Unless you've been undergoing self-enforced digital quarantine over the last week, it cannot have escaped your notice that popular Australian song and dance men AC/DC have released a new single. And lo, the world did both rock and roll.
But they're not in our Tracks of the Week roundup. Why? Because, quite frankly, they don't need our help. Instead, we've listed eight songs that may not have crossed your radar. Eight songs that deserve more attention than they might otherwise receive. Eight songs that shine brightly on their own merits. Eight songs that... you get the idea.
But first, it's congratulations to last week's winner, Empyre, whose video you may witness below. And congratulations to Matty James Cassidy and Novatines, who didn't quite pip them into poll position.
Then enjoy this week's selection, and don't forget to vote at the bottom. Thank you.
The Struts (with Phil Collen & Joe Elliott) - I Hate How Much I Want You
We're starting off on a big old high (a very good place to start) with our favourite single so far from The Strut's upcoming album, Strange Days. Featuring Def Leppard guests Joe Elliot and Phil Collen, it’ll have you turning up the volume and reaching for those sequin boots at the back of your closet – or promptly investing in a pair. The best thing? Everyone involved, Struts and Leppards alike, is clearly having the best time. Slade and the party gods would be proud.
Orianthi - Impulsive
Orianthi could eat most rock axe-slingers for breakfast (as she’s proven over years of lending her chops to the likes of Alice Cooper, Richie Sambora, Carlos Santana etc etc), but she loves a good pop song too. Both sides come together on this driving, more-ish mix of smoke and sunshine. Teamed with a video that's part early-00s pink explosion, part Hollywood star freak-out, it kinda made us think of Madonna’s Beautiful Stranger – if Madge had teamed up with Slash and Garbage, in a dollhouse. Nice.
Neon Animal - Let's Make The World Rock
You want rock’n’roll? Pretension-free, rock-the-shit-out-of-you, inhibitions-and-taste-be-damned rock’n’roll? Play this. Play it NOW. The beautiful thing about the London sleaze-mongers’ latest is that you completely buy into it – leopard trousers, compulsory bare-chestedness and all. You can hear that they believe in the power of rock’n’roll to shake this messed-up mortal coil. And for that we salute them.
Uncut - Family Blues
Hendrix's influence has spread far and wide since his untimely death fifty years ago. Most recently it's reached this French trio, who capture Jimi's free-wheeling yet fearsome spirit in this fistful of tasty blues rock. Taken from their upcoming album Blue, it's also audibly inspired by the chops and swagger of Led Zeppelin, Clutch and Deep Purple (y'know, all the good stuff).
Blue Öyster Cult - The Alchemist
Described in Classic Rock magazine as "a very solid return to past glories" (and raved about elsewhere as well), BÖC's first album in nearly twenty years will have come as a welcome surprise for fans in this weird year we're having. Meaty new single The Alchemist made us think a bit of Deep Purple's latter-day highlights, with extra smoke-wreathed sorcery and a hooded Eric Bloom making like some shady monk in a Dan Brown novel, in steampunk shades. Welcome back gents.
Starbenders - Can’t Cheat Time
“Can't Cheat Time is a personal favourite amongst the band,” says frontwoman Kimi Shelter of the Atlanta glam-punks’ latest. “This single has a wicked string arrangement reminiscent of Jeff Lynne from ELO's production style. It was so rewarding hearing all of it come together with the live string players.” Building to a cracking guitar solo and an impassioned climax that channels Marc Bolan and ELO at their most grandiose, it's a reminder of why so many in the Classic Rock team can't get enough of them.
Mike Ross - Don’t Say A Word
Wethinks Brit singer/guitarist Mike Ross hath drunk from the well of the Black Crowes, or so suggests this all-singing, all-slidin’ piece of fuzzed up southern-baked blues rock (Chris Robinson-nodding vocals included). Loose but with satisfying bite and boot-stomping value, it’s got to be one of the more fun ways to rail against (as described in the press release) “stuck-in-the mud, head-in-the-sand” conspiracy theorists we’ve heard.
Static Cycle - Bread & Circus
This one kind of creeps up on you but it does so deliciously. Mastermind Jared Navarre started out as an MTV-approved teen wunderkind in his native Alaska, eventually moving down to Nashville to develop Static Cycle's theatrical, ambitious hybrid of moody hard rock, thinking man's pop and commanding visuals. All of which comes to the fore in the big, dreamy Bread And Circus – complete with actual circus acrobatics. A real original.