In any business, identifying your brand is paramount to establishing how your audience perceives you. Bearstronaut; boasting a brand of good times, bad decisions, and great music, continue to identify who they are and what they’re here to do with their latest music video, “Dogs of Carnaval”, which we are proud to premiere here at Belwood Music. Shot entirely in black and white by Alex Enman and Dylan Law of Bottle Tree Pictures, the band grooves through the performance of the song and are caught in a whirl of quirky illustrations, created by Matt Watkins. Whimsical and nostalgic, “Dogs of Carnaval” appeals to the lovelorn looking for hidden musical treats. US readers can see Bearstronaut on Jimmy Kimmel Live! tonight, August 17th, at 11:35pm local time on ABC.
Sometimes it can be very difficult to review a track and articulate your thoughts. This is one of those occasions, for the simple reason that everything comes together so perfectly on ‘Passing Through’ that it becomes impossible to pick out particular reasons for loving it. I could go on about the way it builds from warm emotive folk into straight anthemic Americana, or the way it instills both a sense of wanderlust and a need to cling on to a love that’s fading, or the way the light and airy vocals dance atop the gorgeous instrumental atmosphere. With all of these statements however I’d feel like I was still doing the song a disservice, and missing out some other element that makes it great. Scottish singer/songwriter Tommy Ashby has nailed it with this track, plain and simple. See you in the ‘best of the year’ lists.
Side projects are a rare and curious delight. They often portray artists in a new light, showing their versatility as songwriters and giving a fresh glimpse into the person behind the music. Jaws of Love, the new project from Kelcey Ayer of Local Natives fame, has already produced some of the most heartwarming music I’ve heard this year. The exemplary folk of ‘Love Me Like I’m Gone’, with its gentle guitar, subtle cascading piano and Kelcey’s exquisite vocals, is perfect for fans of Ben Howard and early Bon Iver. Taken from the upcoming album Tasha Sits Close to the Piano, out 22nd September, it’s a superbly elegant and refined track, the kind that speaks to something within the quiet recesses of your soul. There’s no end of new folk music out there, so to say that this is one of the finest folk songs of the year should leave you in no doubt that Kelcey is on to something special.
I don’t know if androids really do dream of electric sheep, but I know a catchy indie pop hit when I hear one. Combining chilled out guitar grooves and hints of 60s psychedelica, ‘Blade Runner’ is equal parts dreamy and danceable. Party by name, party by nature; this song keeps you coming back for more and gets you grooving a little more with each new listen. This immaculately produced track is a far cry from main man Ken Franklin’s humble origins working away in a secret little recording booth hidden away beneath the stairs. It’s a perfect playlist addition ready to soundtrack the rest of your summer, and should tide you over until Dutch Party release their new EP Combat Pop later this year.
No matter how diverse your tastes are, we all still tend to gravitate to a couple of preferred genres. Sometimes though life just throws a curveball at you, offering something different wherein you simply can’t help but sit up and pay attention. LA based multi-instrumentalist Julian Borrego is a perfect example. His single ‘Small Talk’, taken from his debut EP Ouroboros, brings together soul, funk and psychedelic rock all into one vibrant melting pot of a track. Equal parts surreal and seductive, it combines an expansive soundscape with some infectious bass lines and dancefloor ready grooves. Whatever your tastes, this might be just the unexpected treat you need to inject a bit of much-needed colour into your day.
Synthpop is very much the ‘in’ thing right now, and as such it can be hard for a new band to stand out from the crowd. This is no problem at all however for LA based duo Moxi. Rather than pursue the traditional shimmering synthpop sound, their latest single ‘Paclew’ brings plenty of dark and sinister undertones to the table. Moxi feel ahead of the game with this track; their brand of menacing pop sounds like it’ll be the next big thing, or if not then it certainly should be. It’s one of those songs that you feel must be a global, chart-topping hit in some parallel universe. With their new EP Figures Bathed in Light out 18th August, here’s hoping for more of the same enticing trendsetting sound.
There’s something special about a great gritty voice. It’s the sound of a misspent youth, of someone with wisdom beyond their years. The sound of a hard life on the road, living on just dust and whisky. Find someone with a voice like that and you can imbue a song with tremendous power, just as London based band Up Down Go Machine have done with their new single. The heavy folk stomp of ‘Gambler’ weaves a tale of a man who has lost his way, fighting a losing battle against his inner demons. Perfect for fans of Ray LaMontagne, Kaleo and Dan Owen, this epic slice of Americana sounds like it belongs as the soundtrack for some thrilling climax in the next series of Westworld. This is the kind of band that every idealistic vagabond needs in their life.
Sometimes a song leaves you with an enduring image or vibe that often has no obvious connection whatsoever. This new single from Dublin based singer/songwriter Kate Dineen, with its sparse folk arrangement and its raw and honest lyricism, leaves me picturing late nights and red wine. That’s a far cry however from the track’s striking music video, complete with overgrown ruins and molotov cocktails. Her first new track since last year’s acclaimed Great Escape EP, there’s something remarkably mature and refined about ‘Flames’ that defies what you’d expect of an artist still in the early stages of their career. There’s some indescribable quality to Kate Dineen’s music that is rare to find in up-and-coming artists, like there’s some sixth sense telling me that there’s something special just over the horizon.
‘City of Wolves’ is the sound of a band ready and willing to carve out a name for themselves in a deeply competitive scene. This self-assured new indie hit from Dublin’s Brass Phantoms rivals some of the slickest hits, standing alongside some of the most well written music I’ve heard from Ireland this year. With bright and infectious riffs, stirring melodies and a palpable sense of a band striving to be the best that they can be, it’s a valuable addition for any indie playlist worth its salt. If Brass Phantoms keep this same drive and energy, and strive just a little further with each new track, they could soon become one of the hottest new bands on the scene.
This expressive art-rock track from London’s Red Kite immediately makes a lasting impression; and not just because the video features the most disturbing teddy bear known to man. With a unique dynamic, boasting four guitarists and two drummers, ‘Take Care of Your Own’ displays a lush and expansive sound. The first half of the track is reminiscent of Funeral era Arcade Fire with its emphatic baroque pop flair, with the second half descending into a dark and menacing cacophony. Taken from the band’s upcoming second album, ‘Take Care of Your Own’ is one of the most rewarding singles I’ve heard thus far this year. If, like me, they have piqued your interest, I would add Red Kite to your list of “ones to watch”.