The best new rock songs you need to hear right now, including Black Country Communion, Mdou Moctar, The Picturebooks and more

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

In a week in which the citizens of Planet Earth continued their inexorable journey towards the apocalypse, Atlanta's Tuk Smith Tuk Smith & The Restless Hearts became engaged in a friendly battle with the UK's very own The Hot Damn!, and at the end of seven days jousting, the former emerged victorious in our Tracks Of The Week competition. So congratulations to them. 

This week, we've got contestants from all over the globe, from Niger's Mdou Moctar to Western Australia's Southern River Band via all sorts of other glamourous locations. So listen, vote now, and vote hard.

Below you'll find this week's hopefuls. Enjoy their artistry. 


The Southern River Band - Vice City III

If you thought the contemporary music scene in Western Australia was all Tame Impala and their gauzy, psychedelic compadres… erm, it’s really not. All torn denim and 80s ‘taches, The Southern River band rock like they were born on motorbikes with sirens in hot pursuit, as they marry the chunky boogies of AC/DC with the nastiness of Guns N’ Roses on Vice City III. Intrigued? Wanna see how that plays out live? You can! Their UK tour starts Wednesday 15th May.

Black Country Communion - Enlighten

Seven years, a pandemic and (for their singer) a Dead Daisies stint after their last album, Bonamassa, Hughes, Sherinian and Bonham are back with what they describe as their best album yet. Of course everyone says that, but in this case it might be true – certainly if this ultra-juicy banger is anything to go by. Built on a swaggering groove with the heavy thunder of dinosaur footsteps (and Glenn Hughes still ‘Voice Of Rock’-ing it more successfully than almost anyone of his generation) Enlighten is the most classic of classic rock, without feeling dry or ponderous. First-class nostalgia with a spring in its step.

Mdou Moctar - Oh France

The Niger-based rockers’ latest album, Funeral For Justice has just come out, and if you’re not already attuned to the delights of their heady, sand-blasted ‘desert blues’ fusion, latest single Oh France is a good place to start. Brimming with heat, history and an energy that feels jagged and sumptuous at the same time, it offers a blistering "indictment of French colonialism" lyrically, all while spicing blues-based ideas with fresh colours.

Carol Hodge - Manoeuvres

Yorkshire-based Carol Hodge has punk roots (she’s done keys and BVs for Ginger Wildheart, among others) and an ear for bittersweet pop as a solo artist. Now she steps into heavier territory on this new single - think gothic Fleetwood Mac meets Queens Of The Stone Age, with added stoner rock heft. "I'm sick and tired of the lack of authenticity from public figures,” Hodge says. “Whether it's the evil clowns running our country, or the narcissists clogging up my social media feed, the layers of falsity are sickeningly thick…. Everything is strategic and transactional."

Kissin’ Dynamite - My Monster

Hard rock, rampant 80s excess and musical theatre come together on the German melodic rockers’ new single/video. A slick, supersized, roaring twenties-meets-Meat Loaf spectacular with giant hair and a questionable Phantom Of The Opera-ish twist (yes, all those things, in one thing...), My Monster is so camp and silly it ought to be too much. Honestly, though? It’s huge fun, not to mention catchy as hell. Find more maximalist activity like this on their new LP Back With Bang, which comes out in July.

Brave Rival - Five Years On

Bluesy classic rockers Brave Rival open the case for their second album, Fight Or Flight, with this hooky, toe-tapping ode to overcoming the odds, all gnarly riffage and luscious harmonies with a driving chorus. “The new album is leaning towards the new wave of classic rock sound but still with the heartache of blues,” the band have said. “We’ve performed a handful of the new songs at live shows and have had such a wonderful response with fan favourites. We’ll still be using our well-loved recipe of dual power vocals, epic guitar and a driving engine room.”

The Picturebooks - Back To LA

In which LA-based German rockers/motorcyclists/skateboarders The Picturebooks pay tribute to their adopted home with a bible-black piece of thumping, slide-driven blues that features contributions from another local, stetson-wearing rapper Badd Wolf. "The song is about my situation of living in both worlds," says guitarist Fynn Grabke. "LA, right by the Pacific Ocean, with all its music and culture, unlike anywhere in this world, and my small hometown, where culture is non-existent." Further evidence of this dichotomy will almost certainly be found in the duo's upcoming album Albuquerque, which is due on July 5. 

UK Subs - Comfortably Numb 

Punk veterans UK Subs have released a version of Pink Floyd's Comfortably Numb, and if you think that's weird, there's plenty more where it came from. For it comes from Punk Floyd, a compilation in which a stellar list of punk luminaries – think Eater, Fear, The Skids, Dead Boys, Peter & The Test Tube Babies, Anti-Nowhere League, JFA, The Members, Chrome and many more – cover Floyd classics. It's an album guaranteed to annoy some serious-minded fans, and while the results might be somewhat predictable, there's an odd joy in hearing Floyd's epics reduced to the barest of bones.   

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.

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