We’re currently counting down the best tracks of the year, right until the point we blearily start thinking about next year’s list. One rule: only one track is featured per artist. Today, we explore numbers 60-51.
60: FM – _Digging Up The Dirt _
There’s a sniff of funk as FM roll around a sumptuous AOR song. When they’re as good as here, nobody does this sort of thing better. Think Billy Squier’s The Stroke, but slightly smoother.
59: City & Colour – Wasted Love
City & Colour (aka Canadian singer-songwriter Dallas Green) returned with Rival Sons-infused fire in his belly for this gorgeous newbie – a soulful, sophisticated high point on new album If I Should Go Before You.
58: Backyard Babies – Th1rt3en or Nothing
After years of um-ing, ah-ing and ‘sure-we’ll-make-a-new-album!’-ing, Dregen and co actually did release a new album, spearheaded by this hooky piece of punk rock’n’roll.
57: The London Souls – When I’m With You
Beautifully sunny and Beatles-y, but still biting, the New York duo’s When I’m With You offers pretty, bittersweet escapism.
56:** Banditos** – Still Sober (After All These Beers)
One of the strongest in a healthy crop of younger, countrified rock’n’roll gangs circa 2016. Still Sober… combines Little Feat-rivalling soul with jangly good-time panache, in one boot-stomping blast.
55: Graveyard – The Apple And The Tree
Sweden’s retro rock stalwarts maintained a firmly early-70s-facing gaze with this smoky, gravelly tune; fresh from super-stylish new album Innocence And Decadence.
54. Steve Hackett – Black Thunder
A folksy introduction grows into head-nodding riffage – which then swerves through haunting strings, choral layers and commanding solos. A progressive highpoint from the Genesis guitarist’s album Wolflight (yes the one with actual wolves on the cover).
53: King King – Hurricane
The upbeat star of the British blues-rockers’ latest LP, Reaching For The Light – in which they embraced their classic rock side to better effect than ever.
52: Royal Thunder - Time Machine
Visceral, vital triumph from the Georgia-based hard rockers. Propelled by Mlny Parsonz’s incendiary vocals – with psychedelic touches, beastly guitar and soft moments – it’s a heady, heavy and compelling mix.
50: Hollywood Vampires – _Whole Lotta Love _
Alice Cooper, Johnny Depp and Joe Perry unite over a Zeppelin classic. This is given a smoky, sleazy feel, paying due deference to the original, while contorting it through a shady, harmonica-flashing new deal.