According to the internet, blue stragglers are something of an anomaly in space, stars in a cluster that continue to burn hydrogen long after they should have run out of fuel. And right now we could probably come up with some kind of laboured analogy and apply that description to Blue Stragglers, the Sussex-based trio whose recent single Fool's Errand has won our most recent Tracks Of The Week dogfight. But we won't.
Instead, we'll congratulate them – their winning entry is below – and commiserate with Troy Redfern and DeWolff, who finished second and third.
This week's entries are below, and we hope enjoy you their magnificence. Please vote when you get to the bottom
The Struts - Do What You Want
The Struts’ career-topping new album Pretty Vicious has just come out, and right now this is our favourite track from it. Pretty Vicious goes hard on both introspective moments and beaming, on-the-money bangers, and Do What You Want is as good as it gets in the latter department. A glittering barrel of old-school glam and new-school pop, all giant harmonies and canyon-sized tuneage. More irresistible than a heap of puppies, or a really big cake, or… you get the picture, just give it a spin.
The Hot Damn! - Damn! Damn! Damn! Damn!
With alumni from the Amorettes, Tequila Mockingbyrd and Aaron Buchanan & The Cult Classics in their ranks, The Hot Damn! seem to have figured out what they do (and don’t) want to be. Damn! Damn! Damn! Damn! offers a short, sharp snapshot of the rainbow-coloured, Duracell-bunny pop rock (one ear in the 80s, the other in the 90s) that they’re rapidly earning a rep for. Normally we’d be adverse to that many exclamation marks in one line, but the song’s a cracker so we’ll let them off. Catch them on tour this month, and watch out for their debut album in the new year.
Palace Of The King - Tear It Down
Get your boozy, old-school rock’n’roll kicks with some delayed Halloween gore, courtesy of Aussie rabble-rousers Palace Of The King – in one of their most more-ish, feelgood tracks yet. Hot off upcoming album, Friends In Low Places, and accompanied by glowing pumpkins and a shitload of zombies (in the video, that is). Monstrously good fun for all the family, if your family likes early AC/DC, Shaun Of The Dead and flaming hot guitar boogies with a dash of swampy, southern atmosphere.
Kula Shaker - Indian Record Player
Throw away your cares and party like it’s 1995 in the company of Kula Shaker, as they spiral back to the 60s Bollywood they love so much, via a punchy, Beatles psychedelia-infused earworn. Singer Crispian Mills traces the story to his childhood near Southall in the 70s: “A friend played me the vinyl soundtrack to Mughal-E-Azam’ which is like Indian cinema’s Gone with the Wind and it completely blew my mind. It was like discovering another planet, another world with this incredible music.”
Saint Agnes - Body Bag feat. Mimi Barks
Kitty A. Austen is joined by trap-metal artist Mimi Barks on this white-hot fireball from the London rockers’ latest Bloodsuckers. "We made a minute and a half of pure fury and there was only one person I could think of to match it,” Kitty says, of the collaboration. “There’s nothing I love more than working with badass women. Hope you enjoy it as much as I did making it."
Mick Mars - Loyal To The Lie
The former Motley Crue guitarist has released his first solo single – a solo album, The Other Side Of Mars, will follow in February – and it’s a good ‘un, built on modern, muscular guitars and production, and confidently flanked by Jacob Bunton on lead vocals (his CV includes gigs with Steven Tyler, Mariah Carey, The Doors and more). "I'm trying to keep growing," reasons Mars. "Because if you stop learning new things, if you stop playing new things, if you close your mind, you're done. You have to keep moving and creating. Next!" Well…erm, quite!
Larkin Poe - Southern Comfort (acoustic)
“In our world, almost all of our songs start out ‘acoustic,’ with quiet beginnings at the kitchen table on an acoustic guitar,” Megan and Rebecca Lovell say of new, unplugged record An Acoustic Companion, from which this gorgeously delicate, smoke-wreathed cut is taken. “We really enjoyed stripping a handful of our songs back down to their roots and we hope folks will enjoy getting an earful of these songs as they originally came into being."
Deap Valley - Ventilator Blues
Los Angeles duo Deap Valley announced they were calling it a day in September, but they're going out with a bang. A farewell tour starts this week, and a reworked version of 2013's debut album Sistrionix will be released in 2024. In the meantime, they've ratcheted up the fuzz one last time on a delightfully disheveled version of The Rolling Stones' Ventilator Blues, which comes with a video filmed over a decade of hard rockin'. "This song is about the inevitable end we are all hurtling towards and felt like the best way to encapsulate our farewell feelings," say the band. They'll be missed.