Top Tracks: Billie Flynn – Hey Stranger

Sometimes the voice that most commands a room and seizes your utmost attention is not a roar, but a whisper. A hypnotic hush that seems to almost ride the silence rather than break it, that calls upon you to drop everything and take in every exquisite detail. The arresting hushed vocals of Billie Flynn offer just such an experience with her spellbinding debut single ‘Hey Stranger’. Her beautifully hazy and wistful performance adds to the emotional weight of an already moving track. Detailing that moment of introspection that comes from bumping into someone who’s no longer a part of your life, and how somewhere amongst all the thoughts of nostalgia, curiosity and regret, you find yourself wondering how they see you now and what they think of the person you’ve become. With vocals as ethereal and enchanting as a misty morning, an understated soundscape that conjures images of the rise and fall of waves upon the shore by her home on the Cornish coast, and a warmth like the parting golden glow of a summer sunset, ‘Hey Stranger’ is an absolute delight. Billie Flynn is an inspired new signing for Gabrielle Aplin’s Never Fade Records, and after such an assured debut single I’m eager to hear more.

Top Tracks: Emilia Tarrant – Here You Are, Again

I don’t think we’ve given ourselves enough credit for everything we endured in 2020. We all likely found our mental health dragged down numerous times throughout the pandemic by the dread and stress of it all. Just when it seemed like there was light at the end of the tunnel, you’d find your spirit faltering under the strain once again; and by the time you’d finished picking up the pieces, convincing yourself that things had turned around, the whole vicious cycle just starts over again. It’s frustrating, it’s tiring, and it’s a struggle that’s deftly depicted in the new single by rising star Emilia Tarrant. But while ‘Here You Are, Again’ was inspired by the lows of lockdown, for many it’s a familiar struggle even when not in unprecedented times. Recovery isn’t a straight path up and out, setbacks always strike out of the blue at the most random and difficult times, and Emilia’s candid lyricism will feel familiar and comforting no matter what burden you carry. With a strong and assured vocal performance, and an enticing slow-burning atmosphere that knows when to hold back, this raw and thoughtful track marks out Emilia Tarrant as one to watch.

Top Tracks: FERGUS – Leave Me Light

I can categorically say that I’m not a morning person, and I’m willing to bet that most people feel much the same way. Most mornings however, aren’t half as blissful and heart-warming as those detailed in ‘Leave Me Light’. I imagine we’d all be morning people if we were lucky enough to greet the day in the fashion described in the new single from London based singer/songwriter FERGUS. Describing a tranquil morning spent savouring the soft caress of the one you love, basking in every second shared together before it’s time to get up and face the world, this track hones in on the beauty found within the smallest moments. Likewise you’ll find yourself wanting to revel in every detail of this charming track; the vivid yet relatable imagery, the delicate soothing folk arrangement of the first half of the song, and the slick R&B flourishes and solo guitar work in the latter half. ‘Leave Me Light is a brilliant reminder that true love isn’t about grand gestures of devotion, but about finding someone that makes every mundane morning feel like a fairy tale.

Spotlight!: Griff

While I try my best to keep my finger on the pulse, some artists rise to the top so fast that it’s easy to blink and miss them. No sooner did the name Griff appear on my periphery as one to watch, she was stealing the show at the BRIT awards and being held up as their rising star. While I may sadly be a little late to the party, it’s most certainly still a party I want to be part of, as her time in the spotlight is most assuredly deserved. With her debut release One Foot in Front of the Other we find the perfect mission statement of what makes Griff so rightly hailed as the UK’s next big pop act. Entirely written, performed and produced by her alone, so much of her personality is poured into this EP, offering assured performances and carrying a clear idea of who she is and where she’s going for anyone that listens. With her own unique style as a performer, a touching candour to her lyricism, and a knack for crafting memorable hooks, she ticks every box for what a pop act should aspire to be. Continue reading

Top Tracks: Michael Lane – Moon & Sun

If there’s any positive I can take away from the seemingly endless months spent in lockdown, it is a greater appreciation for my home in the countryside. For years I quietly resented being out in the middle of nowhere, feeling detached from all the exciting hustle and bustle of city streets. But with life grinding to a halt, I found there’s no place I’d rather be right now. Where once I envied friends in the fast lane, I now wish I could share my oasis with them and offer an escape from their cramped boxes in an empty concrete jungle. The morning chorus of birdsong that welcomes you to a new day, the cool caress of the summer breeze against your skin, lush fields of wildflowers and the delicate flutter of butterflies adding much needed colour to the greyest of days. Even something so simple as the fresh air in your lungs and the warm sun beaming down, the kind of things you take for granted, do so much to bring a lightness to your heart. Singer/songwriter Michael Lane is distinctly familiar with that sense of comfort and release that nature brings on his brand new single ‘Moon & Sun’. This beautifully bright folk tune shares the uplifting spiritual sensation of basking in the everyday marvels around you. The life-affirming feeling that you’re a small part of this vast wondrous world around you, and that it in turn is a part of you.

Top Tracks: All The Luck In The World – Waves Poem

There’s an odd sense of solace that comes from feeling small and inconsequential. We feel it most in the bittersweet tranquility that comes from gazing up at the stars, or in this instance from watching the rhythmic crashing of waves upon the shore. Staring out from the sand at a vast expanse of rolling ocean, stretching beyond the horizon, somehow makes you and all the worries holding you down feel insignificant by comparison. Watching waves dash upon rocks and race along sandy beaches before retreating back – same as they always have, and as ever they will – offers some comfort in their constancy when so much in life feels uncertain. With their new single ‘Waves Poem’, Irish trio All The Luck In The World capture that feeling brilliantly with a blend of vivid imagery and compelling soundscapes. Taken from their forthcoming album How The Ash Felt, it marries the soft shimmer of their affecting introspective folk style, with layered grandiose instrumentation and hints of glitchy electronica that recalls Bon Iver’s self-titled, and feels every bit as expansive and spellbinding as the ever swirling sea it depicts.