Curated by DJ Monk

The Uber Rock Approved stampWe’ve another abundant crop of singles for you this week, as we once again invite you to sidle up to our virtual bar, order a double shot of your poison of choice and forget about those darned isolation blues for the next couple of hours as we treat you to a selection of what we believe are some of the best tunes to have been released in the past fortnight. As I said, we’ve a bumper crop, so let’s dive right in, shall we?

And first up on the trusty old ÜRHQ deathdecks are everybody’s favourite party starters, those loveable loons by the name of Evil Scarecrow, who are actually in quite reflective mood with their latest release. You see, the band recently announced that founder member Dr Pain was leaving the band, as was keyboard player Princess Luxury. So, what better way to mark the occasion than with a specially commissioned new video treatment for one of their mellower ditties, the appropriate ‘The Ballad Of Dr Pain’, from their most recent ‘Chapter IV: Antartarctica’ album?

Next up, we find alt-rock veterans Puddle Of Mudd, who are seeking to bring some ‘Sunshine’ into our lives with the latest single to be lifted from their current ‘Welcome To Galvania’ album, which comes with the very obvious message that there is always light at the end of even the darkest tunnel:

During the current pandemic, bands are having to find new ways of working and bringing new music to their fans. Swedish pomp rockers Europe may not exactly have given us a new song, as ‘Walk The Earth’ is the title track of their 2017 album, but this is a new version, stripped down, sombre and featuring keyboardist Mic Michaeli and vocalist Joey Tempest, who recorded their parts at their homes in Stockholm and London respectively. All proceeds from the release are going to the charity Médecins Sans Frontières:

Talking of veteran acts, hardcore innovators Cro-Mags made a triumphant comeback last year with two declarative EP releases, and are due to drop their new full-length album, ‘In The Beginning’ in the latter part of June. As a taster, they have delivered onto the UR jukebox lead single , ‘The Final Test’, which sees frontman Harley Flanagan challenging us with the question Will you be afraid or will you be at peace when you die?”. It’s also worth checking out the Cro-Mags’ excellent ‘Quarantine Show’, which was recorded on the very day the lockdown came into effect in New York City…

We’re switching moods faster than Valentino Rossi has been falling off his virtual bike of late, as Italian orchestral-death metal giants Fleshgod Apocalypse present us with something truly different – a breathtaking rendion of Mozart’s ‘Lacrimosa’ from his ‘Requiem In D Minor’, performed just by singer Veronica Bordacchini, with Francesco Ferrini on piano. It’s truly haunting stuff:

We move back up through the gears with Finnish melodic rockers Brothers Firetribe. Like many bands, they have had the release of their new album postponed (in this case until September) but they have whetted our appetites with lead single ‘Bring On The Rain’, which is a more than worthy appetizer for what we can expect when the full-lengther finally sees the light of day later in the year:

We stay on the Scandinavian archipelago with a release so hot off the presses that we needed asbestos gloves to place it on the death decks. ‘Well Well Well’ is the ZZ Top-ish first single from Swedish classic rock revivalists Voodoo Mansion, released on Friday as a taster for their forthcoming debut album, which is due sometime later this year. It certainly ticks all the right boxes for fans of the NWOCR mien:

Next up, we another defiant middle finger salute to the changed times in which we currently find ourselves, as rising Ipswich rockers The Baskervilles tell us that they ‘Got Your Back’ with a song that is about the importance of social connectivity and what may previously have been regarded as “toxic masculinity”. The result is a nice, mid-tempo little slice of redemptive contemplation:

The world may be something of a “no fly zone” at the moment, but the wonders of the interweb mean we can quickly traverse the Atlantic to the Canadian province of Ontario, from where Protest The Hero have uncaged ‘The Canary’, the first single from their forthcoming new album, ‘Palimpsest’, which is due for the release in June. And, the reason for all these flight references? Well, the song is named after the bright yellow biplane owned by Amelia Earhart, the first woman to fly across the Atlantic…

We’re back to the Über Kingdom now for our next clutch of releases, which are led by our friends in Vega, who are persuading us that they don’t need perfection as they grit their teeth in preparation for their new album, due via Frontiers Music in mid-June (at least according to current release schedules). We’re fortunate enough to have blagged an advance copy of the album, and can guarantee that it is everything you would expect from Nick and the lads – it’s quality stuff:

We stay in the ÜK for the new single from the ever reliable Bad Touch, who have served up another very tasty appetizer for their forthcoming new album ‘Kiss The Sky’, in the form of the suitably infectious ‘I Get High’, the sort of stonking, swaggering anthem we have come to expect from these Norfolk lads:

OK, who’s up for a wee bitta punk rock right about now? Well, who better to provide same than the newest “supergroup” on the scene – Fake Names? Their pedigree is undeniable, as the line-up features Brian Baker (Minor Threat, Dag Nasty, Bad Religion), Michael Hampton (S.O.A., Embrace, One Last Wish), Dennis Lyxzén (Refused, International Noise Conspiracy, INVSN) and Johnny Temple (Girls Against Boys, Soulside). And they’ve certainly lived up to their impressive heritage with ‘First Everlasting’, from their self-titled debut album which is due on 8 May via Epitaph Records:

Did somebody mention supergroups? Oh, yes, I did a minute ago… well, here’s another one for you, in the form of the melting pot that is Patrón (hang on, is that Mrs A’s favourite brand of tequila?). Founded by Lo from Loading Data, the band’s revolving membership features the likes of Joey Castillo (Danzig, Queens of the Stone Age, The Bronx), Barrett Martin (Mad Season, Screaming Trees, Tuatara), Nick Oliveri (Kyuss, Queens of the Stone Age, Mondo Generator), Aurélien Barbolosi (Aston Villa) and Monique St Walker (Blackbird Days), all of whom have contributed to this sleaze-tastic slice of mayhem from the forthcoming debut album, which is due at the end of May:

We’re now into the second half of our playlist, and Drool have a complaint about their hairdresser and the fact that she didn’t actually do her job (something you could never say about DQ, as she’s one of the best in the business). It’s a suitably inane and delightful slice of indie-infused pop rock well worthy of frontman Joey Rogers’ family connection to The Charlatans:

A wee bit of Celtic rock now, albeit all the way from Italy… but, then, music is a universal language and crosses all cultural boundaries, so when this little gem from the wonderfully named Uncle Bard & The Dirty Bastards landed in the ÜR inbox, well I just had to check it out – and I’m glad I did as it’s a jaunty little jig which will get your feet tapping and your tastebuds tingling for the bars to re-open so you can enjoy a nice cold pint of Arthur’s finest…

A wee touch of politically-edged post-punk now, with Berlin power-trio Pabst, who are looking to the Skyline’ on their new track, one that doesn’t mince its words in pointing a finger at the gentrification of their beloved hometown. It’s a song that they describe as a “post-grunge hymn” that, through a wall of feedback and thick fuzzy guitars, pulls no punches in calling out greed, profit and increasing societal ills such as homelessness. One for fans of PUP, Japandroids and Spielbergs, it doesn’t fuck around musically either:

Another complete change in direction, with the new romantic-tinged Eighties stylings of The Night Flight Orchestra and the latest single to be extracted from their recent ‘Aeromantic’ album. It’s an elegant song accompanied by an equally elegant video interpretation – which was actually recorded in a single take, fact fiends. Something a bit different for us – and, if it goes ahead, for Bloodstock, where they are due to headline the Sophie Lancaster Stage on the Thursday night:

Now, in these straitened times, we should all still be able to enjoy a little luxury… Me? I’m partial to a bit of Lobster – in this case in the form of the well-cooked Finnish melodic hard rock crüe of the same name who probably didn’t realise the significance of a song entitled ‘No Place Like Home’ when they laid down this, the first in a series of new toons with the crustacean rockers have promised us over the coming period:

Now its time to get our Teeth into some pummelling hardcore, thanks to the supergroup – yes, another of them – featuring vocalist Blake Prince (ex-Straight Reads the Line, Anniversary), guitarist Chris LeMasters (Hundred Suns, ex-Dead and Divine), and drummer Ryan “Legs” Leger (Hundred Suns, Norma Jean, ex-Every Time I Die), who were on the cusp of unleashing themselves on an unsuspecting Uberverse when C-19 laid waste to all their plans. Fortunately, like many artists, they had a Plan B up their sleeves and took to their respective home studios to pull together their impressive debut single, ‘Deathrace’:

We’re heading into the last quarter of our playlist now, and we can think of no better company than the wonderfully named Radio Rejects, who are out to prove that they are ‘The Greatest’ “old skool four-chord and ‘90s skate punk” revivalist band around… And, on the evidence of this inanely brilliant single, they don’t do a half bad job at staking that claim – and they’re helped by an equally fun video:

Next up, a bunch of upstarts who most definitely have divided critical opinion over the past couple of years, in the shape of Palaye Royale, regarded by some as “the next must succeed band” and by others as “a bunch of jumped up over-important twats”. Personally, I veer towards the latter descriptive, but there is no doubting that new single ‘Little Bastards – the lead single from their new (and hopefully self-deprecatingly titled) album, ‘The Bastards’ – is another anthem for these peculiar times… and the video ain’t half bad either…

Now, if Kevin was here instead of sitting at home necking that bottle of Stoli he didn’t think we saw him sneaking under his jacket the night lockdown was declared, he’d be calling last orders right about now, which is a suitable invitation for us to declare Dance Gavin Dance… and the Californian psyche-punks do just that with the magnificent ‘Three Wishes’ and the highly inventive accompanying video… we’ll say no more except “click the link” and get lost in the fun…

OK, it’s time for some old school speed metal – and for the ladies to well and truly to step up to plate in the first of our closing triptych of toons. Jenner are three leather and spandex-clad rock goddesses (sic) from Serbia who do just what it says on the tin, and that is deliver it right in your face, get your feet tapping and your neck snapping – and, if you wash your hands for the duration of this slice of metallic mayhem, they’ll be cleaner than an baby’s arse for the duration of the lockdown:

Ukrainian symphonic metallers Thy Despair take part of their lyrical inspiration from the ongoing war in their homeland, with the message of new single ‘Falling Star’ being “don’t allow despair to fill your heart… watch the falling star, make a wish and it will come true”. The band sing in both English and their native language, which adds to the mystique generated by their blend of black metal, gothic, doom and melodeath miens:

For our final offering, we keep the pomposity factor turned up to maximum with self-styled “cinematic metal” purveyors  Dark Sarah, who deliver onto us a ‘Melancholia’-infused introduction to a “magical horror fantasy world” as the first taster from their forthcoming concept album, ‘Grim’, which is due to come our way via our good friends at Napalm Records in mid-July:

So, that’s it. Last orders have been called and downed, and we’re off to raid the secret stash of limited edition bourbon we found in the cellar when we went searching for DJ Astrocreep… fortunately, the big lad is alive and well, and he’ll be back behind the decks in two weeks’ time with another selection of tunage to help you blow away the isolation blues… so, until then, keep ‘er lit, keep ‘er between the hedges, keep on supporting great music – and #StayTheFuckAtHome.

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