Welcome back, my friends, to the show that never ends. Yes, it's Tracks Of The Week, where rock's giants go toe-to-toe with music's minnows, a world where hard rockin' Davids frequently topple well-known Goliaths from his or her perches.
Last week it was Crobot, with the hirsute Pennsylvanian's triumphing over Joan Jett & The Blackhearts' (I'm Gonna) Run Away (opens in new tab) and The Black Keys' Wild Child in a battle that might not have been to the death but was no less thrilling to watch.
Crobot's reward? It's right here, as we share their Better Times video a second time.
This week's competition follows - don't forget to place your vote at the end of the page.
Bad Nerves - Alright
Remember the early 00s, when bands like The Strokes were The Shit? When skinny jeans with blazers, jutting guitars and stylishly executed nervous energy were all-but vital ingredients for popular rock bands? Well, mix all that (minus the blazers) with catchy, early Supergrass-style psychedelia, and you have these rising Essex stars’ latest single. No it’s not a cover of the famous ‘Grass track. Yes it is still completely joyous.
Thunder - Dancing In The Sunshine
Currently in the throes of a purple patch that doesn’t look set to lose its purpleness anytime soon, Thunder have just released one of the sweeter numbers from their new album Dopamine. An easy, breezy sway-along rock’n’roller with a heart full of gold and weight in its step, it’s an early contender for your summer playlists – whether you’ll be driving the Pacific Coast Highway, cruising up the M1 or vegging out in your back garden.
Dan Patlansky - Bad Soul
Serving up another freshly baked twist on the blues, South African singer/six-stringer Dan Patlansky is on hooky, judiciously flashy form on Bad Soul – displaying the sort of chops that are hard to resist, regardless of your threshold for guitarist virtuosos. There’s an industrial menace to the low opening notes and beats that made us think of Bones UK, while Dan’s playing channels a juicy, grunged-up hybrid of Stevie Ray Vaughan and Lenny Kravitz-esque tones. Taken from his new album Shelter Of Bones.
Virginmarys - The Meds
Now slimmed down to a no-nonsense twosome, the Virginmarys pull zero punches with The Meds. A smart, fiery grenade of alt rock and punk – with a garish yet resonating video to match – it offers a searing, uncompromising view of life in a rut, peaking with Ally Dickaty’s raw-throated cry of ‘free as a rat in a wheel’. It’s their first official single as a duo, and hopefully the start of much more to come. Catch them on tour across the UK all this week (trust us, they’re a force to be reckoned with live).
Skunk Anansie - Can’t Take You Anywhere
Most of us probably have someone in our lives who fits the title of this song. Skunk Anansie understand that, and have written this thumping, new-wavey floor-filler that begs to be sung along to (or screamed, perhaps, if you’ve got frustrations to purge). “We all have that one friend that we love but is a total embarrassment to us, a mate that has no off button and no filter…” singer Skin explains. “This song is about how polarised the world is now, and how careful you need to be… It's about having to navigate and understand people, keeping the love and respect but also standing firm in your opinions."
Joe Satriani - Pumpin
We initially thought this song was called ‘Pumpkin’, and were a little disappointed to find that it wasn’t. Not for long, though, as Pumpin is Satch at his sassiest – an appetisingly funky cocktail of rock, electronic and fusion guitar strains, whipped up into a neat three-or-so minutes with ninja-like mastery. And sure, he can play all that scary-dextrous noodly stuff that looks literally impossible, but as with all his best work the melody is the key thing here. Find more on the gloriously titled new album The Elephants Of Mars, which is out April 8.
Tysondog - Cold Day In Hell
NWOBHM veterans Tysondog released their first album in 30 years in 2015, and now they're back with another. Midnight will be released on April 29th, and new single Cold Day In Hell is the second track to be plucked from its no-doubt snarling grooves, following the launch of Midnight in February. It rumbles along quite nicely, thank you very much, accompanied by stock footage of the planet suffering from the slings and arrows of outrageous climate crisis. Which all bodes well for the album, assuming we live that long.
Apocalyptica feat. Geezer Butler - I'll Get Through It
Apocalyptica have come a long way from their cellos-play-Metallica roots, and not much reflects this as much as new single I'll Get Through It, which was written for the band by Dianne Warren. Yes, that Diane Warren, the one responsible for Aerosmith's I Don't Want To Miss A Thing and about a gazillion other hits. So if you're expecting a power ballad you've come to the right place, as this is literally that, with big verses, bigger choruses, changes of key and solos that soar off into the upper cellosphere. As a special bonus, Apocalyptica vocalist Franky Perez has roped in his old Deadland Ritual (whatever happened to them?) bassist Geezer Butler from the Black Sabbath parish. To play bass. Lovely.