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’s been another bumper crop of tracks this week, and here are a few of the very best. As always, it’s an eclectic mix, and you’ll find the usual rock and indie based tunes, but also a track from a great singer songwriter, and even something with a classic sounding goth/post punk vibe. Hopefully you’ll find something from this week’s selection worthy of following up!
First up, singer songwriter Justin Rutledge explores the changes that come with parenthood on ‘Cowards’, a laid back number where the narrative lyric is just as important as the music. Mixing timeless adult pop sounds with a 90s inspired trip hop beat, the music makes great use of mournful piano chords and bell-like textures, and is at once inviting, yet unsure. This leaves Rutledge’s soft vocal to pull everything together. His natural delivery is perfect, as his high tones really convey the anxieties of adult responsibility and keeping thoughts inside to appear strong. It’s the kind of track that sounds better with each play, and really seems set on winning listener’s hearts with its instrumental coda that draws influence from classic Blue Nile.
The ever prolific Das Kapitans have shared several live recordings via Bandcamp during the first half of 2023, but it’s always a bigger pleasure to hear new studio work. It’s only been three months since the release of their ‘Lungs’ EP, but ‘Idol’ shows no sign of the band slowing down. Armed with a chunky bass groove on loan from a Pixies classic or two and a fuzzed up guitar riff that’s even punkier than before, the band unleash their angriest side on a hard and fast workout that sounds like an instant classic. For the unfamiliar, this energy driven piece should be inspiring enough to encourage exploration through a vast back catalogue, whilst for the knowing fan, ‘Idol’ will be the kind of tune that suggests a band pushing forward, perhaps getting angrier.
Last active in 2021, Palomino Blond are back! The very retro sounding ‘Machine’ apparently went through a lot of changes before settling into its final arrangement, but the result is strong. Following a slow start, the track settles into a brilliantly dense sound where a guitar tone drawing from shoegaze and grunge has vague parallels with Smashing Pumpkins circa 2000 and the lighter end of My Bloody Valentine. Adding a huge, melodic contrast, a clean-ish vocal soars above the wall of sound, and eventually, this musical love letter to a very familiar musical past sounds bigger and just as relevant to the present.
Following their ‘Judy Judy Judy’ single, Joy Buzzer bring a ray of sunshine on ‘I Wanna Scream’. A track described by their press materials as “jumpy”, it manages to contrast angst ridden lyrics with a genuinely feel good arrangement. The guitar riffs are a direct to the skinny tie wearing, post punk power pop bands like Shoes and The Nerves; a spirited backing vocal stokes up more classic pop, and an unexpected organ solo shares a late 60s bubblegum charm. Who thought it possible to pack so much fun into two and a half minutes?
Embracing their dark side, XUP meld a Suicide inspired arrangement with an obvious love for Siouxsie Sioux on ‘Sunday Girl’. This bleak goth rocker delights in a punchy minimalism, taking the listener back to a time when 80s goth sounds were still a key part of the alternative scene. The kind of arrangement that would have typically suited something short, they’ve also been brave in deciding to pull a minimalist groove over five minutes. In doing so, this has the effect of making any unsure listeners either fall in love with the track or really dislike it due to a repetitive nature. XUP clearly follows the old idea that its better to have an extreme reaction one way or the other than have people think their music is “okay”. Hopefully prospective fans will get on board with their retro sound. There’s definitely something very interesting here.
A melodic punk banger, ‘Never Ending Story’ by Raisin Awareness sounds like a musical collision between Face To Face and The Breeders, resulting in a very 90s workout where thundering drums and massive bass grooves anchor a number where an emo heart seems just as important as its injection of speed. Following an especially jangly intro loaded with a massive synth-based riff, the band cranks up a punk arrangement where crying vocals concerned with a “world of disillusion” soar above the thrashing sounds with a genuine clarity. Punk with a conscience? Noisy indie rock with massive balls? This is both, and is very smart.
Often centring around a heavy goth metal sound, Disconnected Souls have released some interesting music in the past, but taking a more mechanical approach, their current single ‘Loveless’ is one of their quirkiest tunes to date. The expected heavy riffs are still present when a massive crunch delivers a deep gothy metal chug, but a bigger focus on electronica gives this track a rather jagged and almost industrial quality that works brilliantly in tandem with some heavily treated vocals. Eventually settling into a world where melodic hardcore shouting drives a Fear Factory-esque groove and speed adjusted vocals are thrown into the mix to amuse/annoy, Disconnected Souls pull in different directions, resulting in a love/hate affair that’ll split opinion, but will be impossible to ignore.
The first new music from Belfast’s Foreignwolf in two years, ‘Almost Lost’ is a very welcome return. Right from its opening riff where thrashy elements are overlaid with cleaner lead sounds, the band’s brand of metalcore has an incredibly sharp quality. The way they blend melodic, clean vocals on a big chorus with aggressive hardcore infused verses takes influences from bands like Avenged Sevenfold, but these guys inject a really heartfelt quality into a familiar sound, resulting in a metal tune that’s absolutely huge, but still very accessible. In short, somewhere around the third listen, it’s the kind of single that becomes a metal essential.