The Devil has all the best tunes, they say, but Christendom's favourite glam rockers Stryper have proved this to be outright fallacy with a resounding victory in our most recent Tracks Of The Week competition. Their Transgressor single triumphant, it would appear that the yellow and black attack is thoroughly back, and for that we should all be grateful.
So congratulations to them, and to our runners-up: Mammoth WVH's Talk & Walk and Joanne Shaw Taylor's Just No Getting Over You (Dream Cruise). And then it's on with this week's business, and business is rockin'.
The Hot Damn! - Live Laugh Love
The Hot Damn! earn their exclamation mark on this joyful, technicolour burst. Singer/guitarist Gill Montgomery comments: "It’s a parody of those motivational signs which were very popular in kitchens in the late noughties. There's a lot of doom and gloom in the news but we want to spread a little cheer.” And spread it they do, like thick layers in an ultra-riffy, supersized cheese sandwich on cheesy bread, with a side of cheese and cheesecake for dessert – in the right way. It’s as if The Darkness teamed up with Pat Benatar and bonded over Blink 182 hits (hey, it could happen…). So bad for you it has to be good.
Austin Gold - Mountain
Peterborough rockers Austin Gold return with the first taste of their next album Those City Lights (out on November 4), and it’s a cracker. A soaring, classy swirl of commanding riffs and sweet melody, shot through with expansive keyboards – familiar yet rousing stuff that’ll lift even the heaviest of hearts. If you’re already a fan you’ll love this (it very much builds on the juicy highlights of 2017’s Before Dark Clouds and 2019 mini-album Austin Gold). Nice.
Massive Wagons - Please Stay Calm
This is one of our favourites from the Wagons’ Triggered! record (out October 28), so we were pleased to see it unleashed ahead of release day. Striking a wistful note not previously seen in their catalogue, Please Stay Calm is a total beaut, mixing Def Leppard tones, gazing-out-of-window vibes and a heartfelt, highly singable chorus. It’s still music you can dance to, just at a gentler sway rather than all-out moshpit style, and doesn’t every party need a bit of that? Goodtime fare with a contemplative heart.
Ginger Wildheart & The Sinners - Footprints In The Sand
“Footprints was the first song we ever wrote together,” guitarist/singer Neil Ivison says. “Nick, Ginger and I sat at a picnic table outside the studio, in the sun with a beer and a piece of paper… we put the song together in about 20 minutes. Then we went straight into the live room and recorded it exactly as you hear it now, the whole thing took just a couple of hours from start to finish. That’s when things started to get really exciting for me.” Listening now, you can see why. With its heartwarming melody and the sort of gauzy harmonies that seem to beam straight in from the sun, it’s another gem from Ginger’s rootsy new family.
Ugly Kid Joe - Failure
With something of an old-school AC/CD vibe, Failure succeeds by allying a riff to a chorus, much like the great bands of yore. It thrusts, and it pummels, and it swaggers, but it's also got a melody the plumber might sing as he's fixing the shower. New UKJ album Rad Wings Of Destiny (geddit?) is another nod to rock's illustrious past, while a third comes in the shape of guitarist Dave Fortman's Stryper t-shirt. See? We told you they were back.
Troy Redfern - Sweet Carolina
On Sweet Carolina (no, it’s nothing like Neil Diamond’s wedding disco perennial Sweet Caroline, rest assured…), British blues rock slide-guitar dude Troy Redfern makes like a stompy, Stones-y Marc Bolan with a bottleneck and a bottle of hard liquor close by – good n’ loud, bit of a snarl but super-catchy. Fans of the now-defunct Biters might also detect a hint of Tuk Smith in Troy’s vocals. More where this came from on Troy’s new album The Wings Of Salvation, which is out now.
Crobot - Golden
“’Golden is a soaring homage to a god-gone-too soon,” singer Brandon Yeagley says, of the Pennsylvania beardos’ moody and fittingly Soundgarden-esque ode to Chris Cornell. “When it came to the lyrics, we collectively wanted it to be a tribute to Chris Cornell. We are so influenced by everything he and Soundgarden have done. We ran with the song in honour of his legacy." It’s another side to them that beautifully offsets the fantastical, full-pelt, party-all-night-with-wizards vibe of their earlier material. Catch them live in the UK with Airbourne and Blues Pills in December (what a bill, right?).
Weezer - What Happens After You?
Having moved on from naming their albums after colours, Weezer are now three quarters of their way through a four-album project whose titles come from the seasons of the year. Spring came out in the spring, Summer came out in the summer, and now that autumn is here, Autumn is here. Granted, all this seasonal serendipity only works in the northern hemisphere, but that doesn't stop the ridiculously radio-friendly What Happens After You? being catchier than an XXXL baseball mitt. Rivers Cuomo claims that the new album is "dance rock", and What Happens After You? certainly has us a-moovin' and a-groovin', but also approvin'.