Pop rock, circus metal and Paul Weller – we've got all possible bases covered in this week's roundup of fresh new sounds. But, as always, before we get to that it's time to announce the results of last week's vote. Huge congratulations to these three bands for winning the hearts and minds of the music-listening public, especially Bristol alt.rockers Liquid State!
3. The Joy Formidable - Dance Of The Lotus
2. Esprit D'Air - Calling You
1. Liquid State - Dirty Little Preachers
So, who's going to win your vote this week? Check out our choices below, from a range of old favourites and newer faces. But first, let's take a look back at last week's winning song.
Good Charlotte - Actual Pain
The first single to be unveiled from Good Charlotte's upcoming seventh album, Generation Rx, this song is alleged to represent a "new chapter" for the band, as they trade their singalong emo anthems for proper, lighters-aloft arena rock. To add extra poignancy, the song was inspired by the passing of their friend Lil Peep late last year. No, YOU'VE got something in your eye. Joel and Benji Madden say of the track: "At the beginning of the year, we were reflecting a lot. We just played a memorial service in honour of Lil Peep. We were thinking of that. Our generation was the first to have so many ways to deal with pain. Throughout this century, we’ve seen the whole opioid crisis get worse. We wondered if we were really doing our part. We wanted to bet back out there on the battlefield and spread insight, share experience, and give anything we could to improve lives. The message is you can get through the pain, survive it, and have the life you want. We made the record on our own terms and our own time. In that respect, we channeled the soul of our first two albums. This is the album we’ve been waiting 15 years to create.”
Cheap Trick - The Summer Looks Good On You
Here comes the summer, apparently – according to Rick Nielsen and his band of eternally-cheery men, anyway. This song, due to feature on the band’s as-yet-untitled 20th studio album, delivers everything you've grown to want and expect from CT – sunny, Beach Boysesque harmonies, a couple of stomping riffs and some widdly-diddly solos thrown in for good measure. Pass us a Pina Colada, lads, we're ready.
Lithics - Glass Of Water
Portland post-punk from a bunch of kids who love to skateboard – what's not to love? This track is flush with the sort of eye-wateringly awkward guitar which no doubt would've made their 80s predecessors proud. The band say of the track and video: "When we're not toiling away on angular rock music in the dark confines of our practice space, Lithics likes to get out there and SKATEBOARD. You don't believe it? Well here's the proof. Spend the next minute and twenty three seconds watching us tear up the streets of Portland to the frantic sound of Glass Of Water, definitely the most skate video worthy song on our new Kill Rock Stars album Mating Surfaces."
Avatar - The King Welcomes You to Avatar Country
"These Swedish oddballs have risen to the challenge of creating a follow-up to 2016’s Feathers And Flesh that’s just as barmy – channelling Devin Townsend on the bonkers The King Welcomes You To Avatar Country," we wrote of this track from Swedish circus metallers Avatar in our January review. In Avatar Country, apparently, anything goes – so tune in, kick back and let the good times roll.
Wilko Johnson - Marijuana
If being the man behind Dr Feelgood, a Game Of Thrones cameo and surviving a terminal cancer diagnosis wasn't enough to convince you that Wilko Johnson is the coolest person alive, then new song Marijuana – a song about the medicinal values of tootin' the sweet herb – should do it. Taken from Blow Your Mind, Johnson's first album of new material in 30 years, he says of the track: "It’s tricky when you get to seventy years old, because what am I supposed to be singing? 'I love you, baby, but you done me wrong?” Come on! That’s kind of a problem. But I never thought that I’d be the sort of person to write songs about different sorts of real-life experiences until I got sick”.
Mike Shinoda ft grandson - Running From My Shadow
Mike Shinoda of Linkin Park fame here, with this thumping, moody electro-rap-rock offering which features a guest appearance from Toronto artist grandson, aka Jordan Benjamin. It's taken from Shinoda’s upcoming album Post Traumatic, and is the latest instalment of the material he began work on following the death of his Linkin Park bandmate Chester Bennington. He says of the album: “It’s a journey out of grief and darkness, not into grief and darkness. If people have been through something similar, I hope they feel less alone. If they haven’t been through this, I hope they feel grateful.”
The Kut - Hollywood Rock'n'Roll
"The Kut are like the bastard lovechild of Courtney Love and Marilyn Manson, with awesome riffs and chaotic live shows," said Metal Hammer of this noisy rabble, and we couldn't agree. This song is a straight up, riff-driven stomper with a seductive, punky edge. Sometimes rock doesn't have to be the most complex thing out there – it just has to make you feel good, which is precisely what this track does.
Enter Shikari - Undercover Agents
Fresh from conquering literal arenas this year, this alt.rock mob have released a video for this harmony-laden electro-rock track from last year's album The Spark, showing off their ear for melody and proving them as more than just electronic noisemakers. Frontman Rou Reynolds says of the track: "We’re very lucky to have such talented fans, and to be able to release George’s video so soon after the Take My Country Back fan-made film is an honour and a testament to the relationship we have with the people who support our art. We take great pleasure in being able to support theirs in return. As for the track itself; generally the lyrics are about “perception management” – believing what one wishes to believe, regardless of whatever the truth may be. We all play with truth in politics and in our personal lives, and this song is about disdain for these societal pressures and lack of sincerity."
Paul Weller - Aspects
Happy birthday, Paul Weller! The Modfather has hit 60, and to celebrate he's released this very pretty new song, complete with lyric video. It's not exactly a big party tune, but hey – he's 60, he can do what the fuck he likes. Rich with delicate acoustic guitar mournful strings, it kind of sounds like Bright Eyes might when they themselves hit the big 6-0. Weller says of the track: "I don’t know if it’s indicative of the album, but it’s certainly the cornerstone to the record for me. It’s also where I got the title of the album from…”
Goldfinger - A Million Miles
In case you'd forgotten it's Slam Dunk this weekend, every single band on the line up has released some sort of song or video this week to remind you – including veteran US punk rockers Goldfinger. This song has all the calling cards of the Goldfinger of yore – including furious dual-part harmonies, an infectiously catchy chorus and even a little bit of ska. And a circle pit in the video.
Now for the really exciting bit – who's scooped your vote this week? Vote below!