2013 is proving to be an amazing year for the return of artists who first rose to fame in previous decades. For electronic tinged music, this is especially so. Earlier this year we saw the unexpected return of David Bowie, with a strong album that brought to mind his “Berlin Trilogy” musically and visually (that cropped cover of the Heroes album is a conversation starter). The Pet Shop Boys followed suit a few months later by delivering their strongest album in years, a hard-hitting, beat heavy masterpiece. It only figures that with the 70’s and 80’s represented this year, the final part of the trilogy would be filled with a band who really took off in the 90’s, Nine Inch Nails.
“a massacre of the epic – a locked-on pleasure-seeking doom-laden machine gun charge through modern society, and its intense mediocrity and distasteful recent past – beautifully massive in all departments and a right royal fuck-you fingers up to all that is top of the pops” – blurb about the new Black Reindeer album on Stephen Jones’ Bandcamp website
In the mid 90’s it seemed I was chasing down a new Britpop band every other day. It gave me a chance to feel like I was part of a scene and stand around with a few million other outsiders, secure in the knowledge that our chart topping bands were a treasured secret. In those days I relied on import magazines from the UK to give me news about up and coming bands (still do, to a lesser extent). A statement about a Babybird release in the UK music magazine Q caught my eye, comparing the act to The Divine Comedy and Neil Hannon. I made the trek to 3rd Street Jazz in Philadelphia and managed to secure an original copy of one of the 1st lo-fi albums. Nothing like The Divine Comedy to be honest – but it began a life long pursuit of buying anything Stephen Jones released. This has involved Babybird, Death of the Neighbourhood, albums released under his own name, and his latest project – Black Reindeer.