Top Tracks: Lily Agnes – Messy As My Mind

Whether it’s being stuck staring at the same four walls in lockdown, struggling to pull yourself out of a depressive hollow, or just another one of those sleepless nights, there are few things as demoralising as being left alone with your thoughts. It’s amazing all the unspoken fears, repressed insecurities, and memories best left forgotten that worm their way to the surface when you’ve no one but your own subconscious for company. Hard to be productive when your train of thought is bouncing around like a Roomba from one anxious worry to another; and it’s in these moments that we become our own worst critics, questioning every decision we’ve ever made. It’s a familiar situation for us all, but rarely has overthinking ever sounded this good. With ‘Messy As My Mind’ singer/songwriter Lily Agnes puts her own soulful stamp on those listless nights. Between the elegant jazz arrangement, intricate and expressive percussion, and Lily’s intoxicating vocals hitting your system like a shot of whisky, there’s no better track to help drown out those inner demons.

Live Review: Barn on the Farm Festival 2022

After two years away from my favourite place on Earth, to say that I was excited to return to Barn on the Farm this summer would be a massive understatement. Over the years it’s become such an integral part of the calendar, like Christmas, that having summers without it due to Covid felt like missing a limb. Still clutching on to my original 2020 ticket, stepping back onto Over Farm at long last felt like coming home. But after struggling through two years of pandemic upheaval, and with the dizzying highs of their stellar ten-year anniversary being a tough act to follow, expectations were high. Continue reading

Top Tracks: Davis John Patton – Vacant Airport

Sometimes love isn’t about those that would rush to your side at a moments notice. Instead, true love is often about those that are still there by your side when everyone else is gone. It’s one thing to say “always” or “forever“, but it’s another to genuinely mean it and put it into practice. Iowa based singer/songwriter Davis John Patton captures this kind of commitment and devotion brilliantly with his new track ‘Vacant Airport’. Told through the metaphor of waiting at an empty terminal, completely deserted and devoid of life, for the one arrival that truly matters, it beautifully reflects the lofty romantic ideal of being the last one standing – that us-against-the-world mentality – through the lens of a small act of everyday love. It’s all delivered with an earnestness that leaves you in no doubt that Davis would wait a hundred years without a moment’s hesitation. Airy melodies, wistful bittersweet vocals, and with a soft introspection that recalls Hollow Coves and early Bon Iver, ‘Vacant Airport’ is an essential addition for your most mellow and reflective playlist.

Top Tracks: &Tilly – Unopen

In a way self-improvement and wanderlust are built on similar foundations; the faith that there’s something better waiting just over the horizon, and a sense of yearning to find a place where you belong. When you’re trying to reach a better place, within yourself or in a more literal sense, the first step is always the hardest. The bittersweet new song ‘Unopen’ from singer/songwriter duo &Tilly reflects on finding the courage to take that step, its title a play on words of an unopen personality throwing up walls, and an open road leading to a happier life. With hauntingly fragile vocals and bright percussive piano reminiscent of The Lumineers, it’s a track swimming in arresting melodies. Paired with the stunning cinematography of its marvellous monochrome video, all told ‘Unopen’ is a real delight. Whatever road you take, whatever walls need knocking down, the better life you’re looking for is one with this song in it.

Top Tracks: Francesca Louise – Odyssey

When we’re at our lowest, weighed down with loss and uncertainty, we find ourselves searching for answers. But often, the more desperately we search, we only end up finding further questions. We go through our lives assuming deep down there’s some rhyme and reason to everything, but in the face of terrible struggle and grief it’s easy to feel defeated and lose faith. Feeling swallowed up by the darkness, a single drop of water at the whim of a vast savage ocean, asking yourself: “does any of it really matter?”. But in a life so fragile, a mere speck in the wider picture, in truth there is more meaning to be found, not less. With her contemplative new single ‘Odyssey’, Belwood favourite Francesca Louise brings that meaning to light. This beautifully bittersweet and cathartic folk number reminds you that every moment is made all the more precious by the fact that it is fleeting. That every life that touches our own is a blessing, a miraculous chance encounter in endless space and time. And I for one count myself lucky to have had this particular fleeting moment of beauty cross my path.

Top Tracks: Kris Angelis – Win The Game

I’ve often heard it said that the mark of a great relationship is when there’s no fighting, but I don’t think that’s accurate. All couples fight, all partnerships will find themselves on opposite sides of an issue at some point or other, butting heads over the divide. What makes a great relationship is not letting every problem become a fight between the two of you, but recognising that the real fight is the two of you against the problem. Of course, that’s easier said than done. Opening with a haunting piano waltz that sounds like a tune from some magical music box, the new single ‘Win The Game’ from singer/songwriter Kris Angelis deals with the struggle of trying to be the bigger person. With its telling refrain of “I’d rather jump in and clean up the mess, than win the game of who cares less” it details the feeling of trying to turn your attention from the other person to the problem at hand, and ending up fighting a battle on two fronts. Captured in Kris’ elegant vulnerability is the truth of the matter; that the most important things in life are generally worth fighting for.

Top Tracks: Alex Francis – If I Can’t Have You

Glorious sun is beaming down, ice creams and cold beers are at the forefront of everyone’s mind, and festival season will soon be kicking off in earnest – summer is officially here! Arguably our first proper summer with Covid in the rearview mirror. All we’re missing to complete the picture is that “song of the summer” to soundtrack the good times ahead. May I submit for your consideration ‘If I Can’t Have You’ from Belwood favourite Alex Francis. This wonderfully soulful outing from the Hertfordshire based singer/songwriter is all about the joyous release of realising what truly matters, throwing your fears aside and putting yourself out there in the pursuit of happiness. Exactly the vibe we’re looking for in our first summer of freedom. Residing at the perfect intersect between grit and polish, ‘If I Can’t Have You’ captures the timeless roots rock spirit of Muscle Shoals in its feel-good groove, and its sublime production ensures that every facet of the sunkissed arrangement and every word of Alex’s soulful vocals lands with maximum impact.