At the weekend, Taylor Hawkins was celebrated with a tribute show that reminded the world of the wild, emotional thrill that only rock music can provide. Dave Grohl spent the best part of six hours onstage, juggling responsibilities, switching instruments, and leading an extraordinary array of musicians through an evening that must have been utterly exhausting, both physically and mentally.
Today feels like something of a comedown. But it also feels like a great time to pick up again, celebrating musicians and the new music they make.
Last week it was Zach Person who pulled in the most votes – his winning track, Nothing To Lose is below – while Six Years Gone by Ginger & The Sinners (opens in new tab) grabbed second place, closely followed by the Gerry Jablonski Band's Hard Road (opens in new tab). This week, you'll get to choose another winner. And rock will continue to roll.
The Cold Stares - Nothing But The Blues
Still on a roll following last year’s excellent Heavy Shoes album, Indiana/Kentucky’s TCS return with a fresh dose of primal, scorching blues rock, centred on a riff so big and juicy it should feature on a steakhouse menu. Not to mention rich, super-emotive vocals from singer/guitarist Chris Tapp, like those of a man with a mouthful of velvet, smoke and sandpaper. “I was thinking about what it takes to play ‘authentic blues,’” says Tapp of the song’s lyrics, most of which are autobiographical, “which traditionally meant suffering through the horrors of the old south. In my mind, there are so many things that can definitely set you down in the blues in the current world we live in.”
Virginmarys - Devil Keeps Coming
The Virginmarys are better at streamlining pain into riotous, punkoid rock’n’roll than most. This moody, minor-key yet unquestionably banging new single is no exception. The riffy intro blossoms into one of the biggest, oomphiest songs they’ve released in ages. Channelling tastes of their debut (2013’s blinding King Of Conflict), it pops and burns with the brightness, urgency and melancholia of AC/DC reworking The Bends-era Radiohead (not a likely match, we realise, but just trust us…). Catch them on tour across the UK 13-29 October.
All Them Witches - Tiger's Pit
Anyone familiar with ATW’s breed of heavy, woozy psych-blues-rock will expect good things from Tiger’s Pit. I mean, it’s called ‘Tiger’s Pit’ for godssake. As in, a pit of tigers. Or one tiger prowling solo in a pit. Either way, it’s a brilliantly evocative metaphor for this marriage of squelchy acid tones and gigantic, growly grooves that rumble like approaching thunder (or, indeed, an approaching streak of tigers). Alternatively, imagine Pink Floyd on an ayahuasca retreat in the Amazon, and you’re on the right track.
Motorfinger - Crawl
This sounds exactly like you think it will with such a name/title combo. The product of “smashy, crashy, grungy” Norwegian alt metallers Motorfinger, Crawl is built on a central, bass-heavy riff that’s so thick and nasty it can only have come from a particularly dank, gruesome corner of hell… in a really good way. Via a whole bunch of Mother Love Bone, Stone Temple Pilots and Alice In Chains records. A spot on a gnarly horror movie soundtrack must surely beckon.
Snayx - Work
Earlier this year, we saw these Brighton punks opening for rising Essex band Bad Nerves, and had a thoroughly good time. This new single captures a lot of the part-rave, part-serial killer intensity and all-round partytime vibes they generated that night. A heavyweight, ferociously groovy assault of gobby social disenchantment, basslines as thick as tree trunks and facefuls of gold teeth, Work is “about feeling disillusioned with the capitalist mentality of work and education.” If Blur and IDLES had a baby in a punk club, and fed it Panda Pops, it would have been Snayx. Worth catching live if you can.
October Drift - Waltzer
The rising British alt/indie rockers are on stirring, shoegaze-y form on Waltzer, which pairs a forlorn melodic backbone with fuzzy, visceral guitars and an anthemic chorus. Abject despair seldom sounded so ripe for festival singalongs (they opened for Pearl Jam at BST this summer). “I guess it's mainly about the fog of depression,” says frontman Kiran Roy, of the song’s themes. “It’s a kind of focus lens on my lowest and darkest thoughts, as well as a reflection of people I love and care about who have themselves battled with these kinds of things.” They tour the UK and release their new album I Don’t Belong Anywhere in October.
The Hu - Bii Biyelgee
While debut album The Gereg showed The Hu were a force to be reckoned with, follow-up Rumble Of Thunder suggests that the band's momentum isn't in any danger of slowing. Difficult second album? Not a chance. Bii Biyelgee is one of many highlights, and it's as upbeat and gleeful as previous singles Black Thunder (Parts 1 & 2) were fierce. You could imagine The Hu slipping into contrivance and self-parody, but on this evidence they're far more likely to set off on bigger, more challenging adventures. Magnificent.
Suzi Quatro - Bad Moon Rising
Suzi Quatro's version of Creedence Clearwater Revival's classic Bad Moon Rising isn't going to win any awards for originality, but singer and song are such a perfect match it seems churlish to complain. This chapter in Quatro's late-career resurgence comes in the shape of Uncovered, a six-track RP that also features songs made famous by Wilson Pickett, Otis Redding, Carole King, James Brown and Rufus Thomas. "Since I first picked up a bass guitar and started playing and singing in my first band in 1964, many artists helped show the way," says Quatro. "I honour them here with this eclectic choice of songs. Every one of them is here for a reason."