VARIOUS ARTISTS – The Nice Price: The Rum Bar Records 2023 (Free Digital) Sampler

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.

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Welcome back to the Real Gone Singles Bar, the place where we explore some of the individual mp3s that have landed in our inbox over the previous few weeks. This selection sees the return of singer songwriter Shaun Finn with a rather rocky track, some electronica infused pop, a mellow piece of singer songwriter fare and more besides. As always, we hope you find something new to enjoy.


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VARIOUS ARTISTS – Home Fires Burning: A Holiday Compilation From Red On Red Records

There are two kinds of people in the world: those who love Christmas music, and those who don’t. For the former, December can be a brilliantly nostalgic time, with various staples – Nat ‘King’ Cole’s ‘The Christmas Song’, Mike Oldfield’s ‘In Dulce Jubilo’ and the contents of Phil Spector’s ‘A Christmas Gift For You’ – helping to reawaken thoughts of yesteryear. For the festive music fan, there’s always time to discover something new, of course, and Justine Couvault’s Red On Red label brings something extra to the yuletide table with ‘Home Fires Burning’. In mixing the traditional with the unexpected, it manages to be quite broad in appeal and cover a lot of ground, despite only featuring five tracks.

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