When Rum Bar Records reissued the French Girls’ self-titled 2013 EP at the beginning of 2021, it instantly gave the band some well deserved exposure, such is the label’s enthusiasm for digital mailouts and keenness on spreading the word via social media channels. For those who missed French Girls the first time around, this timely reissue more than set out the band as an act to watch out for. That EP’s four songs worked a fierce and distorted approach that could rival many a raw, DIY garage punk band. Those with sharper ears may have detected occasional nods to old 60s girl groups, but in the main, the short release had most of its intents set on creating a gloriously raw noise. It was thrilling – exactly the kind of thing you’d expect from ex-members of Les Hell On Heels and Sympathy For The Record Industry signings The Peeps.
Off Peak Arson is a new band for 2021, but garage punk/noise rock fans will certainly recognise a couple of the musicians involved. Tyler Harrington (vox/bass) has previous connections with The Wirms along with OPA guitarist Skyler Gambert, as well as being a member of the insane Musclegoose. For this project, they’ve collaborated with drummer Devan Theos and guitarist Matt Thornton, both of whom are members of Ten High, and between them, they make a ferociously brilliant noise.
Bringing together four unreleased tunes by The Rizzos and Top Nachos, this split release from King Pizza Records is a fine DIY recording. Split releases are a good way of introducing people to new bands and for Top Nachos the opportunity to appear alongside The Rizzos is definitely a chance for the Queens-based, self-proclaimed “silly-core” band to build upon their following. For extant fans of The Rizzos, of course, a purchase of this release will be a no-brainer. It has something a bittersweet feel, too, presenting both an end and a beginning: the Rizzos’ tracks are the last to feature drummer and founding member Bettina Warshaw while, for most listeners, the release will provide a first time exposure to the rather juvenile world of Top Nachos and their occasional cardboard headgear, fascination with junk food and unfashionable facial hair.
Spanish garage rockers Los Chicos can count the Kurt Baker Combo‘s Juancho Lopez and Rum Bar Records’ head honcho Malibu Lou among their fans, but soon, they’ll gain a larger fan base outside of their home country when a compilation of their best tracks will get a long overdue US release.
If you’re the kind of person who always expects musical perfection, Boston garage rockers A Bunch of Jerks just won’t be for you. Since their inception, the band have always championed a ragged style: their sound is often driven by an overly loud drum kit; there are never any attempts made to fix any wobbly vocal moments and, generally, you get the feeling the band put the same level of care into their recordings as they put into their frankly terrible choice of band name. Regardless of their trashy aesthetic, they’ve plugged on and won fans and supporters – not least of all from the bands within the Rum Bar family – and by 2020, they seemed to have a fairly solid online presence.
Their ‘White Girl Wasted’ digital EP – released in March ’20 – provided a reasonable snapshot of their no-frills style, presenting front-woman Stabby’s vocals high in the mix on a couple of raw, self-penned tunes. The free download also gave a welcome look into their broad world of influences via a spirited (but somewhat unfussy) cover of The Rezillos’ ‘Flying Saucer Attack’ which showed bassist Bat to be a pleasingly muscular player.