In August ’17, Boston rockers Justine and Unclean unleashed their debut single via Rum Bar Records. A double A-sided download, ‘Love Got Me Into This Mess’ and ‘Passive Aggressive Baby’ delivered an adrenaline-shot of good old r’n’r, mixing the sounds of Ramones with something a little sweeter. The tracks retained a punky enough edge to thrill the pop-punk crowd and yet retained a little something to suggest their forthcoming album might just be a touch more varied.
Cheap Trick, The Knack and Nick Lowe might be the best known names from the late 70s power pop boom, but the genre and its various micro-scenes saw recordings and releases from other musical heroes between 1975-1980 just as worthy of attention. Fusing power pop and a spikier edge, The Real Kids’ debut is one of the greatest proto-punk discs ever; Earth Quake’s bombast showed the craft of gifted musicians; Fotomaker took the late 70s pop sound and made it even more retro by filtering it through a smoother vocal…and then there was PezBand. With a knack for bouncy tunes rivalled only by The Knack themselves, possession of quirky harmonies straight out of the school of Cheap Trick perfection and a natural gift for a chorus, PezBand were special.
Kurt Baker is the very definition of “cult hero”. He’s played in various bands since the 90s and been a very active member of both the punk and power pop scenes. He knows most of your punk heroes personally…and yet, chances are, many of you will still be unfamiliar with his work. In July 2017, Kurt completed his first UK tour in several years, promoting the Kurt Baker Combo’s first studio release ‘In Orbit’. Real Gone met him at his Brighton stop for various drinks and a lengthy chat. Nothing was taken down formally. It was decided that upon Kurt’s return to Spain, we ought to get something on record for posterity, since the visit was an important one in his ongoing musical journey.
On December 1st 1976, UK TV history was made. On Bill Grundy’s Today show, the Sex Pistols and a couple of their associated chums shocked a nation. Their behavior was quickly seen as inappropriate for most of the 1970s public and by the time their interview concluded with Steve Jones calling Grundy “a fucking rotter”, things had moved from merely “inappropriate” to “causing outrage”.
In 2016, Scandinavian garage rockers Nightmen dropped one of the greatest musical surprises of the year. Exploring various elements of garage rock and proto-punk, ‘Fifteen Minutes of Pain‘ delivered a short and sharp aural assault of a record that was not only loving of the past, but also keen to bring such sounds kicking and screaming into the present. It was also the kind of debut that sounded like the work of a band who might burn themselves out too quickly. For this second release, the band could’ve decided to churn out more of the same and that would’ve been great, but being smart cookies, they’ve avoided that inevitable burnout and adapted their previous sounds to allow for growth. Amongst various garage rock and proto-punk staples, this time around, they also show more of a talent for classic power pop.