Tag Archives: HTRK

Big Ups: Kevin Richard Martin (The Bug) Picks His Bandcamp Favorites

The Bug

Over the past 30 years, Kevin Richard Martin has built a diverse musical resume that’s still constantly evolving. In the late ‘80s and ‘90s, the British musician explored a vast array of genre-warping experiments in projects like GOD, Techno Animal, and Ice, yet it was in the ‘00s that Martin’s solo alias, The Bug, would surpass them all in influence and impact.

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Album of the Day: HTRK, “Venus in Leo”

The Australian band HTRK make stylishly lunar music—craggy, alien, and unmistakable. An intense longing for intimacy, connection, and sensation has always coursed through their records, from the brutally slow post-punk of their debut EP Nostalgia to the trip-hop textures of 2014’s Psychic 9-5 Club. On “Into The Drama,” the opening track to the band’s latest album, Venus in Leo, vocalist Jonnine Standish, accompanied by Nigel Yang’s wide open, flanged acoustic guitar, ponders those internal concerns explicitly. “Why do I seem to fall?” she sings, lamenting a tendency to gravitate towards unhealthy people, to “hang onto every word.” It’s the most pastoral moment the group have ever laid to tape, and serves as a declaration of intent for the album—the most guitar-oriented record they’ve made in years, as well as the best. But there is no trace of the abrasiveness of their earlier work. Instead, Yang’s guitar playing is melodic, textured and nuanced, processed just to the point of estrangement. Whereas HTRK’s previous records conjured a nocturnal atmosphere primed for bedrooms and clubs, Venus In Leo feels remarkably open and unconstrained: a wide, deep LP with room to spare.

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