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

Top Tracks: Mothé – Summer’s Almost Gone

They say a light that burns twice as bright burns half as long. Looking back, that’s how I remember summers as a kid; packing as many adventures as possible into just a few short weeks before inevitably getting dragged back to school. For many of us, I think this summer has recaptured that feeling for the first time in a long while. Getting just a taste of freedom as restrictions ease up after so long in lockdown, there’s a desire to seize the day burning just beneath the surface. We’re emerging into the golden summer sun with a fresh sense of perspective, the wisdom to not take the little things for granted, and a need to make the most of this time that we’ve likely not felt since we were teenagers. ‘Summer’s Almost Gone’ not only captures that feeling, but also practices what it preaches, as Mothé ensures that not a second is wasted by saturating the track with gorgeous melodies. The lush dream pop soundscapes are vibrant and engaging, the emphatic bass groove is damn near irresistible, their wonderfully airy vocals are seeped with bittersweet nostalgia, and the incendiary guitar work that rises up from the ether to bring the track to a close is simply inspired. Consider this track an essential part of this summer’s soundtrack as you savour what remains of it.

Top Tracks: Lawson Hull – Fluke

It’s not like me to talk to strangers, but I knew there was something cool about you…“. I can understand why people don’t believe in love at first sight. Those whirlwind romances where people fall head over heels for each other in mere days or weeks, the kind you see time and again in Hollywood rom-coms, can most certainly happen, but they require all the cards to fall in your favour. Some chance encounter providing a first meeting, both parties being open and sharing the same wavelength right from the start as you get to know each other, both being swept up in the heat of the moment and someone having the guts to confess their feelings first. So much is left up in the air and has to land perfectly for it all to work out. But in those rare moments where fate and fortune do smile upon you, it’s the best damn fluke you could ever hope for. The new single from Australian singer/songwriter Lawson Hull captures the rush of such a romance, how it feels to admit what’s in your heart (both to them and to yourself), and hoping they’re falling as fast and as deep as you are. ‘Fluke’ is awash with gorgeous melodies and works its magic on you the same way every love does; slowly and gently at first, but before long it’s all around you like a giant wave just sweeping you away.

Top Tracks: Thomas LaVine – Open Sea

Especially in such uncertain times as these, it is easy to feel lost in a sea of possibility. So much of what the future holds is a mystery, so much of our lives is left up to chance. When you stop and think about it you realise that everything that lies before us is unknown. We have no idea if we’re following the right path or hurtling headlong towards failure. Perhaps there is no path, no rhyme and reason to it all, and we’re just caught on the breeze following the whims of fate. It’s a daunting prospect, like standing on the shore staring out at a seemingly endless ocean, the vast unknown leaving you feeling insignificant and adrift. You can try to run from that feeling, or you can follow the call of ‘Open Sea’ and embrace it. This stunning single invites you to open your heart to uncertainty. To welcome the endless possibilities with open arms and see the daunting expanse as a sign that there a greater things out there than what you think you know. From it’s bittersweet, dreamlike haze, tinged with apprehension, the sudden of thunder of drums echo the beating of your heart as you take the plunge and let the waves take you where they will.

Top Tracks: Billie Flynn – Hey Stranger

Sometimes the voice that most commands a room and seizes your utmost attention is not a roar, but a whisper. A hypnotic hush that seems to almost ride the silence rather than break it, that calls upon you to drop everything and take in every exquisite detail. The arresting hushed vocals of Billie Flynn offer just such an experience with her spellbinding debut single ‘Hey Stranger’. Her beautifully hazy and wistful performance adds to the emotional weight of an already moving track. Detailing that moment of introspection that comes from bumping into someone who’s no longer a part of your life, and how somewhere amongst all the thoughts of nostalgia, curiosity and regret, you find yourself wondering how they see you now and what they think of the person you’ve become. With vocals as ethereal and enchanting as a misty morning, an understated soundscape that conjures images of the rise and fall of waves upon the shore by her home on the Cornish coast, and a warmth like the parting golden glow of a summer sunset, ‘Hey Stranger’ is an absolute delight. Billie Flynn is an inspired new signing for Gabrielle Aplin’s Never Fade Records, and after such an assured debut single I’m eager to hear more.