Fred Abbott & The Wild Unknown's Nothing Left won our Tracks Of The Week contest last week, and we'd like to believe it's at least partly due to the accompanying 360-degree video's revolutionary "ambisonic" audio track. This clever innovation subtly changes the mix of the music depending on where the viewer is looking. Want more bass? Look at the bass player. It's actual rocket science, and you can try it below.
Classless Act's Storm Before The Calm – featuring DMC of Run DMC - finished second, while metal queen Doro completed the podium with Time For Justice. Time to up their video game, wethinks.
And now it's on with the next episode of show. Eight songs, eight possible winners, eight reasons to vote. Enjoy!
The Struts - Too Good At Raising Hell
A sassy, sparkling ode to jaded rock stardom (‘driving myself right into the storm/burning my cash to keep myself warm’, ‘staying at the party when everyone’s left/what a good life I’m living my best/I’m still bored to death’) Too Good At Raising Hell manages to make the vanishing allure of excess sound like an absolute hoot. Complete with the glitter-booted stomp of their early hit Dirty Sexy Money, plus a generous helping of Stones-y debauchery, it’s a zingy appetiser for more Struts action this year.
Sweet - Changes
There are some songs that give you a cosy feeling straight away. Songs that just work, giving you that irresistible sense of being in good hands. Andy Scott and co’s new single is one of these; classic, effortless pop rock with warm, gauzy harmonies, bittersweet chorus shifts and a melody you’ll be singing for the rest of the week (with Scott still in fine voice). Less Ballroom Blitz, more ELO-meets-Ginger Wildheart summer soundtrack, with an autumnal, soul-searching undertone. There’s a new Sweet album, Full Circle, due out later this year. Watch this space…
The Bites - Heather Leather
The young, 80s-mulleted Hollywood gang’s latest earworm (from their debut album Squeeze, which is out later this year) doesn’t so much carry the torch for Poison, Van Halen, Leppard, Crüe etc as brandish it from a great height, and light a whole row of new ones. It’s very, very familiar stuff but they nail it, with en-pointe chops and more gusto than a pack of golden retrievers chasing their favourite sticks – all of it culminating (in the video) with a pillow fight between a bunch of ladies in a boxing ring. Because it’s always 1987 in someone’s head (theirs?).
Lostalone - The Final Call For Forever
Groovy, power-drilled hard rock adrenalin meets the bright-eyed harmonies of Queen and the West End, in this brand new banger from Derby trio Lostalone. Singalong chorus? Check. Headbanger-friendly? Check. Very much the hyperactive blend of heaviness and campery they’ve become known for, in other words. It’s surely only a matter of time before they have their own rocked up musical (possibly mainman Steven Battelle is dreaming it up already…).
Greta Van Fleet - The Falling Sky
They’ve shown us some atmospheric textures lately, but on The Falling Sky Michigan’s classic wunderkinds rock out like 70s kings – like Led Zeppelin fronted by Jon Anderson, draped in velvet, wandering across desert dunes or similar far-out, photogenic setting. “An unwavering warrior carrying on the endless, eternal, and impossible battle for salvation; these were the elements of symbolism associated with this particular track,” explains guitarist Jake Kiszka. “In essence our fate is sealed, alike the stars that fall from the almighty heavens to the earth. This philosophy is carried through in the story of a bluesman, at the crossroads of the universe.”
Mammoth WVH - Take A Bow
A big, driving new one from Wolfgang Van Halen and friends now, as they hit the road for UK and Ireland dates with Def Leppard and Motley Crue. Almost seven minutes long but totally flab-free, Take A Bow is a stirring, catchy mini-epic of a song – all Alter Bridge-nodding hard rock with a spicy, game-raising solo from Wolfgang. “I feel the guitar solo is really special,” he says. “I played the solo on the original Frankenstein guitar and through Dad’s original Marshall head and one of the original cabinets. It’s straight up what he used on the earliest Van Halen records. It makes me happy to capture some of dad’s history on this song forever.”
Ava-Rebekah Rahman and Wolf Hoffmann - The Moldau
In which world renowned violinist Ava-Rebekah Rahman hooks up with Accept guitarist Wolf Hoffman for a version of The Moldau, a symphonic poem by Czech composer Bedřich Smetana. Rahman originally joined forces with Accept on their Symphonic Terror Tour in 2019, and visual evidence of the partnership is finally upon us. Suffice to say, it's the most dramatic piece of music you'll hear this week, with Rahman's strings gently winding their way around Hoffman's guitar before it all dissolves into an undeniably vast chunk of epic symphonic metal, with a melody that's tinged with tragedy and heartbreak.
The Family Rain - Machete Western
With a bonkers AI-generated video – we'll be seeing a lot more of this, we reckon – Machete Western is some sort of psychedelic hybrid of Spacemen Three and Led Zeppelin, but with a baggy rhythm and gurgling aliens and choirs that may or may not be comprised entirely of celestial beings. The only disappointing aspect of this possibly peyote-powered palaver it comes in at just under three minutes, and would clearly benefit from being several hours longer. Perhaps days.