Welcome back to the Real Gone Singles Bar, the place where we explore the various individual tracks and mp3s that have landed in our inbox over the previous few weeks. This time around, the popular feature includes a couple of pieces of very strong pop with an electronica heart, a great melodic rocker with a blue collar tint, a tune with one of the catchiest hooks ever, a well arranged cover…and more besides. We hope you dive in, explore and enjoy – and, as always, please tell us if we’ve introduced you to something great!
They’ve just released their second album, shared stages with some big bands, and they’ve already received press from a few high profile outlets, but The Young Hearts still feel like a semi-unknown quantity in the rock world. ‘Somewhere In The Night’ – taken from their current album of the same name – is a fantastic introduction for those who’ve missed the band so far. A hugely commercial single, it combines a user friendly rock sound with the blue collar edge of The Gaslight album, but gives that a send off via a jaunty rhythm that’s actually a little closer to power pop. Factor in a very melodic vocal, a massive chorus and a Springsteen-esque sax break, and this becomes a single that has the potential to be massive.
With a strong pulse beat and stabbing synths, Liz Cass whips up a really catchy electronic pop number with ‘Map of A Human Heart’. The contrast of cold mechanics and the reality of the human voice works brilliantly throughout, but its when Liz’s vocal swells upon reaching the chorus that this number really comes into its own. Her approach to a broad pop melody when delivering the longer notes required gives the track an unexpected emotional pull, and that only becomes bigger once you latch onto a lyric dealing with the fragility of human life in a war zone, and something even closer to a more “normal” every day experience: the up and down nature of human emotions.
A year on from her debut EP, Australian pop vocalist Winifred takes a pot shot at the music industry and the fleeting finger of fame on ‘Want It Bad’. At the track’s outset, the programmed rhythms and pulsing synths lead the listener into thinking this will be a pure pop workout, but there’s something a little more sinister lurking within the filtered vocal and floating melodies, and by the time the wordless hook hits – hitting with an almost Kate Bush circa ‘Hounds of Love’ feel – there’s conformation that the track is certainly greater than first impressions might suggest.
Originally released back in 2015 but getting a second outing to promote the reissued ‘Paper Bones’ album, ‘Fall Down’ by Science Made Us Robots is a perfect slice of melodic punk. In almost exactly two minutes, the Edinburgh based band whip up a world of speed driven chords inspired by a few US bands from the 90s, but offset the edge with an accessible lead vocal, a few well placed harmonies and a busy bassline. With further help of a really catchy chorus and a melody that sounds like a more tuneful take on early Clash fare, the track becomes an instant hit. Once the number introduces a bigger bass rattle to drive the middle eight, this shows off a band with a natural gift for a tight arrangement as well as a massive punky tune, creating something that feels really well-rounded.
A huge 60s heart collides with a familiar Boston-based jangle on this debut single from The Magic City. It’s a track that recycles a few very knowing melodies, but at the same time, has a huge appeal by the time it moves – perhaps a little slowly – into a harmony drenched chorus, and pointed lead guitar break. Although a little more interest could’ve come from the lead guitar in a couple of places, a soaring edge on a crooned vocal and an intermittently strong harmony are enough to see the number through effectively. It’s definitely the sound of a band who, going forward, have talents they can build upon.
By crashing in, somewhat unapologetically, with a round of “la la’s”, this single from rising indie band Nitefire knows that it’s insanely catchy. Not only that, but ‘I’ve Been Taking Walks (La La Song)’ manages to combine a great mood with a very simple chorus that’s almost as instantly loveable on first hearing. Sort of like a pop-derived Weezer, the number’s blend of fuzzy guitars and clean vocals evokes the perfect radio friendly guitar-driven tune, and its slightly funkier instrumental break introduces listeners to a band who are also able to whip up a tight groove. With a huge vocal appearing on the last round of the chorus and an all round sunny feel, this has all the makings of an instant classic. [Warning: video contains language which might be NSFW.]
On the follow up to their riff heavy ‘Safeword’, ‘Bitter Things’ finds The Bedside Morale delivering a massive jangle throughout a very energetic five minutes. The track’s riffs move between hard rock and harsh indie with ease, and linked via a very strong vocal, the arrangement builds gradually to a lengthy climax where the lead voice cries out above a massive wall of sound. Everything here is very strong, and it;s really impressive how the band build upon their sound until everything starts to feel as if it’ll snap due to the increasing tension. However, it’s the brighter guitar sounds that really stand out, since their higher tones occasionally hint at a love for 80s goth, bringing a very distinctive melody to the table. Now with two of the year’s best rock singles under their collective belt, The Bedside Morale are another band to keep a close eye on during 2024.
Last up, here’s a new take on a familiar favourite. Earlier in 2023, singer songwriter Sean Findlay paid a tongue in cheek homage to 50s rock ‘n’ roll on ‘The Shakey Shakey Hips’. He’s closing the year with something else retro, but taking a completely different approach. With sterling accompaniment from his friend Adam Smith on the fiddle, Findlay turns the old Bob Seger hit ‘Old Time Rock ‘n’ Roll’ from a barnstorming rocker into an acoustic, countrified romp. It really suits the stripped down arrangement, giving Findlay’s voice plenty of room, but by casting an even bigger spotlight on some old time fiddle playing throughout, it’s very much a collaboration between the two musicians. The cover tune captures the duo’s talents record with great effect, and should be enough to encourage listeners to check out their other works.