With talks aimed at solving the Ukraine crisis faltering, we have one piece of advice for the diplomats involved: Chill, dudes. And listen to some rock'n'roll.
Much like you did last week, ensuring that The Bad Day's Devil's Lullaby rose to the top of our Talent Contest Pyramid of Greatness, swiftly followed by Brave Rival's Guilty Love (opens in new tab) and Colours Of One's Bones Of Hope. And it was all done without border disputes, UN resolutions, or the wearing of clichéd Russian hats.
So here's your winning entry again, before we advance bravely into this week's competition. And don't forget to place your vote at the foot of the page. We count every one, you know.
Jack White - Fear Of The Dawn
If there's one thing that Jack White's Fear Of The Dawn makes clear, it's how much of a debt much of modern rock owes to his sound: the fuzzed-up riffs, the reckless disregard for complexity, the economy in attack. White's almost guilty of over-egging his own pudding on this one, embellishing the distortion with sundry squeals and screeches, but it's a gloriously wild ride, and it's all over before you can say, "I wonder what Meg's up to these days." It's also the title track of the first of two albums White is releasing this year: Fear Of The Dawn arrives in April, and Entering Heaven Alive follows in July. Bring 'em both on.
Mammoth WVH - Epiphany
Wolfgang Van Halen has released one of our favourite tracks of his as a single (from last year’s album Mammoth WVH), and it still absolutely kills. A catchy, Foos-y blend of introspective sentiments and upbeat rock energy, it’s arguably the most complete illustration of what he’s all about musically – in four and half more-ish, flab-free minutes. If you haven’t checked out the full album, do yourself a favour and rectify that.
South Of Eden - Lone Riders
The Ohio rockers (formerly known as Black Coffee) return to Tracks Of The Week with their first single as an independent operation – a driving riff-machine that makes us think of Guns N’ Roses wreathed in smoke. “Our goal is to help open the doors for rock in the modern era,” says singer Ehab, originally raised on Arabic music in Jordan before moving to America, and discovering the likes of Queen and the aforementioned GN’R. “We want to sound the way we hear rock’n’roll in our heads; vintage with a sprinkle of today.”
Reef - Wolfman
If you only know Reef for Place Your Hands (and of course there’s way more to their catalogue anyway), you’re in for a surprise. In keeping with the rest of their upcoming record, Shoot Me Your Ace, Wolfman is a heavy, balls-to-the-wall groovefest that finds singer Gary Stringer making like a feral Brian Johnson. Lupine vibes aside it’s all classic rock swagger with a snarl at its lips and a bottle in hand – if Rival Sons turned into mad pirates, they’d probably sound like this.
The Blue Carpet Band - The Slow Death Of Camden
On this new single, The Blue Carpet Band make a sound that’s a bit like the Cramps, at their heaviest, fronted by Jerry Lee Lewis (or ‘Little Richard fronting The Stooges’, as they put it). Frontman Djamel Abina says “Lyrically the song is a lament, where have the rock’n'roll bandits all gone? What has Camden Town become? The death of Camden reflects the death of London as the alternative capital of the world."
Seven Year Witch - Cyanide
Seven Year Witch came together in the backwoods of South Carolina, thrashing out cocktails of hard rock, blues-punk and 70s garage rock, all of which have led to this fuzzed up, biting new track. Capped off with a big ol’ chorus that rolls as much as it rocks, it tells “a tragic love story” (in sync with a video full of sad clowns and snatches of dysfunctional lives) and has an element of darkness that nods to the ‘witch’ part of their name, without veering into any kind of hokey cackling activity.
Ann Wilson - Greed
The Heart singer comes bearing the first taste of her new solo album, Fierce Bliss, and it’s a belter – a gorgeous, swooping swirl of guitars, heartland warmth and soul. And of course there’s her voice, a rich blend of grit, power and vulnerability that remains very much on top form after years in the business. “‘Greed’ is that thing in our animal nature that makes us want more,” Wilson says. “Whether it be money, sex, power or ecstasy, it fires our craving! It happens with all of us.”
Ray Wylie Hubbard - Naturally Wild ft. Lzzy Hale and John 5
Outlaw country legend Ray Wylie Hubbard (he wrote the classic Up Against the Wall, Redneck Mother back in the early 70s) has "done" rock'n' roll in the past, hooking up with Whiskey Myers for Die Rockin' in 2019. This time it's Naturally Wild, which barrels along like something from the more boisterous end of Tom Petty's ouvre, and he's called in John 5 for the solo and Lzzy Hale for some vocals. Such is Hale's commitment to her craft that she tends to elevate anything she touches, and this is no exception. We're also awarding bonus points for rhyming "black leather jacket" with "corporate racket". It's from Hubbard's upcoming album Co-Starring Too, which also features appearances from Willie Nelson, Steve Earle, Charlie Sexton, Steve Lukather, Ringo Starr, Ann Wilson (see above), Wynonna Judd and more.