1) In This Land - The Answer
The band’s latest single underscores the way The Answer have taken their nuanced blues rock and infused it with a more folksy sound. The result is refreshing and exuberant. An ode to Irish greats such as Rory Gallagher and Van Morrison, it has a Celtic lilt, but transcends this to become an evocative modern anthem.
2) A Job To Do - Jerry Cantrell
The Alice In Chains man goes solo for this contribution to the film John Wick: Chapter 2. The track has a lot in common with what Cantrell did in 2002 on his well-received solo album Degradation Trip, and there’s an emotional presence that brings to mind early Alice In Chains. Cantrell still has a magic about him.
3) I Wanna Be Your Dog - The Stooges
Even isolated from the visual stimulus of Jim Jarmusch’s long-awaited film Gimme Danger, the 48-year-old I Wanna Be Your Dog retains a primeval, groin-directed potency immune to the passage of time. John Cale’s production is perfect.
4) Don’t Let Up - Night Ranger
On Don’t Let Up, one of the great melodic rock bands of the 80s are at their best on a song that not only recaptures the atmosphere of their glory days but also is far more than a nostalgia trip. The title track of the band’s new album, it has vivacity and passion, with everyone playing a key role.
5) War On Peace - The Jesus And Mary Chain
JAMC are back after 19 years with Damage And Joy, a Youth-produced album that distills perfectly the Reid brothers’ intrinsic magic. War On Peace drips with subterranean reverb, chimes with Velvets atmospherics and concludes in a heart-stopping amphetamine rush of motorik velocity.
6) Witch Hat - My Dynamite
On Witch Hat, My Dynamite couldn’t be more Black Crowes-meets-Humble Pie-meets-anyone else famous who’s worn a paisley shirt and grown a beard (and played quality rock’n’roll at the same time, of course). Taken from these Aussies’ upcoming album Otherside, Witch Hat is a delicious slice of warm ’n’ fuzzy feels, with oodles of 70s guitar tone.
7) Same Sun Same Moon - Little Hurricane
Fun fact: every time you click your fingers, a new bluesy duo is born somewhere. Happily, San Diego’s Little Hurricane come bearing spadefuls of their own unashamedly sweet (yet soulful) personality on this, the title track from their upcoming third album. Think noisy blues, as played by pop stars who cut their teeth on alternative soul.
8) Jackpot - Nikki Lane
Country rock queens aren’t exactly a rare breed in Nashville. Few, however, are as cool as Nikki Lane, who on Jackpot blends outlaw country twang with rollicking rock’n’roll to classy effect. We like.
9) You Don’t Love Me - The Godfathers
The Godfathers are here to make you an offer you can’t refuse, and maybe even tell you that revenge is a dish best served cold. Actually, this newie from London’s foremost punkoid rockers is very friendly and upbeat: proper feel-good rock’n’roll, with more loveable hormones and pent-up desire than we have any right to expect from a group of middle-aged dudes.
10) Mean Green Killing Machine - Overkill
The veteran New York thrashers are in ferocious form on this track from current album The Grinding Wheel. It’s the sort of energetic, madcap metal attitude we’ve come to expect and love from Overkill. Proof that you can stick to a formula without sounding remotely formulaic.
11) Grammy - Richie Kotzen
The guitar hero strips back all of the expected virtuosity to leave a sparse but effective performance on this song from his Salting Earth album. Just Kotzen with an acoustic guitar, a straight‑ahead vocal and a drum machine. It works in a very folky manner, and shows a different side to Kotzen’s talents.
12) Ain’t Much Loving - Me And That Man
Polish death metal master Nergal divests himself of his usual polemic and goes for something more in keeping with Tom Waits or Leonard Cohen on this track from the album Songs Of Love And Death. Together with multi-instrumentalist John Porter, Nergal creates a hymn to a dusty, haunted path through loneliness.
13) Jimmy/Blackout - Paul Weller
This opening track on Paul Weller’s soundtrack to the imminent Ray Winstone boxing film Jawbone is a staggering 21-minute-plus piece that broods from ambient atmospherics through all-out fury and weary resignation to a concluding vocal that’s magnificent.
14) Uber Capitalist Death Trade - Cabbage
This clipped and edgy tantrum of desperate Lydon-garbling rage and post‑punk urgency opens Young Dumb And Full Of, a compilation of the Manchester quintet’s first three EPs. Metallic shards of nagging guitar allied to intense incoherence? Nothing wrong here.
15) Our Own Little Hideaway - The Picturebooks
A steely, spoken-word taster from this bluesy rock duo, fresh out of the grittier end of Nashville – or that’s what you’d think, if they weren’t actually German. Expect wild-eyed blues, and guitars that sound like they were cooked up in a tin shed.
16) Obsession - KXM
The combination of Ray Luzier, Dug Pinnick and George Lynch is inspirational and devastating on this track from the album Scatterbrain. It brings classic Dokken-era tunefulness to bear on Korn-style grunge power and King’s X sophistication.
17) Don’t Overdrink It - Danny Worsnop
The Asking Alexandria frontman exposes a love for country rock on this song from his latest solo album The Long Road Home. And it’s more than just playing around with a vanity project. Worsnop has a real instinct for this type of music, and here proves that he can belt out a countrified tune with rock’n’roll spirit and spit.