Our old friend Chris Catalyst won Tracks Of The Week last week. The Ghost/Sisters Of Mercy/Ugly Kid Joe/Wildhearts/Mariachi El Bronx man topped the poll with solo single Stop, while Thundermother spin-off The Gems came in second and Kelsey "I once fooled the Internet into thinking I had a Harry Styles tattoo on my face" Karter completed the rostrum of rock. Congratulations to them all.
Here's Chris's single again, and then it's another leap into the unknown. Batten the hatches, etc.
This week's contenders are below. Don't forget to vote when you reach the bottom of the page.
Blackberry Smoke - Hammer And The Nail
If you like classic BBS cuts like Six Ways To Sunday, this’ll make you very happy – as will the accompanying video of candid tour snippets, shot across Europe on a Super 8. The opening acoustic picking calls to mind frontman Charlie Starr’s bluegrass roots, but from there it opens out into a big bear hug of heart-warmin’, boot-stompin’ southern rock boogieing, with grains of wry humanity embedded into its sunny textures. “This guy is thinking the deck is definitely stacked against him, and maybe his father’s choices have a hand in that…” Starr says, of the song’s lyrical focus, “so his only choice is to be hard as nails if he’s gonna make his way.”
Gen And The Degenerates - Famous
Billed as “a satirical look at celebrity culture, materialism… masquerading as a sexy, unrequited love song”, Famous was reworked by Gen and co with producer Ross Orton (Arctic Monkeys, Gang Of Four, Amyl & The Sniffers) into the darkened yet highly danceable affair before you. Think grimy, ultra-groovy post-punk with one foot in Blondie’s New York and another in the wave of smart, observational storytelling that’s brewed in British alt and punk in recent years. If you like this, their last single, the cuttingly funny Big Hit Single, is well worth a listen – and keep an eye out for the debut album, out in February 2024.
The Wanton Bishops - We Are One
Newly invigorated as, essentially, a one-man operation on the Bishops’ new album Under The Sun, Nader Mansour takes the listener on a heady journey from the Delta swamps to the Lebanese mountains via the backstreets of Beirut. We Are One is one of its most intoxicating fusions, twisting old and new world strands into a call for unity. Mansour says: “As hard and unrealistic as it might sound these days, We Are One, all of us, under the sun, transcending borders, countries, governments, religions… Granted that Love is all, but it sure starts by repairing injustice".
The Answer - Wild Heart
Northern Ireland’s finest bring their soulful, strutting A-game to new single Wild Heart, topping our proverbial Answer glasses following this year’s brilliant Sundowners record. Accompanied by a video stuffed with clips of 70s stunt bikers (all daredevil jumps, flames and falls) it’s cool, classy blues rock with the past in its DNA and raw, timeless heat and urgency driving it forward.
HAWXX - Death Makes Sisters Of Us All
“Death Makes Sisters Of Us All is a war cry in response to patriarchal violence against women and our queer community,” the multinational hard rock/metallers explain, of this hard-hitting call for solidarity, pumped with low, pulsating modern prog-metal sensibilities and vocal power that’ll appeal to fans of In This Moment, Halestorm and Marisa & The Moths. “Gender based violence that exists on our streets and in our homes is unrelenting. This song is a reminder that we are united in our struggle. A thread of ancient pain and rage binds us together in fierce love and solidarity. This sisterhood is undoubtedly the most powerful thing in the world.”
Taylor McCall - Rest On Easy
Fresh from a run of support shows with Robert Plant, South Carolina singer/guitarist Taylor McCall can work an acoustic and lean into a searing electric line – wrapping both around soul-piercing alt.county melodies. All of this comes to light on Rest On Easy, written in memory of a friend of McCall’s who died in 2022, all warm-hearted Americana, piano ripples and memories. Watch out for those chorus harmonies, they hit hard. “ When you’re an artist, it only makes sense to write a song about that person,” McCall says. “It wasn’t contrived, it just poured out of me. It was cathartic. It was therapeutic. Fritz was the inspiration for this.”
Rickard Brorsson - Another Line
In 2021 Rickard Brorsson released a single called I Saw Hellacopters (Touring In A Van), which should give you an idea the kind of righteous rock'n'roll path he's treading, but for new single Another Line he's gone back further, to the boogie-tastic days of the 1970s, and recorded a song that sounds exactly like old school Status Quo. "I'm a one man band from Sweden who really likes 70s rock!," he advises. "Please check out my latest song, Another Line, and, if you like it, maybe I can be featured in Tracks Of the Week." Your wish, Richard, is our command.
Crossbone Skully - I'm Unbreakable
The latest release from Crossbone Skully, the intriguing all-star project headed by Hollywood Vampires/Alive Cooper guitarist Tommy Henriksen. New single I'm Unbreakable was written by Henriksen alongside legendary production man Robert John "Mutt" Lange, and the latter's sonic fingerprints are all over it. With gang vocals, a drum sound that bigger than a barn and some natty banjo, it sounds like Hysteria-era Def Leppard crossed with Wanted Dead Or Alive-era Bon Jovi, and there's nothing wrong with any of that.