Roll up, roll up, for it's the show that literally never ends, For another week has passed and a new one hoves into view, bringing with it the very best new releases within rock music's crazy realm.
But before we adventure into this week's selection, congratulations to last week's triumphant trio: Thunder, whose Across The Nation (opens in new tab) crept into third place; Beth Blade and the Beautiful Disasters, whose Sin Eater (opens in new tab) claimed second on its own, and the mighty New Sol, whose now classic Flower Song topped last week's tree.
Here's this week's round-up. Don't forget to vote!
Marcus King - Hard Working Man
At the relatively tender age of 26, South Carolina’s Marcus King has conveyed more sophisticated, soul-drenched class and heartache than many musicians twice his age. So it’s a joy to find him on such loose form – like, devil-may-care, just-rolled-up-in-a-Harley style. Taken from his new Dan Auerbach-produced record, Young Blood, Hard Working Man drips with 70s sass and Black Keys-y boogieing. He sounds his age for once, in a really good way.
Classless Act - Time To Bleed
Gearing up to open for Def Leppard and Motley Crue this summer (on their covid-postponed mega tour of North America’s stadiums), Los Angeles’ latest band of cocksure sleaze-mongers carve out some prime-cut riffage and 80s sparkle on Time To Bleed. Previously an oddball solo artist roughly in the mould of Devin Townsend and Frank Zappa, singer Derek Day revels in the straight-up fun and frippery of his new post. Good times.
Moon Tooth - Alpha Howl
One for when you just need to be pummelled by some really intense, driving guitars and emotive vocals. Moon Tooth have fucktonnes of both in Alpha Howl, with singer John Carbone conveying the powerful relief of “finding your true purpose”. Plus the Goodfellas-inspired video is a nicely violent match for the weight of the music. “Touring all these years, sleeping on filthy hardwood floors in punk houses,” Carbone says, of finding his own purpose in music, “wearing the same sweat-drenched show clothes from days ago, I sleep like a baby because my heart, mind and spirit are nourished.”
IDestroy - Jellyfish
The Bristol trio keep things simple on this grungy, kinda punky pop rocker. Yes the title seemingly refers to the bitchy, jellyfish-y brand of human most of us have encountered… but that’s harder to convey in a budget-friendly video, so they employed a winning combination of hand claps, 80s school disco backdrop and an actual big (fake) jellyfish. Like we say, it is dead simple – ‘jellyfish / you sting me like a bitch’ – but that never stopped plenty of rock’s finest. Sharp, sweet and super effective.
Lickerish Quartet - New Days
The second instalment from the Jellyfish alumni’s Threesome Vol. 3 EP, New Days finds keyboardist/multi-instrumental whizz Roger Joseph Manning Jr on lead vocals; the dulcet driver of this blissed-out swirl of luscious pop and psychedelia. As one of our colleagues just put it, “it only takes a few seconds and you can't help but smile!” Gorgeous.
Crobot - Set You Free
There’s a moment when Brandon Yeagley sings these verses that makes us think of Oasis’s Wonderwall. Which is weird, because this freakoid bunch of funk-grunge-stoner beardos are about as unlike Noel, Liam and co as Kiss. But of course it doesn’t last. Teamed with a video full of burning pianos, night skies and blistering performances from the four amigos, Set You Free is a full-pelt rocker with a brooding, broken heart – built on a colossal chorus and a cathartic resolution. One of their biggest tunes yet, in a refreshingly unobvious way.
Bob Vylan - Wicked And Bad
There's at least four tracks on the second Bob Vylan album that are breath-takingly good, and new single Wicked And Bad might not be one of them, but it's still the most exciting thing you'll hear this (or many other) weeks. Furious, funny, and filmed in Jamaica, the video matches the song's punk-rock-with-grime-beats sonics with plenty of action, including a homemade flamethrower. That album Bob Vylan Presents The Price Of Life is out now, and it's excellent.
Cats In Space - Poke The Witch
At the other end of the rock spectrum, Cats In Space are still the leading occupants of the melodic-rock-meets-musical theatre section in your local record store, and new single Poke The Witch – announced in February and now backed by a slick video – is more evidence of the band's way with a tune. It's relaxed, it's got twin guitars, it's sounds a bit like ELO in places, and it's as joyous as a three chipmunks on a trampoline.