It's been another exciting seven days in Tracks Of The Week Land, but we're delighted to announce that the latest battle is over, with Elles Bailey's Riding Out The Storm emerging victorious from the fracas. So well done to Elles.
And well done to the vanquished, which included Ayron Jones' Blood In The Water and Michael Catton's Ready For The Takin'. Three solo artists on the podium, seven bands not on the podium.
What does this mean? We've no idea! But we'll try again – see below – and we'll keep an eye out for more exciting patterns to emerge from what we laughingly refer to as "the data".
The Heavy - Stone Cold Killer
Sweet, swinging 50s soul meets Black Keys-esque rock on The Heavy’s feelgood tale of brutal destruction. Okay, so the ‘stone cold killer’ in question is actually guitarist Dan’s new kitten, but who doesn’t love their rock’n’roll with a cute, furry little sadist on the side? “She's the cutest thing you’ve ever seen,” Dan says, “but an absolute enemy of every living thing in the garden. I’m talking total and all-out destruction of robins nesting, she’s a terror to everything around her.” The stuff of rockstar fantasies right there, people.
Saint Agnes - Bloodsuckers
And now for something completely different. Play Bloodsuckers loud and send your demons straight to hell in the company of Saint Agnes. There’s a white hot fury running through this – the fearsome, turbocharged title track of the London quartet’s next album – that reflects the trials and turbulence experienced by singer Kitty, following the death of her mother. Accordingly, you can pounding beats, juttering heavy riffs and roaring punk rage laced with venom screams. Brilliantly livid.
Mammoth WVH - Another Celebration At The End Of The World
Anyone who wondered if Wolfgang Van Halen’s 2021 debut was a fluke can rest easy – on the evidence of this latest single, it really wasn’t. Opening with a mini-movie in which Wolf wrangles band practise with a bunch of exasperating avatars (note: the song itself doesn’t actually start until two minutes and 40 seconds in), ACATEOTW reaffirms that he doesn’t just have good genes; he can write a f***ing rock song. Heavier than his previous work, it’s casually slick modern hard rock that isn’t afraid to rage and sweat a bit. Watch out for his next album, which is due in August.
Amy Montgomery - Change Change
Alanis Morissette and Nine Inch Nails vibes abound in this expansive new banger from Northern Irish songstress Amy Montgomery – a pounding, expansive alt rocker that feels simultaneously dystopian and ancient in an earthy, primal sort of way. Dark, twisty and anthemic all at once. Weird and welcoming. “Change Change is about realising the inevitable and in the face of uncertainty,” Amy says, “it is choosing to sing an anthem of courage.”
Jim Kirkpatrick - Union Train
On Union Train, FM guitarist Jim Kirkpatrick weaves juicy, jangling strains of Americana into his blues rock solo style. Think bluesed up British rock with its heart in Steve Earle’s Copperhead Road. “Union Train is a song I wrote about the Great Locomotive Chase of 1862 during the American Civil War,” Jim says. “I love American history and I was fascinated with the story of two opposing sides chasing each other on steam trains!” His new album Dead Man Walking is out next month, if you like what you hear.
Skindred - Set Fazers
Another colossal banger from the Welsh ragga-metallers, this time with dancehall feels and a sci-fi slant? Ohhh go on then. Hot off their next album, Smile (out in August), Set Fazers is chock-full of pummelling moshpit-ready heft, alongside a gloriously garish sense of theatre that makes their upcoming Kiss support slot feel totally right. Got rhythm? You’ll be busting a groove to this within seconds. And if you don’t, you probably will anyway.
Tyler Bryant & The Shakedown - Thunder
“I love how we each play off of each other in Thunder,” Tyler says of this slightly haunting, bluesy slice of the Shakedown’s new EP, Dirty Work. The stylish, catchy sound of a band revelling in their past and their present. “There are actually three main guitar tracks on this song: Graham’s track, my Strat track, and a resonator track. I think this song fully encompasses multiple vibes of The Shakedown: It’s rootsy, it rocks, and it feels good.”
Nita Strauss feat. Alice Cooper - Winner Takes All
Now that Nita Strauss is back in the bosom of Alice Cooper's band, it's only fair that she should release a solo single that features the great man himself. There is clear evidence of Rammstein DNA in Winner Takes All's riff, but elsewhere there's added power metal gloss and a vocal from Alice that's as frisky as a goat rubbing up against an electric fence. "After many years of lending my style of playing to Alice's music on stage," says Nita, "it was truly an honour to work together and hear his voice on one of my songs!" Nita's second solo album is due later this year.