Top Tracks: The Hip Abduction – Can You Feel It

This latest track from Florida based collective The Hip Abduction is like the musical equivalent of someone who makes friends wherever they go. You know the kind of person, someone that’s universally popular; no one has a bad word to say about them, and they’re loved by people from all walks of life. ‘Can You Feel It’ would be equally at home on heavy rotation on a top 40 station, blaring out of a club in Ibiza in the height of summer, or being sang back at the band from onlookers at some indie festival. I’d struggle to think of another song from recent years that would be such a welcome addition to so many vastly different crowds. All about the sensation of facing a defining decision, a choice that will become a turning point in your life, ‘Can You Feel It’ delivers its message with a mix of infectious synthpop and emphatic drums. Even if this never becomes a worldwide chart-topping hit, it feels like it should be.

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Spotlight!: NothingAboutME

nothingaboutmeYou’d be amazed how many electronic artists I end up turning away, citing that the genre is not my cup of tea. But no matter how rare, rules always have exceptions. London based duo NothingAboutME are the latest electronic act to have caught me off-guard with their debut EP Inertia. Around the airy vocals of ‘Bluebell’, the electronics and guitar effects ripple like the surface of a lake in slow motion, while ‘Summer’s Rain’ contrasts the sparse expansive verses with the droning guitar of the chorus to offer real light and shade. The title track boasts some understated bass lines and subtle R&B vibes in its electronic flourishes, placing as much emphasis on the notes the band doesn’t play as the ones that they do, and the tripped out ‘That’s for You’ is like the peaceful sound of life underwater in some secluded tropical lagoon. Sarah Stanton and Joe Dworniak walk a fine line between experimental and accessible with this release, bringing a vast range of influences to bear beneath the banner of Sarah’s crystalline vocals and Joe’s immaculate production. If this EP is enough to lure in a serial electronica doubter such as myself then you know it must be good!

NothingAboutME’s debut EP Inertia is out now and is a must for fans of James Blake, Behaving, Daughter and The XX.

Top Tracks: Callum Pitt – Away From The Rousing Parades

Two worlds collide on this latest single from up and coming Newcastle based singer/songwriter Callum Pitt. ‘Away From The Rousing Parades’ opens with folk finger-picking and an airy atmosphere that conjures an image of an endless natural expanse, just begging to be explored. These timeless Americana vibes are shaken up however when Callum throws some homegrown British indie into the mix, combining the raw heartland vibes with some bright melodies, big hooks and an invigorating burst of energy. All about not comparing yourself to others and finding comfort in following your own path, this uplifting single carries an unavoidable air of positivity. A swirling cocktail of influences from both sides of the Atlantic, this intoxicating new track is sure to warm your heart.

Top Tracks: Georgia Blackwell – Stranger

Some of the most enduring pieces of music ever written have been break-up songs, and ‘Stranger’ is a fine example as to why. When a song is written from the heart, like this track from London based singer Georgia Blackwell’s debut EP Good Intentions, it gives the message far more potency. When you feel someone expressing their innermost thoughts and troubles in their work it resonates more deeply with those walking a similar path. It helps even more so to adorn sadness in beauty, and there’s an abundance of beauty to be found here. While the arrangement is lush and refined in its way, it takes a step back to allow Georgia’s enrapturing soulful vocals to take centre stage. Understated and affecting, ‘Stranger’ is a sublime offering of old-school soul that will assuredly find a place in your heart, no matter how broken.

Top Tracks: Flo – Velvet

As blissfully smooth as its name suggests, this new song from London based artist Flo is an elegant and engaging work of beauty. With gentle piano and brushed drum beats that fall like raindrops, strings that soar like a songbird over verdant fields, and vocals as soothing as the sweetest lullaby, this track carries a truly timeless feel. Written from the perspective of her parents, and even featuring them on violin, ‘Velvet’ offers a cinematic atmosphere that leaves you feeling as immersed in your own story as the one that the song itself weaves. It’s a song made for those “staring out of the window and contemplating life” moments, and as it draws you in you begin to forget that a world outside ‘Velvet’ exists. This sweet and sophisticated track is almost too good at what it does, offering the most entrancing and exquisite atmosphere of the year.

Live Review: Barn on the Farm Festival 2018

botfEven in the midst of the most unbearable heatwave I’ve ever experienced, the best weekend of the year didn’t disappoint. While most festivals would have had people literally fighting over the rare patches of shade, or disappearing to watch the England match and causing havoc on their return, this is Barn on the Farm we’re talking about. Everyone that’s been to this little patch of paradise can attest to the indescribable sense of community, and for whatever reason that feeling was stronger than ever this year. On the year where the festival returns to its roots in breaking new artists, I was lucky enough to occupy Over Farm for the full four days and catch all the action.  Continue reading

Are The Charts Beyond Saving?

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Photo by Jessica Lewis on Pexels.com

While not every song that graces the charts is worthy of derision, it’s no secret that the charts do very little to properly represent both music and the music industry as a whole. Songs that are just products of lazy corporate entities designed to make profits, that constantly clog up the single charts, do nothing to alleviate the age-old mentality of “modern music is rubbish, music was better back in my day!“. But why are the charts so broken and can they be fixed?  Continue reading

Top Tracks: Echo Nebraska – Follow Me

“I won’t let tragedy hang over me” – a laudable decision, but by no means an easy one. After losing their bassist Gunn Park to cancer, it’s understandable that the loss would have a big impact on the creation of Echo Nebraska’s new album. But rather than dwell on what can’t be changed, these Vancouver folk rockers have made sure that their new record Hold Up to the Fire celebrates all the joy and love in life that’s still there to be cherished. Lead single ‘Follow Me’ is a prime example. Boasting big hooks and some fantastic violin, the track reminds us of the people who are always there for us when we need them, and that with our loved one’s by our side we can overcome any adversity. Perfect for fans of Mumford & Sons and The Lumineers, this wonderfully uplifting track is a welcome reminder not to take what we have for granted, and be thankful for the people that bring us joy and comfort.

Top Tracks: Welfare – What I Know, I Know With You

If you’re looking for a song more tranquil and soothing than even your sweetest dreams then I have found the perfect track for you. This sun-drenched new song from Pat Whelan, aka Welfare, is all that and more. ‘What I Know, I Know With You’, taken from his new EP Useful Toil, is a shot of pure serenity to help sooth you on even the most troubled of days. Though it may have been written off the grid in the Welsh Marches, this track is far more reminiscent of a carefree stint in the south of France. You can just imagine this track as the perfect soundtrack for a montage of cruising through the Riviera or down a winding road alongside idyllic vineyards. The lush and dreamy soundscape at work here lends itself to creating one of the most blissful pieces of music that I’ve heard in a long time.