Classic Rock's Tracks of the Week

Eight new meaty morsels from rock’n’roll’s cold platter

Iron Maiden - Speed Of Light Speed Of Light starts out like a series of hard rock in-jokes: an opening salvo that sounds like a tribute to Deep Purple, a riff that could have been written by UFO, and a cowbell ripped straight from (Don’t Fear) The Reaper. It’s backed by an awesome video in which Eddie makes his way through the entire history of arcade gaming, and features the lyric “shooting plasma from my grave.” All in all, glorious stuff.

The Bohicas - The Making Of Their album’s out next week, but if you can’t wait, why not check out the title track? The Bohicas come from the Essex-London borders and make rather good pop-pumped rock’n’roll – like this, which comes with lilting, sunny harmonies. As youths (younger youths than they currently are, that is…) they ripped off The Strokes and The Beatles. Now they’ve got their own arsenal of goodies. Happy days.

Chris Cornell - Nearly Forgot My Broken Heart The opening track from Cornell’s forthcoming Higher Truth album, which is apparently influenced by “Nick Drake, Daniel Johnston and White Album-era Beatles,” Nearly Forgot My Broken Heart sounds like Superunknown-era Soundgarden played by Led Zep II-era Led Zeppelin after a long night listening to psychedelic power pop. Terrific stuff.

The Midnight Barbers - Damascus Chelmsford’s coolest, and most gravelly, have hit the jackpot with this shot of mad ol’ preacher man fuzz. It’s almost like hearing an angry, gothic Libertines, with touches of The White Stripes in the song’s bluesy elements. We just hope the puppy (at the end of the video) doesn’t get sacrificed or anything…

Deep Purple - Perfect Strangers It’s weird to think that the gap between Deep Purple splitting up in 1976 and reforming in 1984 was only eight years, and yet more than 30 years have passed since the epic Perfect Strangers heralded that come-back. And now a version of that song — taken from the band’s forthcoming live DVD — has been made available, and it sounds as fresh and as valiant as it did back then.

Agent - Death In The Afternoon Like so many Kiwi bands before, Agent have relocated from the Godzone to try their luck in London, and current single Death In The Afternoon suggests the long trip might be worthwhile, with a stomping, jagged riff and an epic chorus the size of Mount Taranaki itself.

Kickin Valentina - Wrong Way Atlanta’s Kickin Valentina describe themselves as “a little bit of sleaze, a little bit of blues, and a whole lot of rock’n’roll attitude,” so you’re know where they’re coming from: greasy riffs, wailing solos, and black-clad biker men who look like they only come out at night, presumably to roam Sunset Strip in search of good times and blow.

Then Thickens - My Amsterdam Chorley’s finest are back with a slow-burning leviathan of a tune that reaches a crunching post-rock peak as early as the 78-second mark, then drifts enticingly in and out of focus in the manner of Mogwai covering The Smashing Pumpkins through a PA that’s been turned up way past 11. Our heads are in the bass bin.

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