Anyone who still says 'rock is dead' is wrong. There is a lot of new stuff out there – so much that it can be tricky to know where to begin. Every week we sift through the great and good of new tunes (that rock), and offer up our top eight. So whether you're hungry for the best new hard rock, cool new psych gang or some classic AOR, there's something here for you.
Last week's winners were Manchester rockers Gorilla Riot, followed by Christopher Shayne in second place and Wolf Jaw in third. Which one's the best this week? You decide. Check out our selection below, then vote for your favourite using our poll at the foot of this page.
But first, let's have a spin of last week's winners.
Thundermother - Dog From Hell
We don't know if this was literally inspired by a dog from hell, but we like it a lot. And if you like your AC/DC with a side of Airbourne – but don't really need to hear Back In Black or Runnin' Wild for the millionenth time – you need this in your life. It might have taken these Swedes a few tries to nail the perfect line-up (this is their third, with guitarist Filippa Nässil as the sole constant), but this ballsy, swaggering anthem suggests they've cracked it.
Black Stone Cherry - Again
New Black Stone Cherry, anyone? Oh go on then. Kentucky’s finest are back with this moody but upbeat blast of hard rock beef n’ smoke. “There was a real urgency and fear of the unknown during those sessions - it was a scary time,” recalls drummer, John Fred Young. “Every song on this album tells a story of the experiences we all go through - our happiness, our struggles, and how we have to adapt.” Check out more on the new album, The Human Condition, out on October 30.
The Swell Fellas - Death Race
If you like the trippy, Zeppelin-esque hoodoo of All Them Witches – and also enjoy a bit of prog in your life – you should definitely check out these guys from Maryland. Recorded and produced by All Them Witches guitarist Ben McLeod (yes that's what caught our attention initially, too), their new single Death Race is a heavy, progressive layer-cake of dreamy psychedelia, metallic crunch and far-out textures.
Gojira - Another World
Time for some metal now – really good, hooky metal, that you absolutely don't have to be a card-carrying metalhead to appreciate – courtesy of Grammy-nominated French heavyweights Gojira. Says singer/guitarist/producer Joe Duplantier, of their stylish animated video: "Ferdinand Magellan once said: ‘It is with an iron will that we’ll embark on the most daring of all endeavours, to meet the shadowy future without fear and conquer the unknown.’ Is humanity doomed, or will we survive nature’s wrath? Take a glimpse into our shadowy future by watching our take on 1968’s Planet Of The Apes… Another World!”
Lionheart - Widows
Feelgood classic melodic rock do it for you? Of course it does (there can't be too many people it doesn't do it for, really...). Featuring Iron Maiden and Micheal Schenker alumni, this gang of industry old hands are responsible for this mood-boosting shot of melodic rock-come-power ballad goodness. Best of all are those soaring, super-tight guitar harmonies (‘guitarmonies’, if you will), which liberally sprinkle the whole thing in feelgood fairydust. No big surprises but no bullshit either.
Allman Betts Band - Pale Horse Rider
Gorgeous, gentle but moody mix of Wild West ambiance, pretty americana and rootsy twin-lead guitars from the sons of Allman. They don’t mask their heritage but nor do they lean too laboriously on it; Pale Horse Rider confirms (if there was any doubt) that this band is way more than a cute hat-tip to famous parents. They’ve got a full new album in the can, Bless Your Heart, which is out on August 28.
Firekind - Adrenalin
Like your modern rock slick, sharp and heavy, with a side of prog-metal? Check out this Devon-based trio, who mix gnarly contemporary sounds and arena-friendly oomph – plus whiffs of Led Zeppelin in those powerful drums and verse guitars. “It’s about not letting any negative aspects, that could easily take over your life, define who you are,” explains frontman Jas Morris. “You have to take a proverbial shot of adrenalin and get on with things.”
Sweet Crisis - Oh Well
Sweet Crisis might be too young to have heard Peter Green back in the day, but they have history with this immortal blues rock classic. A few years ago, a very young Leo Robarts (singer) and Piers Mortimer (guitarist) played the Classic Rock Awards aftershow. “During the soundcheck our manager noticed a man stood at the back, watching,” Robarts recalls. ”He told me it was Peter Green. I met Peter later and he mentioned to me that he really enjoyed watching us and thought the guitar player was very good!” As endorsements go that has to be among the best...