Curated by Monk
It’s hard to believe it’s been a fortnight since the Singles Club opened its virtual doors and we fired up the death decks with a selection of the finest single-track releases to have come our way in recent weeks. Yet, here we are again with another bumper pick of the crop – actually, for the second successive iteration it’s one of our biggest clubs in a long time, with just shy of two dozen tracks for your aural and visual delectation, whittled down from the almost 450 submissions which have come our way over the past 14 days or so, and once again hopefully containing something to tickle almost everyone’s musical taste buds as we traverse multiple sub genres of the glorious art form we like to refer to as rock ‘n’f’n’ roll…
First to kick in the club’s reinforced doors with their bovver boots are Boston rebel rousers John Magee and The Scrimshanders, who also count a certain local legend Tom Baker among their ranks. ‘SXMW’ was originally released back in 2015 but has been given a timely re-issue as a taster for the just-released ‘Rocktober’ label sampler from our good friends across the pond, Rum Bar Records. It’s a rowdy, rambunctious way to knock this edition of the Club into shape, so crack open yer first beer and make sure you’ve good your dancing shoes re-soled for this one:
We cross the United States of Trumpton to the City of Angels, but keep the rock ‘n’ roll factor cranked up to maximum and the amps turned all the way to 11 as Frankie And The Studs deliver a declarative and defiant message about female empowerment but never take their eye, or ears, off the need to deliver a cracking good tune in the process… and, believe us, this is one of those earworms that will infect you quicker than a dose of C the beer bug in an A&E unit:
We stay in Los Angeles for our next offering, which sees post-punk noiseniks Black Market Heart prove that ‘Anything’ is possible when you take the time to wing your latest single across a continent and an ocean to ÜRHQ. Yep, that ‘Anything’ is a worthy inclusion on the Singles Club’s latest playlist:
Next up we are back in the Über Kingdom to reacquaint ourselves with a group who are no strangers to the Club’s playlists, having graced our death decks just this time last month. Now, Heavy Salad are back on the attack with the psychedelic power pop trip that is ‘Inner Versions’, the final single to be lifted from their just-released debut album, ‘Cult Casual’. According to the band’s Lee Mann, the song is “about a bad psychedelic trip in a Glaswegian hotel room but it’s also about parallel universes and trying to understand yourself, the different versions of yourself. The song seeks to explore the idea that if you had made different decisions then would your life be so much different? Is there another version of yourself living a completely different life in a parallel universe? In your mind? In someone else’s mind?” There’s not much more we can add really – apart from to ask who the fuck let that polar bear into the bar?
Another band returning to the pages of UR, albeit after a somewhat lengthier absence, are Leicester power trio Skam, who are back in action with ‘Green Eyes’, the first single from their forthcoming new EP, ‘Intra’, which itself will be the first of a two-part set of EPs and the band’s first new release since 2017’s concept album ‘The Amazing Memoirs Of Geoffrey Goddard’. And if your going to mark your return with emphatic intent, then this is definitely how to do it:
Talking of concept albums (well, we were, sort of…), Cambridge melodic metallers Synthetic have just released their latest opus, ‘Clepsydra: Time Against Infinity’, the latest single from which finds them in ‘Graceful Ignorance’. Thankfully, we’re not in a similar state, and are only too aware of this impressive slice of prog-tinged melodicism:
A total change in both sound and location next, as we jet off (virtually of course) to the land down under, where thrash/grind/punk misfits King Parrot are kicking up a veritable shitstorm with ‘Nor Is Yours’, not least because it features a guest performance from Philip J Anselmo (a man who does not do such things lightly). The track is the second single to be lifted from the band’s new four-track EP, ‘Holed Up In The Lair’, which is unleashed on an unsuspecting Überverse this coming Friday (9 October):
We stay down under for our next brace of releases, the first of which sees us getting High As Hell with the Melbourne metallers of the same name. Debut single ‘House Of The Holy’ has actually been kicking around for a few weeks, but has now been given the boost of a positively sacrilegious which was filmed in an abandoned church and comes complete with the attempted crucifixion of frontman Dave ‘Fazz’ Favazza (appropriately garbed in a Black Sabbath T-shirt, natch)… well, if this doesn’t see them taking that well-trodded highway to that other land down under, then we don’t know what will. And it’s a stonking ‘banger to boot!
Psychedelic symphonic rock pioneers Vanilla Fudge recently inked a deal with the awesome Australian Golden Robot Records, and the first fruit of the relationship is this rather intriguing remastered cover of Led Zeppelin’s ‘Immigrant Song’, which the band have slowed right down to match their own trademark psych/doom sound. I must admit, DQ hates this version but, as I said, I find it an intriguing and interesting interpretation: well, if you’re going to do a cover, you should really put your own stamp on it, shouldn’t you? And the Fudge have done just that:
We’re back up to the northern hemisphere now, and the Emerald Isle, from where dream grungers Bitch Falcon once again make a welcome return to the Singles Club playlist, this time proving that they are no ‘Martyr’ to the rock ‘n’ roll cause with the latest taster of their debut album, ‘Staring At Clocks’, which must surely count as one of the most eagerly anticipated releases of 2021 – well, it certainly is here at ÜRHQ:
Popping back across the Irish Sea, another British band who have made a much-anticipated return to recording after a lengthy hiatus are Cypher16, who are about to release their second album, the somewhat prophetically-titled ‘It’s A Long Way Back’ (From This Road)’. The title track is the third single to be released from the opus, which once again proves that it is shaping up to be one of the strongest comeback albums of the year:
We travel across the border to ÜR’s birthplace, , and from one capital to another, where Cardiff hard rockers Eulogy are showing they have a ‘Cross To Bare’ with the latest single from their EP, ‘Memento Mori’, released earlier this year via the excellent One Eyed Toad label.
We stay in south Wales for our next offering. NWoCR exponents Scarlet Rebels have been releasing a single a week in the run-up to the imminent release of their new ‘LIVE: Made In Sonic One’ on 16 October. The album was recorded in a single take at Sonic One Studios in Llanelli, with the entire set also captured on video. This past week saw the release of the sixth, and penultimate, track, ‘Part Of Me’:
We head across the Bristol Channel and south to Cornwall, from where King Creature return to the Club by declaring that they are ‘Captives’ on their powerful latest taster for forthcoming second album, ‘Set The World On Fire’, which comes our way in a month’s time. The band describe the track as “for anyone that has felt trapped in their lives”, going on to say that it is “the epitome of a mental cage, it’s the clipping of a partners wings to inhibit their growth as a person, It’s like trying to keep your children young forever and never allowing them to blossom. Generally, the person holding someone back is really the insecure party and finds solace in somehow keeping a person in mental suspended animation…”
Some atmospheric post-hardcore is next on our musical expedition, courtesy of Lastelle and the Oxford combo’s second single, which sees them travelling to ‘Distant Bodies’, which is a lot punchier and to-the-point than their opening salvo, ‘Coping With A Cure’, proving that innovation and diversity lie at the heart of this emerging young combo, who draw their lyrical inspiration from personal themes such as loss, grief, illness and, in this case, infatuation with seemingly unattainable:
We travel back across the pond now to hook up with Canadian black- and death metal-tinged thrashers Raider, who evoke a modern twist on the old-school formulae with the timely ‘No Sign Of The Dawn’, the latest call to arms from their declarative debut album, ‘Guardian Of The Fire’. Despite having been written and recorded pre-pandemic, the track has a prophetic topicality, as the band themselves note: “Our world stands on the edge of a knife. The virus is but another horseman in the ever-growing mountain of omens. We often get distracted and seem to forget that we are still on our way to one of many total deliverances. We have to unite, think, and speak for ourselves or we will be spoken for. If we do not choose the path that leads us to a better future, we will be forced down a path to ruin, of which there are many, and each of their songs remains the same: For the mortal world there is no sign of the dawn.”
A double dose of folk metal next, the first of which sees us staying on the other side of the Atlantic, from where Maryland’s Isenmor add a slightly different twist to the genre with their use of twin violins taking over from the lead guitars. Their latest single – the third to be lifted from their upcoming debut album, ‘Shieldbrother’ – sees duelling violinists Nicholas Schneider and Mark Williams enjoying ‘Drinks To Glory’:
We travel back across the pond and return to Ireland, from where one of the true pioneers of the genre, Cruachan, have re-emerged into the light with the title track of their forthcoming ninth album, ‘The Hawthorn’. It’s another song steeped deep in Irish folklore and combining frontman Keith Fay’s love of both traditional music and uncompromising metal brutality. It also marks the debut of the band’s new line-up after a number of long-serving members decided to move on to other things. The result can be summed up in one word: beautiful…
Another change in mood now, as Bath-based high-powered alt-rockers Novatines rise to the challenges posed by the lockdowns with new single, ‘Honey’, which was recorded live at Peter Gabriel’s Real World Studios and is a fast-paced indictment of modern society and an appeal about seeing through fads, trends and short lived ‘next big things’ with no real substance:
Things take a decidedly gothic turn now, with German dark metallers Nachtblut, who have just released the epic closing track to their just-released new album, ‘Vanitas’. ‘Die Toten Vergessen Nicht’ (which translates as ‘The Dead Don’t Forget’) combines morbidity and melancholia with a dense sense of impending doom and fatality. The result, combined with the appropriate video treatment, is truly impressive:
Some seminal punk rock now, in the form of the legendary Crass, who are about to release their entire back, remastered and restored from the original analogue studio tapes, under the banner of the ‘Crassical Collection’, as a series of seven double CD sets. As a precursor for this epic series of releases, which hit the shelves at the end of this month, the band have released a new video for a remixed version of ‘Sheep Farming In The Falklands’, originally written and recorded in the wake of the conflict in the South Atlantic:
Our long-suffering barman, Kevin, is sounding the bell for last orders, so it’s time for our penultimate selection, which comes from another regular visitor to the Club, former Biters frontman Tuk Smith, this time with his new band, The Restless Hearts. ‘Same Old You’ was co-written with the legendary Butch Walker and produced by the one and only Rob Cavallo. The result is as damn fine a slice of pop punk/power pop as we have heard in the Club for a long time…
Now, it may still be a few weeks shy of our favourite time of the year, but you can’t have failed to notice that the supermarket shelves are already stocked up with selection boxes – and even mince pies, ffs! Well, John Rzeznik and Robby Takac, better known as the Goo Goo Dolls, are getting in on the festive action nice and early by declaring that ‘This Is Christmas’, the first single to be taken from their new collection, which is set for release right on the eve of Halloween – ironic, or what? Anyway, we admire the duo’s bravado and so thought we’d sign off with this not unpleasant, if somewhat unseasonal, little slice of new-age carolling:
Well, that’s your lot for this iteration of the Singles Club. Yet again, we’ve drunk the pumps dry and the optics are running low, so it’s time to neck the dregs and feck off to enjoy what’s left of this Sunday afternoon sunshine. We hope you agree that it has been another eclectic collection, and that you found something to tickle your earbuds and drive you to explore some new musical horizons. Until next time, when the big lad by the name of Astrocreep will be back behind the death decks, keep ‘er lit, keep ‘er between the hedges and #StayTheFuckSafe!
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