Get ready to begin the new year with a great soundtrack!
You might not know their name, but Canadian power poppers Dany Laj and The Looks released one of 2021’s finest albums. Their ‘Ten Easy Pieces’ came loaded with massive retro hooks, chiming guitars and a world of fun harmonies that reinforced a very natural style. Even with Dany reaching for a few uncomfortable high notes in places, the record screamed power pop cool, and its lead single ‘Don’t Keep Me Guessin‘ was easily one of the catchiest things to emerge from across the Atlantic since Kurt Baker gave the world his ‘Brand New Beat‘ LP all the way back in 2012.
A new power pop sensation, The Shang Hi-Los, emerged at the end of 2020. Their debut EP, ‘Kick It Like A Wicked Bad Habit’, served up five tracks of guitar driven, bubblegum inflected fun, big on harmonies and bigger on hooks. If their talents were under any doubt, a spirited cover of Chicago’s ‘Saturday In The Park’ which stoked up the guitars without losing any of the original’s 70s pop flair showed how versatile this new, all star band could be.
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.