Last week we published a shiny new issue of Classic Rock magazine. It's the traditional end-of-year package, featuring our favourite albums of 2020 and interviews with some of those who've made this extraordinary 12 months so memorable.
Here at Tracks of the Week, however, we don't deal in such vast swathes of time. We deal in the now. And we also deal in the very recent past, which brings us to The Wildhearts, and their live version of Urge.
Last week it triumphed in our weekly showdown, keeping the challenge of Greta Van Fleet's epic Age Of Machine and The Hu's similarly colossal version of Sad But True at arms' length and romping past the chequered flag in fairly convincing fashion.
To celebrate The Wildhearts' victory, here's Urge again. Enjoy their fury. And then enjoy this week's selection.
Hot Breath - Bad Feeling
These young Gothenburg garage rockers make the sort of hooky, happy-drunk racket that evokes memories of low-ceilinged club gigs and really good house parties. Fun, fast and charismatic as hell, Bad Feeling has pretty much everything we want from good-time rock’n’roll (think 70s London and 00s Detroit in a mixer, with caffeine and chocolate). Keep an ear out for their LP, Rubbery Lips, which is due for release in April 2021.
AC/DC - Demon Fire
It’s primecut AC/DC (one of our favourites on new album Power Up), accompanied by cars, motorbikes, some sort of evil Batmobile thing... and fire! Just when we needed them to, Angus and co have burst in – maniacal gurns, shrieks and schoolboy uniform intact – and declared ‘f**k you 2020, let’s burn some shit and have a party!’ Or words to that effect, minus the actual burning. If this doesn’t make you at least a bit happy, you’re probably on the wrong website.
IDLES - Kill Them With Kindness
Even the cartoon flowers in the video are headbanging to IDLES’ latest single (one of our favourites from their album Ultra Mono), such is the irrefutably monstrous power of the riff on Kill Them With Kindness. Play this jack-booted call to arms and empathy when you need a bullshit-free boost, in the face of grim weather and uncertain times.
The Dead Deads - Hey Girlfriend
Explore another side of countrier-than-thou Nashville – the messier, punkier corner – with The Dead Deads and their 90s-evoking homerun Hey Girlfriend. If Weezer and Sonic Youth had a baby (and fed it an alt cocktail of grunge, indie and punk) it would sound a lot like this. Their full-length debut is due out in early 2021.
Wayward Sons - Even Up The Score
"So much of modernity is now ruled by the sound-bite, the one line and the knee jerk reaction," frontman Toby Jepson says, of the themes behind this propulsive, commanding hard rocker (and Wayward Sons' first new music this year). "We all hide behind screens and believe we have a right to say anything we want no matter whether backed up by truth or not, or how much it may hurt or discredit. The song challenges the listener to take a step back, a breath and to think before you speak or act."
Ego Kill Talent - Deliverance
You can read more about the Brazilian alt rockers in the current issue of Classic Rock magazine, but this heavy cut from new EP The Dance Between makes a pretty tantalising first impression. Big and brooding, with an underbelly of chugging riffs, Deliverance is smouldering marriage of grunge and hard rock, with extra bite. Total catnip for fans of Pearl Jam and Metallica.
Blackfield - For The Music
Israeli star Aviv Geffen returns with the first new Blackfield record in three years (founder member Steven Wilson plays rhythm guitar on three pieces, as well as singing lead vocals on three songs), from which this soaring, exquisitely produced title track is taken. An enveloping fusion of contemporary progressive rock, moody pop and ambient textures, it's like a cerebral balm for the soul.
1000 Mods - Warped
These Greek noiseniks were raised on a rich diet of classic grunge, stoner rock and Iron Maiden, among other shades of heavy. All of this comes out in the chunky, Soundgarden-through-a-meat-grinder punch of Warped. By turns riffy, head-swirling and plain filthy, it's a bit messed up and all the better for it.