Barely has the dust settled on last week's Tracks Of The Week competition, when a new set of hopefuls arrive to do battle. It's the kind of frantic, fevered activity that keeps TOTW so exciting.
Before we launch ourselves headfirst into the new week, congratulations are due to last week's champion Troy Redfern, and his official, contest-winning single Sanctify. Troy beat out stiff competition from Tremonti's Marching In Time and The Stranglers' If Something's Gonna Kill Me (It Might As Well Be Love) And if you weren't paying attention, here's Troy's winning entry again.
The Darkness - Motorheart
Having kicked a lot of arse with 2019’s riotously good fun Easter Is Cancelled, The Darkness are back with the title track and first taste of their next album. Based on the hooky, hard rocking marriage of riffage, rhythm and robots – with surprising but effective prog guitar flashes – we have high hopes for the full thing (out in November). Plus there are few bands who can pull off a line like ‘You need a Philips Screwdriver to get her undressed’ and not misfire horribly, but these fellas manage it with aplomb. Huzzahs all round!
The Wildhearts - Sleepaway
One of the softer, happier numbers on The Wildhearts’ brilliant new album 21st Century Love Songs – i.e. still f***ing livid by most bands’ standards – mini-epic Sleepaway swirls bright swathes of power-pop, rock, punk and terrace-style shouts and a burst of 60s sunshine into one sprawling (yet ultra catchy) package. At once rough-edged, eclectic and anthemic, it'll lift you up and break your heart with on-the-nose lines like 'there’s a difference between being lonely and being on your own’. The video is adamantly not for the squeamish though. You have been warned.
Jaekonotnice - Take Sides
Like father, like son? Jaekonotnice - or, as he styles it, JAEKONOTNICE - is Ginger Wildheart's eldest, and while his dad tends tends to get where he's going without much delay, very little happens during the the first minute of Jaekonotnice's Take Sides video. But stick with it, as when launch velocity is finally attained it all comes together nicely, with guitars spiralling atmospherically round like US post-punk greats The Wipers, but with Slowthai filling in on vocals for Greg Sage. Watch this space, we very much advise.
The Velveteers - Motel #27
“This song was inspired by a crazy motel we stayed at in the middle of the desert,” explains Velveteers lead singer/guitarist Demi Demitro, of this frenetic, feral blast of raw rock and stylish chaos (part of the Colorado trio’s debut album, Nightmare Daydream, which was produced by Black Keys man Dan Auerbach). “Our stay there felt like a weird fever dream. The next day Baby [Pottersmith, drummer] wrote a poem about our experience and that inspired the lyrics for this song.” Like it? Live in Colorado? They're supporting Guns N' Roses this evening in Commerce City.
Ryan Hamilton - Permanent Holiday
Expansive heartland and warm, summery pop come together harmoniously on Ryan Hamilton’s brand new single. It’s set to be released as part of a collection at the end of the year. “It's so crazy, what we're all living through,” Hamilton says, of the song’s inspiration. “Everytime we think we're just about out of the woods, it's like the Universe goes, 'Nope! Not yet'. This song is definitely about escaping. But for me, it's more about escaping the tortures of Mental Health related struggles. If there was a highway to paradise... or 'holiday' to on the weekends... with the option to stay forever. Wouldn't that be nice?” Well, quite.
Sweet Crisis - Ain’t Got Soul
You want soul? We’ve got soul right here for you folks. We’ve had our eye/ear on these Cambridge rockers for a while, and with a mature, assured debut LP now under their belts – including this textured, stompy mix of classic soul, strings and 70s rock vibes with a millennial twist – they’re tying together the unctious ingredients they’ve spent the last few years cultivating. “Ain’t Got Soul is one of my favourite songs,” guitarist Piers says. “It perfectly captures everything great about the band – catchy melodies from Leo, dirty, driving groves from Joe and Matt, soulful keys from Dom, and I get to lay some killer riffs and solos!”
Our Man In The Bronze Age - Midnight Lovers
From that international hotbed of desert rock, Milton Keynes, Our Man In The Bronze Age offer yet more proof that rock is always improved by the addition of a second drummer. Midnight Lovers is thunder in a bottle, with churning riffs and the kind of epic grandeur you usually only find in ancient megalithic ruins. It comes from the upcoming Hexed Endeavours album - out this October on Fr33zehead Records - and if they don't follow that with a tour with Queens Of The Stone Age we'll be very disappointed. Just imagine the posters.
Mountains of Madness - Bitches Brew
This Tasmanian three-piece sound like they’re having more fun than literally anyone on this heavy, groovy hit of Sabbath fanboy vibes, thickly spread sludge and industrial quantities of beer. ‘I’m gonna get sideways tonight!’ they roar in the chorus. It isn’t hard to believe them. Exactly the sort of mad, beardy hard rock you’d hope for from an album called Hold My Beer (their first full-length one, go check it out if you like what you hear).