Following the release of their digital EP ‘All Done With Rock N Roll’ in 2017, the members of Watts took a little time out to work on other projects. Over the following two years, drummer John Lynch recorded a new LP with garage rock legends The Neighbourhoods; both he and guitarist John Blout (along with Neighborhoods man David Minehan) contributed to a great solo release from The Dirty Truckers’ Tom Baker, and vocalist Dan Kopko eventually surfaced as a member of a member of The Shang Hi-Los, a brilliant power pop band also featuring The Deadbeat 5’s Jen D’Angora. You could never accuse the band of being lazy but, on top of all of that, several Watts singles appeared digitally via Bandcamp over the course of the period. By giving fans a new track every few months, it really helped to keep the Watts legacy alive during the relative downtime.
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.
At the end of 2017, Watts tried to convince us they were ‘All Done With Rock & Roll’. They then took a little time out to work on other projects before returning with a string of singles cementing their reputation as one of the greatest retro sounding bands of the era.
After a fairly devastating year, 2021 got off to an equally wobbly start due to a global pandemic still dragging its heels and refusing to leave. With no sign of big UK gigs returning any time soon and a lot of smaller, DIY bands really missing being on stage, everyone turned to Bandcamp and other similar websites for continued entertainment.
On the plus side, this has kept Real Gone busier than ever. The first quarter of 2021 has been our busiest to date, with bands and labels approaching us by the hundred, looking for good quality coverage.
By crediting themselves as “garage pop from the desert”, French Girls instantly disarm the listener by suggesting there will be an obvious pop (or power pop) element to their sound. On this self-titled EP from 2021, any allusions to making obvious pop sounds are fleeting and most sugary melodies are quickly kicked to the kerb with a hefty amount of distortion. Although you will find an occasional nod to Phil Spector girl groups, such moments are delivered with a massive sneer. This EP is raw, attitude filled and sometimes ugly. From a garage punk perspective, it’s also brilliant.