If next generation guitar hero Zach Person lives to be 600 years old, it's unlikely he'll ever repeat his feat of the last seven days, when he defeated the Official Queen Of Country Music, Dolly Parton, in our Tracks Of The Week shootout. A plaque should be erected on this very spot.
The Jolene hitmaker was actually relegated to third place in last week's battle, with Thunder man Luke Morley also defeating the Dollywood Damsel, and only losing out to Zach by the narrowest of margins. So well done to him too.
And now it's on with the next episode of show. Eight songs, eight possible winners, eight reasons to vote. Enjoy!
Ayron Jones - Living For The Fall
Jones’s new album Chronicles Of The Kid has just come out. There’s also a new single from said album; Living For The Fall isn’t it, but it should be. Chronicles Of The Kid is full of excellent stuff but this was the one that really floored us. A huge, gut-wrenching yet masterfully controlled ballad – with guitar solos that go straight for the heart (think Satriani at his most emotive) – Living For The Fall has the intimacy of Black Hole Sun-era Soundgarden and the sort of epic tone and immediacy that any number of classic rock big fish would be proud to call their own.
Hard Buds - Fire
So audibly in thrall of AC/DC they give Airbourne a run for their money in the fanboy stakes, Spain-based rockers Hard Buds bring precisely nothing new – and everything that’s old, comforting and fun – about rock’n’roll to the table with Fire. The hard rock equivalent of a good, un-fancy bacon sandwich: unlikely to change lives, but tasty enough to make everything seem right with the world, if only for a few minutes. If you don’t crack at least a bit of a smile at this one, you’re probably on the wrong website.
Doro - Time For Justice
Still metal’s designated queen after forty years in the business, Doro the dynamo from Düsseldorf is on fearsome form, raging into battle like something from a Xena Warrior Princess-meets-Mad Max cheese dream in this new single and music video fiesta. Flanked by an ultra-tight band and shitloads of flamethrowers, she's not someone you'd want to mess with. She has a new album, Conqueress - Forever Strong And Proud, out in October.
Fred Abbott & The Wild Unknown - Nothing Left
Formerly of 00s indie Brit stars Noah & The Whale, Fred Abbott makes more like Tom Petty – all warm americana with a deceptively sweet melody that sneaks up on you – on this new single with The Wild Unknown. You could imagine Tracy Chapman singing over the picked electric guitar, but instead Dave Burn's loose, sunny vocals give it a gauziness that’s part 80s heartland dreamscape, part alt.country sunset. Gorgeous.
Haunt The Woods - Gold
Landing somewhere dreamy and interesting between Jeff Buckley, The Pineapple Thief and wide-open skies (not unlike the ones in this music video), British alt rockers Haunt The Woods marry elements of folk, pop and contemporary prog in this warm, stirring and ever so slightly strange new single. "From time dilation to relativity, Gold’s lyrics explore the potential non-linear nature of time and the human experience,” the band say. “With soaring vocals, beautiful soundscapes and eerie melody to set the scene."
The Record Company - Talk To Me
When the Grammy-nominated, LA-based trio were dropped from their previous label just before Christmas, they did what most bands find themselves doing at some point: they returned to their roots, those vital sparks that made them decide to start a band in the first place. In The Record Company’s case it was raw rhythm n’ blues, which they marry on Talk To Me with a light, quietly moody Motown-y atmosphere. DIY and classy with it.
Classless Act ft DMC of Run DMC - Storm Before The Calm
Hip hop legend Darryl 'DMC' McDaniels (from the Aerosmith-resuscitating Run DMC) revisits the rock/rap crossover precinct with a contribution to Classless Act's epic new single, Storm Before The Calm. The collaboration was premiered at the SoFo Stadium in Los Angeles last summer as the band opened up Mötley Leppard's California show, and the studio version more than lives up to whatever excitement must surely have been generated on the night. "It was a beautiful collaboration that shows the powerful potential of music," says DMC. "Like when Steven Tyler took the mic stand in Walk This Way and knocked down the wall that separated us."
Public Image Ltd. - Car Chase
Good ol' Johnny Rotten has always been a sucker for a disco workout, whether it's the stiff, spartan rhythms of early PiL or his era-defining 90s work with Britbeat enthusiasts Leftfield. And here he is again, with a song about a patient who "cleverly breaks out of the mental institution every night, unbeknownst to his owners," set to a flat four drum pattern, with a lolloping bass breathing life into what might otherwise be a rather stilted affair. Throw in some cheesy keyboards and you're left with a song that's as weirdly uplifting as it is peculiar. Lovely stuff.