Tracks of the Week: New Music from ZZ Top, Steve Vai, RHCP and More


We don’t usually do controversy in our Songs of the Week roundup, but this week we do.

An analysis of last week’s vote – in which rambunctious Liverpudlians The Imbeciles and Nashville rock ‘n’rollers The Bloody Nerve garnered more than 90% of the votes between them – revealed what election observers call patterns of vote “suspects”. Thousands of votes were posted for each artist in alarming time, suggesting that a vast army of robot monkeys had been hired to maintain support.

We’re not suggesting that either group was personally engaged in nefarious activity – and if they were, congratulations on such numerical trickery – but we also won’t allow their medal positions be maintained.

Congratulations to Xander & The Peace Pirates, who finished a distant third in the rankings but who are also this week’s winners. Hooray!

And now, on to this week’s contest.


Whiskey Myers – Antioch

Texas’ rockest southern rock renegade band is back, and this time they come with horns – plus colossal backing vocals for a rich, swampy rock n’ gospel punch. It’s still the gritty, real taste of the American South we originally loved them for, but with new layers of ambition. The first taste of their next album Tornillo (released in July) it conjures up images of hot, muggy summers and buzzing festival crowds as the sun sets.

HEAT – Nationwide

Do you need speed? Oh, we’ll give you speed. Back in full force – and with original vocalist Kenny Leckremo in tow, following the departure of Erik Grönwall in 2020 (he now fronts Skid Row) – the melodic rock Swedes have released this mind-blowing debut single from their new album force majeure, released in full in August. Loaded with jet-powered synths, it’s so ’80s it should come with its own cherry-red open-top Camaro, driven by Joey Tempest and Kenny Loggins. Yeah, picture this.

ZZ Top – Brown Sugar

Yes, it’s a new version of ZZ-fucking-Top! No, it’s not a cover of the Rolling Stones classic – on the contrary, this bad boy is a low, fat fireball that originated in January 1971. Now it’s the opening track for the next band album, BELIEVED, a tribute to their beginnings. “brown sugar has been sweetening our gigs for many decades now,” says Billy F Gibbons, “so it seemed like the right song to start BELIEVED.” Well, absolutely.

Church of the Cosmic Skull – It’s Time

It’s time to get divine, in the company of Nottingham’s sublimely psychedelic freakniks, the Church Of The Cosmic Skull. But this isn’t a bunch of aimless, bong-smoked drifters, as this new track confirms. Harmonies, organ swirls, wah-wah guitars and other violin touches are layered wisely, creating a heady yet smart and sweet impact. Find out this and more at There is no time, which comes out in May. Join the church. Resistance is futile.

Dorothy – Black Sheep

Built on a refrain you’ll hum for days, Black sheep has the swagger of Halestorm and Shinedown (at their rockiest) courting the arena, loosened up with streaks of California hippie sunshine. Following the impending death of her guitar tech from an overdose three years ago, the Hungarian-born singer/songwriter experienced her own awakening, injecting it into her music. The resulting album, Gifts of the Holy Spiritreleases April 22.

Beach bunny – fire escape

On the indie end of our spectrum but still good and crunchy, this Chicago troupe’s latest single (originally singer/songwriter Lili Trifilio’s solo project) is a neat, more-ish little marriage of pop punk. , brooding lyrics and surf vibes – sugar in the subversive shade. Proof, if it were needed, that the 90s never really died – plus a substantial TikTok sequel. New album emotional creature releases July 22.

Steve Vai – Teeth of the Hydra

At last! A chance to gaze in awe at the alien majesty of Steve Vai’s much-heralded Hydra guitar. And boy, is that something, with a zither-like attachment, plus dials and lights and things that make unexpected noises as Vai whips out her multi-necked magnificence, twirling and noodles and dipping and spinning and doing noises beyond our mortal knowledge. Look and tremble.

Red Hot Chili Peppers – These are the ways

While the Red Hot Chili Peppers’ new album has received the traditional bag of “mixed” reviews from those unwilling to acknowledge the band’s mastery of melancholy, we’re thrilled that this new single These are the means is more of the kind of thing they do better than almost anyone else. So it’s a song with that dark black Hollywood vibe, but this time they do it with more bite than on previous singles. black summer and Child Poster. In other words, it starts out sad and then it’s not.


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