What's the best new rock song in the world, right now? Every week at Classic Rock we ask ourselves this question, comb through the latest tunes and whittle it down to a shortlist of eight. The winner, however, is decided by you.
Last week John Coghlan's Quo soared into first place with Lockdown, followed by Dead Reynolds in second place and The Moon City Masters in third. We enjoyed them all and are glad you did too. Now, let’s see what you make of this week’s selection; cast your eyes (and, indeed, your ears) over this lot and vote for your favourite, using our poll at the foot of this page. Vote wisely. Vote well. Vote hard.
But before all that, how about a final spin of last week’s winning track? All together now, ‘I lost my mind in lockdown’...
Bourbon House - Too High To Care
Shake off any weekend hangovers, sunburn and oh-god-how-is-it-Monday?? vibes with this groovy, gritty slab of dirtbag blues rock from Wisconsin rockers Bourbon House. "Too High To Care is a very free-spirited, zero apologies, own-your-shit-proudly kind of song,” says singer Lacey Crowe. “I think the video reflects that. We're a rock band having fun, setting up in random places during a massive lockdown.”
Vega - How We Live
Another kind of mojo-kickstarter now, this time from melodic rock Brits Vega – whose roots include stints with Kick, Sugartown and Paul Di'anno, among others. “Another song that links us to our past but probably the last of its kind that we will write,” singer Nick Workman says of this uptempo, chest-pumping power ballad. “Very catchy melodic rock with plenty of hooks and shredding... Very much about leaving a legacy you will be proud of and living in the moment.”
Blitzen Trapper - Masonic Temple Microdose #1
Not all bands can pull off sunny indie-come-Americana about breaking into masonic temples. Then again, Blitzen Trapper aren’t most bands. “Comedy and horror combine on this track,” says singer Eric Earley, “teenagers dropping acid in a masonic temple at the end of the empire, the American consumptive death-drive laid bare as a desire for extinction.” Like what you hear? There’s more where that came from on their upcoming album, which is out on September 11.
Celisse Henderson - Freedom
Multi-instrumentalist, Broadway star, guitarist for the likes of Lizzo and Melissa Etheridge… Celisse has an enviable CV even before you come to her solo work. Originally written in 2016, following the deaths of unarmed black men Philando Castile and Alton Sterling (shot by police in the US), Freedom is a commanding mesh of rhythmic ‘wah-oh, wah-oh’ chants, guitar grit and soul-drenched vocals (think Tom Morello at a gospel service, summoning the spirit of Sister Rosetta Tharpe). All proceeds go to The Movement For Black Lives and Campaign Zero.
Mercutio - Slap Bang
Razor-sharp alt rock, mixing punchy flavours of Muse and Royal Blood, from London-based power trio Mercutio (boosted by 2019 recruit/singer Ross William Wild, a former musical theatre star who sang with Spandau Ballet for a stint in 2017). And for anyone wondering, the video was recorded pre-lockdown – when four people in a bed was totally above-board (those were the days eh?).
Austin Gold - Here To Stay
Ahhh remember festivals? Peterborough rock foursome Austin Gold do. Specifically they remember last year’s Ramblin’ Man Fair, where this video – al fresco accompaniment to driving, moody but feelgood single Here To Stay – was shot. Good tunes, good times... They’re currently working on their new album, so watch this space.
Lykantropi - Coming Your Way
'Vintage rock' and 'Sweden' have sometimes felt like interchangeable terms in recent years, such is the country's form for producing latter-day revivalists (Blues Pills, Graveyard, Truckfighters, Horisont...). But don't let that jade your impression of Lykantropi, who do a classy job of blending Fleetwood Mac and Mamas & Papas tastes with folky flutes that'll make you think of woodland gatherings, mystical goings-on, and those extra-strong brownies you had that one time that made you think you were an elf wizard... or something.
Tuk Smith - Life On Mars
Biters frontman-turned-solo artiste Tuk was supposed to be touring with Motley Crue this summer. Like everyone else, his plans have been royally buggered by COVID-19. Is he sitting around sulking about it? He is not. Instead, he’s put out the Covers From The Quarantine EP from which this heartfelt cover is taken. Listening to it we can’t help thinking Ian Hunter and Marc Bolan would approve, as much as Bowie would.