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. There has been absolutely no shortage of singular tracks coming our way, and this time, our selection brings you a pleasing assortment of digital goodies. You’ll discover new rock sounds, a bit of indie, even a singer songwriter or two. As always, we hope that whatever catches your ear will lead to further exploration.
Irish singer songwriter Shaun Finn has been releasing music since the lockdown of 2020, and his single ‘Rise’ is one of his strongest tracks to date. Setting a groove via a simple drum line, the track has a strong backbone, from which Finn weaves a combination of indie jangle and taut pop rock. Initially, it seems as if the melody’s strong point will come from a pointed lead guitar darting in and out of the strident rhythm, but the chorus hits in a way that’s unexpectedly catchy. Shaun’s vocal joins a great tune in a really natural way, and with lyrics tackling the ability to rise above your detractors, it has a message that’s especially relevant in the modern world.
Blending 90s alternative with an older power pop sound worthy of Tommy Tutone, The Family Township bring a genuine enthusiasm to their shamelessly retro sound on ‘Cross The Line’. Choppy guitar sounds draw from the new wave; an unfussy lead vocal has a vague Americana feel, not too dissimilar from Denny Smith and his Great Affairs, and the huge chorus that bursts into life against a blanket of keys will have you believe it’s 1989 all over again. This is one of the most joyful three minute tunes ever.
The Gypsy Moths explore retro coolness of a slightly different kind on ‘Tilt-A-Whirl’ when their combo of jangling guitars and horns mixes garage rock chops with a distant soul influence. The narrative drive and natural tones aren’t always a million miles away from Brinsley Schwartz and early Nick Lowe, and the brass sounds like a flat approximation of early Dexys, but combined, those key elements create a sound which this Boston band makes fly.
Taking a fairly lo-fi sound and applying it to a melody with an Americana heart, indie band Tennis Courts sound like an emo version of Fleet Foxes on ‘Am I Not Talking Enough’. This homage to alt-folk and rootsy sounds is slight, yet at the same time, its haunting melodies hint at something bigger than the sum of the parts. It’ll take a few listens to make an impression, but when it does, you’ll discover something that charms with its simplicity.
Make Believe Friends, a band featuring Mindy Milburn and Laura Espinoza, explore a commercial, semi gothic sound on the very strong ‘Haunt Me’. The overall style won’t be anything new to lovers of bands like Within Tempation and their ilk, but MBF add an extra layer of melody which adds a melodic rock flair, and allows a massive chorus to take centre stage. With a few floaty pianos and occasional soaring guitars adding a lighter touch, this strikes a perfect balance between darkness and beauty, showing how a tried and tested style can still sound great in the right hands.
Taking an even heavier stance, ‘Toe Up’ by Dawn of Existence should appeal to lovers of melodic black metal. The single’s core riffs draw from middle period In Flames in the way they combine a hugely crunchy sound with a layered, busier lead guitar. Those riffs are strong enough to help the track to stand, and that’s lucky, since it comes with a scratchy vocal that’ll divide opinion. The thin, semi-hissed vocal takes influence from classic black metal, and more specifically its more commercial releases from the likes of Cradle of Filth, but Dawn of Existence use it effectively have concocted a sound that might just attract a few ears beyond those black metal die-hards.
With a contrasting crashy rhythm and melancholic vocal, Bristol’s Chasing Kites appear to pull in opposite directions on their new single ‘Two Towns’, and yet they’ve created a layered sound that really works. Armed with a vocal that’s almost Brian Molko-ish in places, a lyric dealing with distance and longing comes with a huge aching quality, whilst the listener is constantly kept buoyant via a busy Doves-like lead guitar and taut rhythm. The sound is always familiar, but there’s no mistaking some confident songwriting here.
John Monroe, best known as a member of arty rock band Field Music, has recently shared a new single ‘Driving’. Taking a sidestep from his “day job”, the track casts John in more of a retro singer songwriter mode. His vocals are very natural in a way that suits the stripped down arrangement, but most of the enjoyment comes from how he recycles a bouncing piano from the 70s, and uses it in a contemporary setting. There’s something obvious at the core of the melody that’s reminiscent of Brian Protheroe’s ‘Fly Now’, and that can only be a good thing.