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. This time around, we bring you the return of soul performer Casii Stephan, some vocal jazz-folk from the brilliant Flo Perlin, a slice of punk ‘n’ roll, a synth based treat, some prog-leaning post-rock, and more besides… Enjoy!


When it comes to a punk ‘n’ roll sound, there aren’t many who deliver it as well as The Peawees. The Italian band’s 2001 album ‘Dead End City’ is a genre classic, and you’ll find lots of other strong, high octane material filling their back catalogue. Their current single ‘The Wolf’ isn’t one of their punky tunes, but it captures their distinctive guitar sound and 50s obsessions just perfectly. The verses come loaded with sassy vocals set against a reverbed rhythm guitar used in a punctuating manner, and the track’s bigger sounding chorus ushers in the kind melody that Rocket From The Crypt surely wish they could’ve summoned. With everything linked via a hugely twangy guitar and very retro solo, this number re-introduces the band in effortless style.

There are massive 80s sounds cutting through the centre of Isaac Howlett’s excellent ‘House of Cards’. The first solo single from the Empathy Test man carries a sound that occasionally hints at a love for a-ha, and occasionally captures the driving sounds of a couple of Ultravox hits. The arrangement’s real magic comes from the fact that although there are old 80s influences running throughout, but the way Howlett uses them feels more contemporary. The single’s huge chorus sounds tailor made for adult radio in 2024, and the huge production sound ensures that something that could’ve sounded very cold actually captures some very inviting synth pop. A great track.

Billed as “witchy rock”, Magana’s ‘Break Free’ is a hard edged but atmospheric number. Opening with a huge drone, the single latches on to an array of deep beats and harsh percussive rhythms, over which the vocals add a contrasting, almost haunting sound. After allowing the listener a couple of minutes to wallow in her spooky vibe, Magana then adds an abrasive lead guitar break to the mix, which has the effect of taking the track from a strange alt-pop world into something harder, albeit without killing the mood. Like a strange hybrid of 90s goth, classic Cocteau Twins and a deep dive into middle period Lush, this won’t be for everyone, but for those with a love of various 90s and 00’s alternative sounds, it will provide a welcome new slant on something that feels strangely familiar.

Prog fans will be aware History of Guns via a remix they supplied for ex-Marillion man Fish back in the early 00s. As far as the rest of the world are concerned, the experimental duo have remained hugely under the radar. The fact that they took an entire decade off between 2012-2021 probably hasn’t helped their public profile… The beat heavy ‘No Longer Earthbound’ centres around more of an electronica based arrangement than most of their 2022 long player ‘Forever Dying In Your Eyes’, but remains instantly recognisable due to the vocal sharing a very affected gothy croon. Like a lot of the Guns’ material, the disparity between the music and vocal can be make or break, but this track, with its huge love of early 90s synth based work – carrying hints of PWEI within its relentless pulsing rhythm, and even sharing the same knowing vibes as Sigue Sigue Sputnik – has an infectious energy that manages to carry everything. Keeping their work entirely DIY, History of Guns probably aren’t expecting to take the globe by storm, but the buzzing self belief that this recording conveys should be enough to make their fans keen to hear more from their upcoming album.

Back in 2022, Ne’er-do-well released ‘Fun Days’, an excellent five track EP that mixed pop punk and power pop with a dash of emo and a bit of old school rock for good measure. Main man Bryan Rolli is back…and the first NDW single for ’24 really cranks the volume. Opting to take his love of classic hard rock to extremes, ‘Keep Runnin’ amps up an AC/DC styled riff pushing it further into 80s sleaze rock territory, whilst a shameless rock vocal adds an equal amount of power. With some absolutely ripping lead guitar fills, a massive blues toned solo, a shout-along chorus that pitches a full on vocal against a few raw harmonies, and eventually, a deep metal chug that owes a lot to the melodic metal of 1986, this is the party anthem you never knew you needed and the kind of track that Buckcherry should’ve written years ago.

A sense of atmosphere is key throughout Flo Perlin’s excellent single ‘Mother Tongue’. From its opening heavily strummed acoustic chords, it shares an old soul through the ghosts of Nick Drake, and a softly applied string sound and piano, used effectively later on, also conveys something wonderfully Drake-like. With the help of a steady rhythm and swelling melodies, the track has an arrangement that’s pretty much flawless, but its the combination shuffling drums and jazz influenced vocal that really makes it fly. No matter what the music brings, the ear is constantly drawn to Flo’s voice which, in keeping with the arrangement, owes a great deal to different past eras of folk and jazz. Timeless this may be, but Flo’s vocal has its own distinctive trill which really sounds great in the present. Everything considered, this is a perfect track.

Casii Stephan’s previous single ‘Can’t Handle Me’ shared a very retro, soul influenced sound. Her swiftly delivered follow up ‘Wine and Gold’ opts, in places, for an even older approach. The verses blend elements of soul and funk straight from 1967; its horns could’ve been pulled from a couple of old Otis Redding and Sam & Dave numbers, and the general groove is more than happy to fall between classic Stax and something with a slightly brighter sound. The music is great but, as before, it’s Stephan who steals the show here with an effortless vocal that blends the soulful elements of Aretha Franklin with the volume and confidence of a solo Mel C, resulting in a superb pop-soul hybrid that is a rousing success.

Finally, cult post rockers Maybeshewill present an epic treat that captures the band’s classic sound with ease. From the outset, ‘October’ is loaded with ringing guitars and heavy rhythms, but between the sheets of fairly dense guitar, the lengthy instrumental track finds plenty of time to share a lighter melody. During those more reflective moments, a cold, thinner sounding guitar joins a fat bass groove to hint at a love for more of a post-goth sound, which brings a wonderful feeling of balance to the first half of the arrangement. At the point where the heavier moments reach a natural climax, the band takes a massive detour into more of a soundtrack inspired mood where mournful strings and a slow piano melody gradually unwind, giving Maybeshewill’s more prog-centric fans something to think about as the final notes make their gradual fade… A welcome return.

April 2024