Anyone still saying 'rock is dead' is somewhat misinformed. Its place in popular culture might be different, but as we're reminded by the veritable mountains of new music we're sent here every week, there's a lot out there.
With Tracks Of The Week, our mission is comb through as many tunes as humanly possible, and then offer up eight of the best – and, of course, see which track YOU rate the highest. Got a favourite already in mind? Or maybe you're new to all this week's candidates? Whatever side you fall on, check out the selection below and vote for your favourite, using our poll at the foot of this page.
But first let's look at last week's leaderboard. Dramalove were the overall winners, followed by Eden James in second place and Jack J Hutchinson in third. Here's Dramalove's winning single Written In The Stars...
Buffalo Summer - Hit The Ground Running
With NWOCR favourites Those Damn Crows recently hitting the UK top 10, and veterans The Alarm selling out a mega anniversary gig in two minutes, there must be something in the water over in that there Wales. Now, Buffalo Summer are bolstering that idea with this boot-stomping mix of grooves and grunge, spiced up with cool, resonating slide licks.
Sing Again Syren - Run On Home
"I was going for Hendrix meets Page with the guitar, especially in that solo!" singer/guitarist Eliza Lee says of her role in this blistering new track from the Newcastle Upon Tyne power trio. Indeed, it's sometimes easy to forget that such legends of yore as Hendrix were young – like, properly young – when they wrote the blueprint for rock as we know it. Run On Home's mix of full-throttle classic rock and fiery energy recaptures that. Check out more on their EP Time Is A Trip.
Lucinda Williams - You Can't Rule Me
The First Lady of alternative country evokes the voices of Howlin' Wolf and Chrissie Hynde, bottled up in a dive-y blues bar, in this classic blues rock stomp. Adding fat, jagged riffs and a turbocharged sound all-round to the Memphis Minnie original, it'll make you want to start smoking and drinking bourbon if you don't already.
The Amblers - Birds and the Bees
Enjoyed the likes of the White Stripes, Black Keys, Royal Blood, Henry's Funeral Shoe, Crown Lands etc etc, and looking for rock's next hot bluesy duo? You might want to give this South African pair a spin. Marrying Rolling Stones flavours with jutting, Jack White-esque bare-bones blues, Birds And The Bees makes an upbeat, charismatic first impression. Singer Justin Swart has a nice beard, too.
Briston Maroney – The Garden
Smart, seductive alt rock/pop now from Tennessee singer/songwriter Briston Maroney. At once hooky and dreamy, youthful and extremely mature, The Garden is the sort of thing you could imagine Neil Young or Big Star doing if they'd been born this side of the 90s (and listened to a bit of Tame Impala in the process).
Keylock - Shine On Me
Having turned heads as a teenager with his arsenal of prodigious blues licks, Aaron Keylock seemed to have slipped below the radar. Now, he's back with a bang – and a band, for that matter. With Jonnie Hodson on lead vocals, three further bandmates and gospelly backing singers, Keylock (free to focus on what he loves: the guitar) relaxes into warm, southern-fringed chops and the freeing nature of being part of a gang.
Thirteen Stars - Mint Jelly
'Oi, ZZ Top called, they want La Grange back!' or so you might think on the strength of those opening notes. But as these raw-throated southern rock renegades get into their stride, Mint Jelly becomes its own thing – still a very retro, cowboy-cooked thing, but deliciously so. Expect tales of lies, swampy moonshine and burials in Mexico City.
Steve Earle & The Dukes - Devil Put The Coal In The Ground
The years have been good to Steve Earle's creative juices, or so this cracking new single suggests (from his upcoming album with The Dukes, Ghosts Of West Virginia, out in May). Banjos and primal percussion crescendo from rootsy, old-timer work-song beginnings into a huge, haunting mass of droning fiddles and psychedelic hoodoo. So much more than just another piece of beard-stroking country blues.