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. The inbox is always a mixed bag and a bit of musical lottery, and this visit to the Singles Bar brings the usual variety, but in a few places, things have got decidedly heavier. In the usual style, we’ve tried to present a selection that has a reasonable balance, and between the heavier bits you’ll find some electronica, a garage rock banger with some brilliant pop overtones and a very commercial track from one of the rock scene’s best up and coming acts. As always, we hope that if something catches your attention, it’ll inspire you to check out the bands further.
Since the release of their 2019 EP, JATK – a band featuring Matt Jatkola and a revolving cast of friends – has slowly built a solid online following. A series of digital singles released throughout the lockdowns of 2020 and ’21 showcased some great and fuzzy, retro rock music, but also seemed unafraid to throw a few pop influences into the mix. This showed a band who were keen to avoid easy labelling; a band starting out on an adventurous path, and a band who had the potential to deliver a rich and varied full length release somewhere down the track. Simply put, JATK quickly marked themselves out as a very cool collective.
Since the release of his self-titled EP in 2019, Matt Jatkola – aka JATK – has slowly built a fine catalogue of recordings. A series of digital singles released throughout the lockdowns of 2020 and ’21 further showcased his great talent for fuzzy, retro, and very 90s derived rock music. With influences ranging from big power pop hooks to introspective shoegaze oriented noise, the one man band has really carved himself a niche within the independent alternative rock underground. JATK’s coolness extends far beyond the music itself, too. When experienced as a whole package, it’s clear that Jatkola has thought very clearly about his brand, with each digital release wrapped within the visuals of a half eaten doughnut. To see each of the JATK digital releases together is almost like reimagining the classic Suede singles in junk food form…and they look great.
At the tail end of 2019, the self-titled EP from JATK appeared seemingly out of nowhere. It’s four slabs of guitar heavy power pop drew heavily from bands like Cheap Trick and The Wannadies, serving up a familiar and retro sound, yet applying the kind of energy that still made the material sound fresh. Despite its very late appearance, it beat some serious competition to become one of the year’s finest releases. [A full review can be found here.]
JATK is a DIY project fronted by singer songwriter Matt Jatkola that celebrates the louder end of the power pop spectrum. The three piece band love distortion and fuzz almost as much as they love a sun-filled retro hook and the result is, perhaps, one of the noisiest power pop discs since The Genuine Fakes released ‘The Striped Album’ back in 2011.
Beneath the layers of guitar and fuzz are four absolutely cracking songs. Tunes that evoke the kind of excitement you first felt when you dropped the metaphorical needle on a Beat Angels or Ryan Roxie album for the first time. The kind of unbridled joy you feel from playing The Wildhearts’ ‘Vanilla Radio’ at full volume exists within at least a couple of these songs…and that feel-good quality is obvious from first play. Subsequent spins only confirm what you suspected within the first minute or so of hearing this band for the first time. Yes… Power pop fans should be aware that this is potentially that good.