When a band goes on hiatus, however brief, it’s usually a reliance on the back catalogue to get the fans through the downtime; not so Last Great Dreamers, the once-antiquated dandies of the UK rock scene dusted off and rebooted in the last decade. No, the merry band of loyal supporters of this regenerated outfit revolving around the core of mainstays Marc Valentine and Slyder Smith has not one, but two new spin-off albums to get excited about while the Dreamers catch up on some much-needed beauty sleep.

Slyder Smith & the Oblivion Kids (Dreamers’ rhythm section, bassist Tim Emery and drummer, Rik Pratt) have a debut long player, ‘Charm Offensive’, released on 19th August through Ray Records, but first out of the last great gate is Marc Valentine and his ‘Future Obscure’ album, coming to a stereo near you on 8th July.

In the short space of time that news of this new, ten-track (twelve-track if you get the bonus-track-riddled compact disc) album has been with us Marc has wasted little time by releasing four (count ‘em!) tracks as digital singles: album opener, ‘Last Train Tonight’; ‘Mornington Avenue’, featuring Matt Dangerfield from The Boys; and double A-side, ‘Death Is Overrated/Break My Heart Anyway’, the latter featuring a guest appearance from Wreckless Eric. So, I have to approach this review from a slightly different angle: listeners already know what to expect from the album, I simply have to reassure them that the best tracks haven’t already been lifted from the tracklisting leaving nothing but filler. Spoiler alert: everything is going to be okay…

A Summer release is perfect for ‘Future Obscure’; the tracks blurring between that expected lilting power pop that is trademark Valentine and a hazy, lazy sentimentality, both conspiring to make a perfect soundtrack to long, hot days and cooler nights of reminiscence.

With synths set to stun, some of the power pop tunes that litter the tracklisting – the glorious ‘Swiss Launderette’, the great ‘Ghosts of Amsterdam’ – have every chance of filling a Fountains Of Wayne-shaped hole in the New Releases section of your record collection, while the more emotional-button-pushers – the terrific throwback that is ‘Arcades’, the fine ‘Fade Out In Blue’ for example – will have you questioning if that funny feeling that you have in your head as the sun sets is from the Summertime cider or the inevitable clawing back of memories. There’s even a tip of the bowler hat to the LGD day job via the lowslung rock ‘n’ roll of the fantastic ‘Zodiac Hotel’.

Mixed and produced by Dave Draper, that ‘Future Obscure’ sounds great should come as no surprise. That goes for the musicians that Valentine has surrounded himself with too: Richard Davies on guitar, and a return for former Last Great Dreamers rhythm section, bassist Steve Fielding and drummer Denley Slade, the latter so consistent in his work that he sounds almost robotic. Catch these guys backing Marc on a UK tour that starts on album release day.

We need great nights out at rock shows with friends and bright and breezy rock ‘n’ roll records like ‘Future Obscure’ at times like these. That three minute songs and small rooms full of sweaty people can help save us from the stresses of modern life is testament to the true power of music. Forget what that man from Sheffield with a creaking voice once (almost) told us; you CAN stop the hurt inside, when love and hiatus collide…

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Author: Gaz Tidey

Dubbed “The most elegant-decadent rock n’ roll unit of the 21st century” and hailing from Montreal, Canada; DANGEREENS have signed a deal with burgeoning rock label Golden Robot Records.

Drawing comparisons to bands like The Strokes, DANGEREENS blend touches of 70s glam rock, punk, power pop, southern rock, 60s garage rock, 50s R&B and rock ’n’ roll all into one tasty soundscape. Their numerous influences shine, in what is a totally addictive rock smorgasbord.

RPM Introduced the band early this year when we interviewed them Here

Dangereens are the most elegantly decadent rock n’ roll unit of the 21st century, period. Their sound and aesthetic combine touches of 70s junkshop glam with sleazy, primal 50s rock n’ roll. Known locally as one of Montreal’s finest toe tapping acts, theses cats are guaranteed to make you scream and shout, while wearing your finest glitter and sequin blouse!
The band formed in the spring of 2017, and since then they have engaged in a feverish song writing streak that led them to put out their self-titled EP, their proudest and most accomplished release so far.
Since their formation, the band have toured restlessly around countless Canadian cities like Montreal, Toronto, Ottawa, Quebec and Halifax, as well as American cities like New York and Boston. Their live performances include theatrical elements mixed with high energy, glitter punk attitude.

Now joining forces with Golden Robot Records, the band is ready, willing and able to take on the rest of the world!

 

Instagram / Facebook / Golden Robot Page

Having just completed Doug Brod’s excellent ‘They Just Seem A Little Weird’ book, this third album for Rum Bar Records from Boston based rockers Watts couldn’t have dropped in my review stack at any more appropriate moment.

 

Why?

 

Well just like Brod’s book took me back to the magical days of discovering the likes of Cheap Trick, Starz, Aerosmith and KISS for the first time and making me go all gooey eyed in the process, this all new ten tracker celebrates that same glorious era of musical creativity whilst giving it an adrenalin booster shot just right for the 2020s.

 

‘Loud & Fast’ kicks things off in fine style conjuring up a kind of Blackhearts meets Motorhead vibe with vocalist/guitarist Dan Kopko’s instantly recognisable gravelly roar front and centre hammering home the song’s huge hook. ‘Queens’ is where the band’s underlying KISS influence really does get turned up to eleven, and it’s better than anything the New York glam veterans have written in the last four decades, plus it’s delivered with a Judas Priest lyrical nod that has me grinning from ear to ear every time I hear it. This is how I want MY rock ‘n’ roll that’s for sure.

 

The other great thing about Watts is that three of the four members can sing lead, so when bassist Tim McCoy takes the microphone for ‘Breaking Glass’ this leaves Kopko to deliver some soaring Lizzy-esque duel harmony guitar with his counterpart John Blout, plus when drummer John Lynch delivers ‘The Night The Lights Went Down’ his cleaner vocal delivery lends this Black Crowesy roots rocker a more power-poppy sheen and band in the process offers up a potential breakthrough radio hit.

 

Elsewhere ‘Shady’ would not sound out of place on a post-Bowie intervention Mott The Hoople album, whilst ‘Heavy Metal Kids’ has an instant “in his prime” (as in prior to 1985) Bryan Adams charm to it, that if this world has any justice to it will see it being sung in karaoke bars worldwide for decades to come, and I really do not mean that as a put down. Then there’s the incredible ‘Shocking Pink’, a song Blout/Kopko (who write seven of the ten tunes here) surely must have written whilst listening to Jellyfish, albeit here the glorious vocal hooks are all played out by a band who really are hooked on a Heartbreakers (Tom Petty version) trip rather than Supertramp and Wings.

 

And talking of breaking hearts, the sleazy Thunders/Dolls vibe of ‘Seventeen’ is a hellraising, fag in the corner of the mouth kind of rocker driven along by some brass stabs that will have you straight up and stomping your creepers, and if you’re looking for the perfect morning after soundtrack to counter that then ‘When the Party Ends’ is just what the doctor ordered for your hangover from hell (even if to my ears at least it’s got a bit of Stereophonics thing going on). Which just leaves the only track on here that has been previously available, the prophetic and Cars-like ‘All Done With Rock & Roll’, which kind of takes us full circle, ensuring as the final chords chime out you just have to press play again.

 

The world needs ‘Shady Rock & Rollers’ like Watts right now, and believe me when I say you need this record in your life.  It’s out now via Rum Bar Records and really is essential listening!!!!!

 

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Author: Johnny Hayward

 

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So Lockdown,  did we mention we’re still under lockdown?  No live shows No clubs or venues heaving with happy smiling people falling out into the late evening streets. Well before the apocalypse, there were bands who toured the globe in search of those happy smiling faces and entertaining them with their tunes of merriment and creating memories that would last a lifetime some of those bands were exceptionally good at entertaining and one of them has decided to release one such evening in Sweden for our listening pleasure.  Not wanting to be down about it that band – Duncan Reid & The Big Heads were to be fair or should that read are exceptionally good at, to be fair I’ve also said that as much as I love the music on record or CD live is where they really do shine and the sound (complete and dare I say enhanced) with its rough edges is much better for the energy and living in the moment than they can capture on record.

 

For those of you who don’t know, Duncan used to be one of The Boys so knows a thing or two about writing top tunes and about what it takes to be a great Rock and Roll band and to his credit, he’s surrounded himself with some excellent musicians (in their own right) and musicians who trade off each other to create what is one of the finest bands you could wish to see in any venue be it the cavernous surroundings of the theatre at Rebellion or a small upstairs room of a Bristol Bar they will come and rock the socks off you and you will bloody well enjoy every minute of it.  This leads me in a roundabout sort of way to why these words are here.

 

‘Live at Akkurat’ might not be the Hollywood bowl nor is it Maddison Square Gardens but I bet the audience that evening of this recording didn’t care a jot because they were too busy having the time of their lives with Duncan and his Big Heads.

 

The album kicks off with the sprightly ‘Can’t Stop’ and motors straight into the boptastic ‘Montevideo’ the band means business and the recording has (thankfully) captured what the band exudes in the live surroundings and that’s the best of times and of course some top tunes. Going from the opening track off ‘Bombs Away’ straight into the first album deep cut of ‘Montevideo’ is a fantastic one-two. Heading for the hattrick there a raw ‘Cèst La Vie’ that motors along.

 

Duncan’s interval banter isn’t lost on the Swedes as he introduces ‘Baby Doll’ and again the mix of synth and raw guitars works well. You do get to hear how tight the band is which might be lost when you’re watching them live such is the amount of energy they put into every performance and the blend of keys and guitars works a treat on ‘Just Because You’re Paranoid’. ‘Rolling On’ sounds great and the vocals are excellent as it heads into ‘Bombs Away’ that certainly benefits from the rough edges of a live performance.

 

Through all twelve songs on offer here you do get the sense of how bloody good this band is and what a good songwriter Duncan is. Over the post Boys output how he’s managed to pen some right belters, ‘C’mon Josephine’ into ‘Wasting Time’ and then into ‘That’s The Way It Is’ followed by the epic ’77’ they’re very different songs but blend together so well and show off those talents.

 

Before the end, we get to hear the band take on and pay respect to his previous day job and Honest John Plain in particular with a great rendition of ‘First Time’ which only leaves a trashy romp through ‘One Time In Rio’ before bowing out.

 

Whilst it’s fantastic to hear this recording and I’m sure everyone who downloads this album will agree its a double-edged treat, on the one hand, it’s a fitting tribute to a great live band, the flip side is I feel sad that it’s been over twelve months since I’ve been to a sweaty venue and clapped eyes on a live rock and roll band like Duncan Reid & The Big Heads.  Hopefully, this can signal the beginning of the end of a real Annus horribilis for us live music fans and with this recording, at least we can celebrate what live music should be all about.  Entertaining, Great songs, great performers great live set.  Just Buy it! that’s my advice because it’s like a ray of sunshine and a reminder of what’s coming soon enough when we can all experience this again.  Good on you Duncan and those Big Heads you rock!  All for a fiver? Bargain of the year!

Buy it Here

Author: Dom Daley

 

 

From the opening guitar roll and just from the tone I knew Mom was a band I wanted to hear and as the song opened up with some nice riff-o-la and a happy-go-lucky hook on the melody things were looking up.  It’s summer with the soft top down kinda Rock and Roll.  The solo soars and another power pop drop of goodness is released into the ether.  Mom nailed it. ‘Pleasure Island is the sound of a band who love their Rock and Roll and appreciates what it takes to pen a rounded slice of ear candy, take ‘Ordinary Girl’ for example.  its got duelling guitar solos – handclaps – a chorus that sounds like it fell outta a US sitcom from the early 70s’ it would no doubt get the Fonz turning his collar up and putting another dime in the jukebox baby.

 

They could be close relatives of bands like The Speedways and what’s not to like about ‘Suzie (Use Me)’ as they tick off another power pop room 101 essential as that cowbell gets tapped in time with the beat as the couplets fall out of the speakers.  ‘Don’t Leave With My Heart’ has the wonderfully named Annie Stesia playing the synthesizer and lending her vocals to proceedings adding another texture to the already dreamy power-pop on offer.

 

‘Waste My Time’ is Exploding Hearts territory whilst ‘Soda Pop’ is something you’d imagine Tuk Smith penning. ‘Pleasure Island’ is in that ballpark and the reference points I’ve made are the kind of bands Mom would go on a never-ending tour with and fans would lap it up.  It’s eleven songs of high quality fairly similarly paced except for ‘Talk To Me’ which closes off the album with its acoustic-electric mood.  Possibly more laid back but no step back in the quality of the songs on offer.  Hell if I found more information about the band I’d help you out but Mom seem to be quite private and let the album do their talking and it doesn’t shut up.  Power pop fans need to check these out asap.

Buy Mom Here

It’s always great to come across an act like the Dogmatics, new to yourself and a complete revelation. With an air of East Coast Replacements about them, with rockabilly elements and enviable songwriting skills. Much like the aforementioned Mats, you come to the conclusion: how have I, or indeed everyone never heard of this group.

This retrospective is a strong compilation for newbies and completists alike of the early 80s’ Boston-based group. Wielding different genre specifics, vocal styles track by track like a guitar-heavy Squeeze in their approach. Opening the record with dance floor friendly New Wave numbers ‘Sister Serena’ and ‘You Say’ (think Plimsouls, the Romantics), moving on to gruffer sounding but still resonating material like ‘MTV OD’ and ‘King-Sized Cigarette’ before to descending into the very “of the time” cowpunk tinged tracks like ‘gimme the shakes’ and ‘Pussy Whipped’.
Further on we enter the completists territory, novelty songs like ‘Hardcore Rules’ and ‘Shithouse’ not likely to win over any new fans, but serve their purpose in a retrospective for those who have been with the band every step of the way.
After this brief trough, the record certainly peaks again in the form of what should be an alternative rock classic ‘Everything Went Bad’, with tinges of Mission Of Burma and even a little bit of Buzzcocks, this one is certainly going to be on the playlists for new converts. Followed through with the melancholic and bitter-sweet “Cry Myself To Sleep”, making you appreciate the good times whilst reminding you of times that you couldn’t possibly envision things improving.
Overall this retrospective is a strong portrait of a band that is walking proof to the more obsessive music fan that the cream does not always rise to the top. Get your hands on this release. You will not regret it.
Buy The Dogmatics Here
Author: Dan Kasm

Try not to be too disappointed that this is only five tracks and not the new full-length new album but I’m sure that isn’t too far away so see it as a bonus that’ll tide you over nicely.

 

This offer is suitably snotty and it chews out a rhythm like fellow well-crafted power poppers from their neck of the woods The Exploding Hearts.  Its guitars below the belt buckle, leather jacket on with the collars turned up,  Some creepers or cons and turn those amps up a little bit louder than you think they should be and let’s go!

‘See Her In Action’ the song kicks things off and with all the vital ingredients present and in situ it’s all systems go.  There’s a dreamy vibe to the melody as the band just eases into the rhythm.  They’re not reinventing the wheel here they’re just having a good time hanging out and kicking out the jams and it sounds like they have the best of times.  ‘Only Lovers’ tweaks that Chuck Berry riff a little and the guitars just roll with it. It’s a timeless lick and it’s been used by many far and wide the good and the great and sometimes the not so great but The Cheap Cassettes know how to handle the string bending and put it to great use.

 

‘Lil’ Bit Everyday’ is the last of the three studio recordings and for me it’s they’ve saved the best till last and with a hint of mop-top mod melody in the chorus I like it a lot and the solo just hits the bullseye in the sweetest way.  Now to get a good idea of where bands like The Cheap cassettes work best there are a couple of live recordings thrown into the mix and the first is the epic ‘Valentine’ originally by The Replacements (obviously) and The Cheaps do it justice and sail pretty close to the original and another of the bands they are clearly inspired by being nailed to the mast.  Job done!  then to sign this impressive EP off they power their way through ‘Red Line Blue’ and my appetite is suitably whetted for the next long-player.  Bring it on.

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Author: Dom Daley

Is this Power Pop?

A question that is often all caps shouted across screens by keyboard warriors defending their record collection decisions.

Power Pop. A holy grail whose contents are loudly proclaimed obvious (depending who ya ask) and essential.  Apparently sacred (yet neverendingly argued) since the storied days of Peter Case losing his Nerves to then lace up his Plimsouls. Somehow important yet almost impossible to achieve… one wrong move, a drink too far, a chord eschewing a jangle and you’re “just rock n roll”.

Or so it seems…

The Speedways. The members languidly lean on the bars of darkened London pubs or float like spectres in corners of Some Weird Sin and Garageland gigs. Striped shirts and leather jackets. Dirty street-tamed Chucks and scuffed Thunders boots carry them from one late night heartache to another.

They are true believers who take their turn on stage with hearts outshining the Cheap Trick badges.

Heart.

How do you capture it? How do you?

This album is a stellar example of doing just that. It is the emotion, the essence of love (lost and yearned for) that makes special songs, damn the torpedoes and neat classifications.

This is their second full-length album and the growth since ‘Just Another Regular Summer’ is apparent right off the opening track. ‘This Ain’t A Radio Sound’ opens with a playful ‘80’s Cars ‘Heartbeat City’ keyboard that is somehow right at home alongside the dirty street jangle of Mauro Venegas’ guitars. Then Matthew Julian saunters in, his vocals accomplishing a feat in common with that of my favourite singers. It is instantly recognisable. Equal parts world-weary and up to the fight. Like how Phil Lynott would somehow whisper your thoughts back to you. At once like a friend and someone you wish you had the nerve to approach. A very rare and special dichotomy that gains trust from the listener. People will say you’re born with that. I can see here that you can earn it.

‘The Day I Call You Mine’ shakes off the skinny tie and gets tough. And sweet. The rhythm section of Kris Hood and Adrian Alfonso are like a modern day Mike Joyce and Andy Rourke of The Smiths. Taking the gorgeous songcraft and walking it home like schoolyard best friend bodyguards. In fact, every melody and arpeggiated chord on this long-player is kept safe in their scrappy hands.

“Daydreaming’ opens with razor-sharp back alley chords and a streetwise snarl that has me all of a sudden thinking, “Is this ROCK N ROLL???”

Speaking of that… ‘Your Brown Eyes Look So Blue’ comes dangerously close to sounding like a forgotten outtake from the soundtrack to “Grease”. High School dancing itself right to the edge of the parking lot of kitsch to puke, but teetering there and miraculously feeling much better, thank you! It was a close one boys, but then again, some imminent peril makes albums and nights out exciting.

The track order on this album has a great arch to it. The way it builds to a cinematic centrepiece starting from the dreamy fade into focus intro of ‘This Is About A Girl Who Loves The Sun’. It builds wonderfully into widescreen guitar pop. The song takes you off the dusty and noisy summer city streets and into the cinema to catch your breath and “to stop taking it out on yourself” as Matthew reminds you in the lyrics.

The exuberance of ‘Number Seven’ kicks the cinema doors wide open and the sunlight comes streaming through. We’re in The Speedways’ neighbourhood now, and there’s a place they know that’s perfect for an afternoon drink. Matthew puts his arm around you on the walk and lets ya know that you’ll get by… it doesn’t matter who believes you.

Another standout track is the band next door sound of ‘Empty Pages’. Effortlessly cool and just the right riff for just the right lyrics (“On Halloween I couldn’t hide”… who hasn’t felt that way? Vulnerable and surrounded by Pound Shop devils and clowns) The song is the sound of hanging out. Pure and simple.

The whole set does an excellent job of establishing a recognisable sound while crossing gang lines into territories that may feel like defection. The early Petty and almost ‘50s stomp intro of ‘Had Enough This Time’ giving way to a sun shower of cascading guitar shimmer and a riff that steps right off a beach to join in? Really? It works. Really well.

The album closer, the rather magnificently titled ‘In A World Without Love It’s Hard To Stay Young’, is a perfect bookend. A pocket symphony of guitars that shine like the afternoon sun reflected off a Camaro’s dashboard. Its harmonies sonically answer Julian’s proclamation, “I thought I was the only one to feel this way, until…” with the easy embrace of a close pal.

No. You’re not the only one who does, Matthew. You just have a timeless way of expressing it. Your band is right there with you bringing these songs into brilliant focus as well.

Pretty happy that a band like this exists, making albums to this calibre.

It sounds awfully good with a cold one or a double too!

OH! Power Pop?

I ain’t getting’ into that! Whaddya think, I’m crazy?

 

Buy Beluga Records Here / Speedways Bandcamp Vinyl Here

Author: Rich Ragany

As we spend our days playing through our LP collections, looking back at stuff we haven’t played in a while, how about looking at things in a different way? How about exploring a style previously unheard? How about diving in and just trying something different? Well for yours truly this really rips up the rule book, “It’s Karma it’s Kool.”

 

Now this baby appeared in my inbox after one of those do you fancy giving our band a listen conversations that you have over the inter-web and whatever Social Media platform you choose to frequent. As the opening intro to “Our love is an amplifier” eases its way out of the speakers you are instantly drawn to the pop sensibilities that permeate throughout, this is undeniably catchy as Fuck, and you find yourself tapping along to it as the lyrics bounce around your brain. Now as I listen I keep thinking it’s treading a path that another band I reviewed took me down, that Band was a Brighton band called World Secret. I mean when you introduce the phrase “pop” you are looking across all sorts of era’s and all sorts of styles, this LP is very much a pop LP for now, lets not go down Brit pop or power pop or indie pop route, lets call it well crafted music that’s going to appeal across the board.

 

As I sit listening I’m drawn back to the sixties at times, I feel the ghost of Syd Barrett will be up there smiling, there’s definitely more than a hint of psychedelia, maybe a hint of Alternative country (especially on “I woke up in Hollywood” the title track that contains some gorgeous harmonies) definitely the seventies with an updated version of the Byrds sound, that can be pulled out right the way through. We have a band I feel that have their influences grounded in the past but not afraid to play around with it, update it, while at the same time creating something that is defiantly different.

 

James Styring on vocals at time’s hit’s that classic Michael Stipe sound without copying, at times moving into Counting Crows arena size sound. This LP is an LP that washes over you, hints at lots of times spent immersed in music, crossing genres but at all times keeping your interest.

 

There’s some gorgeous guitar work on “The girl who gave you everything”, it weaves it way throughout, drawing in your focus. There’s a real homage to the previously hinted at 60’s psychedelia in “New Age Eve” but not from where you expect, the almost early ska type guitar run sets the scene before the vocals lead you into a brass section led element that twists and turns the music into all sorts of directions.

 

If your not smiling by this point as you listen your way through, there’s something seriously wrong, you really need to be sat in the sunshine, preferably with mates (remember guys no more than 6 at this time) with this LP setting the scene and creating the environment.

 

There’s a return to that alt country feel with “Ghosts of Rome” before probably my favourite track on the LP “Battle of Burnt out Bliss”, it just holds you, and draws you in the flamenco guitar giving some real colour to the sound.

 

AS the band themselves say “IT’S KARMA IT’S COOL throws away the rulebook, scribbles all over the blueprints, and forges their own path. Deliciously deceiving, their melodies will wiggle their way into the empty crevices in your brain and never leave.”

 

Too quickly we’re into the final track “Sunflowers” This is an LP that could form the soundtrack to your summer, its meant to be played with friends, outside and I’m sure the band would sound fantastic on a festival stage (maybe next year) let yourself get drawn into the band, remember “It’s Karma it’s Kool”.

 

Dare to be different, don’t follow the masses!!!!

Bandcamp

Buy ‘Woke Up In Hollywood’ – Here

Author: Nev Brooks

 

 

 

 

 

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Garage, Punk, Glam, Greaser, Power-Pop, Paisley Rock, Heartland-Punk, Blue Collar Pub Rock, Twang, Dirty Blues, Cow Punk, Surf’s Up!!

Rum Bar Records presents the soundtrack of Summer.  Just click the link, stream, download, share, crank to your hearts and ears content, all songs available in one easy download for Social Distanced Beach Blanket Bingos, Surf Parties, BBQ’s, Tiki Bars, Dive Bars, Radio Play, Reviews, Podcasts, Streamers, Bloggers and Screamers, we hope you enjoy as much as we have working with all of these awesome and amazing bands & artists.

Somebody Out There Is Having a Party Vol 2 ‘FREE Download‘ Summer 2020 Sampler from the Rum Bar Records Family including: new releases, unreleased material, catalogue, upcoming projects, and more.