THE REAL GONE SINGLES BAR #37

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. With January at an end and with 2024 having now gained momentum, the submissions are rolling in very fast. This week, picking favourites was almost a thankless task. People have sent so much good stuff our way after returning to work following the Xmas break! This time out, we bring you a couple of singer songwriters, some brilliant light sounding and alternative pop, a strong guitar instrumental, a slab of retro space rock and more besides! We hope you find something to enjoy…

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With equal parts indie-pop melody and melodic rock punch, ‘Power Lines’ by Rose Alaimo wastes no time in grabbing the attention. The single’s intro sets up a fantastic indie-ish sound that casts the listener back to the 90s with a whole world of guitar driven NME fare, but Alaimo’s gift for a melody allows this single to be a little more distinctive. The multi-layered vocals call back to classic Kirsty MacColl fare; a brief guitar driven instrumental break accentuates the rockier edge of the melody, and in an unexpected twist, a semi-acoustic interlude adds a banjo countermelody, making it seem as if everything will take a massive Americana themed detour. Arrangement wise, it’s a proper kitchen sink affair, but a catchy hook holds everything together with ease. A track that’s not to be missed.

With its use of steady rhythm and soft piano lines, the intro to Set Faux’s ‘Say It Again’ has hints of both trip hop and dream pop, but this debut single isn’t by any means an easy homage to either genre. Its combo of mid tempo chords and floating vocal quickly share a more mellow vibe, which should be enough to pull in many fans of alt-pop, but with a chord progression that sounds like a vague homage to Bob Dylan’s ‘Lay Lady Lay’ to boost the chorus, it also comes with a surprisingly old soul. It’s one of those tracks that, ultimately, doesn’t fit easily into any musical space – and is all the better for it. Between an alluring, slightly fey vocal and an unhurried approach to sharing great melodies, this single allows the listener time to reflect, and as such, is something that sounds better with each successive play.

Known for his work with Paul Kelly and Aussie legends The Church, here’s something a little unexpected from guitarist Ashley Naylor. On his current album ‘Soundtracks Volume 2’, the musician pays tribute to various different styles via an instrumental medium. The single ‘Les Paul Waltz’ takes a shamelessly old fashioned approach. Atop a slow, waltzing rhythm, Naylor unveils a fat tone that injects a soulfulness into a bluesy melody. In doing so, he adopts a sound somewhere between a mid 70s Freddie King and early work from The Allman Brothers Band, whilst a further Allman influence can be heard via the track’s swooning organ sounds and occasional lilting piano. Every ingredient here is terrific, but Naylor re0mains the true star as he slowly unravels a bluesy melody that sounds like the ultimate tribute to all of those records you loved back in the 70s.

Taken from their second EP ‘One Night With Romeo’, ‘Memo’ by Belfast’s Romeopathy is a solid piece of hard rock with 90s alternative leanings. Whilst it doesn’t necessarily break new ground genre-wise, it advertises the band as genuinely great players. There’s a lot packed into a short number: the intro suggests a gentle darkness and a very 90s influence; the verses create tension with a barrage of muted chords; the featured guitar solo and extended coda introduce some welcome blues rock tones and a huge swathe of melody…and then there’s a massive chorus to pull everything together. For the track’s main hook, the band haven’t been shy in sharing some huge rocky harmonies, and as a result, this single eventually becomes the kind of accessible rocker that’s made for any great playlist. [Warning: video contains flashing images]

A steady beat offset by an indie rock jangle introduces a 90s inspired sound of a different kind on Sukie Smith’s ‘Into The Light’. In many ways, the performer’s hard and very rhythmic guitar work takes centre stage on the track, but there’s also something very alluring about the way a slightly flat vocal calls upon PJ Harvey for influence. Smith uses the vocal in a suitably brash manner throughout, but it sounds especially strong when latching onto the track’s simple hook. This often feels like a number where repetition is key, but dig a little deeper and you’ll likely be pulled in by the higher register vocal that’s used very effectively as a counter-melody during a great chorus, and also discover a performer who’s direct manner is capable of selling a hook with ease.

Boston power poppers The Mochines are back…and they’re wielding the riffs like they’re on stage at CBGB’s in 1979. ‘Ran Out of Luck’ combines the energies of Dictators with the hook laden drive of The Real Kids, but serves up familiar sounds with a typical Mochines crunch. The single has a massive guitar sound which comes through in unstoppable waves, whether working a hard rhythm, or sharing a careening lead break, but there’s so much more great stuff driving these three minutes. The lead vocal is raw, but manages to share that almost perfect proto-punk anger, and the bass playing has a muscular quality that really gives this track a very welcome live feel. It’s one of those tracks that, once you’ve heard the shout-along chorus a few times, has all the qualities of a genre classic.

With its pulsing synths and heavy beat employed brilliantly during the intro, Traum’s debut single ‘Inner Space’ might at first remind you of tracks like The Human League’s ‘Being Boiled’ and other moody 80s fare. As the tune expands, the cold feel holds firmly, but the melody slowly shifts, at first into a repetitive rhythm reminiscent of Krautrock legends Neu, and then into a wavering slab of space rock that feels pretty much timeless. Once the groove swells and the layers build, the melody takes in some great prog rock inspired guitar work, and a strong, retro melody that teases with some deep psych worthy of 90s Hawkwind. Topped off with a pleasingly crashy drum part and a couple of top notch solos, this is a superb musical journey.

For their debut single Ukranian band Coloth have shared something very bold. ‘Tuman Yarom’ is their reworking of an old, traditional folk piece, which they’ve very much made their own. The bulk of the track shares some very subtle acoustic melodies – often recorded so naturally, you can hear fingers sliding across frets – alongside some beautiful bass led countermelodies. The playing is very effective; even with a few harmonics thrown in, it never feels showy for the sake of it. Then – bam! – less than thirty seconds before the end, the arrangement introduces a few amazingly heavy riffs in a djent style and pneumatic drums, unleashing the power of a great sounding, modern metal band.

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January 2024