Last week's Tracks Of The Week contest was quite the battle, with eccentric Burton-On-Trent pop-proggers Kitten Pyramid taking on Skid Row before squaring up to Larkin Poe and then finally tackling Laura Evans in a thrilling battle for social media supremacy. Eventually they saw off all three, and we salute them.
Their winning track is just below ⬇️ and then it's on with this week's rock'n'roll rumble. Who will win? That's entirely up to you, so don't forget to vote.
LostAlone - Enduring The Dream
After eight years of separate ventures, the Derby trio are back in business and if this (the opening track from comeback album, The Warring Twenties) is anything to go by, they’re bloody delighted about it. Brimming with the sort of giant guitars, theatrical sparkle and mega-harmonies that’ll make fans of The Darkness and The Struts very happy (not to mention acolytes of the colossus that inspired them all, Queen), Enduring The Dream has a deceptively dark heart – Steven Battelle singing ‘ambition’s an affliction/every moment is a mission’, somewhere between internal torment and jazz-hands. Nice.
Starcrawler - Stranded
This is probably our favourite track on Starcrawler’s new album, She Said (out in September), and it’s a gear shift from the blood-spitting shlock rock that turned us onto them initially. Imbued with tender, countrified longing through a shoegaze filter, its emotive melody draws a new, matured quality from singer Arrow De Wilde – without eradicating the spiky, youthful mix of innocence and experience that made her such a commanding presence in the first place. Could it be a sign of things to come? Time will tell, but we hope so.
Alter Bridge - Pawns And Kings
Those who like their Alter Bridge on the heavier side will love this. The title track of their next record (out in October) it’s a tight, pummelling display of metal-edged guitars and moody melancholia that crescendos into a stirring ‘we must stand up for all that we are’ midpoint – Myles’ vocal melody making the sort of small but crucial shift that can make a song suddenly sparkle. Catch them on tour throughout the UK this December, joined by Halestorm and Mammoth WVH; not a bad way to round off the year, eh?
Torus - Did It Again
Tight, hooky and fuzzed up, Did It Again is a deliciously overdriven riff-monster – with 90s MTV and B-movie horror tropes in the accompanying video. “We knew from the minute we wrote Did It Again that we needed a music video involving us driving round in an old school car,” the band say, “‘driving away from life’ with a return of our stalker from the High Rope and Sail videos.” Like what you hear? Their debut EP, Sail, is out now.
IOTA - Take It
“Take It was inspired by the fight with yourself in a multitude of circumstances, work, relationships, socially and mentally,” say the Bristolian quintet, of this gnarly, grungy fusion of rumbling bass, driving alt rock guitars and vocals. “The continuum of holding yourself back and having this other side to yourself that is constantly telling you, 'you aren’t good enough, you won’t make anything of yourself'. The persistent reminder of how well everyone else is doing, social media controlling us and having a huge effect on us.”
The Virginmarys - You're A Killer
No, you're a killer! Macclefield's The Virginmarys are on exhilaratingly fast, furious form on their second single as a taut yet tearaway two-piece. Mainman Ally Dickaty has always had a knack for raw yet razor-sharp rock blasts (with a firm eye on present times), and this one's no exception. Propelled by the sort of drums and guitars that seem to stab, swagger and shimmy all at once, this is protest punk-come-blues rock you can dance to – and want to dance to.
Manic Street Preachers - Rosebud
This isn't new new, but it is previously unreleased, and it's kinda interesting. Back in 2001 the Manics wanted to release two new albums, Solidarity and Door to the River, but the band's record company weren't having any of it, and packaged the recordings as a double album, Know You Enemy. Two decades on, the albums are finally coming out as the band originally intended, with frontman James Dean Bradfield's "director's cut" version removing some unwanted cruft and improving the sonics. Rosebud will be a bonus track on the deluxe edition, and Llyr knows why it hasn't come out before, because it's poignant, punchy, and a very good Manics song.
Halestorm - Wicked Ways
We're running out of hyperbole where it comes to Lzzy Hale, but this is yet another clattering triumph from Halestorm, with rattling great riffs and a vocal from Queen Lz that could burst the moon. Throw in a video set in a church – with Lzzy taking confession, of course – and it's a recipe for both damnation and delight. "I'm confronting the darkness inside of me, but this isn't my first time," says Lzzy. "Thanks to the vision of Dustin Haney, who is also responsible for our Back From The Dead video, I return to light that darkness that I will never betray." Well, that's good to know.