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.
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.
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.
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.
The Family Crest – The War: Act II
Baroque Pop | Indie Rock
Florence + the Machine – Dance Fever
Baroque Pop | Indie Pop
Sometimes when you have something extra special jotted down on your calendar it ends up feeling like a lifetime away. Still just a distant speck on the horizon no matter how far down the road you seem to go. Never has that been more the case than over the past couple of years. So many events being pushed back and rescheduled over the course of the pandemic; you’d go from thinking “at least I’ve got something to look forward to when this is all over”, to wondering if the day would ever come. But eventually there was light at the end of the tunnel, and all those adventures that felt like a distant dream started barrelling into view one by one.
Over the past couple of months I’ve been slowly working down the pile of gig tickets dated ‘2020’ that’s been gathering dust on my shelf – until only one remained. Saving the best till last some might say. What better way to celebrate putting covid firmly in the rearview mirror than with The Killers gracing Doncaster of all places, bringing with them a dash of Vegas glitz and glamour, as the band kick off their long overdue Imploding The Mirage tour in earnest. Continue reading
Bear’s Den – Blue Hours
Indie Folk | Indie Rock | Electronica
It feels like far too long since I’ve wholeheartedly promoted a new artist and sung their praises to the world – you know, the whole reason this blog exists in the first place. For whatever reason it’s become harder to find new music that excites me. So much out there just feels too familiar; scores of talented artists drawing from the same inspirations and chasing the same trends only to inevitably arrive at much the same destination. It’s hard for an act to stand out from the crowd, and even harder for me to put a finger on a way for them to do so. After all, it would be too much to reasonably expect every act to continually put out something new and unique, right? But in listening to the debut EP from Kitty Perrin, the answer suddenly reveals itself. Each of us is already unique; we all face our own trials and triumphs, viewed through our own perspective. Every artist has a story, one only they can tell, but it’s only those special few like Kitty Perrin that manage to so resoundingly imprint their identity into their work. Continue reading
Well here’s a Belwood first for you: a live review double feature! There are plenty of bands and artists which I will happily see time and again, tour after tour, but until now I can’t recall every seeing someone twice on the same tour. I feel like there’s a line there, crossing a threshold from casual fan into something deeper. As much as I may admire and envy the old hippie Deadhead lifestyle of following a band on tour in a VW camper, it requires a level of devotion that I (and indeed most people) would struggle to muster for just one special band.
While I’m not at the point of following them around the country in a campervan (those things are expensive!), The Dear Hunter are definitely the band that comes closest. Their five Act concept album series is one of the most compelling musical rabbit holes I’ve ever dived down, and the one I most wish I could forget for the purpose of hearing it for the first time all over again. So, after waiting what felt like forever for one of my all time favourite bands to make it back to the UK, I knew just one gig wouldn’t be enough. Continue reading