Curated by DJ Monk
My oh my (to quote the mighty Mr Holder), doesn’t time fly when you’re in lockdown? With one day moulding into the next seemingly quicker than before, it’s hard to believe it’s been a fortnight since the Singles Club opened its virtual doors and we fired up the deathdecks with a selection of the finest short-form releases to have come our way in recent weeks. Yet, here we are again with another bumper pick of the crop – a massive 23 tracks in total for your aural and visual delectation, whittled down from the 250+ submissions which came our way over the past 14 days or so…
First up we have the wonderfully monickered Skumlove and their tale of ‘The Infected’, taken from last year’s ‘Sinister Minister’. The song is actually about “how lying and deceit has become a virus running rampant online and in the [music] scene” but, like many other tunes, has taken on an appropriate new timbre during the current pandemic. Both the single and the video, which was shot on the band members’ ‘phones, features a guest appearance from Fear Factory’s Burton C Bell:
Keeping the thematic link, we have London trio Black Orchid Empire, who deliver us a lesson in ‘Natural Selection’, the latest single to be lifted from their forthcoming new album, ‘Semaphore’ which is due to drop next month. BOE guitarist/singer Paul Visser gave us the background to the song’s subject: “This song tells the story of an alien sent to a doomed earth to try and ‘correct’ the mistakes humans have made. Finding not only hubris and greed but also beauty and wonder, the alien falls in love with the planet and its flawed people, and decides to go down with the ship”:
Next up, we head over to the East Coast of the ÜSofA, where we find rambunctious punk ‘n’ rollers RMBLR laying waste with their ‘Machine Gun’. The band features members of legendary Atlanta crües such as the Heart Attacks, Ravagers, The Barreracudas, Dinos Boys and Biters, and they plan to release their debut EP later this year (pandemic permitting):
Back across the pond to the ÜK – Liverpool in fact, where we find the rather unhinged art-punk troupe by the name of Psycho Comedy, who have just released their new single, ‘I’m Numb’, which frontman Shaun Powell describes as “a late night/early morning memoir… a paean to the unsettled mindsets still ticking in the small hours, as they find the night before blurring unstoppably into the morning after:
Another titular link coming our way now, as whimsical Italian psych rockers Mother Island, who aren’t waiting ‘Till The Morning Comes’ to present us with the opening track from their forthcoming new album, ‘Motel Rooms’, which is due to be released this coming Friday (22 May) via Go Down Records:
Next up, we have a band who released not one but two singles in very quick succession, San Francisco noiseniks Western Addiction. We have chosen the most recent of the pair, ‘The Leopard And The Juniper’, which was released just this past Friday – the same day as the album from which it is extracted, ‘Frail Bray’:
We stay Stateside, but travel back to the East Coast, Boston in fact, for some more punk ‘n’ roll inanity, this time from the wonderfully named A Bunch Of Jerks, who this past week sent us the rather fine ‘Tribute’, taken from their current EP, ‘White Girl Wasted’, released via our good friends at Rum Bar Records:
Lou and his team at Rum Bar consistently release seriously good quality garage punk records, and the latest offering from Noo Yawk’s Live Ones, who declare ‘Right On, Sister’ in this short, sharp slice of riotous mayhem:
A wee bit of hard rockin’ action for y’all now, courtesy of Michael Grant & The Assassins, who have submitted for our approval ‘Red Light Run’ described as “a beautiful, broken-hearted girl’s backfiring tale of revenge by way of sex, drugs and excess” – the lead single from their debut album, ‘Always The Villain’, due out via Frontiers Records some time later this year. Despite the band’s name, Michael Grant actually plays all the instruments on the album, as is demonstrated on the accompanying video:
Now for something a bit unusual for us, in the form of Helsinki duo Socks And Ballerinas, who describe their sound as “experimental power looping”. The band actually contacted us via Twitter as part of the promotion for their debut single, ‘Torpedoes’, which subsequently shot straight into both our inbox and final selection for this edition of the Club:
Another change in mood now, as we slow the tempo down with Samantha Fish and the appropriately titled ‘Dream Girl’, taken from last year’s excellent ‘Kill Or Be Kind’ album, which further cemented her position as one of THE premier blues/roots guitarists on the scene today. Samantha says of the single: “[It] is about trying to be something you’re not. Someone else’s ideal or fantasy. The video has ‘real-life Samantha’ looking for answers and inspiration. The heroine in the story might have all the pieces of what she’s looking to be, but she is still wandering through a fairy tale. There are no happy endings when you are trying to measure up for someone else. If you don’t own who you are, you’ll still end up lost in the woods.”
We head to the very north of Scotland now, where we find glam-infused NWoCR blues-rockers Bad Actress, who are delivering some ‘High Speed Heartbreak’ on their new single, which does exactly what it’s title suggests:
Over the Irish Sea to ÜR’s adopted homeland to meet up with an old friend of ours, Matty James Cassidy, who declares that ‘The Race Is On’ with the lead track from his new ‘4X4X1’ four-track EP, which is accompanied a socially-distanced video featuring guitarist Gary Pennick. Cassidy has been a busy man during the current quarantine period, as he also has a new album, ‘The Isolation Tapes’, due for release this coming Friday (22 May).
We head down to Australia now, where we find a new band with some serious credentials. AshenMoon is the new project from bassist Garry Beers, best known as one of the founding members of INXS, who has been away from the scene for a while but is now back in action with this collaboration with renowned composer/guitarist Jimmy Khoury and vocalist Toby Rand. The first product is a double-sided single, ‘Dustbowl’ and ‘Mosquito’, the first of which we’re sharing with you now:
We stay in the land down under for another dose of unadulterated punk rock, this time from the wonderfully named Shit Tinnies, who are taking us, and everyone else, to ‘Town’, taken from their as-yet untitled new EP, which is due to be released via Riot Records:
We head northwards now to Japan, and the mood darkens somewhat with occult-inspired doom duo BlackLab, who are laying down some serious fuzz and sharing their experiences of a ‘Weed Dream’, released to co-incide with that of their latest album, ‘Abyss’, which dropped earlier this month:
We traverse the globe once again, and it’s back to the Über Kingdom to introduce you to newcomers The Crooks, who take the inspiration for their name from the famous crooked church spire in their hometown of Chesterfield. There’s nothing crooked about these five lads, however, as latest single ‘In Time’ proves:
We’re into our last half dozen tunes now, and who better to take us there than the legends by the name of The Jayhawks, who release their new album, ‘XOXO’, in early July. Lead single ‘This Forgotten Town’ is a very tasty appetizer of what we can expect, especially as it features three of the four band members on lead vocals; in fact, the album itself will be the first to have all four Jayhawks take lead duties.
Another change in genre and location, as we head to Sweden for a dose of metalcore from Leading Light, who are telling us that ‘It Hurts’, a single which apparently heralds a subtle change in direction for the band:
We hop over the border to Norway, where we run into power punk duo Hot Nuns, who released their latest EP, ‘Rude, Dumb & Anxious’, this past Friday, when they also shared this cover of The Boys’ classic ‘First Time’ – and a jolly good job they do of it too:
We can all identify with the sentiment of the title of our next submission, as Danish rock ‘n’ rollers Shotgun Revolution share their experiences of ‘Claustrophobia’ the second single from their forthcoming new album, ‘IV’. “The choice of releasing claustrophobia in these weird times is purely coincidental. But unfortunately, it seems more relevant than ever,” vocalist Ditlev Ulriksen told us. “Isolation, loneliness and alienation affects many people in their everyday life, but having our freedom restricted because of a virus, even more have felt the ugly side of these conditions. The walls might close in on us in our different environments and we might feel inadequate and useless, but there is light at the end of the tunnel, and you are not alone! Maybe you’ll find your own truth between the lines… don’t take our word for it.” SR’s fourth album will actually be released in two parts, with the first due to land this September and the second following next year.
Having finished our tour of Scandinavia, we head back across the pond for last orders, and join forces with Tetrarch, who are releasing their second album, ‘Unstable’, in the autumn. To whet our appetites, they have released the hard-hitting first single, ‘I’m Not Right’, which lyrically describes a moment when a person looks in the mirror and does not like what is looking back; however, instead of dwelling on negativity, ‘I’m Not Right’ is about seeking the drive to change a person’s situation and become the best version of oneself. “We are a band that believes in embracing flaws and being who you are,” explained guitarist Diamond Rowe. “But sometimes there’s a journey to get to that point, and that’s what this song really encompasses. It is normal to feel a bit off sometimes, and it’s okay to talk about it. Sometimes you just don’t like something about yourself but how you go about changing that is what’s really important.”
It’s drinking up time, so our final offering comes from one of the Dark Queen’s favourite bands, The Pretty Reckless, who deliver ‘Death By Rock ‘n’ Roll’ with their first new music since 2016… well, we can think of much worse ways to shuffle off this mortal coil than being snuffed out by our favourite form of music…
Well, that’s your lot for this iteration of the Singles Club. We hope you agree that it’s 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, #KeepTheMusicLoud – and #StayTheFuckHome!
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