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 has become a popular feature for the site, and its disregard for genre restraints has ensured that a variety has kept it interesting. This week, we bring you a new track that unites a cult rock hero with a busy power pop figure; some great pop from a Scottish singer songwriter, and some massive metal sounds from Greece. As always, if you discover anything new you’ve enjoyed, come and tell us – we always value your feedback. Submissions for the Singles Bar are coming in by the dozen, but if you have something you think might work for us, don’t be afraid to get in touch.
Although he’ll be best known to most people as an ex-member of Throwing Muses and Belly, singer-songwriter/multi-instrumentalist Fred Abong has carved out a solo career exploring some interesting lo-fi sounds. On the ‘Homeless’ and ‘Pulsing’ EPs, he introduced audiences to his minimal approach to arrangement, and with just voice and electric guitar, the best material contrasted angular noises and introspective lyrics on tunes that sometimes felt like audio sketches. Although strong on record, these tunes really sprung to life in the live setting, but every artist needs to move forward, and by the time of 2022’s ‘Yellowthroat’, his recordings had expanded to include mellotron, piano extra vocals and felt altogether warmer without losing focus of his lo-fi signature sound.
Released towards the end of a troubled 2020, at a time when the Coronovirus global pandemic appeared to be at its height, Fred Abong’s first full length album ‘Our Mother of Perpetual Help’ was a suitably moody affair. Comprised of songs largely played from an oddly tuned acoustic guitar and featuring lyrics that captured a genuine emotional fragility, its lo-fi charms felt like a step up from his earlier, hastily recorded EPs.
Fred Abong was especially busy throughout 2018 and 2019. He re-ignited his on/off solo career with the excellent ‘Homeless’ EP, which subsequently saw him touring as support with his old Throwing Muses bandmate Kristin Hersh. That was swiftly followed by the equally cool lo-fi release ‘Pulsing’ which saw critical acclaim from a few indie websites which led to Abong going on the road with Hersh once more. Not just as support act, but doubling up as the evening’s opening entertainment and as bassist with the KH Trio.
When Kristin Hersh and Fred Abong visited Ramsgate in 2018 it almost felt like being in the presence of visiting musical royalty. The very intimate Music Hall was packed to the rafters for two nights; the attendant crowds was mostly made up of people who’d followed Kristin and Fred since the 90s – whether as members of Throwing Muses, Belly or solo artists – making those gigs truly ones to remember. It seemed unlikely that the Kent provinces would host these great musicians in such intimate settings again, but they both made a return visit – this time to the slightly larger Quarterhouse in Folkestone – almost exactly nine months on from those hot Ramsgate nights.