Anyone go to Maid Of Stone over the weekend? You may have seen our latest Tracks Of The Week winners – power-trio The Cold Stares, who topped the poll with Cross The Line – doing their blues rock thing on the Phoenix stage. The same contest saw southern rockers Robert Jon & The Wreck come a close second, followed by east coasters Caitlin Krisko And The Broadcast in third.
So who will sway the vote this week? We’ve got killer tracks from rock’s big fish and some curveballs alike, all of them worthy, all of them in need of your good opinion to secure the title – we don’t decide who wins, you do.
Check ‘em out, pass judgement, then scroll on down and cast your vote at the foot of this page. But first, how about a spin of last week’s victors…
Skindred - Unstoppable
With an underlying drum gallop, beefcake guitar swagger and Benji’s inimitable partytime battle cry, Unstoppable makes good on its title – totally fierce, free of compromise and always huge fun. Plus the slickly executed Honey! I Shrunk The Kids-style video (with a teeny tiny Skindred dwarfed by radios, toy robots, WarHammer figures and more) is well worth a watch. Like all their best songs, it’s the sort of thing you want to witness live and loud, in a field, with several thousand of your closest friends.
Chris Stapleton - White Horse
One of country music’s most successful and interesting stars, Chris Stapleton feels much more like a rock star on this soaring mix of warm soul and southern gravel. With its on-the-money, stick-in-your-head melody and masterful marriage of hope and bittersweet honesty, it’s easy to see how he’s turned his hand to work with past collaborators from Santana Peter Frampton to Ed Sheeran and Taylor Swift. Music for stadiums and bedrooms alike. He’s got a new album, Higher, out in November.
Grace Potter - Good Time
It’s impossible to listen to this without bobbing your head along or tapping your toes under your desk (we tried, it didn’t work). Think Little Feat’s Dixie Chicken in a diner with Janis Joplin, a mix of Stones and Stax classics on the jukebox. Centred on Potter’s fictional character Lola Nomada Vasquez – “mischievous author of the beloved children’s book series, Lady Vagabond” – Good Time builds into a big old knees-up with Vasquez, Potter and a bunch of blow-up dolls. What’s not to like?
Royal Blood - Pull Me Through
There’s a darkly sweet, sad quality to this compelling gear-change from the bass-crunching Brighton duo. Swirling piano foundations with notes of solo Gaz Coombes and the moodier end of Stereophonics (along with the QOTSA vibes that have long peppered the RB catalogue), it’s a haunting yet hooky tale of a prescient kind – with the video’s protagonist sinking through mental health turmoils into a kind of abyss. There’s a new album, Back To The Water Below, due out in September.
Mikey Ball & The Company - Runnin’
Thick with cigarette smoke, ten-pint stares and dirty, stompalong riffs, this single from these new Brit rockers is sort of like ZZ Top’s La Grange with a heartland makeover. Nothing fancy, but how often do you really want fancy? “Runnin’ was one of the most fun songs to record,” Mikey says. “It’s a song quite literally about escapism, but the inspiration behind it is the romantic, cinematic idea that you find someone, and you just run for the border. Beyond that is the freedom you’ve desired.”
The Gaslight Anthem - History Books (ft Bruce Springsteen)
Brian Fallon has taken their fanhood of The Boss a step further – by writing a duet for the two of them. And a very fine duet it is, too. An eloquent, modern heartland ode to the passage of time, the power of letting go and life’s myriad little scars and storylines. Says Fallon: “When Bruce Springsteen said I should write a duet for us, I think my head exploded. It will never get old to me that one of the greatest songwriters in the world, and the voice of one of my heroes will forever be captured in a song I wrote at a small wooden desk, in October, in New Jersey.”
In This Moment - Purge
A hard rocking, industrial release of lockdown-era demons, Purge finds mastermind Maria Brink mixing her melodic voicebox with select flashes of white-hot metal screaming. It’s brutal, but it’s far more about the grooves, storytelling and atmosphere, complimented by a lavish, cinematic visual spectacle. “The underlying message of the song is to not fall too deeply into the rabbit hole,” Brink says, “everything is about finding balance. I had a lot of emotions building within me when I approached the song for the first time and after years of holding it all in I finally got to let it out!”
Dan Auerbach - Every Chance I Get (I Want You In The Flesh)
He’s been so busy producing other bands lately, not to mention work with The Black Keys, it’s a wonder Dan Auerbach found time to fly his solo flag. But fly it he has. Part Dusty Springfield’s Son Of A Preacher Man, several parts Canned Heat’s On The Road Again, Every Chance I Get (I Want You In The Flesh) oozes its influences in a knowing yet classy way. Dan’s new record, Tell Everybody! (21st Century Juke Joint Blues From Easy Eye Sound), is out next month.