The best new rock songs you need to hear right now, including Praying Mantis, White Dog, Castle Rat and more

Tracks Of The Week artists
(Image credit: Press materials)

Last week saw Irish duo Dea Matrona and English rockers The Treatment take their respective Tracks Of The Week entries into battle, and after seven full days of thrusting and jousting and raging and polite to-and-fro, Dea Montrana emerged victorious. So well done to them.  

We'd be remiss if we didn't congratulate The Treatment for their contribution to the fracas, so well done them. And well done to Swedish power disco kings Royal Republic, who finished in a highly creditable third position. In fact, well done to everyone. Everyone

This week, we've got eight new songs. And they're all great. Could it be our first-ever eight-way tie? Only you can decide.   

And here we go again. Like a drifter. Born to walk alone. Etc. 


White Dog - Holy Smokes

White Dog's ode to weed is a nicely sozzled slice of southern rock action, but what really makes it stand out is the authentically old-school production, and the complete absence of modern studio bling makes Holy Smokes sound like something Capricorn Records might have released in about 1973. There's nice riffing, nice organ, and nice backing vocals, and the pretend Vietnam-era video adds to the period vibe. The Texan band's second album, Double Dog Dare, is released on Rise Above on April 5.      

Brothers Osborne - Break Mine 

The title track of their new EP, Break Mine finds country rockers Brothers Osborne in reflective mood, with melancholy verses dovetailing slickly with a more upbeat chorus. It's the kind of thing that'll sound great on the car stereo if you're the kind of insomniac who loves driving deserted streets at 3am. "This one is for the fans," says TJ Osborne. "Every time we release an album, our fans are asking for more music, faster. We heard that, and held some special songs back from our last project [2023's self-titled fourth album] so we could release them now."    

Beth Hart - Little Heartbreak Girl

Beth Hart has always sung like an open wound, and Little Heartbreak Girl is as as personal as the title suggests. Written in the wake of various mental health battles, it's dedicated to the people who supported the singer on her road to recovery, and if that sounds like a recipe for a miserable song, don't fret: Such is Hart's artistry that she's able to turn the song's initial fragility into something that feels redemptive, almost triumphant, by the close.  

Moon City Masters - You're Not Alone

Moon City Masters are regular visitors to these pages, and You're Not Alone marries the Steinberg brothers' uncanny gift for melody and songwriting nous with the kind of arrangement that signals ownership of a very decent record collection. "You’re Not Alone takes inspiration from groups like Wings and Yes," say the band. "We were listening to those bands a lot at the time we were writing the song, and wanted the audience to experience how we blend those rock moments with a jammy, funk-driven vibe. The lyrics are our love letter to anyone dealing with isolation or a hard moment."

Praying Mantis - Standing Tall

Despite half a century of successful rockin', NWOBHM stalwarts Praying Mantis have spent a grand total just two weeks in the album charts (Time Tells No Lies, back in 1981), so you might expect them to sound disheartened. Not so. New single Standing Tall finds the Troy boys in typically slick form, with a zip and zest that belies their vintage, melodies that pump gleefully, and an instrumental wee-oo-wee-oo-wee-oo part that's built for communal bouncing. New album Defiance arrives on April 19 via Frontiers Records, and we expect it to be similarly classy. Perhaps a third week in the charts beckons. 

Black Smoke Trigger - K.M.T.L.

Hotly-tipped New Zealand rockers Black Smoke Trigger warm up for their upcoming UK tour with Bruce Dickinson with K.M.T.L., a full-throttle rocker with the kind of propulsive, drive-your-car-too-fast momentum that the best Foo Fighters' songs have. "K.M.T.L. began in the jam room," says guitarist Charlie Wallace. "I was talking to the band I noticed my hands were playing the beginning motif of the song, I just kept playing it and we started jamming. It felt like it was building to something so we wanted to write a chorus with tons of energy and I think we got just that by the end of the jam session."

The Effect - Toxic Envy

Fans of the short-lived band Levara, formed a few years back by Trev "Son of Steve" Lukather, will be delighted to learn of his new project, The Effect, in which he's joined by drummer Nic "Son of Phil" Collins, keyboardist Steve "Toto" Maggiora and singer Emmet "Discovered on Instagram" Stang. With stop-start riffing, the wiggiest keyboard solo we've heard in some time and a glossy production sheen, it sounds like the kind of prog-pop mayhem that might result if Peter Gabriel wrote a song for Muse. Watch this space, we very much suspect.    

Castle Rat - Fresh Fur

With chain mail bikinis, mighty broadswords and even mightier riffs, Castle Rat vocalist Riley Pinkerton a.k.a. The Rat Queen and her troupe of fancy-dress bandmates (The Count, The Plague Doctor and The Druid) are our new favourite band of Brooklyn-based doom fantasists. Fresh Fur churns with malevolence, but it's also bundles of fun, like Electric Wizard on laughing gas or a comic book take on Black Sabbath. We suspect that more of this kind of thing will be found on the band's upcoming album Into The Realm, which is out next month. Buy it. Buy it hard. 

Fraser Lewry

Online Editor at Louder/Classic Rock magazine since 2014. 38 years in music industry, online for 25. Also bylines for: Metal Hammer, Prog Magazine, The Word Magazine, The Guardian, The New Statesman, Saga, Music365. Former Head of Music at Xfm Radio, A&R at Fiction Records, early blogger, ex-roadie, published author. Once appeared in a Cure video dressed as a cowboy, and thinks any situation can be improved by the introduction of cats. Favourite Serbian trumpeter: Dejan Petrović.