What a battle it was last week! After a full seven days of fierce online jousting, Sweet Crisis's Ain't Got Soul narrowly beat out The Wildhearts' x-rated Sleepaway (opens in new tab) to triumph in one of the tightest battles we've ever seen. Bringing up the rear were The Darkness with their smash hit Motorheart (opens in new tab), but they're all winners in our eyes.
And now, onwards. But before we embark on this week's rock battle royale, here are Sweet Crisis, and there now-award-winning Ain't Got Soul.
The Record Company - Out Of My Head
One of the bluesier cuts on the LA trio’s new album Play Loud – produced by Grammy-winner Dave Sardy (Oasis, Wolfmother, Modest Mouse, LCD Soundsystem) – Out Of My Head takes the sort of garage-y blues rock that permeated their first two records and gives it a jutting, swaggering, Jack White-esque facelift. Based on this we’d say that the album was aptly named: you will want to play this shit loud.
Cruel Hearts Club - Sink This Low
Sisters Gita and Edie were raised in a family of ten by an ocarina craftsman in Norfolk. Their musical beginnings were classical but they went on to attract support from the likes of Sting, Iggy Pop and The Libertines. Forming CHC with drummer Gabi in 2019, they set about cultivating a punchy sound that’s reached something of a highpoint with this stompy, ballsy new number that makes us think of Brody Dalle fronting T.Rex, at a grunge night.
Halestorm - Back From The Dead
Holy crap! Halestorm are back, and they’re raging – in exactly the full-pelt, cathartic sort of way we could all use these days. “This song is personal and written from a mental health perspective,” banshee howler-in-chief Lzzy Hale explains. “I wanted to give myself and the world a hard rock song we could shout out loud as the gates opened again. I was on the edge of this world getting completely lost in oblivion, but even though it was the harder of two choices, I didn’t just let the darkness and depression in my mind dig me an early grave.”
Bastette - Rollercoaster
Driving, expansive and moody without being morose, this finds the Lancashire rockers capitalising on their Evanescence-y ingredients with a twist of northern grit. The sound of a band who’ve found their mojo. “Most people can relate to the desire of chasing a thrill, whether that’s riding too fast on a motorbike or going to a gig,” singer Caroline Kenyon says. “I think this particular song expresses those powerful desires. It describes a passionate, yet poisonous relationship intertwined with a mutual obsession for music, leather and sex.”
Jail Job Eve - Mid-Flight
A cut above your average band of bluesy nostalgists, this lot from Osnabrück, Germany, have fire in their bellies and balls by the caseload (even singer Victoria Semel) on this charismatic, Cuban heel-stomping mesh of organ whirls, raw-throated vocals and swaggering early 70s riffage. If the likes of Rival Sons, Blues Pills and DeWolff are your jam, you’ll definitely want to check this lot out.
Mother Vulture - Rabbit Hole
The Mad Hatter’s tea party gets a manic, messed up makeover on the video for the Bristolian blues-punk mavericks’ new single. Sonically it makes us think of Wolfmother, MC5 and the Glorious Sons mashed up in some sort of blender, with a sprinkling of hardcore menace. It’s ferocious stuff. Fiercer than a cageful of feral tigers straining to break free and tear into the next piece of meat that comes by… or something.
Grace McKagan - One You Love
Duff McKagan's daughter Grace is something of a rock'n'roll veteran, having already left one band - synth pop punks The Pink Slips - on her way to becoming a solo performer. Third single One You Love is a garagey, grungy, somewhat gothy affair, and was, says Grace, inspired by the power of love. "Love can be passionate," she says, "and heart-breaking, frustrating and beautiful, mystical, heavenly, heavy, confusing, illogical ...like a dream." And so say all of us.
Crazy Lixx - Anthem For America
Has America forgotten how to rock? If you ask boisterous Swedish loons Crazy Lixx, they'll almost certainly say yes, as new single Anthem For America attests. “It's a tongue in cheek reminder of how the US used to be the greatest rock’n'roll nation in the world," says frontman Danny Rexon, "and it's up to the kids of today to 'Make America Rock Again'." Anthem For America was filmed at a drag strip, contains cheerleaders, sounds like it was beamed in from 1985, and couldn't be more American if were a baseball-playing, apple pie-eating, Harley Davidson-riding bald eagle.