Silent Riders - Black Needle Noise (With Bill Leeb) - Her Crooked Heart - Scratch Massive - Psymon Spine - Beta Days

Silent Riders - I See You.

Background - Fresh from acclaim for their self-titled debut album, Danish electronic trio Silent Riders have now unveiled the video for single ‘I See You’ and it’s full of great slightly Blair Witch-esque fuzzy woodland horror imagery.

This Copenhagen-based trio seemed to have sprung from some murky unknown world, if we are to believe the statements of the band themselves. Little is known about Lu, Gee and C who comprise the group, or what is behind the masks they wear during their performances. They might have materialized from shadows in the woods, lurking in the dark until they were ready to share their sounds with the world. This mythical sphere that they have created for themselves is accessible through their music, which is a vision of electronic music that is organic and alive with both warmth and danger. 

Led by the sultry voice of Lu, we are taken into the dark woods of the Silent Riders with almost cinematic brilliance as Gee and C mans the machines that weaves the atmospheric dronings of this world. A world that could be easily mistaken for one created by David Lynch or Tim Burton. The rhythms that form the path to this domain have been tried and tested by previous travellers, known to us by names like Throbbing Gristle, Cabaret Voltaire or Tolouse Lowtrax. 

With "I See You" they offer up a brilliant pop diamond of all the elements of their sound palette. With Lu in her most soulful voice, bouncing off of an almost funky drum machine, all drenched in layers of dark analog ambience. i-D Magazine described the track as “the complete opposite of coziness and conviviality with a pulsing piece of moodtronica that wouldn't sound out of place on the upcoming Twin Peaks revival”, whilst BBC 6 Music’s Nemone, Radio X’s John Kennedy and Amazing Radio have also supported it with airplay. Facebook here.

Dark rumbling synths and a slow haunting rhythm provide the backdrop for 'I See You'. The compelling and soulful vocals add even more mood to the song, and the video is in harmony with both the music and the whole vibe of this song.


Black Needle Noise (With Bill Leeb) - A Shiver Of Want.

Background - Through his project Black Needle Noise, legendary producer John Fryer has paired up with Bill Leeb, founding member of the industrial music group Front Line Assembly and also dream electronica project Delerium, on a new single ‘A Shiver of Want’.

This is a titillating offering, creating its own imaginary sonic playfield where Nine Inch Nails meets Massive Attack. Here, John Fryer and Bill Leeb show impressive longevity and innovation, indicating how interesting and relevant they still are to the genre, never ones to simply use technology by the manual. 

Recognized as one of the most innovative sonic architects on the music scene, his imprint has been massive over the years, being formative in developing the trademark sound we associate today with such bands as Nine Inch Nails, Cocteau Twins and, of course, This Mortal Coil (as one of only two constant members, along with Ivo Watts-Russell, providing keyboards, strings and synthesizer sequencing). 

John Fryer started his career in 1979 at London’s Blackwing Studios (London) and soon began working with seminal bands on the 4AD, Mute, Rough Trade and Beggars Banquet record labels, including Depeche Mode, The Wolfgang Press and Cocteau Twins. His achievement in helping develop the latter’s pioneering ethereal and ambient sound ultimately led Watts-Russell to recruit Fryer as his partner for This Mortal Coil.

Bill Leeb is an electronic musician and record producer, best known as a founding member of the industrial music group Front Line Assembly. Though the band has had consistent underground success, Leeb's most widely known efforts are through his side project Delerium, which had a major worldwide hit in the late 1990s with "Silence” featuring vocals by Sarah McLachlan, which reached number three on the UK music charts and has been described as one of the greatest trance songs of all time. Facebook: Black Needle Noise here, Front Line Assembly here, Delerium here.

'A Shiver Of Want' is both innovative and menacing. It's also exceptionally addictive both vocally and musically. Synths and whispered vocals slip in between eruptions of sonic intensity. It's like a piece from a modern day Gothic opera performed in a dark shadowy theatre.


Her Crooked Heart - Are You Good You Are.

Background - Her Crooked Heart is the new name; the new music of Rachel Ries – multi-instrumentalist, songwriter, producer, hired gun, singer. Her Crooked Heart’s first release, To Gentlemen (CD & 7” vinyl EP), hits the ground spinning May 5, complete with Rachel’s own limited edition artwork and featuring members of Bon Iver & Field Report.

Along with numerous and diverse collaborators through the years, Rachel has proven herself ever-curious to expand her sound, her scope, and sail on past the confines of ‘singersongwriter.’ After all, sometimes what the heart wants is a syncopated horn line and a string section; a choir of angels and a bass synth, leaving exaltation and devastation.

But one thing has remained true since Rachel’s first homespun release: her sly and compassionate voice, excavating the depths of an all-too-human heart, armed with levity and a pen. It’s the messy humanity that’s of interest here. The trying and failing; the loving and losing and loving again. The choosing to be brave even when you’re shaking in your tattered boots. So please, make welcome: Her Crooked Heart. She’s been here all along.

This quartet of tunes on the EP is culled from a larger, rollicking session recorded in the woods of WI, winter of 2016/17. The songs on To Gentlemen are a snapshot of the album yet to come; an album that is in turns disarmingly spare and deeply danceable. All the songs wade through the ever-rich and roiling waters of loving, leaving and finding new life again. Website here, Facebook here, May tour dates on Beehive Candy's tour page.

The first of four songs on the forthcoming EP is 'Are You Good You Are' which typifies this charming and imaginative collection. Rachel Ries vocals are charismatic and melodic with some fine musicianship supporting her across each track.      


Scratch Massive - Standing By My Door.

Background - With their extraordinarily epic and artful musical poetry, Maud Geffray and Sébastien Chenut – the two sonic warheads who make up the electronic music group Scratch Massive – have always been able to enrich sensory experience in a way that brings together the fringe and the extremes, the here and there, the past and the future, with a never-disappointing desire to express the blues of the soul and the blues of the world.

The Parisian /L.A DJ/producer duo has made its mark with icy grooves and epic productions, a perfectly-executed musical path that has led it to become one of the driving forces of French electronic music of the last 20 years. After the dark and melancholic convulsions of its studio album Nuit de rêve, Scratch Massive invites us to intimately explore new heights through the sublime images and existential travels of a moved teenager in Los Angeles presented in Junior – the new project series of director Zoe Cassavetes.

This intense musical duo has undertaken a veritable revolution, giving body and soul to their latest project. Recorded under the Los Angeles sun at Atwater Studios, Junior is a troubling and enraptured vision of The California Dream - the one that always seems to slip away at the last moment from under the feet of Logan, the film’s disappointed heroine. On this album, Scratch Massive trades in (temporarily?) its somber ways and the dark beauty of its electronic odes for a new pop sensibility nourished by the grand air of the Pacific Ocean and the frenetic rhythm of a city that never sleeps.

Quite simply, with Junior, Scratch Massive has made a modern electronic album, perfectly at ease with the influence of pop, as a way to revisit and reexamine its clichés, its stylistic effects, and the hungry nostalgia for the 1980s. Bordel Records Facebook here.

One of sixteen tracks on the new 'Junior' album is 'Standing By My Door' featuring Maud Geffray on vocals. The song does have some 1980's influences, at one point it was almost like listening to Blondie and Gary Newman merged together (and that's meant as a compliment).


Psymon Spine - Yoana.

Background - Psymon Spine, are an incredible young experimental pop band based in Brooklyn, who are releasing their debut album You Are Coming To My Birthday, via Axis Mundi Records on June 9th. This week, the band is sharing its pulsing, psychedelic first single “Yoana”, along with its awesome (also: NSFW) kaleidoscopic video, ahead of their PopGun show w/ Mr. Twin Sister and iDeath (Andrew from MGMT) at Brooklyn Bazaar this Saturday, April 29th.

Psymon Spine's constantly shifting sound is informed by the band’s varied musical backgrounds, which range from house music to punk, West African music, Tropicália, gamelan, and more. The songs that comprise the new Psymon Spine album partner fuzzy synths with distorted bass lines, lush vocal harmonies, and fast dance beats coupled with flowing string arrangements.

In 2013, the band met and began collaborating with Graham Dickson of London-based band Crystal Fighters, who would go on to start Axis Mundi Records and sign them, eventually releasing their acclaimed debut EP in early 2015. The next several years would be spent writing and recording their album, touring, DJing, and performing alongside the likes of Mr Twin Sister, Is Tropical, Juan MacLean, Guerilla Toss, and MGMT’s Andrew VanWyngarden (who they DJ with at The Lot radio often!). Website here, Facebook here.

'Yoana' helps give an indication of just how experimental Psymon Spine are, but only an indication. The new album deserves to be described as eclectic, as the music shifts genres, momentum and styles without notice. The featured song is chameleon like, as it moves pace and intensity and defies any one genre.


Beta Days - This Art Ain't Mine.

Background - Beta Days are proud to release the first single "This Art Ain't Mine", from the upcoming debut album, S.T.T. This first track kicks off with bright, jangly guitars and a light melody that wisps away the listener. The lush, guitar pop sound is reminiscent of indie champions Wilco and Real Estate. Pensive, dreamy rock. Beta Days is the one-man project of songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Bill Bierce. The project evolved from Bierce's late night writing sessions that would start around 3 AM, as it was the only time neighbouring bands at his practice space weren’t around to drown him out. Isolation and lack of sleep began to wear down, and at several points, Bierce began to seriously question everything. Depression and stagnancy ensued over many months, but eventually, there was enough material to record a proper full-length LP. 

With his friend Andrew Grant (H. Stone) hitting record and providing emotional support during Bierce’s many breakdowns, S.T.T. (Sunday, Tuesday, Thursday - an acronym for the days of the week they would record) was recorded throughout 2015 in Grant’s private studio in Rhode Island.

Sadly, Bierce's mother passed away during the album's mixing, while simultaneously his father occupied a long-term hospice stay from a head wound which had left him in a vegetative state a few years prior. Everything had once again been cast into doubt, but Bierce stayed the course and completed the record mid-2016. The end result is a hazy reflection on idealized youth, relationships, isolation, and the drudgery of adult life. All of this is presented through a prism of evasive lyrics and tightly arranged instrumentation, leaving the listener to draw their own meanings from the songs.

Bierce expanded the project into a live band shortly after completing the record, including his ex-Wandas bandmate Keith McEachern on bass. The group has enjoyed the contrast of raw energy with more guitar-oriented live performances. Beta Days debut full-length LP, S.T.T. will be released everywhere June 23rd, 2017. Website here, Facebook here.

As first singles go 'This Art Ain't Mine' sets expectations high for the debut album. The guitars are vibrant and the vocals smooth and natural, there is a hint of alt rock throughout, alongside some refined indie vibes.