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. As always, the amount of submissions has been staggering, and we’ve cherry picked some of our favourite tracks for your enjoyment. This time around, we’ve got a soundtrack worthy tune, some top notch power pop, a fine tribute to a Boston heroine, and more besides. We hope you find something to enjoy!
Atom Made Earth is a musical project helmed by Daniele Polverini. This single, released ahead of the one man band’s third album, is a great example of a multi-talented musician at work. Unafraid of genre constraints, in the four minutes it takes to listen to ‘Asleep’, you’ll encounter trip hop rhythms, close harmony singing from a progressive pop perspective, a dub-oriented bassline and some reverbed guitar, all linked via a mellow piano melody. It’s almost as if something from the world of Eno has been fused with a prog rock band, then remixed by Massive Attack. An absolutely flawless track.
In terms of tunes that mix a lo-fi aesthetic with catchy indie pop hooks, they don’t come much nicer than ‘Fifteen Forever’ by Psychic Shakes. The single has an acoustic heart that draws from classic Sebadoh and Sentridoh tunes, ensuring fans of 90s indie fare will feel immediately drawn to the track, but its the presence of bright sounding keys and shimmering guitars on loan from old dream pop tunes that gives it a real heart. Between a user-friendly jangling melody and a really strong vocal hook, Psychic Shakes serves up a very strong retro sounding nugget. Sure, the rigid drum machine feels a little distracting at first but, that too, feels like an integral part of the DIY charm in time.
More 90s vibes cut through the centre of ‘Innocence’ by Howlin’ Circus. The track isn’t shy in flaunting some wavering shoegaze vibes beneath a heavy indie riff, and as such, should transport some listeners back to the days of early Ride and peak NME coverage of similar fare. It’s not all about the fuzz, though; this number also boasts a lighter vocal that works brilliantly on a neo-psychedelic chorus melody, and the featured guitar solo – tucked away safely at the track’s end, leading into the fade – hints at a love of late 60s/early 70s rock. It isn’t necessarily the most immediate of listens, but a few spins should uncover a solid alternative tune that’s fairly user friendly.
It’s been four years since their last album, but Rinehearts are back with a bang, and the Perth based power poppers sound massive on ‘Call Me Up’. The track deals with the concept of friendship and having someone to lean on when your mental health wobbles, but in true power pop tradition, the arrangement is truly uplifting. Absolutely brimming with chiming guitars and 60s inflected harmonies, the sound is strongly reminiscent of Teenage Fanclub circa 1993, and certainly more interesting than anything the Fannies themselves served up in 2023. A combination of great guitar riff, those pop-loaded harmonies and a strong lead vocal from Benny Ward makes this classic Rinehearts right from the off.
Brighton’s Harker present a single of three moods with ‘Medicine’. The bulk of the track works overdriven guitar lines in way that shows off a huge love for classic Husker Du and the noisier end of the Bob Mould catalogue, as well as sharing elements of Superchunk, but just as importantly, the punkier riffs are contrasted by a great chorus where a melodic vocal introduces a different alternative slant and a touch of 90s emo. The hard, jangly elements of the clean chorus supply a great tune before the band throw themselves back into the distortion with abandon. But that’s not all, they’ve even managed to wedge in a middle eight where multiple vocals explore a very different alternative rock melody, making the last blast of hardcore sound even tougher. There’s a whole world of goodness packed into these two and a half minutes.
Following his new wave tinged single ‘Jane Tells A Lie’, singer songwriter Coyle Girelli has returned with another track in the run up to his long awaited album release. ‘So Predictable’ opens with a grand melody where ringing guitars soar above a chunky rock-pop backdrop, with a hint of Snow Patrol somewhere at its centre. Dropping into the verses, things quieten just enough for Girelli’s natural vocal to take centre stage, and set against a slightly jagged rhythm, he sounds like a distant cousin of Jim Kerr as he mumbles through a slightly angsty verse and rises into a hugely melodic chorus. In short, there’s some very strong pop-rock here. It’s a minor point, but its odd that when in possession of something so radio-friendly, Coyle would choose to weigh down the chorus with a lyrical f-bomb. Maybe in an internet based world, traditional radio play isn’t as important as it once was. To be fair, from a purely melodic perspective, it doesn’t really spoil an otherwise strong number. [NSFW lyrical content]
That Hidden Promise aren’t thinking small on their current single, ‘Some Days (I Just Can’t Stand)’. Across five and a half minutes, the track takes a fierce guitar sound with a howling tone and uses that to weave a busy riff beneath a sneering, natural vocal. With a combination of hard indie sounds, some garage rock flair and a lead voice that sometimes sounds like an angry extension of slam poetry, this has moments of such direct energy and power, it can seem tiring, but at the same time, it’s great to hear a band really cutting loose. Dropping in a dirtier riff midway brings a brief respite from the tension, but the arrival of a second lead guitar adding even more angry sounds ensures no tension is actually lost. It’s more about anger and riffs than any desire to latch onto a big chorus, but by the climax, there’s little doubt the track has made an impression.
Combining a late 70s jangle and an even older sounding round of “oh-oh”s presented as an incessant vocal hook, ‘My Band On Her T-Shirt’ is a genuine retro banger from Stop Calling Me Frank. With a sharp rhythm guitar joined by a rousing sax, this single oozes a blend of old style rock ‘n’ roll and power pop that’s hard to resist. The musical elements would be enough alone to make it stand, but the fact that the lyric wears its heart on the band’s collective sleeve makes it even more charming. The song’s t-shirt wearer was the one and only Justine Covault, a Boston based musician, gig promoter and record label owner who passed away earlier in 2023. Justine did so much for the scene. This musical tribute captures both her sense of fun and a musical style she loved. She will be forever missed, but this recording is a celebration, not a commiseration. It’s a tragedy that it would take such a loss to inspire the Franks’ best recording to date, but this is a track to treasure.