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 and BoJo’s much-vaunted roadmap 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 each and every fortnight – with a few special events thrown in for good measure!  In that spirit, this week, we once again open the Club doors for not one but two special themed editions… Yes, for the first time in history we are taking the unprecedented step of opening the Club for the entire weekend. Why?

Well, following on from February’s focus on the New Wave of Classic Rock movement, this time around we decided to turn our attention to some of the finest bands kicking around the ÜK scene at the moment. BUT, it didn’t take us very long (a matter of hours, in fact) for us to realize what we already knew: and that is the sheer amount of talent that exists in this particular corner of the Überverse… so, we decided to pay the bar staff some valuable overtime, double our usual order of alcohol and make sure the needles in the death decks are fluff-free and ready to bring these little discs of joy to you in the best possible quality…

Some of the acts will be familiar, as they have featured in these pages before, or have propped up the Club bar on a regular basis, but I think it is safe to say that the majority of them will be new to many readers – which is part of the point of this exercise: to introduce vibrant new talent to new audiences and showcase them alongside some of the more established names in the business.

And we kick in this first edition in hard and heavy – but you might want to make sure you’re wearing your PPE as you might just get splattered in ‘Gore’. Yes, the undisputed kings of the ÜK thrash scene, Evile, have returned to action after eight long, silent years and are preparing to reward our patience with their new album, ‘Hell Unleashed’, at the end of this month… as an extremely tasty appetizer, they have in the meantime released the second single from said opus, which features a guest appearance from American comedian and actor Brian Posehn on guest vocals:

We promised to introduce you to some new talent, so the next batch of tunes will do just that, as we head down to the south of England for some more seriously neck-straining riffage, this time courtesy of Broken Calling and their brand of metallic hardcore, which is given a serious exorcism on their highly impactful new single, ‘Ghosts’:

Some space-rock mixed with rap and street-punk beats as we encounter The Ancient Unknown, who have emerged from the back alleys of the nation’s capital with the hard-hitting and punchy (sic), ‘The Fall’:

We defy travel restrictions and head back up the motorway to Yorkshire, where Leeds progressive metal/jazz experimentalists Voronoi are preparing for the launch of the their debut album with a trip into to the darkest recesses of outer space, where we encounter an ‘Interstellar Something’ with this, their second single:

Things remain decidedly dysptopian down Swansea way, as Prosperina added some stoner and grunge to their Orwellian space prog vibes when they took us wading into the ‘Deep Never’, thef first taster from their forthcoming new album ‘Flag’, which is coming our way at the end of May (sic):

We’re traversing back across the Irish Sea to ÜR’s homeland for our next brace of tunes, the first of which sees us mellow things down a little, courtesy of a man who is most definitely one of the cornerstones of the Northern Irish music scene. Perhaps best known to ÜR readers as the frontman of Pay*Ola, Philip McCarroll has been using the limitations of this past year to release a slew of solo tracks, a combination of new songs and reworkings of older material resulting in the issue this past week of a new six-track EP, of which this is an appropriate taster, as well as a summation of what most of us have gone through over the past year:

Another song which summarizes the experiences of this past year – although it was written before the pandemic struck – is the appropriately titled ‘I Am Still Alive’, the typically rambunctious third single issued to preview the also appropriately titled ‘Tail End Of A Hurricane’, the long-awaited new album from Trucker Diablo, who never fail to deliver the goods and haven’t let the minor detail of a global pandemic stop them delivering yet another hard-hitting and impressive collection of tunes, coming our way next month:

Another band who will be familiar to ÜR readers, and who also never fail to deliver quality rock ‘n’ roll are Wayward Sons, who, like the rest of us, are looking forward to the ‘Big Day’ when we are all out of the other end of this shitstorm and get back to enjoying great music such as this in its natural environment… Let’s hope their planned November tour can do just that,,,

Another band who have featured in these pages quite a few times in the past are London melodic power metallers Neonfly, who have just issued the title track of their forthcoming third album, ‘The Future, Tonight’, which is due in mid-June. The song itself features a strident guest vocal from Soilwork’s Björn Strid, and the powerful accompanying video narrowly missed on our ‘VOTW’ honour last weekend:

A new name to us at ÜRHQ is that of Cambridge alt-rockers Kavanagh, who take us back to the realms of deepest space with their utopian tale of ‘Citizen 202’ – a track which also features on the soundtrack to the forthcoming indie horror/sci-fi flick ‘Vegan Vampyres From Zorg’!

Some playful, fuzzed-out DIY garage punk is the next element of our soundtrack, courtesy of London’s Play Dead, who are urging us to ‘Hide’, which is exactly what guitarist Joe Blair was seeking (sic) to do when he wrote this while suffering from a hangover from hell and avoiding his mates… fortunately, he didn’t bury the tune, but rather included on their newly-released ‘Skint’ EP:

Our next stop on our trek around the nether regions of the Uber Kingdom is Croydon, where we find post-hardcore power duo Frauds, who are demanding some ‘Money Honey’ with the declarative second single from their forthcoming second album, ‘Long Spoons’, which is due to be released by those lovely people at Alcopop! Records later in the summer…

Gloucestershire alt-rock Elessar have been regular visitors to the Club, but never quite made the playlist – something we’re glad to rectify as they share their ‘Vices’, a tale of the dangers of being embroiled in a toxic relationship, despite fully realizing the toxicity of the situation. It’s a hard-hitting and catchy little tune, guaranteed to get your feet tapping and head nodding in appreciation, and no doubt will prove to be a live favourite once we’re all allowed to get back on the dancefloor:

Our next tranche of acts we found through the rather spiffing New Wave Of Classic Rock Facebook group, which over the past number of years – and this past one in particular – has proven to be an invaluable resource in terms of fans finding new bands, and the latter being able to interact closer with the former. The guys behind the group, who, like us, do it for the love of the music, also run an excellent Spotify playlist, which is updated every Friday with the hottest new releases.

Our first stop on this section of the round-up is the north of Scotland, where we find that glunksters Bad Actress are ‘Hellbound’ with this rather tasty slice of retro-sleaze, which ticks all the right boxes in terms of the genre, with gritty guitars and cheesier-that-a-bag-of-Cheddars lyrics:

After that trip to the fiery depths of Hades, we need cooled down a bit, and what better remedy that some ‘Ice Cream’, as served up by Kabüki, with their Asian-inflected fusion of street punk and power pop sensibilities:

Our next stop on this epic Hairy Bikers-style roadtrip around the ÜK is Teesside… feck, I swore I’d never visit there again after I divorced my first wife, but lo and behold here I am, ‘Waiting In Line’ to line to catch up with blues-infused hard rockers Coral Snake, who have just presented us with their rather catchy second single:

Some more classic hard rock now, as we ‘Runaway’ with Mercury Rising, who definitely tick all the NWoCR boxes with their neat, blues-fused riffs, catchy melodies and gritty vocals, making them a band we’ll definitely be keeping on our radar in the future:

Something of a change of mood as we head into our last few selections in our first showcase of the best the UK has to offer, and we find ourselves in the company of Trip Wizard, who are anything but ‘Downtrodden’ on this thoughtful and incisive standalone track from their excellent ‘Psychedelic Psycho’ EP:

We stay with something of a mythological theme, as far as band names are concerned, as we’re ushered into the court of the Underking. In fact, this one-man project does indeed bring mythos to life, as they lean heavily on Tolkien for their subject matter, with latest single ‘Red Sun Rises’ taking its inspiration from Theoden’s speech at the battle of Pelennor Fields. The result is a decent enough folk metal/thrash crossover which bodes well for the full-length album, due later this year.

Our penultimate offering for this instalment of our ÜK special sees us inject some soul into proceeedings with the beautiful and thought-provoking tale of a ‘Forgotten Child’ as told by the excellent Rainbreakers, who manage to combine an epic, progressive feel with a simple message and an effectively atmospheric tone:

Finally, we started things off in heavy mode, and we’re finishing them the same way, as Portsmouth’s finest heavy metal export, Primitai, have just released their fantastic new album, ‘Violence Of The Skies’. I’ve been following these guys since I first caught them in a local pub back in 2007, and they’ve never failed to disappointed either live, where they are an extremely energetic and exciting act, or on record… and they definitely have lived up to that reputation this time around. We sign off this special edition of the Club with the final single to have been released ahead of the album itself… may the stars be our guide tonight…

Well, that’s your lot for the first part of this special Easter weekend 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 the best the UK scene has to offer… 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 tomorrow, keep ‘er lit, keep ‘er between the hedges and #StayTheFuckSafe!

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