The best new rock songs you need to hear right now, including Blues Pills, Elles Bailey, Cactus and more

Tracks of the Week artists
(Image credit: Press materials)

In a week in which the UK government announced plans to "toughen up" teenagers by reintroducing National Service, we've got a better idea: get them to listen to our Tracks Of The Week competition, which, as any previous listener can attest, gives you all the knowledge and confidence you need to succeed in life. 

Last week, British rockers Collateral took home the big prize, followed by Canada's Bywater Call and Northern Ireland's Louise Patricia Crane. And anyone who listened and voted? They're all wealthier and sexier than they were a week ago. These are undeniable facts. 

Collateral's winning entry is below, followed by our latest batch of entries. Listen, and the future is yours.
 

And don't forget to vote!

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Bad Nerves - Sorry

Just when you thought this Essex quintet were all about the under-two-minute, million-miles-an-hour power-pop/punk blasts, they come up with this dreamy headrush of longing and regret, laced with tentative hope. Happily it’s still catchy as hell. “Sorry was a song that popped into my mind fully formed early one morning,” frontman Bobby says. “The lead guitar riff and drum beat dropped out of the sky. I went to the studio that day and tracked it all… I was bored of writing Bad Nerves tracks so this was meant to be a break from that, but once I’d finished it, it felt like it might actually give the new record a bit of variation that the first record didn’t have.”


Blues Pills - Top Of The Sky

There’s a velvety Bond theme-style grandeur to Blues Pills’ mournful latest taste of Birthday (their follow-up to 2020’s Holy Moly) – interspersed here with behind-the-scenes studio glimpses. “I was inspired by this documentary about an influencer in China who climbs buildings,” guitarist Zack Anderson says, of the song’s surprisingly dark inspiration (Wu Yongning, who fell 62 storeys to his death in 2017). “He climbed a skyscraper and fell and died while streaming. It made me reflect on the age we live in where people are chasing attention and likes on social media, being willing to climb so high to try to find connection and approval online.”


Nestor - Teenage Rebel

“The song and the video is a tribute to the late 80s and to our hometown of Falköping where we grew up,” the Swedish melodic rockers say, off this jubilant, guilt-free AOR paean to their teenage years (a time of rollerskates, long hair, mixtapes and beer pong, if the video is anything to go by – not to mention riffs and chorus singalongs the size of dinosaurs). “This is a song about expressions like ‘Radical’ and ‘Totally Tubular’ and E.T. trying to call home, but also about the importance of living for today.”


Luna Marble - Sea Of Sorrow

Manchester-based rockers Luna Marble are all about the 70s (think Zeppelin, Floyd, Mac…y’know, the good stuff) on this bluesy, psychedelic new single, marrying riffy bite with tripped out sensibilities. Formed in 2020 at university, at the height of lockdown – having briefly been in a function band together – they quickly set about writing songs that would ultimately lead to their debut album (coming soon), from which Sea Of Sorrow is taken. Ones to watch out for.


Nate Bergman - Wish I Was

Former Lionize frontman-turned-21st century troubadour, D.C. singer/songwriter Nate Bergman mixes hefty soul pipes with countrified feeling and Springsteen-esque blue collar tones on Wish I Was – a standalone release produced by Andrija Tokic (Alabama Shakes, Margo Price). One of contemporary Americana’s commanding new voices, channelling the heaviness of his roots into yearning, moody balladry. Catch him live in the UK opening for Amigo The Devil, and at 2000 Trees festival, in July.


Elles Bailey - If This Is Love

A dulcet, toe-tapping flurry of soulful harmonies, bluesy keys and a deliciously hooky chorus, If This Is Love has been billed as Elles’ “angry love song”. To our ears it’s more sassy than angry, but when it’s this more-ish who minds either way? “This song is written about someone who trampled all over my heart and I totally lost who I was in that relationship,” she says. “And if I am being honest, I never actually walked away, so I decided to re-write that story 14 years later, and this time I am the one who walks away!”


Kittie - One Foot In The Grave

One Foot In The Grave, taken from Kittie's first album in 13 years (Fire, out next month) finds the Canucks in typically fierce form, with a thumping opening riff that eventually segues into something more animated. There's melody, death growls, and a bit designed for crowd participation, and it all comes together very nicely indeed, thank you for asking. "It’s a feisty, high-energy song about coming back from the dead and rising from the ashes, so to speak, paralleling our real-life experiences as of late," say the band. "Letting go of the demons of the past to begin anew is something that resonates with us deeply!" 


Cactus - Parchman Farm

We suspect Carmine Appice has attached the Cactus name to his latest project as he knows it'll help attract big names, shift units and generate copy, and hey, we're happy to do our bit. This new version of the Mose Allison classic Parchman Farm (it originally opened their debut album), featuring Joe Bonamassa and Billy Sheehan, captures some of the ragged wildness of the 1970 version, and it sure sounds like they're having fun. The album, Temple of Blues - Influences & Friends, is out this week, and features contributions from Dee Snider, Bumblefoot, Pat Travers, Vernon Reid and about a million others.  


Polly Glass
Deputy Editor, Classic Rock

Polly is deputy editor at Classic Rock magazine, where she writes and commissions regular pieces and longer reads (including new band coverage), and has interviewed rock's biggest and newest names. She also contributes to Louder, Prog and Metal Hammer and talks about songs on the 20 Minute Club podcast. Elsewhere she's had work published in The Musician, delicious. magazine and others, and written biographies for various album campaigns. In a previous life as a women's magazine junior she interviewed Tracey Emin and Lily James – and wangled Rival Sons into the arts pages. In her spare time she writes fiction and cooks.

With contributions from