In 2014, as one of the first batch of releases issued by cassette specialists King Pizza Records, Brooklyn’s ¡Vamanos! dropped a handful of tracks that truly set the pace with regard to two-man garage blues noise-making. The five tracks demonstrated a powerhouse performance, culminating with perhaps the filthiest rendition of ‘Death Letter’ committed to tape. The live shows, of course, were even more intense – “disgusting”, even, to quote their label boss. At the beginning of 2016, Alex (g/v) and Tyler (d/v) returned to Danny Rose’s studio – the location of prior recordings – to try and capture an even rawer and more intense representation of the band.
Given the position Real Gone finds itself in at the end of our fifth year online, it might seemed clichéd to say it, but ever year seems to get better and better. It’s been another brilliant year for discovering new music – particularly releases from underground and DIY bands, but also for discs from a couple of old favourites. Culled from hundreds of albums to grace our stereo this year, presented below is a quick look at ten of our favourite releases, as well as a round-up of the more notable of the rest.
2014 was an absolutely great year for music from DIY bands or releases distributed through independent labels. There was so much great music this year that Real Gone found that just one free sampler just wasn’t enough!
A free sampler containing tracks from ten different metal bands can be found here. For those who’d like a few free gems from other genres – rock, pop, punk etc – in ‘Idiots & Idols’ we’ve got a similarly top-notch collection for you!
Sometimes it can be easy to feel like the corporate giants are repeatedly flooding the market with expensive repackages of classic albums, hugely expensive box sets and the like. Truth is, while we all have our “classic albums”, music fans still need something completely new to discover and thankfully, we now live in a world where there’s more music than ever before at our disposal. So much, in fact, that much of it is in danger of being overlooked. There are literally thousands of underground bands and hundreds of DIY labels and you often have to put in some hard yards to find them, but we live in very exciting musical times. On the eve of the their first anniversary, a few faces from King Pizza Records – one of the US’s most no-nonsense DIY labels –met with Real Gone to give us the skinny…and, man, they had an impressive amount of enthusiasm!
As blusterous as Jon Spencer’s Blues Explosion yet accessible in their slide guitar fixated approach, The Dead Exs were just one of many blues duos to take the stage in the wake of The White Stripes’ popularity. Their debut release ‘Ressurection’ was raw yet focused…possessing power and groove, in short, everything garage blues should be. If The Dead Exs channelled the power and charm of the Blues Explosion’s classic work, then King Pizza signings ¡Vamanos! are almost the ugly Pussy Galore by default – their brand of garage blues making all but the very rawest noisemakers sound like major label puppets.