Top Tracks: AARYS – Talk

When artists share their inner demons through music, not only does it provide relief by venting their struggles, it also gives a voice to everyone else listening that has ever felt the same way. It serves as a reminder for both sides that you’re not alone and there are people out there who understand what you’re feeling. Especially so when it’s a song as well written as ‘Talk’ which finds the right words to capture a feeling you thought was indescribable. This latest single from Canadian artist AARYS deals with the crippling isolation of anxiety. How it builds two walls around you that keep you from reaching out to others: the anxiety itself, that relentless inner critic that convinces you that you’re an outsider and aren’t welcome, and the stigma surrounding the anxiety that instills a fear that people will see and treat you differently if they knew what was going on inside your head. Between them its like being caught in a vice grip, wanting to call out but finding your voice just catches in your throat unheard. All who know the feeling will find their struggle echoed in the song’s vast yet empty arrangement and its striking refrain of “I wanna talk to you, but I wanna hide from everyone.”

Live Review: Thank You Scientist, Satan’s Hollow Manchester, 22nd Feb 2020

IMG_20200222_201130-01One of the most frustrating first world problems that comes with running a music blog, especially one covering new acts and niche genres, is discovering incredible bands and artists from across the globe that you may never get to see live. I was worried that Thank You Scientist would be in that category for a good long while yet; a real blow as, being the most exciting prog act around and our 2019 album of the year winners, they were also near the top of my list of bands I most wanted to see. In a stunning stroke of good fortune however, TYS decided to embark on a UK tour. Despite everything from stormy weather to closed rail links battling to keep me away, I was determined that this was one show I was not gonna miss! Continue reading

Top Tracks: Kate Vogel – Glad It’s You

It’s hard to say goodbye, and it’s even harder to admit to yourself that it’s for the best. They say when you truly love someone you put their happiness before your own, even if it means that they’re better off with someone else. A truly noble gesture on paper, but in practice how many of us are really strong enough to be so selfless. ‘Glad It’s You’ plays as a letter to an ex’s new partner, acknowledging all the things they give them that you never could, and wishing them both the best for the future as everyone deserves to know love and happiness. I’m not sure I know many people that have the strength and maturity to even admit such a thing to themselves, let alone articulate those thoughts into a gorgeous folk ballad and share it with the world. The candor, sincerity and tenderness shown in this track stands as a real testament to Kate Vogel’s strength of character and her remarkable ability as a songwriter. In both its music and its sentiment, ‘Glad It’s You’ is one of the most beautiful songs I’ve heard in a good while.

Top Tracks: Hannah Grace – Blue

It’s been well documented that we’re all our own harshest critics, but something you rarely see mentioned is that we’re also our own best friends. When we are at our lowest, more often than not it falls on us to pull ourselves up out of the darkness. In essence ‘Blue’ is all about self love, about being so exhausted and exasperated with feeling down that you channel every last bit of energy you possess into feeling positive. That positivity simply radiates from this track, from its earworm melodies, from its stunning soulful vocals, and from the golden glow of its gorgeous retro video. It is the kind of song that just lights up the room. After a string of stripped back piano ballads it’s wonderful to hear Belwood favourite Hannah Grace releasing music to make you want to get up and dance and cast all your doubts and worries aside. While we may often have to pull ourselves up out of the darkness, often I find it is joyful songs like this that help light the way forward.

Top Tracks: A Choir of Ghosts – Sinner in Rapture

Making an important statement about society and the world around us through music is often associated these days with music that is fiery and energetic, with the likes of punk and rap etc. Meaningful messages in music can trace their ancestry back to very different styles however; in simple folk songs carrying messages of peace and in the voices coming together to sing of equality in traditional gospel. These songs didn’t unite people by fanning their anger, instead they appealed to something deeper inside all of us, something far more spiritual and indescribable. ‘Sinner in Rapture’ does much the same thing as it shares a frustration at how society sets up all young people to fail, to strive and struggle just to survive without truly living. This latest track from Scandinavian artist A Choir of Ghosts, taken from his forthcoming debut album An Ounce Of Gold, shares his longing to break free, for the broken system to crumble to ruin, through his dark and earnest vocals, soaring string arrangements and uplifting choral segments. It’s a song that ignites a very different kind of fire, not some bright flash but one that burns long and brings people together out of the darkness.

Top Tracks: John Adams – Kiss Every Stranger

When it comes to love, finding “The One” is like finding a needle in a haystack. In fact that would be a massive understatement. In reality it’s more like trying to find a needle in a haystack without knowing what a needle even is. We like to think we have a “type” and it’s just a case of ticking off the right boxes, but love doesn’t follow logic. Sometimes opposites attract and you fall for someone you never thought you would. Over time your priorities may change and you may find yourself looking for different things. And sometimes we can get hung up on the wrong person or meet the right person at the wrong time. All this means that we don’t know what we’re looking for until we find it, and there are no shortcuts on that journey, the only way forward is to keep looking. That search is the basis for the brilliant new single from John Adams. Following on from last year’s stunning EP No White Lies, ‘Kiss Every Stranger’ reflects on the struggle of searching the one and the demoralising feeling it can bring, but it also carries an undercurrent of hope that they’re out there somewhere and keeps faith in the fact that true love will win out in the end.