What a week it's been in rock'n'roll land. The UK's self-proclaimed No. 1 rock band SKAM lived up to their billing and won last week's Tracks Of The Week competition, while renowned guitar collector Joe Bonamassa came second with the extremely excellent Time Clocks.
Back in third place was Welsh-Australian string-wrangler Gwyn Ashton, whose Lonely On The Run beat out fierce competition from the five contestants who failed to mount the podium, so to speak.
So here's SKAM again. And then? It's off we go on another week of music you really ought to listen to before the almost inevitable arrival of next week.
SATE - Nobody
Rising Toronto star SATE is on hand to tear up your insecurities with this maelstrom of fiery soul-blues and driving chainsaw guitars. “I wrote this song because I was getting caught up in what others thought of me,” she says. “We determine our own worth. No one should ever take you for granted.” Toronto blues punks The OBGMs are the guys you’ll see jamming with her in the video (also well worth checking out if you haven’t already).
Robert Plant & Alison Krauss - High And Lonesome
These two have the sort of vocal chemistry that’s so natural and buttery-smooth you do wonder if there isn’t some sort of telepathy or spiritual hoodoo taking place. It’s an impression that’s enforced by this percussive yet luscious number that comes down upon your ears like rain after a heatwave. Check this out and more on their new album, Raise The Roof, which is out November 19.
Buckcherry - Gun
Part classic rock meat feast, part southern-fried, snake-in-my-boot hip shaker (harmonica flourishes included), this latest slice of Buckcherry’s ninth album Hellbound is attractive in an obvious way. It is very, very easy to enjoy right away. Frankly, on a Monday morning eighteen months into a pandemic, that’s exactly what we need. Their current tour comes to the UK in November.
Houndmouth - Make It To Midnight
Billed as a “hazy ode to fading romance” Make It The Midnight – the first taste of the New Albany, Indiana group’s upcoming album Good For You (out November 5) – paints the sort of concise, quietly devastating world of a great short story. It’s sort of alternative blues, sort of folky Americana with some end-of-the-night, not-quite-steady-on-your-feet vibes...but it definitely rocks as well, in a beautifully heartbreaking, intimate way.
Saint Agnes - Uppercut
“It’s the most honest song I’ve ever written and I hope, when we sing it together on tour, that we can silence those voices together,” singer Kitty A Austen says of this livid, ballsy horror-punk blast. “It’s also brutal as fuck and hits like an uppercut to the jaw, so that’s fun.” She’s not wrong. It’s a bit like the audio equivalent of being punched in the stomach while getting a serious motivational speech straight in your ear… or just losing your shit at a really great rock night for the first time in months. Sound like fun? They’re on tour in the UK this month.
Eric Bolton - The Home Light
With a voice that falls into a sweet spot somewhere between Eddie Vedder, Michael Stipe and Chris Cornell, Canadian singer/songwriter Eric makes a gorgeous job of this heartfelt rootsy pop rock ballad. “I wrote this song back in 2015/2016 in a time of leaving the church world I’d been brought up in,” he says. “I began trying to pursue that inner light that was real and honest. After coming out and learning to build a life that is authentic to me and my true self, now felt like the right time to release this song.”
Spiritworld - The Bringer Of Light
Spiritworld have a new song out, and it's very clever. First, it's clever because they've come up with a riff that falls somewhere between Metallica's Seek & Destroy and Slayer's Raining Blood. With bits of Mastodon. And second, it's clever because they've come up with a video that'll delight all those who bear witness to its scenes of terrible violence, scary ladies and whatnot. Led by the brilliantly named Stu Folsom (imagine having the same surname as a famous prison! It's like being called Darren Alcatraz!), whose "Death Western" vision is captured perfectly in the footage, Spiritworld are highly recommended for fans of guitars, growling and blood.
Blurred Vision & Mollie Marriott feat. Peter Frampton - Dear John
Released prior to the 'Dear John' charity show at the weekend - named for John Lennon and in support of the excellent War Child charity - Dear John finds UK/Canadian/Iranian proggers Blurred Vision line up alongside Mollie Marriott and Peter Frampton for a song that's as Lennon-ish as they come. The solos from Frampton are gorgeous, and there's a lovely (albeit brief) snippet of Penny Lane-style piccolo trumpet. "The fact that we still face the threats of war, inequality, injustice, poverty, division, hate, and all the things that John fought to end, is a great drive for me as an artist," says Blurred Vision's Sepp Osley, "and for the global community to keep working towards a better world."