Listen: Cold Cave "Heaven Was Full"
Listen: Cold Cave "Heaven Was Full"
As of this month, fans of Industrial Godfathers Skinny Puppy (without whom there would be no Marilyn Manson or Nine Inch Nails), will no longer have to shell out $200+ for the incredibly scarce vinyl edition of the band’s last (and arguably best) “classic-era” LP, Last Rights. This past August, the band polled their most rabid fans on Litany.net, asking which Puppy LP they’d most like to see reissued on vinyl. Last Rights won out as the fan favorite with nearly half of the vote, leading the band to strike a deal with their former label Nettwerk to reissue the album. The resultant release (out now) is lovingly repackaged with I, Braineater’s (AKA Jim Cummins) original artwork on a gatefold sleeve, while the audio itself has been mastered specifically for vinyl and spread across two LPs cut at 45rpm for maximum mental deranging. The package also includes a bonus CD of the entire album.
Austrian apocalyptic-industrial collective Der Blutharsch have just released their follow-up to last year’s The Philosopher’s Stone. The appropriately titled, Flying High!, reaches a peak in the bad-trip psychedelic heights the group began maneuvering towards on 2005’s When Did Wonderland End? (which remains the group’s most accessible album to-date). High’s CD slipcover uncharacteristically features a tongue-in-cheek photo of a presumably hallucinogenic, heart-shaped cake with the album’s title written in blue icing - preemptively answering the question one might ask upon first listen of this disc: “What kind of drugs are these people on?!?”
Der Blutharsch began as a one-man project featuring only Vienna-based Albin Julius just prior to leaving the medieval/ritual duo, The Moon Lay Hidden Beneath A Cloud, in 1999. Over the last decade, Der Blutharsch sojourned through phases of dark-ambient, post-Industrial, martial-industrial, and neo-folk collaborations with Death In June’s Douglas P. before settling into the gloomy apocalyptic-rock the now-expanded-to-a-4 member group plays. Julius has caught a lot of flack over the years for his various aesthetic and stylistic choices, from the Laibach-like controversy caused by critiques over military-related artwork and samples to angering fans over his apparent all-together abandonment of martial-industrial, a genre he is often credited with helping found. Julius, seemingly unfazed by any of this, has delivered one of the strongest albums in his discography. This means the band will end on a “high” note, now that Julius has announced that this will be the last Der Blutharsch album of new material as he plans to retire the name and move on to other projects.
While In Exile explores the band’s love of dreamier and filmic music (which no doubt rubbed-off on queer indie-rockers The Hidden Cameras, whom Philipp worked with on tracks for their recent lush offering, Origin: Orphan), Privilege is an inviting and darkly comic (sometimes even knowingly ridiculous) yet misanthropic and intense ride via the Goth and Waver club dance floors of yester-year. Philipp pays homage to his fellow countrymen KMFDM on “Bite Back“ and “Bitch” with big cheese-rock riffs and tongue firmly planted in cheek while somehow remaining quite serious and sincere. “Fashion Fascism” sounds like it could be a cover of Madonna’s “Burning Up” on some obscure late-80’s Wax Trax 12 inch while Philipp invokes the spirit of Leigh Bowery on “Daddy (Don’t Touch Me There).” Sadly, the Minty-commissioned Noblesse Oblige cover/remix of Bowery’s “Useless Man,” which appeared as the b-side of N.O.’s single for the bouncy “Quel Genre de Garcon,” does not appear among the bonus tracks here.
The Big Pink signed to cult-label 4AD this year. The team-up couldn’t have been a better fit as the duo’s tunes could slide in nicely in a playlist alongside tracks from the label’s 80’s and 90’s roster of ethereal and gothic-leaning releases. They also share with their predecessors a keen eye and love for packaging their music -– a dying art form for sure --adding dimensions to the music and an additional keyhole into the universe the band has created within their sound. The band’s pre-4AD releases of dead-sexy lo-fi electro vs. feedback bliss-outs were accompanied by homoerotic and ethereal sleeve artwork by Dennis Cooper (The duo also borrowed the title for their song “Frisk” from Cooper). The band’s newly polished, less-amorphous and refined sound (courtesy of major league mixing-czar Rich Costey) featured on their debut LP, A Brief History of Love, is issued with a murky, blurred and slightly unsettling cover photo of a bare-chested woman - insinuating and helping inject a similarly subversive sexual tone of their indie releases into the hazy pools of stoned reverb and romantic wistful grooves of the new album.