As the European Championships enter their second week (we're talking soccer, American friends), we're actually more interested in our Tracks Of The Week roundup, where old-fashioned underdogs regularly triumph over pre-tournament favourites.
Case in point? Last week, where Chris Buck's new outfit Cardinal Black's came out on top with Jump In, ahead of 25-year veterans Shaman's Harvest and their Bird Dog entry, with the much-loved Blackberry Smoke bringing up the relative rear with All Over The Road.
What does it all mean? It means we go again. Here's eight new songs, and a voting form. Enjoy.
Chris Catalyst - King Of Everything
Perhaps our favourite track from Chris’s latest solo album, Kaleidoscopes, King Of Everything is the most life-affirming kick-out against keyboard warriors you’re likely to hear this year. Mixing Wildhearts-come-Supergrass vibes (sunny brass blasts, guitars that just make you feel…well, good) with such lyrical pearls as ‘The banter MVP/the charisma amputee’, he makes pitch-perfect pop rock look easy. Talented bastard.
Garbage - The Creeps
Shirley Manson and friends are on dark, trippy but totally rocking form on this propulsive cut from the new album No Gods No Masters. The Creeps combines driving guitars with the sort of beats and synths that’ll pump in your chest for days, creating an atmosphere that’s part 90s rave, part Nine Inch Nails-themed rock night. Some bands have the capacity to improve with age – Garbage are one of those bands.
Crobot feat Stix Zadinia - Everyone Dies
If you have any preconceptions of Crobot or Stix, this will genuinely not be what you’re expecting. The Steel Panther drummer swaps his sticks for a piano. The groove-munching beardos ditch their plaid and band T-shirts in favour of white attire. And the song? Dedicated to singer Brandon Yeagley’s father, who passed away in late 2019, it’s a rousing power ballad that has more in common with Queen than typically cited Crobot influences like Black Sabbath, capped off with a superb solo from guitarist Chris Bishop.
Danko Jones - Saturday
An upbeat number called ‘Saturday’, from one of Canada’s fiercest rock exports… so it’s gonna be about partying, right? Wrong! Danko Jones, as this bullshit-free rock’n’roller attests, is spending his Saturday nights at home bonking his girl. Not unreasonably, he sounds pretty damn happy about that. Indeed, as we start to stagger out of our lockdown bunkers and back into social situations, maybe it’s ok if FOMO is usurped by FOGO (fear of going out) sometimes.
The Picturebooks feat Jon Harvey (Monster Truck) - Holy Ghost
The German-born, California-based power duo have collaborated with a bunch of their friends for their latest project, Built on a sass-tastic guitar groove that sounds like it’s about to turn into Norman Greenbaum’s Spirit In The Sky, this latest single features the ragged rock n’ soul pipes of Monster Truck’s howler-in-chief Jon Harvey – a natural fit for the PBs’ visceral antics.
Sons Of Liberty - Ruby Starr
“Ruby was the backing singer for Black Oak Arkansas with Jim Dandy,” frontman Rob Cooksley says, of the Bristolian southern rockers’ hearty helping of bourbon, beards and big, swaggering guitars. “She was an amazing singer herself and went on to form her own band Grey Ghost. I was lucky to see her singing in Las Vegas in the late 80s, and thinking back to that day we decided to write a full out rocker in her memory”.
The Scientists - The Science Of Suave
With their first studio album in 34 years released earlier this month, Australian garage rock legends The Scientists have unleashed a new single upon a cowering populace. Of all their new material, the band describe The Science Of Suave as "the song laden with the most swagger, audacity and above all Scientific hooks," and you can see why: it snarls, it grinds, it's filthier than a flood at a creosote plant, and it's got just the right amount of gratuitous swearing.
Sweet - System Of The Slaves
Like an international glam rock franchise, there are two versions of Sweet in operation. There's the official UK-based version led by original Sweet founder Andy Scott. And there's the US-based version, formerly led by original Sweet founder Steve Priest, who passed away in 2020. What's left of the latter iteration of the band have cheekily launched a new single under Priest's "conceptual influence", and – dubious use of the Sweet moniker aside – it's quite the adventure. Pianos tinkle, vocal harmonies soar, and before you know it a multi-part prog monster has launched itself into the stratocastersphere, with wild soloing and possible chanting monks. Literally yikes.