Curated by DJ Monk

The Uber Rock Approved stampWell, it didn’t take the rock ‘n’ roll industry too long to kick out the post-New Year blooze and get back in full effect, as we had more than 200 singles sent our way over the past couple of weeks. Now, we’re going to let you into a little secret. Are you ready? We actually listened to them all! Well, snippets of them all, at least. And, believe us, there was some quality stuff sent our way – but then, the bands, labels, etc know not to send us any old shit, as that will go straight in the bin… Anyway, here is my choice of the ones that appealed most to me, or deemed worthy of sharing with our loyal fans out there in the rock ‘n’ roll Überverse…

First up, we have an artist who has been consistently smashing all the stereotypes about women in heavy music, Myrkur. And she continues to do so with a complete change in direction, as she continues to follow her own path by eschewing the black metal-based miens of her first two albums to rediscover her Danish folk roots. ‘Ella’ is the first track to be released from her forthcoming new album, ‘Folkesange’, which is being released via Relapse Records on 20 March. Myrkur, or Amalie Bruun, says of the track: “[it is] the result of years of studying, playing and listening to traditional Nordic folk music. This is my version of a new folk song, with roots planted in history and in the past. It is my ode to mankind and our connection with nature – a rite of passage as a woman and a rebirth-ritual in the sea”. The result is as haunting and beautiful as it is soothing and artistically redefining:

Next up, we have another artist who has stepped outside the confines of black metal genre for which he is best known, and that is Behemoth frontman Nergal, who presents us with more blackened blues from his Me And That Man side project, in the form of ‘Mestwo’, the fourth single to be lifted from the band’s forthcoming second album, ‘New Man, New Songs, Same Shit, Vol.1’, which set for release on 27 March via Napalm Records.  ‘Męstwo’ is both the first song that Nergal has ever performed completely in Polish, but also the only song on the album that Nergal himself sings, with vocal duties on the other tracks being handled by a swath of “that men”. Nergal says of the song: “When our drummer, Kuman first sent me the demo version of ‘Męstwo’, I was immediately drawn to it – it’s a simple song and simply written but totally honest and genuine. It’s the only song on the record I sing on and it’s exclusively Polish. ‘Męstwo’ translates to manhood; in this world of judgement, prejudice and struggle, the message of the song is to remain on your own course, to stay motivated and follow your own intuition – this is what manhood represents to me.”

Next, we’re right on ÜR’s doorstep, with a song so hot off the presses we had to use asbestos gloves to handle the download. It’s the debut offering from a new Belfast band by the name of Koma, who feature former members of bands such as Altus and So Long Until The Séance. Ploughing a technical groove-meets-DM furrow and citing influences such as Trivium, Lamb of God, Machine Head and Bullet For My Valentine, the band have a debut EP in the pipeline and make their live debut on 22 February, supporting Oracle at Belfast’s Limelight. They also play ÜR’s Helfast 2020 festival on 22 May.

We stay on ÜR’s home turf for our next selection, which sees rising rockers Dead Addiction bringing some ‘Chaos’ to the club, and t’interweb in general, with the second single from their just completed debut album, ‘…Of Vice And Men’. The album itself is a concept work, set in the city of San Vector, a dystopian metropolis on a downward spiral to anarchy and chaos and which follows the story of a police detective, who after being betrayed and left for dead by his partner, awakens from a four year coma with a new edge to his defiance and a thirst for revenge! This young band have been making big waves on the Northern Ireland music scene, and 2020 is shaping up to be the year in which they take it to the next level. They have an album launch show at Voodoo in Belfast on 25 April, and are another act playing ÜR’s Helfast 2020 festival, this time on the Saturday (23 May).

From young bucks to 50 year veterans of this hoary old rock ‘n’ roll game, in the form of Wishbone Ash, a band widely accredited as pioneering the twin guitar attack favoured by so many rock and metal acts over the past five decades and into the present day. The video for ‘We Stand Alone’ – the first single to be lifted from their forthcoming ‘Coat Of Arms’ album, which is being released at the end of February – was shot at the band’s sold out show at the O2 Academy Islington last October. The song itself focusses on the need for climate protection and is also the first studio recording to feature guitarist Mark Abrahams, who joined the band in 2017:

Next up, we have some RATM-style crossover groove from Texan collective Fire From The Gods, who have just released the title track from their current album, ‘American Sun’, to coincide with their current European tour support Mongolian metal warriors The HU. The tour hits the Über Kingdom next month, with every date already sold out. In the meantime, raise your fists in the air and give it some welly:

Our next two contributions show how social media can work in a positive way, as they come from bands who contacted us via our Facebook page. The first sees us returning to our birthplace, south Wales, where we hear from hardcore-tinged metallers Argonaut, with their self-described “love song for the apocalypse”, ‘My Back’. It has a suitably melancholic and restrained feel which reflects its sombre theme:

Our second Facebook submission saw us staying in south Wales, thanks to power trio Fallen Temples, who prove that they are far from ‘Broken’ with the latest single to be extracted from their impressive ‘Reborn Every Dawn’ EP. It’s a catchy little anthem guaranteed to get crowds bumping and pumping when played live, and once again showcases the sheer quality of music emanating from our former homeland these days:

And now for something completely different (sorry, couldn’t resist a sneaky tribute to the late Terry Jones)… and a complete change in pace in the shape of ‘Last Man Standing’, the ironically titled debut single from Snake Oil & Harmony, the acoustic-based collaboration of Dan Reed and Danny Vaughn and the first appetizer from their forthcoming album, ‘Hurricane Riders’, which, as previously reported here on ÜR, is being released at the end of February. The release will be followed by a full ÜK tour, kicking off at the Half Moon in Putney on 12 March.

We keep things slightly on the mellow side with ‘Ghost House Heart’, a haunting ballad from power metallers Delain. A total contrast from the previous singles to be released from their forthcoming new album, ‘Apocalypse & Chill’, being released on 7 February, it features a beautiful vocal from Charlotte Wessels. The Dutch crue play four dates in England to coincide with the album release, starting in Birmingham on 6 February and taking in Manchester, Bristol and London.

Another complete change in mood now, as German indie punks The Deadnotes become the latest band to highlight the pressing issue of mental health on their new single, the aptly titled ‘Never Perfect’. Singer and guitarist Darius Lohmüller told us the background to the song: “Mental health has always been an important topic for us personally and as a band in the last few years. With ‘Never Perfect’ we decided to explicitly talk about the numerous situations we have come across, where either we ourselves, befriended bands or people we are in contact with working in the music industry have struggled with mental health. We sadly have to admit, that we find more and more people not being able to cope with these situations.” The single is taken from their forthcoming new album, ‘Courage’, which recently received the stamp of approval from our very own John Bedard, who described as a perfect throwback to the mid-2000s sounds of bands like Dashboard Confessional.

A touch of post-punk gothic noir now, courtesy of The Birthday Massacre, who have emerged from the studio to present the world with their eighth album, ‘Diamonds’. With the album scheduled for release at the end of March, the Canadian trio have whetted our appetites with lead track ‘The Sky Will Turn’, a mix of dark electronica, dance-able riffs and haunting vocals… well, would you expect anything else?

Another change in pace, as we cross back across the Atlantic and into the heart of Europe, where we find ÜR approved Swiss proggies Cellar Darling, who have offered us up ‘Love Song Pt II’, the latest track to be extracted from their ambitious concept album, ‘The Spell’. Each of the album’s 13 tracks is being released as a standalone video, telling the story behind it, and this is the tenth instalment. You can watch the entire series here, but in the meantime here is this lovelorn teaser:

Switching gears faster than Lewis Hamilton, we find Soul Asylum wondering what would happen ‘If I Told You’, the “focus single” from the Minneapolis veterans’ new album, ‘Hurry Up And Wait’, which is due for release in mid-April. Best known for their smash hit ;’Runaway Train’, the single is a surprisingly mellow, somewhat melancholic affair, somewhat different from what you might expect as an album taster, but features a beautiful vocal from Dave Pirner, showing what a vastly under-rated singer he is.

Talking of industry veterans (which we sort of were), the legend in his own lunchbreak that is Brant Bjork has just signed to one of our favourite labels, Heavy Psych Sounds, through whom he will be releasing his new, self-monickered album in April. Apparently the album sees Bjork stripping everything back to the bare essences of their sound – and he has served up a rather taster of what is to come with the opening track, ‘Jungle In The Sound’, which features a characteristically gruff vocal and a guitar sound which even DQ, who normally dislikes stoner stuff, likes, so that has to be a positive, doesn’t it?

Well, we’re into the last couple of songs on the club jukebox, as we’re running out of coins and the barman is about to ring the bell for last orders. But we’ll drown him out with a dose of power punk from Arizona’s The Venomous Pinks, and their riotous cover of Joan Jett’s ‘I Want You’, which comes complete with a brilliantly anarchic, dominatrix-themed video. I’m hard to convince when it comes to cover versions, but I like this one, especially with it’s tongue-in-cheek approach.

And so, we come to our final offering, and we finish as we started, with a brand new band (to us here at ÜRHQ anyway), in the form of Manchester alt-rock trio The HARA. The boys have been developing quite a following on Instagram and YouTube, so it is somewhat ironic that their new single, ‘Blue Tick Souvenir’, is about the fleeting vagaries of social media “fame”. It’s catchy and throwaway, just like its subject matter, but a nice, fun way to close down this edition of the club.

So, there you have it. Kevin the barman has pulled down the shutters, the jukebox has run out of credits and Gary the bouncer is ushering us towards the door. The big lad will be back in two weeks’ time, so until then… keep ‘er lit, keep ‘er between the hedges and keep ‘er rockin’ with your favourite kick ass website!

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