Top Tracks: Jenny Kern – Coming Back For Me

I recall once reading about the quietest room in the world. How people can only endure being inside it for a few minutes at a time, as the deafening silence allows you to hear the sounds of your body that the world would otherwise drown out. In a way I feel like this phenomenon applies to any extended period of isolation – something we’ve all had in abundance this past year. It’s when we’re alone with our thoughts that our minds wander the most. Somehow the quiet stillness of solitude is all it takes to open the floodgates. All those fears you dare not acknowledge, the memories long faded rushing back in vivid detail, the pent-up emotions you hoped would simply fade away; all surging unbidden to the forefront of your thoughts. It’s a difficult feeling that can make you want to run and drown it all out again. But by learning to embrace these moments, by learning to be okay with being alone, we can better process all the unseen and unspoken tension wearing us down. It’s a sentiment perfectly suited to Jenny Kern’s signature introspective style. With this new track from her forthcoming EP, full of fine details to discover on further listens, Jenny’s dreamy vocals and the slow burning soundscape provides all the company you need for a quiet night of reflection.

Spotlight!: BE GOOD

be goodThere’s something strangely compelling about those few hours where the late afternoon fades into the early evening. In that bewitching liminal space between night and day, we see so much change in such a short space of time, evoking a wide array of different feelings. The warm glow of golden hour that can make even the most mundane and dreary setting feel magical. The way the sunset bathes the sky in colour like an impressionist painting; a vibrant canvas of pinks and oranges that you can’t help but stare up at with a sense of childlike wonder. The eerie blue haze of dusk as those last lingering rays of sunlight cling on as darkness seeps into the sky. Oxford quartet BE GOOD condense the bittersweet beauty inherent in each sunset into their latest EP Everything’s Alright in the Evening. Continue reading

Top Tracks: Tom Speight – Everything’s Waiting For You

Sometimes it’s hard to envisage a way out of the darkness. Hard to keep grounded when surrounded by uncertainty. No matter how hard people try to convince you that everything will all work out in the end, when you’re at your lowest, the tempest raging inside your mind simply won’t allow you to believe them. But where words fail, being present in the moment can make a world of difference. It’s one thing simply to say that brighter days are coming, it’s something else entirely to stick by someone’s side until they do. With his anthemic new single ‘Everything’s Waiting For You’, singer/songwriter Tom Speight offers a timely reminder not to let those we care about face their darkness alone.  To say this is a song about riding out the storm together does it a disservice however, as there’s a resolute defiance and a feeling of triumph that makes this track so much more grand and uplifting. It’s a track about outrunning the storm. It grabs you by the hand and carries you through the rain, and keeps on going until the clouds are but a distant memory and the promised clear skies lie before you.

Top Tracks: Talia Mar – Jack

The tantalising tingle that spreads like wildfire across your skin, feeling your blood rush like a river bursting its banks as your heartbeat quickens, the way your head spins as you find yourself completely lost in the moment. A destructive longing for a beguiling high that all begins with an innocent brush against your lips. Love is one hell of a drug, especially when it leads you to fall for someone who would rather find that same high through other means. With ‘Jack’ Talia Mar weaves together two tales of addiction, two sides of the same story. One side increasingly dependent on alcohol as a means of escape, the other still clinging to a partner “more toxic and poisonous than the liquid in that cup”, both unable to break the pattern, holding on for the next rush of dopamine no matter the cost. Musically ‘Jack’ is every bit as intoxicating and addictive as the story it tells. Building from sparse yet sumptuous piano to an enthralling and hard-hitting electropop chorus, Talia’s beautifully bewitching vocals leave you hanging on her every word. It’s a wonderfully irresistible track that will keep tempting you back for another round time after time. (Spotify)

Top Tracks: Jesse Michael – Made For This

It’s hard to chase a creative dream (music especially) even at the best of times. In choosing to carve a path fraught with uncertainty and doubt, you’ll be fighting an uphill battle for every small piece of progress all on your own. All the while being told by people you know that you’re simply chasing a pipe dream. Moving into the new year, taking a moment to reflect on all the added challenge and hardship brought on by the mess that was 2020, I imagine there are plenty of creatives feeling hopeless and lost right now. This is a song for them. A song for anyone who has decided to pursue their passion and is currently facing a crisis of faith. With ‘Made For This’ singer/songwriter Jesse Michael offers a comforting reminder why people choose the road less travelled in the first place. When you truly love something, when it brings you a joy unlike anything else and forms an integral part of who you are, then it’s a dream worth fighting for with every last breath. It’s a message that I will gladly echo to any doubting artist, Jesse himself included; keep going.

Belwood Music Awards 2020

It’s time to celebrate not only the blog’s 6th birthday, but also the chance to say a wholehearted “fuck you!” as we finally leave 2020 behind. It’s been a deeply challenging year, and the road ahead is still rough and uncertain, but if there’s anything we can take away from our time in quarantine, it is learning to better appreciate the little things in life. Even a music industry left battered by the impact of Covid and incompetent governments has still been able to produce some incredible releases for us to cling on to. Before we put this crazy year in the rear view mirror, let’s take one last look back at the music that helped us through it all. Continue reading

Top Ten Albums of 2020

As our list season draws to a close, it’s time to look back on the very best albums of the past twelve months. In spite of chaos reigning in 2020, creative juices have definitely been flowing, as Belwood has been bombarded with more new music than ever before. There’s no way we could ever cover it all, and there have been a lot of records that we never managed to get around to, but these ten releases are absolute must-listens in my mind. They represent some of the most enthralling music that has kept our spirits up in this most trying of years. Continue reading

Top Ten EPs of 2020

The medium of choice for rising stars, an invaluable tool for up and coming artists, EPs are the oft overlooked lifeblood of the music industry. It’s always been our most hotly contested list as the wealth of great EPs often represents the very best and brightest new acts on the scene. In a music industry decimated by Covid-19 however, these artists are amongst those hardest hit. So as we reel off our favourite EPs from our least favourite year, if you stumble across a release that resonates with you, we ask that you do your bit to support the artists in whatever way you can. Continue reading

Top Ten Videos of 2020

With the outdoors being basically out of bounds for much of the past year, we’ve all spent even more time staring at screens than normal. A fair chunk of my own viewing time has been consumed by some of this year’s most stunning music videos. There have been plenty of moving, inventive and even downright iconic visuals to marvel at in 2020. Our list season continues as we delve into the videos that most captured our attention and imagination this past year: Continue reading