i hate sex - “Happy Anniversary”
i hate sex is a band that I found a few days ago on a record label compilation. I have probably gone through their first album, Circle Thinking, over a dozen times and am still completely lost in it. It was really hard to find just one track to write about on this powerful debut. So many of the songs are catchy and aggressive while still maintaining an almost uncomfortable level of honesty. The guitars are wonderfully melodic and contrast in just the right way with the screaming, emotionally charged vocals. If you have a few minutes, even if you are not into the band’s sound, go through the lyrics for every song and let them soak in for a while. “Happy Anniversary” is a great example of this: “If you died I wouldn’t be light, but I wouldn’t be heavy anymore. Happy anniversary” is the tag on the end of the song, repeated a handful of times.
Technophobia - “Negative Space”
Technophobia has a really great sound. Analogue minimal synth, EBM bass lines, and a great darkwave vocal style, all rolled into one tight package. The first glimpse from their new album, “Negative Space,” is a poppy, brilliant dance track that definitely will spread pretty quickly through the different clubs here in Portland. It hits all of the right areas of both markets in my mind. The vocals are distinct and clean and the synth work is catchy and varies nicely throughout the song. I am excited to hear the Alter Der Ruine remix on this single because I can see their style blending well with the original track. This single is only available - on vinyl (with digital download) - via the Working Order Records website, and all proceeds from the release are being donated to Life Pieces To Masterpieces, which is an art-based charity.
Technophobia is a darkwave/EBM band based in Washington D.C. The Negative Space 12” Single is available via Working Order Records.
Kindest Cuts - “Cold Eyes”
When I first heard “Cold Eyes”, I kept getting the feeling that I’d heard it before. I listened over and over, started searching the lyrics, wondering if it was a cover. It one hundred percent sounds like your favorite song whose name you just can’t quite recall.
But it wasn’t a cover, it is just my new favorite song. Perky synth bouncing along, held up by a fast moving baseline and excellent drum programming, and a vocal delivery that is rarely matched by modern synthpop bands in my view. The whole song has charisma; you can feel the power of performance and it’s not a stretch to imagine Kindest Cuts putting on a great show based on the character of their recorded performance.
Kindest Cuts is a synthpop and post-punk project from Winnipeg, Canada. Their latest release, Factotum, is available on Bandcamp.
Skuggsjá - “Skuggsjá”
Skuggsjá mixes traditional and folk instrumentation with influences for metal to a really fantastic effect. While this is not uncommon in metal now, the traditional instrumentation serves an additional purpose here; the album this track is from, A Piece for Mind & Mirror, serves to tell the story of Norway’s history through its instruments and languages. The band mixes modern Norwegian, Norse, and even Proto-Norse for the lyrics and spoken word elements.
The music itself is really fantastically executed. The heavy guitars and drumming is paired well with the folk instruments. You never really feel like there’s a disconnect between the styles; they are blended together organically, and provide an emotional depth I think it may have been hard to achieve with just one or the other.
Skuggsjá is Ivar Bjørnson of Enslaved and Einar Selvik of Wardruna. Their album, A Piece for Mind & Mirror, is available on Bandcamp.