We've just had one of those weeks. The fans of Japanese supergroup The Last Rockstars and Indiana rockers The Cold Stares went head-to-head, mano a mano, in a fight to determine the outcome of our Tracks Of The Week fandango. The Cold Stares came out on top, and we applaud them.
Coming in a distance third was Brian May protégé Arielle, but in the face of such fearsome to-and-fro it's a very respectable result, and we're sure she'll be back to fight again. In the meantime, here's your winner again, and then it's on with this week's lowdown hoedown showdown.
The Answer - Living On The Line
We really liked Blood Brother, the first taste of The Answer’s comeback record Sundowners (their first in seven years), but this feels like the real ‘we’re back, muthafuckers!’ statement. Big, driving and bursting with joie de vivre, like AC/DC at a gospel service, “the song harks back to our days on the road when everything was an incessant dash from show to show…” Neeson says, “all living on the edge, fuelled by alcohol and rock‘n’roll!” Whatever happens when Sundowners comes out (in March), really it’ll be ok, because this is ace.
Demob Happy - Voodoo Science
After a couple of quiet years, the Brighton-based trio are back with a bang – and, indeed, a total banger, in the form of hard-grooving new single Voodoo Science. Guitars judder and crash like Royal Blood’s Typhoons record against a dreamy backdrop of Beatles-y psychedelia, with disco-ripe synths building in the bridge. A slamming, enticing introduction to Divine Machines, their next album, which comes out in May.
Hardy - The Mockingbird & The Crow
Teamed with a beautifully characterful stop-motion video, the Mississippi country maverick’s new song is a breath of fresh air, in a scene so long dominated by slick, ‘bro-country’ stars. It’s both a loving tribute to his deep south roots and a sharp satire of the way those roots are so often packaged by the industry. From dulcet, decidedly yee-haw beginnings, The Mockingbird & The Crow shifts through dark, Nirvana-esque chords into a monster of a hard rock second half, Hardy declaring ‘I’m a mockingbird, singing songs that sound like other songs you’ve heard.’ His album of the same name – and country-to-rock split – is out now.
City & Colour - Underground
City And Colour, aka singer-songwriter Dallas Green, finds a lush, brooding new groove on this gorgeous taste of his next album. Breaking ever further from his hardcore roots with Alexisonfire, Underground marries gauzy guitars and soaring heartland sensibilities. Born out of tragic circumstances, including the death of his best friend in 2019, it’s a stirring dose of soul-searching catharsis. “It’s about digging deep down into yourself and attempting to unearth hope and light in the things that can comfort you through those times,” Green says. “For me that has always been writing and recording music."
Oli Brown & The Dead Collective - Heard It All Before
Initially a blues guitar hotshot (one of those crazy-good young guys who began his career impressing veteran shredders and bluesers), now more of an all-round rock frontman, Oli Brown has manifested in various guises. Like many others, he used the pandemic to regroup as a songwriter, coming up with this newbie in the process. Built on a gnarly, insistent groove, Heard It All Before mixes rough-hewn heavy guitars with a strain of Rival Sons-y richness. “It’s a raw account of my state of mind and health and a taste of what’s to come for the Dead Collective,” Oli says. “Out with the old, in with The Dead.”
Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs - Ultimate Hammer
“Everything at the moment feels like it's moving at one hell of a speed. Momentous events pass by in the blink of an eye while we try to keep our heads steady on a planet spinning roughly 1,000 miles per hour,” says vocalist Matt Baty, of this raging fuzzbomb from the Nottingham doomsters’ next album Land Of Sleeper. “Maybe it's always been this way but it sure is hard not to feel dizzy. What a time to be alive.” What a time indeed. Catch them on tour in February, March and April.
About Silver - Rock I’m Rolling In
This one’s interesting; the product of Syrian singer/guitarist Asa'd Alhaddad, joining forces with Norwegian muso Marc Farrano (frontman with Bergen rockers Faith Circus). It's a driving, somewhat epic rocker with chiming bells and swooping strings and a touch of Di'Anno-era Iron Maiden about the guitars. It also comes with a video put together on a smartphone with a budget of zero. "I had to pay some big prices to record in a country where I cant buy food for my boy," says Asa'd. "But thats the spirit of classic rock."
Mudhoney - Almost Everything
Garage rockers/grunge pioneers Mudhoney celebrate their 35th anniversary with a psychedelic swirl of riff and rhythm, or, as the band put it, "a surreal and inter-dimensional journey of a character that never stops transforming." They go on to add that the listener "may even transcend the limits of space, time and form" while watching the video, and so we encourage you to do so. Almost Everything comes Plastic Eternity, the band's studio album, which will arrive on Planet Earth in April.