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. Usually, we aim to make the Singles Bar as varied as possible but, due to timings and submissions, this selection is rather more rock based. We hope you’re on board with that, especially given the amount of rock music that gets covered elsewhere on the site. An effort has been made, however, to try and bring an interesting variety within those rocky singles, which hopefully gives this SB a typically eclectic feel. This week, we’d like to welcome back Pollyanna Blue, but also draw your attention to a brilliantly haunting track from Lisa Cuthbert. Elsewhere, you’ll find shoegaze inspired noise, a brilliant cover tune, and a couple of singer songwriters… Until next time, we hope this keeps you entertained!


Formerly of Borrowed Books and The Cataran, musician Cam Fraser now performs under the name Boulder Fields. His current single ‘Measures’ provides a really positive and upbeat glimpse of his sound and is a great preview for the upcoming album ‘With All The Other Ghosts’. His rattling acoustic work occasionally feels reminiscent of Lou Barlow’s work with Folk Implosion, but there’s also something here that leans lightly upon the rootsy pop/rock sounds of bands like Toad The Wet Sprocket. Fraser’s natural vocal style ensures that the track never truly sounds like either, and he’s able to take any influence and make the music his own, whilst the song’s chorus, delivering a very upbeat melody, gives an already enjoyable track a very positive lift.

With sparse guitar work and a floating, light voice, the heart of Abigail Lapell’s ‘Anniversary Song’ shares something lovely with almost immediate effect. As the song gains traction, it swells with some great sounds which, inspired by late 60s/early 70s pop and folk as well as a couple of 90s singer songwriters, gradually make a superb feature of a multi-tracked vocal. There’s nothing here that ever seems to rush; the track merely allows a very ethereal sound to work its magic. With hints of Beth Orton, Judee Sill and even a faint Celtic lilt, it’s very rich in melody, and is a tune that’s even better than (those already very positive) first impressions suggest.

Those who’ve been paying attention to New Yorkers Russian Baths over the years will already know that the duo are capable of serving up some very retro sounds that work just as effectively in the present. ‘Bind’ is no exception, and from its opening notes, the track conveys a great energy. Not only from its relentlessly mechanical rhythm, but also in the way the layers of dark and fuzzy guitar weave in and out of the groove. It’s a mix of shoegaze and noise rock, which leads to an almost goth-like affair driven by pulsing basslines. If something buried deep within the Bauhaus catalogue were reworked by Sonic Youth, it might sound something like this. An instant classic.

Still within a retro alternative mood, but taking a sidestep into a bigger sound, ‘Would Be’ by Florida’s Las Nubes opens very casually with a filtered voice and a world of dream pop guitar work, before branching off into a world of distorted guitar and rattling drums. This heavily rhythmic interlude is merely a tool for moving into something even noisier, however, and the duo fill the rest of this excellent single with a riff that sounds like early Veruca Salt with some really hefty musical boots. Its mix of grunge and aggressive garage rock casts everything back to 1994 in the best possible way, and with a howling lead guitar keen to stoke up the fury, it becomes a thrilling pre-cursor to the band’s self-proclaimed “fucking loud” second album.

A song exploring dark themes, ‘This Kind of Sin’ by Lisa Cuthbert is a track that shares a narrative concerning the survivors of the Magdalene Laundries in Ireland. As you might expect, the lyric is augmented by a suitably thoughtful arrangement, and across a very downbeat four minutes, Lisa blends Irish folk melodies from a haunting vocal with minimalist percussion and, eventually, twists the melody into some deep gothic sounds where droning bass loops and slow, heavy-ish grooves seek to unsettle the listener whilst making them think. By taking a smidgeon of classic Clannad and filtering it through the work of Sinead O’Connor and Lacuna Coil, this is an immediately striking arrangement that not only sells a superb, almost ghostly vocal melody, but also shows that goth-influenced arrangements can sound theatrical without resorting to overblown symphonics.

An act that bills themselves as country, but is fronted by a man called “Hardcore Dave”? Say hello to The Lost Weekend Band. Their upcoming album takes in a honky tonk influence, but also draws from a strong source of retro rock, and this current single shows off their chunky sound admirably. Less country, more rhythm ‘n’ blues with a massive twang, ‘Sunlight’ sounds like the bastard child of Molly Hatchet and ‘Ma Kelly’s Greasy Spoon’ era Quo. Loaded with a drawling vocal and a dirty guitar solo, it’s the kind of track that might just draw in listeners who wouldn’t necessarily come within a mile of a country/country rock album.

Following their excellent ‘Trials & Tribulations’ EP, Bristol’s Pollyanna Blue have returned with an equally strong single ‘Daydream’, which is a really great showcase for vocalist Zoe Collins. In comparison with previous works, she’s been unafraid to add a lighter, almost poppier slant to her performance, but that doesn’t mean that fans are about to be robbed of some great riffs along the way. The song’s chorus, in particular, aims to take the listener back to the 90s in the most direct fashion with the help of a massively crashy sound, and with the vocal contrasting the heaviness with a huge sweeping melody, everything feels perfectly balanced. The latter part of the number hints at some of the emo-centric darkness lurking on the previous EP too, so this is a superb signifier of things to come.

…And finally, at least for this batch, here’s something fun. Ferris McFoley isn’t a Scottish singer songwriter, but a fully fledged rock band, and they’ve begun carving out a niche in enjoyable cover tunes. At the end of 2023, they gave the world a rocked up version of Taylor Dayne’s ‘Tell It To My Heart’, but now, it’s time for the legendary Steve Winwood to get the Ferris treatment. Their reworking of the all-time classic ‘Valerie’ is loaded with guitars, which gives the melody a massive melodic rock/AOR slant, and in keeping with that, they’ve also applied an enthusiastic rock vocal which chews through the familiar tune with an absolute glee. Aside from applying a melodic metalcore chug to the pre-chorus, they’ve not really thought outside of the box here, but with a few busy, rather pompy keyboard fills to flesh out the sound and Winwood’s shamelessly ugly keyboard solo transposed to a hugely cheesy sax, this recording has a knowing style that makes it work brilliantly. They’ve effectively turned Steve’s keyboard heavy pop tune into something worthy of a Swedish rock act who’ve never left the 80s, and for fans of the style, enjoyment is pretty much guaranteed.

April 2024