Welcome back to the Real Gone Singles Bar, the place where we explore the various individual mp3s that have landed in our inbox over the previous few weeks. It’s a place that is not concerned with genre; it can also lead to unexpected finds. It’s somewhere we celebrate stuff we’ve enjoyed, regardless of any usual listening preferences, or visitors’ expectations from our website. The “mixed bag” approach keeps it as interesting for us as it does for you! This week, we bring you some great alternative pop, some timeless sounding Aussie rock, the return of Roisin McCarney, a well loved track re-imagined, and more besides. If you find anything here you’ve enjoyed, please drop by and tell us. Also, if you think you have a new track that would have a place at the Singles Bar in future, please get in touch. We’d love to hear from you.
This tune from Dutch duo Light By The Sea has a feel that feels both contemporary and nostalgic. Take a pinch of light 80s goth and a huge dose of 90s pop, add an indie attitude and a great rhythm, and the results on the less than catchily titled ‘A Feather of A Pigeon In The Cave of The Wisdom of God’ almost speak for themselves. The single might not come with a big lyrical hook, but its steady rhythm and blend of atmospheric vocals and light, shimmery guitar work leads to something that’s massively appealing. The way huge bass grooves underscore a world of alternative pop sounds lends just enough muscle for the number not to be pigeonholed as dream pop, yet the slightly ethereal elements are dominant enough for it not to feel like standard indie fare. At times, a great bassline feels just as vital to the end result as Anna Baumann’s vocal, and the way Davy Knobel creates layers of guitar beneath an almost danceable groove adds a vital extra texture. This could just be one of the best Light By The Sea tracks to date.
On the heels of her recent country rock tune, Roisin McCarney returns with ‘Villian’, a high energy pop-rock number that shows a very different side to her obvious talents. This time around, the muted guitars owe a lot to retro AOR tunes, but the general upbeat nature of the melody sounds like a rockier version of something by Taylor Swift circa her ‘Red’ album. Musically, it might not have much in common with McCarney’s previous single, but her big, enthusiastic vocal is unmistakable and her ability to sell a great hook is very clear. In a just world, this would be all over the radio – without a doubt, it’s one of the best single tracks of ’23.
‘Always You’ by Stay For Tomorrow has been billed as alternative rock, and true enough, the track’s crashy drums and big chorus could easily fit somewhere on the more melodic end of the alternative spectrum, but this single is a little more interesting than that. There are a couple of moments where poppier melodies seem keen to escape, and a vaguely indie-ish mood gives everything a less weighty feel. Whichever way you approach it, you’ll find a great song where a harmony driven chorus lifts a really powerful melody, and a tune where any predictable rock moments are elevated by complex lead guitars and a vocal that doesn’t hide the band’s Dumfermline roots. Overall, this is a hugely enjoyable number that promises so much more in the band’s future.
What would happen if you took the power of early Machine Head and fused it with some really tight hardcore? It’s possible you’d end up with Karras. This trio certainly know their way around a punishing riff, and ‘Lutherean Blade’ even goes one step further when their hardcore/metal crossover sound is injected with an absolutely killer crust punk interlude where a ruthless speed meets with an absolutely crushing riff. With a brief nod to the sludgy sounds of Heriot found along the way, there’s a lot packed into just ninety six seconds, but one thing is certain: listeners will certainly not feel short changed in terms of brutality.
There’s a defiant Aussie heart beating furiously throughout The Casanovas’ ‘The Devil In Me’. Its opening riffs evoke memories of AC/DC circa ‘Powerage’ and its stomping verse carries the ghosts of early Rose Tattoo in a melodic mood. That’s enough to grab the attention of old rockers everywhere. Although The Casanovas pull from such a well worn style, though, their music still sounds vibrant, and this single’s grubby riffs and assured vocals show off a great rock melody throughout. In addition, the production values from the legendary Ron Nevison give everything an extra punch. A great track.
Lovers of huge symphonic rock in the Nightwish mould should find something of interest in Hand of Fate’s ‘Evergrey’. This single ventures deeply into a huge rock number, sharing a massively cinematic sound where sizable guitar riffs are tempered by moments of harmonic twin guitar and a terrifically played piano. Naturally, the big sound comes with an equally big vocal, but it all works. Even though there’s a lot about the track that suggests “genre comfort zone”, this six minute epic more than suggests this Greek act are worth keeping an eye for in future.
Following a slightly ugly intro, ‘Eco Freak’ by The Tenmours shares an important message regarding the Earth’s future, as well as being a track that’s unafraid to mix genres. There are moments within this single’s four minutes that draw guitar riffs from the early 00’s indie scene, but the musical arrangement runs far deeper. It includes a stomping rhythm that could be a direct throw back to 70s glam; it has huge, brassy backing vocals that might make Roger Waters proud, if only he knew emotions beyond anger and bitterness; there are even allusions to folk via a subtle acoustic guitar, and big prog sounds lurking within a huge, complex bassline. The chorus has all the bombast of an old Muse tune or the grandiosity of Biffy Clyro, and the featured guitar solo draws from classic rock. By the time the band introduce harsh electronic bleeps via an old keyboard, they could perhaps be accused of over egging an already very eggy recipe, yet somehow it works. Let’s hear it for confidence…
Finally, here’s something really fun. Many UK listeners feel that the Dexys classic ‘Come On Eileen’ has been overplayed. Years of the track being wheeled out at wedding receptions and its omnipresence on 80s radio stations has certainly made it feel a little over familiar. That’s not stopped Gypsy Pistoleros putting their own stamp on the classic track. The self-claimed gypsy punks have beefed up the riff, but in the main, not lost any of the original’s bouncy spirit on a great cover that’s big on guitars. It feels strange not to hear the well known lyric sung in a…very affected way, but unlike US ska band Save Ferris, at least these guys have taken the time to learn the actual lyrics. At the point where you feel this is just a traditional retread with a rockier slant, the magic really happens, and the Pistoleros replace the “cranking tempo jig” into the last chorus with a rather weighty alt-rock groove. It holds together brilliantly and sounds like the kind of cover that’ll win over audiences in the live setting. They’ve even dug out their dungarees especially for the video…