As industrial and industrial metal made great inroads on the mainstream charts during the late ’90s, many early pioneers continued to record with little fanfare but a large amount of creativity, even if the astounding leaps in technology had largely altered their sound since the heyday of the 1980s. Download was originally begun by Skinny Puppy’s cEvin Key and Rudolph Dwayne Goettel in 1995 as a side project from their rapidly disintegrating full-time interest. Also a part of Download were Skinny Puppy contributors Anthony Valcic and Ken Marshall, plus Philth and Mark Spybey (from Dead Voices on Air). The debut album Furnace was issued on their own SubConscious Records (and distributed by Cleopatra) in late 1995; several months earlier, however, Goettel had died from a heroin overdose.
Autour de Lucie is a French band, led by vocalist Valérie Leulliot. When the group emerged on the French music scene in the early 90’s, the trio’s jaunty electro/pop/rock did not appear to sound radically different from other 90’s French pop groups. However, Autour de Lucie soon went on to establish themselves as leading lights on the French pop scene, and the group’s albums rapidly became best-selling exports abroad, helped by exposure in US on the Lilith Fair tour in 1997. The band broke up at the beginning of 2006, as Leulliot began to plan a solo career.
The jack pine doesn’t yield its seed willingly. Seasons can come and go and years—even decades—can pass, and the seeds remain locked in the cones. There is only one catalyst for this unusual tree to reproduce: fire. As flames rise to the tree’s crown, the cones open, bringing forth the seeds of new life. It’s a striking image, one that formed the basis of “The Jack Pine,” a song that is representative of Hem’s extravagantly bittersweet five-years-in-the-making album, Departure and Farewell. It’s also a perfect summation of this unusual chapter in the band’s life, which started as a breakup before becoming a rebirth—a point lost on none of the members.
“I guess we could have called it Live at Various Theaters” says drummer Brian Rosenworcel, referencing the fact that the songs on the album were culled from many performances and not just one. “Actually, I wish we’d called it Live at Various Theaters. Is it too late to call it Live at Various Theaters?”
Electro-funk duo Chromeo formed in Montreal in the early 21st century, a project of former hip-hop producers Dave 1 and P-Thugg (news flash: not their given names). Dave handled guitars and vocals; P was the talkbox-wielding synth specialist. From the beginning, Chromeo made it clear that the name of their well-dressed game would be artful detachment, earnest songwriting, retro breakdowns, and gleaming plastic beats -- not serious intent or aggressive musical-regime change. The "Destination Overdrive" single appeared in late 2003, complete with the tingling B-side "Needy Girl" (a ringer for Yaz's "Situation") and a DFA remix; the She's in Control LP dropped from Vice in early February 2004. Chromeo issued two mixes, 2005's Un Joli Mix Pour Toi and 2006's Ce Soir, On Danse, while gigging and working on their second album.