Welcome back to the Real Gone Singles Bar, the place where we explore some of the single MP3s that have landed in our inbox over the previous few weeks. As always, there has been absolutely no shortage of digital tracks coming our way, and this time, our assortment brings you some great shoegaze, massive stoner metal riffs, a singer songwriter or two, some big rock sounds, and even something from the rootsy end of the musical spectrum. We hope you find something to enjoy, and our digging to find the best of a current crop inspires you to explore these bands and artists a little further.
First up, something new from The Veldt that’s actually something very old. ‘The Everlasting Gobstopper’ was recorded for what should have been the band’s debut album in 1989. The record company had a change of heart and the Robin Guthrie produced LP was shelved…until now. ‘The Everlasting Gobstopper’ is classic Veldt, right from its opening bars, when shimmering guitar sounds conjure memories of classic Cocteau Twins, a the slow, waltzing time signature allows the listener to slowly drown within its other-worldly vibes. As always, a big, booming vocal will divide opinion, but the music – whether wallowing in that distinctive 4AD sound or chugging through something a little noisier – is utterly fantastic.
The brilliantly noisy ‘Brownshirt Trojan’ by The Holy Ghost delivers some massively angular guitar lines and pointed rhythms in a style that suggests the Swedish band are huge fans of Fugazi, Husker Du and the noisier elements of Lou Barlow’s Sebadoh. Fans of indie punk noises won’t necessarily discover anything new, but in terms of enthusiasm and general drive, these guys will push a lot of the right buttons almost immediately.
Stoner and desert rock sounds never get old, but they don’t always sound as accessible or expansive as they do on Yawning Balch’s ‘Low Pressure Valley’. A sprawling instrumental cut, the band serve up Floydian atmospheres combined with Toundra’s darker vibes. The resultant heavy psych is big on bass grooves, but even bigger on reverbed guitars, and there’s plenty about the tune’s haunting atmospheres that conjure a feeling of being lost somewhere in the great outdoors. Fans of Yawning Man will love this, but this side project has even more potential in the melodic stakes.
‘This Is My Fault’ by Green Gardens offers some really understated indie pop sounds. In three minutes, dour harmonies brush against a slow groove and some unexpectedly jazzy guitar, creating something a little Tindersticks-esque. There aren’t any big hooks here; it’s really down to whether you like like the band’s lop-sided sound, which although not for everyone, offers something a little more interesting than the usual indie fare.
On their previous EP, The Nora Kelly Band blended rootsy indie sounds with a dash of country and ended up with a relatively lo-fi release that showed off their talents in a pleasingly unfussy way. Their current track ‘Lay Down Girl’ is sharper than some of their previous recordings, but still blends genres in a really cool way. Here, you’ll encounter some pop hooks battling with bluegrass-ish banjo lines, traces of Jenny Lewis’s easy cool and more besides on a brilliantly catchy track.
At the end of 2021, Boston’s The Chelsea Curve contributed a spirited retro rocker ‘Drag’ to the Red On Red compilation, a release showcasing the many bands from the Red On Red Records extended family. They’ve released a few strong digital singles since then, but ‘How Can I (Resist You?)’ is one of the best examples of their late 70s/early 80s inspired sound. In a tribute to the natural approach taken by the CBGB’s crowd, the vocals are a little flat, but the overriding melodies from the musical arrangement and big chorus hook are more than jubilant. Although there’s a lot here that sounds like other Boston based acts, The Chelsea Curve have enough pizazz to please many fans of The Pretenders and The Motels and even more recent fare from The Shang Hi Los and Leather Jacket.
Mixing metalcore riffs, darkwave synths and melodic vocal lines, ‘To The Wolves’ by Stitched Up Heart is the ultimate in crossover metal. The track’s sharp edges are an easy match for any of the Killswitch wannabes, and the clear vocals courtesy of Mixi Demner certainly give the track a more interesting vibe than the hugely overblown style of Nightwish et al. With a dense synth sound burrowing beneath the heaviness, this is a fantastically layered track that really gets the band’s sound across, and by doing it in a little over three minutes, there’s no room for pointless excess.
Bringing huge sounds of a different kind, Slighter’s ‘Have No Fear’ works some cold synths and mechanical beats to create a retro musical backdrop that’ll throw some listeners straight back to the alternative clubs of the early 90s. With more than a hint of Front 242 and the “Depeche Mode In A Strop” sounds of Nine Inch Nails’ ‘Pretty Hate Machine’, this is a track that’s as massive as any great TVT/Waxtrax classics, and there’s plenty within the equally detached vocal that brings just as much effortless cool. It’s very “of its time”, but in this case, that certainly isn’t a bad thing…