As another week slips by and a new one begins afresh, we salute those who've made the last seven days such an enormous rock'n'roll pleasure.
And so we salute Crazy Lixx, whose startling Anthem For America took home the bronze medal in last week's blockbuster edition of Tracks Of The Week. And we salute Halestorm, whose resolutely fierce Back From The Dead (opens in new tab) took home the silver.
But most of all we salute Blackburn rockers Bastette, whose Rollercoaster breasted the finishing tape first to collect the gold. May their victory resound through the ages.
And now? On with a new week. Unsheath your swords, let battle commence!
Ayron Jones - Supercharged
Seattle’s hottest new export taps into various different tones on his excellent new album, Child Of The State, from fearsome blues to moody grunge and beyond. It’s a smart record, commanding but packed with interesting blends and subtle twists. The appeal of this latest single, however, is dead simple: it’s an all-out rocker, all raunch and swagger with a chorus you can sing back, if you’re not too busy air-guitaring like a wild thang. Nice.
Joe Bonamassa - The Heart That Never Waits
Continuing the much-honoured blues tradition of being unlucky in love, and singing about it, Joe Bonamassa’s latest tune (and these days he really is about the tunes, as well as the chops) is an invitingly heartsick, gospel-laced swooner. Yes the base ingredients are as classic as they come, but arranged in such a way that it doesn’t feel tired or cliched – seemingly the sort of mindset that reaped recent winners of his like last year’s A Conversation With Alice. Check out more on the new album, Time Clocks, which comes out in October.
The Bloody Nerve - Roads
The latest installment from these Nashville mavericks’ album – the juicily named All Blood, No Treasure – is a gnarly mix of punkoid fire, Dead Weather-esque rock and social disenchantment. Written just pre-COVID, its lyric ’clean up, you’re contagious’ has a certain darkly prophetic feel, with hindsight. “That’s been a pretty spooky lyric lying around,” singer Laurie says. “The song is about the culture wars of the 21st century, but who knew an actual contagion would be flashing shades of that in our world just a few months later?”
Danko Jones - Ship Of Lies
Canada’s ultimate power rock trio make 25 look like the new 21 with this driving, shoot-from-the-hip monster. "With Power Trio, our 10th studio album, we’re not celebrating our 25 years as a band by releasing a greatest hits “look back”, but rather, releasing a new slab of hot rock,” Danko says. “Hotter than you’ll hear all year. It is the album that took 25 years for us to make and it was time well spent.”
Robert Plant & Alison Krauss - Can’t Let Go
Originally performed by Lucinda Williams (written by Randy Weeks) this bewitching, perfectly sweetened (and ever so slightly haunting) bluesy shuffle suits Plant and Krauss so well you’d be forgiven for assuming it was one of theirs. A match made in heaven if ever there was one, and an appetising country-via-bluegrass precursor to their new album, Raise The Roof, which goes on sale November 19.
Melissa Etheridge - As Cool As You Try
Let’s be honest: songs that “never made the cut until now” can be code for “weren’t all that in the first place”. Happily, in the case of the Kansas-born singer/songwriter’s new album One Way Out (a collection of hitherto unreleased material she wrote in the 80s and 90s), this isn’t true – and it sure as hell isn’t on this standout single that marries gutsy heartland rock with the countrified pop-isms of LeAnn Rimes and lashings of worldly experience.
The L.A. Maybe - When I'm Gone
We've featured The LA Maybe a few times in Tracks Of The Week before, and When I'm Gone is another pearl from the band's excellent Dirty Damn Tricks album. It rocks a little less hard than Sucker Punch, Oh Sugar and Mr Danger, but every rock band needs a big power ballad, and When I'm Gone is huge. Written in response to a friend's tragic suicide, it's robust and arena-ready, with a vast chorus and the kind of epic soloing that makes you thankful they used a drone on the ambitious November Rain-on-a-budget video.
Bros - Two For Tea
There was a time, when new rock bands were influenced by more than just other rock bands, that musicians were happy to take detours away from their day-to-day sound a pay tribute to good old fashioned vaudeville music. Think Queen's Seaside Rendezvous, The Beatles' Honey Pie or even You're a Good Man Albert Brown by the Dukes Of Stratosphere, which was essentially a gloriously daft pastiche of other, earlier pastiches. Now you can add Sheepdogs spinoff project Bros to that list, as new single Two For Tea finds the Currie Brothers in full music hall mode, singing in plummy English accents and acting the giddy-goat while dressed in coat, top hat tails. And yes, of course there's a kazoo solo. Absolutely spiffing.