FOUND MISSING? – Pretend EP

Essex band Found Missing? released their debut EP in the summer of 2019. While the band were a relatively new arrival on the UK rock scene at that point, their members had been working the live circuit for some time as members of Cosmic Joker, Twelvepointhead and La Muerte.

La Muerte were fantastic. They left the world too prematurely with one EP that fused elements of punk, hardcore and a debt to early Killing Joke. If you’re approaching this band expecting more of the same you’re surely going to be disappointed, but what Found Missing? do, they often do very well. Opting for something very retro, the band takes a huge hard rock swagger, injects it with a love of funk and then dirties it up a little, ending up sounding like an early 90s funk metal band covering tracks from Bush’s US million seller ‘Sixteen Stone’. Obviously, at the time of release, it sounds rather…out of time, but for fans of that sort of thing, it very much fills a musical hole.

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STATE COWS – Challenges

State Cows have been making excellent westcoast/yacht rock music since 2010. Always unashamed in their retro-ness, the band have delighted fans across the world with various self-penned homages to Toto, Steely Dan and late 70s Doobie Brothers. There’s nothing obviously original about the Cows’ choice of style, but there’s no denying they do it better than most…and even after so many years, the fact that this most American of sounds was perfected somewhere in Sweden is a fact that still amazes.

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LIsten: Dream poppers Cathedral Bells release new single ‘Ephemeral’

In October 2019, US dream pop duo Cathedral Bells gave fans a taste of their upcoming album when they released a new single ‘Ephemeral’. The track gave everyone everything they’d hoped for with a hazy throwback to 90s dreampop and shoegaze, all the while still showcasing the band’s gift for a vaguely gothy melody.

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45 RALLY – Tweets For My Sweet

With a truckload of 60s riffs, an organ sound stolen from ? & The Mysterians and a frivolous sense of humour, 45 Rally deliver something special on their 2019 release ‘Tweets For My Sweet’. Not only do their sounds serve up a few lovingly created homages to a garage rock past, but they juxtapose their love of the retro with the more modern concept of social media used for malicious purposes.

As the title more than hints, ‘Tweets For My Sweet’ blends the familiar concept of 60s teenage love and other things with a bunch of Donald Trump’s most awful tweets, creating a potent mix of retro sounds and sensationalism. Not that 45 Rally use any of this to create any big(ly) political statements – more as a springboard for hooky choruses and fun. Obviously, though, when it’s made so obvious how and where the songs got their names, there’ll always be a certain feeling of commentary…even if, as in this case, its more of an impish subversiveness.

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NAT FREEDBERG – Better Late Than Never

A cult hero from Boston, Nat Freedberg has recorded with The Titanics, The Clamdiggers, The Flies…and likely lots of other acts labelled with the definitive article. Always a champion of a natural sound, his best works have a very old spirit and the best bits of 2019’s ‘Better Late Than Never’ could stand alongside Strange Majik in terms of exuding an all-round retro cool…at least on musical terms.

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