Nightfreak are a band who, in their own words, play “feral punk ‘n’ roll”. Bands sometimes have a skewed idea of how they sound, or of the intents and complexities of the music they play, but in this case, these three lads from Chicago are under no illusions. Their second release ‘Speed Trials’ fills a brutal ten and a half minutes with unrelenting material that pulls the best from Black Flag and Germs and marries that hardcore intensity to rock ‘n’ roll riffs that sound like bits of Rocket From The Crypt and New Bomb Turks colliding with Keith Morris performing with a genuine anger.
Welcome back to the Real Gone Singles Bar, the place where we explore the various individual tracks and mp3s that have landed in our inbox over the previous few weeks. This time around, the popular feature includes a couple of pieces of very strong pop with an electronica heart, a great melodic rocker with a blue collar tint, a tune with one of the catchiest hooks ever, a well arranged cover…and more besides. We hope you dive in, explore and enjoy – and, as always, please tell us if we’ve introduced you to something great!
Marc Valentine’s ‘Futura Obscura’ album, released during the death throes of 2022, tapped into a whole world of old fashioned power pop sounds. Its wall of guitars drew heavily from a world of early 80s heroes, but also from early Weezer, and Valentine’s hooky approach to songwriting ensured that a selection of huge choruses sounded great, whatever the era and however much his core sound relied on a throwback quality. His 2023 single ‘Jinx of Finchley Road’ went a step further in the infectious stakes by adding a world of tinkly keys to a marching beat, instantly shifting his retro pop from Weezer-world into a place where the ghosts of Jellyfish loomed with a largeness that was impossible to ignore. If Valentine hadn’t previously been on the list of power pop performers to look out for, this was a single that would certainly get him more of the attention he deserved.
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.
On this debut EP, The Holy Nothing wield some genuinely enormous riffs. Creating a sound that takes a huge influence from stoner metal and mixes that with a few grungy influences and a pinch of hardcore, their sound shifts between crunchy, sludgy and the groove laden, ensuring this musical trio are often more interesting than your average Orange Goblin, Fu Manchu and Kyuss wannabes.