Top Tracks: Natalie Shay – New Wave

I remember once reading a great quote that said that we fall in love the same way we fall asleep – slowly, and then all at once. Both offer a tantalising tingle of what’s to come as they gradually wear down your defences, but at some point, without you even realising it, the dam breaks and it all just washes over you and sweeps you away. Belwood favourite Natalie Shay returns to capture the feeling of the moment when butterflies become a tidal wave with her euphoric new single. ‘New Wave’ describes the sensation of those bubbling emotions that you’ve been questioning so long suddenly all making sense, and the excitement of starting a new chapter. When you put your doubts and fears aside and open your heart to someone new, and open you mind to imagine what this new love has in store. Fittingly this latest single is perhaps her most vibrant and effervescent offering yet, with Natalie having refined and perfected her uplifting 80s aesthetic. The synths shimmer brighter than ever, the captivating chorus is one of her most infectious yet, and its joyous groove will have you jumping up to dance in no time flat. This dazzling single skips the slow part of falling in love, and instead you’re caught in the rush right from the first listen.

Top Tracks: Megan Dixon Hood – Third Lung

Tapping on the glass, like animals in a cage, we put ourselves in here, to find ourselves again“. If there’s a hunger in your heart for imaginative, environmentally-conscious epics, then there’s no better artist to sate your yearning than Belwood favourite Megan Dixon Hood. While she previously tackled the topic of our role in a rapidly changing world on her stunning single ‘The Wishing Tree‘ as seen through a fantastical lens, sometimes fact is stranger than fiction. Her latest single ‘Third Lung‘ draws inspiration from the Biosphere 2 experiment, in which scientists tried to create and live within an artificial ecosystem as practice for maintaining life in space, but which ultimately failed due to a lack of oxygen. Much like many of us discovered through the course of lockdown, it shows how we take the delicate balance of the world around us for granted. How we’re a part of a grand and complex system whether we realise it or not, and the Earth in turn is a part of who we are and what keeps us going. Meanwhile the hubris of thinking you can create a new world without fully respecting and understanding the one we have now has harrowing parallels for our current approach to the changing climate. Creating a grand vibrant ecosystem all of her own, letting you discover something new with each listen, it’s exactly what we’ve come to expect from Megan Dixon Hood: soaring, poignant, downright danceable and an absolute delight.

Spotlight!: Emilia Tarrant

It’s always been said that your should “write what you know”, but what about when you find yourself in a state of not knowing? What about when things don’t turn out the way you hoped and expected they would, and you find yourself in an unfamiliar place you never expected to be? Or how about when you find yourself carried beyond your control by various ebbs and flows – of fate, of the whims of those who have your heart, of the confusing swirl of thoughts inside your own head – and are left unsure what the next day will bring, what then? Sometimes when you’re lost the best thing to do is to write what you don’t know; give voice to the uncertainty, take what catharsis you can from venting frustration at the fickleness of life, and just hope that you find solid ground further down the line. With her debut EP Honeymoon Phase, singer/songwriter Emilia Tarrant offers a candid window into her own battle with uncertainty and heartache. At a time when we all feel the need maintain a façade of us at our best and pretend to know what we’re doing, we have here an affecting and assured pop record for which you can’t help but lower your guard. Continue reading

Top Tracks: The Greatest Endangered Thing – Green, Blue

Having the world come grinding to a halt around you is incredibly jarring, especially so for those who found themselves taking their foot off the accelerator for the first time in forever. Suddenly all those burdens of modern society, and the pressure we keep placing on ourselves – the need to pack as much into a day as possible, tailoring your existence around expectations and deadlines, being all about the destination without sparing a thought for the journey – all that fell by the wayside. We suddenly found ourselves encouraged to literally stop and smell the flowers, and in doing so gained a new perspective on the things that truly matter. With their blissful debut single ‘Green, Blue‘, transatlantic duo The Greatest Endangered Thing embrace life in the slow lane. With the warm and welcoming country charm of violin and banjo, the perfectly matched mellow vocals of Samuel Taylor and Rebecca Van Cleave, and a delightful backing chorus of birdsong, it’s an idyllic reminder of the need to put the world on pause once in a while. To spend time with the people we love, bask in the beauty of the world around us, and above all trust that you’ll make it to wherever you’re headed in the end, so you may as well take the chance to savour every step you can along the way.

Top Tracks: Beth Crowley – In The End

When it comes to romance, they say that everyone has a “type”. Knowingly or not there are certain traits that draw you in and set your heart racing. I believe the same is true when it comes to music; you’ll come across a song and something about it will tick a very specific set of boxes that you never knew you had, and before too long you’re completely under its spell. With that in mind, I learnt something about myself thanks to ‘In The End’ – I have a type. It’s revealed to me that I adore tracks which play into my love of fantasy, that paint with grand, sweeping cinematic strokes, and that thrive in the darkness and entrance you with their witchy mystique. With her new single, Nashville based singer/songwriter Beth Crowley offers all that and more. Drawing inspiration from The Witcher, it weaves the tale of a star crossed romance destined for heartbreak and tragedy, but one whose passions burn so fiercely that both parties couldn’t bear to turn away, and each welcome such destruction as a small price to pay for a shared embrace. With its pounding drums, soaring strings and Beth’s impassioned performance, ‘In The End’ makes my heart flutter like a raven’s wings. It flickers and dances like a flame and feels every bit as bewitching.

Top Tracks: Billie Flynn – Someone’s Daughter

When you find yourself going through a rough time, the advice that “everything will work out in the end” often rings hollow. Merely imagining a light is rarely going to be enough to find your way out of the darkness. At a time when there’s so much uncertainty in our lives and the world around us, having another “maybe” for a silver lining can only offer so much comfort. Instead the best comfort comes from clinging to one of the few sources of certainty in our lives: family. With her gorgeous new single ‘Someone’s Daughter’, Cornish singer/songwriter Billie Flynn reflects on how no matter how long and difficult the road ahead seems, you never have to walk it alone. When the world feels harsh and unforgiving, you can rest a little easier knowing you have people who love you unconditionally, without a moment’s hesitation or regret. Whenever you see the worst in yourself, remember those that see you as the light in their life. With a haunting hazy arrangement and Billie’s bewitching gossamer voice, this new single seems to almost shimmer and hang in the air like sea fret in the morning sun. It’s a sublime and soothing backdrop for this beautiful reminder that whatever is beyond the horizon isn’t half as important as who you have right there in your corner.

Spotlight!: Zach Wood & Hollan

I don’t think I’ll ever stop being enamoured with, and enraptured by, the power that music has to bring us together. It has proven time and again to be a precious golden thread connecting us, especially so in a period that has left us all feeling isolated. A song can provide the same solace or release to countless people thousands of miles apart, it can forever imprint upon your memory a sense of time and place for moments shared, and when everything aligns sometimes one song is all it takes to fall in love. In this instance all it took was one demo finding its way to the right ears to forge a friendship, and ultimately lead to this stunning collaboration. Zach Wood stumbled upon Anna Manotti’s demo for ‘Water’ (under her moniker Hollan), and after several years of listening to each other’s music, the two friends finally met in 2019. New ideas flowing freely, but unable to take their creations on the road, instead they decided to hunker down and record what would become Cowgirland. The rest, as they say, is history, and through such fortunate twists of fate we were gifted with this superb record. Continue reading