Our brand new Tracks of the Week are here, which means we must forever banish last week's contestants into the digital ether. But not before we congratulate the victors.
Here's Mr Catalyst's winning entry, and then it's time to carry on with our epic search for the next rock'n'roll champion.
Christopher Shayne - NiceRide
Here in Blighty, no one ever knows what the fuck the weather’s going to do. Over in Christopher Shayne’s little piece of Arizona, however, it’s always sunny, which means we get singalong, Skynyrd-fried ditties like this to warm our chilly hearts. Like your favourite chocolate bar or Friday night takeaway, NiceRide doesn’t rewrite any rulebooks (and yes, the video is rather a predictable pretty-boy-meets-pretty-girl-with-beach sort of affair) but it makes the world feel like a safer place, if only for a moment.
The Moon City Masters - Starstruck
They’ve given us disco-friendly fodder, soulful romps, cool covers and more. Now the Steinberg twins are looking to the stars with this cosy, contemplative mix of Americana and moonlight – all pretty acoustic lines, harmonies and heavens-gazing ambiance. Say the band: “Ponder the universe or just snuggle with your person under the innumerable pin pricks in the fabric of spacetime that let the light in. Just take it easy and keep it mellow, like this tune does.” Yeah, man.
Novatines - Joyride
Described as “a declaration of war in sonic form, blazing with high octane guitars and adrenaline fueled drums, beaten into a mountain of sawdust”, Joyride finds the Brit four-piece channelling the sort of fiery, present-day disenchantment that fuels the likes of The Blinders and IDLES. Come for the grotesque Orwellian vibes in the video, stay for the head-banging, 90s-rocking chorus. Tasty guitar licks in the bridge section, too.
Tri-State Corner - Schemer
If you thought the bouzouki was only used to play ye olde Greek tunes in tavernas, think again. This Greek/Polish/German collective are mixing the distinctive, rhythmic melancholia of the traditional Greek instrument with...erm, hard rock. The result? ‘Bouzouki rock’. We weren’t sure at first but actually it works, we think. New single Schemer kinda made us think of The Hu, and there’s a moment in the verses that sounds a bit like Metallica doing the Chris Cornell Bond theme from Casino Royale.
Robert Jon & The Wreck - Shine A Light On Me Brother
We’re zipping back to the American south (via California, where these guys come from) for this party-primed blast of rock’n’roll, peppered with slide guitar, brass, thumping keys and gospel harmonies. It’s like hearing the Blues Brothers and Blackberry Smoke doing Proud Mary, in the desert. So familiar you’ll swear you’ve heard it before, and a whole lotta fun to boot. A new album of the same name is coming in September.
Bastette - Talk About It
Fans of Evanescence, Halestorm and The Pretty Reckless should check out this new one from Lancashire five-piece Bastette. Combining touches of synthy, symphonic grandeur with bruising guitars and heartfelt vocals, it’s a slick ode to “sleeping with the enemy and taking back control”. Like what you hear? Catch them on tour with Marisa And The Moths later this year.
Bros - Garbanzo Man
Another song from Bros, the brother-based spinoff from Canadian legends The Sheepdogs, Garbanzo Man benefits from a sun-dappled simplicity that makes it sound like an outtake from Paul McCartney's Ram album. Taken from the duo's upcoming second album Vol. 2, the cleverly-titled sequel to 2016's Vol. 1, it's probably the greatest song ever written about a superhero whose special power is chickpeas. Although it's possible our reading of the song title is too literal.
Journey - The Way We Used To Be
The first new song from Journey in a decade and the first from a line-up freshly augmented by the skills of American Idol judge Randy Jackson on bass, drummer Narada Michael Walden and keyboardist Jason Derlatka. And guess what? It still sounds like Journey. Which means that synthesisers parp, Neal Schon shines, the chorus soars, and Arnel Pineda still sounds exactly like a Journey singer ought to sound.