The best new rock songs you need to hear right now, including Måneskin, Bernie Marsden, Saxon and more

Tracks of the Week artists
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As Kiss stumble towards their finish line at Madison Square Garden, it's tempting to wonder who'll pick up the rock'n'roll baton and run with it the week after, and today we have some old contenders and some new contenders. So tune in this time next week to discover which of the eight selections you've elected Best In Show.

But first, last week. We're delighted to announce that the "Mutt" Lange-affiliated supergroup Crossbone Skully came out on top, with The Answer and Blackberry Smoke trotting home in the minor medal positions. Congratulations, one and all. 

This week's contenders follow, and don't forget to vote when you reach the foot of the page, using the handy form. 


Måneskin - Off My Face

Italian Eurovision winners turned global superstars, Måneskin show how much they’ve grown as songwriters – in two and a half concise minutes – on this sharp slice from the new edition of their album Rush! (Are U Coming), their third single in just two weeks. It’s modernised old-school funk, kind of in the way that Bruno Mars and Mark Ronson did it back in with 2014 mega-mega-hit Uptown Funk, but with an edgy, lascivious undercurrent from Victoria de Angelis’ bass, and jagged Tom Morello-y flavours in Thomas Raggi’s guitar stylings.

Elles Bailey - Lean On My Love

Taken from her forthcoming EP, The Night Owl And The Lark (out in February 2024), Lean On My Love finds Elles leaning into the Carole King-esque soul side of her musical vocabulary – complimented immaculately by Redtenbacher’s Funkestra for a warm, classy finish. Like so much music still drip-feeding into the world, it was conceived in lockdown. Stuck at home, songwriter Mike Morgan sent Elles some lyrics and asked if she’d write music for any of them. Lean On My Love immediately stood out. “It’s the one and only time I’ve ever worked like this,” she says. “It was a really interesting experience to write this way.”

Saxon - Hell, Fire And Damnation

Opening as all the best things should – with Brian Blessed bellowing something mad about mythical tales and hellfires of yore – the title track from Saxon’s next album delivers in thick, riffy spadefuls of British heavy metal at its catchiest and most fun. “I’ve had that saying in my head since I was a small boy because my dad used to say it when he was upset,” frontman Biff Byford says, of the title. “He used to say, ‘Hell, fire, and damnation, what’s tha’ been doing now?!’ when I was ‘messing up his cabbage patch’ or carving things into the kitchen table. It was a very ‘Yorkshire’ saying back in the day.” 

AJO - Borderline

Sardinian metallers AJO sound an awful lot like a certain other bunch of masked heavy dudes (*cough* Slipknot), marrying yearning, melodic chorus vocals with roared verses, ominous death growls and riffs that crash like a groovy giant’s footsteps. Happily they pull it all off with pace and panache, Borderline hinging on the sort of chorus you can imagine the Download festival crowd singing back, through horizontal rain sheets. With Corey Taylor and co, Ghost and Sleep Token seemingly not falling in popularity anytime soon, perhaps AJO are onto something.

Gun - All Fired Up

Who doesn’t love a rock track that delivers on the vibe of its title? Especially when that title involves fire? Glasgow rock stalwarts Gun do just that with this tight, riffy first taste of their next album, Hombres (out in April 2024, their first since 2017’s Favourite Pleasures) – kind of like a driving, beefed up Thin Lizzy with an 80s twist. "This is one of the proudest pieces of work we've ever done,” guitarist Giuliano “Jools” Gizzi enthuses, of Hombres, “truly it's Gun in its finest form."

Kitten Pyramid - BBC

Prettily, delightfully weird in a way that only these oddball progressive Brits can pull off, BBC – originally released on last year's Kiddo album – flits between Kinks-esque guitars, RP-accented chat, missives about ‘cheeky chihuahuas’ set to the Sunshine Of Your Love riff, and something about a sandwich. “The song quickly descended into self sabotage by abusing the broadcasting company, while shamelessly ripping off The Kinks and Cream,” explains Kitten Pyramid’s writer Scott Milligan. “With the advent of the likes of Spotify or YouTube it feels like, these days, anything goes ‘take what you you want you cheeky Chihuahua’...and you see more engagement from, say, a TikTok reaction video of someone's dog in a tutu, than original stuff.” Shameless ploy for clicks? Eccentric, lovingly crafted fun? You decide…

Bernie Marsden - Bad Reputation

Bad Reputation is the second track to emerge from Bernie Marsden's final album, Working Man, which was completed not long before his death earlier this year. Built around a stuttering yet smooth blues and featuring a solo that resists the temptation to go fleet-fingered and is all the better for it, Bad Reputation is part of a three-track single that also features a cover of Whitesnake's Til The Day I Die (a track that originally appeared on Coverdale & Co.'s 1981 album Come An' Get It), plus an instrumental, Foolish Day. The album arrives on December 8. 

Dixie Dragster - Time Sure Flies

Dixie Dragster (great name) may be from Tennessee, but you won't find a hint of country in their sound. Instead, Time Sure Flies is a quivering mess of turbo-charged, high-octane rock'n'roll that checks all those New York Dolls/Heartbreakers/Hanoi Rocks/Quireboys boxes. Information is scarce, but we know they're fronted by Dixie Carl (another great name), formerly of the similarly rockin' Nashville band The Tip, and if you're local you can catch them supporting Lost Hearts at a pre-New Years Eve party on December 29 at the Vinyl Lounge on 3rd Avenue South.     

Polly Glass
Deputy Editor, Classic Rock

Polly is deputy editor at Classic Rock magazine, where she writes and commissions regular pieces and longer reads (including new band coverage), and has interviewed rock's biggest and newest names. She also contributes to Louder, Prog and Metal Hammer and talks about songs on the 20 Minute Club podcast. Elsewhere she's had work published in The Musician, delicious. magazine and others, and written biographies for various album campaigns. In a previous life as a women's magazine junior she interviewed Tracey Emin and Lily James – and wangled Rival Sons into the arts pages. In her spare time she writes fiction and cooks.

With contributions from