Last week’s winners were Other Animals, followed by Tess Of The Circle in second place and Kieron James in third. But who’ll light your proverbial fire this week? Who rocks the hardest/fiercest/bestest out of this quality selection box of rock’n’roll? Have a listen, then vote for your favourite at the foot of this page. Bon appetit!
Taylor Hawkins – Range Rover Bitch
No this isn’t a long lost video from the 80s, though it’s so wonderfully Beta-tastic it might as well be. Directed by Liam Lynch (who wrote 2002 earworm United States Of Whatever) it’s a fitting partner for this hard, funky new groove machine from the Foo Fighters’ drummer. Taken from his solo album KOTA, which is out now.
Ulysses – Dirty Weekend
A glorious stomp of T.Rex-meets-early Supergrass rock’n’roll, Dirty Weekend is as sparkly as it is sleazy and we like it a lot. And yes the video puts suited men on a beach, but it does so with enormous fun – and mini-golf, costume changes, ice creams and other seaside-based jollity. Highly recommended.
Foreigner – Flame Still Burns
One for those of you who like your rock with ALL the feels. Foreigner singer Kelly Hansen recently said that “performing music should be an emotional experience”, and boy is he true to his word here. The “flame still burns”, the acoustic guitar is still tingly, the crescendo is still the size of a planet. And just when you think there can’t be any heartfelt heave-ho left, there’s a choir. Still, from the band that brought you I Want To Know What Love Is, what else would you expect? Or, indeed, want?
Hiss Golden Messenger – Like A Mirror Loves A Hammer
M.C. Taylor (aka the mastermind of HGM) can always be counted on for poetic bittersweetness. Like A Mirror Loves A Hammer is positively laden with it from the outset, but framed in surprisingly current, Rn’B-soul grooves – with rootsier twists trickling in for organic balance. Proper class.
Nightwish – Stargazers (live in Tampere)
Isn’t Floor Jansen magnificent? Stargazers may be an old Nightwish track, but the band’s newest singer/high priestess tackles it with more va-va-voom than a fleet of operatic valkyries. She’s like a Nordic Boudicca with endless lung power, flanked by lasers and a shitload of fire. Bombastic but brilliant.
Sonny Jim – Wake Up Call
Wales’ hidden answer to the Foo Fighters are the brains and brawn behind this driving mix of sunny pop rock, grungy sensibilities and hard groovy riffs (with a solo fresh from the book of 80s guitar bigshots). Taken from latest album M.A.D. it’s got ‘bigger-stages-than-we’re-currently-playing’ written all over it.
Beware Of Darkness – Are You Real?
The title track from the Californian trio’s latest album wasn’t written with the US election in mind (or not as far as we know anyway), but the lyrics do work rather well with this video of carefully edited Trump clips. Whatever your political stance (and judging by the Youtube comments beneath it, they’re quite varied) it’s a banger of a tune.
Shaman Elephant – Crystals
New psychedelic prog/rock isn’t exactly in short supply, especially not in Norway where the brilliantly named Shaman Elephant come from. But there’s something about Crystals that suggests they’re worth watching out for. Maybe it’s the catchy hard rock snarl, or the atmospheric keys, or the all-round trippy 70s likeability at work here… Listen in and lose your head, very pleasantly.