AIN’T NO JOKE: Real Gone Sampler #9

A yearly tradition, the Real Gone Sampler is one of the most popular things in our calendar. In previous years, we’ve given away great music by Kurt Baker, The 1957 Tail Fin Fiasco and Black Moth. Every year, the project rounds up the very best in DIY acts and aims to get great music out to a new audience.

On occasion, we’ve even been lucky enough to give you two end of year samplers. This year, the download is only one disc long, but we bring you over seventy minutes of underground sounds. We’ve got dream pop, shoegaze, roots rock, garage rock, singer songwriters and a whole bunch more. It could just be the best Real Gone freebie to date.

As always, reviews for each album can be found behind the band name links.

Sleeve art designed by Elena Barrio.

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JUSTINE AND THE UNCLEAN – Get Unclean

Combining members of Tom Baker’s Snakes, Upper Crust and Malachite, Justine and The Unclean already have a Boston bar band pedigree. The release of their debut single, the double a-sided ‘Love Got Me Into This Mess’/’Passive Aggressive Baby’ in the summer of ’17 represented some of the best female fronted pop-punk sounds in a long while, but there’s more to this nine song debut LP shows off more than that punky taster ever suggested.

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THE VICE RAGS – The Vice Rags

Two old friends. Two older friends. Many previous bands between them.

That’s how New Jersey garage rockers The Vice Rags choose to introduce themselves, playing up the fact that making cool music should often have a feeling of camaraderie and also, that unless you’re the spoilt talentless son of a media mogul or know the Arctic Monkeys in person, there’s no such thing as overnight success. Both guitarist/vocalist Paul Rosevear and Gay Elvis (bass) are members of the on/off garage rock/power pop trio Readymade Breakup; Elv also played with punkers Kid With No Head, who opened for The Offspring, blink-182 and the mighty Bad Religion; drummer Joe Chyb has links with The Anderson Council and guitarist Jack Roberts played with Prunella Scales, a much overlooked band fronted by Skid Row’s Rachel Bolan, as well as having been a long-serving member of Mars Needs Women, with whom he shared a stage with Cheap Trick. With all that behind them, you could say that The Vice Rags have something of a cult pedigree.

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THE PHANTOMS – Covers ’65-’75 EP

Teaming The Zeros’ vocalist Victor Penalosa with The Trebles’ guitarist Xavier Anaya, garage rock band The Phantoms released a full length on Rum Bar Records back in 2015. Tapping into various retro grooves and kicking off with the superbly trashy bar-room workout ‘Baby Loves Her Rock ‘n’ Roll’, the record was well received by the underground press. Two years on, the band reunited and recorded a bunch of no-frills cover tunes.

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INDONESIAN JUNK – Stars In The Night

Indonesian Junk’s self-titled 2016 debut celebrated everything that was trashy about late 70s power pop and slightly glammy punk-pop. Huge cues from the CBGBs scene informed the bulk of the music, which was potentially enjoyable in a fairly chaotic way…provided, that is, the band kept to the upbeat. The slower numbers didn’t always fare so well and on top of that, frontman Daniel James’s drawling vocals were the very pinnacle of acquired taste. In short, then, despite glimmers of something, it was an album that could – and should – have been so much better. [A full review can be read here.]
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