This week’s competition is almost underway, but before we start today’s search for greatness we should pause for a moment to celebrate those who triumphed in last week’s tournament. In reverse order…
3. The Cruel Knives - Kill The Messenger (20.83% of the overall vote)
2. The Struts - One Night Only (27.52%)
1. LA Guns - Speed (37.43%)
Who will win this week? We don’t know, because no one’s voted yet. But you can change that by doing so at the foot of the page. But first, here’s last week’s winners all over again.
Black Star Riders - Cold War Love
A somewhat mournful introduction leads to a delightfully exultant chorus from the former Thin Lizzy men. Like being at a wake that turns into boozy, arms-around-your-mates celebration, but in musical form.
The White Buffalo - The Heart And Soul Of The Night
There’s also a touch of Thin Lizzy about the latest from the hirsute troubadour, which conjures up images of young lust and hot summer nights and long, lazy weekends. There’s something about The Buff (Jake Smith to his friends) that suggests he’d be a good man to have on your side during a street brawl.
Lukas Nelson & Promises Of The Real - Find Yourself
Lukas “Son of Willie” Nelson springs from the traps with a smouldering, southern-fried slice of country blues with an icing of tasty gospel. It’s a duet with the magnificent Lada Gaga, and the big name connections don’t end there: for the last couple of years Lukas and his troupe of merry pranksters have been Neil Young’s backing band.
Milk Teeth - Prism
Grunge pop scamps Milk Teeth are back with another track from their Be Nice EP. It sounds like every band you ever loved if you loved Pixies and Veruca Salt and Nirvana and no others, and the video features the band vomiting up what looks like brightly coloured emulsion. Kids these days, etc.
Cats In Space - Mad Hatter’s Tea Party
We can’t fight this feline anymore. We’d pretend we came up with that line ourselves, but it’s taken from the press release, which also tells us that Cats And Space have been “channelling the finest riffs and melodies in musical history”. Well, that might be stretching things a little, but there’s no doubt Mad Hatter’s Tea Party is a glistening, gleaming shard of shiny AOR, featuring more melody than a monsoon bucket full of mockingbirds.
The Darkness - All The Pretty Girls
“Why should anybody care?” asks Justin Hawkins. “Because if you don’t, we’re fucked!”. If only all musicians were as honest as Lowestoft’s main dandy. All The Pretty Girls might not possess the same ludicrous in-your-face ferocity as 2015’s Barbarians, but it thunders along on a riff Angus Young would be proud of and features a chorus that’s bigger than a cow. Some great screaming, too.
Gov’t Mule - Sarah, Surrender
Well, this is nice. Warren Haynes and Co. with a track that’s so smooth its legs must surely have been waxed on the way to the studio. Think yacht rock, think Loggins and Messina, think long days at the poolside drinking pina coladas and wishing your speedos weren’t quite so small. The guitar solo is delicious.
Roger Waters - Wait For Her
Roger Waters remains the musician least likely to record a version of If You’re Happy And You Know It, Clap Your Hands, and Wait For Her finds the former Floydian in typically sombre form. It’s an unsettling but ultimately rewarding track that’s the first cousin of Nobody’s Home from The Wall, and Waters still sings it like he means it. Which isn’t bad for a man who’s been making albums about greed and suffering for more than four decades.