Following Fall founder Mark E. Smith’s death in 2018, Cherry Red Records expanded and reissued the ‘50,000 Fall Fans…’ compilation, adding nineteen bonus tracks to bring it up to date, making it the most comprehensive Fall compilation ever. It was an ideal starting point for new listeners. News that there would be other Fall reissues in the future was met with keenness. The first of that reissue campaign – now dubbed “The Fall Sound” – goes right back to the beginning with expanded editions of 1978’s ‘Live At The Witch Trials’ and 1979’s ‘Dragnet’.
Social media is a wonderful tool. It can connect us with people across the globe; amuse us, inspire us and introduce us to music and films that might have otherwise escaped our notice. There’s a joy in interacting with people we wouldn’t otherwise meet – through being victims of geography, rather than any desire to do so – and discussing cult bands at length. As anyone moving in such circles will attest, conversations about Pink Floyd, Marillion and the Grateful Dead can effectively seem endless.
The negative side of social media is that to find the gold, we have to sift through the mundane, the verbal attacks, the political tensions and the endless moaning. Only last week, an insightful soul on Twitter suggested that if television was once considered “the idiots lantern”, then the internet could well be “the shitbag’s mirror”, effectively reflecting the bad side of all of us. It’s easy to pour scorn and derision on everything from a keyboard when you don’t have to hold your own in a face to face argument.
Formed in 2016, Ditches are a Swedish band who mix garage rock, surf rock and punk. Their 2018 release ‘1000 Elephants’ was mixed and mastered by Mark Ryan and Jeff Burke (both previously of The Marked Men) and featured five frenzied rockers that filled the gap left by Hives when they became more commercial.
After over two decades in the business, Italian garage rock/power pop band The Peawees have created more than a musical legacy. Their 2018 LP ‘Moving Target’ provided an excellent insight into the band’s style – a great listen for anyone unfamiliar with the band – delivering great hook after great hook. A tribute to Phil Spector on the suitably titled ‘Phil Spector’ provided an album highlight on a track big on retro riffs and even bigger on sleigh bells.
A new track, ‘You Don’t Know Me’ adds further to the band’s legacy with a three minute, guitar driven blaster that combines the more commercial feel of early 90s Social Distortion with the chorus thrills of Gaslight Anthem, all wrapped up in something that pays homage to ‘I Fought The Law’.
Romania mightn’t be the first place you’d go looking for surf rock sounds, but Grave For Sale are a band deeply immersed in the retro style. Their musical universe draws influence from greats like The Ventures, but also applies sounds that could be found at the heart of horror rock, often resulting in tunes that sound like a blend of fine garage based melodies and a deep cut from a Tarantino soundtrack.
Their second EP, 2019’s ‘Garajo’ is seriously great. It has an old spirit, but a really beefy sound and its five tracks cover a lot of ground, yet at the same time, sound like tunes that belong together. In short, it’s a superb twenty minute showcase for a band whom deserve a larger fan-base.