We've been thinking that there should be a rock star version of I'm A Celebrity, Get Me Out Of Here, but with a cast made up entirely of past and present members of Deep Purple. Imagine those heart-to-heart conversations between Ritchie Blackmore and Ian Gillan over fading campfire embers. Imagine Roger Glover being asked to eat some sheep's eyes. Imagine David Coverdale searching through a tank full of dung to locate stars for his I'm A Celeb campmates. Imagine.
Wait! Come back! It's Tracks Of The Week time! Last week's winners were Cats In Space, whose 1,000,000 Miles wreaked a path of utter devastation through the rest of the competition. Grace McKagan's Jimmy (Looking Like Trash) (opens in new tab) and Girish & The Chronicles' Loaded (opens in new tab) followed in the Cats' distant footsteps, and we would say they're all winners but we know that's not true.
And now we go again. The contenders are below. Pay them good heed and listen hard, then vote for the one you think is better than all the other ones.
Steve Hill - Don’t Let The Truth Get In The Way (Of A Good Story)
For years this Canadian singer/guitarist was known for his blues rock one-man band antics. For latest album Dear Illusion he teamed up with a horn section, reaping this toe-tapping, 70s-fried earworm that fans of Whiskey Myers and The Sheepdogs should get a kick out of. “It took me a long time to finish,” says Steve. “I started working on it six years ago after the Trump election. It’s about alternate truth, but it’s also about social media and our addiction to it. It’s also about pretending that everything is alright when it’s not.”
Marisa And The Moths - Pedestal
Watching MATM frontwoman Marisa being painted in gold, as the brooding, grunge-laced hard rock of Pedestal unfolds, is a strangely affecting experience. With moody riffs, a brilliant guitar solo and vocals that fold in notes of Maria Brink and Amy Lee, it’s sombre stuff that rocks. “This song is for anyone that has ever felt disregarded, disrespected or objectified in their life in some way,” Marisa says. “As a woman, every day I encounter some form of discrimination, especially in my line of work… and I know so many other women have experienced the same, which is what inspired me to write this song. ”
Sophie Lloyd - Do Or Die (feat Nathan James)
This year has seen the 27-year-old Brit join Machine Gun Kelly on tour, as his shredder-in-chief, and pick up a Best Guitarist nomination in the MusicRadar Awards (alongside the likes of Steve Vai, Chris Buck, Mark Tremonti…). Now she’s channelled her classic rock and groovy metal chops into this driving new single, with added fire from Inglorious frontman Nathan James (not to mention a load of actual fire in the video). Her playing is a meaty swirl of old-school heavy metal and Joe Satriani-inspired flourishes, with James playing the Bruce Dickinson to her Adrian Smith. Her new album, Imposter Syndrome, is due in 2023.
Iggy Pop - Frenzy
Iggy Pop’s last album, 2019’s Free, struck a sombre, introspective note. This new offering does not. Three minutes of pure ferocity and raw, propulsive distortion, Frenzy finds the Godfather of Punk crackling with energy and intent – flanked by some absolutely killer bandmates (his producer Andrew Watt on guitar/background vocals, Duff McKagan on bass and Chad Smith on drums). Nice.
The Runaway Grooms - Jenny
Need a softer, sweeter start to the week? A southern-baked musical hug, if you will? This is for you. Forged in the Colorado mountains – seemingly on a diet rich in Allman Brothers and Grateful Dead records – The Runaway Grooms merge sun-dappled Americana and psychedelic jams with a lightness of touch on Jenny. Like what you hear? Their new album, The Road, is out in February.
Dierks Bentley - High Note (feat Billy Strings)
We’re stirring some country into the mix this week with this dose of boot-stomping bluegrass’n’roll from Dierks Bentley. Built on a killer hook and a hearty, addictive chorus, it’s a step more ‘yee-haw’ than the likes of The Cadillac Three and Brothers Osborne – especially with the rattling hillbilly jam at the end – but the shared rocker DNA is clear. Lyrically it’s about seeing out the apocalypse in a basement with ‘a bag of Willie’s best’. ‘I’m going dowwwwwn on a hiiiigh note!’ he sings. Of course you are, Dierks.
The Smith Street Band - A Conversation With Billy Bragg About The Purpose Of Art
Life After Football is the title of the latest album by Melbourne's Smith Street Band, but they've announced it while the World Cup is still on and the Socceroos are still in the competition, which seems strange. But wait. Maybe they're talking about Aussie Rules, that weird sport where tall men in sleeveless shirts run around a big field committing acts of extreme violence against each other. Who knows? Not us, that's for sure. Anyway, the excellently titled A Conversation With Billy Bragg About The Purpose Of Art is a rousing affair indeed, a rattling piece of punk-ish rock with a some gratuitous swearing and a chorus that leaps like salmon returning to its traditional spawning grounds.
Rammstein - Adieu
When Rammstein's recent Zeit album hit the stores we weren't entirely convinced it was up there with the band's best work, but Adieu was an obvious highlight and the new video makes it ever highlightier (we just made that word up). It's still got Sven Helbig's ominous intro, that glam rock riff still crushes like an actual Tyrannosaurus-sized T.Rex, and the video is another triumph from the band who make better big-budget videos than anyone. This one includes criminal activity, celestial armies, humans in cages, fleshy humanoids from the future and all sorts. Ludicrous and brilliant.