Another week, another fresh batch of new singles ready for you to devour. Ryan Hamilton continues to thrill on his ‘1221’ project, an industrial metal icon takes on a Rolling Stones classic, one of the most explosive guitar-slingers on the UK blues-rock circuit teases what to expect from his forthcoming album, an East Midlands-based power-trio continues to show fantastic growth, and then there is an incredible collaboration between The Picturebooks and Lzzy Hale. Click on the artist’s name in bold and follow the link to the relevant YouTube video/social media link.
A new month can only mean one thing: a new track from one of the ‘Best Lesser-Known Artists of the Last 35 Years’ – Mr. Ryan Hamilton. The fifth in Hamilton’s ‘1221’ project (one new track released each month during 2021), ‘Babies’ was gifted to Hamilton by ” fellow Texas-based artist and all-round great guy, Bob Schneider”, and is further proof, if required, that when Hamilton turns his hand to Americana, he is extremely hard to beat. He’s like the reigning champion of Rock ‘Em Sock ‘Em, he’s Blue Bomber, and no one can knock his block off. Maybe it’s his warm, soothing vocal style that makes Hamilton perfect for the Americana genre? Or maybe it’s the aura of pain, and subsequent survival, that bleeds from Hamilton’s music that makes it work so well? No one loves a survivor more than Americana/Country music, and Hamilton is the survivor that everyone can identify with. Press play on ‘Babies’ and do a double-check on the opening line “Little babies in bathrooms getting high…”, let the music on offer whisk you away to somewhere warm and comforting, marvel at the delicious tones that Hamilton coaxes out of his guitar and uber-producer Dave Draper makes sound larger-than-life. But ultimately, above all, be prepared to smile. Total sidebar – when Jeff Lynne reconvenes the Wilburys, Ryan Hamilton will get his Wilbury wings, yeah?
Get notification of Pain covering a genuine, iconic, Rolling Stones track, and approach with trepidation. Press play and think out loud “please, don’t be shit…”. The shimmering, trippy-as-fuck intro is still there, so it’s looking good. The industrial elements of Pain’s sound kick in and the volume slider is moved all the way to the right in a universal sign of approval. With Peter Tägtgren at the helm of everything Pain-related, this is him taking a track which for many Hollywood studios was the go-to track for a Vietnam war movie (along with anything by CCR) and given it a fresh, gritty upgrade perfect for the state of the world some 48 years after the US withdrew from Vietnam. The trademark Tägtgren melodies and hooks are all present and correct (the backing vocals are particularly immense), as are the skull-crushing industrial metal rhythms, the layers of razor-sharp riffage, and the always-effective synths which replace Keith Richards solo mid-song to great effect. And just how prophetic and timely are the lyrics? Especially… “Ooh, see the fire is sweepin’/Our streets today/Burns like a red coal carpet/Mad bull lost its way”.
Thirty-one years ago Rolling Stone magazine described Aerosmith’s ‘Pump’ album as “…a greasy masterpiece of sexual innuendo and hellacious guitar…”. Sexual innuendo and Steven Tyler go hand-in-hand, (Sugababes and Girls Aloud covering a song for Comic Relief, about a high school kid losing his virginity? That could only be a Steven Tyler composition) but it’s that line about “hellacious guitar” that sticks out the most. It takes skills to make a guitar sound “hellacious”, which according to the dictionary means “exceptionally powerful or violent: remarkably good” – enter stage right Troy Redfern and his smokin’ hot new single ‘Waiting for Your Love’, which is chock-full of “hellacious guitar”. A song with a real swing about it, complete with lashings of bodacious slide guitar, a killer drum sound, and raw, gritty vocals that ooze authenticity, ‘Waiting for Your Love’ is what would have happened had Billy Gibbons ever jammed with Marc Bolan on a John Lee Hooker cover. Lifted from Redfern’s forthcoming album ‘…The Fire Cosmic!’ (released August 6th), this one simply sizzles, and a must for any self-respecting fan of slide guitar. ‘Waiting for Your Love’ is available 21st May, pre-order/pre-save information, here.
Plus-points from the worldwide lockdown are few and far between; nature partially healing thanks to the lack of cars/planes etc would be one, the number of collaborations between artists another. Come to think of it, those might actually be the only plus-points to come out of the lockdown? Anyway, the most recent of these collaborations would be the match-up of German duo The Picturebooks with Mz. Hyde herself – Lzzy Hale. A pairing that perhaps no one could have predicted, and one that sets the bar very high indeed for all future collaborations. Fynn Grabke, and Philipp Mirtschink, AKA The Picturebooks are one of the most entertaining, explosive live acts that you can witness today (well, not today-today, live gigs being a distant memory and all that shit), the wall of noise that the duo creates is a joy to behold, and now with Lzzy Hale on board, they might just get the recognition that they so richly deserve. ‘Rebel’ is lifted from the just-announced forthcoming new album from The Picturebooks; ‘The Major Minor Collective’, an album that looks like being one of the most interesting albums to arrive in 2021. A slow-burning beauty of a track that features the insane talent of Grabke and Mirtschink (a duo that sounds like a quartet) and the immovable object known as Lzzy Hale. The perfect example of allowing a song to grow at its own pace and never forcing it, ‘Rebel’ combines what you might class as the trademark Philipp Mirtschink drum sound with a towering vocal performance from Lzzy Hale (that scream she holds on the four-minute mark – wow!), and some killer guitar playing from Fynn Grabke. Sheer unadulterated magic.
After the success of their recently released EP ‘Intra’, the Leicester-based power trio known as SKAM are back with the first music released from the upcoming second part – ‘Venous’ (think about it, take your time, it took us a few weeks before the penny dropped). ‘Circles’ continues where ‘On The Run’ left off in bringing ‘Intra’ to a fine end a few months back; it’s a power-packed slice of muscular rock, with enough big-ass riffs and meaty rhythms to sink a bleeding ship. ‘Intra’ was quite a dark EP (songs about serial killers will have that effect) and the first reflection on ‘Venous’ is that although it still has one eye on the darker side when it comes to subject matter (‘Circles’ deals with life in lockdown), it’s shaping up to be a full-pelt, foot-down rocker. ‘Circles’ is propelled forward by the nailed-on (as always) drum work of Neal Hill, a sticksman of considerable quality and someone who is fast becoming one of the most reliable young drummers around today. Alongside him is sibling Steve Hill guitar/vocals and bassist Matt Gilmore, together a trio with many, many miles under their belts traversing the UK motorway networks to get to the next gig. SKAM shows fantastic growth with each release; the playing gets better and better, the songs move up a few more places in the league table, and the production qualities improve as the band gets more confident in their abilities. Confident, not cocky, two different things, and usually it’s the cocky ones that are found out. SKAM deserves every success that ‘Intra’ and ‘Venous’ will bring them.