Top Tracks: T. Evann – Clearer

Occasionally the right song will fall into your life just when you need it most, to say exactly what you need to hear. This year has seen the blog busier than ever, and at times I’ve been drowning under the weight of submissions and the pressure to cover as many as possible. Whenever writer’s block hits and throws a spanner in the works, putting me even further behind, it’s hard not to see it as a failure, as me letting people down. ‘Clearer’, the new track from London based producer and songwriter T. Evann, is just the reminder I needed that those stagnant phases are all part of the process. You wouldn’t push any other part of your body to be firing on all cylinders without time to rest and recuperate, so we owe it to ourselves to give the creative side of our brains a break every now and then. Rather than banging your head against the wall, take a step back and trust that there’s a fresh burst of inspiration waiting just ahead. Taken from his upcoming EP Headblush, out 8th December, ‘Clearer’ carries a timeless psychedelic sound. Its warm summery tones offering a welcoming embrace, the soothing laidback vibes breaking down the stress brick by brick, while the swirling vibrant soundscapes are just what you need to untether your imagination.

Top Tracks: Sophie Morgan – Unwinnable War

The best things in life are worth fighting for, even if it occasionally means clashing with those we care about. Even with those we hold closest to our hearts, the ones we love and our dearest friends and family, you’re likely to fall out every once in a while. The mark of a strong relationship isn’t making out that everything is perfect, but through confronting problems and ultimately emerging stronger on the other side. That said, sometimes we can find ourselves chasing an “other side” that simply isn’t there. You can end up fighting tooth and nail with someone to keep them in your life, only to be blinded to the fact that the fight is all you know. ‘Unwinnable War’ is the realisation that they’re not worth the energy. Belwood favourite Sophie Morgan has really outdone herself with this latest single. Her vocals carry the same distinctive warmth and elegance as ever, and yet somehow every sublime lyric seems to roll off her tongue with more clarity and meaning than ever before. The soft and sparse arrangement swaying back and forth, punctuated with a brief mournful howl of guitar. The bittersweet melodies that tug at your heartstrings and linger in your thoughts. There’s no fight when it comes to loving this song, it welcomes you with open arms. This stunning single is a poignant reminder that sometimes the bravest course you can take isn’t to keep fighting, but to admit that it’s time to walk away.

Top Tracks: Old Sea Brigade – How It Works

The music industry isn’t all it’s cracked up to be; beneath all the glitz and glamour there are some toxic folk around. More specifically, there have always been the petty few who get their kicks through gatekeeping. Eager to lord whatever meagre power they posses over new acts and dangle the promise of success over them. Things are getting better, but as in all things change for the better makes slow progress, and there are still those who cling to the old ways and insist “that’s just how it works”. Drawing from his own experiences within the industry, and having been on the receiving end of those exact same words, Nashville based singer/songwriter Ben Cramer reflects on the struggle for change with the latest single under his Old Sea Brigade moniker. Being told ‘How It Works’ doesn’t just apply to music though, it’s something we hear about all the many broken parts of society that hold people back. The hazy Americana arrangement and enthralling earworm melodies make this the ideal song to sit back and reflect on the slow march of progress around you. ‘How It Works’ is a song of real substance, and the accompanying video, of a wonderfully cinematic Western shootout in the Mojave Desert, compliments it with an extra dash of style to boot.

Top Tracks: Lawson Hull – College Town

I’m fairly sure there’s a longing to escape ingrained within all of us. There comes a time in your youth where there’s nothing you desire more than to get away from the dead end town you grew up in and make your own way in the world. Meet new people, see the city lights, live out your dreams. The dismay of feeling trapped is one thing, but it’s nothing compared to the feeling of breaking free, spreading your wings at last, only to then come crashing back down to the same old dead end town. With ‘College Town’, Australian singer/songwriter Lawson Hull perfectly captures the sense of quiet defeat that comes with being stuck in a familiar cage. Taken from his debut EP Dreaming is Easy, the sadness and regret of his latest single really hits home with lines like “I shouldn’t be out here in the prime of my life”. Underneath it all however, there’s a warmth and familiarity to ‘College Town’ that feels like coming home. The way the track interweaves the sadness, the yearning for something greater, with the warm glow of nostalgia and an unspoken sense of acceptance, serves as a poignant reminder that sometimes it’s better the devil you know.

Top Tracks: Megan Nash – Artifact

We have a remarkable ability to attach great meaning to otherwise unremarkable things. What would be a wholly insignificant trinket to one person could be a priceless heirloom to another. Even little scraps of paper could have years of memories attached to them. It’s quite magical in a way. How a picture or note that would be meaningless to most can become a portal to another time in the right hands; allowing a torrent of memories, and the emotions attached to them, to come flooding back. Canadian artist Megan Nash offers an exquisite exploration of this phenomenon with her new single ‘Artifact’. The track begins adrift in a dreamy wistful atmosphere, reminiscing on a past relationship and recalling how it felt to be in love. This alone would make ‘Artifact’ a sublime exercise in songwriting, but Megan takes things a step further. As growing tension and menace builds in the arrangement, the track turns to reflect on how things turned sour and fell apart, swimming with both the passion of the past and the pain of the present. It delves into how we can take the moments frozen in time contained with objects and look upon them with fresh perspectives once we’re a little older and wiser.