Last week’s contest saw two of rock’n’roll’s brightest sparks – Greta Van Fleet and The Struts – go head to head in a nail-biting fight for your hearts and votes. Two great tracks, two sides of the Atlantic, dominating the poll between them. It was a close one but in the end it was Greta who triumphed with the Zeppelin-tastic The Falling Sky.
Meanwhile The Struts finished just behind in second place, with veterans Sweet coming in third. Congratulations to all three of them, and to all our shortlisted artists: we think you’re all ace, but there can only be one winner, and that winner this time is the band of brothers from Frankenmuth, Michigan. Here’s the track in case you missed it…
Now, on with this week’s battle of musical wits, chops and ‘choons. Eight bands, eight songs, eight potential winners… get stuck in!
Dirty Honey - Won’t Take Me Alive
Fresh from their BST set supporting Guns N’ Roses, it’s fitting that Dirty Honey’s new song sounds like it’s about to turn into Welcome To The Jungle. As with much of their music the imprint of GN’R is very much there (along with a hearty serving of Aerosmith-y bravado), but Won’t Take Me Alive is a whole lot funkier, with a rich, dirty tone that keeps them sounding classic – without being tired. “Won’t Take Me Away was an instrumental idea I demoed on bass, drums, and guitar at my home studio,” said guitarist John Notto. “I bought it to the band, we wrote a new chorus, and it was basically finished that quickly. [Producer] Nick [DiDia] rented some vintage amps and really helped me get the raunchy sound and attitude I wanted for the riff.”
Screaming Eagles - Thunder And Lightning
In the year that AC/DC celebrate their 50th anniversary, Northern Ireland’s Screaming Eagles’s latest single feels like an apt addition to our playlists here at Classic Rock. Plus it’s a total scorcher in its own right, propelled by the sort of driving, catchy-as-f**k riffs, Bon Scott vocals and rib-rumbling bass that’ll shoot your heartrate up before you can say ‘Powerage’. Want more? They’ve got a new album, High Class Rock N Roll, out in October. Now we just need someone to stick ‘em on a tour with Airbourne (that would be a fun night…).
The Dust Coda - Come The Night
One of the best songs – maybe the best – from The Dust Coda’s just-released album, Loco Paradise, Come The Night was written last year as a tribute to late Foo Fighters drummer Taylor Hawkins. By turns delicate, spine-tingling and totally monstrous, it gives you all the band’s ingredients in their biggest, brightest forms. Voice, riffs and rhythm, from introspection to full-on raging. If Led Zeppelin’s Ramble On were revisited with Chris Cornell on the mic, it might have sounded like this. Catch them at in-stores up and down the country all this week.
Tilly - Best Breakup Ever
Growing up in a rock-loving family – right above a pub/music venue in Lichfield – Tilly was perhaps destined for musical things. Now 17 and landing in a punchy, poppy place between Pink, Avril Lavigne and latter-day Bring Me The Horizon, she makes an impressively slick, confident first impression with this debut single. “I struggled for a long time with my identity,” she says. “I knew I wasn’t like other kids at my school. Lots of them would look at me and think, ‘She’s weird…’ and that led to me being bullied for a while. It [Best Breakup Ever] is not just about me; it’s about anyone who has had a break up of any kind that feels like the world is ending, but it turns out to be the best thing that could have happened.”
Royal Republic - Trippin’ The Night
Royal Republic always bring something extra to the ‘good-time rock’ table, and this new single is no exception. From the opening caveman ‘huh!’ to the stiletto-stomping beat and marriage of screamed opening verse, melodic chorus, hard rock fuzz and funky guitar strut, it’s deceptively light, and clever in the best way possible – i.e. without rubbing said cleverness in your face. A pop banger in heavy clothing. Shiny, sweet and slightly feral. If you’ve enjoyed The Hives’ resurgence of late, and want some more of the good stuff (plus an acidic twist or two) from Sweden’s other purveyors of ultra-sharp, turbo-party rock’n’roll, look no further.
Black Stone Cherry - Screamin’ At The Sky
“Much like most BSC songs, the music was written first and it set the tempo,” frontman Chris explains, of this pummelling, cathartic blast of fire and feeling – complete with major-key singalong chorus – that opens their next album (also called Screamin’ At The Sky, out in September). “We envisioned standing around a bonfire and just letting go of everything, throwing your problems into the cosmos and letting them be what they are. It starts the album off exactly how we wanted, right off the bat, in your face.” In your face? Mission accomplished.
Tempt - Burn Me Down
Anyone who missed Def Leppard’s recent stadium run will likely find some solace in these rising New Yorkers’ brand new power ballad. To say it borrows lovingly from that mid-80s high watermark is an understatement. With heartfelt vocals, twinkly guitar lines fresh out of Hysteria and big-haired, group-sung choruses, Burn Me Down couldn’t be more 80s if it had a chest-pumping key change…oh no, wait, it does. Not hard to imagine this going down extremely well at Madison Square Garden, when they opened there for Bon Jovi. Find more on their self-titled album, which is out in August.
Saint Agnes - This Is Not The End
It’s always interesting when a band who excel at raw, heavy noise do something stripped back. With the release of their Bloodsuckers album just around the corner, Saint Agnes have done just that on this piano-led, bare-bones ode to singer Kitty A Austen’s late mother. A haunting, vulnerable picture of what being broken feels like. “The song was written and recorded as the very last thing on the album at the eleventh hour,” Austen says. “It’s a tribute to my mother and the depth of my love for her. Then for the video we recorded a live piano version of the song at Rockfield Studios, it was a very vulnerable but special moment for us as a band.”