Industrial super band Klack have done it again. This time shining a light on 80s BBS modem culture with their new release 2400bps 8-N-1. A further step forward from previously reviewed Introducing The 1984 Renault LeCar (2019). A bit cleaner, a bit meaner Klack is putting the ass shaking chanting cadence back into industrial music. This EP again brings that 80’s old school sample heavy drive. I think what struck me right away is how accessible it is. Sometimes Industrial can get lost in metal roots and grinding crunch. Klack has focused on energetic dance beats and crystal clear emphasis on the back and forth vocals of Matt’s guttural ferocity and Eric’s beautiful melody lines. It’s inspiring and affirming making you focus on the energy of light dancing around you while the world crashes down around you.
Currently shooting to the top of the band camp charts as a self release Klack is firing out hits to a world hungry for nostalgic industrial played through a modern thinking persons lens. The lyrics are clever and thought provoking. Sometimes art really reflects the personal relationship of it’s artists and Matt/Eric have a friendship that bleeds through into their music. The elements flow together seamlessly into a powerful construction which stands out in the landscape. Their live stage show is crowd charging. If you get the chance to witness it I highly recommend.
Top tracks include:
Discipline – The heavy sample ridden opener has a ferocious chant that brings Industrial intensity into a Jane Fonda 80s workout video. The synth pads strike with precision to ramp up the energy.
The Games We Play – I love the War Games reference. The vocals are softer and have a gentle whispered melodic aspect. The song has a political and philosophic edge. I think this one really captured me the most and left me playing it over and over. I true bomb track.
Check the Spreadsheet – Beep Boop Bop dance until you drop. A mid tempo dance hall driver. I love the distorted slash synths with the early Microsoft sampled commercials. It’s clever, it’s dancy, it puts you on the floor from cell A1 – ZZ and makes you want to create a pivot table.
There is a reason this album got off to such a strong start. It’s fun, it’s intelligent, and it’s relevant in it’s focus on the past in the modern era. Klack yourself today !
It has admittedly been tough to get behind the keyboard in October. I have had a lot of focus on my band and lots of shows I needed to see. However I wanted to take a moment to call out a few important releases this month.
First and foremost is a new single from goth legend Caroline Blind of Sunshine Blind. Sunshine Blind was so important to many of us that fell in love with goth industrial music in the 90s. It really opened my mind to how something could be both delicate and beautiful at the same time as ferocious and intense. The album, ” Liquid,” was a CD I played until the scratches looked like grooves on a record. I just had the pleasure of seeing her open for Stoneburner in Detroit, and it was like being transported back in time. This first single in far too long is a cover of my favorite Swans song, “Godamn the Sun“. It is moving in it’s nihilistic humor and gloom. I feel like this version takes everything wonderful about the original and adds a level of stark contrast from the gorgeous soul of her voice. The ringing acoustic guitar and timed delivery has an almost Leonard Cohen feel in it’s poetry. This is a must hear for lovers of dark music.
The lovely lads from Texas Twin Tribes have done it again. Their first single from a sophomore album, Ceremony’s, shows another level in the electric progression of one of post punk musics fastest rising stars. There is a smooth synthesis to the flow and texture of these singles that is surpassing the already brilliant Shadows. Each song is a Ceremony that brings you inside it’s ritual and core. The personal connection created from these songs makes it a contender for album of the year.
Our dear friends in S Y Z Y G Y X have unleashed a Halloween single called, “Samhain”. They always have a spooky, atmospheric edge, spurned on by Luna’s truly unique vocals. For this cemetery dance jam, they turned the danger up to 11. Feast on the nightmares in sonic explosive form.
Ghost of Bela Lugosi, the man too intensely punk rock to ever hold between the lines, unleashed this searing napalm of a single. I am always surprised how much every song he releases is so different and so good. This one is an unapologetic throat punch of melodic fury. It’s hard to sit still just to write about it.
Carrion N.O released a new single, “Through the Eyes of Flys.” Another Halloween sinister noise assault in the vein of the Goblins. Full of atmospheric terror and slow building tension. I don’t want to run into this song in a dark alley.
Members: Holy Shit too many to count 🙂 Please see Facebook link below Chris Connelly , Dave Suycott , Louis Svitek , Ania Tarnowska , Eric Liljehorn , Mike Reidy , Matthew Clark , James Scott , Dan Milligan , Michael Allen , John Fryer , Lana Guerra , Gordon Young , Howie Beno , Mike Czarnik
The Joy Thieves are a massive collaboration with over thirty contributors gathered together by Dan Milligan. When i first heard this EP my initial description was “This is what it would sound like if Clutch beat the shit out of Stabbing Westward with a baseball bat” I still stand by that. This record has a ton of big name Industrial contributors and the Pigface, Ministry, Chicago Industrial sound is prevalent. To me what really made this record shine was the hard rock aspects charging forward which included aspects of industrial. Not the other way around. Dan is a drummer by trade and this percussion fills every inch of space and creates such electric movement. These tracks have melody and catchy hooks, but it’s the teeth that sets them apart. It bites hard, visceral, and does not let you go.
This EP includes remixes and a cover of “Siouxsie and the Banshees” sung by the amazing Ania Tarowska of I Ya Toyah. Her vocals are a fierce guttural homage to the queen of goth punk and pulls off something I had lost hope for. Making a song that was so incredible it had been overplayed into the ground, sound fresh and crackling with energy once again. The musicianship on the guitars make every song sizzle with true foot stomping ferocity of rabid wolves attacking in unison. Every song finds a way to build in succession and find a new voice.
Lets talk about favorite tracks. It is an EP so I will limit to two.
Honeycomb and Silk – This song is a freaking master class in percussion and drive. Thick slashing guitars are chased like wild horses by whip crack snare snaps. The vocals are a driving chant with range and intensity. I just want to play this song and break shit.
Cities in Dust – I hate to use a cover for best tracks but this one is a show stopper. There was so much potential to go wrong covering this song. Cities in Dust has been played at every goth night since the Vandals sacked Rome. Although I love it I almost dread hearing it at this point. Then Dan and company found a way to turn it up to 11. Ania attacks it with a ferocity I think Siouxsie herself would be proud of. Plus the humming guitar lead really cuts through the mix to give a blistering hard rock feel. They made me give a shit about Cities in Dust again.
Overall this EP was a blistering fresh romp through the wild west of hard rock on an mechanical horse. The lineup is so chocked full of talent it couldn’t help but obliterate every target it set sights on. Sometimes you just need to flay with reckless abandon and swing your arms to intense perfect precision drum beats. This is the album to do that to. Turn it on, max your volume, and scream until your neighbors know just who they are fucking with.
In 2012 a musician and sound engineer much beloved by the scene named Jamie Duffy was taken too soon. In an effort to pay tribute and help his family, a group of bands collaborated to create a music festival. Eight years later it has continued to grow and thrive as a celebration of music, counter culture, and dancing. Somehow in those previous seven years I have never attended this festival. This year I am changing that. I figured I would create a preview of each of the four days line up. Then try to share them before I head to Gotham City this weekend. Friday is sold out but tickets are still available for the other days and I would love to share my Cold Waves deflowering with as many of you wonderful people as possible.
Thursday Sept 19th lineup is a monster one. Lets break down who you will see.
Chicago’s own Panic Priest from Negative Gain records is playing Smart Bar and Jack Armondo will be bringing his honey rich baritone voice over delicious electronic beats and sizzling guitar licks. If you have never had the pleasure of witnessing it live, it is a must see.
This couldn’t happen in Chicago without some old school boot stomping in your face industrial. Sean Payne/Chris Harris and friends doing Conformco will give you that in excess. Get on this dance floor now!
Bootblacks – of New York is a driving post punk electroclash sizzlefest that has to be seen live to truly be appreciated. I saw them play with frequent life partners Actors in Detroit this past year and was floored by the energy and passion of their set. They have a new record coming soon “Thin Skies” produced by Jason Corbett so you might get to see some preview material. Just seeing Panther’s dance moves alone is worth the price of admission.
Far from done here it’s we are still talking about day 1! Curse Mackey with his debut solo album “Instant Exorcism” I have already reviewed this year and it shook me to the core. Curse has a storied history in Industrial music playing with (Pigface/My Life with the Thrill Kill Cult/Evil Mothers) and this personal and powerful record is a ritual charged electronic inferno. I am yet to see him live so I couldn’t be more excited.
Acumen vs 16 Volt – Acumen lead by the Novak brothers has been an intense hard hitting metaldustrial band since the late 80s. Their guitarist Jamie Duffy and his tragic passing was the focus that brought this festival together. No doubt making this a very personal show each year. 16 Volt with Eric Powell from LA also lean towards the metal side while adding electronic and synth elements. I’ve always really liked their vocals and cadence. I’m not sure exactly what the combination will sound like on Stage but with that level of talent in one place it is sure to be memorable.
Jared Loche and the Chemlab crew from Washington DC are part of any serious discussion about what Industrial music is. Chemlab has always held that early Throbbing Gristle art piece style of industrial music for me. They push the edge in the best possible way. It’s been a long hiatus since 2012 when they last played. It is a swirling, electronic Pandora’s Box, Like a pressure cooker filled with chaos brimming over into your eardrums. I can imagine what that many years of ideas is going to look and sound like.
Pop Will Eat Itself the UK based dance explosion that has been shaking the cement off clubs since 1986 with napalm bright guitars and electric stage shows and effective rapping. I think it has always been the extreme cleverness of this band that makes it stand out. My dear friend Josh Garman said it best “PWEI is so good they did a diss track of the Jesus and Mary Chain and I still love them” PWEI really deserves it’s own lengthy article about their contribution to the bigger musical picture.
Other important news, WAX TRAX will have a collectors corner set up with both the WAX TRAX documentary film and several rare test press, first press collectors items from the label.
My friends we are only at day one of a four day musical celebration and the names keep this exciting as the weekend goes on. So hydrate, pace yourself, and leave everything on the floor.
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.