Another week passes at rock’s uncompromising coal face, but it’s a week former Eureka Machines guitarist and occasional Nameless Ghoul Chris Catalyst can be proud of. His cover of David Bowie’s Little Wonder stormed home ahead of the rest of the pack, with Tuk Smith’s Everybody Loves You When You’re Dead (opens in new tab) and Skid Row’s Time Bomb (opens in new tab) loitering around the minor medal positions.
So it’s congratulations to Mr Catalyst – whose winning video follows – before we return to rock’s rich seam in search of more nuggets. Don’t forget to vote.
Larkin Poe – Strike Gold
The Nashville-based blues rock’n’rollers continue to deliver the goods – and their goods are…well, really very good. In fact, Strike Gold pretty much lives up to its title, getting straight to the point with a swaggering beat and infectious dual-guitar riffing from Megan and Rebecca Lovell. “After years of being out on the road, this song feels emotionally anthemic,” says Rebecca. “Shoutout to all the good souls out there who keep showing up for their dreams, even when the goin’ gets tough.” Blood Harmony, LP’s next album, is out on November 11 via their own label, Tricki-Woo Records.
Steel Panther – It’s Never Too Late
Circa 2022, Steel Panther could have succumbed to common sense and tempered their act for the twenty twenties. Or not. You don’t need us to tell you which path they took for this single, right? Admittedly, the joke is wearing thinner than one of Satchel’s slashed tank tops at this point (twenty-plus years of Gloryhole, 17 Girls In A Row, All I Wanna Do Is Fuck (Myself Tonight) etc will do that). We know it. You know it. Steel Panther probably know it. But as It’s Never Too Late proves – amid waves of gleefully low-brow silliness – they can still write a blistering song. Nail an irresistible hook. Eat most of their peers for breakfast in sheer performance terms. And for that, and that alone, we are in.
The Cold Stares – The Joy
Another killer set of rising stars in blues rock, The Cold Stares The first taster of the Indiana trio’s next album, Voices, The Joy is a smouldering, Pink Floyd-inspired ballad – complete with soaring, Gilmour-y solo – that celebrates the feeling of finding your soulmate. “This song takes a step outside of our normal catalogue and tackles the topic of finding happiness after heartache,” says guitarist/vocalist Chris Tapp. “I think it will connect with those people that have overcome trials, and those who have survived toxic relationships and finally found happiness.”
Alter Bridge – This Is War
A brooding, explosive slice of hard rock muscle, This Is War is the opening statement from Alter Bridge’s new album, Pawns And Kings. And what an opening it is. Heavy, full of heart and bursting at the seams with gargantuan chops (that mix of might and emotion that AB are masters of) it’s Myles, Mark, Scott and Brian at their biggest and baddest, without losing sight of the heartstring-tugging melody they do so well. That, ladies and gents, is how you begin a rock album. Check out the rest of it when it comes out on October 14th.
All Them Witches – Tour Death Song
ATW have hit us with proudly freaky jams in their recent releases, and we loved it. That being said, we do also love hearing them on beautifully mellow form, as occurs on this new number. By their standards it’s a pretty straight-ahead, soul-searching number, with Parks’ Jim Morrison-esque baritone dressed in warm slide guitar and dark, psychedelic country sensibilities. Lush stuff.
DeWolff – Heart Stopping Kinda Love
Currently on tour with the Black Crowes, Dutch dudes DeWolff have just released the first sample of their next album (Love, Death & In Between, out on 3 February 2023). They’ve done meaty classic rock on 2018’s game-raiser Thrust, stripped back (like, right back) for the micro-budget Tascam Tapes and built back up again for 2021’s Wolffpack. This time, inspired in part by frontman Pablo’s experience of an Al Green sermon, it’s all about the funky soul and ensemble vibes – all of which come out on this super sweet, super retro mesh of guitars, organ, brass blasts and gospelly harmonies. Tasty.
Måneskin – The Loneliest
Glam sensations Måneskin continue their inexorable march upwards with a song that’s more downbeat than usual, swaggering into power ballad territory with confident aplomb. Frontman Damiano David does his usual assured job out front, and guitarist Thomas Raggi really shines on a solo as slippery as an eel in a vat of castor oil. “This song means a lot to me,” says Damiano. “It’s a personal song but I hope you can all relate to it in your own way.” And you know what? We do.
Bernie Tormé – Wild West
And finally, something from late Gillan/Ozzy/solo guitarist Bernie Tormé, with a track recorded live at Bernie’s Barnroom studio not long after his final tour in 2018, accompanied by footage shot the Sweden Rock Festival. It’s pretty clear that Tormé had lost none of his fleet-fingered, whammy-whacking brilliance, with his guitar squealing and screeching and soaring as it always did. More of this raucous behaviour can be heard on the upcoming Final Fling album, due in late November.