In the thrill-a-minute ride that's life in the rock'n'roll fast lane, there's very little more satisfying than something the comes out of nowhere and blasts your expectations clean out of the water.
Such was the case with last week's Tracks of the Week selection, in which CJ Wildheart's magnificent State Of Us triumphed over a field that included no less a challenger than AC/DC. So well done to CJ.
What will happen this week? Will Bad Nerves overcome When Rivers Meet? Will Inglorious thrust their way towards glory, leaving The Dust Coda in their wake? Will Wolf Van Halen's Mammoth overpower Never Not Nothing and take the crown? Will the Nova Hawks spank Uncut?
There's only one to find out, and that's by listening to this week's choices, voting at the bottom, then returning here a week from today once he dust has settled. But first, here's a triumphant CJ Wildheart once more (and commiserations to Mason Hill and AC/DC, who finished second and third).
Bad Nerves - New Shapes
Mixing the caffeinated fizz of early Supergrass with the primitive gunfire and leather jackets of the Ramones, this East London lot have created the kind of sweet treat we could ingest all day (well, until we were sick, but up to that point it’d be amazing). All raw sugar and speed, New Shapes is everything we need on a Monday in the middle of November. So bad for you it has to be good.
The Dust Coda - Limbo Man
The latest fresh meat signed to Earache Records (home of Massive Wagons and Those Damn Crows, among many others), The Dust Coda are wasting no time in stepping up to the plate with this muscle-bound injection of shotgun guitars, soul-caked heft and menacing intent. It might have ‘limbo’ in the title but there’s nothing indecisive about this. Like what you hear? There’s a new album, Mojo Skyline, out in March. Get involved.
When Rivers Meet - Did I Break The Law
Some say you should keep your cherries on the top; a maxim adhered to by the Essex-based blues rock duo with Did I Break The Law, the smouldering, ballsy opening statement from new album We Fly Free. “This one’s got swagger – Bonnie & Clyde baby – we’re on the run!” they say. “Aaron’s slide guitar keeps this song thundering along. It’s all about the thrill of the chase and a sense of freedom.” Shweet.
Inglorious - She Won’t Let You Go
With new members and a fresh truckload of licks and high octane darkness at their fingertips, Inglorious sound like a band ready to get the f**k out of lockdown. “The song is about a girl who we met on a night out in Camden,” singer/mastermind Nathan James says, “she had flame red hair and a mean right hook...” Play it loud, and if you like what you hear there’s more to come with their new album We Will Ride.
Mammoth WVH - Distance
Few new faces in rock have bigger shoes to fill than Wolfgang Van Halen. Then the world heard Distance and got serious goosebumps. You could practically hear the collective sigh of ‘ok the guy can write a song, and play, and sing...’, especially when he goes into a higher register in the chorus. “I never intended Distance to be the very first piece of music people would hear from me, but I also thought my father would be here to celebrate its release,” Wolfgang says. “This is for him.” To say that Eddie would have been unbelievably proud feels trite, but also true.
Never Not Nothing - Upbeat Deadbeat
If you’re thinking this one sounds and looks rather familiar, you’re not going crazy; genre-mashing duo NNN were previously operating under the name Black Futures. If you liked what they did then there’s a good chance you’ll love this blast of industrial crunch, musings on human strife and dance-friendly electronics. If Daft Punk and Nine Inch Nails had kids, they might have sounded like this.
The Nova Hawks - Voodoo
Their debut album, Redemption, is out in February, but for now these blues rock’n’roll Brits have piqued our curiosity with their loud, stompy mesh of gothic roots, slide and delta-soaked mystique. And the video? Expect blood, crystal balls and axes at sunset. Fun for all the family, then.
Uncut - Highway To Cagne
When asked to do something interesting with a decent riff, the temptation for many a blues-rock band is to slow things down, to emphasise the doom and the dirge. Not so French scamps Uncut, whose Highway To Cagne rattles along at a velocity that's well in excess of any sensible speed limit. Singer Alexy Sertillange is keen to say that the song "stinks of sweat and beer", and while it's literally stuffed with cliches – a fact rendered almost comically obvious by the lyric video – it's nonetheless a filthy, turbo-charged, fuel-injected, high-octane, twin-turbo, overhead-camshaft, diesel-slurping mother-trucker of a song. Oh jeez. Now we're at it.