Review: Singles Round-up

Another week, another fresh batch of hot new singles ticking all the boxes here at DGM Towers. Here are a few examples of what we have been listening to over the last few days; as usual, click on the artist’s name in bold and follow the link to the YouTube video/social media page.

Italian alt-rock/electro-pop duo Atwood (Alice Grupallo and Daniele Mammola) have been on our radar since their stunning single ‘Ghost’ landed in our inbox this time last year. With a sound that is as equally as likely to find a home with fans of Chvrches and Pale Waves as it with fans of acts such as Paramore, the duo are a perfect example of how modern music doesn’t seem to care about genres. New single ‘Parallel Lines’ highlights the growth within the duo in such a short time, and the larger-than-life soaring hooks – at times melancholic, as well as both light and hopeful – help deliver what is arguably their strongest single to date. Alice Grupallo is rapidly growing into a vocalist and performer of some stature, and like Lauren Mayberry of Chvrches, she is easy to identify with and it’s not that much of a stretch of the imagination to imagine her also becoming a go-to vocalist for EDM and urban producers in need of some ultra-light vocals.

Joe Bonamassa, the hardest working man in show business since James Brown, is back with a brand-new single ‘Notches’. Taken from his upcoming album, due later this year, ‘Notches’ is grittier, and more experimental than last year’s sublime ‘Royal Tea’ album. The edited version featured on the official video is damn good, but the seven-minute version available to stream is sweet manna from heaven. Beginning with an air of mystery thanks to some authentic, organic instrumentation (sitar maybe, the didgeridoo comes later), the song soon springs to life with a gnarly blues-rock explosion propelled forward by the always on-point drum sound of Mr. Anton Fig. The guitar wizardry from Bonamassa is undeniable, his guitar hooks are incredible, and the lengthy solo omitted on the video version can only be described as jaw-dropping, but it’s his vocals that have improved with each passing album, as has his ability to deliver a fantastic piece of narrative-style storytelling, and his words on ‘Notches’ paint quite a vivid picture of a loner travelling down many dusty roads…“I got miles under my wheels. Notches in my walkin’ cane”. Choosing to only watch the video, and skipping the longer version, means that you are losing out on hearing the song the way that Bonamassa intended you to hear it, for this is an “album track” in every sense. Plus, if you don’t stream it, you won’t get to bear witness to the mind-bending mid-song jam…and the didgeridoo.

British modern metal outfit Dead Romantic have been not-so-quietly amassing quite a following through the release of some powerful singles/videos, with both ‘Yesterday’ and ‘Kissed With A Lie’ currently sitting at 1.5+ million YouTube views each. That’s pretty damn impressive for any act, but the fact that it’s a fledgling band yet to release their debut album makes it all the more impressive. New single ‘Fight Me’ looks set to follow on from its predecessors, and create an almighty buzz for the September 3rd release of the aforementioned debut album ‘VOICES’. Dead Romantic have successfully tapped into a market in dire need of some fresh UK blood, and the timing couldn’t be more perfect. With Bring Me The Horizon, in a sense, splitting their fanbase with what is perceived as a more accessible sound, the modern, alternative UK metal scene is on the lookout for some new heroes, and along with VEXED, Dead Romantic might just be those heroes. ‘Fight Me’ is aggressive without being too harsh, easily identifiable lyrics, and a killer video to accompany it. With Kerrang Radio in their corner, it’s only a matter of time for Dead Romantic.

‘I Didn’t Break’ is the first collaboration between neoclassical dark wave artist Gaia Guarda and Canadian Juno nominated singer/songwriter, ex-Cradle Of Filth live member, and co-founder of black metal band Antiqva – Lindsay Schoolcraft. Born out of frustration brought on by the first lockdown, the burning question after playing ‘I Didn’t Break’ on loop for the last few hours would have to be: what took so long? For this is truly spellbinding. Perfect fodder for those that like their music on the dark and gloomy side, but at the same time want to feel euphoric afterward. The first single to be lifted from the C Squared Music sampler: “C² Underground Music Special” (due September 17th), ‘I Didn’t Break’ was previously only available to people that helped Gaia Guarda on a crowdfunding project, and with it being such a strong, powerful piece of art, it was only a matter of time until it was out there in the big, bad world. It’s industrial, gothic, slow-burning, and hella emotional; piano-driven with atmospheric loops added to the mix and haunting vocals from both artists. If ever there were two artists born to collaborate together then it is Guarda and Schoolcraft, and hopefully, this won’t be the only time that they work together.

So, there are no surprises in metal anymore? How about one of the most hotly-tipped young metal bands on the scene today swapping death metal growls for an insanely catchy K-pop-inspired few minutes? Once the notification popped up that the new video from Seven Spires was available, there could not have been one person outside of the band’s inner circle that expected what follows once the play button is pressed. What does follow is 3:31 of sheer undiluted joy where words and visuals meld together in spectacular style on the new single ‘Lightbringer’. At multiple points throughout it is natural to expect the incredible Adrienne Cowan to break into her showstopping growls, but the fact that – with the exception of some guttural growls in the background – she stays within the realms of ‘no harsh vocals’, makes the song such a pleasant surprise. Fans of Avantasia will obviously know about her beautiful clean vocals, but even they should be blown away by the pop sensibilities on display. As for the video? Imagine Ghost hiring Britney Spears as a choreographer and you are almost there. So good, and so catchy – that chorus hangs around for days on end. New album ‘Gods Of Debauchery’ (due September on Frontiers Music) is shaping up to be something rather special.

‘Fire & Gasoline’ is the third single to be lifted from the acclaimed sophomore album from Sons Of Liberty – ‘Aces & Eights’, and it’s also one of the many standout tracks on an album that gets better with each listen. A UK-based act with Southern rock influences, Sons Of Liberty tip the hat to unsung greats of the movement such as Molly Hatchet and Blackfoot. But for all the flashes of an American influence throughout the album, there are also hints of other influences, and ‘Fire & Gasoline’, with its fantastic rhythm guitar tones, and stellar vocals, is steeped by the ankles in the barrel marked “classic AC/DC”. Vocalist Rob Cooksley seizes the chance to sing in a key higher than his usual low, warm, and grizzled tones, and the fella knocks it out of the park. If you are yet to acquaint yourself with Bristol’s finest, then remedy that situation at once. Scorchio.

Award-winning Canadian rock band The Glorious Sons have quickly followed up last week’s release of ‘I Will Destroy The Void In You’ with another new single: the magical, floor-shaking ‘Hold Steady’. Two singles released in quick succession, and two tracks the polar opposite of each other – the former a stark, less-is-more approach, while the latter is a total modern blues-rock riot. Comparisons are often made between The Glorious Sons and their neighbours over the border, The Rival Sons, and with each band helmed by uber-powerful vocalists, it’s easy to see why. As well as both being led by charismatic vocalists, both bands also bring an almighty strutting swagger, and ‘Hold Steady’ struts like the dandiest of dandy peacocks. Maybe it’s the cool bass lines or the groovy percussion in the background, but this one certainly packs a punch, and the vocal hooks…oh my giddy aunt, those are massive. At 2:29 minutes in length, ‘Hold Steady’ does not hang around, and with hooks like those, who needs to overstay their welcome?

In terms of musical direction, UK-based artist Ryan Webb has over the last few years ventured down a heavier route, with the end result being his band relaunching as WEBB. New single ‘Concrete Beds’, for instance, has more in common with the previously released single ‘DON’T!’’ than it has with another of Ryan’s previous output – the Oasis/Madchester vibes of ‘Stop the World’. ‘Concrete Beds’ deals with homelessness and how society has turned its back on a worldwide issue that most of us seem to witness each day, and as you would imagine, the track is as hard-hitting as the subject matter. An almost prog metal-like guitar intro from the man himself heralds in ‘Concrete Beds’ and anyone unfamiliar with Ryan Webb will surely marvel at his guitar prowess and scratch their head as to why their paths have never crossed until now. The track settles down into more of a classic metal vibe, thanks to the chugging, galloping vibe of the guitars, and the killer drum sound which is pushed to the front throughout, but the gruff vocals from Webb also play their part, especially the machine-gun-like, almost spoken-word segment on two minutes. This hits the spot on so many fronts. More of the same, please.

 

 

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