Welcome to Tracks of the Week, your one-stop stop for the very freshest in awesome rock'n'roll. We've listened to this week's many dozens of possible candidates, and eight worthy contestants have risen above the horrendous and the humdrum, presenting themselves as possible champions of this week's battle.
But first, last week. In third place were Eric Gates and Joe Bonamassa with I Want My Crown, while another pairing - Well Hung Heart & GayC/DC - grabbed the silver medal with their version of AC/DC's It's A Long Way To The Top (If You Wanna Rock 'N' Roll). Which all means that congratulations are to be accorded to the triumphant Dan Reed Network, whose Starlight single pipped them both.
Please vote for your favourite from this week's choices at the foot of the page.
Royal Republic - Back From The Dead
You know how some songs (deliberately or otherwise) make you wait a while, before they get to the point? The good bit? Sort of like playing hard to get, in musical terms? Well, Royal Republic are the opposite of that. Musical tarts, if you will, showcasing their megawatt charms from the first beat – as exemplified by this funkalicious turbo-boogie. Their PR people tell us it’s “just in time for the spooky season”, but honestly (apart from the title and a couple of pantomime ghost ‘oooo!’s) that isn’t the point here – it’s just fast, highly addictive, having-the-best-time-ever rock’n’roll.
Jim Kirkpatrick - Dead Man Walking
The FM guitarist co-wrote this new solo track with Bernie Marsden, explaining: “I happened to visit Bernie last summer to do a bit of writing. He played a Celtic, Rory Gallagher-esque riff that sounded amazing. I asked him if I could use it and he kindly said yes.” Said riff became the opening gambit for Dead Man Walking, paving the way for a warming shot of bluesy classic rock, with a twist of the American south.
Dead Sara - Gimme Gimme
Fancy early 00s nostalgia, with attitude and a fresh lick of paint? Give the LA trio’s new single/video a try. Another banger from their uber-cool pop rock return Ain’t It Tragic, Gimme Gimme has the sort of fuzzy guitar tone and swagger that wouldn’t sound out of place on a Royal Blood or Bones UK record. As a whole it kinda made us think of The Killers mixed with Royal Blood, if Karen O fronted them – and the video was shot in the 90s. Fun stuff.
Hiss Golden Messenger - Grace
M.C. Taylor’s new Christmas song will rewire any sceptical preconceptions about festive tunes. Less jingle bells, more cerebral americana. Conceived and written in late 2020, its parent album, O Come All Ye Faithful, is a considered “meditation on grace, loss, hope and community”. This is one of the originals, offering a classy yet light, sun-dappled alternative to the sort of musical horrors the holiday season can inspire. “Grace is about keeping a light for those that are struggling or lost or confused or grieving,” Taylor says. “My friends Nathaniel Rateliff, Aoife O’Donovan and Sonyia Turner help me on the choruses.”
HAWXX - Death Of Silence
A statement of solidarity, HAWXX’s new single was originally inspired by the MeToo movement, but with its big, metallic riffs and furious beats, it should go some way to exorcising whatever demons or bad juju you’re carrying around. “Of the 24 people who worked on the video, 20 were female, including our amazing Director of Photography, Sarah Smither,” director Noomi Yates says. “Normally film crews (just like rock bands) are pretty male-dominated, so this experience was a rare and treasured one for all involved.”
Kris Barras Band - My Parade
Flanked by a troupe of fire-brandishing acolytes in torn denim, tattoos and black fishnets (part Suicide Squad, part Mad Max) and a bloke in a Guy Fawkes mask on a bicycle, Kris goes full hard-rock on this strapping taste of his upcoming album – the first with this latest incarnation of the KBB. Co-written with Blair Daly (previous co-write credits include songs by Lynyrd Skynyrd, Halestorm and Kip Moore, among many others) it has the sort of earworm chorus that you just know will be a mega singalong staple in his live sets.
Jack White - Taking Me Back
Just when you thought Jack White had done everything he possibly could, here he is with a single taken from the soundtrack of the upcoming video game Call of Duty®: Vanguard. It's got guitars that sound like keyboards and keyboards that sound like guitars, with a production that's an unlikely mix of primitive and ProTools. Still, there's probably no better noise to have pumping into your skull as you fight for victory across the Eastern and Western Fronts of Europe, the Pacific, and North Africa.
Sticky Fingers - Saves The Day
Like fellow Australians Ocean Alley, Sticky Fingers mine a seam of reggae-tinged psych rock that's built for the beach. It's undeniably lightweight and almost embarrassingly commercial - the kind of thing Noel Gallagher might have come up with had he grown up smoking spliffs and listening to Bob Marley rather than The Beatles - but it's beautifully played, and manages to conjure up a certain kind of bliss with it's relaxed, sun lounger groove. May prove popular with hippies.