‘ello all. It’s certainly been a while. 2016 has been a very challenging year for many and myself included. Poor health and stress of my day job had certainly not made life easy. But enough excuses and on to the music!
I’d like to begin by thanking all the wonderful Djs over at Communion After Dark for being my primary source of new music for this past year. Due to my local scene severely lacking and causing me great distress, like many children of the internet age, I soon found relief for my condition by spending many hours pouring over alternative music podcasts on mixcloud.com. Rated number one on Mixcloud, Communion After Dark provides a wide variety of music for those darkly inclined hosted by some of the funniest people I’ve ever heard. So, thank you so much guys for making 2016 just a little less bleak.
2016 saw an unexpected but an incredibly necessary revival of Industrial music. While Skinny Puppy, Nine Inch Nails and many others old timers in the scene hadn’t stopped producing music since their inception, new blood and a new audience was desperately needed in the scene. I’m well aware that 3Teeth had launched their debut album back in 2014 but it wasn’t till 2016 when they were invited to tour with Tool that they become the band on everyone’s radar. Unfortunately they have not yet planned to tour where I live but I am holding my breath in anticipation.
Since everyone already knows the debut album by heart, here’s something fresh from their Soundcloud.
IAMX – “Everything Is Burning” Metanoia Addendum
IAMX have become practically mainstream amoung the alternative crowd but that does not make the music or the band any less genius. They need very little introduction or explanation. I had the privilege of seeing them live for the 4th time this year and nothing can compare. Chris Corner writes truly unique visceral unbelievable music.
Aesthetic Perfection- Love Like Lies
Daniel Graves, more well known as Aesthetic Perfection is a true workaholic and never stops making something new. While there is no word on when he plans to release his new album, we have been getting teased with tracks like LAX and Love Like Lies. I can’t wait for what Daniel will think of next.
Mr. Kitty – I Hope You Fall Apart
I’ve been a huge fan of Mr. Kitty since 2012. His soft synth beats and ethereal vocals call out to the jaded millennial generation who have seen the accomplishments of our predecessors and have decided there’s really no hope but nihilism and music. In 2016 he released the “-+ [EP]” and currently a new single now that’s he’s joined the label Negative Gain. I can’t wait for more. ❤
Victor Love ft. KMFDM – Bitchcraft
Thanks to Communion After Dark and absolutely every alternative DJ for playing this as it’s serious earworm, but the good kind. The album overall is ok though it’s a tad repetitive.
Hands Off Gretel – Be Mine
I cannot thank my favourite Youtuber Dorian enough for introducing me to this band. I also absolutely adore strong gritty female vocals. As someone who grew up listening to The Distillers, Hole and QueenAdreena, and many many 90s riot grrrrrl bands, this is Riot Grrrl reinvented and brought into 2016! I cannot get enough of them!
Neon Midnight – RetributionIt’s very tough to assign Neon Midnight a genre. Influenced by 90s grudge bands and gothic sources alike, majority of the songs are rather simple vocals and guitar. While it’s hard to musically categorize, the lyrics are truly impactful and resonate in one’s mind for days. Just give it a try. “Break Me” is my absolutely favoruite song and it speaks to me on a deeply personal level.
Nine Inch Nails – Not The Actual Events
Of course who could’ve missed the biggest Christmas present of all this year and that’s the new NIN with Trent and Atticus Ross continuing their ongoing musical relationship. Listen for yourself and make up your own mind. I like that it’s more dark and gritty like the earlier NIN I hold so close to my heart.
Strvngers – Strvngers
Now with THIS, I’ve certainly saved the best for last. Strvngers is a band which I’ve discovered completely by accident sometime in November and became instantly obsessed with. If I had to choose a favourite album of 2016 it would have to be this. I’ve played it over and over so many times that I now hear the lyrics in my dreams. Heck, I could write an entire album review post singing this band praises. Now, I must caution you, as with much synth darkpop, you’ll either love it or hate it. That being said, it really is the perfect soundtrack to 2016. At first they reminded me of The Sounds with their 80s throwback sound. But, uniquely to them, having synthy upbeat melodies does not mask the dark desperation of the lyrics which might come across as a bit emo but then again 2016 has been a very dark year after all; and is it not the job of art to reflect the current times? The album tells a story about the rise and fall of a young relationship. Very few albums these days have such a cohesive bold story arc which transitions perfectly between each track. They speak very clearly to our current jilted generation who grew up on video games and empty promises. It’s no surprise they share the same record label, Negative Gain as Mr. Kitty whose music also very much taps into this aesthetic. A true gem amoung the coal. A+
Disclaimer. All music belongs to the artists. I tried to link directly to sources like Bandcamp where you can pre-listen and download to your heart’s content. I own nothing.