If there's anything we learned from last week's Tracks of the Week contest, it's that you can't keep a good man down. We've drawn this conclusion because partying's very own Andrew W.K. triumphed in quite substantial fashion, leaving the other entrants trailing in his grubby-trousered wake.
So well done, Mr W.K. And congratulations, also, to Mr Myles Kennedy, for his silver medal, and to Messrs Attigliato, Pickering, Howard and Herrring, whose solid work with the Naked Gypsy Queens organisation was rewarded with a third-place finish.
Any now? Forward we go, with this week's competitors.
The Dust Coda - Jimmy 2 Times
TDC’s smokin’ new single struts like a peacock in Axl Rose’s biker leathers. It’s not reinventing anything – much like the shady, dice-rollin’ folks in Andy Morahan’s stylish video (he directed Guns N’ Roses’ November Rain, along with promos for Van Halen, AC/DC, Aerosmith and a tonne of major pop stars through the 80s and 90s) – but it’s a damn fine fusion of classic rock cool. Plus the brass blasts kinda made us think of Aerosmith's Dude (Looks Like A Lady), which is never a bad thing. Find this and more on new album Mojo Skyline, yours to own in full from 26 March.
Blackberry Smoke - You Hear Georgia
For a sweet but not saccharine start to the week – the sort that’ll transport you to some old sun-dappled porch in rural Georgia, with a generator and a kickass band – this is what you need. The first taste and title track from Blackberry Smoke’s next LP, You Hear Georgia finds them gravitating further towards an ensemble-y, Tedeschi Trucks Band-style feel, with extra players on slide and backing harmonies. Everything about it (the warmth, the effortlessness, the familiarity for anyone who’s been following their career) tells you you’re in good hands.
Chris Catalyst - The Ride
Featuring Jason Bowld from Bullet For My Valentine on booming, canyon-sized drums and Chris Catalyst on... well, everything else, this latest cut from Chris’s new album Kaleidoscopes follows up on the mission statement laid down by his (TOTW-winning) collaboration with Neil Gaiman, Make Good Art. The Ride is described as “a heartfelt address about how the creation and consumption of art continues to save us all and provide colour to our lives throughout these unprecedented times and beyond.”
The Datsuns - Brain To Brain
Remember The Datsuns? The Kiwis who were hailed as the second coming of Zeppelin and AC/DC (but actually also had a lot of the fuzzy dont-give-a-shit attitude of the Stooges and T.Rex) back in the early 00s? Well, they’re back, and as Brain To Brain confirms, they’ve still got hard rocking ammo to burn – only this time, with more of a trippy, psychedelic twist. And a brain, in a box.
The Middlenight Men - We All Need Help Before Tomorrow
More superhero shenanigans and power pop pizzazz now from Nick Hughes and his band of merry men (or rather Middlenight Men), described as “a commentary on the micro relationships that one can find themselves in as a single, emotionally vulnerable, musician on the road.” Still, for all the brooding undertones this is The Middlenight Men, which means it’s super fun, no one takes themselves too seriously… but the tune itself is still, like, bitchin’.
SKAM - Wake Up
Some wake-up calls are gentle (herbal tea, slowly opened curtains, an alarm tone that sounds like whalesong or rainwater or some shit like that). Others, like this catchy, no bullshit suckerpunch from SKAM’s new EP Intra – on which you can find a bunch more tasty hard rock cocktails like this – throw back the proverbial covers, thrust a mug of full-strength coffee into your hands and bellow ‘that’s right motherf***er, we’re doing this!’ Only, like, more fun and less scary than that may sound.
Saint Agnes - Vampire
While the production on Vampire doesn't do the song any favours – it's undeniably slick, but there's so much going on that it gets in the way of the melody – at least the band's usual mix of thumping modern rock and and electro-goth futurism remains vividly intact. Vampire comes from Saint Agnes's upcoming mini-album of the same name, which is, they tell us, littered with easter eggs and secret messages. So there's something to help while away the hours.
Derek Day - Fine Lines
Derek Day's voice may occasionally veer off towards the annoy-o-sphere – you'll know within seconds of his first line whether you can weather it, or otherwise – but you shouldn't let that get away of your enjoyment of a song that's otherwise got a helluva lot going for it. There's a quite beautiful harmonica line, guitars that wibble and wobble, keyboards that tinkle and toll, and a song of Devin Townsend-shaped ambition that doesn't let the crazed production get in the way of the melody. Nice one, Derek.