Written by DJ Monk

The Uber Rock Approved stampJanuary may traditionally be seen to be a quiet month, especially on the music front, but that most definitely was not the case here at ÜRHQ, with literally hundreds of submissions, not least in the singles format, proving that it is very much alive and kicking.  Inevitably, there is a lot of dross released, but in among all that there are always a few shining gems, and this is my pick of the best toons to have been sent our way since the turn of the year. Ladeez and germz, the Singles Club is once again open for business, so place your orders at the bar, settle back and enjoy some quality rock ‘n’ roll of nefarious shades…

First up this time around are Villains In Vogue, a new quartet from the City of Angels who got in touch with ÜR via our Facebook page after the guys in American Jetset pointed them in our direction. It’s a nice slice of good old fashioned LA glam/sleaze infused rock ‘n’ roll which ain’t exactly gonna set the world on fire but provided a pleasant whiff of smog-free fresh air when it landed in our inbox:

Chasing Dragons are firm favourites here at ÜRHQ and so we immediately hit play when the link to ‘I’m No Devil (I’m Just A Girl)’… and all we can say is: Lzzy Hale, you better watch you’re back ‘cos the Dragons are coming up your exhaust pipe and threatening to run you off the road! If you haven’t begged, borrowed or stolen a copy of their stunning debut album, ‘Faction’, then we strongly suggest you do so – immediately… and then go catch one of their stunning live shows. You definitely will not be disappointed:

Spielbergs are making quite a name for themselves here at ÜR. Their previous single, ‘Five On It’, was featured in our first Singles Club at the beginning of the year, and ironically titled debut album ‘This Is Not The End’ has our Rich H positively foaming at the mouth, as you will find out later this week. In the meantime, they’ve wasted no time in sending a second single our way, which only beggars one question: will these lads from Oslo be something of a ‘Sleeper’, or will they make an instant impact? We somehow think it will be the latter:

Next, we travel down the motorway from ÜRHQ to the fair city of Dublin, where we find the enigmatic The Murder Capital treating us to their debut single, ‘Feeling Fades’, an acerbic slice of post-punk that sees the quintet set out to affect cultural change in their homeland with the message that “the now elapsed ‘round you and me, and it kept us all together”.  Their debut tour kicks off in Liverpool on 31 January and takes in dates in Cardiff, London, Brighton, Birmingham, Newcastle, Glasgow and Edinburgh. The also support the ÜR-approved IDLES at their sold-out Electric Ballroom show on 6 April.

Next up we have Ukrainian groove metal crossover crew Jinjer, who made some massive waves on their UK tour last year. They have now presented us with ‘Perennial’, a stunning mix of beauty and brutality, lifted from their newly released ‘Micro’ EP. They’re currently touring Europe with Amorphis, Soilwork and Nailed To Obscurity, visiting the Electric Ballroom in Camden on 4 February.

Next we have another act that have featured in the Singles Club quite recently, Swiss progressive folk rockers Cellar Darling, who are seeking to cast their spell over us with the second teaser from their forthcoming second album of the same name, which will be released via Nuclear Blast on 22 March. ‘The Spell’ is a concept album about a girl who falls in love with Death, and each of it’s 13 tracks will come with their own visualization by Costin Chioreanu, who also painted the album’s cover:

“May I have your attention please” snarls vocalist Dillon Squire-Strong at the start of Heavy Rapids’ new single, ‘Going Down’, released this past Friday. And he and his fellow Glaswegian punks certainly have grabbed our attention here at URHQ with this punchy little number. With two singles already under their collective belts, and a debut album due later in the year, these upstarts will be one group we’ll be keeping an on in the future:

Glen Hansard should need no introduction to regular UR readers. After all, as frontman of The Frames he is regarded as one of the finest songwriters to have emerged from the island of Ireland in the past 30 years.  This beautiful little slice of Cohen-evoking melancholia is the first single to be offered up from his forthcoming fourth solo album, ‘This Wild Willing’, which is released on 12 April:

We liven things up now with ‘Self Inflicted’, the exuberant new offering from German ska punks Sidewalk Surfers, featured a guest vocal appearance by David McWane from Big D And The Kids Table. The video also features cameos from a whole host of stalwarts of the German punk scene, resulting in a hugely enjoyable track which just wants to make you bounce around the living room – and who are we to resist such an invitation?

Two very special releases take us to last orders. The first is ‘All Over Now’, released last week to coincide with the first anniversary of the death of The Cranberries frontwoman Dolores O’Riordan and taken from what has now proven to be their final album, ‘In The End’, which will be released on 26 April.  The experience of listening to this single is actually extremely haunting, as it highlights the fragility of Dolores’ voice, and proves to be one of her most powerful performances in many years. A fitting tribute:

Bringing proceedings to a close is the debut single from Aiden Hatfield, taken from his forthcoming EP, the appropriately entitled ‘Chapter One’.  Aiden is a true Twitter phenomenon, using his extremely active and inspiring account to dispense encouragement to those of us, like him, with mental health problems. He also owns the In Music We Trust clothing brand, donating 50 per cent of his profits to the charity MIND. Oh, the single? Catchier than a dose of the clap in a whorehouse… as you can hear (and see):

So, that’s it for another edition of the Singles Club.  The big man will be back in two weeks’ time with the pick of the releases that have tickled his ears in the intervening period, so I’ll squawk to you all again in a month. Until then, remember: keep ‘er lit and keep ‘er between the hedges \m/

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