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. This time around, we bring you some hazy sounding neo-psychedelia, an interesting take on a post punk/goth sound, a great singer songwriter, a melodic rock banger, a slice of Latin jazz, and more besides. As always, we hope you find something new to enjoy!


With tribal drums, cinematic synths, Arabic sounding acoustic guitar lines and a prominent tabla, ‘Mazdur’ by the Ali Jafri project The Shadow Majlis is a track that takes a post punk/goth core and pushes boundaries. The fusion of moods creates a sound that is both dark and beautiful, and with a flowing, mournful vocal melody that occasionally feels like a throwback to 80s goth pop from The Bolshoi meeting with one of Robert Smith’s more melodic takes, the varied sounds retain something very familiar at their heart. The first four minutes of this epic track make for a decent listen, but the band expands on an already great arrangement by appending a massive instrumental coda where David J’s bass takes the lead and steers the band through a huge groove falling between the sounds of the young Jah Wobble and a slice of dub reggae. In single terms, it obviously pushes beyond a radio friendly remit, but there’s so much here to love.

On ‘River’, singer songwriter Michele Ducci can be heard in a very laid back mood. Working itself around strident piano chords and very little else, the song’s arrangement presents a pleasingly stripped down feel which places a semi-hushed vocal in the spotlight. This creates a sound that falls somewhere between the works of Paul Buchanan and the mellowest end of the Coldplay catalogue, but it’s a perfect fit for the performer’s lax style and slightly accented delivery. The unfussy arrangement also allows him to make a fairly big feature of a simple hook. With only a few choral vocals appearing sporadically, there’s little to hide behind here, and the lack of bells and whistles means that the song genuinely has to work on its own terms. Luckily, its old style approach is near perfect; a no-frills hint of further greatness to come when Ducci releases his full album later in the year.

Combining pulsing synths and operatic vocals, the intro to Talia Gehl’s ‘Run To You’ promises big things from a pop based sound. It’s by no means a false start, either; the body of of the track works some great radio friendly sounds when Talia places a hugely melodic vocal over a pulsing rhythm that fuses electro pop and samba rhythms. The end result occasionally sounds like a Eurovision entry from about a decade earlier, but that’s not to say the song isn’t enjoyable in its own way. The simple chorus hook and the rhythmic energies are more than enough here to secure a solid arrangement, resulting in the kind of pop tune that could appeal to a broad audience.

Taken from Bernie Marsden’s ‘Working Man’ double set, ‘Invisible’ finds the sadly departed guitarist taking a very melodic route. The track allows him to drop into a fine melodic chug during the verse; his rhythmic guitar work is interspersed with occasional lead notes, but he always allows guest vocalist Jaime Kyle plenty of opportunity to shine. There are times when Kyle feels as if she’s in the driving seat, but this recording never skimps on Marsden’s familiar warm tones. He’s there in great style during the intro where a multi-tracked riff bigs up a very 70s feel, and later, a fine blues rock solo isn’t shy in tapping into something very 80s, showing the guitarist’s range. As for Jaime, it’s been a long time since she released her much-loved ‘Back From Hollywood’ album on the Now & Then label, but the singer is still trucking and still adding a welcome vigour to the AOR scene. This tune retains the huge melodic core of her earlier work, especially on a strong pre-chorus and middle eight, and even with a recognisably older voice, she’s able to command a great melody long after similar performers sound ready to throw in the towel. This single is the product of a terrific pairing, and another reminder of why Bernie will be forever missed.

Taking an equally old school approach to rock, but enjoying a different style, the opening vocal on Tuk Smith & The Restless Hearts’ ‘Take The Long Way’ has a hint of Bret Michaels in its sassiness. You shouldn’t look for much more of an 80s glam influence here, though, since the bulk of the music blends a love of big haired rock with some of Brett Walker’s enjoyably trashy power pop. In this respect, the Nashville influence on Tuk’s music comes through very clearly. Armed with a chopping riff to power a great verse, this track is tough sounding when it counts, but a pop-rock tinged chorus loaded with harmonies and AOR keys lends a very commercial edge, whilst a twin lead guitar break accentuates a classic feel. In melodic rock terms, this is absolutely superb.

There’s something very 90s about the mid tempo arrangement of Drew Davies’s ‘You’re The Only One’, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t enjoyable in a more contemporary sense. Its mix of chiming guitars and wordless “woo-hoos” that cut through the four minutes lay the foundations of something catchy – though in a very different way to Tuk Smith – whilst Drew’s downbeat vocal provides a great counterpoint with something a little more downbeat. The push and pull between these different moods gives the single a pleasingly grand feel, and by the time Drew rises to share a loud croon on the moments where the melody reaches a climax, the listener gets to experience a single that’s much more assured than those first impressions suggested.

In a classic style that’s hard to date, ‘Soy Yo’ by Ivan Llanes blends the clean jazz of US musicians like Lee Ritenour and Dave Grusin with a hefty dose of Latin rhythms. The result is an easy going, melodic workout that throws as much focus on a tight percussive groove as a smooth lead guitar and flowing piano. There’s something a little adventurous within his fusion based sound that suggests a broad set of influences, but by the time the piano subsides and a choir of voices puts in a late appearance, his debt to greats like Willie Bobo is more than clear. A great track.

Ex-Ella Guru vocalist John Canning Yates ventures deeply into the other worldly on his solo debut ‘In The Stillness of The Night’. The heavily treated vocal borrows heavily from a dream pop influence, but this doesn’t fit that genre in any other way. He’s chosen to place a rather spacey vocal over an arrangement where piano and strings owe more to chamber pop, a chunky bassline sounds like a pitch perfect homage to a 1960s Carol Kaye, a cosmic country vibe creeps through at other times, and when everything is heard together, it creates a neo-psychedelic sound that falls squarely between classic Mercury Rev, the blissed out vibes of Michael Nau and a warped Cass McCombs. Overall, it sounds like the first steps of a very interesting, brand new journey.

March 2024