Happy Freedom Day! And what better way to celebrate The UK's "return to normal" than by drawing the curtains, staying at home, refusing to engage with humanity, and instead getting your teeth into eight freshly baked portions of tasty rock'n'roll?
Fact: there are no better ways.
But first, we must congratulate the winner of last week's winner, The USA's very own Samantha Fish, whose Twisted Ambition trounced the opposition, with Lee Aaron's Vampin' and Crown Lands' White Buffalo filling out the silver and bronze medal positions for Canada. So here, before we start afresh, is Samantha once more.
Gorilla Riot - Drowned
The Manchester rockers have been relatively quiet since COVID took over our lives, but now they’re back with this gorgeous slice of Alice In Chains-via-early-Pearl Jam balladry – all heady, slightly discordant layers of vocal gravel and delicate acoustic guitars. “Drowned is a song about suicide and depression,” frontman Arjun says. “There are specific references to my own life and personal situations, but in general it’s a song that has no silver lining, and I felt that in order to be true and representative of my feelings, that’s how it needed to be.” There’s more to come with their Solace EP.
Andrew W.K. - Everybody Sins
Party god-in-chief, and the 21st century’s hard rock answer to Meat Loaf, returns to our stereos with this Dio-channelling, head-bobbing feast of blood, bombast and heavy theatre. Built on tight, gargantuan riffage and symphonic levels of strings and synths that burst out in the chorus, it reaffirms Andrew’s position as one of heavy music’s true enigmas (as well as his ear for king-sized tunes). Check out this and more on his new album, God Is Partying, comes out on September 10.
The Cold Stares - Prosecution Blues
“Prosecution Blues was an opportunity to tip our hat to some of our heavy blues influences,” singer/guitarist Chris Tapp says, of the Indiana-based duo’s rich, swaggery latest cut from new album, Heavy Shoes. “I always loved the way that Zeppelin used the Blues as a vehicle to insert metaphors and say things lyrically that were poetic and deeper than the surface layer. That’s what we tried to do with Prosecution Blues, and also take that vehicle on a spin through streets that were familiar to us."
The Picturebooks - Catch Me If You Can (feat Chris Robertson)
Another bluesy duo, though rather a different one in the form of noisy, drum-clobbering biker dudes The Picturebooks – with Black Stone Cherry frontman Chris Robertson at their side for this loose-limbed, slide-lined boot-stomper. It might be old-school (its roots lie in material that’s much older than any of them) but you can hear that this is music they all love.
The Georgia Thunderbolts - Be Good To Yourself
A delicious cover now, from young southern rock guns The Georgia Thunderbolts. Frankie Miller’s classic Be Good To Yourself acquires an extra layer of juicy, hard rocking beef (without forgoing the soulful subtleties of the original tune) in their robust yet loving hands. Like the sound of it? Check out their new album, Can We Get A Witness, which comes out on October 15.
Lord Bishop Rocks - Animals
Living Colour's Vernon Reid plays the solo on this, a Lord Bishop track that first saw the light of day in 2006 and has now been updated with a fresh lick of sonic paint. As purveyors of "Hendrixian Motör Funk", you'd expect Animals to both rock and roll, and it most assuredly does, rattling along as if possessed, with plenty of gratuitous swearing to annoy the parents. It also has a great singalong refrain of "Money money money money blood blood blood!", which will be circling your brain for days.
Joanne Shaw Taylor - If That Ain’t A Reason
In which Joe Bonamassa produces Joanne Shaw Taylor and suggests she cover Little Milton's If That Ain’t A Reason and she does. And very good it is too, a slick, modern, gospel-tinged take on an old song. It comes from "a new collection of music that will be released later this year," we're reliably informed.
The Wildhearts - Sort Your Fucking Shit Out
If you've listened to Lord Bishop Rocks (see above) and feel like you need more profanity funnelled into your ears, we can heartily recommend the new song from The Wildhearts, the rowdy and rather great Sort Your Fucking Shit Out. According to Ginger it's about "giving yourself a bollocking", and that's good, but it's also an uncommonly pure blast of rock'n'roll with a melody that soars and a ferocious sting in the tail.