There can't be many competitions where Uriah Heep defeat the mighty Foo Fighters, but that's exactly what happened with last Week's Tracks Of The Week joust, with Mick Box's men taking first place. Heep's Golden Light relegated the Foos' Rescued to the shade and third place, while the jam in the tasty Heep/Foos sandwich was The Damned, whose excellent You're Gonna Realise came in second.
This week, with a bit of luck, we're gonna get messy all over again. Who will win? It's down to you, but only if you vote, using the form at the foot of the page.
Girlschool - Are You Ready?
The Lemmy-approved Girlschool ‘get up to no good’ on the new lead single from WTFortyfive?, their forthcoming album that doubles as an ode to living life loud (and proud), no matter the number of candles on your birthday cake. In a world hell-bent on pushing older women into the shadows, Are You Ready is a raunchy reminder to grab your finest pair of leather pants and haul your ass into the spotlight. Razor-sharp vocals smoked like whisky with a chaser of wicked riffs and we’re ready for the next round.
Saint Agnes - Animal
‘Call me Lucifer, ‘cause I got fangs and fur’, purrs Kitty Austen, while prowling through London with a hell-hound on a leash in the moody accompanying video, before inviting listeners to come and fight her. We’d rather not, personally, as this track is fierce with a capital F; with punishing riffs, teeth-sharp vocals and a sprightly rhythm that feels like it’s been fuelled by potent amphetamines, we’ll leave the fisticuffs for the mosh pits it’ll undoubtedly ignite when it hits the stage.
The Gaslight Anthem - Positive Charge
Racing through open roads, wind in your face, heading forward to better days, The Gaslight Anthem’s first new music in nine years is a high-spirited embrace of all the good things life has to offer. ‘I wanna live’ calls out Brian Fallon, ‘I wanna love you a little longer…I wanna smile like a letter from an old friend’. Fallon explains that the song is about “looking at the things you’ve come through and feeling like you want to go ahead with an open heart toward the future”. Nostalgic, wistful and celebratory, this little mood-booster is just the tune we need to get our week off to a soaring start.
Rival Sons - Guillotine
Jay Buchanan’s wail sears through layers of fuzz like a scorching blaze, while crunching, Jack White-style riffs sizzle from the heat. This new piece from Rival Sons’ upcoming album Darkfighter is a whiplashing ride, as buzzing guitar licks meandre into passages of hazy, psychedelic vocals. For its pre-chorus, acoustic guitars then trickle forward into a delicate melody with the line ‘Am I closer to heaven, or closer to hell, the deeper I go it’s harder to tell’, preparing you for its heady, explosive climax.
Blood Ceremony - Powers Of Darkness
This second single from Blood Ceremony’s new album The Old Ways Remain - due in May - is all lava lamps and bell-bottoms; a peppy frolick of 60s-inspired psychedelia, basking in patchouli incense smoke and a sprinkle of the Devil’s lettuce. As mysterious organs hum in a staccato flutter, its jaunty rhythm calls to mind the acid-laced kookiness of Jefferson Airplane’s White Rabbit. Sadly, while there’s no sign of their trademark flute noodles, we’ll be sure to hear plenty of that when they play London’s Desertfest next month.
Khemmis - In The Pines
Another outing for the old Lead Belly classic manifests itself as a Nick Cave meets folksy doom hybrid, as brooding, chasm-deep vocals languish over a lost love to a soft backing of timid guitar strokes. Elsewhere, gorgeous guitar licks melt through the cracks, making you ache down to your bones, before the track blooms into a pounding crescendo. Sit with this one for a while; and you’ll be transported to the vastness of an ancient woodland “where the sun never shines”, as old trees cast over ominous shadows, as if somehow, you’re suddenly no longer alone. Beautiful stuff.
The Bites - Knockin' On The Door
The Bites aren't doing anything new or big or clever, but it doesn't matter. For they're unapologetically old-school, straight outta Hollywood with high jinks on their collective mind, armed only with a riff and a chorus and a determination rock in the way that bands used to rock when it was permissible to do so. “Putting together the music video was just the epitome of what we do best," says frontman Jordan Tyler. "Gettin' all of our friends together and having a good time. No one was in charge, no one was barking orders, we were just having fun. Pure rock'n'roll - ya can’t beat it.”
Chris Shiflett - Dead And Gone
Foo fighting fellow Chris Shiflett conjures up another chunk of feisty Americana, as Dead And Gone begins with the kind of swampy guitar lick John Fogerty used to conjure from thin air, then swaggers gracefully into Georgia Satellites territory. It sounds like a proper roadhouse anthem, with a shit-kickin', blue collar, too-many-bears-on-a-Friday-night kinda vibe. It comes from upcoming album Lost At Sea, which was recorded with the Cadillac 3's Jaren Johnston, a man who knows exactly what it takes to make this kind of thing to work.