Of all the answers given in response to Gene Simmons' infamous "Rock Is Dead" quote (he said it eight years ago, longevity fans), perhaps the best we've seen has come this week from Italian glam titans Måneskin.
Asked if they were keeping rock alive, frontman Damiano David responded with the perfect answer. "Nobody is ‘keeping rock’n’roll alive," he said, his answer presumably accompanied by a cackle. "It’s just impossible to kill."
We agree. As do the providers of this week's Tracks Of The Week, or else they wouldn't be here. And last week's winners Ginger Wildheart & The Sinners? We reckon they probably agree too. As do ZZ Top, who finished in second place with their new version of the classic Tube Snake Boogie (opens in new tab). And Larkin Poe, whose Bad Spell (opens in new tab) completed a triumphant triumvirate.
For this week's entries, read on. And don't forget to vote at the foot of the page.
Amanda Shires - Hawk For The Dove
There’s a mystique that unfolds, like billowing black smoke, from this first sample of Shires’ forthcoming solo album Take It Like A Man. A beautifully dark, sensual swirl of roots, alt rock and outlaw qualities – building up to the sort of angular violin that isn’t immediately violin-like – it comes over as both intelligent and effortlessly easy-on-the-ear. It’s easy to see how she and husband Jason Isbell are a great musical match (you can find Shires’ voice and strings on Isbell’s records, and she's also sung with Blackberry Smoke and is a founder of country supergroup the Highwomen).
Marcus King - Rescue Me
No, not a cover of the Fontella Bass original (though we’d bet good money that young Marcus would do a mean job of it), but a sprawling, woozy new rocker from Young Blood, King’s new Dan Auerbach-produced album, out in August. Spiked with raw soul and masterful slide guitar, its smouldering atmosphere is informed by the “path of excess” King walked while making this record. “This song is a literal cry for help,” Marcus says, “one of the least metaphorical tracks on the record and a memory that’s difficult to relive each night but is important to remember.”
1000 Mods feat Nikos Veliotis, Akis Zois - Lucid Dream
Lucid Dream (opener of the Greek psych/stoner/hard rock foursome’s 2020 album Youth Of Dissent) gets a full facelift, with folk rockers Villagers of Ioannina City on hand for additional string depth and misty allure. In this stripped back form, what was originally a heavy, grunge rock hitter takes on a slightly haunting quality, bringing the band’s All Them Witches-esque touches to the surface, with flavours of solo Ozzy coming through Dani G’s vocals.
Starbenders - If You Need It
Atlanta's Starbenders are band who can seemingly do no wrong. Second album Love Potions produced so many great singles we wondered if the well would ever run dry, and If You Need It - presumably a second single from whatever they're doing next, following the release of Seven White Horses a few months back – suggests there's plenty more where that came from. It somehow manages to be dark and mysterious at the same time as it's glittery and euphoric, and it's an almost instant earworm. That takes some doing, but they're doing it.
The Bawdies - Stand!
Answering the oft-asked question, "What would The Hives sound like if they were from Japan?", The Bawdies have been around for the best part of 20 years, but new single Stand! sounds as fresh as a newborn foal in a meadow full of daisies. With sixties hair, sharp suits and a righteous, Dick-Dale-meets-The-Pretty-Things rock'n'roll sound, it's music so garagey you can almost smell the petrol, and frontman Roy Watanabe has one of the best rock screams we've ever heard. Glorious.
Robin Trower - Ball Of Fire
Robin Tower's Ball Of Fire is much more relaxed that the title makes it sound, with Trower adding understated guitar to a similarly understated vocal from Richard Watts. It all appears perfectly effortless, music made by a man with nothing left to prove, but it's all the better for it. It's music for music's sake, Trower's playing is still impeccable, and the love for what he's still able to do shines through.
Rammstein - Dicke Titten
That Rammstein have written a song about girls with large breasts isn't a surprise, but the video does startle, in that it doesn't attempt to shock in the usual Rammstein way. Instead, it's almost Benny Hill-esque – if Hill were German – with plenty of udder action, some meat pounding, lots of lederhosen, some beer drinking, some man dancing, and a blind Till Lindemann. Throw in a fantastic, grinding riff and a euphoric, built-for-stadiums chorus, and you're left wondering what props they're planning on building should they ever choose to play the song live.
Skid Row - The Gang's All Here
Joining King Crimson's Jakko Jakszyk in the small club of musicians who've ended up joining their favourite bands, former H.E.A.T. frontman Erik Grönwall is a perfect fit for Skid Row, and not just because he kicked off his career singing 18 And Life. Nope, he's perfect because he can really sing, and he's perfect because his voice features all the youthful exuberance required of anyone tackling those big hits. Getting the fans onside by kicking the next stage of the journey off with a fan-shot video is a sound idea, and it can't hurt that The Gang's All Here is livelier than an angry rattlesnake in cage full of horny badgers.