Last week’s battle of box-fresh rock tracks was won by Erja Lyytinen, followed by A'priori in second place and Goo Goo Dolls rolling up in third. Our hearty congratulations to all of them, especially our victor Ms Lyytinen. You’ve all done very well.
And now, onto this week’s set of contenders, whittled down from many more new releases that reached our ears in the last seven days. Eight riffy gladiators, if you will – devoted to the noble cause of rock (the noblest cause of them all, of course), armed with songs not swords (though actually, The Hu do have swords as well...) and fighting to top our essential new music round-up. Check them out and don’t forget to vote for your favourite, using the poll located at the foot of this page. As ever the winner will be announced at next week’s roundup.
Contenders, we salute you all. Now let’s rock…
Massive Wagons - Fuck The Haters
Team Wagons have launched the campaign for their next album (Triggered, on sale October 28), and we’re happy to report that their capacity for bright, beefcake riffs and sharp yet sunny choruses hasn’t diminished – if this “anti-bullying” single is anything to do by. They aren’t exactly the first to write this kind of buoyant, don’t-let-the-bastards-get-you-down battle cry, but Fuck The Haters is certainly one of the good ‘uns. Imagine the Wildhearts taking a few tips from Blink 182 at their best, and you’re in the right zone. Says lead Wagon Baz Mills: “Simple song, simple message: fuck the haters, fuck 'em all. Do what you want, wear what you want, be who you want to be and be proud about it.” Amen to that.
The Cult - Give Me Mercy
Messrs Astbury, Duffy and co are back with their first studio album since 2016’s Hidden City, and they are all in for this one – as this cool yet mega-inviting first statement suggests. Confirmation (if it was needed) that The Cult have definitely 'still got it', Give Me Mercy is the sort of majestic, classic sounding anthem that’ll make you feel like you’ve known it for years. Like what you hear? You can get your hands on the aforementioned new record, titled Under The Midnight Sun, when it comes out in October. Game on.
Laurence Jones - Anywhere With Me
Anyone who remembers Laurence as a blues guitar kid will find him quite the grown-ass man in this juicy hit of bluesy rock’n’roll (he has a beard and everything). Yes there’s a whisper of Joe Bonamassa in the rich yet punchy tone of his licks – not to mention their similarly young, prodigious starts in blues axemanship – but Anywhere With Me is much more about rocking out than virtuosic noodling. Catch this and more on his new album, Destination Unknown, which comes out on September 9.
Brave Rival - Thin Ice
One of the meatier, stompier tunes on the Portsmouth quintet’s debut, Life’s Machine (out now), Thin Ice mixes that record’s blues n’ soul spirit with Heart-esque rock chops. “I’ll never forget when I first heard that riff,” says bass player Billy Dedman. “I was out walking on a particularly frosty morning when (guitarist) Ed sent a demo through to us. The riff immediately caught my attention. As I was messing about on this massive, iced-over puddle, inspiration hit, and I suggested we call this demo Thin Ice. The girls ran with that idea and wrote a song all about a loved one pushing one too many buttons!”
Within Temptation - Don’t Pray For Me
Swooping forth like the symphonic, storytelling siblings of Evanescence and latter-day Halestorm, Dutch metallers Within Temptation are on mighty form here; all driving guitars, synth-bolstered drama and regal opera-rockstar vocals from Sharon den Adel. The sort of music that deserves an enormous stage and as many wind machines as possible. Den Adel says: “It is an anthem about coming to terms with the fact that beliefs can be fluid, multiple or frankly: different. The song is about allowing people to pursue their own destiny.” They’re set to tour the UK and Europe as co-headliners with Evanescence in November.
CMON CMON - The Summers We Missed
These Belgian rockers’ new track streamlines the gauzy, summertime vibes of Feeder, Ash and early Lemonheads into one sweetly formed package. Blissed out, bittersweet and very delightful – a laid-back yet astute ode to the passage of time. “The song is a true story, one I wouldn’t have been able to write aged 20,” says singer/guitarist/main songwriter Jorrit Hermans. “The summer in question is 1995. The party was real and, so was Julie. In the second verse, the narrative jumps 20 years ahead to another summer where they meet again and reminisce about what might have been.”
The Hu - Black Thunder (Part 1)
If you like your hooky, metallic hard rock with sides of throat-singing, rolling grasslands and warriors with drinking horns, this one’s for you. Continuing to bring ancient Mongolian culture into the 21st century, The Hu have released a bewitching, cinematic taster of their second album, Rumble Of Thunder – which has just been confirmed for a 2 September release. Visually stunning and as deliciously menacing as its title suggests, it’s described by vocalist Gala as Rumble Of Thunder’s “crown jewel”. Intriguing...
The Record Company - Hound Dog
We saw these LA-based guys live in London last week, where they powered through a generous helping of technical gremlins (blown speakers, tangled wires, malfunctioning in-ears…) with such good humoured, oh-screw-it bullishness that it added fire to their spicy potpourri of old Rn’B, Stones-y rock’n’roll and California sunshine. This take on Hound Dog is a great example of all that. The band explain: “We took a little inspiration from the original 1952 Big Mama Thornton version, mixed some rock’n’roll from the 1956 Elvis version, flipped the chords around, and made something that sounds like neither.”