THE REAL GONE SINGLES BAR #52

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 out, it’s a rather rocky selection with a big hello for Egg Drop Soup and The Palace of Tears, alongside the return of Silver Dollar Room. That doesn’t mean we’ve skimped on the other stuff of course, and we bring you some huge sunny pop, a slice of dreampop from a legendary act, and more besides!

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Considered one of the greatest bands to emerge from the Paisley Underground and best known for having links with the much-loved Mazzy Star, Rain Parade broke a long silence in 2023 withthe acclaimed ‘Last Rays of The Dying Sun’ long player. It was the first the world had heard from the band in almost forty years. There’s further good news for fans, since there’s a new EP on the horizon, and this first single promises more great things to come. Equal parts hazy and mournful, ‘Surprise, Surprise’ shares four minutes worth of 60s inspired strumming, augmented by sad brass, huge harmonies and an occasional Byrds-esque chime. A Lloyd Cole-esque lead vocal adds an easy cool to the downbeat vibes, making this classic Rain Parade even before a huge, retro lead guitar cuts through the woozy wall of sound.

Falling somewhere between very melodic pop punk and high energy power pop, ‘Mind Twins’ by Yorkshire’s You Filthy Dog comes loaded with buzzing guitars and high octane rhythms. It’s the kind of track that comes crashing into listeners’ ears in an instant, but from within the punky chaos, the band are able to deliver huge bubblegum inflected melodies that act as an instant pick-me-up. With an equally melodic vocal adding to a mood that sounds like an unlikely collab between the early Wildhearts and ‘Revenge Is Sweet’ era Mr. T Experience, it’s an absolute blast.

A contemporary pop vocal and busy approach doesn’t always feel like the most natural fit for an old style acoustic backdrop, but with a strong sense of melody and a great energy, singer songwriter Brandon Ambrose makes a contrast of styles really bristle. The vocal rarely lets up throughout these three minutes, and the addition of a slight country twang and a vague influence from the hugely popular Ed Sheeran further elevates the tune beyond the more disposable end of the pop market. Although it feels rather personal and is more concerned with a message than a sing along hook, Ambrose retains a friendly demeanour throughout which never shuts out the listener, and by the time the last notes fade, ‘Keep Me Breathing’ feels like a made for radio hit.

With its steady rhythm occasionally disrupted by a selection of glitchy beats, the mid tempo ‘Come Follow Me’ by Pas Musique brings the sounds of old Orb remixes into the present. There’s something distinctly mid 90s about the atonal sounds that sound like an electrified, mangled didgeridoo cutting through, and the bright sounding percussive noises also convey familiar elements of an EDM past. Move further into this deep arrangement, Pas Musique gradually introduces a few more distinctive elements: the rhythms draw influence from world music; a repetitive voice adds to the almost robotic backdrop, and – most impressively of all – sounds of ambient guitar cut through in a way that suggests a love of Steve Hillage and System 7. This isn’t the most melodic piece of electronica, but when it comes to depth and layers, there’s a lot happening here.

Silver Dollar Room’s debut single ‘Little Things’ gained the still new band some enthusiastic press towards the end of 2023, and this long awaited follow up sounds like the kind of track that will follow suit. ‘Melanin’ crashes in with a busy alt-rock rhythm that shares vague hints of Bush via a clattering drum part and chunky bass, but the band inject a much bigger sense of melody via a bright and optimistic sounding vocal. Exploding into a guitar driven chorus, there’s almost as much jangle here as grunge loving crunch, and some listeners might hear the ghosts of melodic post-grunge fare like Moist at the heart of a confident sounding track. It’s already enjoyable by the end of the second chorus, but a shamelessly old school lead guitar break courtesy of Jamie Turnbull lends a vital kick that turns a good track into a genuinely great one. This is the kind of single that deserves to take the band forward with a great leap.

Unapologetically upbeat, ‘Sunshine Girl’ by Delta High is a pure pop treat. With its layers of acoustic guitar and bass joined by quirky trumpet hooks, the single mixes beach friendly sounds with a kitschy harmony vocal that sounds like a distant cousin of old Saint Etienne deep cuts. Factor in its much bolder lead vocal, it’s the kind of single that sounds bold without ever being showy. It’s not completely sugary, however: an unexpected lead guitar break brings a little more weight, and actually transforms the track into something that sounds like a throwback to the poppier moments of the Sugar Ray catalogue. For those looking for a radio friendly treat with a knowing wink, this should really hit the spot.

On this follow up single to ‘Regicide’, US alt-rockers Egg Drop Soup revisit the sounds of the grunge era. ‘One Hit Woman’ is a loaded with fuzzy guitars, knowingly detached vocals and a semi lo-fi aesthetic, reminiscent of the Sub Pop label’s earlier output. The mid tempo arrangement comes wrapped around a strong Krist Novoselic-esque bassline, and by the time the single reaches its climax – sounding more like Babes In Toyland in an uncharacteristically reflective mood – this riff-based trio serve up something that’s truly nostalgic, yet still sounds cool in the present.

By adding a layer of industrial noise over a mournful, goth influenced arrangement, The Palace of Tears’ ‘The Embers of Your Being Glow Still’ opens in an abrasive manner. It’s one of those tracks that sounds immediately confrontational, but in time, a more interesting melody begins to emerge. Beneath the layers of distortion, the main melody takes in a huge influence from the 80s, often peppering the gothic sound with layers of darkwave synths. That proves to be the perfect counterpart for the featured vocal which dominates with an operatic presence. This is all rather grand; a track that values an artiness over commerciality, but occasionally, you’ll get to hear something very accessible when a ‘Faith’ era Cure influence informs the instrumental breaks when moody synths and a warmer bass cut through to remind you that, buried deeply, this track has a terrifically cold yet melodic heart.

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May 2024

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