Hooray! Spring is here! Or, if you're in the southern hemisphere, hooray! Autumn is here!
Either way, a new season means new life, and new life brings with it new music, perhaps. It certainly does on this page, where we bring you the best new releases every single week, whatever the weather is doing outside.
But first, we must turn our attention to last week's battle for global rock'n'roll supremacy. Jon Coghlan's Quo triumphed over all opposition by a significant margin with the now prize-winning No Return, but Tell Me Why by Ghosts Of Men (opens in new tab) and The Dowling Poole's Slow Genocide (opens in new tab) (ft. Tony Wright) didn't lag too far behind. So congratulations to all.
And here's JCQ once again, and then it's on with the serious business of selecting this week's winner.
Mammoth WFH - Don't Back Down
Judging by the video for Won't Back Down, young Wolfgang Van Halen (all six of him) has a great future ahead of him as an actor should the music thing not work out, but every sign so far suggests that won't be a problem. Don't Back Down is slick and fully-formed, and manages to conjure up a sense of excitement in a way many try to but fail. It's the kind of song Dave Grohl writes for those moments when he thinks an audience might need an adrenaline boost.
The LA Maybe - Oh Sugar
Last week we featured the LA Maybe's excellent Sucker Punch, and look, they're already back with something new. Oh Sugar is another pearl, combining both rock and roll to devastating effect. Sure, there's a lot of AC/DC in the band's DNA (singer Alvi Robinson auditioned for AC/DC when Beano's hearing went south, apparently) but when the choruses are this memorable it's a cause for celebration rather than complaint. Debut album Dirty Damn Tricks came out on Friday, and very good it is too.
Bala - X
Spanish duo Anxela Baltar (vocals, guitars) and Violeta Mosquera (vocals, drums) are yet another addition to rock's growing list of lively duos, but while most pairings provide various spins on the blues-rock template, Bala are part grunge, part punk, all high-energy thrash and maximum sonic impact. X barrels along like the most exciting thing ever, which is what you'd expect from a band who formed in 2013 "with the sole purpose of having fun, playing at a very high volume and screaming together."
Billy Gibbons - West Coast Junkie
Three minutes of prime beachfront property from Billy Gibbons & Co., as the first fruit to drop from upcoming album Hardware proves itself to be something of a surf-rock sensation. It's got dancing girls, it's got Matt Sorum, it's got all three band members loitering with devious intent in the high desert, and it's as righteous as prime tequila mixed with holy water. Have mercy!
Crobot - Mountain ft. Frank Bello
We thought Crobot had completely changed their approach to music for a moment there, but no, it was just the soundtrack to a pre-roll ad for project management software. When the video actually started, we realised that Crobot haven't changed their approach at all. In other words they still rock, with riffs big enough to shift stuck container ships. It's from the band's upcoming Rat Child EP, which features Anthrax bassist Frank Bello (on this track) plus former Killswitch Engage man Howard Jones and Steel Panther drummer Stix Zadina.
Babe Rainbow - Your Imagination ft. Jaden
Rock'n'roll's favourite macadamia nut farmers are back with another one of their patchouli-scented songs. It's something from the more stoned end of their catalogue, a mile from the vibrant psychedelia of 2015 debut single Enchanted Broccoli Forest (still their best song) but only fractionally less beguiling. It might meander too much for some, but turn off your mind, relax and float downstream, and you'll almost certainly enjoy it. Hip hop's very own Jaden Smith guests.
The Cold Stares - Hard Times
Indiana duo The Cold Stares have featured in our Tracks of the Week roundup several times in the past, and their punchy blues'n'roll (think: The Record Company, The Black Keys, but rowdier) has always gone down well. New song Hard Times – the band's first since signing to the Mascot Label Group – doesn't mess with the formula. "Flat tire on my automobile," sings Chris Tapp, bemoaning his lot. "Black cat on my window sill/I can't even pay my bills/Got a fever and I'm feeling ill," he continues, adding to his litany of woe. The blues? They never went away.
Mixed Up Everything - Knucklehead
If you're the kind of person who frequents the internet, you may be familiar with Mixed Up Everything, four (count 'em!) Aussie brothers who've made a name for themselves on the streets of Melbourne busking hard rock covers. Well, these days they've got their own thing goin' on and are about to release their second album. Knucklehead finds a NWOBHM-esque riff backing a vocal that's pure 90s' grunge, and you can literally smell the rock'n'roll. New album I Choose is out in May.