Rooney Why (feat. Soko)
Robert Schwartzman (brother of actor Jason, and nephew of Francis Ford Coppola) has been perfecting the art of bittersweet pop-rock with Rooney since 1999. The sweet, surfy Why is the apotheosis of that work. It will both break your heart and make you swoon delightedly.
Deap Vally Smile More
This LA duo are smart as hell on the lyrics front, but never at the expense of straight-ahead rock riffs. What we get here, therefore, is brilliant garage rock’n’roll and incisive 21st-century feminism. If only all cultural messages to young women were this intelligent.
Blue October Coal Makes Diamonds
If Peter Gabriel went a little further on the atmospheric front, he’d sound like this. Spacious, familiar and quietly moving, this pretty number from the alt.rock Texans evokes the best bits of the 80s and mid-90s (when they actually began) without losing their own personality.
Bob Mould Voices In My Head
The high point from the ex-Hüsker Dü man’s latest album, Patch The Sky, Voices In My Head is a searing evocation of internal demons, made all the more effective with Mould’s beautiful melody and a sublime guitar solo. Gorgeous stuff.
The Golden Grass Shadow Traveler
Shadow Traveler is sooo 1970s it could have been from the 70s (which it isn’t), this is a superb, swinging piece of rock’n’roll by an eccentric yet loveable Brooklyn trio with a keen ear for the best psychedelia. It’s a crying shame more people don’t know about them.
Beyonce feat. Jack White Don’t Hurt Yourself
Alright, alright, so Beyonce’s not ‘rock’. But this song – complemented by the alluring tones of Jack White – absolutely is. Heavy, aggressive and laced with primal ‘new blues’, it confirmed that the queen of pop is also a fearsome rock star.
The Chris Robinson Brotherhood Narcissus Soaking Wet
Sticking two hippie fingers up to commercialism and ‘what sells’, the former Black Crowes frontman and his brotherhood created this seductive cocktail of old-school funk, southern rock and Grateful Dead-esque psychedelia.
It’ll make you want to grow your hair and live in a yurt.