a full LP arriving somewhat unexpectedly, those outside of western Canada have a chance to cop their take on synth-focused darkwave, replete with the left-field sound design choices which has always been part of Visitor’s charm.

Human Performance Lab, “Cryptaesthesia”
Human Performance Lab’s 2014’s Body Break EP was one of the earliest indicators we had that SARIN & HPL producer Emad Dabiri was definitely someone to watch, and while SARIN and the larger X-IMG empire Dabiri’s built in the interim always have some irons in the fire, new HPL material bringing Dabiri and Matthew Cangiano (Khobra, Vierance) together is much more rare. Thankfully, this chilly and wormy EBM number does portent a forthcoming new LP.

Give My Remains To Broadway, “What The Cost Is”
Here’s another single from the on the come up Toronto duo which gets their whole ethos over in a tight package. Lithe modern darkwave riffs and grooves, with an incredibly dour and murky presentation which sometimes belies how much snap and immediacy they’re capable of. There’s already a very solid back catalog resting behind these guys in just a couple of years – if you’re at all invested in guitar-focused darkwave you need to be keeping close tabs on them at this point.

Sacred Skin, “Paranoid”
We unapologetically love Los Angeles’ Sacred Skin, both for their tremendous live shows, their clever invocation of the new wave aesthetics, and for their damnably catchy songs. New single “Paranoid” leans further into the world of post-punk than we normally expect, but it’s not a bad fit; the track’s production nicely emphasizes the song’s bass driven groove, the simple synth lead is sticky as you please, and the recording brings across a lot of the energy that you get from their performances. Lets hope a new LP is on the way.