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. This feature has become more popular than we’d ever imagined, so it’s a genuine pleasure to bring you another round of underground cuts, oddities, and other things that deserve to be on your radar. As usual, we’ve been spoilt for choice, but here are another eight standout tracks, ranging from some very grand sounding pop-rock with a retro feel to semi-orchestral minimalism, some retro rock and another tune from a favourite band. We think this sums up the varied approach of the Singles Bar to date, and as usual, there should be something for most people to enjoy.


Brighton based singer songwriter Emma Gatrill released an EP, ‘Be Brave’, in February 2023, and ‘Adonis Blue’ continues a great musical adventure into floaty, folk-ish sounds and chamber pop based minimalism. The track dispenses of the beats that drove tunes like ‘Irresistible’ and ‘Bit By Bit’ and focuses more on the almost dream-pop like qualities of the singer songwriter’s earlier material. There are a few light rhythms helping to keep everything in place, but the listener gets quickly absorbed into a musical world where ethereal harp sounds and clarinets set up a musical blanket for a pure vocal to weave an other-worldly sound inflected with an old folk melody. It’s a very subtle track, but very effective in its own way, and Emma’s natural talents sound like the work of a star in the making.

Also from Brighton, The Leaning are a band with a very interesting sound. Clearly not keen to be pigeonholed into any easy alternative rock categories, their current single ‘Stranger’ opens with a reverbed guitar that throws out a very retro, surf-ish twang, and the track builds upon a very cinematic sound. Its mix of grand pop-rock sounds and slightly warbly vocals is at once very familiar, yet something that feels very much of its own making. At its peak, the chorus swells into a massive melody that’s full of heart, but its the number’s subtler touches that really sell it. From the warm bass to the echoey backing vocals, and even its ringing guitars that compliment a very distinctive vocal, it’s the sound of studio based perfection.

You’ve probably never heard of Wax Mechanix, but the one man band has been cranking out music on a regular basis for a while. The bulk of his work takes in a melodic hard rock/alternative sound, but he’s often been known to dabble in other genres, with tracks drawing from strange semi-acoustic psychedelia, choppy groove laden pop, and even adding occasional light industrial rhythms for extra punch. ‘Pillars of Creation’ takes a further leap into something more commercial by opening with a wash of harmony vocals before exploring a really old school psych-pop tune. The highlight comes from those unexpected harmonies, but Wax’s choice of contrasting heavy drums with back-masked noises also leaves a strong impression. With a heavy chorus that sounds like it’s on loan from Devin Townsend, this is one of the biggest Wax Mechanix tunes to date. Just one thing, though: listen while you can – The Beatles will likely want that verse melody returned fairly quickly…

In a world that takes itself very seriously, Sean Findlay has his tongue firmly in cheek on ‘Shakey Shakey Hips’. This pastiche of 50s rock ‘n’ roll makes a great feature of a big voice used for semi-comic effect, and the natural production values of the single really bring out the best in a simple, pounding drum. It might not be amusing in the long term, and there possibly should have been more focus on a driving bass part, but between Findlay’s enthusiasm and an unfashionable style being championed, it creates a pleasing musical diversion. If you’re still not sold, the featured guitar solo is an absolute killer; the tone is a perfect homage to the 50s greats. This Dundee boy has an old heart and a lot of spirit.

Following on from ‘Something Dark’, Desert Kites celebrate the misfortunes of doing stupid things on their current single ‘Sorry Ass’. This jangly alt-rock is big on chiming guitars and loud drums, and even bigger on self depreciating vibes. Its live in the studio sound really highlights a set of solid riffs, which really lift a vocal that errs a little on the side of being slightly too natural, but overall, it’s the kind of single that cements the band’s place within Scotland’s huge underground rock scene.

A Real Gone favourite since the release of their ‘Ellipsis’ EP in 2019, Yur Mum are back with another single, ‘New Beginnings’. This timely delivered follow up to the brilliant ‘Say Say’ brings another round of huge and fuzzy noise. Opening with a very distorted and relentless bass groove, fans will instantly know they’re in for a high octane ride, but this time around, it’s the juxtaposition of a massive punky/stoner rock riff and a huge melodic vocal on the verse that provides the main interest. Analise Kunz unleashes a seismic wail that creates one of Yur Mum’s most devastating sounds to date, and the way she weaves that in and out of the noise leads to a really great atmosphere. Meanwhile Fabio’s in the back, smashing his drums into oblivion, ensuring that even though this sounds like an important extension of the Yur Mum sound, their commitment to creating a lo-fi noise remains as important as ever.

The timeless harmonies of Simon & Garfunkel meet the more modern folk sounds of Hazlett and Twin Tacoma on the current single from Burr Island. Instantly grabbing the attention with some clean, finger picked guitar, and then adding some perfect, the band’s smooth acoustic folk-pop sounds are so pure, they’re almost impossible not to love. Those harmonies are used to great effect, offering a blanket of sound, and by the time the slow burning track introduces a few louder and more direct elements, they remain completely unfazed. The pastoral sounds are the perfect accompaniment to a lyric dealing with an underlying seething anger – a sort of acoustic folk take on XTC’s ‘Respectable Street’ where no good will ever come of harbouring such inward looking attitudes – and even by the time the drums put in a late appearance, the way Burr Island use vocals to weave interesting melodies remains at the forefront of the slow burning track. Having already supported Britpop legends Ocean Colour Scene, these guys are a band to watch out for in future.

The last of this week’s batch is a rather interesting tune that mixes elements of dark synthwave sounds with the mechanics of classic post punk and a swathe of light goth. ‘Abridged Dream’ by Jenny Besetzt is one of those tracks that’s often more concerned with moods than hooks, but it’s brilliantly constructed. Across the five minutes, you’ll find yourself drowning in semi-distorted Peter Hook like basslines and mechanical drumming, but also having your ears slowly bent around a merciless croon that harks back to those glory days of Bauhaus. In a world where bands like Editors seemed more concerned with taking the guts of Joy Division and making something more commercial, this track’s real joy comes from the fact that Jenny Besetzt obviously aren’t aiming for any kind of radio play. This is purely about sharing something sharp edged and dark, yet oddly captivating. In genre terms, it’s an instant classic.

August 2023