Category: industrial electronica

I’ve managed to write quite a bit about the Los Angeles, CA-based singer/songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and producer Justin Phillips, a.k.a Crywolf over the past 12-15 months or so. When Phillips started writing and releasing his own music. he was practically homeless, living in a room roughly the size of a closet and subsiding on food stamps. Since then, Philips has developed a growing profile that has included amassing several million streams across all of the various streaming platforms, a headlining slot on the second largest stage at Electric Forest and praise across both the blogosphere and the major media outlets, including Consequence of Sound, Alternative PressBillboardNylon, Complexas well as this site.

Now, if you’ve been following this site over that same period, you might recall that Phillips sophomore album widow [OBLIVIØN Pt. 1]. Building upon the momentum of his sophomore album, Philips recently started a new series THE OBLIVION [Reimagined], which will feature reworked versions of tracks off widow [OBLIVIØN Pt. 1]. The first single in the series featured the Chicago-based producer Mielo tackling “DRIP” — with Mielo releasing an arpeggiated synth-driven, cinematic remix that recalled A-Ha’s “Take on Me” and Depeche Mode while retaining the urgency and frenetic feel of the original. Earlier this week, Seattle-based producer Levit∆te released a glitchy, murky and hyper-futuristic remix of “ULTRAVIOLENT Pt. 2” that retained Philips plaintive vocals.

widow [OBLIVIØN Pt. 1] album single “QUIXOTE [i am alone, and they are everyone] features Philips’ achingly plaintive vocals floating over a cinematic and glitchy production. Recently, SWARM, a dark, industrial metal-influenced electronic artist released his own take on the song — a take that places Philips’ plaintive vocals within a gritty and jarring, industrial production featuring thumping, industrial clang and clatter, aggressively arpeggiated synths and a soaring hook. Evoking the increasing automation and brutality of our contemporary world, the song manages to pull upon and tease out the dark, gritty psychological detail of the original, placing in a new context without stripping the emotionality or the intent of its creator.

“There is something about ‘QUIXØTE’ in particular that is deepening haunting to me,” SWARM says in press notes. “I could feel my own emotions in every aspect of it, from the cathartic atmosphere to the painfully raw lyrics. In my re-imagination, I wanted to bring the psychological grit to light in a more aggressive way by using my own background in metal and industrial music.”



New Audio: Philadelphia’s King Britt Teams Up with Low for a Lovingly Subtle Industrial Remix of “Fly”

Currently comprised of founding members, and married couple Alan Sparhawk (guitar, vocals) and Mimi Parker (drums) along with Steve Garrington (bass), the Duluth, MN-based critically applauded indie rock trio Low initially formed back in 1993 — and although they’ve had their share of lineup changes, the trio have developed a reputation for being pioneers of a subgenre commonly called slowcore, which focuses on slowed down tempos and minimalist arrangements, centered around the gorgeous and achingly earnest harmonies of Sparhawk and Parker. While the band’s members have largely disapproved of the term slowcore, they’ve managed to eventually shrug off its strictures, recording a beloved Christmas album, as well as having a long-held reputation for a magnetic and powerful stage show. 

Last year, the band celebrated its 25th anniversary together and instead of comfortably going on a victory lap or even resting on the laurels of past accolades and achievements, the band released what may arguably be their most uncompromisingly defiant, brazenly abrasive, challenging and yet gorgeous album in their catalog to date, the B.J. Burton-produced Double Negative. The album, which continued their ongoing collaboration with the producer of Ones and Sixes found the band desiring to go even further with Burton’s aesthetic and sonic palette, to see what someone, who as Sparhawk has described as “a hip-hop guy” could really do with their music. 

Instead of obsessively writing, revising and rehearsing in Duluth, as they normally would do before heading to the studio, the members of Low went down to Eau Claire, WI with rough ideas and sketches that they would work with Burton on in what may arguably be among the most collaborative writing sessions with a producer they’ve ever had. During those sessions, Burton and Low would spend their time building pieces up, breaking them up, breaking them down again and building up again until the material found its proper purpose and force. Although it took them two years to write and record, Double Negative may arguably be considered — by future generations — as a document of our current sociopolitical moment — loud, contentious, chaotic, abrasive, jarring. The material finds Sparhawk’s and Parker’s vocals desperately fighting against an overwhelming tide of noise, other times submerged beneath it. And while the material is a decided and radical sonic departure, the band maintains the gorgeous and achingly heartfelt quality that’s their trademark. 

One of the album’s many standout tracks “Fly” is an eerily atmospheric yet stunning gorgeous track in which Mimi Parker’s vocals float ethereally over a bed of gently swirling, fluttering and glitchy electronics, shimmering guitars and twinkling keys.  The members of Low are about to embark on a relatively short tour that will include two New York area dates, September 13, 2019 at Basilica Hudson and September 14, 2019 at Murmrr — and just before their tour, they released a remix by Philadelphia-based producer and DJ King Britt. Interestingly, the King Britt remix continues the abrasive yet ethereal quality of the original and Mimi Parker’s gorgeous vocals while adding a decidedly industrial electro pop quality to the proceedings It’s a loving take on the material that’s one part continuation of the original’s intent and purpose, one part loving conversation between the remixer and the band. “As a longtime Low fan, a huge amount of respect went into the mix,” King Britt says of his remix. ” I loved their new sonic direction, which spoke to my Fhloston Paradigm project. My mix was a response and continuation in a way of a magical space they already created. Mimi Parker’s vocals were some of her best. A true honor.” 

New Audio: Arizona’s Body of Light Returns with a Brooding Yet Dance Floor Friendly New Single

Earlier this year, I wrote about the Arizona-based sibling, electronic duo Body of Light. And as you may recall, the act — comprised of Andrew and Alexander Jarson — can trace their origins to the Jarsons’ involvement in the acclaimed Ascetic House collective.  Interestingly, what hat initially began as a vehicle for the duo to explore noise and sound during their early teens has gradually evolved into an established electronic production and artist unit that crafts music that draws from New Wave, freestyle, goth and techno — and from the Jarsons’ individual and shared experiences. 

Body of Light’s third album Time to Kill is slated for a July 26, 2019 release through Dais Records and the album reportedly finds the Arizona-based sibling duo refining their sound with a bolder sonic palette while thematically, the duo focus on love and obsession within an era of increasing technological bondage and fleeting exhilaration. The Power, Corruption and Lies-era New Order and Upstairs at Eric’s-era Yaz-like album title track “Time to Kill” was centered around a brooding yet relentless, dance floor friendly production and a brooding Romanticism. Time to Kill’s latest single, the Depeche Mode-like “Don’t Pretend” is centered around and industrial/goth-like production featuring insistent and relentless beats, layers upon layers of shimmering and arpeggiated synths, a soaring hook and plaintive vocals — but unlike its immediate predecessor, the album’s latest single is an urgent, desperate plea. As the duo explain in press notes. “We are all hostages of need; we struggle to free our minds from confinement.” They add that the new single is “a song for those imprisoned by their own desires.” 

New Video: JOVM Mainstays Sextile Release Feverish Visuals for Club Banging “Hazing”

Over the past couple of years, I’ve written quite a bit about the Los Angeles, CA-based post-punk act and JOVM mainstay Sextile, and as you may recall the act which was formed back in 2015, earned a devout following as a result of an explosive live show and non-stop touring as an opener and as a headliner with the likes of fellow JOVM mainstays A Place to Bury Strangers, Ty Segall, Thee Oh Sees, The Soft Moon, Ought, ADULT., The Chameleons, Modern English and others. Building upon a growing profile, the act has made appearances across the national festival circuit with sets at Bersekertown, Cloak & Dagger and Levitation.

During that same period, the act went through a massive lineup change that found the band writing, recording and performing as a duo featuring founding member Brady Keehn and Melissa Scaduto. And naturally, as a result of those lineup changes, the remaining members radically reinvented their sound — moving towards a synth-based sound with minimal use of guitar; in fact, on EP3, the Los Angeles-based JOVM mainstays last bit of recorded output before their indefinite hiatus, Keehn and Scaduto use a KORG MS-10 sequencer, a Fender Stratocaster, a LinnDrum and various other percussion-based instruments to craft a decidedly 80s industrial synth sound. “Hazing,” EP3’s latest single continues in a similar vein as its predecessors as its centered around a motorik groove, arpeggiated synths and clang and clatter — and while continuing a string of singles that sound indebted to Substance-era New Order.

Directed by Gabriel Francez, the recently released video for “Hazing” is a tense and lysergic fever dream, focused entirely on the subconscious desires of its subjects. “The video is about a dream. The idea was to represent the blurriness of it, where all of the perception is altered and images come one after the other,” Francez explains in press notes. “I imagined the dream being divided into three main levels separated by the red door, representing for the boy character a sign of escape. In each room he finds himself stuck in this surrealistic thriller and look desperately for the exit as the characters try to keep him in this crazy hallucination. It’s an odyssey within the dream where the character is tested by his subconscious.”

Over the course of three full-length albums and a number of EPs, the Detroit, MI-based trio Ritual Howls, comprised of Paul Bancell (vocals, guitar), Chris Samuels (synths, samples, drum machine) and Ben Saginaw (bass) have developed a reputation for crafting a cinematic twangy and dance floor friendly industrial post-punk — although last year’s The Body EP found the trio employing the use of more expansive arrangements paired with a sculpted sound and production.

Interestingly, the trio’s forth, full-length album Rendered Armor is slated for a March 22, 2019 release through felte records continues in a similar vein as The Body. Now, as you may recall, album single “Alone Together” was centered around twangy guitar, ominous atmospherics, shimmering synths and a dance floor friendly thump — and while bearing a sonic resemblance to acclaimed post-punk duo VOWWS, the song is the tale of a classic love song, complete with an aching longing that’s set in a doomed, near apocalyptic world, much like our own. Rendered Armor‘s latest single “Thought Talk,” is a twangy, Violator-era Depeche Mode take on their sound as reverb drenched guitar playing is paired with an industrial thump, laser-like hi hats, sharply arpeggiated and propulsive synths and Bancell’s icy delivery that further emphasizes the song’s plaintive melancholy. And much like its predecessor, the song finds the Detroit-based trio balancing an uneasy intimacy with a wide screen cinematic quality.

Ritual Howls will be touring with The Faint to support their forthcoming full-length album, and it includes two NYC area dates — July 29, 2019 and July 30, 2019 at Bowery Ballroom. Check out the rest of the tour dates below.

Tour Dates
04.13 Los Angeles, CA @ Echoplex (Record Release)  
07.27 Allston, MA @ Brighton Music Hall *
07.29 New York, NY @ Bowery Ballroom *
07.30 New York, NY @ Bowery Ballroom *
08.02 Philadelphia, PA @ Theatre of Living Arts *
08.03 Washington, DC @ 9:30 Club *
08.04 Columbus, OH @ Newport Music Hall *
08.05 Pittsburgh, PA @ Get Hip Records
08.06 Cleveland, OH @ Grog Shop *
08.07 Detroit, MI @ El Club *
08.09  Chicago, IL @ House of Blues *
08.10 Milwaukee, WI @ The Rave II (Downstairs) *
08.12 Minneapolis, MN @ Fine Line Music Cafe *
08.13 Kansas City, KS @ Madrid Theatre *
08.15 Dallas, TX @ Gas Monkey Live *
08.16 Austin, TX @ Scoot Inn *
10.04 Tampa Bay, FL @ Absolution Festival
* w/ The Faint, Closeness

New Audio: JOVM Mainstay TR/ST Releases a Murky Industrial-like Single off Forthcoming Third Album

Over the past few years of this site’s almost nine year history, I’ve written quite a bit about Toronto, ON-born, Los Angeles, CA-based JOVM mainstay Robert Alfons, best known for his solo electro pop recording TR/ST. Now, as you may recall, Alfons has released two critically and commercially successful full-lengths 2012’s self-titled effort and 2014’s sophomore effort Joyland. Interestingly, Joyland was a decided change in sonic direction for the Toronto-born, Los Angeles-based electronic music producer and artist with the material  being much more pop orientated while possessing a muscular, club banging thump.

Five years have passed since the release of his sophomore album and as it turns out, the Toronto-born, Los Angeles-based JOVM mainstay had been writing and recording new material in a farmhouse in Southern Ontario and Los Angeles, where he recently relocated. During those writing and recording sessions, which resulted in his forthcoming two album effort Destroyer 1 and Destroyer 2, Alfons worked with a cast of all-star collaborators  that included Austra’s Maya Postepski, with whom he collaborated with on his self-titled debut; Postepski co-wrote and co-produced six of the album’s songs. Alfons also worked with co-producers Lars Stalfors and Damian Taylor to further refine the album’s sound. As Alfons eventually learned during the Destroyer writing and recording process was that patience would wind up being a major ingredient and influence on his songwriting approach and the album’s overall sound. 

“The environment I work in has always guided me. But it took a long time to submit to the kind of patience these songs were asking of me. I was getting glimpses of what I wanted to achieve with the album,” Alfons says in press notes. “But it wasn’t feeling cohesive; things weren’t aligning in a clear direction. My first two records were put out so close to one another that I think of them as one. They just poured out of me.” With The Destroyer, the process was entirely different. “It was so much more careful. I found myself seeking spaces of absolute quiet; I needed them in order to hear what was going on inside.”

Destroyer 1’s first single “Gone” was built around shimmering and arpeggiated synths, stuttering beats, a motorik groove and a soaring and incredibly anthemic hook. And while managing to have a radio friendly accessibility, the song is centered around a swooning and urgent Romanticism that recalls 80s synth pop and New Wave — in particular, New Order’s “Bizarre Love Triangle,” comes to mind. “Unbleached,” Destroyer 1’s second and latest single is a murky single co-written by Maya Postepski that features layers of arpeggiated synths, tweeter and woofer rocking beats, explosive hi-hat, and an infectious and anthemic hook paired with Alfons’ plaintive vocals ethereally floating over the mix. Interestingly as Alfons says in press notes “So happy to share the first collaboration song that me and Maya wrote for the album. This was an ode to the sound of rats running in the roof!’ 

The Destroyer 1 is slated for an April 19, 2019 release through Grouch/House Arrest Records with The Destroyer slated for a November release.

New Video: Omaha’s The Faint Releases Stylish and Menacing Visuals for Club-banging “Child Asleep”

Currently comprised of founding members Todd Fink (vocals) and Clark Baechle (drums), along with Graham Ulicny (keys) and Michael “Dapose” Dappen (bass), the Omaha, NE-based cyber-punk act The Faint can trace their origins back to the mid 1990s. Founded by Fink, Baechle and Joel Petersen, the band’s founding members spent time skateboarding in their free time — until Fink developed knee problems, which shifted their hobbies towards music.

Initially forming under the name Norman Bailer, the band also briefly included Conor Oberst, who left the band shortly after their formation. The band’s founding trio eventually changed their name and signed to Saddle Creek Records, their longtime label home. Interestingly, after releasing a handful of singles that didn’t sell much, the band added Matt Bowen, who was with them for the writing and recording of their full-length debut Media. After the recording of Media, the Omaha-based cyber punk outfit went through a number of lineup changes.

In late 1998, Jacob Theile joined the band, Bowen left and was replaced with Ethan Jones. And with a lineup of Fink, Baechle, Theile and Jones, the band toured across the US, playing the material that would eventually comprised their acclaimed sophomore album Blank Wave Arcade, an album found the band moving towards an electronic dance music and techno influenced sound. Before recording the album, the band went through yet another lineup change with Jones leaving the band and being replaced by Joel Petersen, who played bass and guitar during the album’s recording sessions. 

During the recording sessions for Danse Macabre, the band added Dappen, who was best known for being a member of LEAD. The band’s fifth album, 2008’s Fascination was released through the band’s own label blank.wav.  2012 saw the release of the deluxe and remastered edition of Danse Macabre, which featured bonus and unreleased tracks, a DVD of archival footage, live projections from that album’s tour and live footage. 

In 2016, the band went through another lineup change as Reptar’s Graham Ulicny replaced Thiele. The band’s long-awaited Egowerk is slated for a March 15, 2019 release through Saddle Creek Records. The album, which marks a return to the Omaha-based outfit’s longtime label home, thematically explores the Internet and its impact on modern society and the ego — specifically social media and its dark effects. The album’s first single, album opener “Child Asleep” is a thumping and twitchy industrial house-like club banger centered around layers of arpeggiated synths, rapid fire beats, and vocals fed through copious amounts of vocoder. And while the song manages to recall Tour de France-era Kraftwerk and Atari Teenage Riot, the song is centered around a simple yet profound message — that “if I were wise, I would see that I’m a child still asleep.” 

Directed and Edited by Nik Fackler, the recently released video manages to be tense, slickly stylish and absolutely menacing; or in other words, it seems to accurately capture our uncertain sociopolitical moment.