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. The inbox is always a mixed bag and a bit of musical lottery, and this visit to the Singles Bar brings the usual variety, but in a few places, things have got decidedly heavier. In the usual style, we’ve tried to present a selection that has a reasonable balance, and between the heavier bits you’ll find some electronica, a garage rock banger with some brilliant pop overtones and a very commercial track from one of the rock scene’s best up and coming acts. As always, we hope that if something catches your attention, it’ll inspire you to check out the bands further.


Norway’s Cocktail Slippers sound absolutely fantastic on ‘Good Love’. The guitars tackle some brilliant melodic garage rock riffs – very much in the style associated with Wicked Cool Records – and coupled with a huge, sassy vocal, that’s enough to make the track fly. However, it’s musical roots run much deeper, and a pleasing gang vocal fills an infectious chorus, and a couple of retro lead guitar breaks show off the band’s desire to rock a little harder than some of their labelmates. The contrast of tough and sugary results in a piece of melodic power pop-rock with a timeless appeal.

It’s only been a few weeks since 3Force released the excellent ‘Get Down’, but they’re back with the equally cool ‘Prevention’. On this track, they’ve managed to combine the pulsing beats of early Vangelis with some soaring guitar sounds during a very retro intro, but the track then grows into a fully mechanised slice of electronica where bright 80s keys collide with something that sounds like the guts of an old KMFDM track put through a pop filter. As before, the end result sounds like something from your past; maybe its a piece of musical score from an old Cannon Films product, or even something with a hint of synth-goth. Whatever your take on it, it really works.

It’s been a couple of years since Mediaslaves released their ‘Fear & Loathing In Outer Space’ EP, but the lads are back with something incredibly sharp. In and out in approximately two and a half minutes, the catchily titled ‘The Downtown Eastside Will Have Its Revenge On Vancouver’ wastes no time in smashing the listeners’ skulls with a massive riff when it crashes in with some very technical hardcore akin to Dillinger Escape Plan. Armed with jagged riffs that could cut through concrete, the band then plough headlong through a hardcore screamo verse, before taking a massive left turn into a slow grungy riff…and back again. More concerned with brilliant riffs than vocal hooks, this homage to arty hardcore should appeal to anyone that loves the fantastic noises from the Ipecac label.

Those looking for something even more aggressive should check out Satanic Tea Co. The brilliantly named extreme metal project have just released ‘A Celestial Beating’. The track brings classic death metal sounds into the twenty first century via a fantastically crunchy production, and combines the usual pneumatics with flourishes of black metal, theatrical elements, and even moments that threaten to drop into a spoken word passage. The parts that share a relentless speed are cool, but its when slowing down to include crushing hardcore breakdowns that the band really come into their own. This won’t appeal to everyone, obviously, but those into technical death metal will definitely find plenty to love here.

On their previous single ‘Run Away’, Nottingham based rockers Lacey mixed elements of hard rock with a few emo-ish flourishes and a wash of keyboards to create a very contemporary sound that managed to be uplifting, but also tug at the heartstrings at the same time. ‘Middle England’ has a few things in common with the previous track, but really cranks up the commercial elements. With a floaty melody and filtered vocals, their emo side comes across far more, and the resulting pop tinged melody is very radio friendly. Unexpectedly, the huge chorus calls back to some great 80s AOR with a huge and simple hook, and it’s as if the band have channelled that through some late 90s fare for good measure. A few plays will confirm that this is a superb pop-rocker and one of the best singles of the year.

Lincoln’s LaVire unleash a massive riff or six on their new single ‘Fall From Grace’. The opening notes capture a deep groove that mixes a classic metal sound with something doomier; the power in the verse unleashes an unexpected death growl. Eventually, a huge chorus blends the band’s heaviness with a wonderful sense of melody when the vocal soars into a clean, almost soulful cry. In rock terms, its definitely something of a kitchen sink production, but in terms of taking a modern metal sound forward, LaVire’s fearless style is hard to beat.

A Real Gone favourite, JATK, has returned with ‘Ana’, a tune that owes a great debt to the power pop of the 90s. Its obvious Weezer-isms will instantly appeal to some listeners, whilst the multi-layered, fuzzy guitar lines inspired by Cheap Trick at their most obtuse will please others. On first listen, the track isn’t as melodic as some of JATK’s best works, or as much fun as his unexpected Prince inspired tracks, but a few listens uncovers a retro number with a familiar appeal. The quiet middle eight where a more of a 70s pop landscape appears rather unexpectedly gives the number a typical JATK left turn, and really helps it to rise above some predictable origins.

Last up, Costa Rica’s Ariel Maniki & The Black Halos share an absolutely superb single with ‘Once And For All’. The track isn’t shy in showing a love for the great goth bands of the 80s, but there’s something about the use of bright sounding synths that’s also reminiscent of The Church during their most commercial period, and even a couple of those now overlooked bands like The Bolshoi. The marriage of some very 80s music and a deep vocal ensures this sounds like a timeless genre classic.

July 2023