For the second week in a row, our Tracks Of The Week ferrago was dominated by individual artists, with the top three positions filled by Jim Kirkpatrick, Amy Montgomery, and Wolfgang Van Halen a.k.a. Mammoth WVH. Is this a trend? Are groups dead? Perhaps only Gene Simmons knows. Although he'd probably have told us by now, to be fair.
So congratulations to them. And congratulations to whoever wins next week, who won't be an individual, because there aren't any in the list of prospective candidates.
In the meantime, here's your winner again. And then it's on with this week's show.
Wytch Hazel - Angel Of Light
On Angel Of Light, Lancashire’s Wytch Hazel plant their feet in the NWOBHM, 70s classic rock and medieval camps – white tights and tunics included. And, amazingly, they do it all without being gimmicky. Think Blue Oyster Cult-meets-Thin Lizzy, with the gallop of Iron Maiden and uplifting harmonies, both guitar and vocal. Lyrically it’s rooted in Biblical teachings (like the rest of their next LP, IV: Sacrament), but there’s much to enjoy here regardless of your religious persuasion. It’s rousing stuff, however you choose to absorb mainman Colin Hendra’s words. If that sounds appetising, and you also enjoy the likes of Ghost and Church Of The Cosmic Skull, Wytch Hazel should be next on your list.
The Dust Coda - Road To Hell
You want rock with a capital ‘R’ (and a capital ‘OCK’ for that matter)? All GN’R-y muscle and shout-along chorus, somewhere between a biker shindig and a bank robbery soundtrack? Powered by chops like flaming mountains and, in John Drake, one of *the* voices of the latest rock’n’roll wave, Road To Hell is as much of a straight-up scorcher as you’d hope for with such a title. Not so much reinventing the wheel as giving the wheel a good MOT, air in the tyres, oil in the bearings and fresh hubcaps. Play it good and loud, and keep an ear out for their new album, Loco Paradise, which comes out in July.
The Cadillac Three - This Town Is A Ghost
Written while processing the loss of his father, This Town Is Ghost reveals a whole other, storyteller side to Jaren Johnston and The Cadillac Three. Tender, human and deeply cathartic, it's a moving testimony to his first musical hero. "One day, I was writing with my good friend, Ross Copperman,” Jaren says, “and I had the title, but I wasn't sure it would be about Dad. I mentioned the idea of going there with it and Ross loved it. He helped me sculpt a story I knew I could sing with the band. I went more personal than usual. It was three of the hardest hours of my life… I hope the song is a little therapy for anyone that has gone through what I did."
Demob Happy - Run Baby Run
Brighton trio Demob Happy have nailed another knockout with this woozy, chest-thumping banger from Divine Machines (out in May). It’s kinda like hearing Queens Of The Stone Age in a basement club, after six days on magic mushrooms and psychedelic-era Beatles records. In our minds, that’s a very good thing. Nicely weird in a super-inviting, accessible (in a good way) sense; freakoid fun for the masses, if you will.
King Falcon - Cadillac
Hooky, riff-tastic indie rock from Queens, NYC, now, courtesy of power trio King Falcon. Cadillac is the kind of bright, snappy floor-filler we could imagine dancing to in the mid-00s, and would still be delighted to hear now. Imagine a more stripped back Royal Republic at a nightclub with The Killers, and you’re in the right world. “The song came together after about eight days of sitting in front of my computer screen listening to the bass part on loop,” says frontman Michael Rubin. While the finished product is a lot more than a bass part, it’s central to the song’s insistent, stick-in-your-head danceability.
When Rivers Meet - Play My Game
Grace and Aaron Bond (aka wife/husband duo When Rivers Meet) are back and sounding fierce on this new dose of dirty blues rock. “Before we held back on being too rocky,” the band say, “but this time we allowed ourselves to create what we wanted to hear, without restricting ourselves.” The end result is something that rocks hard but still sounds super raw, imbued with the sort of folky Americana mystique and soul (Grace’s vocals are a big part of the latter ingredient) that’s peppered their music thus far. Nice.
Ghost Hounds - Dirty Angel
Probably best known for supporting the Rolling Stones on their North American No Filter tour, Los Angeles sextet Ghost Hounds are back with the first single from their upcoming fourth album, which is due to land in June. To just call it "blues rock" would seem to be damning Dirty Angel with faint praise, as there's an awful lot going on, especially as the song spirals towards a climax and all those guitars go a bit Skynyrd. "It felt like the right move to lead with this as our first single as an appetiser for what’s to come,” says guitarist Johnny Baab.
McFly - Where Did All The Guitars Go?
Yes, that McFly. The lyrics to Where Did All The Guitars Go? might be somewhat laboured ('Who's gonna play for the kids with long hair / When nobody cares? / How will they cope with the pain? / Don't you know that rock'n'roll is good for the soul?') but the sentiment is clearly laudable and the song actually rocks, with a garagey riff that crunches like a garagey riff should and a performance from drummer Harry "Strictly Come Dancing winner 2011" Judd that must have left his skins with welts. The chorus is a little too pop for it to be completely convincing, but hey, if it encourages anyone to pick up a guitar we're not going to quibble.