We've run our Tracks Of The Week feature over over half a decade now. That's over 2000 recommendations, and you know what? It's always easy to find enough tracks to fill each week's allocation. Indeed, sometimes the hardest part of the process is whittling the shortlist down to a final eight.
And what have we learned? Well, apart from drawing the obvious rock-isn't-dead-no-really-just-look-at-the-evidence-you-idiot conclusion, it's the sheer variety of shapes musicians throw that continues to thrill.
This week is no exception. From the delirious rock-disco of Royal Republic to Kirk Fletcher's silky blues to The Struts' buoyant dalliance with Robbie Williams, it's eight tracks filled with thrills, surprises and intensity.
While we're on the subject of The Struts, it's congratulations to them for winning last week's vote, beating out These Wicked Rivers (opens in new tab) and Electric Hydra (opens in new tab) in a surprisingly fierce battle.
So before we get started on this week's selection (don't forget to vote at the bottom) here's their winning entry.
Royal Republic - Superlove
Bathtub full of rose petals? Check. Magnificent moustache? Check. Queen-nodding bass groove and I Want To Break Free flavours in the verse, mixed with stomping, singalong touches of Muse in the chorus? Check. Hell, while we’re at it, let’s have a whole fleet of petal-filled tubs and stick (moustachioed frontman) Adam Grahn in said tubs. Think Freddie Mercury meets American Beauty, at a disco.
Orianthi - Sinners Hymn
Seven years after her last solo studio album, Aussie virtuoso Orianthi (previously guitar-slinger with the likes of Alice Cooper, Michael Jackson and Richie Sambora) is back with this swaggered up first taste of her new record O. A bluesy, ballsy attack of Hendrix and grunge tones, its appeal is instant and bolstered with beefy hard-rocking dirt.
South Of Eden - The Talk
It’s winning, downright irresistible riffs like this that make us really miss gigs. Ohio’s South Of Eden (formerly operating under the moniker Black Coffee) have pummelled out this blistering barrage of charismatic, shut-up-and-listen rock’n’roll, with strident shades of Slash and Soundgarden. There’s more to come from these guys, so watch this space...
Blitzen Trapper - Requiem
A dulcet change of tone now with Portland’s masters of melodious, intelligent americana. The sort of soothing but upbeat tuneage to make you feel that all’s right with the world; for three and a half sweet minutes anyway. Like what you hear? Check out this and much more on the new album, Holy Smokes And Future Jokes, which is out now.
The Struts & Robbie Williams - Strange Days
The resonating ode to this weird year. The rousing chorus. The big, swirling strings. Robbie f***ing Williams… To say The Struts pulled out all the stops for this one would be something of an understatement. And guess what? They’ve nailed it. More than a bit reminiscent of Robbie’s solo work, as well as The Struts’ own track record of gleaming bangers, Strange Days is a warm, anthemic hug of a song. Find this and more on the new album, of the same name, out on October 16.
Gallows Circus - Medicine Man
Another winning shot of riffage now, in the form of moody, uptempo “blues-stained” hard rock from Kent now, with inviting echoes of Rival Sons (at their dirtiest and heaviest) and atmospheric grungy strains. Expect quality head-banging, pills crunching under boots and a brilliantly brooding, urgent chorus that'll stick in your head for days.
Kirk Fletcher - Ain’t No Cure For The Downhearted
Want some classy rhythm n’ blues in your life, with thoughtfully deployed displays of gorgeously loose (but bang-on-the-money) blues guitar virtuosity? Kirk is your guy. “This song is about people who shift the blame of all the things in their life that they regret,” Fletcher says. “People who judge their life by other people’s success or their so-called happiness.”
Code Orange - Down In A Hole (from Under The Skin)
It was our friends at Metal Hammer who first introduced us to these Pittsburgh nu-hardcore/metal mavericks. We absolutely love this powerful, enveloping Alice In Chains cover – recorded as part of their live MTV Unplugged-style streamed performance, 'Under The Skin', earlier this year. Missed the show? Worry not, it's out as a stand-alone digital album.