Today is the day when Bandcamp (The one music streaming and distribution company that seems to care an iota for musician’s) waives it’s fees and gives everything spent, to those making the music. It’s been a tough few months in particular and I am in the middle of Sotember (The month each year where I recharge and drink nothing stronger than Earl Grey tea)
Death Loves Veronica : In The Silence
Newest single from Texas darkwave sultry star Veronica Campbell. This song has a brighter more open tone than previous offerings. It really highlights the elegant purity of her voice. Also included is a beautiful synth rich remix of “In The Silence”. A cascading waterfall of cool crystal sound.
I have been waiting for someone to put raw emotion and sass back into the darkpop genre. This album crackles with mid tempo dance beats to fill the back walls of the club. The lyrics are an inward journey with an 80’s Madonna soul. Beautiful modern layered vocals to create movement and build. It’s one of those sounds that flows through your earbuds and into your nervous system and flexes attitude through your body. I feel like other people can hear these songs through my movements when I listen.
Chicago retro-synth dreamboats Wingtips have done this fitting tribute to criminally underrated 90’s Aussie pop band Savage Garden. I love the interlocking vocal duet here. The frosting sweet swirl of keyboards and chimes on this song make my heart dance with delight.
Firebrand driving doom dance with a nice sprinkle of Industrial guitar and finger firework keyboard work. I really like the effective chanting vocals which hit right on the needle of what I want from a club jam. Extra bonus remix layers on some teeth and glitch for a aggro feel. Stomp your feet and scream obscenity.
Listen to Klack or I will attack, and you don’t want that. A fresh new feel here from Matt and Eric. I really have enjoyed every evolution of this project. This has a Construction Time Again DM flavor. It has clever carefully placed samples. The beats have a real shake that ass groove. The keyboard melody lines are beautiful retro hooks. I really fell hard for these breathy cleanly delivered vocals. It’s something I hadn’t heard from them before and immediately wanted more of. The lyrics really became a strong suit here. This is an album plucked out of the timestream and dropped hard in 2020.
Kim Bell and company have released this lovely shadowpop with misty daybreak darkness. It has a dreamlike quality, with a Til Tuesday retro flow. I really like the front edge of Kim’s delivery on the vocals. This really gets me excited for the future direction of the project. Now on Swiss Dark Nights
I will always buy every GoFight release. I will never regret my decision. Jim Marcus understands the blending of body gyrating dance music in the way an Indian executive chef understands the blending of spice. The layering of elements allows you to get lost in what kind of a song you are listening to. His voice is that perfect growling beauty snapping at your heart with desire and terror. Another single, another home run.
I think this band from Toronto now on Cold Transmission takes the award of the day for something I had no idea I needed and now can’t live without. The scope of tempos here run from blistering car chase to lullaby shouting fuck. Gorgeous dreamy vocals that would make Robert Smith raise an eyebrow. I’m not sure where this was hiding but it just took my 2020 by storm.
It’s been a really tough week for me. It’s been hard to find the motivation to write or do much of anything. Today was a little better. I haven’t found myself listening to less music, just finding it harder to hear the words to describe it in my mind. Today was the first time I had felt like I could talk again. So I have an enormous backlog of music to write about. Lets get some of that out now.
ESA (Electronic Substance Abuse) – “Eat Their Young” If ESA’s latest album Burial 10 was a barb wire wrapped bat beating the shit out of you with electronic destruction. The new EP Eat Their Young is the same effect with a razor sharp sword. It has a purpose and intent with it’s execution. Back again is Corlyx Caitlin Stokes adding a sensuality and velvet glove to the relentless destruction. Power and Beauty in equal measure in this must have EP from London England. Also the video for the single is a masterclass in modern music/image synthesis
Corlyx – “Together Apart” – Speaking of Caitlin, her and band mate Brandon Ashley are back for a follow up to their album “In2 The Skin” 1st single is out now for a Sept 15th release. It’s another burner. Porcelain Skin brings that same darkpop flavor of broken glass candy and ghostly light. Caitlin has a beauty and truth with crawls under your skin and infects you with a cracked mirror of perception. Can’t wait to hear how the rest shakes out.
MelodyWhore – “This Is How We Were Taught To Pray” New single release from electronic sin wizard MelodyWhore out of Texas. This single was written as a charity donation for BLM. Jimmy called in some of the top names in the scene to contribute with remixes and vocals. The song is a powerful hymn of equality in a call to take down an unfair establishment. This one gives me chills with it’s intensity and soul shaking faith. I was lucky enough to contribute myself on the Gothic Tabernacle Choir remix. A Great cause and outpouring of talent forged together into one of the most spine tingling singles of the year.
Carrion – “The Tempest” Swirling ash and oblivion from Norway’s Carrion. A new single of slow fuse creeping doom that shows you the horror to come and leaves you chained waiting for the inevitable destruction.
Hallowed Hearts “Into The Fire” I really like the way this album bends the line between goth and post punk with a slight lean towards goth. It’s emotional and flows like a rippling black ribbon. The melody lines are captivating and seamless. Some beautiful guitar rock elements with gentle curves to match the tight post punk base lines. Impressive.
Stoneburner – “Dark Ambient Album” Steven Archer is always twisting the joint to find a new position. Never comfortable in one concept he is an ever moving force. This new 6 song EP steers away from the vocal driven industrial of the last few albums into texture sonic painting. Full of strong effects and video game soundtrack pastels. From one mountain many rivers may flow.
EchoBeryl – “The Awakening Of The Mutant” From Cold Transmission this French synthtrance retro dance dream keeps the imagination flowing. The album is an homage to 50’s and 60’s sci-fi drama. It’s a modern concept through a retro lens. Set to release Aug 21st currently 2 tracks are available for pre order and both are a teleport beam to both the past and the future.
So the other day I posed a challenge on Facebook to send me a band you are loving that you are not in. You did not disappoint! So I will fire through a bunch of quick shot reviews sent to me by our readers! Music for the people!!! Remember tomorrow Bandcamp waves their fees and gives all revenue to artists.
Bootblacks – Traveling Light – Ok this is my personal pick, new single drops tomorrow. I have been eagerly anticipating this album for so long. Produced by Jason Corbett of ACTORS this whole album is a game changer. I will be pre-ordering on vinyl immediately. This is the sound you have always heard in your minds soundtrack. Panther’s voice is let off the chain and the effect is engulfing. This first single feels like The Happy Mondays on Adrenochrome.
L’Avenir – Requiem – Not a new release but a great one. Suggested by my friend Michelle Shaw. Lovely buzzing synth textures from Barcelona. This album had a really cool Ultravox vibe. Not a comparison I use loosely. Beautiful, murky, full of secrets.
Flesh Fiends – Bleed For Love – Scorching single from Kansas City from my friend Mason Monigold. I was an instant fan from the gate. The name is a great alliteration. Plus they are a band that seems to put the character in their sound. It is spooky chained to the wall sexy raunchy ghoul synth. Love the concept, love the execution, this will get bought.
We Are Parasols – Orphaned – This recommendation from Chase Dobson who knows electronic music as well as anyone I can name. This is a beautiful dripping slush of dark pastels. An instrumental movie sound track for that moment of introspection before a protagonist stands up and dusts themselves off. We could definitely use some of that in these times.
Korine – The Night We Raise – So this was a recommendation from Karl of Antipole. If i had to choose one band that other great bands I love recommend the most it is Korine. The album pre-order is up but one single is out now called Fate. Such gorgeous streaming ribbons that wrap around your arms and legs and make you dance with reckless abandon. Seriously if you are not in the know about this band buy the whole catalog. Will not disappoint.
Black Angel – ANIMAL – Uk goth stars dropped this single in June. It’s everything you loved about old dance club goth of The Mission/Sisters of Mercy. Pulverizing bass lines and resonant vocals. Hooks and builds to spin you around while opium incense burns.
Rotersand – How Do You Feel Today? – Recommendation from Dana Leigh Cooper. Another great Philly band that cuts the edge between traditional goth rock and darkwave. I love the barb wire beauty of the vocals. A lot of range in styles and infectious energy. Every song I hear makes me fall further in love.
Malefixio – Culto a lo Invisible – Recommendation from Fernando Altonaga of EhPh. Another band from Barcelona Spain, what is happening in the music scene there? This has a stomping cadence and freaky vibro guitars. The vocals have this delicate lifting version of Lords of Acid. It’s strange, it’s sinister, it’s going in my collection.
CAVALCADE – Sonic Euthanasia – This one comes from Ben Boggs, who is about the only human I take metal recommendations from. It’s big, loud and nasty. I really like the balance though. It’s not just a napalm wall of sound with throw up vocals. The twisted goblin screaming away can be understood and those chunky guitar riffs are axe trigonometry.
Arya Zappa – Dark Windows – From Damien Moyal (Damien Done) this German shadowpop is like a slow drink of whiskey. It’s smokey and smooth and warms my insides. Full length album just released in June. I really like the poetry of the lyrics too. This one needs a lot more reflection.
Wires & Lights – A Chasm Here And Now – More Berlin goodness recommend by Adrian Auchrome. This is a speed ball spiraling towards you with great post punk tone and crisp drum sound that makes me want to drive fast. I can’t believe I hadn’t heard this, know that I will own it tomorrow.
ESA – are an English dark industrial / electroclash project by Jamie Blacker, which started in 2002. This new album is called Burial 10and features vocals from Jo Hysetria (Massenhysteria), Caitlin Stokes (Corlyx), and Lecture.
So right out the door this album is coming at you like a speeding train through a tunnel. It’s driving pistons and screeching metal furiously charging down your throat with reckless abandon. It would be easy to feel like that was chaotic because that is the emotional response it summons. This is a focused and precise weight of speed and power with intent and form. I feel like i am describing a high end automobile not a record, but this is the feeling of Burial 10.
ESA has been around a good while and gone through different styles. I feel like this album ran a bit of that spectrum on it’s own. It twists, writhes, and thrashes like a cornered animal. Unpredictable and fierce. Great use of guest vocalist like Jo Hystaria and Caitlyn to add more surprise twists to this story. The pulsating beats are a relentless onslaught which attack from so many directions. Gentle synth tones carefully placed expose the belly of the beast and add style and craft to this fierce creature.
Favorite Tracks :
You are Safe Here (Feat: Caitlyn Corlyx) – I, of course, had to choose this one because it features the angelic, sensual voice of the amazing Caitlyn. This has the intense EDM drive but is tempered by her striking laser-fire voice. This is a club hit made to shake floors supporting giant speakers.
Burial 10– The title track is a driving march. I really like the bizarre off-kilter chanting sample vocals. Part of the fun of ESA is they never seem to take the foot off the pedal. Even when breaking down with the spoken word vocal sections. Lots of high energy, never-let-up Prodigy feelings.
Blessed With Bruises– A nice change up here, bringing the tempo down and the trip hop feeling up while keeping the same steady crashing waves of sound. Instead of a high-speed chase, this is a slow, smooth roll, sliding around corners, channeling Massive Attack’s effortless cool.
Overall this is a fury of intensity sure to make your club walls shake. Find the biggest speakers you can and crank this until the neighbors cry.
This is an exciting review to do. It was actually released in Jan 2019 and somehow it slipped through the cracks of my reviews so I will rectify that today. Matt Fanale is fairly well known in the scene through his Industrial project Caustic. Eric Oehler of Null Device. I’m always really impressed when artists have the ability to work at a high level in multiple genres. This dancier , sample infused, Front 242 style aspect really captures something I love about all of Matt’s productions. 1) It is extremely well done 2) It doesn’t take itself overly seriously 3) It makes me want to shake my large hairy form all over a dance floor.
EDM isn’t always my cup of cocoa, so what does Klack do so well? Blending, keeping a driving vamp dance beat and flowing the proper elements in and out to hold your attention. Doing that is a tightrope walk on a razor wire. This record consistently finds that sweet spot. they use samples taken from Star wars to an advertisement from a 1984 Renault automobile. Then they are seamlessly integrated with thought provoking growled out vocals and intricate beat changes. I think a lot of dance music is about causing the listener to become lost in the texture of the beat. Klack achieves this but takes it one step further to keep your mind revolving while you shake that ass. I also really enjoy the variety of tone and speed they use on this EP. Each song has the feel of being made by a different artist so it never feels like repetition.
This album is also an homage. It isn’t just the cover art or concept. The feel of these songs have a wonderful Kraftwork ,retro computer, grainy screens flickering in a ground control station feel. I think that creates this wonderful underground revolutionary feel which i found entrancing.
Lets talk favorite tracks. The EP has 6 and they are all good. However here were my stand outs.
Flowers for Ravers – Incredible opening intro of a young lady talking about the culture of drugs and dance culture. A dark and slithering keyboard line. The layers build and the vocals have this dusky chant building to the chorus “Flowers for Ravers put them in their hair” I grew up in the 90’s rave scene in Detroit and this track is such a nostalgic memory trigger.
Le Car – First track is a burner out the gate. I love the use of the sample and concept of the relationship between humanity and machines. Rapier flick synth swipes and this wonderful trance style beat. Klack the Planet.
Lost Without You – This song really grabbed me for it’s contrast. It’s beautiful with an almost Information Society quality. Really highlighted the singers and shows the talent risen from the mud of electronics and striding to the front naked and unafraid. The melody is a hook that sinks in you deep. This was stuck in my head for days.
Overall this is a wonderfully done EP with a diverse feel, powerful concepts, and seamless transitions. I felt like it really hits on all the things I love most about dance music and inspired memories in my mind like a smell. Treat yourself to this record.
As an added bonus I got to do an interview with Matt about Klack and Eric and his process.
Ken: So you do several projects I love Caustic/Klack/daddybear. I’ve always thought it was cool that you have so many voices you want to express in different musical styles. So tell me how you started the project of Klack in particular and why it was a voice and style you needed to express?
Matt: Klack was really more of a fluke than anything. My better half in Klack is Eric Oehler of (Null Device). We’d collaborated on things before, but he did a ND remix for the Gothsicles in an old school 242 style and asked me if I wanted to try out a track in that style. I was totally down and he tossed me 3 or 4 short track ideas, I chose one, came up with some samples and some other sounds to add to it, and Synthesizer came out. Eric mainly handles the music and production side and I handle samples, lyrics, and “other sounds” for it. It’s the quickest workflow for us, as we get to be “lazy” and only do stuff that’s easier (for lack of a better word) for us.
We honestly did it for our own amusement and knew some of our friends would get a kick out of it, but people really took to it so we started building on some of the other demos and the Do You Klack? EP was the result of that.
Our influences and “voice” were apparent from the get go, as we had the same references– Microchip League, early 242 and Depeche Mode, A Split Second, etc. Eric is ridiculously good at identifying sounds and how to build them, so we went from there and it’s been surprisingly successful.
Ken: : I find when a scene (especially in a smaller city) starts to really take on life it often has someone in a band who is working to drive that. I really see Madison as a place where you are helping something special happen. Tell me about why that city is special for this scene and what advice would you give to people who want to grow the scene in their cities?
Matt: Thanks. I appreciate that. We had a lot more vibrant scene in the early to mid 2000s when I was booking shows and bands like Stromkern were big, but we’ve definitely been building up again. The club we used to hang out at closed a few years back but a new one, Crucible, opened on New Years Eve, and that’s been a really exciting place for us to all come together again. I like thinking I’m a helpful part of it, but I’m just one person trying to convince people to come out and support this stuff. If it wasn’t for Stromkern and some of the other bands I wouldn’t have even thought my music could get heard elsewhere, so I hope I can inspire new artists the way Stromkern influenced me to make music
Ken: What is the next step for Klack? What are you working on and will any French automobiles be advertised by you in the future?
Matt: We’re working on new music presently and will be debuting a new track at Cold Waves in September. Then we’re opening for Boy Harsher in Madison on October 10th and playing Los Angeles at the Substance Festival (coincidentally with them as a co-headliner) in early November.
As for new stuff we hold our cards close on that, so you’ll know it when we announce it. No more french car promotion though. We’re loyal to the Renault LeCar through and through. Screw Peugeot.
Ken: Q: The alarm rings, missiles are locked on your studio. You have 5 minutes to escape, enough time to get out with one armload of gear. What are you saving?
Matt: I’ll just grab my laptop and Novation Kontrol and Launchpad. I keep it simple, as I’ve always been more DAW-centric and not a hardware guy. I don’t have that kind of money to blow.
Ken: You have such quirky and outside the stream song concepts. Tell me about your song writing process, where do you find the ideas you write about and how do you turn that into music?
Matt: I work a few ways when it comes to Klack, since Eric is responsible for the music. Sometimes lyrics just jump into my head, a la DMF off our first EP. I had the title (which was the name of a goth/industrial night on campus when Eric and I were at UW Madison) but the lyrics popped when I actually locked down on the demo. Other times, like for With Precision off Le Car, I had a bunch of lyrics but was waiting for the right music. It all depends. I’m working off a few other demo ideas right now and lyrics for both came to me when listening to the tracks.
My pools of inspiration for lyrics are different for Klack than Caustic or any of my other projects. I have very specific lyrical references for Klack, but for Caustic it’s what can fit for the song– I don’t have restraints for Caustic. I can’t think of a track where I debated “is this a Caustic lyric or a Klack lyric?” They’re very purposefully different, as the projects have different voices. I like writing for as many voices as possible, whether that be for Erica in Beauty Queen Autopsy or Eric for Klack. It’s fun pushing my creativity that way.
Ken: If you could do a music video for any of your Klack songs. You had an unlimited budget. What song would you pick and what would that video look like?
Matt: Oh hell, I’d just hire Anton Corbijn to do a video for Discipline, one of our new tracks. He’s done videos for 242 and Depeche Mode, so he’s hitting our major touchstones. We might as well stop pretending to be those bands and just use their guy straight off.
Ken: Give me one piece of Klack “Industrial Gossip” which my reader don’t know about?
Matt: Eric has a pouch like a kangaroo and he hides beef jerky in it.