THE REAL GONE SINGLES BAR #59

Welcome back to the Real Gone Singles Bar, the place where we explore some of the individual mp3s and other bits that have landed in our inbox over the previous few weeks. In true SB tradition, we bring you a genuine mixed bag this time around, with a Europop gem, something with an electronica base, a couple of massive metal tunes, a slice of indie folk, and more besides… As always, we hope you find something new to enjoy…

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Just a few weeks after introducing themselves to many listeners with the enjoyable ‘Home Song’, indie folk trio Wild Remedy make a very welcome return with their self-penned theme. ‘Wild Remedy’ finds Amy, Colleen and Shay in a quieter frame of mind, but this track still captures their ability to serve up a folk/roots sound brilliantly. With a slightly lightly more lo-fi approach, this finds hints of First Aid Kit lurking within an arrangement where strummed guitar chords underscore a crying vocal that relies a little less on harmonies. Those already familiar with the band will still love what they hear, of course, since the Wild Remedy approach to a great vocal remains very much on point, and the mellower vibe here really shows off a trio of talented musicians who are very much on the rise.

Julia-Sophie’s ‘numb’ single placed a semi-spoken performance over a busy loop creating something that sounded surprisingly detached. ‘telephone’ continues a voyage through the world of electronica, but shows off a very different side of the artist’s sound. Much less dance oriented and more in keeping with a downtempo synthwave sound, the performer delivers a hushed pop vocal over a slow rhythm, which allows a very early 90s pulse to do some heavy lifting. Whatever route the music takes, though, the listener will be drawn constantly towards J-S’s voice which manages to be full of longing, setting up a perfect counterpoint to an almost inhuman melody. For those who’ve followed Julia-Sophie over the years, this is the kind of single that’ll be an instant fan favourite.

Austrian punks Mudfight capture a perfect 90s sound on ‘Drug Shack’. The single’s driving riffs recall ‘Insomniac’ era Green Day and ‘Dude Ranch’ era blink-182, which results in something really familiar, and the way these guys recycle that sound is equally as cool as any of the major practitioners of pop punk. There are moments where the sharp rhythm feels all encompassing, but these guys also show off a knack for a decent chorus with the help of a harmonious hook that’ll have fans singing in no time at all. A good job really, since this track doesn’t hang around. In and out in just over two minutes, there’s no time for dramatic twists – it relies on that chorus to make the good, honest pop punk really sell itself. Familiar it may be, but if you spent the mid 90s revved up on a lot of music from the Lookout and Fat Wreck labels, there’s so much here to love.

The way a doom-laden chord, repetitive melody and a pleasingly lo-fi feel come together to create a mood building intro for Las Nubes’ ‘Pesada’ instantly advertises the kind of track that really doesn’t care for a commercial hook. Cranking up the volume and bringing in a crashing drum part, the number doesn’t really shift from its repetitious buzz either, but an echoing vocal and a weighty sound are enough to make a simple musical idea fly. By about a minute in, everything sounds like classic Las Nubes taking the weight of classic Melvins and lumbering through an old, slow Stooges tune. This stoner/garage hybrid is made from great sounding stock, but by the time a lead guitar creeps in to add an extra layer with an influence from the loudest shoegaze, this noise-making duo take things up a notch, ensuring that ‘Pesada’ will destroy everything in its path. A devastating four minutes.

Cranking the riffs, No Kings Allowed pull no punches on the rousing ‘Scourge of The North’. The deep chug that opens this aggressive single has the power of a metalcore banger, but by delivering the heavy melody with a retro nu-metal edge, the band create a crossover sound that has plenty of muscle. The addition of a rather dirty vocal accentuates the metalcore influence, and various pneumatic rhythms make everything heavier still. Then, when you feel that nothing else could be added to such an intense mix of sounds, the band wheels out a world of keys to underscore everything with a symphonic counter-melody, ensuring their heavy sound feels just a little different to most.

If you’re going to cover something, it’s worth rebuilding it from the ground up. Just a few months after Till Lindemann released an industrial tinged version, pop vocalist Charlotte has taken Spanish band Heroes del Silencio’s 1990 track ‘Entre Dos Tierras’ and taken it from the realms of Bolshoi influenced goth-pop and reworked it with a serious Europop energy. Its intro, absolutely loaded with 80s synths, suggests something cool, but the introduction of dance beats creates something much busier than expected; the use of heavily filtered vocals shows off a more contemporary slant, and beyond the basic vocal melody, there’s very little here that resembles the original track. Despite the sheen, you’ll find something here that works just as well in its own right, and even though this pop number is augmented by a rather retro section that sounds a little like a Shakira homage, there’s still plenty here that ensures a decades old track sounds fresh in the present. There’s also such a great energy that, somewhere around the second verse, you might even find yourselves forgetting the lyrics are in Spanish!

Inspired by “the tragedies of Covid-19, Afghanistan, the ongoing conflict between Israel and Palestine, and the war in Ukraine”, ‘Seconds’ finds Wayne Gillespie and his Famous Blue Raincoat in a very questioning mood. Looking at how quickly decisions can be made that would make a difference, he asks “how’s long’s it take?” repeatedly, providing the track with an incessant hook as he challenges the world’s various issues. For those not into the soapbox angle, this is a single that’s musically even stronger, since Gillespie shares a ringing, distorted guitar throughout which almost becomes as repetitive as the lyrical hook, and is twice as loud. Within moments, his chief influence is more than clear, and this track celebrates the brilliance of Neil Young & Crazy Horse even more brazenly than the Horse obsessed Trevor & The Joneses. Overall, ‘Seconds’ is pretty raw, but it’s very enjoyable.

If you’re a fan of a huge guitar riff but also expect a little more melody than No Kings Allowed had offered, then Scotland’s Hopes Avenue should grab your attention immediately. The opening of ‘Walk Away’ shares a massive sledgehammer sound which captures a cold guitar sound set against a chugging bass and huge drum, setting a really pleasing heaviness in place, but beyond that, there are more interesting sounds to be found. When the heavier edge falls away to reveal a mechanical yet warm sound accompanied by a moody, cleanish vocal, it quickly becomes clear that this is a track that values musical variation. You’ll find a superb chorus here too, where clean vocals soar with a very early 00s melody, whilst still allowing the guitar riffs create a huge backdrop. It sounds like a complete workout even before the middle eight brings something bigger when the band share growled vocals create even more intensity. Armed with hooks that sound a little like Crown The Empire played back by a metalcore juggernaut, and with verses aiming for dark atmospheres, there’s plenty here for fans of contemporary alternative metal to get behind.

June/July 2024

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