Over the years, Tom Hector has shown a massive love for retro sounds on his self-financed recordings. 2016’s ‘Little Bee’ from Hector And The Leaves presented songs that had traces of Brian Wilson and other power pop singer-songwriters lurking within its melodies; the simpler ‘(interiors)’ from the following year teased with a lo-fi sound, but carried timeless influences from Nick Drake and Elliot Smith. At the heart of the material – no matter the style – there’s a man with an old soul, and that old soul ensures 2023’s ‘Flowers’ continues his DIY voyage in a similar vein.

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AIN’T NO JOKE: Real Gone Sampler #9

A yearly tradition, the Real Gone Sampler is one of the most popular things in our calendar. In previous years, we’ve given away great music by Kurt Baker, The 1957 Tail Fin Fiasco and Black Moth. Every year, the project rounds up the very best in DIY acts and aims to get great music out to a new audience.

On occasion, we’ve even been lucky enough to give you two end of year samplers. This year, the download is only one disc long, but we bring you over seventy minutes of underground sounds. We’ve got dream pop, shoegaze, roots rock, garage rock, singer songwriters and a whole bunch more. It could just be the best Real Gone freebie to date.

As always, reviews for each album can be found behind the band name links.

Sleeve art designed by Elena Barrio.

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At the very beginning of 2016, Hector and The Leaves released ‘Little Bee’, a self-financed EP of material drawing influence from The Beach Boys and The Beatles, redressed in singer-songwriter threads, mixing 60s pop with strains of folk from across many decades. While the EP didn’t necessarily gain country-wide recognition, it showed Tom Hector to be a songwriter more than able to take different influences and recycle them with style, while still allowing his own personality to inform the result. Eighteen months on – and after posting a selection of musical sketches and unfinished ideas online – ‘(interiors’), the first proper follow-up, takes more of a lo-fi singer-songwriter path, but the many things that made ‘Little Bee’ worthy of an ear are still very much in evidence.

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A Million Ways To Change Your Life (A Real Gone Sampler)

In 2016, Real Gone celebrated it’s seventh full year online. This year also marked the sixth year we’ve given away new music at the end of the year. Now a staple of the RG catalogue, the free album-length download is looked forward to by a core of our supporters and in turn helps bring new readers and listeners to our site.

2016 hasn’t been quite as notable for new music compared with a couple of years previously, but that’s not to say it hasn’t thrown up some great stuff. On the first of Real Gone’s free compilations for 2016, we take a look at a broad selection of tunes from punk, country, singer-songwriter fare and more… [a selection of metal oriented artists can be found over here]. If you’ve been paying attention to our website over the past twelve months, a few of these names will be familiar. If not, it’s time to say hello to new music. If you find a couple of things to love, our work here is done!

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little bee epLondon based singer-songwriter Tom Hector has an old spirit. On this, his third EP, his music has a dreamy quality, resurrecting sixties pop and sunny attitudes, replayed through a sort of nineties filter. It results in four tunes that might appeal to fans of the Beach Boys or The Feeling, yet at the same time he presents material that holds on to a slightly woozy attitude that might just catch the ear of those who’ve followed the solo career of The Bluetones’ Mark Morriss.

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