Fresh Blood, Fresh Sounds

Welcome back! These are the shownotes that go with our S03E04 Episode, which is now live!

Portion Control – The Great Divide

Portion Control is a British electronic and industrial band from South London. This trio started out experimenting with electronics in 1980. They pioneered sampling and were praised for their use of the Greengate DS3 sampling and sequencing system, built for the Apple II computer. They released some albums on cassette tapes in their early years, but luckily they signed with a record label after a few years. Their first properly released album was “I Staggered Mentally,” and that album had some underground dancefloor hits. But not in a disco way 😉.

The vocals are the only human element among electric drones, metallic beats, and synthesizers.The band classifies their music style as “Hard Rhythmic Electronics” and was a major influence on Skinny Puppy, Front Line Assembly, and Depeche Mode. They even supported Depeche Mode during their 1984 tour ‘Some Great Reward.’ At first, Portion control didn’t know them, nor liked them because Depeche Mode was too poppy. But touring with Depeche Mode certainly gave them a new and broader audience.

Portion Control disbanded in 1987 but reformed in 2002. They remain very active and only make music using software these days. They sold all their old synths a long time ago. A few years back, their old cassette releases have been remastered and reissued by Dark Entries records. Their more recent work still gets high praise. However, I picked a catchy one from 1985, an old favorite of mine.

Of Blood and Wine – My Girlfriend’s a Vampire.

This week, we have a triple Insta Outcast selection for you! That is right; apparently, winters in lockdown lead to creativity because no less than three bands that we have named Friends of the Show have released new music very recently!

Let’s begin with an old favorite, Of Blood and Wine, the band that re-defined the genre Goth and Roll. In our The Infected interview, right here on The, you can read all about them. Please go check it out!

These Finnish Vampire Overlords are masters of expressing that sweet romantic side of goth, conjuring up images of candle-lit keeps where pale lords and ladies roam, where teeth slowly sink through satin skin, and blood flows like warm wine from vein to vampire… And then, the blood starts pumping. This is their new single, fittingly released a week ago, on Valentine’s day: My Girlfriend’s a Vampire.

Chromatics – Back From The Grave (Kill for Love 2012)

Chromatics is an American electronic music band from Portland, Oregon, formed in 2001. That is also where a lot of Twin Peaks was shot. Chromatics performed live in Season 3 of Twin Peaks. Not in one, but two episodes. David Lynch must also be a fan of them.

Apart from the geographical connection with Portland, Oregon, the music perfectly fits the series. We’ll put a link on our website for that specific cameo. You’ll see the singer, Ruth Radelet, singing on the smokey and dreamy stage of The Roadhouse.

By the way: You may also know Chromatics from the soundtrack of the movie Drive with Ryan Gosling.

You can describe their music as a kind of cinematic Noir-Electronics. But that is only since 2007, before that. They sound completely different and have their roots in a lo-fi, chaotic punk sound. Quite surprising if you hear them now.

The track we’re about to play is from their 5th album: Kill for Love. A very mature and polished album of no less than 90 minutes long, with ten tracks. I’m not a fan of most cover songs, but there’s a lovely and haunting Kate Bush cover of “Running Up That Hill” and other pieces that stick with you and are produced very well.

I have to warn you, though, there’s an earworm in this track. And once you hear it, it can never be unheard. The Chorus goes: “Mother, you’re gone, and father you’re gone” also sounds a lot like: “Mother, you’re a cunt, and father you’re a cunt”😊 checks it out

The Big Picture – TWIN PEAKS, Fire Walk With Me

Talking about Twin Peaks, there’s also a movie. A prequel to the series, made after they shot the first two seasons, in 1991. Even though Laura Palmer’s killer is revealed in the 12th episode already, the movie gives more insight into the characters and their lives. You can see Chris Isaak and Kiefer Sutherland arriving in town to investigate a murder case. Also, David Bowie has a small role as special agent Phillip Jeffries. It’s called: Twin Peaks: “Fire Walk With Me.” You should have no trouble finding it online or on DVD or Bluray. Highly recommended, also if you haven’t seen the TV show.

SNS Sensation – “Mirror Radio”

May be an image of 1 person and brick wall

SNS Sensation’s new single “Mirror Radio” was released only two weeks ago! SNS Sensation is another Friend of the Show. You can read more about the man and the ideas behind the music in this very interesting The Infected interview with SNS Sensation. Really worthwhile.

This single “Mirror Radio” completes SNS Sensation’s trilogy of songs about lockdown: (“Small World” was the panic stage, “Your Door” was the sadness stage, and “Mirror Radio” is the anger that completes the pestilent circle). To share this trilogy in sequence, I have made an 8-minute mashup of the three songs about what lockdown does to people. Have a listen and see what you think. Hello? Hello?

SNS Sensation is steering away from traditional lyrics writing. These lyrics are where storytelling and stream of consciousness meet. This works well to convey the sense of all types of different things we may worry about simultaneously, from existential questions to concern for culture, fears, nostalgia, etc.

The stream of consciousness format also allows for different modes of thinking, from situations and stories to abstractions and aesthetic speculation. Being human, we’re thinking all of those thoughts in different modes, shooting off in different directions at the same time. Actually, this is really how we get to feel whatever we are feeling. It’s encouraging the listener to enable herself the freedom to feel, instead of forcing her to try to understand.

Irène de Milo – Retirez vos mains de mon visage

May be a black-and-white image of outerwear

The name Irène de Milo appeared in my recommendations on Soundcloud during the summer of 2020.

There are four moody and compelling songs in which her vocals can be heard. Drowning in obsessive rhythms and reverby guitars. I like the punchy snare drums, tempo, and energy.

Boris Völt makes the instrumental section.  I can’t find much information but just had to play it. Irene and Boris mostly self-released their tracks through Bandcamp. We play “Retirez vos mains de mon visage”, translated: “take your hands off my face”.

DespAIR Jordan – The Architect

INSTA OUTCAST to conclude our Friends of the Show trilogy, we present DespAIR Jordan. They have released their album Before your Wings Gave Out this year, so early 2021, and the song that kicks off the album is The Architect.

This is the first time we’ve played DespAIR Jordan on the show, but it won’t be the last.

So the name DespAIR Jordan is a play on Air Jordan. The last three letters, air in despair, are capitalized to make sure nobody misses the link. And if you look at their logo, it looks like a basketball player doing a slam dunk. But if you look closely, you will find it is Robert Smith who’s doing the slam dunk. It’s so cool, man. These guys have awesome t-shirts; everybody should buy one.

I love these guys, and I’ll tell you why I love them in a minute.

Let’s first kick it off, listen to DespAIR Jordan. This is from their recent album “Before your wings gave out,” an album released this year. And I was utterly blown away by it because they’ve only together as despAIR Jordan for about a year or a year and a half. And they sound so good. They sound so together. They sound so mature. I was impressed, a new band, able to play like this. And I found out, but I’ll tell you after we listen to this track. So this is the song that kicks off the album. It’s called The architect.

DespAIR Jordan Finds Their Grounding on “Before Your Wings Gave Out”
Photo by Maria Cardamone

These guys do have their own sound, and I love the way, for instance, at that about three minutes, the song really takes a turn. There’s an instrumental section, and then it builds up the rhythm changes, and then at the end of that part at about four minutes, you get a whole new bridge. It develops; there’s craftsmanship in this song.

Also, the interplay between the two guitars going back and forth is very good. So I figured something has to be wrong here for these people to be this good in a new band. So we did an interview with Josh, the singer of the band, and he’s a bared his soul for us.

This interview is something that you have to read. This guy has a great sense of humor. I’m going to get a couple of quotes, but you need to read it in its entirety. It is also a heartfelt story.

Basically, what you hear here, the cement of the sound, is friendship. Because they’ve all been in and outs of bands with each other since 2006 or so.

“Most of us have made records and toured with each other long before we came together as despair Jordan. And initially, I got this band together as a way to spend more time with people. I wasn’t getting to see enough and effect that the sound clicked and we started writing some of the best music we’ve ever done was just a bit of an afterthought.”

These are guys who really want to be together and really appreciate each other and give each other space and are really working together on something beautiful. And, if you started in 2019, that means that you’re going to have a dramatic story for the birth of your band because by the time you have your songs figured out, and you get ready to play, guess what happens? 2020, the absolute dystopian nightmare.

Maddie, one of the band members, had this great theory. That sometime in 2016, there was some sort of cosmic event or error in the space-time continuum. And that ever since then, we’ve all been living in a Donnie Darko esque, splinter universe, where everything just sucks, and like the best theories, this one gets progressively less crazy every time you think about it. And as Josh says, “these days, occasionally I look to the sky casting about for jet engines in freefall.”

Damn, it’s actually happened, man. Wow…

Oh well, any band that does Donnie Darko references is already good in my book, though.

I can so imagine that once you get together and start making this kind of music and it really clicks, you just want to go and get out there. And the reality is that Josh tells us, “I cannot wait for the day that I can sing without a mask on. Don’t get me wrong. I know it’s a necessity, and we’ve all been behaving responsibly and all, but they fog up my glasses to the points that, between that and having air plugs in to protect what remains with my hearing, it’s a bit like having a band fronted by Helen Keller, the famous deaf and blind writer from the 19 hundreds. I suggested that the rest of the band trace out the setlist on my Palm, but alas, we cannot touch each other. Performing in front of an audience would just be so nice. I suspect that after all of this is over, playing for a room of only 30 people is already going to feel like we’re headlining Glastonbury.

You really have to read the full interview. It’s right here on our site.

Yeah, it’s a bit of a dramatic story, but these guys are ready to bear to bare their soul and let us know where they are how to think about life. About how they’ve worked together. It’s a very personal, very worthwhile story. So this is the first time we’ve played DespAIR Jordan on our show, but it won’t be the last. We are in violent agreement on that. That’s cool.

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