Our passion for loud music is second only to our obsession with loud bikes. And we like to share. So, at the start of each month, we’re going to round up a choice selection of what we’ve had on repeat for you to enjoy. You can expect a mix of classics, new releases, and the odd wildcard. Turn it on and turn it up.
To combat that feeling of never-ending greyness that was the long month after Christmas, when it feels like you’re not getting paid until forever, we find banging some tracks on and winding up the volume is the best antidote. Here are some of the tunes – new and old - that we’ve had set on loud to blast out the January blues.
CROWS - SLOWLY SEPARATE
To jolt us out of our post-Christmas slump, London based noise-merchants Crows released their first new music in a couple of years. OK, they didn’t do it *just* to liven us up at the start of the year but it doesn’t hurt to think we’re special, right? ‘Slowly Separate’ is a dissonant, noisy thumper about the struggles of living hand-to-mouth in the city and is released ahead of their forthcoming long-player ‘Beware Believers’, due sometime in April.
STEVE MILLER BAND - FLY LIKE AN EAGLE
In the 1970’s everyone wanted to fly like an eagle. As rock’s world domination was taking hold in the post-hippy years, the eagle as a symbol of freedom and libertarianism became a metaphorical staple. This track has variously been described as an ode to social justice, a tale about a euphoric drug experience, or just a song about an eagle. Steve himself was vague on the matter. Whatever it is about, the laid-back vibe and nod to freedom is the perfect antidote to the January grind.
YARD ACT - THE OVERLOAD
Taken from the newly released same-titled full length from Leeds foursome Yard Act, The Overload is a witty, sardonic tale about life in modern Britain. And when the days are dreary and life feels like hard work (looking at you, January) sometimes all you can do is take the piss out of it all with some angular, darkly humorous agit-pop. And we’ve all met a landlord named Fat Andy at one time or another.
RYAN POLLIE - OUT OF IT
Taken from his album ‘Stars’ released at the end of December 2021; ‘Out of It’ is a breezy off-kilter tune with a hint of psychedelia reminiscent of a solo Syd Barret. After a couple of listens, what at first seems like a simple easy-going track reveals some interesting and eccentric multi-instrumental work. It sounds more summer than winter and makes it on to our January playlist as a quirky winter-blues banisher.
FUCKED UP - LAST MAN STANDING
Usually the words ‘cool’ and ‘Canada’ are only used in the same sentence when it relates to *actual* temperature. Except when it comes to Toronto hardcore prog-punk noise makers Fucked Up. We’ve had the newly released “Epics in Minutes” on repeat this month - a collection of early demos and recordings showcasing the band at their early, no-frills best. “Last Man Standing” is a two-minute belter, getting us truly hyped for some fuck-this-pandemic mosh pit action.
SOUL GLO - JUMP!! (OR GET JUMPED!!!)((BY THE FUTURE))
Keeping the hardcore vibe alive, Jump!! (Or Get Jumped!!!)((By The Future)) is the latest release from Philadelphia outfit Soul Glo. Taken from their forthcoming fourth album “Diaspora Problems” due in March this year, this furiously intense and noisy a-side tackles the struggles of trying to get your voice heard before you permanently run out of time. Best served loud.
THE WAVE PICTURES - FLIGHT FROM DESTRUCTION
‘Flight From Destruction’ is the latest track from the Wave Pictures ‘When The Purple Emperor Spreads His Wings’, due for release in May 2022. Each ‘side’ of the double LP is being released at seasonal intervals, with this track coming from the latest ‘winter’ release. This song is a poetic tale of a pirate trapped on his ship alone, hungover, and hungry. As this is how most of us start every January (except maybe not on a ship), we can relate.
BLACK SABBATH - SNOWBLIND
This one is just fucking ace. We picked it because it has ‘snow’ in the title, which is something to do with winter, January etc. OK, really, we just picked it because it is fucking ace.
NEW ORDER - BLUE MONDAY
In celebration of what scientists have worked out is the most miserable day of the year, now jauntily called ‘Blue Monday’, we’ve added New Order’s never-out-of-style epic in some sort of ill-judged attempt at metaphor. Kurt Vonnegut, washing machines, the sound of 80’s New York, Peter Saville’s super-expensive sleeve design and Quincy Jones’ peerless production all combine to give this one true legendary status. You can and shall obey.
PIGS PIGS PIGS PIGS PIGS PIGS PIGS - HOT STUFF
Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs frontman and self-described pound-shop Freddie Mercury Matthew Baty thinks we are Hot Stuff. We believe him. As heavy as a hippo on a Harley, this pulverising monster of a cover has been on constant replay at HQ since the end of last year.
JOHNNY CASH - FOLSOM PRISON BLUES
‘Hello, I’m Johnny Cash’. Recorded in the 50’s at Memphis’ Sun Studios, this timeless classic from The Man in Black is the most up-beat song about going to prison for murder ever recorded. At least that we know of. Interesting fact – this track was recorded without drums. Really – no drums.
CIRCLE - TERMINAL
Purveyors of apocalyptic psyche-doom rock, Finland’s cult rockers Circle go all out on this one. Not ones to take themselves too seriously – check out their ‘Falcon’ side project – they nevertheless sound very serious. ‘Terminal’ features a monster triple-guitar overload yet is still subtle and unstoppably hypnotic. All hail the riff!
TRUCKFIGHTERS - DESERT CRUISER
We love us some stoner fuzz, and Truckfighters serve up some mighty fine stoner fuzz with this early classic. The idea of driving a Mustang through the desert till we run out of fuel is something we are 100% down with as an antidote to our January funk.
THE SMILE - YOU WILL NEVER WORK IN TV AGAIN
After their surprising debut at last year’s Glastonbury streaming event, The Smile quietly released this first single in early Jan. This track from the Radiohead side project, featuring Johnny Greenwood and Thom Yorke from the band, has a much more post-punk feel to it than their regular day-job acerbic stadium anthems. Solid and powerful, it’s good to hear these guys enjoying themselves making some noise.
ALL THEM WITCHES - ELK.BLOOD.HEART
All Them Witches are a solid HQ favourite. ‘Elk.Blood.Heart’ comes from their debut LP ‘Our Mother Electricity’. Their sound is a heady mix of blues, psychedelia and doom rock musical influences underpinning angst driven tales of death, misery and foreboding in a nod to classic dark folk tales. It’s almost like they exist to turn the feel of early winter into a sound you just can’t get enough of.
THE SILTS - I HEARED IT THROUGH THE GRAPEVINE
This rework of a soul staple by post-punk/new wave legends The Slits is a stone-cold classic. The Slit’s took everything that was good from punk – the fuck-you DIY attitude, the nervous energy – and combined angular punk noise with the reggae and dub sounds of late 1970’s London to cutting effect. This track is the antithesis to the smooth, silky soul sounds of Marvin Gaye’s much-loved classic take. The band and this track were an energetic fuck-you to prevailing attitudes that still holds as much relevance today as it did in 1979.
FONTAINES D.C - JACKIE DOWN THE LINE
This latest from Fontaines D.C. sees them adopting a slightly softer sound, but don’t let that fool you. You can still rely on Grian Chatten to serve up some trademark confessional self-loathing, which he does so in his well-crafted and masterful style on this new track. Who knew a song about someone being a terrible person could be so good?
THE MYSTERINES - DANGEROUS
The Mysterines serve up another energetic slice of their trademark classic sound on ‘Dangerous’, lifted from their forthcoming debut album ‘Reeling’ due in March this year. An ode to all those times in life when you find yourself getting into bad situations, Lia Metcalf and the gang showcase their vital energy and raw power to full effect. We can’t wait to hear more.
PALACE - FADE
Taking it down a notch on the noise front, ‘Fade’ is taken from Palace’s latest collection ‘Shoals’. It’s fair to say that the last two years has taken a heavy toll on music and musicians across the world. On this full-length, the band artfully explore the feelings of anxiety, isolation, loss, and illness experienced over the past two years. Whilst the subject matter might be a little, well, dark, they do it against a polished alt-blues rock soundtrack that recalls better days and times. Very January.
EKULU - BECOMING/NEW LIFE JAM
Ekulu create a blistering, metallic hardcore sound that has to be listened to loud. This opener from ‘Unscrew Your Head’ is hard hitting and relentless. The only way to listen to the pounding drums, grinding bass and savage guitars on this track is at maximum volume.
There’s the fucking door January – don’t let it hit you on the ass on the way out.
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