Another week glides into being, and with it come the hopes and dreams of this week's entries in our Tracks of the Week competition. Think of it like every other awards ceremony, but not so long-winded or stupid.
Last week's better-than-everyone-else prize went to Danko Jones, with new song I Want Out clearly striking a chord with voters. Also performing well were Thundermother, who ode to touring life The Road Is Ours cranked its way into second position, while Rosalie Cunningham's Number 149 was straight in at number three.
This week's entries are below, but first, here's Danko once again.
Moon City Masters - Where You Wanna Run To
Another silky-smooth outing for the Moon City Masters twins, with brothers Talor and Jordan Steinberg once again conjuring up the sound and spirit of the 70s at its most bronzed. Where You Wanna Run To is Steely Dan sleek with a dose of Pacific Ocean breeze, the kind of thing that'll brighten any FM dial. Listen to this and you'll feel like you've just stepped off a yacht.
Daybreakers - Black Beatles on the Radio
With a riff pitched somewhere in the vicinity of The Stooges' 1969 and a sound that conjures up the MC5, it's a surprise to discover that The Daybreakers aren't from Detroit. No Sir, they're from East London, and Black Beatles On The Radio is an ode "to the originators of rock’n’roll: Memphis Minnie, Otis Blackwell & Sister Rosetta Tharpe." Singer/guitarist Aidan Connell has worked with the likes of Gary Clark Jr and Seasick Steve in the past (he also released a solo album, Grio, in 2017), and while the production might be a little meek, you can't damp the fire of such a performance. Jeff Beck's a fan, we're told.
The Dowling Poole - Slow Genocide (feat. Tony Wright)
We love a band that don't pull their punches and The Dowling Poole (Ginger Wildheart alumnus Jon Poole and Jackdaw4/Honeycrack polymath Willie Dowling) seldom do. Following January's Trump Chronicles EP – which included tracks like Keeping The Stupid Stupid and Fuck You, Goodbye – new single Slow Genocide switches the ire closer to home and targets the Tory party; "Their lies, their corruption, their cronyism, their law breaking, and now their authoritarian attempt to crush all dissent with Priti Patel’s Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill." If You're Happy And You Know It, it really ain't. Joining the fun is Terrorvision man Tony Wright, with the undoubted vehemence of the message dressed up in a surprisingly chirpy, occasionally Zappa-esque wrapping.
Ghosts Of Men - Tell Me Why
One day we'll stop treating two-piece blues rock bands as if they're a novelty, instead realising that it's the optimal size for any group of musicians and that any other configuration is a waste of money and van space. Until then, we'll continue to treat the arrival of songs like Tell Me Why, the new single from two-piece blues rock band Ghosts Of Men, with a degree of impressed surprise. Phrases like "Royal Blood" and "Queens Of The Stone Age" usually crop up at this point, but we're going to use the single word "Clutch" instead. A diesel-dappled delight.
Dorja - Ghost Town
London-based rockers Dorja (named after Captain Dorja, the Imperial Navy commander of the I-class Star Destroyer Relentless in the fleet of the Galactic Empire and later the Imperial Remnant from the video game Star Wars: Rebellion? Perhaps we'll never know) are another band for whom 2020's trials have proved to be something of an inspiration. The lyrics of Ghost Town reference "an apocalyptic state of the world and despair at the effect it is having on [our] industry," say the band, and while the verses might sound like an attempt to rewrite Portishead's classic Glory Box for a rock audience, the rest of the song crunches pretty convincingly.
John Coghlan's Quo - No Return
With a wink and a nod to the classic Status Quo anthem Caroline, No Return is another fine attempt by John Coghlan's Quo to fill a Quo-shaped gap for any former fans of the band disappointed in the real thing's recent output. Along with Lockdown – a Tracks Of The Week winner back in June of last year – No Return is being issued as an official single at the end of the month, and is exactly what you'd expect. The words "no", "nonsense" and "boogie" spring to mind.
Small Town Titans - 9 to 5
"Why can’t we drink just to get drunk?" plead Pennsylvanian trio Small Town Titans in their ode to working America, 9 to 5. "Why can’t we smoke just to get high?" Well, we dunno what the laws are like in your part of the world, STT, but the former is almost certainly allowed. Or is this more of a philosophical question? We suspect it is. Either way, 9 to 5 is an excellent piece of melodic rock'n'roll balladry, with subdued beginnings, a chorus bigger than a bulldozer, and a terrific vocal from lead Titan Phil Freeman. It's the kind of thing that'll almost certainly have audiences waving their cigarette lighters/mobile phone torches around willy-nilly once we're able to enjoy such activities again.
The L.A. Maybe - Sucker Punch
Back in January we featured The L.A. Maybe's excellent Mr Danger single, and now they're back again with four minutes and 16 seconds of turbo-charged, multiple barrel, overhead camshaft, high-grade, maximum BHP rock'n'roll. You can almost smell the petrol. And the sweat. If they weren't from the Carolinas you'd swear they were Australian.