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. For this thirteenth batch, we bring you the usual variety and hope you’ll find something to enjoy. Featured in this selection, you’ll find the return of a favourite band, some epic metal sounds, something with a country/roots core, a perfect slice of pop punk, and more besides. This popular feature has opened ears from different fan groups to new sounds, and we expect this week’s bundle to follow suit. Should you find something new that you’ve enjoyed, why not drop in and tell us? We’d love to hear your feedback. Maybe your band has something new that you think we might want to feature! If so, please get in touch.


Back in 2021, Bristol’s Little Thief released one of the year’s best albums. Having already established themselves as a superb live act, ‘Under The Patio’ showed how well their hooks and riffs translated in the studio environment, and ‘Geronimo’ – their big comeback single for ’23 – follows suit. In a little over three minutes, the track serves up a world of chopping guitar sounds and crashy drums, but it’s the band’s abilities to blend the moody rock of later Arctic Monkeys and the darker side of Blur which really sells a great tune. The guitars come loaded with a pleasing amount of fuzz and the semi-sulky vocal sounds great when placed against a distorted bass groove, but with Rhii’s drums holding everything together, this slightly more commercial offering still sounds unmistakably like peak Little Thief.

‘El Mar’ by Los Discorde is one of those songs that, had it been released a little earlier, could’ve been one of the underground sensations of the northern hemisphere summer. With a wealth of funky bass sounds set against some keyboard heavy pop, it’s a reminder of Mats Wawa’s similar soul/pop/indie sound on the brilliant ‘Easy On The Eye’, and even vaguely reminiscent one or two of The Style Council’s more soul imbibed tracks. Although the production values are of a 90s persuasion, in terms of arrangement and melody, it’s the kind of tune that could have been spawned from pop’s ever shifting landscape at any point of the last thirty years. This more than covers the remit when it comes to feel good tracks.

Elephant Stone recently celebrated the tenth anniversary of the release of their debut LP. Judging by their ‘Lost In A Dream’ – their first new track since 2020 – the band’s love of guitar pop with a psychedelic undertone certainly hasn’t weakened in the intervening years. In a very radio friendly arrangement, the new single mixes ringing guitar sounds with a very upbeat rhythm, sometimes sounding like a busier version of Delays and peak Boo Radleys. It’s one of those numbers that has the ability to grab the listener pretty much straight away, but it is when shifting from a jangly verse into a higher toned, jubilant chorus the song really comes into its own. Factor in a couple of lead guitar breaks, a world of phased effects, some unashamedly squirly keys and a kitchen sink approach to production, and this is definitely a winner.

A bit less commercial, US band High Crime opt for retro of a different kind on ‘Succumb’. A solid hard rock jam, fans of the style might hear traces of Judas Priest circa ’77 in the unshakable sound of the band’s rhythm section and the moody feel coming through the busy guitar work on an unexpectedly quirky middle eight, whilst a bluesier slant to some of the guitar riffs takes the track into a place where a much punchier groove shares High Crimes gift for a boisterous melody. It’s perhaps one chorus too long, but there’s definitely the heart of something decent here, and with everything tied together via a really heartfelt vocal, its the kind of single that’ll feel familiar to most hard rock fans…though never in a bad way.

At Real Gone, we’re usually of a mind that if you’re going to cover something, you should make it your own (with The White Swan’s sludge/goth version of McCartney’s ‘Jet’ being a prime example). This theory is clearly shared by indie band Third Lung, who’ve taken the AC/DC classic ‘It’s A Long Way To The Top’ and rebuilt it from the ground up. Gone are the hard boogie oriented riffs and the stomping groove. The bagpipes are nowhere to be heard, and in fact, in their hands, it’s no longer a tough rocker at all. Taking a spacious arrangement, the band mix huge acoustic strums with soft piano stabs, a falsetto vocal and a quiet rhythm track. Its slow burning pop-rock comes with a vocal melody that occasionally sounds like it’ll drift into Fish’s ‘View From The Hill’, whilst the music straddles a broad pop and atmospheric indie sound. That is, until the big climax, when electric leads put in a late appearance ensuring that this grand cover really makes an impression.

In terms of sharp edged metal riffs, Strike Master strike gold on ‘Crystalized’. With the help of some hefty production values that run rings around the early Sepultura sound of their earlier works, they take the core of a classic Bay Area thrash sound and shake it rather vigorously. The addition of a couple of prog metal twists, an intense metalcore breakdown or two and even an occasional tinge of death metal via a brutal backing vocal, means this epic metal track covers a lot of bases. At the heart of the intense workout, though, their love of the classic thrash sound wins through, and that, coupled with a couple of equally fierce lead breaks, makes for a great track.

Stay Safe celebrate the sounds of the late 90s on ‘Next To Me’. This absolutely fantastic single combines the vocal hooks of New Found Glory with the guitar driven melodies of Simple Plan, but adds a little extra volume for good measure. Armed with a great riff, the track feels immediately familiar, but with a really catchy chorus in hand, this British band will not fail to catch the attention of genre fans everywhere. With its tough rhythm and multi-layered guitar sound, in terms of a two minute pop punk workout, this track is absolutely perfect.

In a final change of mood, it’s a welcome return for the Nora Kelly Band once more. On ‘Horse Girl’, Nora’s curly voice takes centre stage, and although her very stylised vocal delivery is more of an acquired taste than usual, her voice remains strong. Musically, too, this single has much to recommend it. From the outset, the echoing guitar lines evoke some great alt-country sounds, and a very warm bass helps to give the track a solid anchor. It’s during the second half when the magic really happens, though, when an electric piano adds a Wilco-ish influence and a very retro lead guitar reinforces the band’s rootsy sound. If you’ve followed the band’s progress so far, chances are you’ll like this too.

August 2023