Curated by Monk
Well, 2021 may have may have finally taken its reasonably confident steps into its third month, with some light seeming to finally appear at the end of the tunnel for what otherwise has been pretty much of another shitstorm of a year, with the vaccination programme finally starting to take effect and BoJo’s much-vaunted “roadmap” out of the crisis finally having some form of, albeit loose, timetable. Of course, it comes too late for the first half of the festival season, with Download, Glastonbury and the Heretic Festival already shelved for the second successive year and other events also facing the inevitability of further cancellations, while it remains to be seen if there will be any longer lasting restrictions on live events, either indoors or outdoors. With the path to our previous level of “normality” still a long way off, at least 2021 is continuing to share something more positive in common with the past 12 months, in that it already has produced some terrific new music, with the promise of plenty more to come, if the inbox here at ÜRHQ is anything to go by…
In that context, as the new rock ‘n’ roll year finally starts to stand on its own two feet, with its DMs firmly planted in the mire and muck of the dissolving world 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, it’s hard to believe it’s been a just a week since the we last opened our virtual doors and fired up the death decks with a selection of the finest NWoCR-themed single-track releases to have come our way in recent weeks. Yet here we are again with another eclectic playlist choicely picked from the almost 400 releases to have come our way… Once again, we’ve got a lot to get through, so let’s stick the needle in the groove, grab a beer and put on our dancing shoes, shall we?
Hang on a second, what’s that sound in the car park? It’s the Big Truck revving its engine, ready to come storming back into action and proving that it takes more than a mere pan(dem)ic to stop it from rockin’ and rollin’… yes folks, Trucker Diablo are back in action, with a new album, the superbly titled ‘Tail End Of A Hurricane’, which is due to be unleashed at the beginning of May. Having had a sneak preview, it’s the Truckers doing what they do best: delivering straight-from-the-heart hard rockin’ tunes with huge harmonies, massive melodies and raucous, headbang-inducing riffs galore. In the meantime, the four hard rockin’ amigos from the mid-Ulster area are sticking their tongues ever-so slightly into their cheeks and reliving their times as ‘Rock Kids Of The 80s’, with the just-released lead single:
From mid-Ulster to the Midlands now, for a trip to Midnite City – yes, we know that’s the name of the band and they’re actually from Nottingham, but it’s called “artistic licence” – who are about to deliver us of an itch even we can’t scratch with their phenomenal new album, which is also due in May. In the meantime, they are promising that it is going to be a positively ‘Atomic’ aural experience, with this explosive, Leppard-esque second single:
We keep the party going in sleazetastic style as we head (virtually, of course) down under for a sip or three of thon Snake Bite Whisky, who are sharing their tale of what it is like to be well and truly ‘Hammered’ on the latest preview track to be lifted from their forthcoming second album, ‘Black Candy’, which is released at the end of the month… My only quibble is that the contents of the JD bottle featured in the accompanying video look a bit off colour and suspiciously like cold tea…
We keep the sleaze factor turned up to maximum, but turn the clock back a bit as the legendary Sweet are about to take us on a trip down ‘Isolation Boulevard’, a re-recording of the US version of their 1975 ‘Desolation Boulevard’ album, re-imagined during lockdown with the band’s current line-up (which of course now features former Cats In Space singer Paul Manzi as a full-time member). They give us a taste of what to expect of the updated tunes with this rather tasty and energetic new interpretation of the classic ‘Set Me Free’:
Collaboration is the name of the game for our next couple of tracks, the first of which sees long-time Iron Maiden guitarist Adrian Smith team up, once again, with fellow fretboard widdler Richie Kotzen, who are exposing their collective ‘Scars’ on the epic second single to be lifted from their forthcoming debut album together:
Our second collaborative effort comes in the shape of new Swedish melodic rock supergroup Crowne, which brings together the talents of Art Nation vocalist Alexander Strandell, H.E.A.T guitarist/keyboardist/ producer Jona Tee, Europe bassist John Levén (Europe) and Poodles drummer Christian Lundqvist. Collectively they are making a very clear statement of intent as they declare that it is indeed a ‘Mad World’ on the first product to be released, the lead single from an album due later in the year:
Goth rockers Evanescence release their first album of all-new material in a decade at the end of this month. Whether or not it presents us with ‘The Bitter Truth’ remains to be seen, but if the singles released so far are anything by which to judge then Amy Lee definitely has rediscovered her fire and hunger, even if she is telling us that she’d be better off without us in the latest taster to come our way:
Next up, we keep the gothic theme going as we attempt to ‘Escape’ the clutches of the Living Dead Girl – not that we’re trying to try too hard, as we’d actually be wrapped in the embrace of this, the third single to be lifted from the Canadian groovers’ forthcoming debut album, ‘Exorcism’. On the basis of what we have heard to date, the album promises to be a real romper stomper (sorry!):
More powerhouse female vocals now, albeit in a slightly different mien, as we ship down to Boston (sic) and close our eyes to totally absorb ourselves in the blackened melodeath majesty of Aversed, who are kicking down the Club doors with furious intent with this, the final single to be released ahead of the release of their debut album, ‘Impermanent’, in a fortnight’s time:
We up the death metal ante now, thanks to none other than the mighty Cannibal Corpse, who are welcoming us to an ‘Inhumane Harvest’ with the lead track from their forthcoming, 15th, album, ‘Violence Unimagined’. It’s exactly would expect from the Floridian deathgrind pioneers – brutality in extremis:
‘Something’s Gonna Break’ around here, and this case it is the latest single from ÜK crossover crüe The Final Clause Of Tacitus and their new RATM-evoking single of the same name, extracted from their wonderfully titled new EP, ‘Asinine Music for the Solemn and Staid’, which is due to drop da bomb in May. We should warn that the accompanying video clip contains rapidly flashing images:
We keep in a sort of hip-hop groove for our next visitors, who have defied travel restrictions to cross the Channel from Holland and introduce us to their peculiar brand of electro-infused garage pop-punk. They are the wonderfully named 45ACIDBABIES, who are telling us they are ‘Mommy’s Favourite 1’ – and I ain’t arguing with anyone’s mommy, that’s for feckin’ sure…
Talking of pop-punk, proponents of the genre don’t come much bigger and brassier than The Offspring, who are determined to ‘Let The Bad Times Roll’ with their forthcoming tenth album, which they are previewing with the typically irreverent title track. It may be the first new music from the SoCal legends in almost a decade, but it shows that they have lost none of their verve or vim in the interim, and are back on the attack as hungry as ever:
We’re into the second half of this edition’s playlist, and we’re keeping the punk rock vibe (and our tongues very firmly in our cheeks), as well as heading back down under, where The Owen Guns, who are most definitely ‘Sick’ (as fuck, that is) with the lead single from their forthcoming second EP, which is due at the end of May. The song is an anarchic 68-second paean to “the morons who thought it was a good idea to stockpile toilet paper during a pandemic”:
There are a hellish amount of feckin’ excellent pop punk coming out of the Australian underground scene at the moment, proving that, despite what Brisbane’s All Hours might want us to believe, things most definitely aren’t on a ‘Downward’ spiral in terms of that corner of the Überverse producing some very exciting new music, of which is the latest example – and one which most definitely will appeal to fans of Avril Lavigne, Paramore and their ilk:
We’re signing up for an ‘Electric Gangbang’ next, courtesy of US stoners Beastwood, who describe their sound as “music that should be played during every Patrick Swayze movie bar-fight scene”. Now, we’ll not be having any fisty-cuffs in here, bais, but what Beastwood do is seamlessly fuses the upbeat catchiness of Clutch, the sludginess of Crowbar and the groove of Down in distinctive NOLA style:
We keep that dirty, heavy blues vibe going as we traverse the Atlantic and head to South Africa to meet up with drummer Jason Hinch and guitarist/vocalist Justin Swart, who collectively go by the name of The Amblers and are telling us the true story of a man who gave his sister away with this highly impressive slice of psych-fuelled White Stripes-style retro rock:
Quick, duck for cover under the bar stools, as we’re ‘Under Attack’… Oh, it’s OK: it’s only the latest single from Swedish NWoTHMers Lion’s Share, the band fronted by one of our favourite singers, Nils Patrik Johansson. The track, which is extremely reminiscent of Teutonic terrors Accept in its feel and approach, is the first single from the band’s new album, which has had its release date pushed back by more than a year to date, with the band instead planning to release a series of singles until they can actually get out and promote the full-lengther on the road:
We’re staying in Sweden, as where being held hostage by a ‘Troublemaker’, who is infecting our aural cortexes with suitably gritty and rambunctious latest single from sheepskin-clad garage rockers Grand Royale, another suitably tasty appetiser from their fifth album, ‘Carry On’, which lands on our collective death decks at the end of the month:
We’re not being allowed to cross the Swedish border just yet, as we’ve been diagnosed with a ‘Phantom Pain’, induced by the electro-industrial metal groove of Rave The Reqviem, another band who impressively combine dark male vocals with higher range female ones to add a commercial edge to an otherwise dense and disturbing nu-metal backing:
As Kevin gets ready to call last orders, we’re mellowing things down somewhat with an exciting young band to whom we introduced you towards the end of last year, Kent newbies Seek Harbour. Having started building a reputation as the hot new kids on the ÜK melodic hardcore block, the quartet have turned full circle and stripped things right back to their basics, with this re-imagined version of their debut single, which once again sees them exploring the world of ‘Ghost And Shadow’ with suitably eerie and impressive effect:
OK, we’re taking this edition of the Club to its conclusion with the emphasis on “PARTY time” as we ship back across to Boston (see what we’ve been doing here?) for the first of two back-to-back slices of the finest Celtic punk around. The first comes from the mighty Dropkick Murphys, who are raising a ‘Middle Finger’ to the pandemic as they prepare for both their second locked down St Patrick’s Day livestream and the release of their tenth studio album, on which they will be encouraging us to ‘Turn Up That Dial’… not that we need any encouragement to just that, so let’s stick that needle in the groove and get on with the business in hand, shall we?
We sign off with another trip to the land of Oz, where The Rumjacks are bidding us ‘Goodnight & Make Mends’ with their poetic new single of the same name, lifted from their latest album, ‘Hestia’, which comes out this Friday… nicely in time for the Paddy’s Day party here at ÜRHQ (which, of course, will be a socially distanced and sober affair… aye right: it’s my birthday the next day!):
Well, that’s your lot for this 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 feck off to listen to DQ scream abuse at the Ireland rugby team… We hope you agree that it has been another eclectic collection, and that you found something to tickle your earbuds and drive you to explore some new musical horizons. Until next week, when the big lad who goes by the name of DJ Astrocreep will be transporting down from cyberspace to once again take his place behind the death decks, keep ‘er lit, keep ‘er between the hedges and #StayTheFuckSafe!
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