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 another great selection this time around, ranging from rock and metal, to folk punk, to dreampop. With a variety of big guitar sounds, echoing voices, retro riffs and and even sharing a new tune from a French singer-songwriter, this promises to be one of our biggest and best selections of singles so far. We hope you’ll discover something new within and, as always, consider exploring some of these bands further.
It’s been said that if you don’t want your music to get old too quickly, then create something that already has an old heart. That’s a fact that hasn’t escaped Night Beats. Their current single ‘Blue’ mixes trip hop beats, echoing vocals, reverbed guitar lines and a lax vocal in a way that’s hard to pin down to a specific time. The track never rushes, it merely lays down a brilliantly smooth groove over six minutes, creating a downtempo piece where the echoes of dreampop collide with 70s soul vibes. It’s easy to imagine something similar coming from the Tru Thoughts label, but just as you think you have the track sussed, it takes a further leap into a blanket of light psychedelia, laying on the dreampop echoes even further. This is absolutely amazing.
Keeping with a retro theme, ‘If Only’ marks the return of Belfast band Otherish. The single has already been described as “a mini masterpiece of pop”, and on the track, the band takes the usual dreampop echoes and other worldly effects and applies them to something that sounds far older than the usual 90s fare associated with the subgenre. ‘If Only’ latches onto a strong melody that draws heavily from the melodic pop of the late 50s, with faint echoes of doo wop and a swathe of easy listening melodicism. By fusing the two moods, Otherish create something that feels unique; something that’s new, yet strangely old; something that takes a massive sidestep to make dreampop feel just a little less predictable.
Leeds based rock band Kath And The Kicks have already picked up airplay from Kerrang! Radio and Planet Rock, and also had previous support from the guys at Louder Than War. Their current single ‘Neptune’ makes it easy to understand why they’ve been championed by some of the bigger outlets, since it comes with a massive riff that feels current, but also captures a chunky, retro quality that’ll appeal to a broad spectrum of rock and metal fans. In addition, Kath’s voice counterbalances the hard edges with a clear and occasionally warbly sound that’s incredibly distinctive. Those elements would be enough to sell the song to most listeners, but the track’s huge chorus and a howling lead guitar soaring above the crunch, adds a great melodic edge that also makes ‘Neptune’ very accessible.
Folk punk artist Fraser Morgan tackles mental health issues on the anxiety driven ‘Here We Go Again’, a noisy acoustic workout that takes the bones of early Frank Turner recordings. It’s rather ragged, musically speaking, but there’s something about the way that Fraser attacks important issues head on in the most unfussy way that’s rather appealing. The heavily strummed acoustic guitar, shouty vocals and casual expletives pull together an unexpectedly catchy track that deserves to raise the DIY singer-songwriter’s profile.
Back in 2020, one man metal force Nuclear Winter released ‘Stormscapes’, a very strong EP that mixed thrash and black metal elements with a touch of industrial abrasiveness, resulting in something surprisingly accessible. It paved the way for a couple of even bigger sounding records, and now the Zimbabwean force of nature is back! ‘The Glimmering Landscape’ explores more of a melodic death metal sound than before, but the track takes a similarly layered approach to arrangement. Beneath the growling and the pneumatic elements, you’ll find cheeky keyboard riffs that lend the wall of sound an unsettling quality, choirs of backing vocals occasionally creeping in with an ominous presence – almost as if Carl Orff has bled his way into the death-centric landscape – and, eventually, a strong lead guitar adding a couple of almost bluesy textures. In many ways, this feels like an extension of the much missed Strapping Young Lad’s work, and it’s all the better for it!
With an almost timeless sound and spacious feel, ‘Toucan’ by singer-songwriter Julii Sharp is just lovely. The track’s clean, twangy guitar sound blends the tones of the 50s with a 90s minimalism, and although its an integral part of this slow burning track, it never upstages the vocal, despite Sharp’s insistence on never being particularly dominant. She spends the three minutes sharing a very relaxed and hushed voice, with faint waves of a jazz chanteuse inspiring her dream pop-ish sound. The track has such a gorgeous and other-worldly feel, you might even find yourselves forgetting she’s singing in French…
One of the more surprising things to appear in our inbox this week, ‘Silk Robe, Garden Flowers’ by Joe Bourdet is a musical throwback to the late 60s and early 70s in the best possible way. The track has been dubbed “cosmic country”, and with good reason, since its mix of honest Americana vibes and occasional fuzz guitar is directly descended from Buffalo Springfield, Poco and Manassas. From its opening bars, the jaunty mood feels like an old friend, and by the time Joe starts to drown in harmonies worthy of Crosby, Stills & Nash, it has all the makings of a modern classic.
Last up, an interesting take on an old song. Blue Oyster Cult are a band that will be familiar to almost everyone, but occult rockers Suspiriorum have dug deeply into their classic catalogue for a cover of the lesser appreciated ‘I Love The Night’ (originally from 1977’s ‘Spectres’ LP). The BOC original was already a hazy, mellow jam, but Suspiriorum take things a step further with an almost ghostly shimmer via the lead guitar, an ethereal female vocal and a really bright sound throughout. Their wavering approach to the arrangement almost places it within the dreampop sphere, showing how malleable the best BOC songs can be in different hands. For fans of the original cut and new listeners alike, this is a genuine treat…