Grindcore, Kawaii metal, experimental electronica: we've got it all for you in this week's selection of musical finery. But before we get to all that, it's time to count up the winners from last week's bitterly-fought vote. Congratulations to the bands who battled their way into your top spots:
3. In This Moment ft Rob Halford - Black Wedding
2. Starcrawler - Loves Gone Again
1. Dead Cross - My Perfect Prisoner
Who'll sway your vote this week? Check out our choices below, from a range of old favourites and newer faces. But first, let's take a look back at last week's winning song – be warned, the video is pretty grim.
Babymetal – Distortion
Japan’s best-loved Kawaii metal band are back to pay tribute to the Fox god once again with new track Distortion. Flush with breathless speed metal and screeching, pummelling guitars, the new, “darker” track unleashes an all-together more mature sound. The band say of the song: “The new song Distortion explores the unrevealed Dark Side, The Apocrypha, the legend of seven metal spirits in which power is distorted through time and space. The music video of this song presents this unknown side and marks the important beginning of a new legend.”
Wes Borland – Matadors And Daughters
Having long turned his back on the nu-metal explosion that made his name, Borland’s latest sonic doodle is this brooding, synth-heavy voyage into glowering experimental electronica. He announced the track on Instagram, along with a lengthy explanation of its origins, including the statement that he “climbed the mountaintop to the cave of Dagoth and swam under the statue of Ith, through the hidden river and beyond the portals that dare travellers off the path, knowingly or unknowingly. I cheated a thousand deaths there and stood firmly in the halls of the ancients. I drank of the waters beyond Ith and knew what it was to be burdened with the wisdom of the universe.” So, y’know, it’s weird, etc.
Jimmy Eat World – Love Never
Everyone’s favourite emo rockers are back, again, with a brand new track which recalls the glorious, singalong angst they all but perfected when they were at the top of their game. Plus a few extremely Lit-esque riffs. It’s like the 90s never left us.
Manic Street Preachers – Hold Me Like A Heaven
The latest single to be taken from their latest album, Resistance Is Futile, this track marries Manics’ trademark singalong stadium rock with introspective, poetic storytelling. Nicky Wire says of the track: “This track sprung from reading Lines On A Young Lady’s Photograph Album by Phillip Larkin, and his poem Aubade as well. It was the last lyric written for the record and I knew it had to be special. It’s got one of my favourite ever lines, which is ‘what is the future of the future/when memory fades and gets boarded up’. We’ve long been obsessed with writing something like Ashes to Ashes; I think this is the closest we’ll ever get.”
Protomartyr ft Kelley Deal – Wheel Of Fortune
This claustrophobic slice of dirgey, propulsive alt.rock is both lifted and made all the more exciting by the involvement of Breeders legend Kelley Deal on guest guitar and vocals. The collaboration came about thanks to a shared production contact, and the band says of the track: “Early 2017 proved to be a productive time for the band. We were writing songs right up to recording Relatives In Descent and wanted to keep that momentum going right after. Making 2015's split single A Half Of Seven with R. Ring was one of our favourite recording experiences, so the decision to head down to Dayton, Kentucky and spend a weekend in May recording the four songs that became the Consolation EP was an easy one.”
Napalm Death – Standardization
It’s loud, it’s fast, it’s relentless: it’s everything you might wish for from the godfathers of UK grindcore. Taken from their recently released compilation Coded Smears And More Uncommon Slurs, it’s the first from the comp to be given the video treatment. On the track and vid, frontman Barney Greenway says: “Videos I find one of the trickiest mediums to make vibrant and impactful. Producer Costin Chioreanu, though, had a lot of stuff from our Roadburn Festival presentation which seemed to fit the music quite nicely and reflect the song's subject matter about the utter despair of a colourless life and desire of more conservative forces for a homogenous world according to gender, sexuality, human habits and, well, generally everything. No thanks!”
LOCKS – Bodies
Taken from their debut album Skeletal Blues, these Tom Waits-infused, London-based “blues punk” newcomers deliver a fresh and direct take on traditional, rootsy folk. The band say on the track: “We have all tried to bury something in our lives… we just knew we wanted Bodies to be the opening track on the album.”
Arthur Buck - Are You Electrified?
The latest track to be unveiled by Arthur Buck – or, the collaboration between R.E.M. guitarist Peter Buck and singer-songwriter Joseph Arthur – continues the tradition of great American radio rock, trading on Tom Petty-inspired hooks and a rousing chorus. You'll find tinges of R.E.M. in the acoustic guitars, but on the whole this is a rollicking rock stomper, free of Buck's past life as a jangle-meister. Buck says of the track: "Joe is going through that searching period we all go through in life, and those experiences he’s having make this a very forward-looking record, lyrically. The music has a questing kind of feel. We were making it up as we went along.”
Biffy Clyro – Black Chandelier
Taken from their recently-announced MTV Unplugged album, this acoustic version of the band’s 2013 single turbo-charges the song’s emotional thrust, slowing it down and stripping out its thundering chorus in favour of a soft reimagining which places the focus on Simon Neil’s vocal performance. Following the grand tradition of MTV Unplugged albums, this rendition features all the whispers and strings we've come to expect from the behemothic acoustic franchise.
Nothing More – Just Say When
Who the fuck are Nothing More, you ask? Well, we answered that question last year, so do please try to keep up. In this emotionally-charged track, the multi-Grammy Award nominated rockers show their softer side with a mix of pretty melodies, acoustic guitars and the sort of searching introspection the aforementioned Biffy Clyro would be proud of. On the track, frontman Jonny Hawkins says: “The day my mom died, I met a girl – this girl became my girlfriend, and years later, my wife. With fear of the past and hope for the future, we set sail with holes in our boat. As the inevitable pressures of life came pouring in, we sensed ourselves starting to sink. Two half-souls shoveling buckets of water, desperate to hold on to an imagined future, but not fast enough. Then one day she became my ex-wife. I felt in my gut that it was right, but every other part felt wrong. Whether people will admit it or not, I think our deepest fear is the loss of love. I found something to be more afraid of – settling.”
So which of these tracks swings your vote? Click here to make your voice heard!