Artists are putting their time during lockdown to good use, and the number of top-quality singles and videos released on a weekly basis is staggering. Here’s a run-through of some singles hot off the press, from passionate and timely heavy modern rock from the South of England to short sharp Californian punk. Groovy licks and powerful tones via two separate bands from Glasgow, an unashamed ’80s throwback from Northern Ireland, ’70s glam given a fresh coat of paint during lockdown, and finally, an emotional performance from one of the most versatile artists in the symphonic metal scene. Just click on the artist’s name in bold and follow the link to their relevant video/social media page.
Around the time that The Wildhearts released ‘Renaissance Men’ (the album of 2019), Ginger Wildheart would often state in the media how surprised he was that given the state of world affairs, it was left to a bunch of fifty-somethings to light the Molotov cocktails in the war against apathy. Where were all the young acts rebelling against the government? With a few more years of the continual shitstorm, more bands are now venting. Enter Amongst Liars from the South of England with their latest slice of vitriolic, powerful, heavy modern rock (with a dash of a hip hop influence on the side). Rage Against The Machine with an English accent? In places, yes, in others, a bit of a Public Enemy feel. Regardless of whatever vibe you pick up on, new single ‘Black Days’ is pretty damn vital. And prepare to get angry watching the retina-blitzing video that accompanies it.
California Punks The Authorities are back with their first new material from their new line up in the shape of a two-track EP which features ‘Talk To Me’ and ‘Just An Excuse’. Starting like a gnarly cover version of Beastie Boys ‘Sabotage’, ‘Talk To Me’ is a fast-paced rager that Tarantino could have played over the ‘Crazy 88’s’ fight scene in Kill Bill and the guys in The Authorities would still be coining in the royalties today. ‘Just An Excuse’ is more of the same, but with some really cool tones running through the background of the song. Two short, sharp slaps to the face, California style.
Glasgow groove-merchants Salt River Shakedown return with their funky new jam ‘Honey’ and give their followers the perfect excuse to break out some shitty dance moves in appreciation. Big-ass bass grooves, some really cool guitar licks (and a sweet guitar solo), subtle keyboard fills, and soaring vocals throughout all make for a track that the phrase “earworm” was invented for. Cool spacey video as well, give the drummer a raise…
With the addition of Paul Manzi on lead vocals, original Sweet guitarist Andy Scott was able to breathe new life into the British glam legends. 2019’s Winter tour was a great success, not only numbers-wise but how well the new line-up performed together, and the band spent lockdowns between September and October 2020 recording new album ‘Isolation Boulevard’, a reworking of Sweet’s 1975 multi-million selling album ‘Desolation Boulevard’. The new single, a re-recorded version of ‘Set Me Free’, is a timely reminder of how potent a force that Sweet were in the heydays of the glam-era. Played at a throbbing, uptempo pace, ‘Set Me Free’ features the trademark vocal harmonies that Sweet are famous for, and with bass, drums, and guitars all locking together in perfect harmony the end result sizzles. Catch them on tour in December, hopefully…
The Norn Iron eight-legged beastie known as Trucker Diablo are back with their feel-good new single ‘Rock Kids Of The 80s’, the sound of the factory hooter sounding at 5pm on a Friday night, queuing up to get your wage packet and then working out how much you could spend at the pub before handing over your dig money. An unashamed tribute to the ’80s, complete with shoutouts to Rick Springfield, Billy Idol, Neil Young, Motley Crue, etc played at a Bryan Adams ‘Summer of ‘69’ pace. Great fun for a Friday night reminiscing, look out for new album ‘Tail End of a Hurricane’, released May 2021.
Scottish duo VELVETBOMB (all caps for a reason, dude) regularly come up with urgent, herculean, louder-than-shit music that will blow your eardrums out, and then you’ll find yourself thanking them for the pain. Drums and guitar, that’s it. No faffing around. New single ‘Devil Inside’ is arguably their strongest release to date. The dark vibe featured throughout the track comes with big, full-on riffs, great solos, totally gonzo drumming, and killer vocals that ooze authenticity. This one will crush when live gigs return, prepare to be blown away as these guys don’t do half-measures.
With the exception of those close to the band themselves, no-one could have foreseen the recent splintering of Dutch symphonic metal band Delain. Singer/songwriter and chief lyricist Charlotte Wessels set up her own Patreon page last year as an outlet for solo material that might have fallen outside the realms of Delain, and through this platform, she has been able to create a safe haven where she could retreat to after announcing her departure from the band.
As well as being part of a community, patrons are treated to a new solo song each month, with snippets teased by Wessels on her social media accounts. Feeling that one of these songs, ‘Soft Revolution’, was something special, Wessels has released the track to YouTube for all non-patrons to get a peek behind the Patreon-curtains. Written, performed, and produced by Charlotte at her own Six Feet Under Studio, ‘Soft Revolution’ is an emotional tour-de-force from one of the most versatile vocalists within the genre today. Delain-like in places, the main instrument on show during the six-minutes is Wessels’ goosebump-inducing voice and the end result is simply gorgeous.