SHADES OF GRAY – I Get Up
In a dark world, there are few things that unite us and raise our spirits more than music. Not many people understand this as fully as Myke Gray and the guitar guru/songwriter/producer offers us his new track, ‘I Get Up’, just when we need it the most. The former Skin, Jagged Edge, Red White & Blues and UFO maestro has shaken things up and his constantly fertile imagination has given birth to this fantastically good time rock ‘n’ roll tune that is bound to make you grin from ear to ear.
Accompanied by a hugely enjoyable video in which Gray plays all the band members, the track sees him unleashing his inner Glam Rocker and is like a mash up of the very best of The Sweet and Motley Crue. It’s an utterly irresistible and brilliant bit of hard rock candy.
Whilst the guitarwork is as sparkling as ever, it’s his vocals that really stand out, perfectly suited to the material and a true treat to hear him come to the fore after letting some of the world class singers he’s worked with take the limelight at the mic.
A man who has crafted some of the UK’s best rock songs in the past thirty years, his songwriting is always impeccable and hopefully this project gets the support to give it real legs. The best party in town crammed into three and a half perfect minutes, your invitation awaits.
JUNK FOOD DEATH – Too Late
Something stirs amongst the genteel alleyways and cobbled streets of Cambridge; you can feel it as you walk past the gently flowing Cam or through the archways into the many perfectly manicured lawns of the University quads.
Junk Food Death have arrived and it’s time to run for your life before their utterly addictive heavy indie rock grabs you and drags you down to its lair, never to let you go. Equal parts The Who, Nirvana and Pearl Jam, this their first single since forming a very scant few months ago, will have you hooked, its mix of sixties pop rock sensibilities and grunge being the perfect brew to keep you singing and dancing like a thing possessed.
POWDERHEAD – Smash My Face/Live Powder
There’s definitely something in the water as Cambridgeshire seem to be producing more than their fair share of great rock and metal bands recently. Powderhead make their mark on the scene as they release this double whammy with the ‘Smash My Face’ single and ‘Live Powder’ EP, showing their fire in the recording studio with the more layered track and the straight into the desk four numbers direct from the floor.
The single builds slowly, it’s spiraling guitarwork ramping up the atmosphere before singer Hels brings a rough-edged toughness and the big chorus kicks in. It’s a real juggernaut and the live in the studio ep shows their punkier side, echoing the energy of the first two Iron Maiden albums. Hard rock that motors along and a hugely entertaining live band, Powderhead are seriously good and well worth checking out.
BASETTE – Sunglasses
A little gentler than their usual fare, Bastette have decided to show their more thoughtful side with this release and it’s a cracker. Pastoral guitars and multi-layered vocal interplay bring a rich soundscape that rises to the chorus and then dips again, the track weaving and sighing as it ramps up the passion. Prepare to be swept away.
DERANGE – Zero
With its brutal accompanying video, Derange continue to claim their stake as one of the most exciting bands on the circuit with this new single. Artfully mixing screaming heaviness and soaring melodies (the chorus is absolutely incandescent) singer Cat Pereira leads the band into another twisted tale that must be heard loud. Guitars hack and slice whilst the vocals easily flip between guttural and angelic as we are dragged, helpless but willingly, along. Few bands capture the fury and heart wrenching tenderness as well. Their finest yet.
KOBURG – We Could Be Angels
The lead single from the magnificent ‘Positions of Power’ album, knocks things out of the ballpark. With its dramatic and sinister piano, lush vocals and prowling guitars, this should be blasting out the mainstage of Download. A masterclass in symphonic rock, this will capture you and never let you go.
KAROBELA – Skin & Bone
A total sugar rush of hard indie rock, this is an irresistible head-long charge into a perfect antidote to the long Winter nights. With its driving melody and outright earworm inducing fever, this will make your pulse race and synapses go wild as you leap around uncontrollably when you hear it. Your new favourite band.
THUNDERSTICK – Go Sleep With The Enemy/I Close My Eyes
A genuine NWOBHM legend, few people can have claimed to have played with two of the biggest bands of the era but Barry Graham Purkis, better known as Thunderstick, can with stints with Iron Maiden and Samson under his belt. Always an incredible showman, his musical and visual contribution to Paul Samson’s superb troupe brought them massive attention and a cover of the seminal Sounds weekly.
Forming the titular band in the 1980’s, Thunderstick toured relentlessly and released some superb albums in their six years of existence before splitting in ’86 but reforming thirty years later and haven’t looked back since. This double A side single is the band’s first with new singer Raven Blackwing and has all the excitement of the emerging movement back in those halcyon days when Saxon et al were poised to conquer the Earth but with way better production.
‘Go Sleep…’ is a 100mph punky delight with a rockabilly spirit with enough juice that it could light up a small town and, in a rather delightfully perverse move, the flip side is an acoustic driven, folky power ballad that really highlights Blackwing’s terrific vocals and the song writing skills of the ensemble. Two tracks, two very different sides of the same coin, two reasons to check out the single immediately.
PLANET ROCK ALLSTARS – You’re The Voice
Whilst it’s been out since before Christmas, this absolutely stonking version of the John Farnham classic is the greatest hard rock and metal collaboration since ‘Stars’ by Hear ‘n’ Aid. With all profits going to a fantastic cause it would be worth getting anyway, but the fact that this star studded single absolutely rips the roof off makes it an essential purchase. Part of the fun is spotting the various performers who appear (they’re listed on the sleeve of the cd) and the song itself is the defiant, uniting anthem that captures the zeitgeist in an age where we need to stand up and be heard. Buy it, sing yourself hoarse, punch the air and feel a few feet taller.
Reviews by Paul Monkhouse
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In this two hour special David Randall plays a selection of the GRTR! reviewer choices for ‘Best of 2019′ and announces the results of the popular poll. First broadcast Sunday 22 December 2019.
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