This weekend we've been at the Steelhouse Festival in Wales, but we've come down from the mountain with eight tablets of stone, each one bearing the name of one of this week's Tracks Of The Week contenders. They're below.
But first, it's last week's triumphant triumvirate. In reverse order, Chris Stapleton claimed third place with his White Horse, while Dan Auerbach gobbled up the silver medal with Every Chance I Get (I Want You In The Flesh). Which just leaves Mikey Ball & The Company, whose Track Of The Week entry Runnin’ is now an official Track Of The Week winner. So congratulations to them.
And now: go forth and listen! (And don't forget to vote, the form is at the foot of the page).
The Wanton Bishops - Do What You’re Told
Back in 2015, this Beirut outfit blew us away with the raw, energetic blues of their debut Sleep With The Lights On (think RL Burnside hosting a party in a souk). Then, it all went a bit quiet. Now essentially a one-man show – singer/multi-instrumentalist Nader Mansour – The Wanton Bishops return with something much bigger, heavier and more ambitious. Do What You’re Told retains the old-world spirit of its predecessor and gives it a strutting, industrial makeover. Bursting out with a bluesy blinder of a hook, it rocks and swirls its way through pummelling, cavernous and mysterious textures.
Des Rocs - I Am The Lightning
Landing in a scorching place where Royal Blood and Rival Sons meet, I Am The Lightning makes a current, commanding case for this exciting new NYC artiste. “I Am The Lightning was born from a desire to perform music that is both bone-shattering & instilled with a deeper message,” Des Rocs, aka Danny Rocco, explains. “I live on tour driving from one city to another, and I’ve come to view the journey of life as one long road trip – a series of winding roads connected by important events. I Am The Lightning is the soundtrack to this chaotic journey down the highway of life.”
Jack J Hutchinson - Constellations
British blueser-turned-rocker Jack co-wrote Constellations with Kris Barras collaborator Josiah J Manning, and it’s a big, shiny banger – without losing the roughened edges and Zakk Wylde-esque beef that have punctuated his work in recent times. Moody yet bright and upbeat, it dives straight in with a thick, fast-chugging riff and catchy vocal that cuts through the introspection of the lyrics. Meanwhile the high, background chorus harmonies offer the sort of finishing touch that lifts the meatiness elsewhere. Game-raising stuff.
Bywater Call - Sweet Maria
There’s something of the Tedeschi Trucks Band in these rootsy Canadians’ new single, with its dulcet mesh of southern soul, brassy New Orleans vibes and roots rock’n’roll. Loose yet urgent, it swells into a fulsome, big-hearted jam, an acapella burst and cascades of gospel-infused harmonies, organ and slide guitar – all of it hinged on Meghan Parnell’s show-stealing lead vocals. One for fans of TTB as well as Blackberry Smoke, with whom they’ve shared a stage. They come to the UK for shows in October.
Brothers Osborne - Nobody’s Nobody
These Maryland-born brothers have a knack for delivering profound messages in simple language and sweetly familiar sounds – with little twists that flow in like water. On Nobody’s Nobody, their easy-on-the-ear countrified tones and harmonies are paired with roomy 80s rock feels. Kinda like U2’s I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For, with a Stetson and a horse. More of this to come on their new album, which comes out in September.
Pretenders - A Love
Chrissie Hynde was easily one of the coolest people at British Summer Time. Looking fierce and sounding fantastic at 71 – her beautifully preserved voice makes a killer pairing with charismatic guitarist James Walbourne – she’s one of those rockstars who can be a totally joyful presence and not give two fucks at the same time. On this contemplative, mid-tempo newbie, she and her bandmates revel in the sort of melodious moodiness that the Pretenders have always done so well. A velvety yet toe-tapping appetiser for their upcoming record, Relentless.
Duff McKagan - I Saw God On 10th Street
Kicking off with hard, stripped back strumming and Dylan-meets-Iggy street poetry, I Saw God On 10th Street finds the GN’R bassist revelling in his punk troubadour alter-ego – ultimately escalating into an ultra cool, Stooges-y electric riff. “I picture him as an old guy with white beard and hair, leaning up against a wall on a city street,” Duff says. “The ultimate jurist of us all. Pissed off, squinting eyes to ward off what he sees, spitting frequently with no care for who may be around. The Creator. God. Allah, Shiva...or whomever. I think I see him sometimes over on 10th St., hands in tight fists, and toes curled up and tense.” The full solo album, Lighthouse, is out in October.
Bruce Soord - Dear Life
We’ll leave you with a softer track, but it’s a good ‘un. Shimmery string arrangements, gentle, percussive beats and Soord’s delicate yet searing vocals all add up to a stirring meditation on the passage of time. And it’s all captured here with widescreen, sun-dappled views of the Jurassic Coast and an age-spanning cast of characters. “Dear Life doesn’t need much explaining,” Bruce says. “‘Don’t wish that it will all be over, in the sweetest blink of an eye’. We are always told to not let life pass us by, but it’s easier said than done. And before you know it, it’s done! As my life in particular starts to age, it was an easy subject to relate to. It’s actually sung from the perspective of an elderly parent, on their deathbed, to their child.”