Curated by Monk
Well, 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 every fortnight – with a few special events thrown in for good measure! In that spirit, today we once again open the Club doors for the second of 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.
We kick off right in ÜRHQ’s back yard, with some NWoTHM via our favourite wedding band… yep, we’re talking about Northern Ireland melodic power metallers Conjuring Fate, who have just unleashed some ‘Voodoo Wrath’ with the third single to be released from 2019’s ÜR-approved ‘Curse Of The Fallen’ album:
Stand to attention folks, ‘cos a genuine legend has just walked into the Club, in the shape of the godfather of modern-day ÜK prog, Steven Wilson: and he’s brought along a couple of celebrity mates, in none other than Sir Elton John, who played on this track, ‘Personal Shopper’ (the latest single from Wilson’s sixth solo album, ‘The Future Bites’, released earlier this year), and Nile Rodgers, who has remixed this single version to give it a classic Chic-style disco/funk feel:
We keep the prog theme going with Manchester’s Twisted Illusion, who are re-releasing their debut album, ‘Temple Of Artifice’, next month as part of a plan to release a total of four albums over the course of the next 18 months, including a three-part concept work by the title of ‘Excite The Light’. As a taster for those of us who may be unfamiliar with this young band, who actually have been around since 2014, they are warning us of the dangers of getting ‘Online And In Line’ with this social-media themed single:
We’re staying with the prog genre, and a band I came across when they issued an appeal for someone to produce the artwork for their forthcoming new album. Punch And Judas have brought an old song back to life, by recording it with their new line-up, producing in the process a powerful commentary on the mental anguishes we have all experienced over the past 12 months and more:
A change in mood now, as he we head down to that hotbed of musical talent that is Bristol to team up with Phoxjaw, who tell us that ‘An Owl Is A Cat With Wings’, the latest single from last year’s phenomenal debut album, ‘Royal Swan’ (mmm… these guys seem to have something of an avian fixation?!):
Another band who have been making massive waves on the underground scene are Essex boys Palmist, who have unveiled a slightly different new sound for the next stage of their evolution, which sees them straying into NWoCR dabbling in the Eighties vibe of synth-pop, albeit with modern sensibilities on new single ‘Spark’, which has enough of that quality to make it a declarative step forward for the band:
It may not be Halloween for another six months, but that hasn’t stopped John Carpenter-obsessed Liverpool horror rockers Video Nasties releasing a brand new stand-alone single (which will be available as a flexi-disc with the vinyl repress of last year’s sold-out ‘Dominion’ debut album), which most definitely has us ‘Drawing The Shades’ to shield us from the B-movie terrors outside…
We keep with the horror theme for our next offering, which comes from a new project which features members based both here in the ÜK and across the Channel in The Netherlands. Veile are extending ‘The Unwelcome’ with their debut single, which very explores the darker side of the horror genre, and is a suitably unsettling and disturbing debut:
Another change in mood and we’ve opened those curtains to look through the Wyndow, which also happens to be the name of a new psych-pop project put together by singer-songwriters Lavinia Blackwall and Laura J Martin, both of whom have enjoyed successful careers within the indie-folk circuit, but started working together during last year’s first lockdown and are determined to stand on their ‘Two Strong Legs’:
Lavinia Blackwell is also featured on our next offering, which sees her re-united with former Trembling Bells bandmate Alex Neilson for the drummer’s latest project, Alex Rex. If you never thought you’d here references to Ovid and The Shangri-Las in the same song, then you in for an ear-opening experience on the gothic-noir, ghost-rock vibe of the wonderfully titled ‘What’s Shouted In The Dark (The Dark Shouts Back)’:
A touch of necessary punk-rock ‘Violence’ next, courtesy of Kid Kapichi and the hard-hitting latest single to be lifted from their recently released new album, the prophetically-titled ‘This Time Next Year’:
Next up, we’ve a couple of free tickets up for grabs for the ‘Freak Show’, which is brought to us by London nu-metal-tinged alt-rockers Jordan Red, who provide us with another tasty appetiser from their forthcoming debut album, ‘Hands That Built The World’:
We’re not going to keep you guessin’ about our next selection, which comes from Dany Laj And The Looks and their first taster of their forthcoming third album, ‘Ten Easy Pieces’, which is due for released in June:
We had to include this next track just because of its wonderful title: ‘Mother Trucker Dude, That Hurt Like A Buttcheek On A Stick’, which is perhaps the most hardcore song on the just released debut album by London pop-punk/metalcore crossover act Octopus Montage:
We’re going to take a pause here, for a moment of ‘Reflection’, especially on the way we look at ourselves in this crazy-fucked up around us… well, that is the message from Syteria, with this new single so hot off the presses we burned our fingers as we immediately slammed it onto the death decks…
Next up, another new band I discovered through the excellent New Wave Of Classic Rock Facebook group. They’re called Mad Haven, who are proof positive that it is ‘Never Too Late’ to come across great new music, no matter what source from which it may come:
Keeping a very loose NWoCR connection, we have old-school metallers Heavy Sentence, who plough a retro-furrow that lies very much between those of early Maiden and Motörhead respectively, complete with suitably raw production and angry, spitting vocals, combined with twin guitar melodies and hard-edged rhythms which deliver their message with the subtly of a wrecking ball through a plywood wall:
Scottish hard rock veterans Gun surprised fans this past week with the release of a brand new stand-alone single. Well, ‘Whisky And A Prayer’ is not exactly a new song, but it has only previously been available on the Japanese edition of the ‘Favourite Pleasures’ album, and has been issued here in the Über Kingdom to coincide with the announcement of tour dates for later in the year:
Our final selection for this special weekend-long edition of the Club sees us ease out with the cosmically named Saturn Saturn Saturn, which is the new project from former The Mighty Saguaro frontman Ben Capper, and also sees the Liverpudlian singer-songwriter team up with his former bandmate Craig Williams for the first time since the band broke up in 2004. It’s the sort of jangly indie-pop with which the duo made their name first time around, but this time with a much darker underlying vibe more suited to the chaotic modern era:
Well, that’s your lot for the second and final 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 action once again next week, when I’ll once again be in charge of the deathdecks and bringing you some of the hottest new sounds from around this hoary old rock ‘n’ roll Uberverse… Until then, keep ‘er lit, keep ‘er between the hedges and #StayTheFuckSafe!
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