The Struts released their third album on Friday, and with it the second part of a podcast in which frontman Luke Spiller chats with Def Leppard's Joe Elliott and Phil Collen.
It's fascinating stuff. They talk about the kind of things you'd expect them to: their mutual love of Queen, how different songs came into focus as they're written, and the varying ways in which a band can record an album: while Leppard's Hysteria took months, the Struts' latest was completed in just a few days.
What's most remarkable is that although they're from entirely different generations, it's absolutely apparent how much they have in common. If you live and breathe rock music – as all three clearly do – that bond is immediate and powerful. They're lifers.
Our Tracks Of The Week are cut from similar cloth. It's music from people who've made a life choice. Some are starting out. Some have been around a while. And all deserve your attention. Give them a listen, and give them your vote.
And congratulations to last week's winners: it's The Struts, featuring Joe Elliott and Phil Collen, with Neon Animal finishing up in second place and Mike Ross in third.
Dangereens - Streets Of Doom
An all-boozing, all-partying rock’n’roll band piloting their own plane, in a storm? What could possibly go wrong?! OK everything could go wrong, but it makes a fitting accompaniment to the Canadian noiseniks’ cocktail of punkoid rock’n’roll, sleaze and cheerful debauchery. At points it made us think of The Only Ones’ Another Girl Another Planet, if the Stones and New York Dolls had joined in for a jam. Nice.
Crobot - Burn
The only thing better than a hard-ass rock headbanger? A hard-ass rock headbanger WITH ALIENS! “If life gives you flames, you light the biggest bonfire the world has ever seen…” the fuzzy, stoney rockers explain of this new video release, “and when Mascot asks you to make a video for Burn, you call up some aliens to help show the universe how to get down.”
Larkin Poe - Fly Away
The Lovell sisters have a knack for making well-weathered classics their own. Throughout lockdown (and before) they’ve been covering everyone from Neil Young and Crosby Stills & Nash to the Beatles and the Moody Blues, posting the results on their Youtube channel. We’re very partial to their haunting, slide-driven take on Lenny Kravitz’s 90s mega-hit Fly Away. Their harmonies might be angelic but there’s a wicked delta darkness to this stripped back interpretation.
Small Town Titans - Rufflin’ Feathers
Not so much ruffling feathers as throttling whole birds, the new single from the Pennsylvanian trio arrives like a groovy roundhouse kick to the chest. Singer/bass player Phil scares us a little, but maybe that’s a positive thing – doesn’t the best, hardest rock’n’roll make you fear for your life a bit, in a good way?
When Rivers Meet - Battleground
Primal old-school blues (more John Lee Hooker than Stevie Ray Vaughan) – dressed up in biker leathers and wreathed in arthouse smoke – is the order of the day with this meaty, toe-tapping new single from Grace and Aaron Bond. Seemingly the Essex-based duo's decision to be bandmates, as well as husband and wife, is working well so far. Long may it last...
Mason Hill - Against The Wall
“Against The Wall is a song and video about our defiance and determination in the face of overwhelming setbacks,” says singer Scott Taylor of this muscular new single from the Scottish twenty-something rockers. “We wanted to depict the raging conflict between being ourselves and being told how to be, by masked faceless suits! We’ve been making our stand for quite some time and are thrilled with both album and video; we say bring it on!!”
Mdou Moctar - Chismiten
Based out of a village in Niger, singer/guitarist Mdou Moctar was inspired early on by a local Tuareg music pioneer and Van Halen videos on Youtube. Chismiten makes a brilliant calling card for such enigmatic roots. Described as a "heady and unconventional melding pot of psych, 80s rock guitar pyrotechnics, electronic drums, field recordings, traditional Tuareg melodies and pastoral hymns", it fizzes with vitality and yet it could've been a long-lost early 70s gem.
Samantha Martin & Delta Sugar - I've Got a Feeling
If you're in the market for some quality gospel-fried rock n' soul – and certainly if you enjoy a bit of Beth Hart, or the more heartache-y side of Marcus King – you'd do well to check out these guys. Singer/mastermind Samantha carries notes of all the queen bees of worldly soul (Janis, Etta, Aretha...) while tastes of Otis Redding and Mavis Staples drop seamlessly into the song's silky yet sugar-free fabric.