Our favourite recent social media moment came a couple of weeks back, when Sebastian Bach reacted to hearing Mammoth WFH's Distance for the first time.
"Without compare," tweeted the former Skid Row star, excitedly. "The best lead vocal I have heard all year, no question, is by Wolf Van Halen. You did, it man! Distance is the best song with the most touching, heartfelt vocals I have heard all year. Nobody even comes close. Thank you. Your dad's spirit is in your music."
Wolf responded with a quick "Thanks so much, my friend. Means the world", throwing in a couple of appropriate emojis, and just for a moment the world felt like a brighter, less cruel place.
And now? Distance has been voted our Track of the Week. By some considerable, uhm, distance. So congratulations to Wolf. And congratulations to When Rivers Meet and Inglorious (opens in new tab), who filled out the podium nicely.
Below you'll find this week's selection (don't forget to vote at the bottom), but first, here's that heartfelt vocal again.
Clutch - Passive Restraints
The Maryland foursome have come a long way since Passive Restraints first came out, in EP form, in 1992. Not that they’ve lost their rougher, hairier edges, as this revamp proves. Now a part of their Weathermaker Vault Series, the new version sees Neil Fallon roaring in style with Lamb of God’s dreadlocked mainman Randy Blythe, making a gloriously loose yet razor-sharp racket that’ll make you wish you were watching it live. Ain’t nothing passive about it.
Follow Clutch on Facebook (opens in new tab).
Royal Republic - Magic
On this latest single the Swedish rockers have toned down the disco sequins of 2019’s Club Majesty in favour of leather-jacketed bite. Not that they’ve sacked off the toe-tapping factor, mind you; if the Footloose theme was written in a garage, and premiered in a rock club instead of a high school dance, it might have sounded like this.
Check out band updates, music and merchandise (opens in new tab).
SKAM feat Paul Mahon - One Track Mind
The Leicester power trio have teamed with The Answer guitarist Paul Mahon – and taken a few wardrobe tips from Andrew WK – on this dirty, grungy new head-banger. And if you thought guitarist/singer Steve seemed like a nice bloke, you might not be so sure after watching the video.
Pre-order the new EP, INTRA, and merch bundles (opens in new tab).
Small Town Titans - Let Me Breathe
The Titans find their inner Core-era Stone Temple Pilots, and set it free, on this stirring, chest-swelling new ballad. If you're in the market for something meaty but cathartic (with a flattering aftertaste of STP's classic Plush about it), this should sort you out. Like what you’ve heard? Join the Titan Army below.
Band updates, merch and more (opens in new tab).
Orianthi - Sorry
Orianthi made us think of Joe Satriani with Sorry's opening outer space-surfing guitar screams (not to mention the shades and cyborg chic of the video), before settling into a moody, catchy hybrid of pop and Muse-edged alt rock. You'll find this and much more on her latest solo album, O, which came out earlier this month.
Collateral - Can’t Hold Me Down
Newly expanded into a six-piece, Collateral are on a mission to save the world – or at least cheer it up a bit – with hair-swishing melodic rock and a video that falls somewhere between Hot For Teacher and an early-00s high school movie finale. “We didn’t want to write a typical ‘Covid’ song,” says singer Angelo Tristan. “Our intention is to try and inspire people to get through the other side of this with a track that brings comfort and a hard pounding beat.”
Southern Wild - Time On Your Hands
If you enjoy the contemporary rock n' soul approach of Alabama Shakes, these South African alt rockers should be right up your street. They're on stunning, heartstring-tugging form on this new single, for which they're joined by Foo Fighters man Rami Jaffee on organ/keys.
Jack J Hutchinson - World On Fire
“The song was written before the pandemic, but since the events of this year it has taken on an even greater meaning," Hutchinson says of this guitar-chugging slab of meaty rock, originally dreamt up in the middle of a forest in Brazil (true story). "Basically 2020 has been a kick in the teeth for everyone, but in many ways it gives us an opportunity to rip up the norm and start again. We have to remain positive.”