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.
Guitarist/vocalist Dan Kopko has been an integral part of the Boston music scene for years. Maybe you’re familiar with him and know his work with bar room rockers Watts – makers of the excellent ‘Black Heart of Rock ‘n’ Roll’ LP. Or maybe you stumbled across him in 2022 with his newer band The Shang Hi Los, delivering catchy power pop. Whatever your experience of Dan’s work, you’ve been guaranteed to find some great tunes along the way.
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 popular feature has become a home for eclectic sounds, for jumping between genres, and for shining a light on a few famous, but often not so famous musicians. The variety keeps things interesting, but also gives coverage to a few bands that might not gain a full length album review. This week, we bring you a near perfect piece of adult pop-rock, the return of a retro rock/power pop should-be legend, a Beatle descendent dabbling in electronica, and more besides. As always, we hope you discover something new. If you have something you think might fit a later feature, please get in touch.