Strange Majik’s 2016 album ‘Raised On Rock ‘n’ Roll’ played like the ultimate good time record. Its combination of rock, blues and soul vibes sounded like the aftermath of years spent absorbing all the great records of the seventies. It was the kind of record that would’ve been impossible to follow straight away, so David Pattillo and his band took a sidestep. Two EPs released in 2017 fused the Majik sound with something moodier and the results presented the world with some politically charged lyrics – only fitting considering the state of the US at the time they were written.
Washington based power pop combo Dot Dash are very prolific for a DIY band. Not necessarily on a Guided By Voices scale, but they’ve released six albums over a seven year stretch and gained some very positive support across the net in the process. Some of their earlier works can sound a little ragged and mixed stylistic choices could sometimes make the band seem impulsive, but when on form, it’s always been possible to hear their post-punk and power pop influences shining through the budgetary constraints.
2018’s ‘Proto Retro’ absolutely blows previous efforts out of the water. With a budget that would suit many of the power pop bands of the early 80s – Shoes, Automatics, Off Broadway et al – Dot Dash now sound like a band full of confidence. Along with the vastly improved audio comes vastly improved songs and in material like ‘Fast Parade’ – a three minute belter with the kind of ringing guitars a thousand Big Star wannabes would kill for – they’re a band ready to reach out to a bigger audience.
In 2010, back when Real Gone was in its embryonic stages, we received an email from a musician in the US asking if we’d review the then new album by his band The Great Affairs. That man was Denny Smith, singer-songwriter and previously a member of rock band fORMER. When he contacted us again approximately five months later, he had the distinction of being the very first artist to approach Real Gone for repeat coverage. Almost ten years on from that first contact, Denny dropped by to tell us all about the new album, his extra-curricular projects and more besides. The Great Affairs’ current album, ‘Ten & 2’ could be their best yet…
The Great Affairs have evolved over the years. On their second album ‘Ricky Took The Wheels’ they owed a reasonable debt to The Black Crowes in terms of influence; by the following year, they were experimenting with stripped back Americana and, two years hence, their music – with a guiding hand from a new rhythm section featuring drummer/vocalist Kenny Wright – things had moved further towards gritty bar-room rock. Whatever the chosen style, though, each release could be relied upon for a handful of superb tracks.
Formed in 2014 somewhere in deepest Somerset, Magpie hatched a plan to create “grown up guitar pop”. Their 2017 EP, ‘Picasso On A Log’ almost casts them as serial thieves, since their collective influences are very obvious. Still, nobody ever said that grown up pop had to be original; it’s more likely to be sounds recycled with love…and based on this recording, these black and white popsters absolutely love the sounds they serve, pilfered or otherwise.