From Grave Pleasures to Riverside and beyond…
2. Keith Richards - Trouble The Human Riff returns in September with Crosseyed Heart, his first solo album in 23 years, and as the gloriously loose ’n’ bluesy Trouble proves, he’s in laidback mood. Hopefully it’ll galvanise Sir Mick to get his arse back in the studio with the rest of the Stones.
3. Kiss - Don’t Touch My Ascot This was recorded for the new animated film Scooby-Doo! And Kiss: Rock And Roll Mystery and, bafflingly, is sung in barbershop quartet style. Oh, and the ‘ascot’ they’re referring to is a man’s broad silk necktie.
4. Clutch - Your Love Is Incarceration
Take Maryland’s finest for granted at your peril: ten albums in, they remain as vital and unique as ever. This turbo-charged highlight from new record Psychic Warfare is steel-plated urban funk-blues that hits the gut and the head.
5. Ghost - He Is
With their third album, Meliora, the Swedish faux-occultists prove there’s more to them than comedy masks. Here they lay a gospel-pastoral gauze across their retrofied riffery, and the result is unexpectedly fragile and quite lovely.
6. Eagles Of Death Metal - Complexity
It’s the terrible twosome again – that’s Queens Of The Stone Age’s Josh Homme and moustachio’d wingman Jesse Hughes – as cheeky new album Zipper Down erects itself on the horizon. Complexity is all sassy brass, polaroid-shakin’ rhythm and catchy hooks. Not so complex at all
7. Uncle Acid & The Deadbeats- Waiting For Blood Cloaked in Hammer Horror homage and treading that Beatles/Sabbath ley line again, Cambridge culters Uncle Acid prep us for their new album The Night Creeper with shaggy-haired, bong-hitting assurance.
8. Jackaman - Wasted Former St Jude frontwoman Lynne Jackaman finally launches her brand new solo project, featuring guitar playing and co-writing from Quireboys linchpin Guy Griffin. This introductory track from her four-song EP No Halo is slinky and cool. An album follows later in the year.
9. Grave Pleasures - Crying Wolves The Anglo-Finnish goth revivalists formerly known as Beastmilk return with their first material since changing their name. Cue dank atmospherics, funereal guitars and the sort of cemetery croon that makes Glenn Danzig sound like Miley Cyrus. Release the bats!
10. Chelsea Wolfe - Grey Days She’s just talking about the current English summer here. Somehow, Californian Chelsea Wolfe has created inverted seasonal thunderstorms of heady gothic beauty, with a little help from Mike Sullivan from Russian Circles and Swans producer John Congleton.
11. The Fierce & The Dead - Magnet In Your Face Ahead of Bristol’s ArcTanGent math-rock/noise-fest, our fave heavyweight London instrumentalists return with a pronk maelstrom that they themselves describe as “fucking terrifying”.
12. Vardis - Jolly Roger The recently reunited NWOBHM trio return with their first new music in 29 years on the five-song EP 200 M.P.H. Apart from a new drummer, little has changed, and there’s no mistaking Steve Zodiac’s voice or the shameless Glitter-style beat that drives along this swashbuckling ode to piracy.
13. Cherry Grind - Turn N’ Burn Adelaide’s Cherry Grind deliver a raw’n’ready mix of AC/DC rivvum, Ian Gillan squealing and Temple Of The Dog menace. An odd combination, we think you’ll agree, but it works – and how. Their debut album is in the works being produced by fellow Australian and former Rainbow/Ozzy man Bob Daisley.
14. Grand Funk Railroad - Out To Get You Remember when Frank Zappa sat in the producer’s chair for Grand Funk’s 1976 album Good Singin’ Good Playin’? And weren’t the results absolutely ear-inspiring? Zappa even stepped up to the plate to play white-hot lead guitar on this track, briefly transforming the clunking Funkers into the greatest rock band in the universe.
15. Dead Sara - Suicidal One of the best albums to be released so far in 2015, Dead Sara’s Pleasure To Meet You seems to have slipped beneath many a radar (even though it’s got Dave Grohl’s seal of approval). On this track the Los Angeles band – led by leather-lunged Emily Armstrong – come atcha like the Black Crowes fronted by Janis Joplin. Which can only be a very good thing.
16. Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats - S.O.B. Once a sad-faced troubadour with a forgettable line in dreary acoustic ballads, Denver native Rateliff has decked himself out in prison denim, hired what sounds like a Junior E Street Band and recorded this riotious blast of handclaps, foot-stomps and rock’n’roll soul testifying that sounds like Solomon Burke with a rocket up his jacksy. Now that’s what we call a reinvention.
17. Jared James Nichols - Crazy Soon to tour the UK alongside Glenn Hughes, Nichols also has the seal of approval from Lynyrd Skynyrd, whose Gary Rossington, having been blown away by a support slot, invited him back on stage to play on Sweet Home Alabama. Quite a compliment.
18. Riverside - #Addicted Success at the recent Ramblin’ Man Fair confirmed that the past few years have been good for these Polish proggers. With their ninth album, Love Fear And The Time Machine (their ninth in total), which is less cluttered and more melodic than usual and has slightly shorter songs, expect their gradual yet steady rise to continue.
19. The Wynntown Marshals - Dead Sunflowers High-quality Americana from an Edinburgh-based band who lace their sound with subtle, jangling nods to Hüsker Dü, Tom Petty and The Jayhawks. New album The End Of A Golden Age, their third, is quite possibly their best to date.