Classic Rock writer Dave Everley pointed out a terrifying fact to us this week: that, time-wise, we're now as far away from Black Sabbath’s debut album as Black Sabbath’s debut album was from the end of the first World War. Feel old yet?
As if to confirm time's crazed march towards Armageddon, our latest batch of Tracks Of The Week contenders are upon us almost before we've recovered from listening to last Monday's rumble.
The result? Supergroup Kings Of Chaos triumphed over Massive Wagons' Skateboard (opens in new tab) and Devin Townsend's Lightworker (opens in new tab) in a battle that, while perhaps not to the death, almost certainly included the occasional concussion.
This week it's another eight contenders, and more voting. Let's get started, shall we?
Tuk Smith & The Restless Hearts - Girls On The East Side of Town
The former Biters frontman has just released his Restless Hearts debut – the excellent Ballad Of A Misspent Youth – and if you need a reason to check it all out, consider this single that reason. A sparkling, Thin Lizzy-esque gem of a song, it's big-hearted 70s fare delivered by someone who absolutely loves those heroes of yore – and knows how to write a proper song. "Inspired by true events..." Tuk says. "This song highlights the escapades of many a poor boy trying to gain entry into the hearts of those untamable East Side Girls."
Tyler Bryant & The Shakedown - Off The Rails
Hot off Tyler and the Shakedown’s latest record Shake The Roots (a bluesy affair, albeit in the most pleasingly non-purist sense), this live recording of Off The Rails has the exactly the bright, energising punch and roll you’d hope for from such a title – sunny harmonies and breakneck drums included. Fast, furious and addictive, it’s carried off with the sort of drive and joie de vivre that makes their tiny studio feel like a stadium. Rock’n’roll as it should be, in other words.
Joe Lynn Turner - Tortured Soul
Back in business with a new album, Belly Of The Beast, and a new pass into the noble club of bald men (following a long struggle with alopecia), the former Rainbow/Yngwie/Deep Purple singer is back with an moody, epic new single. Inspired by a war veteran friend’s experience of PTSD, Tortured Soul successfully combines sombre grandeur with infectious, industrial-edged riffs that stomp forth like dinosaurs – you can hear producer Peter Tägtgren’s experience with (Rammstein mouthpiece) Till Lindemann. He looks and sounds like a new man; which, at 71, is pretty damn good going.
The LA Maybe - Down To Fight
Swaggering, partying and generally tearing shit up like Guns N’ Roses marinated in Jack Daniels on this new single (it’s not hard to imagine these guys going down well as supports to Kiss, Buckcherry and Steel Panther, as they have done, North Carolina’s The LA Maybe stir southern gravel into thick, sassy guitar grooves that would have 80s palm trees, big hair and red camaros written all over them. They’re coming to the UK in December, so if you like what you hear why not check ‘em out?
Michael Monroe - Derelict Palace
Wish it was still Halloween? Michael Monroe’s got you covered with this delightfully darkened single, complete with a video stuffed with gothic manor shots, shadows and creepy forest vibes. Mixing the filthy glamour of Stiv Bators and Billy Idol with post-punk moodiness, it’s elegantly creepy, catchy stuff. “Finnish people are experts in melancholia,” Monroe says, “and a lot of that melancholia - certain chords and sounds, even though they’re minor keys - is not necessarily sad. It’s just kind of a melancholic feeling that feels good in the end.”
Moon City Masters - Trust Someone
The Steinberg twins have just unleashed their compilation album (The Famous Moon City Masters, out now) and now there’s this sweetly hazy, honeyed new ballad, stirring together shades of Boston, Grand Funk Railroad, the Eagles and other nuggets of 70s gold – evidence of their sensitive side, alongside the party tunes in their arsenal. West Coast sunshine and escapism on a plate. Forget your troubles, grow your hair long and float away on those harmonies (fans of The Sheepdogs will probably love this).
Jared James Nichols - Down The Drain
“If I were to pick just one record to encapsulate my sound it would be Down The Drain,’” says Wisconsin blues rocker Nichols. “From a whisper to a scream, this song has it all.” Down The Drain is packed with lip-smacking ingredients: grungy verses, a lion’s roar chorus, deliciously thick swagger throughout, and a chunky yet slinky, bluesed up solo. Yes the video is your ultra-basic, girl-swoons-over-boy-with-guitar cliche (albeit a slick version of it) that feels pretty tired circa 2022, but the song’s a winner so we’ll let that slide.
Ayron Jones - Otherside
Mixing pop/r&b vocal production with hard rock is an increasingly common tool in the modern musician's toolbox, but the way Otherside explodes into life at the 2'14" mark should sway the suspicious. It's epic in the way the climax of Michael Jackson's Earth Song was epic, with an instrumental section that's half guitar solo, half extreme weather event. "It's impossible to look around the world today and not wonder where it's all going,” says Jones. “It's a cynical thought, but one that we all have to seriously consider: ‘Will I see tomorrow?’ That question is the inspiration behind this song."