Well. What an exciting battle that was.
After an entire week of frantic to-and-fro, Testify by Essex duo Where Rivers Meet triumphed over Suffolk titans The Darkness, whose Nobody Can See Me Cry single was just pipped at the finishing post. The Dust Coda's cover of Blondie's Call Me was a somewhat distant third, but they're all winners in our eyes.
This week's eight-legged Octopus Of New Rock is below. Don't forget to vote for your favourite using the handy poll at the foot of the page.
SATE - Howler
Touted as “a tongue-in-cheek middle finger to the people and systems that attempt to tame our wild as women”, this commanding take on blues rock from Sate (aka rising Toronto star Saidah Baba Talibah) is stuffed with dirty, groovy intent, and we like it a lot. It’s a bit like hearing Tina Turner jamming with Led Zeppelin and Royal Blood, with a few soul-freak twists and shouts. One to watch for sure.
The War On Drugs - I Don’t Live Here Anymore (feat. Lucius)
We’re continuing our weekly roll of rock (and...erm, roll) with the title track from War On Drugs’ upcoming album, because it’s a stunner. It’s got more of an 80s pop heart than previous record A Deeper Understanding (think Simple Minds meets Bruce Springsteen, in a stadium) but because this is War On Drugs and they think about these things, it’s no frothy, candyfloss affair. It’s airy and expansive, yes, but imbued with soulful intelligence.
Creamer - Hideaway
We've been keeping a reasonably close eye on Nashville's Philip Creamer as he continues to sprinkle melody-stuffed jewels all over his timeline like a generous stork delivering beautiful power-pop babies. Hideaway is, he says, "my take on an era of late 70’s power ballad that I love to jam when I’m on the coast." And very lovely it is, too, with tinkling piano and a big finish. Proper grown-up songwriting.
Doom’s Children - Heavy Year
Wade MacNeil can typically be found screaming his lungs out with hardcore punks Gallows, as well as post-hardcore group Alexisonfire. In the wake of some extremely tumultuous personal times (resulting in a rehab stint) he looked inward and went down a psychedelic, classic rock rabbit hole for solo project Doom’s Children. This dreamy, blissed-out marriage of confessional lyrics, uplifting melody and eastern motifs makes a strong opening case for this change of direction – paving the way for the full self-titled album, out next month.
Don Broco - Uber
Fuelled by anger at their experiences of racism in America (“Within the space of a week three separate Uber drivers were openly racist in front of us,” they’ve said, “I guess assuming as white guys we’d share their views”) Uber comes at you with a heavy body-slam of a riff that summons the metallic end of their influences (think Linkin Park, Deftones…). It’s not all bludgeoning assault, however, with areas of light and shade, and frontman Rob Damiani hitting delicate falsetto notes as well as big beefcake ones.
My Morning Jacket - Love For Love
Back with their first new music since 2015’s The Waterfall, My Morning Jacket had us gripped instantly with this hooky kaleidoscope of psychedelic haze and warm jam band vibes – all of it built on a tight chugga-chugga guitar hook (simple yet highly effective) that’ll keep you toes tapping. “Love Love Love is trying to steer the ship away from everything I’m talking about in [new album, out in October] Regularly Scheduled Programming,” says singer Jim James, “and speak toward positivity and pure love, finding truth within yourself and in the world around you.”
Jack Broadbent - I Love Your Rock 'N' Roll
A low-key boogie from English guitarist Jack Broadbent, who resolutely refuses to spoil the recording by either ramping up the volume or compressing the audio to the nth decibel. And by avoiding most of the pitfalls of modern production, it succeeds. I Love Your Rock 'N' Roll, you see, is a good song, and leaving it unadorned emphasises its goodness. It could be Canned Heat, or Little Feat, and - rather serendipitously - Jack will be hitting the road with the latter in the US this November. We imagine it'll be quite the occasion.
Chapell - Gold
Smoother than one of Don Johnson's Miami Vice suits, Chapell's super slick Gold is proper, parent-friendly pop-rock of the kind the conjures up visions of sports cars, expensive yachts and exclusive discotheques. With a chorus as buoyant as a balloon, it'll surely appeal to anyone who likes Fleetwood Mac, Steely Dan and the like. Or maybe it won't. Only time will tell. See you next week to find out.