80s glam, vampires and 'Ska-mericana': these are the best new rock songs you need to hear this week

This week's tracks of the week artists for Classic Rock
(Image credit: Press)

It’s time to ring in the new week with Classic Rock’s handpicked selection of rock’s brightest and best new tracks. Last week’s contest saw New York rockers Tempt claim the first prize trophy, with Lichfield entrant Tilly and Northern Ireland’s Screaming Eagles joining them on the podium in second and third place respectively. Applause and congratulations all around. 

This week we have eight fresh candidates from the realms of southern rock, glam rock, blues rock, punk rock, something called ‘ska-mericana’ (just ask Chris Shiflett, a few tracks below…) and more. In short, a whole lotta rock. Naturally we wouldn’t have it any other way.

Catch last week’s winning track in action one more time, then scroll on down, tune in, check out these new guys and vote for your favourite… Enjoy!


Starbenders - Body Talk

A gnarly, snarly rocker with menace and grooves in abundance, fresh off the Atlanta glamsters’ upcoming album Take Back The Night. We’ve commented on Starbenders’ mix of Ghost and 80s megastar flavours before, but this one really nails that whole Tobias Forge-getting-it-on-with-Pat Benatar-and-Cyndi Lauper quality, in one louche yet revved up cocktail. Proof that, in the right hands, catchy music can be extremely cool – and that accessibility doesn’t have to mean lack of mystique.

Brothers Osborne - Sun Ain’t Even Gone Down Yet

Need something to help ease you into the week? John and TJ Osborne have the perfect tonic: this oh-so-laidback swirl of southern rock’n’roll and sweet country heat, all ‘Tennessee skies’ and ‘cold libations’ that roll off the tongue and slip down very easily. Both brothers have had their share of significant personal times (John opening up about his mental health struggles, while TJ publicly came out in 2021 – making him the first openly gay man signed to a major country label) but this song feels like a vehicle for letting go. Three minutes to just be here and be happy.

Ghost Hounds - Last Train To Nowhere

“That’s one of my favourite songs that I've ever written,” guitarist/songwriter Thomas Tull says, of this moody, toe-tapping mix of outlaw feeling and Black Stone Cherry-esque grit. “Lyrically, it’s about a guy who’s reflecting on his life. He's gotten older, and he’s had a varied career, if you want to call it that. He talks about laying bricks and doing all these odd jobs… And he never settled down, never had kids. So, he's thinking about that last train ride, or whatever metaphor you want to use there, and he's starting to think, ‘I'm not sure I'm gonna leave any legacy at all.’ And what does that feel like?” Indeed, what does that feel like?

The Cold Stares - Cross The Line

A thick, fuzzy slice of blues rock swagger now, as the Indiana/Kentucky trio hit the UK for shows – including a headlining spot at the first Maid Of Stone festival this weekend. Imagine what Stevie Ray Vaughan’s Superstition cover might sound like if Kyuss played it, and you’re in the right territory. Cross The Line was recorded in sessions for latest album, Voices, but it’s no second-rate offcut. “When it came time to cut the album down to 13 tracks we pulled Cross The Line to hold it and another track for single release, just because we felt they would work well alone,” singer/guitarist Chris Tapp explains. “It was a great opportunity to explore some different tones on the guitar as well as push ourselves into new territory with Bryce on bass."

Caitlin Krisko and The Broadcast - Operator

The 60s gave us a lot of good things, and a tasty portion of them can be heard in this glossy, insistent earworm from rising rock n’ soul group CK&TB – complete with psychedelic undertones and a call-centre take on ye olde ‘caught-my-man-cheating’ narrative. Raised in New York and now living in North Carolina, frontwoman Caitlin reflects her multi-state trajectory in Operator’s bright, Motown-y combination of sass, pace and polish, dripping with hooky guitar jibes and lead lines. Rock’n’roll with a beehive. Catch them on tour in the UK with Robert John And The Wreck in September.

C.O.F.F.I.N - Give Me A Bite

Vampiric by name (band and song), suitably biting by nature, Aussies C.O.F.F.I.N make a beautifully filthy noise with the proto-punk allure of The Stooges and a lairy dash of pub rock for good measure. A bit Motörhead, but darker and more pirate-y. One *slight* quibble? It could have been a little shorter. This kind of devil-may-care, fuck-you-all punk’n’roll would lend itself brilliantly to a blazing two or three minutes tops – get in, melt our faces, then get out. Still, music to roar at a beer-splattered bar ceiling and lose your keys/wallet/phone/mind to. There’s a full album of the stuff, Australia Stops, out in September.

Robert John And The Wreck - Don’t Look Down

There’s a more-ish looseness to Robert John And The Wreck that comes out in sway-along waves on Don’t Look Down. Produced by Joe Bonamassa and Josh Smith (the latter a lifelong, virtuosic contemporary of Derek Trucks, as well as a key Bonamassa collaborator), it’s the sort of warm, honeyed southern rock that pours out of them like fine wine. Plus the bluesy slide licks are things of beauty. Think Blackberry Smoke on a beach in California, and you’re in the right place.

Chris Shiflett - Damage Control

Some rock songs evolve as expected. Others… well, others turn into ‘ska-mericana’, as was the case with the Foos guitarist’s new, sunshiny solo single. We heard it on his solo tour earlier this year – Shiflett wearing a stetson and a look of pure, irony-free happiness – and our initial fears about potentially ill-advised reggae forays were abated. “I love that the musical inspiration on this one was late-stage Clash, but we wound up layering it with banjos and what-not,” he says. “Definitely takes it somewhere else. Ska-mericana? There’s nothing better than when influences converge taking you places you never expected.”

Polly Glass
Deputy Editor, Classic Rock

Polly is deputy editor at Classic Rock magazine, where she writes and commissions regular pieces and longer reads (including new band coverage), and has interviewed rock's biggest and newest names. She also contributes to Louder, Prog and Metal Hammer and talks about songs on the 20 Minute Club podcast. Elsewhere she's had work published in The Musician, delicious. magazine and others, and written biographies for various album campaigns. In a previous life as a women's magazine junior she interviewed Tracey Emin and Lily James – and wangled Rival Sons into the arts pages. In her spare time she writes fiction and cooks.

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