Agent Side Grinder * Hardware (cd 2012)

I got to know ASG a couple of years ago when I was looking through the scene caught by terms such as “minimal” and “mininal wave”. They had some very nice tracks, sometimes slightly rough and industrial, sometimes more synthpop with the nice sounds of analogue electronics and indeed, with a flinch of the good old wave. Especially the vocals and the drumcomputer brings a name such as Joy Division to the minds of many. I found the 2008 titleless debut album which has good tracks and not so good tracks. I did not really pick up the band. Then, to my surprise, they were booked at the 2011 Wave Gotik Treffen and to my even bigger surprise, they seemed to have a lot of fans in the gothic scene. This year they played at the Dutch gothic festival Summer Darkness and they were, to me, with distance the most interesting band. The sound seems to have matured. There is more focus the simple analogue rhythms and sounds which was created by three persons. Further there are the bass-player and vocalist who create that typical ASG sound. I appear to have missed quite a few releases, made available on tape (!), vinyl and cd and including much live recordings, including recordings from a show with Suicide! “Hardware” is the last ‘real’ album and it is a very nice one. The sound is a bit softer, the guitar is less present in most songs and the sound goes from early Neubauten to Joy Division and a lot of great analogue dance music with vocals. Not every track is brilliant, especially not those with a different use of (guest)vocals, but most tracks are certainly worth the buy. “Hardware” is available on cassette, vinyl and plastic.
Link: Agent Side Grinder / Klangarkivet

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