As the England Lionesses march on triumphantly (read: scrape through with no small amount of good fortune) in the World Cup, our attention turns the second biggest tournament on Earth: Tracks Of The Week.
Last week, Toronto's Bywater Call beat New York's Des Rocs is a result so close it may as well have been a penalty shoot-out, while Yeovil's Bruce Soord won what would have been a third place-playoff if such a thing existed. So congratulations to all of them.
And now, it's on with the next round of matches. Go forth and listen! (And don't forget to vote, the form is at the foot of the page).
Green Lung - Mountain Throne
It’s always interesting when bands don’t sound the way they look. Take Green Lung, for instance. On the evidence of Mountain Throne – a song that suggests a folk-hearted, NWOBHM answer to Ghost – you’d expect a bunch of long-haired wizardly types from a forest clan. Not four young, trendy-looking blokes from London. But that’s exactly what’s happened here, on this galloping feast of twin-lead guitars and occult rock smoke. Nice.
Mammoth WVH - I’m Alright
Wolfgang Van Halen continues to bring out the big guns with this earworm from his second album (which has just come out). With pounding keys at its core, driving guitars and a soul-lifting marriage of riffs and vocal harmonies, it’s the work of someone who cares a lot about details but wears them lightly. There’s depth and fun here. Oh, and it comes with a video that revisits the abandoned, ego-bruised Wolfgang avatars of Another Celebration At The End Of The World – this time they’re out for revenge in a race for glory at a Battle Of The Bands contest.
Graveyard - Twice
Back with new music after a five-year pause, Swedish nostalgia-mongers Graveyard seem no worse for their time out of the spotlight. Twice shows an upbeat side of their 70s-heavy smorgasbord; a loose, rhythmic, hippie-fied jam that feels lighter and brighter than much of their previous work. Less woozy psychedelic beef, more Stones-y sparkle. There’s a new album, 6, out in September.
Twin Temple - Burn Your Bible
This glamorous, ghostly pair make a confident case for ‘Satanic doo-wop’, coming over like The Ronettes at an Alice Cooper seance on the beautifully beehived Burn Your Bible. Sweet yet subversive; like a milkshake in a 60s diner, laced with arsenic. “God Is Dead is our most blasphemous, horny and painstakingly period-correct work to date,” TT say, of their upcoming second album from which this is taken. “Saturated with the blood of babies, and forged in the ashes of burning churches, we spared no one in the making of this album.”
Brothers Osborne - Might As Well Be Me
On a less blood-spattered note, John and TJ Osborne return to TOTW with this catchy, comfortingly toe-tapping piece of their self-titled new album (out in September). Might As Well Be Me is sweetly southern-fried, with a modern country lift and an expansive 80s feel that’s begun to crop up more often in their songs since 2020’s Skeletons. Music for dancing at weekends and driving through the night.
The Hives - Trapdoor Solution
Having a less-than-great day? Need to rid yourself of some lingering bad juju, and do it fast, so you can get on with your day and generally feel a bit more alive? Stop what you’re doing and turn on Trapdoor Solution, a lovably old-school, breakneck shot of punk rock’n’roll distortion that should set you to rights in just over one minute. You read that right, one minute. Short yet substantial, like artisan fast-food for the ears and the soul.
Doro - Livin' After Midnight
In which the Original Queen Of Metal™️ releases a thoroughly faithful version of Judas Priest's 1980 classic Livin' After Midnight and ropes in The Metal God™️ himself to share the vocal duties. No surprises are forthcoming, but it's certainly fun. "Judas Priest and Rob Halford have always been one of my biggest inspirations and continue to be my heroes," squeals Doro. "It was so great working with Rob. Living After Midnight has always been one of my favourite songs and I'm so proud of our duet!"
Queens Of The Stone Age - Negative Space
Queens Of The Stone Age continue to experiment with rock'n'roll in a way that appears to beyond the ken of many a riff-monger, with stuttering rhythms and a woozy, deliberately lackadaisical vocal making Negative Space sound unlike anyone or anything else. Throw in some unexpected sound effects, a key change or two, and backing vocals that seem to sweep unexpectedly in from nowhere, and you've got four minutes of the kind of thing we very much need more of.