We like to think of Tracks Of The Week as an international affair, and so it proved last week, with Indonesia's spectacular Isyana Sarasvati leading the march to victory with her new single My Mystery.
Scotland's very own Gun came a creditable second with Backstreet Brothers, while Floridian guitar hero/crooner Mark Tremonti claimed third place with a more than creditable version of Frank Sinatra's My Way.
This week's hopefuls follow - don't forget to vote at the foot of the page!
Monster Truck - Golden Woman
Canada’s hirsute, millennial-era monsters of rock are back with a bang – or rather, a total banger, which the galloping, gregarious Golden Woman certainly is. Sort of like the audio equivalent of a big, shaggy trucker beard, spraying forth cheap beer as its owner moshes along to Motorhead or something similarly nonsense-free. Don’t expect poetry or anything clever (they’re called ‘Monster Truck’ for heaven’s sake, nuance isn't exactly written into their contract), but it would take a steel-cut disposition to not have a thoroughly good time when that chorus kicks in.
H.e.a.t - Hollywood
H.e.a.t’s music always gave the impression of palm trees and California sunshine, rather than the ice and snow of their motherland. On Hollywood, the Swedish melodic rock squad make good on this, mixing the entire 80s’ worth of glistening synths, cherry-red Chevrolets, Whitesnake-sized guitars and a no-brainer chorus with tastes of The Final Countdown shooting through its veins. Previous vocalist Erik Gronwall left big shoes to fill. Here, ‘old’/new frontman Kenny Leckremo feels amply up to the job. Their new album Force Majeure is out in August.
Blacktop Mojo - Darlin’ I Won't Tell
Part of a three-song story about “heartbreak, murder and deception” – within these Texans’ self-titled fourth album – this is a smoky-eyed bruiser of a ballad, all big feelings, whispered secrets and powerful chops that serve the song rather than smother it. The sort of strapping yet tender hard rock that’ll either make you cry or want to punch things. Or both. Burly but rather beautiful catharsis in just three minutes? We’ll take that.
Black Star Riders - Better Than Saturday Night
BSR’s new single has landed and it wants to give you all the weekend feels, with an extra twist of heat. Ricky Warwick is now the sole founder member (original guitarist Scott Gorham bowed out amicably last year, and will return for live dates next year), though the legacy of Thin Lizzy hangs in glowy waves across hearty, party-time riffs and bittersweet edges in Warwick’s vocals. The bad news? You’ll have to wait until January 2023 for their next album, Wrong Side Of Paradise, followed by the band’s 10-year anniversary tour in February.
Gogol Bordello - Teroborona
Gypsy punks Gogol Bordello have taken one of today’s most turbulent events and honoured it with something badass – a brilliantly frenzied knees-up, with a fierce set of teeth. Sharing its name with a term for Ukraine's Civil Defence Units, Teroborona comes with a video that shows everyday activities of the many brave civilians involved. “Many of my artist and musician friends had to pick up arms and join Teroborona,” says fireball frontman Eugene Hütz (himself of Ukrainian descent). “This is a dedication to their courage and to the courage of all defenders. The song is rooted in Ukrainian traditional dance ‘Arkan,’ one of true Ukrainian Hutzul spirit.” All proceeds go to their Cauze campaign.
Michael Monroe - Everybody’s Nobody
“It’s a tongue-in-cheek tale about letting go of the ‘good old days’ and finding the things that make you happy here and now,” says Finland’s peroxide prodigal son/Tasmanian Devil-in-residence. “A lot of artists in our position seem content to bask in the glow of nostalgia.” It must be said there is a fair bit of nostalgia basking in this glitter-strewn anthem – all Cuban heel stomps, graffitied dressing rooms and misty-eyed farewells to glory days – but delivered with such self-aware bite that its aftertaste is fresh and tangy. Nice.
Coleman Rigg & the Ridge Runners - Coming Clean
Coming Clean launches with a rigid, post-punkish verse that could almost be Franz Ferdinand before finding its way to a chorus that crunches and climbs skywards cathartic aplomb. "I started writing this song really inspired by 90s grunge and aesthetic," says Coleman, "then expanded out from there by adding some less obvious arrangements like synths and samples - creating a unique texture and soundscape. It's a whole new sound for us, and I think something unique in the Philly scene - hard rock blended with dark new-wave-ish sounds."
Voodoo Blood - Black Mirror
Manchester based stoner/blues outfit Voodoo Blood had a couple of EPs out in the late 2010s and have been pretty quiet since, but singer Kim Jennett didn't disappear entirely. She appeared on The Voice, worked on a solo album, and in 2019 won our Tracks Of The Week competition with her Let Me Be The One single. Now she's back with new material from Voodoo Blood, and a song that rips and snorts in all the right ways. Black Mirror features a maniacal riff, while Jennett is the owner of a set of tonsils that must surely have been shredded by the climax of this thunderous scream-fest.