Hello, and welcome to a new episode of Tracks of the Week. Please make yourself comfortable.
This week's contestants will be along in a minute, but first, we'd appreciate it if you took the time to congratulate last week's winners, Twisted Illusion, whose Hatred Is A Virtue triumphed over Mammoth WVH's Feel and Prosperina's Boot.
So, before this week's festivities begin, here's Twisted Illusion's video again, and then it'll be time to embark on a brand new competition. Let battle commence!
The Sheepdogs - Keep On Loving You
Saskatoon's finest return with yet more evidence that they're much more than just the most northerly of the great southern rock bands. Keep On Loving You attaches a melody that isn't a million miles from The Crystals' Da Doo Ron Ron to a glam beat, it all goes a bit Wings at the 1' 30" mark, and it's gloriously upbeat. With gorgeous harmonies, Allmans-style twin guitar harmonies, and a chorus built for drunken wedding parties, it's really quite lovely. New EP No Simple Thing is out at the end of the month.
Fantastic Negrito - Root City
Fantastic Negrito, fresh from winning yet another Grammy, has hooked up with the Oakland Roots Sports Club soccer to come up with their official club anthem, and it's excellent. Half terrace chant, half take-it-to-the-church gospel banger, Root City is the a perfect fit for a club who claim to "harness the magic of Oakland and the power of sport as a force for social good." Incidentally, the team's fans are apparently known as the 'Roots Radicals', a reference to the song Roots Radical by 90's East Bay punks Rancid, which was in turn named after the song Roots Radical by reggae great Jimmy Cliff.
Inglorious - Eye Of The Storm
It might have taken a few gos and more than a few setbacks, but Nathan James has successfully transferred that whopper of a voice (and matching ambition) onto record with new album We Will Ride. Eye Of The Storm, a ballad with balls and legit tenderness, offers further proof that it was worth the wait. The verses are lush and moody, but it’s the chorus that really packs a driving, emotional punch – hot streaks of Dio and Deep Purple adding to the effect without straying into tired rip-off territory. Spine-tingling stuff.
Levara - Ordinary
"There’s nothing Ordinary about this track,” singer Jules Galli modestly quips of this singalong cut from Levara's upcoming eponymous debut (out 14 May). “It’s got a bounce to it that feels different from the rest of the album in the best way.” His confidence isn’t unfounded. Teamed up with Trev ‘son of Steve’ Lukather and Josh Devine (One Direction’s touring drummer), Galli makes a gleaming, buoyant old racket here. The sound of Journey and Kenny Loggins rocking out under the light of the discoball.
Cory Marks - Blame It On The Double feat. Tyler Connolly
Country-fried Canadian Cory Marks teamed up with Theory of a Deadman frontman Tyler Connolly and (ex-Five Finger Death Punch guitarist) Jason Hook for this fuzzy, bourbon-soaked headbanger. If you like your country rock with a side of beef and...erm, more beef, Cory’s your guy. “I grew up on Merle Haggard, Waylon, Pantera and Ozzy,” he explains, “and I think this song really reflects those influences. It has that country storyline, soulful vocals, and a rock edge and attitude that makes it stand out and show you the range of who I am as an artist.”
The Cold Stares - In The Night Time
Skeletons and nocturnal cityscapes provide a cool video backdrop for this uber-cool slice of garage blues. All dirty grooves and Southern Gothic mystique, it’s the sort of velvety, alluring storytelling you’ll find on their upcoming album due in August. If The Doors drove through the desert, winding up with some witch doctor way down South, they might have made something like this.
Jess And The Ancient Ones - Burning Of The Velvet Fires
One for the psych rock-lovers among you, courtesy of Finnish freakniks Jess And The Ancient Ones. They’ve been quietly honing their occult-y formula since 2010, and the luxuriously titled Burning Of The Velvet Fires is the latest result, wreathed in incense smoke – think early Heart getting weird with Roky Erikson and Purson. Far out maaaan...
Tom Morello X Pussy Riot - Weather Strike
Coming on like some crazed mix of Rage Against The Machine and Daisy Chainsaw, Tom Morello has allied one of his elasticated riffs to the new single by Russian activists Pussy Riot, and the result is as furious as it is funky. "Pussy Riot is one of the most radical and important activist musical groups of all time," says Morello, who studied political science at Harvard. "Their fearless blending of art and confrontation is a constant inspiration and it’s an honour to combine forces on this powerful, revolutionary track."