MARC VALENTINE – Skeleton Key / Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow?

Marc Valentine’s ‘Futura Obscura’ album, released during the death throes of 2022, tapped into a whole world of old fashioned power pop sounds. Its wall of guitars drew heavily from a world of early 80s heroes, but also from early Weezer, and Valentine’s hooky approach to songwriting ensured that a selection of huge choruses sounded great, whatever the era and however much his core sound relied on a throwback quality. His 2023 single ‘Jinx of Finchley Road’ went a step further in the infectious stakes by adding a world of tinkly keys to a marching beat, instantly shifting his retro pop from Weezer-world into a place where the ghosts of Jellyfish loomed with a largeness that was impossible to ignore. If Valentine hadn’t previously been on the list of power pop performers to look out for, this was a single that would certainly get him more of the attention he deserved.

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THE LEN PRICE 3 – The Grass Is Always Greener / Man Out Of Time

For a lot of garage rock fans, The Len Price 3 will need very little of an introduction. The trio have been cranking out guitar based sounds since the mid noughties, and are arguably Medway’s best known musical export after Wild Billy Childish. For the uninitiated, their 2007 debut ‘Chinese Burn’ provides the perfect place to jump into their catalogue. Its fifteen tracks show how the band – none of whom are actually called Len Price – are able to strike a perfect blend between high octane 60s inspired sounds and a sweaty musical fury. All the way from opener ‘Christian In The Desert’ – sounding like a wobbly but furious mix of The Kinks and The Hives – through the surf tinged ‘Viva Viva’, to the choppy ‘Chatham Town Spawns Devils’ where the band evoke the same kind of energy as The Jam tearing through the Larry Williams number ‘Slow Down’, the album rarely lets up. Since then, the band have continued to deliver retro tunes with a very high quality threshold.

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THE REAL GONE SINGLES BAR #17

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.

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THE DOLLYROTS – Hey Girl / I Touch Myself

Over the years, The Dollyrots have carved out a fine sound blending power pop melodies with pop punk-ish riffs. Their albums are home to some really sugary tunes, but thanks to some taut bass work and a constant nod back to the 90s and bands like Other Star People and The Muffs, their guitar driven pop/rock has never felt completely saccharine.

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PRIMA DONNA – Atomic Love / He’s A Rebel

Although their origins stretch back much further, LA power poppers/garage rockers Prima Donna considered their self-titled full length release from 2018 to be a new start; the kind of record that really introduced the world to a band at their best. …And indeed, the bulk of its material showcased a more confident band; an act fully at ease with a commercial sound and a huge chorus or six. Over the next couple of years, some great singles emerged, with Prima Donna’s blend of timeless pop cool and garage rock flair eventually peaking on an unexpected cover of Bananarama’s ‘Cruel Summer’ driven by a massive fuzz bass.

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