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. This has become a popular feature for the site, and its disregard for genre restraints has ensured that a variety has kept it interesting. This week, we bring you a new track that unites a cult rock hero with a busy power pop figure; some great pop from a Scottish singer songwriter, and some massive metal sounds from Greece. As always, if you discover anything new you’ve enjoyed, come and tell us – we always value your feedback. Submissions for the Singles Bar are coming in by the dozen, but if you have something you think might work for us, don’t be afraid to get in touch.


First up, a 70s rock legend and a cult pianist have joined forces for ‘Bounce Back Baby’ – one of this summer’s best singles. Following a massive drum intro, The Dirty Gems’ Kris Rodgers throws himself head first into a rumbling piano line, and the rest of the band embark on a very retro sounding power pop arrangement that mixes a buoyant melody with busy lead guitar breaks and a rather enthusiastic vocal from the always reliable Michael Des Barres. Everything about this is great, but if anything really sells this feel good number, it’s a pleasing chorus where MDB’s lead is joined by harmonious vocals making the very best out of a very simple hook. It’s the kind of track that can be enjoyed from first listen, but it has an infectiousness that really sticks.

Fred Abong’s seventh solo release ‘Fear Pageant’ takes the one-time Throwing Muses man’s dark songwriting into slightly more cinematic territory, and the album’s final single ‘Shadows’ is an almost perfect example of his thoughtful lo-fi pop. The number’s slow balladry mixes his acoustic side with a clear keyboard and shimmering sounds that draw heavily from dreampop. This is by no means an easy love letter to his 4AD past, though; there’s a genuine unease in the melody that ensures this is far darker. The acoustic elements are underscored by truly haunting melodies, and Fred applies a slightly flat and haunting vocal to suit. His voice, as always, can be an acquired taste, but with a few stabbed keys and a slightly bigger finish, it’s good to hear Fred’s familiar sound reaching its full potential.

Drawing heavily from a 90s emo sound and the riffs of bands like Quicksand, ‘Mood Ring’ by Grave Secrets has a pleasingly nostalgic quality. The single isn’t just a throwback, however, and there’s plenty within the track’s weighty riff that stands up perfectly in the present. Also, the marriage of music and vocal is pretty much perfect, and that’s before taking on board the way shrill guitar lines add a great texture over the truck sized groove. Eventually gaining tempo to drive home a very alternative crunch, this is a single that never skimps on intensity. In short, it’s a brilliant track you won’t want to miss.

A different kind of 90s vibe cuts through the centre of Green Gardens’ ‘Oslow’. A full compliment of ringing guitars supplies a clean-ish riff from the outset, whilst a semi lo-fi feel powers the rest of the track. A hazy, almost stoned vocal is brilliantly suited to the number’s uneasy atmosphere and the way the melodies build throughout give the arrangement an important tension, despite the mood feeling rather laid back. The second half of the number stokes up the guitars, adding a jazz tinged solo, before some unexpected horns supply a slight grandiosity that ensures this track is far bigger than first impressions ever expected.

Using a very mechanical beat as a backdrop, ‘Little Talks’ by Allan Purvis immediately wrong-foots the listener into thinking it’ll share a piece of modern pop, but stick with it beyond that first verse and you’ll discover something far greater. When the track finds its feet, Purvis delivers an alternative rock banger with pop-ish undertones that occasionally shares some DNA with the brilliant Bleachers. Armed with a big chorus and a wall of chiming guitars, the song sounds grand without ever losing a radio friendly heart, and Allan’s lead vocals, although very natural, convey a genuine enthusiasm. It’s much bigger sounding than his earlier – and equally catchy – ‘Sweet Talking’, but fans will find something familiar within. A great single.

There’s something equally cool lurking within The Passing Sages’ ‘Dangerous’. Its intro sets up a strong rhythm coupled with reverbed guitar notes, harking back to The Temper Trap’s ‘Sweet Disposition’, before everything takes a left turn into a world of big sounding pop with disco-ish undertones. The danceable groove is enough to set the track in motion, but coupled with some big and natural vocals from Holly Clark and Carrie Forgan, the band are able to sell a sizeable chorus hook with ease. Although there’s often something about this single that feels, perhaps, a little over familiar, that certainly doesn’t make it less enjoyable.

Three months on from their ‘Be My Home Soon’ single, The Bitter Mass have returned with ‘The Dancers’. A more laid back work dispensing with the ringing guitars, this single centres around voice and piano and in doing so, evokes memories of a few second tier, sometimes overlooked song writers. There are faint ghosts of Clifford T. Ward here; there’s also the feeling of being invited to hear a Colin Blunstone demo. There are moments where the broad melody seems to escape the vocal’s obvious limitations, but if you can make it past that, you’ll discover a rather forlorn tune that has an achingly old soul.

Finally, boosting this week’s compliment of huge riffs by about a thousand percent, Greek groove metal band Beyond This Earth hark back to the rougher elements of White Zombie and the sheer force of stoner/doom bands like Trouble on ‘The Overseer’. Unafraid to champion a timeless approach to a metal riff, the track really delivers in terms of massive chug, and although a howling lead guitar break at first seems a little understated compared to many metallic shredders, it adds a welcome dark atmosphere to a great arrangement, before breaking into a flurry of notes that rivals many late 80s trad metal acts. Overall, this lengthy tune should hit the spot for those looking for a well crafted riff or three.

September 2023