Chosen by Monk

The Uber Rock Approved stampDespite the rays of light at the end of the dark tunnel that has been the past 16 months of isolation and generally being shit upon from great heights having been somewhat dimmed in the past week, with the annnouncements that the easing of lockdown restrictions in some parts of the ÜK had been postponed by between two weeks (in Northern Ireland) and a month (in England), the rock ‘n’ roll year that is 2021 has somehow crept, crawled and sneaked closer to its halfway point, with its DMs firmly planted in the mire and muck of the chaos around it. A healthy slew of new music, perhaps more than at any other time in ÜR’s history, continues to ping itself our way, and especially in the continuing tsunami of submissions we receive for our coveted ‘Video Of The Week’ award… Yes, as we’ve said on multiple occasions, one constant throughout the vagaries of inconsistent and often hard to stomach lockdowns is the amazing level of adaptive creativity that bands and video directors the length and breadth of the Überverse have continued to show, often in the most adverse of circumstances.

After viewing all of the entries – and, yes, we did watch each and every one of the more than 150 submissions we received this past week alone – at the end of the day (or night, depending on where you are in the Überverse), there could be only one winner… and this week it comes from the genre-bending The Heartland Collective, the latest project from songwriter Mick Johnson, who pulls on elements of alt-country, gothic noir, industrial sparseness and post-punk to create quite a unique, and enticing, sound.

Following his declarative, garage punk ‘n’ roll-fuelled  debut single, ‘I Just Don’t Know’ – which, perhaps unbelievably, was released at the beginning of 2091 – Johnson has returned with an altogether darker introduction to ‘My Deepest Darkest Friend’. I’ll leave it to the man himself to tell us a bit more about the inspiration behind the song:

“We all need a friend sometimes, no matter how deep and dark they may be. ‘My Deepest Darkest Friend’ is a gothic/post punk opera, in the spirit of Sisters of Mercy, Depeche Mode and Royal Blood. The single is a brutal and beautiful tale about the ever-present battle of good and evil within all of us. The track inspired me to create the character ‘Vex Ryan’, an angelic antihero with one foot in heaven and one foot firmly in hell! The music video hopefully introduces and explores Vex’s complex personality. Vex Ryan will also be the persona that will feature as part of a larger concept for the next couple of singles”.

The accompanying video clip, which combines live action and performance footage with line-drawn animation, perfectly matches the dense, almost cathartic sense which the song evokes as it slowly evolves, blending miens of regret and hope in equal measure, all encapsulated in Johnson’s highly evocative and beautifully crafted lyrics – delivered in part by guest vocalist Mike Stockley – which remind of Nick Cave or Wayne Hussey at their most eloquent.

Well, there you have it. We hope you once again enjoyed our latest selection. Until next week, when we’ll have worked our way through another couple of hundred clips to bring you choice of the best video to have come our way (or maybe we’ll have another tag team – you never know, stranger things have happened in the rock ‘n roll Überverse) keep ‘er lit, stay safe and we’ll catch up with you again, same place, roughly the same time next week \m/

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