Happy holidays! How about some honey-voiced industrial music?
Trent Reznor's How to Destroy Angels -- his group with wife and vocalist Mariqueen Maandig, longtime collaborator Atticus Ross and art director Rob Sheridan -- is preparing another EP release, titled "An Omen." It will be the first drop through their new label home on Columbia.
Trent Reznor's name has been among the closest-associated with "new indie" or "digital economy" or the good old-fashioned "DIY." Since his snipey break with Interscope during his Nine Inch Nails days, Reznor's been a vocal proponent of operating outside of the traditional major label system. He's sold his recordings -- including his Academy Award-winning compositions for "The Social Network" -- through his own social networks and partnerships and got to keep the royalties in-house (his own house).
Nipping it in the bud, he offered this short response via Facebook:
[W]e've really spent a long time thinking about things and it makes sense for a lot of reasons, including a chance to work with our old friend Mark Williams. There's a much more granular and rambling answer I could give (and likely will in an interview someplace) but it really comes down to us experimenting and trying new things to see what best serves our needs. Complete independent releasing has its great points but also comes with shortcomings.
He refers to HtDA's relations with Columbia as a "partnership," which likely means they get a sweet deal, like a 50/50 or a record-to-record, or basically anything that doesn't mean signing their lives away.
"Complete independence" may mean that Reznor lost touch with his radio base, which major labels like Columbia mainline. There's no telling how the new material compares to the previous self-titled set, but terrestrial FM was NIN's commercial breakthrough and to make sustainable sales and touring, How to Destroy Angels may want to tap back in. Or, rather, can.
Maandig's vocals aren't my cup of tea, but what it does is take the Reznor's darkest sensibilities, and his and Ross' critical rhythms and adds fabric softener. Melodically, her lines are similar to Reznor's, but as modern rock tends toward its dancier and rootsier hues these days, Maandig's contributions may be just what How to Destroy Angels needs to reach a bigger base again.
Plus, it'd be great to see more females in the rotation.
Last we actually heard from How to Destroy Angels was the cover of Bryan Ferry's "Is Your Love Strong Enough" during the credits of Reznor-scored "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo," months after the self-titled EP. "An Omen" will only be available on 12" and via digital. The group has promised a full-length for Spring 2013 release.