Curated by Monk

The Uber Rock Approved stampWell, it looks like the rays of light at the end of the dark tunnel that has been the past 13 months of isolation and generally being shit upon from great heights may be growing brighter day by day, with the vaccination programme being rolled out with increasing pace, trial live events taking place and the various roadmaps seeming to actually present some form of direction and pathway back to at least a semblance of the normality we enjoyed before the pandemic wrecked chaos on our collective and individual lives.

But, despite all the doom and gloom which has prevailed upon us over the past year and year, one positive has remained constant – and that is the amount of terrific new music which has come our way, as artists the length and breadth of the Überverse rise to the challenge of entertaining us and raising our spirits higher than the International Space Station at the peak of its orbit… And there definitely is the promise of plenty more to come, if the inbox here at ÜRHQ is anything to go by…

In that context, as the rock ‘n’ roll year that is 2021 enters its second quarter, with its DMs firmly planted in the mire and muck of the chaos 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, another constant throughout the vagaries of inconsistent and often hard to stomach lockdowns is that the Club has remained open for (virtual) business throughout, bringing you our selection of what we regard as the best new sounds to have come our way every fortnight – with a few special events thrown in for good measure!  In that spirit, today we once again open the Club doors for our first regular edition in a few weeks… OK, we’re only allowed to drink outdoors for the moment, so we’ve tasked Kevin to build us a marquee and we’ve hauled the speaker system into the car park – just in time for the arrival of our first guests…

And we start in power metal mode as we sound the clarion call of the ‘March Into War’ against musical mediocrity, as sounded by ÜR faves Bloodbound, a suitably anthemic taster of their forthcoming ninth studio album, ‘Creatures Of The Dark Realm’, which will be released via the ever-reliable AFM Records at the end of the month:

We stay in Sweden for our next two offerings, the first of which sees melodic death metal pioneers At The Gates, who prove that they very much are force with whom to be reckoned with the epic ‘Spectre Of Extinction’, the first taster of their forthcoming new album, ‘The Nightmare Of Being’, which impacts at the beginning of July via Century Media:

A slight change in mood for the third of our triptych of Swedish opening acts, but we’re still keeping up the pace, as metalcore mobsters Imminence re-emerge following their recent dalliance in acoustic interpretations with the heaviest song they have ever recorded, which also happens to be their first new music in two years… yes, folks, prepare to be led into ‘Temptation’:

Across the The Sound/Øresund/Öresund we head, to Denmark, where we find ourselves neck deep in Black Swamp Water, who are continuing to wage that ‘Endless War’ on aforesaid musical mediocrity with their powerful new single, the first taste of their forthcoming third album, which is due to hit our deathdecks some time over the summer:

We’re keeping it heavy but traversing the globe to contrasting desert climate of Arizona to re-unite with one of THE pioneering bands of the early thrash sound. Although they never gained the same level of recognition as many of their counterparts, Flotsam And Jetsam have an unmistakeable and hugely underplayed role in the development of the metal canon, as they continue to consistently prove, not least on this, the title track of their forthcoming new album, ‘Blood In The Water’, which also marks the return of the mighty Flotzilla after more than 35 years lurking in the murky shadows ready to feed once more…

We move slightly westwards now, to meet up with another band with an undeniable place in the canon of metal innovation, and that is Mordred, who are preparing to treat us to their first full-length album in more than 25 years.  Last year’s ‘Violation’ EP showed that the San Francisco pioneers had lost none of their ability to push musical boundaries, so with that in mind prepare to be possessed by this first taster of more to come:

A trip down the Californian coast now, to the city of angels, where metalcore newcomers Tetrarch have been slowly building a reputation for themselves, as solidified this past week by the release of their second album, ‘Unstable’, this past week – and it’s not hard to see how fans are becoming ‘Addicted’ to the vibe generated by these exciting newcomers who definitely are injecting some much-needed energy and passion into the genre:

We stay in Los Angeles, as we’ve been ushered into the esteemed company of The Lords Of Altamont, who are galvanizing us into some serious garage rock action with their tale of how they have been ‘Living With The Squares’, the first single from their forthcoming seventh studio album, on which they will be inviting us to ‘Tune In, Turn On, Electrify!’ when it is released by our friends at the ever-reliable Heavy Psych Sounds imprint at the beginning of July:

The sun may be out both here at ÜRHQ and in California, but there is no doubt that there are some ‘Dark Days’, as evinced by post-punks Black Market Heart, who coincidentally feature former members of The Lords Of Altamont, as well as well noiseniks Honeymoon Screams, in their ranks:

We’re heading back to San Francisco now, where Amy Angel And The Hellraisers are asking ‘Why?’, in this response to the Capitol Hill invasion of January past. A slight departure from the East Bay band’s trademark cow punk sound, it nevertheless ploughs faithful psychobilly territory to great effect:

We continue moving north now, to Oregon, from where stoner groovers Red Fang are about to fire a volley of ‘Arrows’, in the form of their new album of the same name, which is released next month via Relapse Records. In the meantime, they have recruited the services of a ‘Funeral Coach’ to tutor us in how to behave in appropriate style should rock ‘n’ roll ever live up to the declarations that it itself is about to head six feet under…

Our northern trajectory continues as we head across the border into Canada, where we enter the effervescent company of Molly Rennick, aka the frontwoman for Living Dead Girl, who are proving that they are very much ‘Alive’ with the re-issue of the lascivious lead single from their forthcoming new album, ‘Exorcism’, which is shaping up to be a real gothic punk banger:

Hang on a sec, what’s that I hear in the corner of the car park reserved for our VIP guests? Is it the unmistakeable growl of a clapped-out ’65 Dodge? It is indeed. But, who’s that at the wheel? Why, it’s the one and only Billy F Gibbons, who is delivering us of a ‘Desert High’ with this atmospheric new taster from his forthcoming new solo album, ‘Hardware’, which is due this time next month:

The bearded one has brought another rather hirsuite guest along for the trip, in the shape of Zakk Wylde, who is celebrating the imminent arrival of a career-spanning 12-album Black Label Society vinyl boxset, appropriately entitled ‘None More Black’, with this tale of the ‘Blind Man’, one of the bonus tracks included on same:

We’re defying the still omnipresent travel bans to head over to Germany next, where Stomper98 frontman Sebi Walkenhorst has unveiled his new project, Plizzken and is saying hello to us ‘Dear All Happy People’ with his first single to be released in English rather than his native language. It’s also the first single to be taken from the band’s surprisingly upbeat ‘…And Their Paradise Is Full Of Snakes’ album, which is due via the wonderful Pirates Press Records next month:

We keep the punk rock groove pumpin’ as we head back to Canada to team up with sk8tr bois (sic) Belvedere, who are inviting us to stare into the ‘Camera Obscura’ with this surprisingly introspective interjection from their forthcoming new album, ‘Hindsight Is The Sixth Sense’:

Well, we might as well pay our first visit of this edition to the dear ol’ Über Kingdom, so we’re heading to Manchester, where we have a brief opportunity to ‘Breathe’, thanks to garage rockers Dirty Laces, who prove that the Swedes don’t have all the best tunes when it comes to this particular genre, with this, their highly impressive psychedelia-tinged second single:

It’s a hop, skip and a jump up the road to Liverpool, where ÜR faves SPQR are exploring the city’s musical ‘Fault Lines’ with the first single from their forthcoming debut full-length album: yes, it’s hard to believe that, despite their prodigious work-rate, they’re only now getting around to releasing that! The song actually has been sitting in the band’s archive for quite some time, but now seems destined to help provide the soundtrack to a seismic shift forward in the band’s profile:

We head across the Pennines to examine the role of artificial intelligence, and more especially that of ‘Robots As Pathos/Menace’ – a condundrum presented us by returning Leeds progressive jazz metallers Voronoi, who are preparing to blow our brains with their forthcoming debut album, with which they will be declaring ‘The Last Three Seconds’ this coming Friday:

Another hugely exciting band on the ÜK scene at the moment are Hertfordshire progressive metallers Vexed, who are showing the potential to stand proudly alongside the likes of Jinjer and Venom Prison as flagbearers for powerful female-fronted bands working within this particular sub-genre. New single ‘Misery’ is perhaps their most powerful declaration yet, viscerally combining power, passion and intent:

As we head into our last few selections, looking around the bar I think there’s quite a few of us who are going to be ‘Walking Home’, and if that’s the case then we’ve got the perfect soundtrack to upload to your mobile device, and that is the surf-punk joyousness of this new release from Hey Baby!:

We’re not quite finishing off where we started, but we are heading back to Sweden for our penultimate choice, which sees energetic and enlivening pop punk newcomers Those Without showing us how to have a ‘Good Thyme’ with a summery-sounding love song that I’m sure will eventually get the adrenaline-pumping on re-opened dancefloors the Überverse over…

Well, that’s last orders called, so it’s time to Cancel The Transmission for this iteration of the Singles Club, but we will ‘Rise Again’… hang on, that sounds like a cue for some NWoCR, and where better for it to come from than the Welsh valleys that gave birth to your favourite website? None indeed, so let’s crank up the volume on those Marshalls and headbang like a loon for one last dose of rock ‘n’ roll at its finest…

Well, that’s your lot for 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 take a break to restock the bar and recharge the batteries before delving headlong back into action once again two weeks’ time, when the big lad by the name of Astrocreep once again (hopefully) will be beaming down from some mysterious corner of the Überverse to take charge of the deathdecks and bringing you some of the hottest new sounds from around this hoary old rock ‘n’ roll planet… Until then, keep ‘er lit, keep ‘er between the hedges and #StayTheFuckSafe!

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