Always keen champions of cult music, Rum Bar Records is home to several great bands you might never have heard. Fully believing that a label can’t exist without its fans, they’ve got a gift for you to kick start the new year…and it’s their biggest gift to date.
If you’ve followed the US power pop and pop-punk scenes over the past five years, you’ll know that Justine and The Unclean have released two incredibly catchy albums.
In June 2020, Justine Covault and her band of Boston musicians will release their third long player ‘Every Bone That Breaks’. Almost six months in advance, the band have just issued a two track digital single. Not only will this keep fans entertained until the album appears, but it also teases with a much tougher musical direction.
JATK is a DIY project fronted by singer songwriter Matt Jatkola that celebrates the louder end of the power pop spectrum. The three piece band love distortion and fuzz almost as much as they love a sun-filled retro hook and the result is, perhaps, one of the noisiest power pop discs since The Great Affairs released ‘The Striped Album’ back in 2011.
Beneath the layers of guitar and fuzz are four absolutely cracking songs. Tunes that evoke the kind of excitement you first felt when you dropped the metaphorical needle on a Beat Angels or Ryan Roxie album for the first time. The kind of unbridled joy you feel from playing The Wildhearts’ ‘Vanilla Radio’ at full volume exists within at least a couple of these songs…and that feel-good quality is obvious from first play. Subsequent spins only confirm what you suspected within the first minute or so of hearing this band for the first time. Yes… Power pop fans should be aware that this is potentially that good.
With their third album, 1979’s ‘Head First’, The Babys finally gave the world a genre classic. Their first two albums weren’t short on great material, but occasionally wavered with a couple of lightweight tracks here and their which sometimes seemed to lessen the overall quality, especially from an AOR/melodic rock fan’s perspective. In ‘Head First’, it felt like the first time all of the pieces truly fit. Aside from a bizarre song where John Waite recounts a childhood visit to the dentist, pretty much everything on the album represented The Babys at their absolute best.
Best remembered for big US hits ‘Isn’t It Time’ and ‘Every Time I Think of You’, British rock band The Babys have remained a cult favourite among AOR fans. The launching point of John Waite’s career, the band released a string of enjoyable albums between 1976-81 with their combination of fine 70s pop hooks and strong guitar driven melodies.