The best new rock songs you need to hear right now, including Blues Pills, Tuk Smith, Pain and more

Tracks Of The Week artists
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London-based rockers The Karma Effect describe their music as "dirty, sweet, rock'n'roll", and they can now add "prize-winning" to that list of attributes, as news breaks that the recent single Wild Honey has triumphed in our most recent Tracks Of The Week competition. They'll be dancing in the streets of East Finchley, or Hounslow West, or Clapham North, or wherever it is they hail from.  

So congratulations to them, and to The Georgia Thunderbolts, whose Rise Above It All trailed home in second place, and to the combined might of Joe Lynn Turner, Marty Friedman, Jah Wobble & Chester Thompson, whose cover of King Crimson's Moonchild cantered home in third.

This week we've got eight new songs to listen to and love. We hope you enjoy them. But first, here's an encore from last week's winners.  

And now it's on with this week's rumble. 


Blues Pills - Birthday

I’m gonna ruin someone’s birthday,’ singer Elin Larsson drawls – sounding deeper and sassier, following the birth of her son last year – striking a powerful opening note for the first new song from the Swedish rockers in almost four years. Sounding brighter and punchier than they ever have, without losing the analogue richness of their roots, Birthday bounces with an urgent rock n’ soul energy that lands somewhere between Fleetwood Mac and The Black Keys with a Stax-y twist. It’s good to have them back. More to come.

Tuk Smith & The Restless Hearts - Glorybound

Glam rock’n’roll’s 21st century renaissance man is on a winning streak, song-wise, of which the Glorybound is the latest evidence. All bittersweet, sepia-tinged nostalgia, the accompanying video finds him revisiting the Biters days, and his father’s old gym in Griffin, Georgia – evocative snapshots of smalltown America and big dreams. “I got into rock 'n roll and punk rock because it felt like a place for outsiders,” Tuk explains. “I've never felt at home and music was a way for me to cope. This song is a reflection of the last decade, trying to stake my claim as an artist… You win some and you lose some, but you just keep going. You don’t really know why… But you just keep going."

Marisa & The Moths - Get It Off My Chest

Slick, heavy minor-key strains of Evanescence and Alter Bridge power through this fired-up new single from Marisa & The Moths. “Get It Off My Chest explores giving in to temptation as a form of escape,” Marisa says, ahead of the song’s parent album, What Doesn’t Kill You, due out in May. “Inspired by a personal experience, I sought refuge from drama and grief, but somehow trouble still found me (maybe even seeking it out subconsciously?)."

Blacktop Mojo - As The Light Fades

Texan hard/southern rockers Blacktop Mojo have moved into bigger, sweeter 80s heartland territory – like Bob Seger sharing beers with Blackberry Smoke – on this new taste of their upcoming album Pollen (out in April). A strutting, barrel-chested song with a heartwarming chorus, full of light that’ll have you daydreaming of high times passed, it’s the sort of thing you can imagine soundtracking hot summer nights with big crowds and good vibes. A reassuring antidote to winter in Blighty, then.

The Native Howl - Mercy ft Lzzy Hale

Unhinged preacher vibes, beefcake distortion and a banjo, in one song? Oh go on then. ‘Thrash grass metal’ might sound like one of those ill-advised novelty mash-ups whose appeal fades after a few seconds, but in the hands of Michigan's The Native Howl – with Halestorm’s excellent mouthpiece-in-chief on guest vocals – it feels kind of ingenious, marrying the respective darknesses of bluegrass and metal in one primal, raw-throated rocker. 

Nate Bergman - Back To Nashville

Since the dissolution of his old band (reggae-rockers Lionize), frontman Nate Bergman has carved his own niche as a purveyor of raw, soulful confessionals. Big songs drawing from the world and from his own life – from pandemic experiences to the break-up of a ten-year relationship – the latest of which is the warm, stirring Back To Nashville. Unlike his former gig, this solo setting allows Bergman's voice to really shine through. And what a voice. Imagine a millennial, heartbroken but hopeful hybrid of Bruce Springsteen and Sam Cooke, and you’re in the right spot.

Pain - Go With The Flow

Peter Tägtgren is a busy boy, whether it's producing or playing or guesting or propping up Till Lindemann on the duo's now-defunct Lindemann project. And now his industrial metal one-band-band Pain are back with their first album since 2016 (I Am is released on May 19), and a new single, Go With The Flow. Excitingly, the video pairs Tägtgren with another Peter, actor Peter Stormare, who also appeared in Lindemann's videos for Steh Auf and Frau & Mann. As for the music, it's a predictably pumping chunk of post-apocalyptic death disco, with a chorus that's bigger than a bulldozer. Yowsa. 

Creeper - Lovers Led Astray

As any fule kno, Creeper's Sanguivore was one of the finest albums of 2023. But for those who haven't yet clambered aboard their epic bandwagon of equally epic bombast, Lovers Led Astray isn't a bad place to start, combining the gothic spookiness of Phantasmagoria-era Damned with a riff that crunches and a soaring chorus, plus a video that is, in the band's words, "an unholy communion of light and dark." And if there are any singalong in 2024 that's as weird yet gleefully catchy as the bit that goes, "For every blood-stain on your clothes, I picked another rose / And damned our souls to hell (hell, hell, hell, hell)" then we'll eat our own teeth.   

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