Did we ever think Dolly Parton would find herself amongst our Tracks Of The Week nominations? No, we didn't. Until she announced that she'd be releasing a rock album, that is. Because if we know one thing about Dolly, it's that she doesn't do half-assed. If she says she's gonna rock, she's gonna rock. And so it transpired.
She isn't the only nomination this week, of course. Will one of the other seven candidates see Dolly off? We can but wait, but the choice is yours, and the means is the form at the foot of the page. Go forth and vote.
Last week doom metal's very own They Watch Us From The Moon won the competition, and we expect they're still partying in the streets of Lawrence, Kansas. So congratulations to them. And congratulations to H.E.A.T and Stevie R. Pearce, who didn't win but performed admirably.
Dolly Parton - World On Fire
Once upon a time, Dolly Parton declared that she would never outwardly talk about politics. On the first single to arrive from her star-studded album Rockstar, the country legend fortunately surrenders her previous promise with a headstrong and defiant anthem for turbulent times. “Don’t get me started on politics” she commands to a stomp-clapping rhythm, before the track escalates into a lighter-waving stadium sing-a-long. One vow that Dolly did keep however, was that her new record would be rock-driven; thankfully, World On Fire is one of the best rock tunes we’ve heard in some time.
The Pretenders - Let The Sun Come In
“It’s the life of the artist. You never retire” frontwoman Chrissie Hynde explains of new single Let The Sun Come In, a summery blues rock number dripping in a laid-back attitude; shades on, martini glass to the side. Let The Sun Come In sees the Pretenders go against the grain on society’s approach to ageing; instead of recoiling into the shadows, they take on each day as it comes, standing tall, thinking about “big things”, welcoming the sun as it melts into their pores. As a carefree melody plays out, the line ‘A lovely day, a perfect sky / A fluffy cloud way up high’ sets the scene for their appearance at Hyde Park this summer, as they play in support of Guns N’ Roses.
Nita Strauss - The Golden Trail
With the announcement of second solo album The Call Of The Void, Nita Strauss delivers the scorching taster single The Golden Trail, set with fire-balling guitar riffs that pelt forward against hammering drums in a hellish maelstrom. Accompanying the lauded axe-wielder on this new track is guest vocalist Anders Fridén of In Flames, who roars over the fiery noise in a triumphant thunder. Like any good Strauss track, there’s also a gnarly guitar solo, with this one arriving in the form of a slicing, metalcore breakdown.
Black Moon Mother - Echoes Of The Universe
Slithering and seductive, this piece from Tennessee doom rockers Black Moon Mother is a kaleidoscopic wonder through a dream-like shadowland. Meanwhile, serpentine guitar riffs writhe and pulse, creeping around a rhythm that ebbs and flows like the pushing current of a sea, throbbing in pressure before it eventually crashes into storming waves. Elsewhere, silky vocals dance upon the edge between comfort and intimidation, casting dark spells. Close your eyes, and let this meditative mantra pull you under, deep into its watery depths.
Esben & The Witch - Kaleidoscope
For this sweetly timid song, Esben & The Witch look to a curious concept; the short life of a butterfly, and all the natural wonders that it experiences within that time. “A butterfly doesn’t live for long, a fleeting dream, soaking up the beautiful things”, the post-rock three piece explain. As warm, psychedelic guitars swell into a dreamy haze, lullaby-like vocals echo out, airily describing the process of the winged-creature’s life cycle from leaving its cocoon to flying out into the beyond; ‘Unfolding, these new wings / The creaking of my new skin / How tender, how gentle…’ A track for gazing up into the clouds.
Black Stone Cherry - Nervous
Black Stone Cherry do what Black Stone Cherry do best on new single Nervous; with big swinging riffs, stomping rhythms and anthemic vocals that feel destined to be sung out loud in large open spaces - be it at a stadium, or from someone’s rooftop. Underneath the song’s triumphant sound is an approachable complexity, as frontman Chris Robertson laments in his booming timbre over how he’ll forever stay feeling “fucking nervous”, while declaring to be “not perfect” and “just a person”. Hopeful and determined, it’s a song many of us can relate to.
Wolfmother - Stay A Little Longer
Aussie Zepp-a-likes Wolfmother may have had their thunder stolen by Greta Van Fleet in recent times, but Stay A Little Longer finds the Aussie trio fully prepared to wrestle it back. It's classic rock with a capital C and a capital R, and arrives ahead of a summer schedule that sees the band playing 37 headline shows and festival dates across Europe. Stay A Little Longer is a little less thunderous than their early work, and the video suggests that the band's promotional budget isn't quite what it was, but band leader Andrew Stockdale still knows how to inject a song with real electricity.
Ayron Jones - The Title
Ayron Jones brings the thunder on The Title, the third single to be plucked from upcoming second album Chronicles of the Kid. It's a thrilling track, filled with fire and focus, with a grinding, almost industrial riff, and a chorus that offers light at the tunnel. “For a lot of people, the world is a dark place." says Jones. "It feels like a dark room with no windows, no doors, and no way out. When we’re faced with uncertainty, our instincts tell us to either take flight or stay and fight. The Title is dedicated to those of us who choose to fight."