Tracks of the Week: new music from Reef, Smith/Kotzen and more

Tracks of the Week artists
(Image credit: Press materials)

We lead this week with the news that former Duran Duran guitarist Andy Taylor is now a full-time member of West Country rockers Reef. Evidence of this unexpected partnership can be found in our first Track Of The Week selection below. 

But first, congratulations, to last week's titanic triumvirate: to London-based rockers Hawxx, who snatched the bronze medal from the teeth of Jack White with their Death Of Silence single. To the Kris Barras Band, who mobilised their considerable social media behind My Parade to soar into second place. And to FM guitarist Jim Fitzpatrick, whose Dead Man Walking took the main prize by a comfortable margin.           


Reef - Shoot Me Your Ace

Newly joined by Duran Duran guitarist Andy Taylor, Glastonbury’s finest appear to have written a love letter to the colossuses of classic rock and metal – Paranoid-esque guitar chug here, Bon Scott banshee edge there, sprinkling of Motorhead… Not what you might have expected from the minds that gave us Place Your Hands and Rio, basically. “The universe has put all the pieces into place for us,” says founding bassist Jack Bessant. “This line-up, these five guys, is just one big ball of energy that we managed to bottle. It feels like the start of a new chapter for us - Reef Mk II.”

Girish & The Chronicles - Lovers Train

On Lovers Train these Bangalore rockers add Def Leppard-meets-Europe synths and sparkles to their beefy 80s backbone. A power ballad with actual power and a screaming, gleefully flashy guitar solo, it’s so of-that-era you can practically feel your own hair perming as you listen. Melodic rock? Hard Rock? Heavy metal? Call it what you like (and really it’s a mixture of all those), it scratches all kinds of musical itches.

Goodbye June - Three Chords

Part Rolling Stones strut, part Bon-era AC/DC, Three Chords is literally composed of three chords (A,G and D), and doesn’t seem to lose any juice as a result. “Three Chords ties a thread between family and two seemingly very different worlds [the church and rock'n'roll],” the band say, “but what we discovered while writing it was that these worlds are beautifully similar when you look through the lens of the musicians on stage..”

Robert Plant & Alison Krauss - It Don’t Bother Me

Krauss takes the lead on this Bert Jansch cover, pairing with the Led Zeppelin singer to create a sumptuous swirl of bluegrass, folky mystique and Appalachian ambience. “I’ve been a big follower of Bert Jansch’s work since I was a teenager,” Plant says, of the decision to include the track on their new album (comprising blues, country and folk deep cuts) Raise The Roof, “and of that whole Irish, Scottish, English folk style that has a different lilt and different lyrical perspective. I was very keen to bring some of that into the picture.”

Dangereens - Love Jive

Montreal’s Dangereens mix 70s junkshop glam with 50s rock’n’roll vibes and enough glitter to make Marc Bolan look positively minimalist. This new one’s a little less glittery by their standards, but it’s a gear-shift that suits them well: a heart-warming, jangly stomp, it’s sort of like hearing Thin Lizzy with the pedal-steel warmth of early Steely Dan, bathed in Southern rock sunshine.

Smith/Kotzen - Better Days

Why release one cracking record in a year when you can release two? Just ahead of Record Store Day, Messrs Adrian Smith and Richie Kotzen have debuted the title track of their new four-track EP, and it’s ace. A groovy, pensive rocker that finds both guitarists/singers enjoying just the right amount of fretboard heroism (between the two of them they could have easily done something way more indulgent) and, as with their self-titled LP, never letting chops get in the way of the tune.

Sons Of Liberty - Don’t Hide Behind Your Weakness

Galloping forth like a joyfully grizzled, Jack Daniels-swigging band of cowboys, or pirates (cowboy pirates?) Sons Of Liberty mix shots of Molly Hatchet and Black Stone Cherry with a dash of 80s Sunset Strip bitters on this latest piece of album Aces & Eights. “We all know someone who has trouble expressing themselves or are not able to face challenges for one reason, or another,” says singer Rob Cooksley, of the lyrical drive. “This song is inspired by a friend of the band, who pushes through and is strong enough to both confront and overcome their fears.”

De Staat - Numbers Up

News from the ever-bewildering world of Dutch rockers De Staat, whose new single Numbers Up continues the band's journey into music's more peculiar corners. With a fuzzed-up riff and Art Of Noise-style synth stabs, it bodes well for whatever it is they do next. And what's that? Well, we don't know, but apparently they're categorising everything by primary colour from now on: Red is dark, yellow is light, and blue is melancholy. Numbers Up is yellow, and is either one track of a three-track EP, or one of three simultaneously released singles, depending on who you pay attention to. Perhaps it's both.

Polly Glass
Deputy Editor, Classic Rock

Polly is deputy editor at Classic Rock magazine, where she writes and commissions regular pieces and longer reads (including new band coverage), and has interviewed rock's biggest and newest names. She also contributes to Louder, Prog and Metal Hammer and talks about songs on the 20 Minute Club podcast. Elsewhere she's had work published in The Musician, delicious. magazine and others, and written biographies for various album campaigns. In a previous life as a women's magazine junior she interviewed Tracey Emin and Lily James – and wangled Rival Sons into the arts pages. In her spare time she writes fiction and cooks.