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, the SB includes a few familiar faces: Roisin McCarney returns with some great pop; Scotland’s The Lines share one of their finest tracks to date, and alt-rockers Then Comes Silence deliver one of their most incessant hooks. There are unfamiliar acts here too, as well as the Bar’s usual variety, as we explore some retro pop, a tune from a brand new singer songwriter, and a couple of other treats. As always, we hope you find something interesting within…


‘Last Orders’ by Natalie Gray is a retro treat. A single that’s absolutely loaded with wavering, 80s sounding keys pulled from old AOR tunes, occasional soaring guitars and pulsing beats, it immediately uplifts. On top of a busy melody that could easily have been spawned in 1984, Natalie adds a huge, spirited vocal that’s more of the soul and pop persuasion, but the combined elements create something just perfect. With a genuine energy from the arrangement and a knowing sparkle from the featured performer, ‘Last Orders’ might be the most unashamedly 80s tune you’ll hear all year. Recapturing the spirit of the Irene Cara and Kenny Loggins soundtrack fillers of yesteryear, if this doesn’t make you feel good, there’s something wrong with you!

On another pop tip, Scottish vocalist Roisin McCarney returns with the uplifting ‘Car Chase’, a track that places pulsing rhythms beneath a very strong vocal. The music leans towards the mechanical, but Roisin brings plenty of warmth via a very curly vocal that – despite a few echoing effects – makes the very best of her impressive talent. There are a couple of moments where that vocal melody threatens to slip into something Stevie Nicks-esque, whilst elsewhere, it captures a far more modern pop sheen. Between the hooky, wordless refrain that peppers a busy intro, an enthused performance from Roisin and an all round busy feel, this is a single that’s guaranteed to build her fan base, despite being as different from the earlier ‘Dancing With The Devil’ as that single had been from the even earlier ‘Mr. Right Now’.

As part of the promotion for their current LP ‘Trickery’, Then Comes Silence have shared ‘Stay Strange’, one of the record’s stand out tracks. With a solid mix of goth metal riffs and huge melodies, the track’s chugging rhythm guitar whips up a huge sound almost instantly, and that creates a perfect backdrop for the dual vocal shared between the band’s own Alex Svenson and Vision Video’s Dusty Gannon. The blend of those voices creates a very natural, dark harmony, and the repeated refrain of “stay strange and pure at heart” offers listeners something insanely catchy. The band clearly recognises the potential in this, too, since that hook is hammered really effectively throughout. The arrangement isn’t too fussy – it merely latches onto a solid groove and never lets go – but in terms of style, its simplicity is perfect for a message that celebrates the right to be different.

A slow fade in, an array of beats and deep electronica sounds provide an epic sounding intro, but scratch below this track’s mechanical sheen and you’ll find the work of a great singer songwriter. The wavering vocals that provide the core melodies throughout Winter Aid’s ‘Secret Sister’ take elements of Damien Rice and the fey tones of John Martyn and bring them screaming into the present, very much adding an indie-folk slant to an otherwise heavily mechanised arrangement. That juxtaposition of the cold and the very human is absolutely vital here, though, and although the hooks are a little slow in presenting themselves, eventually, this single grows into a strangely melodic, rather haunting treat.

‘High Above’ by German rockers Freedom Call has the bombast of power metal and the grandness of their symphonic counterparts, but there’s a general positivity and a huge sense of melody driving this single that sets it apart. The semi-bombastic approach of the chorus is given an unexpected levity, genre wise, thanks to a bright sounding keyboard part and a choir of vocals which really sells a catchy hook. Everything is really strong, but it’s the verse here that really catches the ear, when a slightly accented vocal joins a chiming guitar and buoyant melody that ventures even deeper into the world of melodic rock and AOR. Overall, this has a brilliantly nostalgic feel of something that could have been written in the early 90s, and its unpretentious air is very welcome indeed.

Newly signed to New West Records, Jana Mila presents herself in a position of strength on ‘Somebody New’. Her second single blends the strongest elements of the current singer songwriter scene with a very slight country rock lilt, and in doing so, shares a radio friendly sound throughout. A really crisp rhythm guitar underscores a great pop-ish melody, and Jana’s lead vocals shift effortlessly between the reflective qualities of the song’s verse, into a soaring melody that gives a great hook a massive lift. A couple of plays will be enough to remind some listeners of various Lilith Fair related material from the mid 90s, but in truth, this track has a timeless appeal that should find a love from a broad audience.

A track that goes straight for the throat, Mammal’s ‘Agree To Disagree’ isn’t short on riffs. The faster parts of its arrangement share a sound that takes a stoner rock tone and delivers that at an almost punky hardcore speed. With a couple of slightly slower moments hinting at a heavy Black Stone Cherry vibe, this immediately sets up the Aussie rock band as an act with plenty of musical muscle. Adding further to the pleasingly aggressive approach, the lead vocal spits a message with an almost hardcore intent, as the lyric takes down the less welcome elements of social media who’ll drag everything down to a base level, argue that “black is white”, or even claim their racist views are valid, since they appear to be enabled by billionaires. There’s nothing subtle here – be warned: the lyric is very much NSFW – but in terms of overall vibe, Mammal attack their audience with a superb sharpness and an instantly classic sound.

The Lines make a welcome return in 2024 with the huge sounding ‘Epithet’, a tune that blends a hard driving indie rock sound with a melodic punk spirit. From the outset, the number’s blend of barrelling rhythms and crunchy edges serves a great sound, but add the band’s trademark Scottish vocal, a huge chorus hook, and you have a winning combination. Taking a detour into a funky groove to finish, there’s a lot packed in to less than three minutes here, making this a track that’s pretty much guaranteed to grab the attention.

May 2024