Singles of the year: 81-90
Welcome back to in love with these times, in spite of these times, the fanzine that prefers The Game to Game of Thrones.
81. Brujeria “Viva Presidente Trump” (Nuclear Blast)
82. Sick Of It All “When The Smoke Clears” (Century Media)
83. Ketch “Linessa” (Berlin Underground)
84. Korpiklaani “FC Lahti” (Nuclear Blast)
85. Modular Phaze "Idealizacion Religiosa Alterada" (91 Records)
86. A. Paul “Fathom” (Sick Weird Rough)
87. Diego Hostettler & Krenzlin “Sector” (Wall Music)
88. Strobe “Degrading" EP (Hydraulix)
89. Hard Left “Strike For America” (Stomp & Stroll)
90. Schlachthofbronx “Haul & Pull Up, Vol. 1 – EP” (Rave And Romance)
Somewhat wistfully, we have to start with Brujeria. They really, really, really aren’t fond of Donald Trump. And to think that their single was recorded and released much earlier in the year, presumably at a time when Brujeria, even in their darkest, darkest moments, didn’t think that what happened could ever actually happen.
Luckily, via Finland, we have something more cheering to offer you. Yes, serious drinkers and folk-metal mentalists Korpiklaani have, rightly, been entrusted with writing the official club tune to celebrate 20 years of their local football team, FC Lahti, and the result is as suitably rousing as you’d want and expect, sounding towards the end every bit as folksily frantic as the Wedding Present’s faster Ukrainian adventures. Which puts this right up there in the footy songs pantheon, up with “Wo Ist Der Deutscher Meister” and Maximum Roverdrive’s “Goodnight Irene” (um, possibly). BTW if, like us, you suddenly found yourself asking whatever happened to Kuusysi Lahti, the answer is that they merged with Reipas Lahti to form FC Lahti, like an east-Scandinavian Dagenham and Redbridge.
Schlachthofbronx, from Munich, furnish the kind of impudent electronic noise which would suit Mark E. Smith so well to randomly prattle over (check the guy’s track record, check yr Von Südenfed back catalogue) but here it’s Londoner Riko Dan (a constant on these pages) and Jamaican dancehall stalwart Warrior Queen (who’s been absent from them for a few years now, we realise) who drop in to provide a super-distinctive vocal barrage.
Plenty of fine instrumental tunes here too, though. Ketch’s surely Berghau-bound “Linessa” (odd topic for a song, but makes a change from all the tunes of this ilk whose titles are just randomly-generated adjectives) reminds us just how brilliant Berlin is (and that’s before we even get on to Emil and the Detectives), whilst Swiss-born Diego Hostettler is another of those producers who came from a classical background, but now joins the massed ranks of rib-rattlingly beezer musicians currently thronging out German clubs. He also managed to release an EP triumphantly called “Disruptive Chickens” a few years ago, which rather helps him ingratiate himself with us. “Sector”, a hen-ergetic collabo with another of said producers (the Tresor DJ, Krenzlin), and on the label of a third (Berliner Mike Wall), is typical of the way that Germany has continued to dominate dancefloors this year.
Westward we go though, for in its year of Euro 2016 success, Portugal has also been showing the way with modestic tunes from Modular Phaze (on Cardao’s label, it also sports a Cindy remix: oh, we’re always down for a Cindy remix) and from Lisbon’s A. Paul, whose “Fathom” appropriately floods the dancefloor with dark sub-aqua basslines aplenty. But if you want something that’s more unapologetically in your face as well as harnessing your dancing feet, then you should probably salsa over to Strobe in the DJ booth, as he urges you to ‘lose control’ with the kind of all-analog synth, beat and hi-hat workout that has come to be the house speciality of longtime hardfloor heavy-hitters Hydraulix.
In your face in a slightly different way are New York’s ever-willing godfathers of HC, Sick Of It All, whose comeback EP on Century Media peaks with its full-spark shoutin' and stompin' title track. Also stomping about, this time over in Oakland, Hard Left’s “Strike For America” achieves the distinction of being our highest placed lathe-cut 6” of 2016. Their grunted SLF meets bare-skin street punk, also seen this year in their power punch-packed "Economy" 7", is still as glorious, yet incongruous a mix as ever: this latest anthem may not quite be up there with “Right To Work” but to our ears it’s aiming for the same kind of place, as Hard Left urge a general strike across the States. Mind you, just to come back to where we started this post, a newly authoritarian thread of US politics suggests they’re going to have their work cut out.