The words innovative and iconic are muchly overused when describing bands in the twenty first century. Both are very much words that apply to New York Dolls. A band that championed excess and trashiness in every sense, they ushered in a sleazy style that joined The Stooges in laying the groundwork for punk, but also providing a core influence for the likes of Motley Crue and the LA glam metal scene that dominated MTV during a decade long after the Dolls first burst of stardom had burnt out.
In the summer of 2019, Dave Grohl hinted at the possibility of a second Them Crooked Vultures album. At that point, it had been a whole decade since the supergroup’s debut release, but fans had never quite given up hope of a return. Grohl’s comments only served to fuel the rumour mill and in many ways it’s a pity nothing more materialised, as a brand new work involving John Paul Jones at that time would have outshone all of Jimmy Page’s non-existent efforts to mark Led Zeppelin’s 50th anniversary.
Back in 2019, singer songwriter Steve Hewitt released his debut album ‘Bigger Than Words’. With its blend of folk, pop and country influences, the album had a timeless feel, often reminiscent of the more stripped down Lowen & Navarro recordings. It was one of Real Gone’s top albums of 2019.
It’s that time of year again when Real Gone takes stock of all of the great music that’s been sent our way over the last twelve months. Changes in how people consume their music has meant shifting from providing a free download to offering an album length stream, but the variety and quality of the new music remains very high.
By the end of 2019, few people would have suggested we’d live through a year any more devastating than 2016. That year, famous musicians seemed to be dying on a weekly basis. 2020 had even more of a drastic effect on the music industry with a global pandemic putting a halt on gigs and forcing various small, grass roots venues to close their doors forever.
On the plus side – and you always have to look for a positive, even in the most dire of circumstances – a dramatic change in circumstances has forced musicians to change their way of working. For those with home studios, it’s meant we’ve seen an increase in output. We’ve even been given unexpected albums – right at the end of the year, there were surprise releases from Paul McCartney and Taylor Swift and various other interesting albums were put together remotely. …And as we take stock on a terrible year, it seems that the gift of recorded music has been one of our only constants: 2020 may have been an absolute bastard in so many ways, but we’ve all found new music to love.