These are the best new rock songs you need to hear right now, featuring The Struts, Steven Wilson, Danko Jones and more

Tracks Of The Week artists
(Image credit: Press materials)

Former Eureka Machines guitarist and ex-nameless ghoul Chris Catalyst has been busy in the last few days, stirring his followers into such a giddy froth that his triumph in our latest Tracks Of The Week competition was by a substantial, overwhelming margin. It helps, of course, that his winning entry was equally giddy, similarly frothy, and therefore correspondingly substantial. You can hear it again below.

Meanwhile, congratulations to Sons Of Liberty, and to Michael Des Barres and Kris Rodgers, whose own entries completed the triumphant triumvirate at the top of the tree.  

And now? It's a new dawn, a new day, and we're feeling good. So let's go again, shall we?


Danko Jones - Get High?

"With the legalisation of marijuana, it was inevitable a song like Get High? would be birthed,” says Danko, confirming our suspicions that this hooky, feelgood banger was probably about more than just…y’know, being in a really chipper mood. "I just didn’t know it would be our band that penned the anthem for potheads everywhere.” Joined by Damian Abrahams (of punk rockers/fellow Toronto dudes Fucked Up) it’s a hearty, lovable barrel of tight distortion and the sort of infectious chorus that could have come from the baggy-shorted, backwards-capped heyday of Sum 41, Blink 182 and co – but with a beefier classic rock sensibility. 

Thomas Walsh ft. Joe Elliott - All This Hurt

Pugwash and Duckworth Lewis Method mainman – and an all-round first-class singer/songwriter – Walsh flies his solo flag on this beautiful little slice of dreamy, Beatles-esque pop and hazy psychedelia. The musical equivalent of a flurry of butterflies on a summer evening, with Def Leppard mouthpiece-in-chief Joe Elliott on vocal harmonising duties. Another classy taste of Walsh’s solo album The Rest Is History, which is out next month. Maybe with guests like this he’ll start to get the attention he so richly deserves.

Demob Happy - Sweet & Sour America

Currently in the middle of a tour through the UK and Europe, Brighton psych-groovers Demob Happy have just released this sharp-eyed swirl of John Lennon vocals, woozy psychedelic fuss and jerky garage-y momentum. Strange, beautiful and slightly unhinged, not unlike the country of its namesake. Frontman Matthew Marcantonio says of the song: “America’s a beautiful place, but we've seen both sides on the tours we've done there, the highs and the lows, and it never fails to strike a chord. This is our ode to the strange dichotomy of America.”

Steven Wilson - Impossible Tightrope

Where Economies of Scale was sparse, this latest piece of Steven’s seventh solo album, The Harmony Codex, is a huge, swooping trip that calls upon almost his entire musical spectrum – from the gnarly twistiness of 2011’s Grace For Drowning, to the epic progressive tones of Porcupine Tree song Harridan. With a hypnotic video that flies the watcher through surrealist, Storm Thorgerson/Hipgnosis-esque landscapes (inspired by Wilson’s similarly surreal short story, also called The Harmony Codex, which appears in his book Limited Edition Of One) its ten-plus minute runtime flies by. Totally compelling. One of the best things he’s ever done.

Bywater Call - For All We Know

Fresh from an appearance at Joe Bonamassa’s Keeping The Blues Alive cruise round the med, Bywater Call bring a taste of southern sweetness to this week’s round-up. On For All We Know they make like the Tedeschi Trucks Band, or a slightly less bluesy Bonnie Raitt, on this gorgeous, sun-dappled swirl of gentle brass, slide guitar and warm piano lines straight out of the Allman Brothers’ practise room. Their passports might say Canada, but the music is all Americana. Like what you hear? They tour the UK in October.

Mother Vulture - Go Big Or Go Home

The Bristol-based noisemakers are back – and they’re really back, as this deliciously mad, shouty fistful of punkoid ferocity and deep, fat rock riffs confirms. Go Big Or Go Home has old-school rock’n’roll in its veins and a throat full of metallic hardcore. Sort of like The Who trading licks with Enter Shikari, but zanier and sweatier, almost cartoonish with the pop-eyed mania of Georgi’s vocals. Where others would play it cool, everything here bristles with intent. When they scream ‘I’m gonna make it if it kills me’, you believe them.

John J Presley - Silhouettes

Back from a three-year hiatus, and operating at the darker, freakier end of the blues spectrum, Brighton-based outlaw John J Presley carves a mystique-laden marriage of folky noir smoke and old-world rhythm in Silhouettes. It’s haunting, hypnotic stuff. Hard to pigeonhole but very easy to get lost in. Presley says: “The chorus is a call and response of ‘we come alone, we leave alone’ - a comment by an in-law relative from generations gone; how we arrive in this world alone and leave alone. I can’t work out if that’s deeply moving or in fact quite lonely.”

The Struts - Rockstar

Another triumph for The Struts, as Rockstar swaggers into the world with all the confident aplomb the titles suggests. Like Oasis's equally braggadocios Rock 'N' Roll Star, it's an anthem everyone can lay claim to, as much a statement of intent as it is a celebration of a life lived without caution. It's also got a chorus that's bigger than a barn, and is more fun than a sackful of otters. "Not everything has to be Imagine by John Lennon," adds frontman Luke Spiller, wisely.  

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.

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