SPANKTHENUN Blend Old-School Chiller and New-School Killer on ‘The Bunker Tapes Vol II’

From deep in the heart of Texas comes SPANKTHENUN, with an inkling for old-school EBM worship. Their previous full-length effort, volume one of The Bunker Tapes, saw production overseen by the legendary Claus Larsen. With a punishing lead single in “Dominate,” the group have put the dark electronic world on notice, and with The Bunker Tapes Vol II, they wage war with vintage weaponry. Invoking memories of Skinny Puppy and the darker, snarlier days of EBM, this collection of nine original tracks, joined by a handful of remixes by acts such as Mirland and Planet Damage, is just about as no-frills as classic industrial gets, even with the modern lens and production standards.

https://spankthenun.bandcamp.com/album/the-bunker-tapes-vol-ii

Starting off is the lead single “Off Beatings,” with vocals by the aforementioned Larsen. It’s a mid-tempo, focused dark electro number with a marching beat that burrows and settles in the chest, if only to allow the follow-up, “I Self Me” to let the synths breathe just a bit more. Whereas “Off Beatings” is an icepick to the brain, “I Self Me” is more of a cattle prod jabbed into the side, urging you to move along while inflicting uncontrollable movement with its tubular synth work and low, snarling verse vocals. To that end, “The Smoking Gun” is a blend of the danceable synth work and the stomping grooves seen thus far, with a creeping but simple bass line pushing things forward. 

Right Father” is easily one of my favorite songs from the disc, with its post-punk melody, dancing synth lines, and the reverb-laden snare that evokes memories of the old guard. It lends itself nicely to its successor “Sick Pathos,” with its two-note bassline and samples abound, making for an instrumental dance floor filler that is all killer. The theme of a two-note bass line continues with the schizophrenic “Man on the Moon,” another banger with a certain cyberpunk flare not felt thus far in the album. 

Perhaps the most mainstream-ready track is “Industrial Beats,” with a four on the floor groove and a message we all can understand: “Music gives me what I need / I need my industrial beats.” And was that a Bill Moseley sample I heard? At any rate, the bouncy, descending melody of “Lockdown” feels like it would really ramp a crowd up at a live performance, the slow build to the hook growing the anticipation. It’s a droning, burrowing piece with the reminder that we all, in fact, live in the broken machine-ah. We move forward into the mid-90s or so with the last original track “I Am The Fire,” with its slower pace making for more deliberate grooves. The vocals stand out here, a low talk-sung growl that lets things burn all the more brightly.

We then pivot to the remixes with Mirland’s remix of “Off Beatings.” It’s far more percussive than its album version counterpart, with more 808s and less of an overall melody. Next comes Nature of Wires remixing “Right Father,” adding realistic drums (insofar as they sound like they could be live) and taking some of the mud and distortion off of the vocals. Planet Damage’s take on “The Smoking Gun” feels like textbook 90s industrial, with plenty of flare and panache to take it to places the original mix didn’t need to go. We end on the Psychosomatik remix of “I Self Me,” which brings the war with machine-gun percussion, though it does so in a more club-ready fashion. 

Sounds and Shadow’s interview with SpanktheNun

My first taste of SPANKTHENUN was Glitch Burn Sin, and I’ve yet to be disappointed by them. Single after single, record after record, this is an act that turns out bangers that hold down the underground. This is a must-listen album for fans of industrial, new, old, and otherwise.

Check out The Bunker Tapes Vol II:

Draven’s Mixtape​:​1994 Revisited

Fans of the movie (and comic book), The Crow, will appreciate this homage to the original soundtrack, courtesy of Distortion Productions. I’m sure for many of us, as well as many of the featured artists, this film was our first taste of some great and seminal music in our formative years. The songs are treated with reverence, but a definite youthful enthusiasm makes them seem fresh again; namely, Enchepalon’s take on the Joy Division staple, Dead Souls. Cocksure kicks the listener in the teeth with their rendition of The Cure’s Burn. I was amazed at how a band like Caustic could draw such a radical departure from Suicide’s (via Rollins Band) Ghost Rider. This is a fun ride that doesn’t sound like a rehash of 1990s alternative music. It easily stands on its own as well as being an excellent companion piece to the original soundtrack.

https://distortionprod.bandcamp.com/album/dravens-mixtape-1994-revisited

There are certain movies that change you, that leave an impression. This was The Crow for me in high school. To take the aesthetic and darkness of living outside the culture around me, and make that cool. If only for a moment. Add to that the setting of Detroit where I fled the suburbs on weekends to act out my misspent youth. Although Brandon Lee and his tragic story was an antihero I was drawn to. The real star character of this film was the soundtrack. A tape that lived in my cars tape deck playing over and over driving down Woodward Ave, seeing the passing street lamps, the mystery moisture rising from sewer caps. This soundtrack was an essential building block of who I was. Here Jim has brought together another team of amazing modern artists to fuse new life in the nostalgic images that still hold strong today. I will discuss a few of the 14 wonderful tracks each bringing their own take on a movie that revitalized a subculture.

Cocksure – Chicago Industrial legends Chris Connelly and Jason Novak take on The Cure “Burn“. A song so powerful and image-stirring that Robert Smith can’t remember writing it. Which I think says more about how many great songs The Cure have. Recently I saw Stabbing Westward play a cover of burn at Cold Waves. This version took a much different direction of electronic explosion. Connelly has a range to rival Smith’s and gives a cracking emotional delivery. A powerful beginning to the narrative.

https://cocksure.bandcamp.com/

Go Fight – Another Chicago industrial pioneer Jim Marcus takes on the slippery opium fueled slither of Stone Temple Pilots “Big Empty” . Marcus cuts through the haze of the original to season with sharper edges and gritty streets. I loved the clarity he brought with his voice and forceful drum strikes of this bright and cutting interpretation.

https://gofight.bandcamp.com/

Null Device – Madison WI EDM artists Null Device did one of my underrated sneaky favorite tracks on this all star soundtrack “Color Me Once” by Violent Femmes. This ended up being my favorite cover of the many strong offerings. A bold shift from the original haunted folk alternative twang. Shattering strong drum beats and sweeping dynamic changes. Eric’s voice drips with anger and honey, contrasted by the harmonies of Jill Sheridan. I love that he keeps Gordo’s cadence while giving rich and beautiful tone. Sky splitting guitar solo to bring the action to a head. This one hit me hard in all the feels.

https://nulldevice.bandcamp.com/album/line-of-sight

Panic Lift – Next up a New Jersey band I owe an apology to. I have criminally under covered them in spite of every time they cross my radar saying this is absolutely astounding I should listen to this all the time. James Frances and company had the unenviable task of taking on Helmet‘s “Milktoast“. Page Hamilton has a special place for me in being an artist who got placed between punk and grunge yet was one of the more complex progressive musicians of his time. So it was going to take a lot to impress me. I was duly impressed. Helmet has such an organic sound and the buzzing rippling electronic energy captured that constantly shifting time and chanting rhythm. I love the spinning siren effect. Softening the edges without decreasing the danger.

https://paniclift.bandcamp.com/

Leaether Strip Red Lokust and Tragic ImpulseJim Semonik (Distortion Records) who made this compilation possible teamed up with Claus Larson (Leatherstrip) and Pittsburgh’s Tragic Impulse to sonically assault the My Life With the Thrill Kill Cult song “After the Flesh“. So much happening in this rapid fire stinging whip lash electronic sensory explosion. Wonderful use of electronic drum sounds to create a small club punk rock tone. FIRE IT UP! FIRE IT UP!

https://tragicimpulse.bandcamp.com/

https://redlokust.bandcamp.com/

https://leaetherstrip.bandcamp.com/album/ppreciation-v

ego likeness – Our dear friends Donna and Steven from Baltimore’s Ego Likeness added a dreamy mist sway version of Medicine‘s “Time Baby II“. Donna’s voice is warm and wispy cutting to the front more than the original and adding a nice resonance. The music holds that same bouncing tone from the bottom of a K hole. I expected nothing less, it’s Donna and Steven.

https://egolikeness.bandcamp.com/

Jim does it again, fusing that place between my youth and the bands I love today. Just like the original soundtrack, this album is a great way to touch base with some of the hottest acts in the modern scene while playing your favorite scenes from the past.

OFF BEATINGS by spankthenun

Claus Larsen leaetherstrip.bandcamp.com
John Mirland leaetherstrip.bandcamp.com/album/inhuman
Batavia batavia.bandcamp.com
Hostile Architect abelisk.bandcamp.com
Eva X eva-x.bandcamp.com
Rebel Empire rebelempiremusic.bandcamp.com

All music written and performed by SPANKTHENUN. Lyrics by SPANKTHENUN and Claus Larsen. All tracks mastered by SPANKTHENUN.

It’s some of the harder-edged stuff I’ve heard lately. It makes me think of the days when I’d go see live industrial bands in the basement of old Club Soma in San Diego back in the early 90s. Industrial was still fun and new to me back then. SPANKTHENUN recaptures that feeling. This Dallas duo has been very busy during the lockdown with a string of releases throughout the last year. Their most recent single, ‘Off Beatings’, features their frequent collaborator, Claus Larsen of Leæther Strip. The Bunker Tapes VOL. II, the full album, is due at the end of October. Remixes by Batavia, Eva X, Hostile Architect, John Mirland and Rebel Empire guarantee there’s something here for anyone who wants to stomp the dance floor. It has a raw naked aggression that’s held together with a groove. Should be played loudly.

https://spankthenun.bandcamp.com/album/off-beatings-2

I Missed Posting For Bandcamp Day :( Yet here is some reviews.

It’s October my darklings, the month of spook, where goths can be goths. So I need to start thinking about my Halloween soundtrack. I’ll fire through the latest batwings and eye lashes of newt falling into my cauldron.

Swansect: Kill Pop Goth – Adrian is always thrashing like a madman in a new direction. Always producing something he hasn’t done and something I hadn’t heard a million times before. Track #1 Horse of Grass has this cool percussion driven guitar strike. Almost a folk goth tempo with vibrating underwater vocals. Track #2 Kain is my favorite and has this sinister Tones on Tail Daniel Ash sex appeal. The words are in Norwegian telling the story of Cain. I love the old school batcave rockabilly riff. Swansect always takes you to a place in your mind with the music, and usually that place is a nightmare.

https://swansect.bandcamp.com/album/kill-pop-goth

SpankTheNun: The Bunker Tapes II – This album is mixed by the legendary Claus Larson (LeatherStrip). Out of Texas Eric Hanes does a hard and nasty industrial, full of chant and eye beam precision. Track 2 Fight and Breed is a building whisper that holds aggression on a greasy chain to make a tension build you can feel on the back your neck. I think what really sets this above the bar are how clearly the vocals ring for industrial music. It has a bit of effect, but you can savor every growled line. Some amazing remixes here from Melodywhore, Sapphirra Vee, and Assemblage 23. My favorite track was Lies and Hate which unleashes a real Nitzer Ebb feel. I think what impressed me most of this album is how it never has to turn the volume up to 11 to hit you in the fucking teeth with it’s power. It’s a real skill to project that much rage without screaming.

https://spankthenun.bandcamp.com/album/the-bunker-tapes-vol-i

Vazum: Rated V – Ok I know I recently reviewed the Detroit band Vazum, but they did this new release specifically for Halloween with a monster/ghoul theme. It’s stalking creature abomination horror full of heavy guitars and sinister keys. Zach unleashes and inner demon from behind his usually lovely lilting vocals to send a shiver up the spine. I said the same about the previous album Vampyre Villa but I love the use of 90’s alternative mixed into the horror. Emily has a soulful Concrete Blonde vocal style that is the perfect offset in every song. Each monster has it’s own tone and flavor, my favorite was Werewolf . This one really let Emily shine on vocals and truly laid out the primal transformation. Cool lyrical poetry, “Copper turns to gold, sell our gold for silver”. There is so much going on here stylistically. We had an interview with them last week (which will post soon) I am really bummed I hadn’t heard this to discuss before hand.

https://vazum.bandcamp.com/

Vanity Kills : Chapter 2 Enemy – Hard rocking cyberpunk from Cardiff UK. The real beauty captured here is the driving rock 90’s aggression of Helmet phase shifting into pixilated time dilation of club smashing electro-core. The intensity almost rides the line of metal. Yet the distinctive dance stomp is catchy and clean. For personal preference I wish I could hear more of the lyrics and feel the melody lines. The music really placed me in an empty room of drywall I found myself smashing out of, I wanted to know more about why. Favorite track was “This is Gonna Hurt”, it had such a punch it made me picture Clutch smashing synthesizers on a flaming stage. This one shows great promise for the future.

https://officialvanitykills.bandcamp.com/album/chapter-2-enemy

UnderTheSkin: End This Summer – New single complete with some outstanding remixes from Poland. This one is a Cure heavy darkwave bird of prey soaring on a night sky. Mariusz has a beautiful and captivating voice. The bassline of the song is everywhere beneath the soaring wings. A powerful track in crafting and execution. So who could successfully remix such a track? Ash Code, Shad Shadows, Kill Shelter, and Antipole with Paris. Now that is a heavy weight endorsement of some of the great production tunesmiths of our scene. A lot of individual flavor here for each remix on an absolute scorcher of a track.

https://underskin.bandcamp.com/album/end-this-summer-ep

Razor Hawt video with this one too.

Twin Tribes: Shadows(Matte Black remix) – Holy shit how did I not know this was coming out? Also why does Matte Black get to remix Twin Tribes and I don’t? Ok now that petty jealousy is out of the way, this is my favorite Twin Tribes song. The song I discovered them from. I didn’t even recognize it at first in the best possible way. This is everything I want from a remix. It has taken their glorious violet energy and fired it through a prism to create something new and beautiful. I am jaw dropped on the floor right now. Buy this immediately.

https://twintribes.bandcamp.com/

Panic Priest: When Daylight Disappears – Brand new single from Jack, and it’s another burner. Such a master of blending sizzling guitar licks and neon streaming synths. His bellowing baritone voice is an trap I can’t stop falling into. This song is a prayer to the darkness that surrounds us. I want to sit on a Chicago roof staring at the moon as the city sleeps below.

https://panicpriestngp.bandcamp.com/track/when-daylight-disappears-demo

Klack: Two Minute Warning (Depeche Mode Cover) – This is a beautiful cover with a beautiful and tragic story behind it. Claus Larsen (Leatherstrip) recently lost his husband Kurt after a long battle with sickness. It left a lot of medical bills and the community really rallied around him in this tough time. All proceeds go to assist their family. I’ve always loved this song and Klack of course didn’t disappoint to capture it’s energy and majesty.

https://klack.bandcamp.com/album/two-minute-warning

The Jean-Marc Lederman Experience: Letters to Gods and Fallen Angels

Jean-Marc Lederman is an artist who’s pedigree in music is undisputable. Aside from his composition work he has played with bands like The The, Fad Gadget, Gene Loves Jezebel, The Weathermen, and Front 242. Take a moment to absorb that resume to understand the scope of his career. As an artist where do you go to break new ground that can still inspire and challenge? With this album he has found a multimedia experience that raises the bar of expression in sound. It comes in the form of a package including a 36 page image book by Erica Hinyot. and texts by Philippe Genion , Ceratomia and the comic writer and singer Christina Z. 24 original tracks with a diverse cast of musicians spanning wide the breadth of genre . The tracks are varied but tied together by an insistence of craft and quality. Ambitious while relatable to a central concept. In this time of quick hit pop singles, this 2 cd package is relying on a hunger for intellectual art.

The premise is concise, yet deep as the earliest longings of humanity for answers to questions beyond proof. To write a letter to faceless entities of the gnostic realm. Each “letter” is penned by a different artist with a human voice beseeching the beyond of angels and demons. Some with pleading, others with snark, but each is a revealing correspondence with a human voice. I also love the idea of letters. We live in a digital age of texts and snippets. Putting pen to paper holds a power. The energy of will and intent made into matter. I will give thoughts of some of the songs that struck me hardest. This is a concept album, I strongly suggest listening front to back in the order Jean-Marc intended. Everything you are hearing has purpose and is best absorbed through that lens.

https://wool-e-discs.be/releases

Our interview with Jean Marc

Letter From JP Aston ft. Julianne Regan – This gentle ballad from the Gene Loves Jezebel members is full of defiance. Beautiful harmonies and lush layering. Aston’s voice has always had a calming and sparking effect. These gentle string plucks vibrate the wave of angelic harps. I don’t believe in angels, don’t need angels. A masterful portrayal of indecision in the face of unanswerable questions.

Into My Arms ft. Jenna Fearon – Jenna does vocals and music for several wonderful projects including HAD TO KILL, THE SIREN AND THE VOID, SOPHIE STRYCHNINE. This cover of Nick Cave is a warm and tender hymn stripped down and soulful. Beautiful pads that seem to have a beating heart behind the honey rich voice.

Letter From Tom Shear – The vocalist Of Assemblage23 offers this pleading call to the void in a moment without control. A rolling tide of humming synth work with a David Gahan flavor. I love the steady build and poetic intention. The sensual beauty of feeling lost and wanting more.

Letter From Mark Hockings – Artists of Warner Chappell Music this letter again focusing on the marching feet of a human who asks for no help or quarter. I love the vocal changes in effect to add weight to this prayer which says I help myself. The music crackles and glitches to add a dynamic backdrop to this pronouncement.

Letter From Rodney OrpheusThe Cassandra Complex star strays far from his goth roots to give a tongue and cheek lounge song in purgatory with all the sass of Jarvis Cocker. Dark gallows humor as stinging as it is playful. Organic open room piano with marimba , and tamborims that makes heaven feel like a smokey lounge in Las Vegas. I kept coming back to this track again and again.

Letter From Haydn Park-Patterson – I couldn’t find a lot of information about their other musical projects. I really love this track though. The vocals have a very Magnetic Fields feel and a brit pop ring. A hope and fear at the same time “I’m scared of waking up with open eyes” Lovely and brimming with emotion.

Letter From Emileigh Rohn – This beautiful track comes from a fellow Michigan resident of the band Chiasm. Breathy and hopeful with an enticing whisper. Hard dynamic shifts in the changes here. I love the computerized vocal effects which add a different layer to the concept. I love how abrupt the ending comes upon you when you don’t expect it.

Letter From Claus Larsen – The amazing person behind Leatherstrip stepping so far outside the box of what I am used to in his art. This track is driving and uplifting. Leaving behind the chains of life and reaching skyward. Claus shows the amazing range of his voice and it is clear and ringing. What a glorious and bold exploration of two great artists reaching into uncharted ground for both and create something wonderous.

Overall this double album is such a journey. It brings each artist out of their comfort zone and stretches in so many bold directions. It really runs the breadth of human emotion while struggling with the biggest questions of life, death, and divinity. I review a lot of music and always tend to find things I love in most albums. I steer my reviews to focus on those aspects because making art is hard. I find it difficult to judge beyond what something makes me feel. Every so often though someone of immense talent comes up with a concept which challenges the mind. Has a carefully constructed well done musical vehicle. Is full of soul and emotion and pulls on the heart strings of the listener. Doing all three is a rare gem in this day and age. So please feel the weight of me saying this is what Jean Marc Lederman has accomplished. It’s a feat worth celebrating and definitely worth owning in it’s full form.

https://wool-e-discs.be/releases

CD1:
01. Intro Log By 8 Of Nine
Letter From Agi Taralas
Letter From Emma Barson
04. Letter From Ghost & Writer ft. Jo Quail
Letter From Mari Kattman
06. Letter From JP Aston ft. Julianne Regan
Letter From Coline Wauters
Letter From Christina Z
09. Letter From The Vintage
Letter From Lucia Fairfull
Letter From Stefan Netschio
Letter From Hunter S. Thompson

CD2:
Letter From Elena Alice Fossi
Letter From Tom Shear
Letter From Mark Hockings
04. Into My Arms ft. Jenna Fearon
Letter From Emileigh Rohn
06. Letter From Miriam Christina
07. Letter From Haydn Park-Patterson
Letter From Rodney Orpheus
Letter From Louise Fraser
Letter From Lis Van Den Akker
Letter From Claus Larsen
Outro From Friedrich Nietzsche