Although their name might not be among garage punk’s most familiar, The Heartdrops released a couple of enjoyable albums back in the late 90s. Their debut, ‘This Is The Heartdrops’ (issued on Melted Records in 1997), served up a relentless collection of riff-based numbers, almost guaranteed to make an indelible impression. The band never got the big break they deserved at the time, but the internet has always been a handy tool for rediscovering overlooked artists and lost gems, and this three track freebie is a superb introduction to The Heartdrops’ world of riffs. The three songs were originally issued on a shared EP with The Spills in ’99 – effectively the band’s swansong – but decades on, the tunes sound as good as ever, and certainly don’t sound like the work of a band that would soon throw in the towel.
It’s only been a few weeks since Rum Bar Records gave out the excellent ‘XOXOXO, Volume One’ sampler showcasing some of their current roster and upcoming releases, but the label is already giving away yet more music to satisfy your underground rock and pop needs.
‘Rocktober II’ features a few current bits and pieces, but in a brilliant contrast to ‘XOXOXO’, it digs much further back into the label’s history, providing a superb recap for those who’ve only just discovered Rum Bar and their family of musicians.
The past year has been pretty kind to Miss Georgia Peach. Her early work with The Short Fuses gained a reissue, the 2018 EP from Beebe Gallini reached a new audience thanks to being picked up by the folks at Rum Bar Records, and she’s also found time to record a new full length with the band (the equally excellent ‘Pandemos’).
On top of that, she’s also dipped back into the archives for a couple of solo tunes which are now being offered as a download on a “pay what you want basis” (which, obviously, can be a free download if you’re that way inclined). Genre-wise, they’re not in the same ball park as Beebe Gallini, but both tracks serve up a familiar vocal and that will certainly be enough for a lot of people to (re)approach these recordings with a keen interest.
Back in 2019, The Morning Line released their third album ‘North’. With its retro sound calling back to some of the 90s college rock greats, it was easy to draw parallels with the album’s best material and past classics by Buffalo Tom, Soul Asylum and Third Eye Blind. It became one of that year’s best DIY releases and gained praise from all seventeen people that actually heard it. A follow up single ‘Back On Earth’ appeared at the beginning of 2021, and although it showed off a more sedate side to the band with hints of ‘Behind The Sun’ era R.E.M. at its core, the same retro charms were more than present, cementing Stephen Smith’s reputation as a fine songwriter.
Over the past couple of years, the Rum Bar label has gone from strength to strength. True champions of the US underground rock scene, they’ve continued to promote old friends Watts and Tom Baker, but they’ve also brought listeners a whole world of new and often retro sounds along the way.