The best new rock songs you need to hear right now, including Nathaniel Rateliff, Black Smoke Trigger, The Cold Stares and more

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

Last week this page hosted a do-or-die battle for rock supremacy between Welsh bluesman Troy Redfern and Canadian rockers Mount Rushka, and we're delighted to reveal that neither act actually died, and that both garnered vast swathes of support while not doing so. In the end, it was the former who pipped the latter for the main prize, but it was a close-run thing, with Mike Campbell & The Dirty Knobs a distant third.

This week, it's another truly international affair, with contestants ranging in geographical location from the UK to the US, from Japan to New Zealand. Which part of the world will win? Only you can decide, by voting at the foot of the page.

Below you'll find this week's united nations of rock.


The Midnight Calls - So Cold

These Chicago blues rockers have listened to a tonne of Aerosmith, Stones and AC/DC records, and it shows on their new single. Warm, swaggering 70s hard rock, spiced with bluesy slide guitar for a southern-tinged finish, So Cold tells the tale of a “cold temptress that leaves a trail of broken hearts in her path.” Yes it’s a thoroughly ‘done’ story, but they pull it off with a level of zing and panache that keeps it charismatic. Tasty.

Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats - David & Goliath

He’s got a new album, South Of Here, out via Stax records in June, and now this 21st century americana star bares his soul to stunning effect on this latest track – all moody Beatles-y sensibilities with a soulful lift, articulating the internal fights so many of us face. “Anxiety … the intense, excessive, and persistent worry and fear about everyday situations,” says Rateliff, of the song’s personal inspiration. “Feels to the person experiencing it as impossible of a battle as David slaying a giant. This is the first track of our new record and deals directly with the battle with oneself.”

Black Smoke Trigger - Learn To Crawl

With a new album Horizons, produced by Nick Raskulinecz (Rush, Halestorm, Alice In Chains, Foo Fighters) on the way, and UK support shows with Bruce Dickinson already happening, New Zealand hard rockers Black Smoke Trigger are in a strong place as they release this latest number. Imbued with a darker, more atmospheric quality than their previous singles – but still boasting an absolute monster of a chorus – Learn To Crawl is a tale of realisation and disenchantment, with singer Baldrick (no, not the one from Blackadder…) in gravelly yet mighty voice.

The Cold Stares - Coming Home

Stemming from a smoky, introspective dobro line, the blues rock trio’s rootsy new single strikes a quietly haunting note – paving the way for their new album, The Southern, which comes out in September. “I wrote this song after a trip back to my hometown in Kentucky,” singer/guitarist Chris Tapp says. “Touring the world and seeing so many countries has made me realise how unique the place I grew up was, and this song is just about getting back to our roots and where we came from.”

Marisa & The Moths - Borderline

Mixing grungy grit with slick production and an anthemic, emotionally charged melody, British hard rockers’ new ballad made us think of Radiohead’s Creep reimagined by Evanescence. "The story in this video is a nostalgic look back at myself as a young child,” Marisa says, of the video, “and those feelings of being an outcast and not fitting in, and how that started to change through the process of me discovering music and alternative culture. I imagined how proud that younger version of myself would be if she could see me now.”

Sacri Monti - Maelstrom

If you like the idea of Hawkwind and Deep Purple jamming together – at their respective early 70s peaks, in a generous cloud of bong smoke – this heady yet hooky number is definitely for you. On Maelstrom, San Diego prog rockers Sacri Monti showcase the sort of dirty chugging riffs, twin-lead solos and organ howls that’ll have you wondering if this isn’t some sort of lost deep cut from 1973. In a good way.

Earth Tongue - Out Of This Hell

Our second New Zealand act of the week are always-excellent psych rockers Earth Tongue. Out Of This Hell is taken from The Great Haunting, their upcoming second album, and comes on like a fuzzier, quirkier version of Electric Wizard, with a blood-drenched video shot on NZ's beautiful but mysterious video West Coast. "I couldn’t wait to unleash some screams like a wannabe scream queen," says singer and guitarist Gussie Larkin. "I even cried real tears for this!" Fresh from a set at London's Desert Fest at the weekend, they'll return to the UK next month supporting Ty Segall. 

Bahboon - Thunder Ape

More fuzz, this time from Japanese merchants of doom Bahboon and the title track from last year's Thunder Ape album, which launches on vinyl today. The band describe the album as "The thunder of piercing riffs, the explosion of swirling grooves. Broken spaceships drifting through space, evolving apes," and we're not going to argue, despite not really understanding that second part. Either way, riffs entwine, grooves broil, and it all comes together with planet-shattering magnificence.

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