In the past, Justin K. Broadrick tore our faces off, delightfully, with his electronic-industrial bands Godflesh and Jesu, among many others. Being pummeled by layers of distorted guitars and machine-gun snare hits never felt so good. Now, Broadrick is revisiting his 2007 Jesu release, Pale Sketches, with a remix album of songs that would sound right at home on an M83 release.
If recent Jesu releases can be considered indicators, the slow, ambient, shoe-gazer sounds of these remixes should come as no surprise to Broadrick’s fans. The melodic ambience of “Can I Go Now (Gone Version)” is just a step away from the mood and tone of his recent work, which happens to sound just as good at 80 bpm as it does at 120 bpm. “Wash It All Away (Cleansed Dub)” would fit in well in a Kruder and Dorfmeister set, as bass rolls in under lightly struck synth chords and a skittering drum beat.
At times the music becomes repetitive and perhaps overly languid, leaving one wishing for an injection of verve, a burst of distorted squalor. But make no mistake, this isn’t exactly VW commercial music. There’s still an edge here, an underlying sinister, creeping dread that Broadrick seems to revel in. And that’s what makes this remix album worth repeated listens.
Finally, some new music from the excellent The War on Drugs. The band’s new album, Future Weather, will be released this October on Secretly Canadian. Listen to the first single, “Comin’ Through” – nicely textured, overlapping guitars and even some strings on this decidedly mid-tempo melodic rocker. Maybe I’m getting old, but I love me some classic rock guitar sounds.
!!! has long survived the dance-punk explosion of the early aughts, outlasting many of the band’s flash-in-the-pan contemporaries from those years. Credit its sustainability not to simply mating drum machine programming with stabbing guitars, but cleverly roping the sounds of disco, Sandinista-era Clash, ’90s house, and dub into the mix.
Strange Weather, Isn’t It? is the band’s first album in three years, and was partially recorded in Berlin – although think Love Parade more than Low here. The opening track and first single, “AM/FM,” places loping basslines underneath an acid house synth wave that sounds like a futuristic version of The Smiths’ “How Soon is Now?” “The Most Certain Sure” pops and jerks until spacing out in a haze of dub reverb halfway through. And “Wannagain Wannagain” recalls vintage New Jack Swing, as bright horns pierce the disco beat and vocalist Nic Offer trades off with the melodious Shannon Funchess.
!!!’s latest is sometimes moody, sometimes bubbly, but a fleshed-out and engaging fusion of rock and electronic music the whole way through.
Yes, Flipmode Squad is returning… Well, not really, but Rah Digga has a new album on the way next month. Listen to this non-album track here. I can’t wait to hear this album, strictly based on her verses on Busta’s New Crack City mixtape from a few years ago.
The last time they tried it, Freestyle Fellowship’s return was a stain upon their amazing legacy. Let’s see if they can fix that with their new song, “On This Earth.” So far, I’m not convinced. Download here.