Lots of good things are cooking in rock right now – new albums from the likes of Clutch and Alice In Chains, a change of gear for Halestorm, cool new faces making noises... – which gives us plenty of ammunition for Tracks Of The Week. But ultimately it's you who choose the rightful winner. Below are your top three from last week, in reverse order:
3. Massive Wagons – Robot (Trust In Me)
2. At The Sun – Devil In Your Eyes
1. Federal Charm – Choke
Congratulations all round! Now, who'll sway your vote this week? Check out our list below, then vote with your hearts, minds, souls, gut instincts...any of the above, as long as you do it at the foot of this page. And have a little spin of last week's winners Federal Charm first...
Clutch – How To Shake Hands
Not an instructional video for a popular formality, but a taste of Neil Fallon’s (fictional, or at least we think it’s fictional...) presidential campaign – set to head-throwing, beard-growing rock’n’roll. Plus commandingly throaty shouts about “grass roots”, “live music in the White House” and kissing all the babies (“and maybe the mamas too”). Not as much of an instant partay banger as, say, Earthrocker or X-Ray Visions but still an appetising hit of riffy, rocked up satire that roars beautifully through your earholes.
Backyard Babies - Shovin’ Rocks
Backyard Babies are approaching their 30th anniversary, and starting celebrations with a song about “shovin’ 30 years of rock and roll”. If this is anything to go by it’s been a fun 30 years. Shovin’ Rocks plays like a happy, adolescent sugar-high of sleazy, stompy rock – complete with sped-up video footage of Nicke, Dregen and co jamming around a room full of gear and popcorn. Profound? Innovative? Hell no, but that’s hardly the point.
Lovehoney – Open Door
Brooklyn blues rockers Lovehoney are back, now with early blues and psychedelic edges on this short but sweet new addition to their set. On Open Door Alysia Quinones’ vocal howls are channelled through a vintage microphone sound which – coupled with a nicely screeching guitar solo – some gives the whole thing a primal, retro zing. Hooky yet freaky stuff.
The Vintage Caravan - Reflections
We’ve liked these gleefully retro Icelandic kids for a while now – great live show, Crazy Horses (no, not the Osmonds’ one) was a top tune – but wondered if they’d found their songwriting mojo yet. Reflections suggests they may now have done so. Or at least got much closer to it. Built on a chunky, galloping winner of a hook and propulsive drums n' bass, there’s a mature confidence that’s piqued our curiosity for new album, Gateways, due in August.
Halestorm - Black Vultures
Halestorm continue to pave the way for new album, Vicious, with another hard rocking slice of brutal guitar chops and beats - all supercharged and rendered utterly furious with Lzzy’s raw screams of “I'm still alive”, “black vultures waiting for me to die” etc, that sound as though they've been literally pulled out through her throat. And that's a good thing, we think. If this is Halestorm being, as they’ve said, the most Halestorm-ish they’ve ever been, then they're made of strong stuff.
Angeline - I Wanna Know
Swedish melodic rockers Angeline have been quietly beavering away since 1987, even if their journey has been dogged by illness, military service and death (original singer Jörgen "Sigge" Sigvardsson passed away in 1995). They’ve reared their heads sporadically over the last decade or so, but this catchy new single from forthcoming album Shadowlands (out in September) suggests they’re raring to go again – all feel-good riffage and warming get-up-and-go chorus action.
Alice In Chains - So Far Under
Tune in, turn it up and prepare to go “sooo fahhhh uhhhnder….” as anticipation builds for Cantrell and co’s new album, Rainier Fog (yes it's a slightly...well, grey albeit evocative title), with this dark, dirty new taster. Want a healthy dose school of old-school AIC, with William Duvall on flying form? This is it. Yeah, heavy, man.
The Aviators - Goodbye To The Rain
We'll leave you with some sassy, singalong rock'n'roll from hirsute Bakersfield boys The Aviators; drawing from the hips-led, paisley-shirted schools of Aerosmith and Led Zeppelin. If we're honest it would benefit from being either a minute shorter, or having a slightly sexier last minute (they've obviously got the chops to do it, so why not?), but essentially a rousing blast of vintage charms.
Have good weekends y'all; wear suncream, stay hydrated, be cool...