Tuesday, 18 February 2014

We Have Now Moved To Rhubarb Bomb Dot Com

This here blog has served us well since April 2010, but we have now finally setup up something approaching a proper website, over at:


We will keep this blog up as an archive, but from now on, all reviews, articles and news stories will be hosted over there.



Thursday, 13 February 2014

Pink Fur Review

Post War Glamour Girls
Pink Fur
Hide & Seek

It must have been one of their first singles on Sturdy Records. I listened to it and I just didn't know what to make of it. It seemed so accomplished, yet the influences (I presumed something so accomplished must be heavily influenced) were out of my sphere of understanding, or appreciation. So it was either great, or a rip-off, and I couldn't tell which.

Post War Glamour Girls have earned this debut album, something that seems to be less and less true of bands in the DIY age. But it hasn't taken until now for me to solve the conundrum of paragraph one. A series of increasingly confident releases, developing their style and making themselves more accessible, yet more idiosyncratic too, and a live show which has blossomed and felt more natural the larger the stage has got, convinced me and many others long ago that this was a very special band.

So this album arrives with the correct combination of expectation, goodwill and anticipation. And in my case, on a beautiful pink vinyl. So, sorry it took a while PWGG, but if I was going to review this, it had to be on the finest possible format.

To cut to the chase, it is beyond what their fans had any right to expect. They haven’t taken the easy route of compiling together their most beloved early singles. Instead we have something unperceivable dense, delicately constructed and brand-spankingly new.

The bottom end of PWGG’s sound still emanates from a cauldron of pure doom, thick and rumbling drums and prowling bass, but above that the interplay between vocalists James Smith and Alice Scott have been developed to gorgeous effect, whilst the guitars and structures in general have really pushed things forward, carrying the mood from the broken euphoria of an early I Like Trains wall of sonic assault, to a Tarrantino Western, to the internal monologues of the clients at the worst strip club you’ve never stepped inside. The trips and turns are expertly crafted. It doesn’t waste time trying to flow. The music just 'does itself' to you, for want of a more elegant phrase.

This density / intensity is carried through in the lyrics, and there is some kind of connected narrative here (given nice circularity in the closing track), should you wish to follow it. To be honest, just having a lyric sheet, which feels quite rare nowadays, was a pleasure, as was the difference between the voice I used to read it in my head, and the unashamedly colloquial manner with which James delvers lines like ”use yr fuckin’ ears and listen.”

There’s more in these ten songs (oh yeah, I’m meant to mention some aren’t I? Ok Sestra is a great place to start – and that’s probably why they put it first. Red Terror was the single and you can watch the video here. Black Dolphin is a well timed and beautifully implemented wave of gently wonder amongst the sleaze and trauma) than most bands produce in a career; in terms of little touches, big moments and generally, seconds of brilliance that make you stop what you are doing and pay attention. That make you glad you splashed out for the fancy vinyl when you are a jaded review writer.

Finally, a thing I love about Post War Glamour Girls, is how natural it all appears to come, at least from an outsider. I think back to first seeing them on a big stage at Beacons, and again at Wakefield Theatre for our own Long Division, and how at ease and capable they seemed of pulling off that scale of show.

That, on this record, they mix such ability with a heart-warming sense of righteousness and commitment to the DIY cause is the icing on a cake that is crafted with determination, passion and, shit, it’s got the tunes too. Pink Fur proves it all. Give me more cake.

Dean Freeman

Wednesday, 29 January 2014

Clive Smith Album Announcement

Today Rhubarb Bomb recieved a press release from Alan Lobley, regarding our former writer Clive Smith, who has not been seen since June 2013. 

"Clive Smith spent so long at the top - of his game, of the business - that many, including me, thought he'd be there forever. Having worked together for nearly three decades the thing I admired about him most was his unquenchable desire for recognition. And his virtuosity as a performer and musician, of course, yet it was his passion that will stay with me; his passion for inventing the new envelope, pushing the blue sky and redefining the role of the entertainer in modern day Wakefield.

It feels not merely odd, but impossible to talk of him in the past tense. Since his disappearance in June 2013, many have made glib remarks about publicity stunts or, most insulting of all, that he simply ran out of steam and ideas. I knew this man. I know him still and this is simply not his style. He was a man of great style.

Clive Smith was a superstar, yet I don't believe he received the recognition he deserved, let alone craved. I still meet people who haven't heard of him, as crazy as that sounds.

So, I collected together a huge archive of notebooks and unfinished recordings and set to work constructing an album I felt represented the great man I knew. Using his notes, I contacted people he admired and respected to help finish these songs. I shall release one a month, along with notes, where possible for the duration of 2014 in order to celebrate one of the greatest visionaries, musicians, philosophers, lyricists, theorists and lovers (so I’m told) of the 20th and 21st centuries.

Please, enjoy.

Alan Lobley

Manager, Tour Manager, Accountant and Chiropractor to Clive Smith"

We believe the first song from the record will be released on Friday. Alan now runs Clive's former Twitter account which can be found here 

Thursday, 23 January 2014

The Best Stuff of 2013

Already sounds really, like, out of date doesn’t it. 2013? Who cares?

Good things happened though, and we want them to be recognised. It will also massively help if we decide to do another book in 2017. I can barely remember what happened last week as it is.

So, here are this year’s winners, as voted by the Rhubarb Bomb reading public…
Album Of The Year - Cyclone by The Michael Ainsley Band

Not a bad year for the band. On the strength of reviews alone, they should really have had two albums in this category. There isn’t much between them, but we chose this because it had the song from the Long Division video on it, and it seemed you all agreed with us too. A band with an exciting 2014 ahead of them.


Creature Feature – Piskie Sits 
Moon Coastal Maine – Imp
Sometimes Lifes Cool – Mi Mye

Single / EP Of The Year - My Cat / Fruit by Allusondrugs

The closest fought category this year, Allusondrugs claimed victory on the final day, by a single vote. Wow! A band from the increasingly impressive Clue Records, they are very much on the ascendency at the moment, and once again, we look forward to seeing what 2014 will bring for them.


19 – Narcs
Two Hearts – Tiny Planets
Vicugna Pacos – Fur Blend

Gig Of The Year - Philophobia Fifth Birthday All-Dayer

With around ten bands playing over the course of a day, it’s no wonder Philophobia ran away with this award. It was a wonderful day, celebrating something that is very special in Wakefield, and that all too many people take for granted. It was your kindly editor’s birthday also, so I don’t recall how the night ended, but let’s presume it was amazing.


Art Brut @ The Hop
Jamie Lockhart’s Holiday Fundraiser (inc The Old House)
Mi Mye Album Recording @ Long Division
Skaters (+ Blackeye, Forever Cult & Slugs)

Festival Of The Year - Beacons

For the second year running Beacons takes the crown of best festival. It’s has grown massively since its first year and continues to do so in a completely agreeable way. Interesting line-ups, thoughtful touches to the site and great scenery conspire to make it a wonderful experience all round.


A Carefully Planned Festival
Crooked Ways
Live At Leeds
Y01 Festival

Making Wakefield Better – Unity Hall Begins

Unity Hall may not be opening for another 8 months, but it already has the city super-excited. Its appearance on Calender news, reporting the official handing over of the keys to the public co-operative that has bought the huge music venue and arts centre, was a major turning point for the project that has already been three years in the making.


A Night Of Enlightenment @ The Orangery
Plays & Pints
Wakefield Lit Fest
Wood Street Market

Best Rhubarb Bomb Article - The Day The EDL Came To Town

Perhaps winning because it was the most current, the article on the EDL’s trip to Wakefield will perhaps be the one that is most widely useful in the future. An attempt at an honest discussion at what the EDL could represent, followed by the sad reality clearly rang true with many people.


Another Failed Festival Application
How I Made Diamond Studios
Rites Of Passage: Corporate Festivals & High Street Music Chains

Best Live Band Of The Year - Middleman

You either agree with this statement, or you've never seen them live. 2013 was another stupendously good year for the band and they put more sweat, care and tears into their gigs than anyone we know. We left with a smile on our faces (and tired legs) every single time. 

Best Long Division Performance - Post War Glamour Girls

A lovely surprise, but a completely deserved victory for Post War Glamour Girls who performed at Wakefield Theatre Royal for Long Division in 2013. Despite being up against Mark E Smith of all people, the Leeds band ended up topping the poll. Since Long Division is about celebrating supremely talented and independently minded artists we are really chuffed that this great band has come out on top. New album due very soon, and it is brilliant…


Ed Tudor Pole
Jeffrey Lewis & Peter Stampfel
The Fall
Too Many T's

Tru DIY award - Liam Pease Smith

2013 was a year for celebration, but it was tinged with sadness too, as we also saw the passing of local musician, Liam Pease Smith. A complex character, certainly, but at his heart he was a true individual and showed no compromise in his art, or life in general. As we said in the obituary we wrote, just the tiniest differences in an all too short life could have resulted in something wonderful and long lasting. He is still missed, but we salute a man who, for better or for worse, lived his art in his own individual way. The full obituary can be read here.

Thanks to everyone who voted x

Wednesday, 4 December 2013

Stuff Of The Year 2013

2013 is drawing to a close. And all the good stuff has been released, all the good gigs have happened. Except the Christmas themed stuff, and who cares about that, right?

Well, some less grumpy people do, but this here blog entry is about our ‘Stuff Of The Year’ which we did for the first time in 2012. Each category has a number of things shortlisted by us, but ultimately it is a public vote that decides.

There aren’t any prizes or anything. It’s something money can’t buy – huge wads of respect and kudos. This IS Rhubarb Bomb, afterall (i.e. we’re cheap). Though I guess we'd be daft not to put the winners on at Long Division next year. Because there are no sure things in 2014, I can tell you that now. 

For the albums and singles, the rule was that it had to be something we reviewed and to be honest we’ve not been as hot this year as before. So there are loads of great things that didn’t make the cut because of that. But still, pretty tough choices me thinks!

Here are the categories. Vote HERE. It only takes two seconds and it’ll mean a lot to the people involved.


Creature Feature – Piskie Sits (review)
Cyclone – The Michael Ainsley Band (review)

Winner in 2012: Midnight At The Sycamore Lounge by St Gregory Orange

Singles / EPs

19 – Narcs (review)
My Cat / Fruit – Allusondrugs (review)
Two Hearts – Tiny Planets (review)
Vicugna Pacos – Fur Blend (review)

Winner in 2012: Spectemur Agendo by Various Artists (Clandestines, The Do’s, Fur Blend)  


Art Brut @ The Hop
Jamie Lockhart’s Holiday Fundraiser (inc The Old House)
Mi Mye Album Recording @ Long Division
Philophobia Fifth Birthday All-Dayer
Skaters (+ Blackeye, Forever Cult & Slugs)

Winner in 2012: Retarded Fish @ The Hop

Music Festival

A Carefully Planned Festival
Crooked Ways
Live At Leeds
Y01 Festival

Winner in 2012: Beacons

Making Wakefield Better

A Night Of Enlightenment @ The Orangery
Plays & Pints
Unity Hall on Calendar / building begins
Wakefield Lit Fest
Wood Street Market

Winner in 2012: The Cribs Play Wakefield Theatre

Best Rhubarb Bomb Article

Winner in 2012: Anatomy Of A Gig

Best Long Division Performance

Ed Tudor Pole
Jeffrey Lewis & Peter Stampfel
Post War Glamour Girls
The Fall
Too Many T's

And there will also be our annual ‘Tru DIY award’ which is especially chosen by us…

Tuesday, 3 December 2013

Issue 4.2

 So…. We finally have a new issue out. We have called it issue 4.2.

On the front is RM Hubbert who, funnily enough played Wakefield last night. In fact it was the third time he has played Wakefield since Issue 4.1 came out, so that has worked out quite nicely. There is a big interview with the man himself, or more the story of us going up to Troon to see where and how he lives just days after being awarded the accolade of ‘Best Scottish Album 2013’.

Inside we have:

-          A great story by Anna Alpatova, who tells of her trip from Moscow to Wakefield to watch a band from New York called SKATERS.
-          A heartfelt ode to the wonderful Inns Of Court pub, by Antonia Lines
-          A musing upon the recent Will.I.Am anus scandal.
-          A ponderance upon the virtues of Glastonbury (which slightly betrays how long in the pipeline this issue has been, but is still great, so we kept it in) by the twin powers of Matt Abbott and Ralph Dartford who, coincidentally, will be performing at our Christmas show on Dec 15th at The Hepworth as part of The Firm Of Poets.
-          Matt O Leary interviews Wakefield’s only skate shop, Division 24.
-          Clive Smith’s final column, submitted the day before his disappearance
-          An interview by Andrew Whittaker with James Atkinson of Gentlemans Pistols
-          A new section which is called the Letter’s Page, but actually consists of emails. But we used our skills to make them look like letters. Roland X answers some of the more bizarre mail we receive.
-          A tiny comic strip from Japanese based Wakefieldian, Chris Cooper
-          The official Long Division announcement.
-          And finally, the regular Roland X Follow The Drum column talks about how, if you want to ‘make it’ in music, you need to start putting the hours in.

Quite a bit when I list it out like that, isn’t there? So we’ll try get it to various places. FB and Twitter are best for knowing where and when. Enjoy, and if you don’t, send us a letter about it…

Thursday, 28 November 2013

Moon Coastal Maine Review

Moon Coastal Maine
Philophobia Music

There's this villain in the DC Universe called Doomsday. He is, like, totally indestructible. He even kills Superman (apologies for the spoiler, readers from 1995).

Of course, Superman doesn't stay dead, and in a later storyline, one way he defeats Doomsday is to setup a series of teleporters on the moon; caught within the beam, he is transported from one to the next for eternity. Because 100% of his body mass is never present at anyone time, he can never escape.

That image comes back to me now, as I try to review Imp's debut album. No matter which angle I observe it from, or which expectation drives me, I simply can't see the whole thing. It's like it is evolving before by eyes (or, in my ears). I can't decide how I feel about it because as soon as I do, it is gone, and something else appears.

It's a record that has apparently been in the making for ten years; whether that means some sounds and songs stretch that far back or they've been twiddling their thumbs for that amount of time, I'm not sure. It is pre-dated by two excellent EPs on Philophobia Music and a reputation as the Wakefield bands band of choice.

Moon Coastal Maine is a tricky beast. Within its track listing is the third Imp EP, one that follows the intricate, lively, confusing, dreamy, noodly, fun, agonised over, free flowing Indie noise pop that genuinely turns heads whenever they come to town.

This is what I expected (and hoped for) from the album, and around a third of the fifteen tracks fall comfortably into this category and are without doubt amongst their best work. No-one else writes songs like this. And as I’ve noted before, they don’t even feel written; they just seem to fall into place. The supreme talents of all bands members are pushed to the fore, against sweeter than ever guitar interplay, and the dreamy 60s girl-pop element of the vocals ridden to the max. It’s great, unknown music, but instantly familiar.

That ten year gestation may suggest a slow approach to writing, but as the press release states, they have 250 songs stored up. This is where things turn slightly odd, and though many wouldn't want Imp any other way, it may alienate potential new fans who would adore the more classic, full band approach.

Essentially they are created by the songwriting duo at the core of the band and amount to home studio noodles. If these classify as 'songs' then yeah, I can easily imagine that they have 250 stashed away.

I'm not writing for Classic Rock Magazine here, so I'm not being sniffy about 60 second instrumentals, or woozy soundscapes. There's some great stuff here. But it results in an off-balance, schizophrenic album. The palette cleanser / main course balance feels wrong, and some of it; you just wish so hard they'd developed it, or got the rest of the band in.

Still, it does add a greater depth to the album, if the less conventional approach is to your liking. It is certainly a 'proper' album (trust me, those instrumentals sound even weirder if you've got your iPod on shuffle) made to be listened to as one, and has been crafted with care and attention to detail.

I just worry that it isn't the strongest debut album it could have been. Do debut album's matter anymore? Does it matter if it sells? It will be personal opinion as to whether it strays into self indulgence or not, but it does feel a little lacking in direction. It is unsure of itself, perhaps through trying too hard. What are Imp?

Maybe the posing of that question is the point, and if so, fair enough. The track-listing is tricky; perhaps a Low style two-sided approach would have been too obvious (there are plenty of fade-outs as per the Bowie standard), but it might have made more sense. I like to see it more like a White Album; everything and the kitchen sink, see what you find amongst the rubble.

So, Moon Coastal Maine is not the definitive Imp article. What debut is? Well… Yet I worry a confusing picture such as this hinders the chances of more people hearing them. Because I REALLY want them to.

But there is so much to search through, including the best stuff they've done, so who I am to complain?  See, see, SEE! I can’t finish this review. Because it keeps circling around and around.

The bottom line, literally, is that this is an ambitious album, combining the best but also most obtuse work of a unique and visionary band that will keep you busy for months, yet still leaves you wanting more. And is a reviewers worst headache. There. Done. Go listen now.

Dean Freeman