Welcome back to the Real Gone Singles Bar, the place where we explore some of the individual MP3s that have landed in our inbox over the previous few weeks. There’s no shortage of good music in the world, and this week, we probably could’ve put together three selections of the decent singles that have been sent our way. However, here’s another batch of the usual amount, and these eight top flight digital tracks take in the usual array of rock, metal, singer-songwriter fare and even something with a shameless pop core. If you like what you hear, don’t forget to check out the artists’ works further, or perhaps even backtrack to previous Singles Bars you might have missed along the way – there’s even more good music to be discovered!


First up, a musical love letter to dream pop meets twee Europop with Babel. ‘Closer’ is a fine piece of alternative pop fare, with danceable rhythms colliding with wavering detached vocals throughout. Traces of Cocteau Twins-ish other worldliness meet Saint Etienne’s loveable kitsch, and although the possibility of a sugar-sweet overload is high, the end result sounds like a superb alternative summer hit.

Absolutely loaded with twin guitar harmonies coupled with the kind of vocals that would suit Band of Horses circa 2010, CR & The Nones strike pop-rock perfection on ‘The Long Game’. A number that sometimes sounds like a more American Teenage Fanclub, it isn’t shy in sharing a honey-drenched sound, and the combo of great vocals and the aforementioned dominant guitar creates something that’s absolutely lovely. Although its often more about a great sound than direct hooks, this number shows off a great band on the rise, and for all lovers of guitar driven melodic fare, is a tune not to be missed.

Here’s a genuine slow burner from Superlynx. Armed with a woozy groove and bluesy guitar, ‘Into The Sun’ introduces itself in a really retro fashion, setting up a brilliant slab of desert rock. The combination of old style fuzz, 90s stoner vibe, and even a nod to a couple of 70s pioneers results in something timeless. Even with a few heavier elements to contend with, there’s always one ear on a strong melody, and at a few of points along the way, the Eastern influence on a couple of the guitar riffs even hints at a couple of The Doors’ more out-there moments. The marriage of clean vocals and overdriven guitars is particularly cool, and fans of the stoner ethic will love this in a heartbeat.

From Olympia, WA comes the melodic punk of Souls Worn Thin, and with a driving riff powered by muted chords, ‘Swarm’ provides a solid snapshot of their sound. The single features some strong callbacks from the 90s, mixing bits of early Foo Fighters with the more melodic elements of bands like Quicksand, then applies that core to something a little more punk-oriented. This hard edged backdrop still gives plenty of room for a strong vocal presence, and with frontman Stephen Wayne complimenting some great riffs and using his voice to fill a couple very effective stops, the track eventually takes on more of an epic sound.

When it comes to arrangements, Aylesbury prog rockers The Mighty Bard aren’t thinking small. However, unlike some proggy bands, they still understand the importance of an actual song over any unnecessary indulgence. ‘Magician’ stretches itself to almost seven minutes and shares several different musical aspects, ranging from strange stabbed keyboard motifs, to groove-laden basslines, to twin lead guitar sounds and jazz rock interludes. The track can feel funky, fluid and rocky all at once, but thanks to a really strong vocal linking everything, it’s actually quite song-oriented. With a concession to a classic, melodic rock sound applied, this huge tune manages to be rather accessible. Fans of 90s bands like Grey Lady Down could well find something to enjoy here.

In June ’23, US indie band Tennis Courts captured a rather lo-fi and wistful sound on their single ‘Am I Not Talking Enough’. A few weeks later, they’re back – and this time, could-be fans are treated to another musical angle when ‘Jamie’s Party’ shares some finely crafted indie rock with a strong pop edge. Throughout the four minutes, there’s a really strong concession to melody when the music harks back to the glory days of US college rock, but it’s the soaring vocal latching onto a great chorus that makes the track. …Or so it seems, until the climax, when the band unleash some rather 70s sounding twin lead guitars. This mightn’t sound like anything especially new, but there’s an enthusiasm in the Tennis Courts sound that makes this single sound like great radio fare.

In a change of mood, E.G. Phillips channels dark singer-songwriters on his current single ‘It Ain’t Good To Be In Love With You’. The track’s mood evokes the end of a long and troubled night, where the inebriated and heartbroken spill their guts to any strangers who’ll listen. Saxophones wheeze over a slow, jazzy backdrop; natural drums provide a slow rhythm, and Phillips – never caring for perfection – sits out front and centre, wallowing, often like a distant cousin of his forebears Nick Cave, Tom Waits and Leonard Cohen. The track takes a while to appreciate, but it’s always satisfying to discover something with such an old, wizened soul.

One of the biggest tracks for July, ‘Nothing Left’ from Crushed By Waves absolutely hits the spot when it comes to riffs. The huge sound hovers between a hard rock crunch and a 90s emo jangle, but that’s perfect for the job in hand, since this single has a generally busy quality. It’s fast, occasionally really sharp, but never far from sharing a huge melody. The chorus here is a simple one, but combined with some great guitar work and a great drum part, the alternative rock/melodic metal hybrid captures something rather special.

July 2023