Top Tracks: The Last Dinner Party – Nothing Matters

There is plenty of music out there that could be called “style over substance”, but ‘Nothing Matters’ defies this idea by being so stylish that it takes on substance. The Last Dinner Party’s debut single shows the band’s confidence overflowing yet fully earned and justified, their aesthetic so finely curated and yet worn with such casual and naturalistic charisma, a preposterous conflux of different stylistic elements whose perfect fusion still somehow comes across as effortless. Abigail Morris’ velveteen vocals lending an air of elegance worthy of a Jane Austen adaptation, a command of melody in the verses with the infectious theatricality of an Alan Menken soundtrack. The quirkiness of Kate Bush and the vulgar playfulness of Wet Leg dressed up in an aloof and beguiling gothic exterior, with a grand and soaring guitar solo acting as the perfect capstone for this debut single’s magnetic appeal. With ‘Nothing Matters’ The Last Dinner Party have crafted a track so charming that it collapses in on itself like a black hole to create a point of infinite stylishness whose pull is impossible to resist.

Top Tracks: Ålesund – Never Enough

Sometimes you can have too much of a good thing. You’ll start dedicating so much of your time and energy to chasing some high, only to find that you end up losing yourself in the process. Whether a physical addiction to something tangible, or the pursuit of something more abstract, like the fame and attention of your peers or the love and affection of someone you’ve put on a pedestal – trying to replicate that rush can often blur the line between pleasure and pain. With ‘Never Enough’, Bristol’s Ålesund deliver this cautionary tale in an ironically addictive fashion. There’s a dazzling interplay of light and dark at work, juxtaposing dramatic brooding instrumentation with frontwoman Alba Torriset’s bright soaring vocals. Between the bold thunderous drum work, angelic layered vocals and the theatricality of the piano cutting through the expansive arrangement, there’s a sense of grandeur and etherealness here that will delight fans of Aurora and Florence + The Machine. Here’s a high that needs no chasing, it’s right there at the push of a button; and in this case. enough really is never enough.

Top Tracks: Simon Alexander – Freeloaders

As great as it is to hear more of what you love from an artist, it’s nothing compared to the thrill of hearing them try something new and absolutely nailing it. Just like that, a whole new world of possibilities has opened up, a fresh style or genre for an artist to explore and make their own. Regular Belwood readers may know Swedish singer/songwriter Simon Alexander for his fantastic folk balladry or bright and airy indie anthems, but with his latest single he dials the energy levels up a notch. This driving alt rocker maintains the same knack for crisp engaging melodies, but is propelled to new heights by its raw grunge arrangement. Taking inspiration from the 90s music of his youth, ‘Freeloaders’ wears its influences on its sleeve, while its lyrics ruminate on how those carefree days seem so far away and are only drifting further with each passing year. So full of fire and meaning, it’s such an enticing first taste of what’s to come from Simon Alexander and the wide new horizons ahead of him.

Top Tracks: Tyler Edwards – Between Your Arms

Much the same way that everything has a hint of magic when it’s hit by the golden glow of sunset, the right song can make any surrounding feel beautiful. No matter how broken and neglected the neighbourhood is, having the right music playing as you walk on by can make you see those streets in a new light. The soft hazy folk of ‘Between Your Arms’, and how it shimmers like dawn’s light through the morning mist, is a prime example. Even in the most bleak and grey concrete jungle, this song acts as your own secret garden. That one golden drop of goodness in your surroundings that shines all the brighter against the grim backdrop. Fitting in way, as it serves as a reminder that the right person can provide the same escape. No matter how loud the noise gets, how bitter and exhausting the people around you are, having just that one person that understands you and offers comfort without judgement can make a world of difference. You can sit back and survey the storm from your safe harbour.

Top Tracks: Rafaèlla – Woman

The best music, and art in general, comes from the heart. When someone imprints their identity onto their work, their hopes, their fears, their emotions, you can feel that connection. But in order to best share a part of yourself in this way, you must first truly know yourself. Whether that’s by allowing yourself to feel something you’ve kept pent up for a long time, or by embracing all different pieces that make you who you are. All your deepest passions, your biggest influences, your roots, all you stand for and believe in. Prompted by women’s rights stories of recent years, from the harrowing to the inspirational, ‘Woman’ is song about Rafaèlla’s own personal journey of self-acceptance, and a celebration of inner strength. From her understated yet assured vocals, to the traditional Greek instrumentation that honours her Cypriot heritage, Rafaèlla builds a clear picture of who she is as an artist, and as a person, on this new single.