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. The submissions keep coming, allowing us a broad selection of styles. This week, we bring you some great adult pop-rock from Norway, a singer songwriter with a superbly retro sound, a little bit of country, the return of some legends of German metal, and more besides…


They’ve been championed by The Charlatans’ Tim Burgess and Ride man Mark Gardiner, which is definitely a solid seal of approval for Two Headed Horse, but the band’s music owes very little to either of those indie legends. The aptly named ‘Shimmer’ works more of a folk rock sound. The addition of pitch perfect harmonies fleshes out an already great sound on a single that feels vaguely ethereal…and pretty much timeless. With busy guitar work that tips the hat to Fleet Foxes and a sound that falls nearer the quieter end of Katy J Pierson’s work, the band are carving out a brilliant niche within the scene.

Presenting another slightly ethereal vocal, but against more of a steady pop rock rhythm, ‘Once I Was’ by singer songwriter Rosalie James immediately invokes solo works by Stevie Nicks. It’s not a straight copy of her legendary sound, however; there are moments during this great number where whirring guitars convey slightly more of an indie feel, and the solid groove that cuts through the track has a very distinct identity of its own. No matter where the music goes, though, it’s Jones who’s firmly in the driving seat, and her vocal cries out with a great clarity throughout. This is a superb radio friendly pop-rocker that’s destined to greet a very broad audience.

Featuring an intro absolutely loaded with wah-wahed guitar sounds set against a fast, driving riff, ‘Soothe’ presents a case of “go hard or go home” for Irish rockers Vendetta Love. The sheer energy of the track doesn’t wane prematurely, either. Moving into the first verse, the chopping guitar riffs continue to convey a certain amount of edge beneath a classic hard rock vocal, and going forward, a harder, yet more muted sound adds a genuine toughness. With the aid of a couple of bluesy lead guitar breaks – again, leaning heavily on the wah-wah – the mix of melody and grit is perfect. There’s a pure swagger here that can be traced back to the peerless Guns N’ Roses debut ‘Appetite For Destruction’, which fused with the modern production sound of Black Stone Cherry, results in a track that’s certainly going to appeal to a lot of rock fans.

Wavering synths, electronic drum loops, retro sounding programmed handclaps: these things definitely place Bobbyy’s ‘At The Fence’ somewhere within a rapidly fading past at the time of its release. However, the presence of a hazy and rather lax vocal from Rachel Lime gives this single far more of a contemporary feel that, despite never telegraphing itself with any real immediacy, really works. Between these elements, the single works some fine electronica which melds the ambient sounds of Future Sound of London with the floaty, otherworldly influence of the Cocteau Twins’ Elizabeth Fraser. It won’t be for everyone, but those in the market for something of a slow burning electro treat will discover a track with plenty of charm.

‘Sailing Song’ by Tylor & The Train Robbers mixes a strong country twang with a pleasingly rootsy feel. Released ahead of their ‘Hum of The Road’ LP, it acts as a great signifier of things to come, for extant fans and new ears alike. The heavily affected vocal mightn’t sit entirely comfortably with the country averse, but in terms of musical arrangements, it’s actually very strong. In fusing the country rock aspects of a modern-ish sound with the laid back cool of The Band’s Levon Helm, it comes with a real confidence throughout, but if anything sticks here, it’s the number’s strident dobro work, which at times takes as much of a leading role as Tylor’s strong vocal. It probably won’t win over many listeners outside of country music circles, but it’s clear that this is a band forging ahead with a great sound and with their best feet forward.

With its semi-acoustic guitar, slightly filtered vocals and very retro sound, it’s almost impossible not to compare Devarrow’s ‘Kickin’’ to the always enjoyable M. Ward. Digging a little beneath its surface, however, you’ll also find nods to Sufjan Stevens, late period Beatles and the early 70s Beach Boys informing this singer songwriter’s sound. The way he takes his influences and creates something uplifting also creates something more his own, and with the addition of a very natural vocal, this single comes somewhere near the pinnacle of superb indie pop sounds.

Back in 2023, Norway’s Cocktail Slippers released the very enjoyable ‘Good Love’, a pop rock single that shared some fantastic vocal melodies against some near timeless power pop riffs. Here’s another gem from them. ‘I Still Dream You’ was written by the legendary Stevie Van Zandt and issued on his Wicked Cool label. From the outset, the shimmering guitar lines capture a real 60s vibe, and with hints of early Rolling Stones colliding with a huge Phil Spector inspired production, this gives the band a more than solid backdrop. If anything here sticks, however, it’s a huge, slightly shiny lead vocal, which sells Van Zandt’s musical hooks with an effortless charm. Overall, it sounds like a single you’ve always known, yet at the same time, sounds really fresh in a way that will only draw potential fans even further into the band’s brilliant sugar coated world. In terms of adult oriented pop-rock, this is pretty much flawless.

Finally, here’s a solid slab of trad metal from much loved German veterans Accept. The band made a very strong return with the title cut from their forthcoming album ‘Humanoid’ in February 2024. This second single is a little less immediate, but still carries a lot of the band’s familiar hallmarks. The number opens with a very ominous riff, before breaking into a mid tempo fist-pumper that makes the very best of a jagged riff throughout. The trad metal elements are augmented by soaring guitars on a simple shout-along chorus, and although there are moments that might feel a little like latter day Accept by numbers, the sharp edged arrangement is lifted effortlessly via the help of a slower groove during the mid section. This eventually provides a great musical base for a superb solo which begins with semi-bluesy notes to build the tension and then explodes into a flurry of trad metal furies. Although ‘The Reckoning’ isn’t quite as strong as the previous single overall, Andy Sneap’s production lends plenty of muscle and the performance has plenty to recommend it. It’s safe to say that it’s another track that fans will love.

March/April 2024