Curated by Monk
Well, it looks like the rays of light at the end of the dark tunnel that has been the past 13 months of isolation and generally being shit upon from great heights may be growing brighter day by day, with the vaccination programme being rolled out with increasing pace and the various roadmaps seeming to actually present some form of direction and pathway back to at least a semblance of the normality we enjoyed before the pandemic wrecked chaos on our collective and individual lives.
But, despite all the doom and gloom which has prevailed upon us over the past year and year, one positive has remained constant – and that is the amount of terrific new music which has come our way, as artists the length and breadth of the Überverse rise to the challenge of entertaining us and raising our spirits higher than the International Space Station at the peak of its orbit… And there definitely is the promise of plenty more to come, if the inbox here at ÜRHQ is anything to go by…
In that context, as the rock ‘n’ roll year that is 2021 enters its second quarter, with its DMs firmly planted in the mire and muck of the chaos around it, there has been a healthy slew of new music pinging itself our way, and especially the continuing tsunami of submissions we receive for our ‘Singles Club’ feature… Yes, another constant throughout the vagaries of inconsistent and often hard to stomach lockdowns is that the Club has remained open for (virtual) business throughout, bringing you our selection of what we regard as the best new sounds to have come our way every fortnight – with a few special events thrown in for good measure! In that spirit, today we once again open the Club doors for our first regular edition in a few weeks… OK, we’re only allowed to drink outdoors for the moment, so we’ve tasked Kevin to build us a marquee and we’ve hauled the speaker system into the car park – just in time for the arrival of our first guests…
And, holy fuck and all the fucking holy things, we’re joined by some true rock ‘n’ roll royalty, in the no less conspicuous form of HRH Sir Michael Jagger of Dartford, who is proving that he can still make things sound ‘Eazy Sleazy’ with this energetic, punky, middle-finger raising collaboration with Dave Grohl, which shows that the man may well be into his late ‘70s but he still possesses the attitude, heart and soul (and voice) of a recalcitrant teenager.
Talking of royalty, the princess of goth rock, Amy Lee, is trying to us that she’d be ‘Better Without You’… of course, knowing how much she treasures her fans, we know she doesn’t really mean it, although she is doing a bloody good job in trying to convince us otherwise in this hard-hitting and emotive latest cut from Evanescence’s recently released ‘The Bitter Truth’ album:
We’re travelling back in time now, all the way through the annals of history to ‘1930’: well, 1969 in fact, when this newly uncovered gem by the now long defunct White Lightning originally saw the light of day. It has now been given a dusting down and once again cast into the cold light of day as part of the ‘Brown Acid’ project, curated by the LA Permanent Records and RidingEasy labels, who have made it their mission to track down and re-release long-lost 60s and 70s proto-metal and pre-stoner rock singles and bring them to a new audience:
We’re bang up to date now, as The Vendettas are our first Australian visitors of this iteration, and they are telling us that they are the ‘Guardians’ of jangly power pop. On this evidence, they won’t get any argument from us on that front:
Italy provides us with our next travel ban-defying stopover. That may seem a weird location to find ourselves exploring Celtic Hills, but that is exactly what we are doing, thanks to speed-thrashers from the countries famed wine-producing region of Collio Friulano, who also include some folkish tinges into their latest tale, which looks into the future and ‘The Tomorrow Of Our Sons’:
With the Covid police hot on our trail, we head across the Atlantic, to the historic city (well, as historic as its possible to get in the USofA) of Portland, where Hippie Death Cult have invited us to a ‘Hornet Party’… well, you know us, we can’t resist a good party, especially when there is free beer on tap and some seriously fucked-up riffage blasting from the speakers – and the latter is most definitely the case with this energetic and vibrant rager, which is a taster for new album ‘Circle Of Days’, due on the always reliable Heavy Psych Sounds imprint next month:
We briefly nip across the border to Canada, which is now the adopted homeland of Japanese psych-punk combo Teke::Teke, who certainly haven’t lost sight of their cultural roots with the tale of ‘Barbara’, a zashiki warashi, or ‘Parlour Child’, supernatural beings who present themselves as children and supposedly bring good luck to anyone who sees them… and it’s good fortune indeed that this poppy little number is next up on our playlist:
We traverse back down the length of the USofA to Texas, where alt-metallers Stoneside are giving us lesson in the ‘History Of Violence’. The track is based on the true story of the Prison Farm Cemetery, which in itself represents one of the most brutal and appalling episodes in the Lone Star state’s own history. The song itself is atmospheric, mesmeric and as uncompromising at its challenging subject matter, and serves as an impressive and declarative opening salvo from this new duo, who only came together during the throes of the pandemic:
Another duo who make a big noise are Scotland’s Vukovi, who are urging us to ‘Kill It’. The song is actually a rallying cry based on singer Janine Shilstone’s battle with OCD and her determination to overpower it
Quick, send for the exterminators, as there are some funny little ‘Creatvres’ running through the bar… actually, hold that call, as it’s merely the extremely fun new single from those madcap Finns One Morning Left, who deliver what they describe as “hair-metalcore”. Whatever they’re doing, they’re doing it with the tongues very firmly in their cheeks, and I must admit that it did make me chuckle from the moment the needle hit the opening groove:
A bit more straightforward metalcore next, courtesy of Danish dynamos Ghost Iris, who are welcoming us into their ‘Cult’, the latest single to be released in advance of the band’s latest album, ‘Comatose’. Where do we sign up?
We stay on the continent for our next ‘Vibe’, which also happens to the title of the acidic-yet-catchy new single from Parisian punks Halflives. The song actually had the working title of “Bullshit” before they changed it to something a bit more “radio-friendly”, but that hasn’t stopped vocalist Linda letting it all go with a powerful performance:
It’s almost time for us to venture out of the safety of our tent and ‘Into The Storm’ of the outside world, and what better soundtrack for such an adventure than the latest single from French groove metal titans Gojira, and the latest preview from their forthcoming new album, ‘Fortitude’, which is due to impact with the ferocity of an asteroid levelling a city the size of, well, Paris, at the end of this month. If you ask me, there’s a slightly Rob Zombie feel to this track, especially in Joe Duplantier’s vocal delivery, but it is nevertheless a fiercesome declaration of intent from a band who deserve to be headlining every major festival in the Überverse once they get up and running again…
We’ve two more international calls to make before the Covid police finally catch up with us and stop our (virtual) globetrotting antics, so we’re touching down in the land of the rising sun, where genre-busters Crossfaith are once again pushing boundaries as they welcome us to the ‘Red Zone’ and the world of Japan’s most popular anime franchise, ‘Gundam’, with the second single to have emerged from their enforced hibernation of the past year:
Well, that’s it, folks. We’re ‘Out Of Time’… which is also a cheap way of introducing our final pick of this playlist, which sees Aussie punk rock rebrobates The Owen Guns once again joining us for a celebratory snifter or three to mark their latest contribution to the Überverse, a fiery in-your-face pogo-inducing slice of old school filth ‘n’ fury – the way to sign off, it you ask me (and I know you didn’t, but I’m telling you anyway…):
Well, that’s your lot for latest 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 take a break to restock the bar and recharge the batteries before delving headlong back into action once again two weeks’ time, when the big lad by the name of Astrocreep once again will be beaming down from some mysterious corner of the Überverse to take charge of the deathdecks and bringing you some of the hottest new sounds from around this hoary old rock ‘n’ roll planet… Until then, keep ‘er lit, keep ‘er between the hedges and #StayTheFuckSafe!
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