Essential Tracks to Hear This Week: Iceage, The Soft Pink Truth and more

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We took two weeks off from our weekly Essential Tracks because we were busy at work on our Best of the 1980s list, but now that we’ve wrapped that up, we can get back to the best of what’s new. And this week’s got some absolute gems, including a new/old song from one of our favorite bands of the past decade, an innovative industrial cover, and the return of a great underground hip-hop outfit. Check out the week’s best new songs below.

Plus, listen to our ongoing 2022 Essential Tracks playlist.

Iceage – “Shake the Feeling”

An outtake from the Beyondless sessions and the first new song released from Iceage’s upcoming collection of outtakes and rarities, “Shake the Feeling” is the band at their rock-anthem best. A blazing and raucous set of distortion drenched rock ‘n’ roll that sounds more like Dinosaur Jr. than anything they’ve ever released, “Shake the Feeling” is joyful and exuberant in a way that, until last year’s Seek Shelter at least, felt like a rarity among their more chaotic bursts of hardcore or their more ominous post-punk dirges. But here’s the thing: They’re really fucking good at it. Iceage’s evolution over the past decade has been a consistently cool thing to see, especially because no matter how much change they undergo, it always feels natural and organic. And while “Shake the Feeling” is technically not a new song (though it’s new to all of us), it’s yet another suggestion of how many more shades in their palette they have yet to reveal.

From Shake the Feeling: Outtakes and Rarities 2015-2021, out September 23 via Mexican Summer

The Soft Pink Truth – “The Anal Staircase”

It’s a fortuitous coincidence that the latest track from The Soft Pink Truth should arrive the same week as our newly published list of the Best Albums of the ’80s. After making a transcendent continuous composition of joyful minimalist techno in 2020, Drew Daniel has tackled the classic, sinister Coil track “The Anal Staircase,” an essential of vintage industrial music that he transforms into a stunning five minutes of dark house music. Daniel has done his share of covers with The Soft Pink Truth, such as 2014’s all-black-metal Why Do the Heathen Rage? But “The Anal Staircase” is one of his most fluid fusions between source material and transformation, retaining the original’s ominous air while injecting it with a kind of joyful physicality.

From Was It Ever Real?, out now via Thrill Jockey

Blessed – “Anything”

Vancouver’s Blessed introduced themselves as a post-punk influenced indie rock group with some intricate rhythmic elements—not necessarily math rock but not necessarily not math rock. With “Anything,” the first single from new album Circuitous, they explore more atmospheric and conventionally pretty terrain, still maintaining their taut rhythmic sensibility while their guitar arpeggios drift into a more rarefied air, finding a sort of mesmerizing sonic space between peak Talking Heads and In Rainbows-era Radiohead. The tension between its stunning ambient melodicism and rhythmic tug-of-war creates something that feels beautifully unsettled, one of their strongest songs to date.

From Circuitous, out October 28 via Flemish Eye

Ripped to Shreds – “Reek of Burning Freedom”

Northern California death metal brutes Ripped to Shreds delivered one absolute crusher of a record with 2020’s Luan, and with their recent signing to Relapse, they’ve returned with a furious growler that personally has me beyond psyched for some sonic mayhem. “Reek of Burning Freedom” is a full-speed-ahead tear through four-plus minutes of aggression and intensity. Death metal’s been enjoying some much-deserved mainstream(ish) attention in recent years in large part due to the sheer number of great, largely North American bands delivering nothing but napalm. But Ripped to Shreds take it one step further, playing death metal that’s impeccably crafted and sonically mesmerizing, just a little faster, a little sharper and a hell of a lot more vicious.

From 劇變 (Jubian), out October 14 via Relapse

ShrapKnel – “Damn, Alice!” [feat. Fakts One]

The Backwoodz Hip Hop family frequently opts for darker, hypnotic sonic palettes in their production, from Armand Hammer‘s haunted sketches to Moor Mother and billy woods‘ eclectic abstraction, but ShrapKnel’s the only artist on the label that embodies what we might refer to as industrial rap. “Damn, Alice!” is a particularly psychedelic permutation of that idea, with Steel Tipped Dove’s cinderblock beats up against swirling ambience in a trip through the proverbial looking glass. And yes, it’s that Alice they’re talking about, from PremRock’s threat of “double barrel with that Lewis Carroll” and a hooky chant of “feed your head.” Curiouser and curiouser.

From Metal Lung, out now via Backwoodz

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