Another week has passed in Rock'N'Roll Wonderland, and we've got eight new contestants lined up to do battle in our Tracks of the Week showdown.
But first, congratulations to Canadian rockers The Damn Truth, whose This Is Who We Are Right Now brushed the opposition aside to triumph over fellow Canucks The Glorious Sons, whose Daylight clambered into second place, and The Dead Deads feat. Corey Taylor, whose Murder Ballad II romped home in third.
So here's The Damn Truth again, and then: let battle commence!
Buckcherry - Hellbound
On the title track from their upcoming album, Buckcherry sound like they’ve swallowed the AC/DC playbook of beefcake riffs (that kind of deep, ground-pulsing crunch you get from the Youngs’ twinned guitar assault), and in our world that’s an excellent thing. Plus Josh Todd – enviably ageless in this video – sounds like nobody other than Josh Todd, which guarantees them a healthily defined identity of their own. Not long to wait til the full album comes out now (June 25 to be precise).
Cedric Burnside - The World Can Be So Cold
RL Burnside’s grandson strips it right back on this cool, commanding marriage of staccato blues picking and sweet soul melody – the latter of which emerges in the chorus, offering a smooth, rich twist on the rootsy sound that runs in his veins. No tricks or fuss, just Cedric on vocals and acoustic guitar. And that’s really all it needs. Classy stuff.
Dropkick Murphys - L-EE-B-O-Y
The Bostonian Celtic punks raise a proverbial glass to bagpipe-brandisher Lee Forshner on this rip-roaring singalong that demands to be belted out by sweaty pub crowds. As co-lead vocalist Ken Casey explains: “Lee is just the best guy ever and we felt like he deserved a song. Bagpipers are larger than life characters, and we wanted to make a fun, over-the-top song and video about our guy Lee.”
Yola - Stand For Myself
Yola was supposed to spend 2020 touring stadiums with Chris Stapleton and the Black Keys. With an unexpected glut of time – not to mention finding herself stuck in Music City – she honed her new record with producer/Black Key Dan Auerbach, and now she’s released its striking title track. Pared back percussion and acoustic guitars grow through electric lines and piano into an expansive, almost Massive Attack-y climax. But it’s that voice – a dynamic Tina Turner-rivalling range – that really turns heads.
Florence Black - Can You Feel It?
You might recognise this young Welsh trio for their cover of Budgie’s classic Breadfan. Now they’re back with their own ball of hard rock fire and fury. “It was written when I was in a dark place, with a lot of anger generated from the voice inside my head,” says frontman Tristan Thomas. “But now when I hear the song back, it feels like catharsis.” Check ‘em out on tour with Bokassa in October (and at Steelhouse in July).
Lee Aaron - C'mon
Canada's 'metal queen' sounds markedly un-metal here, and we have to say it suits her well. In contrast with the metallic beef of her earlier hits, C'mon is the sort of driving, sunny piece of pop rock you'd definitely dance to rather than mosh to. Less Girlschool with hairspray, more Cheap Trick with ovaries – and a side of 90s sugar.
The Sheepdogs - Rock and Roll (Ain't No Simple Thing)
We head west from Ontario to Saskatchewan for our next contestant, Saskatoon's ever-excellent Sheepdogs. Rock and Roll (Ain't No Simple Thing) is the opening track from the band's current No Simple Thing EP, and bares all the sonic hallmarks we've come to cherish: authentic retro-rock with sweet vocal harmonies, duelling guitars, and a way with melody that puts most to shame. Rock and roll might not be a simple thing, but The Sheepdogs make it sound so.
The Glorious Sons - Young King
Our third Canadian entrant in a row, as The Glorious Sons do their INXS-meets-The-Rolling-Stones-but-much-louder-than-either thing on Young King, and it sounds absolutely immense. They're hitting the road in December, and if they're the first band you see live post-everything that's happened lately it'll surely be cathartic, for The Glorious Sons' sound is purpose-built for euphoria.