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. Our popular feature continues to gain attention and we’ve had a flood of submissions this week. Picking a few of the best, as always, we’ve attempted to bring you a variety of sounds, from punky power pop to a soul/rap crossover, from indie rock to an unexpected Japanese arty piece. Hopefully, these choices capture the quirkiness we always aim to bring…and we hope you find something to enjoy!


A Flamin’ Groovies-esque power pop sound with a huge 60s feel collides with a love of 90s indie bands on Otherworldly Things’ ‘Time Just Turns To Memories’. By having a foot in both camps, this gives the single an instant appeal for lovers of all things retro, but they’ve recycled their influences with a brilliant energy that makes the track feel really fresh. Whether you find yourself instantly attracted to the wall of chiming guitars, the confident – and slightly reverbed vocal – or the lead bass that cuts through everything, this energetic number is guaranteed to deliver some pleasingly familiar musical thrills.

With a world of glitchy rhythms and a pointed vocal, ‘My Tentacles’ by Japanese artist Mieko Shimizu is anything but easy listening. However, it’s a great example of a performer being unafraid to take modern pop elements and harder edged electronica and create a broad sound. With the addition of a fuzzy rock guitar filling the midpoint and a pentatonic riff accentuating a Japanese feel, the number eventually pushes through its noisier elements to share a more accessible melody, before slunking back into a collection of beats that appear more angular than before. Despite the very techy approach taken throughout, this isn’t without melody, since the lead vocal eventually shares a really pleasing tune that acts as a musical glue, resulting in a track that – although hoping to challenge – clings onto a pleasing alternative pop heart.

Italian rockers Seraphic Eyes are set to win a new wave of fans with a big reissue campaign for their single ‘Another Life’. Originally issued in 2018, it sounds just as huge in 2024. The track sits somewhere between two camps of rock with its noisy take on a classic rock sound and a touch of 90s alternative, but always shares a great riff, wherever the melody goes. Following a really chunky intro, the arrangement drops into a slightly more tuneful groove, but never opts for the easy melodic rock route. Although it comes armed with a big chorus hook, the real magic comes from the middle eight where the guitars are cranked a little further and the rock riffs shift from a traditional sound and towards melodies that sound like an amped version of a spaghetti western theme. With its combo of louder guitar lines and gruff vocals, its the kind of track that showcases the band’s raw energy throughout, and suggests there’s more to Seraphic Eyes than meets the ear…but in the meantime, the bulk of this track rocks hard, and sounds even better when played loudly.

Taken from an album of re-worked material, the new “All About Love Version” of Akua Naru’s ‘Poetry: How Does It Feel?’ presents itself very differently to the original cut. Rebuilt from the ground up, a choir of voices build a huge atmospheric intro, instantly advertising some massive changes. The downtempo drum loops have been covered in a warm bass, smooth keys and a string like drone, all of which help to give the track a more accessible feel. With the body of the arrangement now resembling a tight piece of modern soul, Naru’s vocal also adopts a smoother quality as she speaks. With the arrival of more huge vocals leading into an extended coda where a jazz trumpet takes centre stage, ‘Poetry’ is now ready to reach a broader audience. There’s almost certainly something here to appeal to those found a love for Erykah Badu’s ‘Mama’s Gun’ opus at the turn of the millennium, or perhaps wouldn’t choose rap for their regular entertainment.

On ‘You Know’, Crushed By Waves aren’t shy of a huge riff. The track’s chorus is driven by an absolutely enormous sound, but against the heavy edges, this is a single with a huge amount of melody. The intro hints at a blend of emo influences and offers a few electronic sounds, and the verse – in some ways, the single’s strongest feature – latches onto an emotive vocal melody that draws as much from pop and soul as anything else. The fusion of at least three different moods creates an epic track; a confident performance that shows how alternative rock music sounds can continue to break new, interesting ground in talented hands.

With a huge love of Ramones running through the centre, ‘My Valentine’ by Norway’s Love Hearts is immediately familiar, but that’s not to say the track is in any way uninspired. Between a sharp production job and a forthright guitar sound, the number immediately bursts from the speakers with a great energy, falling somewhere between hard edged power pop and timeless pop punk. The arrival of an enthusiastic vocal helps to sell a great melody even further, ensuring that fans of the style will love this tune from the get go. Then, having reeled everyone in, Love Hearts go all out with a massive, wordless hook, where some sugar-coated “na na na’s” are an easy match for a Teen Idols banger or old blink-182 hit. In short, you’ll know what you’re in for here after a few bars, but Love Hearts prove that delivering great pop punk so effortlessly can still lead to a massive musical thrill.

In 2023, singer songwriter Marc Valentine released a couple of amazing singles. Both were indebted to a classic power pop past, but at the same time were perfect examples of an artist bringing a great sound into the present. ‘Jinx of Finchley Road’, in particular, seemed almost worthy of the mighty Jellyfish. ‘Strange Weather’, Valentine’s first release for ’24, continues a run of great material. Opening with a broad, ringing guitar sound, the track immediately evokes the new wave sounds of 1980 but with a punchier production. Then, in a more modern twist, the track takes on the mantle of a Bowling For Soup classic put through a Tom Petty-ish filter. Whether you find yourself attracted to its jubilant riff or a chorus absolutely dripping with alt-pop harmonies, it’s one of those singles that really sticks after a couple of plays.

A tune with a disjointed feel but sharing interesting crossover sound, ‘Walker’ by Sky_A takes two very strong musical elements that wouldn’t normally be easy bedfellows and creates a rich, semi acoustic track that’s as confronting as it is melodic. The base of the number works deep drones, and against the electronica vibe, the performer delivers rich guitar work that pulls its influences from folk. With hints of a Spanish guitar influence cutting through the intermittent riffs, the track has an almost exotic vibe, and further contrasting the more flowery elements of the guitar work, occasional noisy riffs come through via an electric guitar, dropping in vague hints of a dirty blues sound. Linking everything, Sky_A’s vocal has a genuine heart, and a richness that conveys a huge melody in a disarmingly natural way. As things progress, the bluesier elements increase, and the vocal feels even more natural, but if anything continues to feel particularly striking, it’s the use of percussive slaps against the guitar in place of a traditional drum. Something is clearly building here, and eventually it springs to life and takes a rocky turn; but as before, this isn’t just a straight up arrangement. The bluesy guitars are augmented with some very pointed playing; a couple of louder riffs add a very angular edge, and with everything falling away to reveal a soft ambient melody to close, the whole thing feels like a massive sensory overload. It’s unnerving in a way, but also quite brilliant.

February 2024