We forgot to mention it on last week’s podcast, but the latest edition of the ‘Blind Test’ videos is well worth your time. All manner of producers, DJs, and label-folk familiar to regular readers have appeared on previous EBM and industrial themed vids, and this latest Belgian new beat focused one taps the likes of our pal Andi Harriman and Alison Lewis/Zanias. Regardless of how high you score on these (we only managed about four a piece), they’re a fun exercise and often point you to a couple of deeper cuts you might not have otherwise heard. Speaking of pointing people to cuts, let’s get to this week’s Tracks.


ESA. Photo credit: Chananya-Aviella Fries.

Drew McDowall, “Out Of Strength Comes Sweetness”
The sainted synthwork of Drew McDowall, strange enough to be a pillar of Coil, soft enough to be a comfort in the aftermath of that project, makes a welcome return. His 2020 LP Agalma was our favourite record of that year, and we’re looking forward to sinking ourselves into A Thread, Silvered And Trembling, his forthcoming new LP on Dais. The soft spring rain of this lead track, referring to one of the more puzzling riddles in the Old Testament, is a welcome reintroduction.

ESA, “Join Our Hands”
Jamie Blacker’s ESA has got to be one of the most consistent acts going in the modern industrial scene. Scarcely more than a year or so will go by without Blacker putting out something under the Electronic Substance Abuse banner, from straight up hard rhythmic noise adjacent club bangers, to collabs, to style-bending LPs, he’s proven himself as adept at stretching out creatively as he is prolific. New single “Join Our Hands” is pretty down the pipe, but in that way where a new club track, complete with southern preacher samples, ominous chanting and his trademark pounding sound design is completely welcome. Always nice to have something new from this act.

Hem Netjer, “Hem Netjer (Echo)”
Hem Netjer with a new track, although if it seems familiar, it’s because it’s actually one of their older songs from their 2020 Kemet demo remade to reflect the changes of the band. As with the previous song they gave this treatment “Anubis”, the subtraction of the throat singing that adorned the original, and its replacement with downtuned, textural guitar and live percussion makes the song feel much much different, in line with what their increasingly strong live shows have become.

Llora feat. SRSQ, “International Discotheque”
Some icy space disco worship (which recalls Gatekeeper’s early work as much as the original classics) serves as the starting point for Llora’s debut LP, coming to us via the always well-curated Synthicide. It’s a record which kicks around the terser sides of synthpop and minimal wave, but the sweeping grandeur of this number’s bolstered by the hovering spectre of Kennedy of SRSQ, who gilds the corners of this number.

Alpha Sect, “Vortex Astralis”
Another solid slab of modern EBM from Greek producer Alpha Sect, with this one calling back to some of the trippier sides of both US and European acts from the mid-90s. Full of deep space klaxons and psychedelically shifting pads, a head-trip like this which also maintains a rock solid beat is a nice reminder that in the post-TBM era which seems to be emerging, strict and sober productions don’t have to be the rule.

Eye New Dark, “Tell Me”
Jill Sheridan’s voice should be familiar to you if you follow this site; as a member of Wisconsin synthpop act Null Device, she’s been a powerful aspect of that band’s lush, fully formed sound, and a major part of what has made their records so special. Eye New Dark is Sheridan’s new solo project, and is very much the sort of thing we enjoy; strongly written electronic pop songs with a darker edge, and some genuinely excellent melodies, delivered with Sheridan’s incredible poise. The single is out now, with remixes by Null Device (natch) and Klack.