As we end another European Championship with Italy victors and England set for further years of hurt, take solace in the fact that our Tracks of the Week feature produces a new winner every week, and it's frequently the underdog that triumphs.
Take last week, for instance. England's very own Inglorious triumphed over England's very own Vega, with Scots/English newcomers The Hot Damn! in third place. What's more, it all happened without any violence or Boris Johnson picking sides. It was quite the battle.
But we've already forgotten all that, and are instead focussed on a new tournament, with eight contenders ready and the air thick with the smell of muscle rub. First, though, here are last week's winner again: Inglorious, with their cover of the Miley Cyrus classic Midnight Sky.
The Record Company - How High
Tired of so much quiet time indoors this last year, bluesy rock’n’rollers The Record Company decided to get loud, outdoors, on this blistering first taste of their new album (called, appropriately enough, Play It Loud). Shot MTV-style up in some massive pile in Topanga Canyon, it’s precisely the antidote we all needed to combat them COVID blues. Kinda like The Black Keys’ Gold On The Ceiling with extra layers of 90s bling and California sunshine. And a swimming pool. We like it a lot.
Crown Lands - White Buffalo
The dynamic, shamanic duo (with the finest hair and most fabulous outfits in all the land) combine their penchants for complex Rush-isms and biting hard rock on this, the third instalment in a trilogy of songs about indigenous rights (very much on Canada’s news agenda right now). With freaky prog sensibilities wrapped up in a tight, three-and-a-half minute banger, it’s that rarest of joys – a totally weird track that rocks. For our money it’s the best thing they’ve done so far.
Mother Vulture - The Wave
It seems fitting that Mother Vulture’s new single was produced by a bloke called Josh Gallop. The Wave, it must be said, is all about the galloping – galloping that snowballs unstoppably into ferocious beefcake hard rock. That, in turn, escalates into feral hardcore screams for a deliciously fierce final impact, giving the sense of a band that could be Wolfmother’s slightly mad, metalhead little brother.
Lee Aaron - Vampin'
The ‘Metal Queen’ (born Karen Lynn Greening in Ontario) revels in chunky classic rock riffage and a highly singable melody on this hooky new one from her latest album, Radio On! (out on July 23). Part Aerosmith-y sass-fest, part 90s romp, it’s the sort of slick but sparky rock’n’roll that might go in and out of style, but remains very easy to like a lot.
Don Broco - Gumshield
The opening track from Amazing Things (out 17 September) packs a generous punch - aptly enough, given the brilliantly bizarro boxing world it inhabits. It’s a bit like watching Raging Bull meets the sex cult in Eyes Wide Shut, soundtracked by Linkin Park at their angriest. There’s also a dinosaur, just coz... why not?
As with all DB’s videos the actual meaning isn’t as literal as it seems (it’s actually about social media, and “the damned-if-you-do-damned-if-you-don’t nature of taking a position on issues online”) but it’s a fitting metaphor for the uncompromising weight and genre-fusing at work.
Ashley Sherlock - Been Here Before
Manchester blues rocker Ashley Sherlock makes his TOTW debut with the beefy, swaggering Been Here Before. With one foot in the British classic rock greats and another in the southern-fried protein of The Cadillac Three and Cory Marks, its appeal is simple and to the point without giving everything away – well worth a spin if you’re in the market for a new heavy blooze fix.
Nolan Potter's Nightmare Band - Gregorian Chance
Texan king of bedroom prog Nolan Potter is back with a piece of music that's as lovely as it is ambitious. Gregorian Chance is the sound of summer: the ocean lapping softly on the shore, the air thick with perfumed air, everything sweltering yet cool. Then there's flute solos, guitar solos, a fake fade, more flutes, and everything's swaddled in sound and everyone's very relaxed, thank you very much. We await new album Music Is Dead with an almost perverse degree of excitement.
Samantha Fish - Twisted Ambition
Twisted Ambition is slinky and funky and features a chorus that'll work its way into your skull like a trepanning drill. Throw into the mix a video in which Samantha smashes up some breeze blocks with a sledgehammer, and we're sure you'll agree there's much here to love. "It’s about flipping the power structure, the power dynamic, in your life," says Fish. "The world or a personal figure might be putting you down; it's about taking control and owning your life and owning the situation."