Top Tracks: Stay Inside – Fever and Jealousy

We all need to shut out the world for a time every now and then to keep us from falling apart at the seams, but often it’s your own voice that’s the hardest to drown out. All those paranoid little insecurities that gnaw away at you from within, all that overthinking poisoning relationships and experiences. Deep down you know that it’s just your mind playing tricks on you, but that doesn’t stop you jumping at shadows in the dark recesses of your thoughts. The new single from Stay Inside, taken from their superbly titled new EP The Sea Engulfs Us and the Light Goes Out released 23rd February, perfectly captures that feeling and offers a chaotic and electrifying sense of catharsis. The combination of passionate post-hardcore vocals and expansive post punk soundscapes feels like a shrill call out to the void, a search for answers where there are none to be found.

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Top Tracks: Cristina Hart – House Of Tears

Every now and then you come across a song that seems all-encompassing. Listening to it feels like being immersed in a vast and vibrant tropical ocean; you don’t hear it so much as feel it with every fibre of your being. Cristina Hart has captured that all too rare feeling with this, her debut single, so Lord knows what incredible feats she could achieve with future releases. The soulful R&B of ‘House Of Tears’ begins with simple piano balladry and soon builds into an expansive and elegant soundscape, although it is never enough to draw attention away from the most important instrument. Not even the world’s finest orchestra could distract from Cristina’s astounding vocals. Her voice is truly one in a million, the kind that speaks to your very soul, making this an early front-runner for song of the year.

Top Tracks: Matt Gresham – Home

“Home is not a place, it’s a feeling”. We’re all looking for a sense of belonging and purpose. Some wander for a time and find something new worth sticking around for, some wander and fall in love with the sensation and carry that feeling of home wherever they go, and some do so only to find that home was right where they left it. It’s a journey that can take many shapes and forms, but it is one that we all take, and this new song is the perfect soundtrack for whatever path you choose to take. Australian singer/songwriter Matt Gresham fuses heartwarming folk with cinematic electronic flourishes and a wealth of pop sensibilities with his latest single. Life is a journey; it’s not about the destination, it’s about the people you meet and the memories you make along the way, and this is the perfect song to make memories to.

Top Tracks: Ren – The Writer

After releasing one of our favourite EPs of 2017, Belwood favourite Ren is back with another fantastic single. ‘The Writer’, a taster of his new EP in the works for later this year, captures the power that music has over all of us. Sometimes we can’t begin to describe the swirling tempest that is our thoughts. You simply can’t find the words to express what you’re feeling even to yourself, never mind provide comfort to someone else. Yet sometimes, we stumble across a song that nails it so perfectly it’s as though the artist knows us better than we know ourselves, summing up exactly what we’re feeling and saying just what we need to hear. Some artists seem to have the power to capture the very essence of the human condition in their work, and with each new release it seems Ren is well on his way to joining their ranks.

Top Tracks: Titus Makin – Suicide

The multi-talented Titus Makin is back with another dose of first class pop. ‘Suicide’, the latest single from this wonderful actor and singer, sees him feature more electronic elements and stray further into chart topper territory, and yet still keep the R&B influences and addictive hooks that give him an extra air of authenticity and charm. A far cry from his feel-good hit ‘Ropes‘, this latest offering details a toxic relationship, the kind where you’re so blinded by love that you don’t realise you’re being pulled down into the crushing depths until it is too late. It only serves to secure his reputation in my mind as the ideal role model for modern pop artists. Titus continues to perfect his sound with each new release, while maintaining the effortless and endearing charm that makes him stand out from the crowd.

Norton’s Rule

nortonWe all need words to live by, a guiding light to show us the way. This can be something our parents have instilled in us from an early age, some words of wisdom passed on by a caring teacher, or even something that a kind stranger said in passing that struck a chord with you. And yet, sometimes words of wisdom pop up in the unlikeliest of places… in this case, Graham Norton’s commentary of the 2013 Eurovision song contest. No seriously, bear with me on this one!  Continue reading

Top Tracks: Frank Turner – 1933

One of Britain’s most celebrated modern songwriters is back with one of his most electrifying tracks yet. Frank Turner’s new single ‘1933’, taken from his forthcoming album Be More Kind out 4th May, sees him firing on all cylinders as he sums up the incredulous rage that most people feel towards the recent rise of the far-right. Seething both at the perpetrators and at those willing to stand back and do nothing, this fired up number is packed full of lines even Bob Dylan himself would be proud of. It’s always hard to pick favourites with his lyrics, but the lines “If I was of the greatest generation I’d be pissed, Surveying the world that I built, slipping back into this, I’d be screaming at my grand kids: “We already did this”” hits the nail pretty squarely on the head. If you’re not angry then you’ve not been paying attention, and if you have then you’ll know that this is exactly the song we need right now.

Top Tracks: Raye Zaragosa – American Dream

With this thought-provoking new track, singer/songwriter Raye Zaragosa has perfectly summed up the sense of dissociation that is plaguing the US. With Trump’s reign in full swing, with hatred, dishonesty and a complete lack of empathy becoming the new norm, many decent folks feel like strangers in their own country. This new face of the nation stands in complete opposition to the America they once knew, and the good that they see in ordinary people each day. It’s all too easy to get stuck in sorrow and think that things are only gonna get worse, that one person can’t make a difference. ‘American Dream’ acts as a reminder that there are millions of people out there feeling exactly the same. One person can make a difference in that they can rouse others to stand up and be counted, and this song is the perfect catalyst to inspire people to be the change they want to see in the world.

Top Tracks: Holly Miranda – Golden Spiral

It’s rare that I find a song so baffling as to defy classification, and yet here we are. The foot-stomping ‘Golden Spiral’, the latest single from Holly Miranda’s upcoming album Mutual Horse out 23rd February, doesn’t need to be understood when it sounds this good. This track boasts elements of folk and blues, electronic flourishes and futuristic funk, and yet somehow makes it all work in perfect harmony. They say that Dark Side of the Moon lines up perfectly with The Wizard of Oz, well this track proves that there is some combination of Kid A era Radiohead, Metals era Feist, and St Vincent at her most vivacious that fuses together to form this bewildering beauty of a track. If the planets align like this for all of Holly’s project then her new album will certainly be one to note in your diary.