Who'd have thought glam rock innovators Sweet would release a single in 2023 that would win our Tracks Of The Week competition? Not us, certainly, but that's exactly what's just happened, as the band celebrated the 50th anniversary of the classic Block Buster! with the release of Don't Bring Me Water.
While the former was the band's only UK number one, we'd like to think that the Tracks Of The Week triumph of the latter will also live long in the memory. And congratulations to our second and third prize winners, The Hip Priests' Shakin’ Ain’t Fakin’ (opens in new tab) and DeWolff's Night Train (opens in new tab).
Below you'll find this week's eager rockin' beavers. And don't forget to vote!
Ryan Hamilton - Haunted By The Holy Ghost
The Texan pop rock singer/songwriter offers a warm, catchy portal into the darker reaches of his past with this upbeat, Ginger Wildheart-y mix of joy and sorrow. “I grew up in a very conservative Church of Christ,” Hamilton says, of the song’s godly roots. “We used to go to church three times a week. There are parts of that upbringing that I will never shake. The ‘fear of God’ is ingrained in me, and will seemingly be a part of me forever. Like a ghost, haunting me. This song is about that.” He’s got a new album (of the same name) out on March 10, on Stevie Van Zandt’s Wicked Cool label.
Empyre - Hit & Run
British four-piece Empyre first caught our ears with artfully melancholic alt rock, wrapped up in Henrik Steenholdt’s distinctive grunge-crooner drawl. It was interesting, label-resistant stuff. Now signed to KScope and gearing up for the release of their next album, Relentless (out in March), they’ve put out something much bigger – in a really good way. Hit & Run is a huge, dreamy ballad, channelling stars of ‘big 80s music’ like Simple Minds, without losing their own introspective edge. More like this and they’ll be laughing.
The Heavy - Hurricane Coming
Inspired by frontman Kelvin Swaby being caught up, quite literally, in a hurricane (Hurricane Irma, shortly after moving to the US from the UK), this is a bracing burst of garagey fuzz, 60s R&B and soulful horns. It makes a commanding, sit-up-and-listen introduction to the trans-Atlantic rockers’ sixth album AMEN, which is out on April 21 – and before then they’ll play two UK shows in March.
Those Damn Crows - See You Again
This latest slice from the Bridgend fivesome’s next album, Inhale/Exhale, finds them toning down the brawn of their heavier, metaaaal chops in favour of a bittersweet, soaring chorus (‘when will I see you again?’ Shane Greenhall asks) and ‘wooaahhh’ backing vocals. Like the other tastes we’ve had so far, it’s an expansive affair, creating a sense of the cavernous live spaces they aspire to headline. Less pub rock, more arena anthems.
Vai/Gash - She Saved My Life Tonight
If Steve Vai’s freakier, noodlier stylings leave you cold, you’ll want to give this a spin. It’s a whole other side of Vai. Forget scary sweep-picking and mixolydian scales, this one’s as squarely rocky and chunky as they come. Recorded in 1991 with Vai’s (now-deceased) biker friend John ‘Gash’, it’s a loving, riffy reflection of the much-lusted-after decade that preceded it. “This track is an uplifting rocker about being way down and out, and then finding something worth living for,” he says, of the song’s core theme.
Måneskin - Gossip
Shot through with Tom Morello’s unmistakable guitar squeals, the Italian wunderkinds’ new single is filled with adrenaline but grounded in thick riffage. “The song originated from a riff which Thomas [Raggi, guitarist] had written some time ago and which we had been holding onto for a long time which we kept developing,” explains bassist Vic De Angelis. “Then the icon Tom Morello joined and brought something extra to the classic uptempo Måneskin cheerfulness.”
Troy Redfern - The Fever
Looking for something bluesy and rootsy this Monday? You could do a lot worse than Troy Redfern’s snarling, swaggering new slide-fest, with touches of stompy glam in the background, and in Redfern’s Bolan-flecked vocals. “The Fever is about pushing back and breaking through all the obstacles when you're feeling held down,” Redfern says. “It’s about feeling as if it’s you against the world.”
The Inspector Cluzo - Running A Family Farm Is More Rock Than Playing Rock N Roll Music
It's only the second week of 2023, and already it seems that the year's Best Song Title award may have been successfully harvested by French duo The Inspector Cluzo, whose raucous, somewhat Clutch-esque new single - Running A Family Farm Is More Rock Than Playing Rock N Roll Music - tells the story of their actual life on their actual farm in Mont de Marsan, Gascony. "As farmers ourselves," say the agricultural duo, "we can confirm that touring and playing in front of thousands of people is much easier than dealing with Mother Nature's anger due to climate change as well as with all factory farms and agro-industry pressure added to the permanent green-washing."