Keen power pop fans and garage rock aficionados who’ve been following the Rum Bar label since their early days will know how seriously they take their music. For head honcho Malibu Lou, the label has been an ongoing labour of love, and his bands are his family. Those bands, in turn, appear to look out for each other, and their social media often shows musicians hanging out at each others’ shows. The Rum Bar ethos values heart over perfection, and often feels as if its giving something back to the Boston music scene. The aspect of “giving back” is also why the label has never been shy of issuing free downloads: their album length samplers aren’t just a way of attracting new listeners to great, DIY music they might not have otherwise found, they’re also a celebration of the scene as a larger construct. The label’s Summer ’21 download – ‘XOXOXO Volume One’ – was one of the best free downloads ever. By rounding up a lot of the label’s better known bands and previewing things to come, it felt like a complete experience, enjoyable for committed followers and the curious alike, but this even bigger selection of Rum Bar wares – orchestrated by the guys at Knyvet PR – is pretty much its equal.
Back in the dim and distant past of the mid 80s, at a time when The Cars were still chart toppers and The Replacements hadn’t quite made the jump to a major label deal and full-blown melodies, there was a rock ‘n’ roll band called The Clams. That name has since been hijacked by a surf rock band, but the original Minnesota Clams were a great vehicle for garage rock riffs and massive hooks. A lot of people have only really caught up with them via the Rum Bar Records compilation ‘The Complete Clams’ (issued in May 2022), but it’s clear that decades after they disbanded, The Clams were a band with a huge potential. At the very tip of their musical iceberg, ‘He’s Like Heroin’ presented them like a huge-voiced, female fronted Stooges; ‘Give Me A Reason’ served up sixties garage pop loaded with bubblegum sweet melodic hooks and ‘The Dangerous Kind’ showed them dabbling with something much punkier, but with equally cool results. The Clams were a band that often sounded great, no matter what.
Despite the world being knocked sideways by a global pandemic, the period stretching between the end of 2019 and the end of 2021 didn’t work out so badly for vocalist Miss Georgia Peach. The debut EP from her band Beebe Gallini gained a timely reissue from the Rum Bar Records label, which helped it to reach people who’d missed it in 2018. Likewise, a reissue of her 2007 solo single ‘You Blow My Mind’ was given a new lease of life via its inclusion on a label sampler and a subsequent digital reissue campaign. More importantly, Beebe Gallini’s full length album ‘Pandemos’ (released in May ‘21) made good on the EP’s earlier promise with tunes like ‘Bad Man’ and ‘Danny’ scoring highly on the retro riffs front, and the Bee Gees’ classic ‘To Love Somebody’ being redressed in a world of fuzz. The general online buzz surrounding the album (and the record label’s enthusiasm for it) made it clear that there would be more to come from Peach and her bandmates – and sooner rather than later.