Our Tracks of the Week competition: A place where Bastette (less than 3000 Facebook followers) can strike an almighty blow for the underdog by beating Journey (more than five million followers) into second place in our regular battle for rock'n'roll pre-eminence.
That's exactly what happened last week, with Journey's The Way We Used To Be losing out to Bastette's Talk About It, and Robert Jon & The Wreck's Shine A Light On Me Brother completing the toppermost trio.
So now that we've proved that miracles can happen, it's up, up and away with another edition of rock music's favourite weekly poll. Please leave your vote at the bottom, but not before you've heard last week's champion do their thing all over again.
The Dead Deads - First Tooth
We can’t get enough of this new one from Nashville hottest new trio The Dead Deads. Fittingly described as “hard rock TLC” by producer Matt Mahaffey (it also made us think of Weezer at their chirpiest, mixed with Bjork circa It’s Oh So Quiet), First Tooth sparkles, shines and rocks hard. A legit banger. And as bassist Daisy Dead adds: "Nothing says swag like a horn section." She is not wrong. Great video, too.
The Cadillac Three - Bridges
On their latest album, Tabasco & Sweet Tea, the Tennessee Fab Three got their funk on in a major way. We called it “a tripped-out, funkalicious ode to drinking, smoking and shagging”. Now they’ve paired Bridges – a loose, juicy highlight (think Tower Of Power on cornbread) – with funk’s natural bedfellow...erm skateboarding, as the band jam on ramps while prodigious skater star Jake Wooten flies up and down around them. Super tasty y’all.
The Hot Damn! - Dance Around
Featuring former Amorettes and Tequila Mockingbyrds, The Hot Damn! are on a mission to create that happiest of things: rock music you can dance to. With this catchy new burst of summer under their belts, they’re off to a strong start. It’s like hearing Springsteen’s Dancing In The Dark mixed with the bright, guitar-driven punch of Massive Wagons (not surprising, perhaps; Wagons’ guitarist Adam Thistlethwhaite co-engineered it) and spot-on harmonies. Lovably retro, not remotely trendy and all the more fun for it.
Smith/Kotzen - Solar Fire
Bruce Dickinson might be Iron Maiden’s howler-in-chief, but guitarist Adrian Smith proves just what a nifty set of pipes he has on this strapping blues rock number from Smith/Kotzen - his joint project with Richie Kotzen (Winery Dogs, Mr Big, Poison etc etc). Loose and classic-sounding, with just a hint of rootsy crunch in the verses that made us think of (Rich Robinson’s latterday lot) The Magpie Salute, it’s the sound of two rock big fish making something purely for the love of it.
Comet Control - Secret Life
A gloriously woozy yet groovy psych fest, offsetting bonged out vibes with caffeinated drums that elevate it to headbanger status. Formed in Toronto from the ashes of local stoner heroes Quest For Fire - and featuring Godspeed You! Black Emperor’s Sophie Trudeau - Comet Control will warm the hearts of those who like a bit of Spiritualized, Earthless or anything that’ll make you see freaky shit just by listening to it.
Pink Milk - Blue Eyes
Full disclosure; this is very much on the leftfield end of the Classic Rock spectrum, but we really like it so wanted to share it with you fine folk. Sort of like Sigur Ros meets the Cocteau Twins meets a Roadhouse headliner from Twin Peaks (with the ghosts from Scooby Doo and other spooky characters joining for the video), it’s an ethereal, cathartic breath of darkened air.
Inglorious - Midnight Sky
With last album We Will Ride, it seemed that Brit-rockers Inglorious had finally put themselves in a position where the people who hadn't taken them seriously thusfar might actually do so. So what better way to capitalise on your newfound position as a genuine force to be reckoned with than by launching an unexpected covers album and leading off with a version of a Miley Cyrus song? Whether this turns out to be a stroke of brilliance or an act of supreme self sabotage remains to be seen, but Midnight Sky bounces along like a kangaroo on cocaine, and frontman Nathan James proves once again that he can deftly handle any tune you throw at him.
Vega - Sooner Or Later
While we're on the subject of Inglorious, former guitarist Wil (now Billy) Taylor joined up with melodic rock's very own Vega last summer, and Sooner Or Later is the new relationship's first fruit. Singer Nick Workman describes the song as "a three minute slap in the face" and "a fun take on fake people who live their life in smoke and mirrors", but more importantly the band's sound has been beefed up and the whole thing rips and snorts like a bull charging an unprepared hiker.