The biggest surprise about last week's Tracks Of The Week competition isn't that Greta Van Fleet triumphed – they're a band with a vast fanbase, after all – but that Nita Strauss didn't, because she usually does.
So well dome to the GVFs, as no one calls them, and well done as well to Glorious Sons and Big Red Fire Truck, who finished second and third, thus highlighting both Canada and Australia's contributions to the thriving Commonwealth of Rock.
And now it's on with the next episode of show. Eight songs, eight possible winners, eight reasons to vote. Enjoy!
The Hives - Countdown To Shutdown
Frontman Howlin’ Pelle had this to say about the Hives’ new single: “The countdown to the financial collapse? The countdown to the weekend bender you’ve been waiting for? The countdown to your favourite sports competition? The Hives have you covered with Countdown To Shutdown. A versatile banger for all your summer rock needs.” Built on an addictive, insistent hook that’s part garage rock and several parts punkoid disco freakout, Countdown To Shutdown drives straight into your chest like a sugared up pneumatic drill. And who doesn’t want that? If Hives gems like Tick Tick Boom and Walk Idiot Walk have been kicking around in your head since the mid-00s, you’ll love this.
Zach Person - Wild
Hot from the musical oven of Austin, TX, singer/guitarist Zach makes a welcome return to our turntables and/or laptops. Wild finds him teaming a funky wah-infused verse stomp with a commanding fuzz-blues chorus – mixing the classic blues he cut his teeth on with Wolfmother-esque fire and a cool streak of Lenny Kravitz. Blues rock with grit and soul, in other words.
Massive Hassle - Lane
Bearded brethren Bill and Marty Fisher have graced Classic Rock’s pages with white-cloaked, psychedelic crusaders Church Of The Cosmic Skull. Now they land in Tracks Of The Week territory with their new project Massive Hassle. Doomier and freakier than COTCS, first single Lane is a dreamy mix of the Fishers’ musical DNA – we can hear blues, rock, doom metal, soft rootsy touches… – and all of it recorded live, building to a dense, heavy climax. And for all the ideas juggled between just two of them, it doesn’t sound like…well, a ‘massive hassle’ at all.
Starbenders - We’re Not OK
A haunting, sumptuous spiral of goth, glam and droney rock colours, We’re Not OK finds the Atlanta foursome reaching through darkness towards bright daylight – evoking the trials of a testing few years in the process. “Sometimes I feel like a poser when I try to tap into faith,” singer Kimi Shelter says. “That small voice going, ‘you really don’t believe’, ‘you know it’s not going to be any different’… I brought my mentor and dear friend, James Hall, in to co-write. He was able to bring more light to that feeling of hopelessness that we all feel. What’s important is coming together to be “less not okay” and riding out the storm.” Just one of the stories you’ll find on their new album Take Back The Night, which is out in September.
Queens Of The Stone Age - Carnavoyeur
With the Grim Reaper looming in the Liam Lynch-directed music video, and Josh Homme out the other side of cancer treatment – not to mention battles over custody of his and ex-wife Brody Dalle’s children ongoing – Queens Of The Stone Age’s new single comes with a pretty dark backdrop. Mixing distinct echoes of Bowie swansong Blackstar, with Homme’s light-velvet baritone, rich strings and angular guitars, it’s a 21st century alt rock crooner that grooves, swerves and soars. More QOTSA action to be had on their new album In Times New Roman, which is out now.
Shepherds Reign - Finally
Powerful Polynesian metal from South Auckland, NZ, Shepherds Reign’s new single is the first one they’ve sung in English in years. “Due to the subject, we wanted everyone to fully understand and feel the emotions of this song,” they explain. “[It’s] A love song. A song about losing hope that you would ever find your one true love but then finally find someone that makes you happy.” Guttural yet melodic vocals soar through hard-riffing guitars and modern prog-metal shades, resulting in a return that’s both gnarly and emotional.
Luke Morley - Watch The Sun Go Down
A rather lovely left turn from Thunder riffman Luke Morley, with a gentle strum-along that conjures up a kind of hippie-ish, west coast country vibe, one he steers clear of at the day job. “I think that people have expectations of Thunder and see Thunder as being very much a rock band or hard rock band, call it what you will," says Morley. "So the joy of being able to make a solo album is that I can go anywhere I want musically." So we're very much looking forward to next week's polka/UK drill mash-up.
Dolly Parton feat. Rob Halford - Bygones
While not quite as epic as earlier single World On Fire, this second foray into Dolly Parton's upcoming, hugely anticipated rock album finds the Country Queen duetting with the Metal God, and we're delighted to report that this unholy combination works very well indeed. With Nikki Sixx and John 5 bolstering the instrumentation and a lyric that suggests Halford and Parton's relationship has seen better days, it's a paean to lost love and betrayal. "I'm sorry, so sorry," Dolly sings. "How long must you punish me? Why can't we just move on?" Indeed.