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 usual, we’ve had a massive amount of submissions from a variety of sources, and we’ve picked eight of our favourites for your entertainment. This week, the tracks take in strange electronica fused with industrial sounds, some massive blues rock, and a couple of heavily rhythmic tracks that defy easy categorisation. We’re sure you’ll discover something new to enjoy. If so, why not drop by and tell us, or perhaps repost the Singles Bar on your socials? It’s always good to share!
Loaded with huge beats and treated vocals, We Three’s ‘Dancing In The Dark’ wastes no time in delivering a brilliantly mechanical alt-pop sound, but although the bulk of it might sound a little synthetic, it’s one of those tracks that deserves closer attention. Beneath the shameless pop sheen, there’s a strong funk groove, partly bolstered by an electric piano sound that feels as if it were dropped in from the Schoolhouse Rocks classic ‘Three Is A Magic Number’, bursts of acid jazz inflected sax and a busy bassline, all of which give the melody a massive lift. If at first you’re unsure, stick with it; those jazz and funk flourishes really help to sell a great track.
Decommissioned Forests have been making dark electronica sounds since 2017, and their third full length album ‘Chemistry’ brings another round of ambient drones, spoken voices, moody noises and occasionally danceable rhythms. Sounding like one of Richard Barbieri’s solo pieces augmented by dour vocals, ‘Another Version of You’ provides the perfect entry point for the first time listener, but the album’s first single, ‘Black River Fade’ is almost equally as good. With immediate effect, the drum machines and synths set up a dance-oriented rhythm augmented by electronic loops, while slightly angrier noises drift in and out. A spoken verse adds an atmospheric air and a chanted chorus drives home an almost gothic feel. It doesn’t sound like an instant hit, obviously, but it’s very strong, and definitely another number that presents the more accessible side of the trio’s musical experiments.
With a full compliment of buzzy guitars and a very familiar melody, ‘My World’ by Glass Alice straddles a fine line between solid shoegaze noise and a well pitched grungy homage. The vocals are half-buried in the best possible way, but the huge riffs swirl with intent, creating something that sounds absolutely terrific. By the mid point, the band’s huge sound really begins to engulf the listener, and even without a huge chorus or solo, it manages to be a tune with massive potential. Whatever your take on the end sound, however, there’s little doubt that this is a track packed with great riffs, showing off a band with a superb ability to throw themselves headlong into a world of noise.
They’ve a couple of albums under their belt and a string of 7” singles, but at the time of their ‘Storms’ release, Miss Chain and The Broken Heels still feel like a largely undiscovered act. This title track from their upcoming LP is a real treat for those already in the know, and a song that gleefully escapes genre pigeonholing. The tones are straight from a melodic garage rock school, but the vocal comes closer to an adult friendly indie pop. And then, there’s the jaunty rhythm and overall tone, which draws heavily from Americana and the perkier side of old Uncle Tupelo records. It’s a genuine mixed bag of things, wrapped neatly in a three minute bundle – as catchy as hell, and yet more cerebral than most pop-rockers; rootsy, yet rocky, sharp, but melodic. It’s a number that grabs in an instant and refuses to let go…
Mixing a sultry groove and heavy stomp, wht.rbbt.obj’s ‘No Rainbows In Indiana’ might remind some listeners of ‘Elephant’ era White Stripes at first, but given room to grow, this single ultimately makes a sound that’s so much bigger and even more retro. The lead guitar work lays down a massively confident wave of furious blues rock worthy of old Taste and Groundhogs records; the sultry vocal cries with intent, bringing a classic sound to the varied musical landscape of 2023, and the interplay between the two is superb. Yes, it all sounds very familiar, but River Rabbitte’s voice has enough power to carry everything – and then some – and with some top notch guitar work throughout, this track has more sass and more heart than most blues rock acts will ever capture in the studio environment.
In terms of indie pop singles, Juniper’s ‘I Was Thinking About You’ is an interesting tune. Her voice taps into a vaguely slacker-ish delivery that’s in keeping with a lot of twenty first century pop where mood is more important than huge projection, and her general tone calls back to some of the moodier singer-songwriters of the 90s. The fact that she’s chosen to apply this to a semi-bluesy riff – like a sketch for an old Beck tune – then add some baritone sax and a horn riff that calls back to Stax hits, creates a melting pot of sound that never fits easily into one genre. The single also really benefits from a very simple hook, ensuring that no matter which route the music takes, there’s a very direct chorus that’s guaranteed to stick. In terms of maturity and potential longevity, it’s a huge leap forward from her previous sugary pop track ‘Ride Between The Cars’. She’s grown so much, artistically speaking, it could almost be the work of a completely different performer.
By applying a contrasting jerky rhythm and smooth pop harmonies, Jody And The Jerms’ ‘Divine’ is one of those tracks that’s becomes rather striking, almost immediately. Broadly speaking, it has a sound that could be lumped in with the indie pop scene, but beneath the surface, there beats the heart of something much richer. The way a huge harmony springs from the chorus – unexpectedly – after a choppy verse should be enough to make the track, but the best moments actually come later, when instrumental bridges share dream pop guitar sounds, clanking xylophones and a strong rhythm to great effect. When that gets joined by a soaring lead guitar, there’s a feeling of something even grander at work. A superb single.
Last up, here’s a big welcome back for a familiar name. The Answer have been part of the fabric of the British rock scene for decades, and 2023 has found them on something of a roll. The best bits of their ‘Sundowners’ album (released in March) fused a familiar, gritty vocal with a blues laden sound that fans would find unmistakable, but actually sounded better on tunes where the grooves took on more of a fuzz drenched swagger, sounding a little more like Black Pistol Fire than The Answer of old. This non-album single very much follows suit, in that it sounds like a natural companion to album highlight ‘Blood Brother’. The drums lay down a glam inspired stomp; the guitars chug their way through something that sounds like a glam and blues infused concoction, allowing Paul Mahon to share a big sound, whilst the ever reliable Cormac Neeson adds a distinctive and typically gravel-edged vocal melody. With Micky Waters steadily anchoring everything with a fat bottom end, this is a single with some real weight behind it. The Answer rarely seem to be anyone’s all time favourite band, but this track more than shows why they’ve maintained a reliable presence on the live circuit over the years.