Top Tracks: The Hip Abduction – Can You Feel It

This latest track from Florida based collective The Hip Abduction is like the musical equivalent of someone who makes friends wherever they go. You know the kind of person, someone that’s universally popular; no one has a bad word to say about them, and they’re loved by people from all walks of life. ‘Can You Feel It’ would be equally at home on heavy rotation on a top 40 station, blaring out of a club in Ibiza in the height of summer, or being sang back at the band from onlookers at some indie festival. I’d struggle to think of another song from recent years that would be such a welcome addition to so many vastly different crowds. All about the sensation of facing a defining decision, a choice that will become a turning point in your life, ‘Can You Feel It’ delivers its message with a mix of infectious synthpop and emphatic drums. Even if this never becomes a worldwide chart-topping hit, it feels like it should be.

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Top Tracks: Callum Pitt – Away From The Rousing Parades

Two worlds collide on this latest single from up and coming Newcastle based singer/songwriter Callum Pitt. ‘Away From The Rousing Parades’ opens with folk finger-picking and an airy atmosphere that conjures an image of an endless natural expanse, just begging to be explored. These timeless Americana vibes are shaken up however when Callum throws some homegrown British indie into the mix, combining the raw heartland vibes with some bright melodies, big hooks and an invigorating burst of energy. All about not comparing yourself to others and finding comfort in following your own path, this uplifting single carries an unavoidable air of positivity. A swirling cocktail of influences from both sides of the Atlantic, this intoxicating new track is sure to warm your heart.

Top Tracks: Georgia Blackwell – Stranger

Some of the most enduring pieces of music ever written have been break-up songs, and ‘Stranger’ is a fine example as to why. When a song is written from the heart, like this track from London based singer Georgia Blackwell’s debut EP Good Intentions, it gives the message far more potency. When you feel someone expressing their innermost thoughts and troubles in their work it resonates more deeply with those walking a similar path. It helps even more so to adorn sadness in beauty, and there’s an abundance of beauty to be found here. While the arrangement is lush and refined in its way, it takes a step back to allow Georgia’s enrapturing soulful vocals to take centre stage. Understated and affecting, ‘Stranger’ is a sublime offering of old-school soul that will assuredly find a place in your heart, no matter how broken.

Top Tracks: Flo – Velvet

As blissfully smooth as its name suggests, this new song from London based artist Flo is an elegant and engaging work of beauty. With gentle piano and brushed drum beats that fall like raindrops, strings that soar like a songbird over verdant fields, and vocals as soothing as the sweetest lullaby, this track carries a truly timeless feel. Written from the perspective of her parents, and even featuring them on violin, ‘Velvet’ offers a cinematic atmosphere that leaves you feeling as immersed in your own story as the one that the song itself weaves. It’s a song made for those “staring out of the window and contemplating life” moments, and as it draws you in you begin to forget that a world outside ‘Velvet’ exists. This sweet and sophisticated track is almost too good at what it does, offering the most entrancing and exquisite atmosphere of the year.

Top Tracks: Echo Nebraska – Follow Me

“I won’t let tragedy hang over me” – a laudable decision, but by no means an easy one. After losing their bassist Gunn Park to cancer, it’s understandable that the loss would have a big impact on the creation of Echo Nebraska’s new album. But rather than dwell on what can’t be changed, these Vancouver folk rockers have made sure that their new record Hold Up to the Fire celebrates all the joy and love in life that’s still there to be cherished. Lead single ‘Follow Me’ is a prime example. Boasting big hooks and some fantastic violin, the track reminds us of the people who are always there for us when we need them, and that with our loved one’s by our side we can overcome any adversity. Perfect for fans of Mumford & Sons and The Lumineers, this wonderfully uplifting track is a welcome reminder not to take what we have for granted, and be thankful for the people that bring us joy and comfort.

Top Tracks: Welfare – What I Know, I Know With You

If you’re looking for a song more tranquil and soothing than even your sweetest dreams then I have found the perfect track for you. This sun-drenched new song from Pat Whelan, aka Welfare, is all that and more. ‘What I Know, I Know With You’, taken from his new EP Useful Toil, is a shot of pure serenity to help sooth you on even the most troubled of days. Though it may have been written off the grid in the Welsh Marches, this track is far more reminiscent of a carefree stint in the south of France. You can just imagine this track as the perfect soundtrack for a montage of cruising through the Riviera or down a winding road alongside idyllic vineyards. The lush and dreamy soundscape at work here lends itself to creating one of the most blissful pieces of music that I’ve heard in a long time.

Top Tracks: The Snuts – Seasons

It’s not often you see a band undertake a meteoric rise anymore, so when a band like that comes around you feel the need to sit up and pay attention. Having amassed over a million streams just of their early demos, without any proper promotion, the buzz around this Scottish band is almost palpable. And having just performed at TRNSMT is sure to further fan the flames of this word of mouth phenomenon. Their first proper single ‘Seasons’ comes out all guns blazing, showing a determination to live up to the high standard they’re already set themselves. Big memorable riffs, a driving bass line, wonderfully expressive drums and hooks reminiscent of Catfish and the Bottlemen’s early work… what can I say besides that it’s one of the most accomplished indie tracks of 2018?  It seems a forgone conclusion that The Snuts are Scotland’s next big band, the only question that remains is how big?

Top Tracks: Passenger – Hell Or High Water

If the video of singer/songwriter extraordinaire Mike Rosenberg walking a lonely desert road wasn’t already a dead giveaway, this new track from Passenger breathes new life into his signature folk sound with a hearty dose of Americana. While the backdrop may be barren, ‘Hell Or High Water’ is undoubtedly full of life. Taken from his upcoming album Runaway, out 31st August, the song draws inspiration from the likes of Ryan Adams to craft a hook-heavy break-up ballad with a rich and fleshed out heartland feel. Recalling the inevitable overthinking that follows the end of a relationship, wondering where things went wrong and whether it was avoidable or simply meant to be, this track is up there with Passenger’s best. Offering airy Americana, a soft country twang and a sublime swell of strings, not to mention Mike’s unique vocals and relatable lyricism, ‘Hell Or High Water’ carries a universal appeal and is a welcome companion for one’s own search for answers.

Top Tracks: Alex Francis – Free

After being blown away by his track ‘All I’ve Got‘ last year, the incredible Alex Francis is back. His new single ‘Free’ shows a different, more soulful side to him, as it shares its message about not letting doubts hold you back from living the life you want. The lush instrumentation and flawless production brings this song to a whole other level. The superb bass tone really drives the song forward and the little tripped out R&B flourishes make the track shimmer like heat haze on the horizon on some golden summer’s day. There’s a lot of new elements to be found here, but it stays the same where it really counts. ‘Free’ still boasts Alex’s wonderfully powerful and versatile voice. and the same masterful hooks that you could just sit and listen to for hours. Slick, infectious and effortlessly cool, after this track I almost get the impression that Alex Francis can do no wrong.

Top Tracks: Deep.Sleep – Orange English Sun

We hear a lot about musical trends, but not so much about lyrical trends. I certainly feel however that there’s been a rise in nostalgia driven songs that recall the adventures, and misadventures, of youth. Most of these however deal with a longing for those days gone by, and lament at how soon things seem to change around us. The new single from Newcastle based indie pop quartet Deep.Sleep bucks the curve by simply revelling in the good times. Instead of bemoaning the fact that these happy memories are stuck in the past, ‘Orange English Sun’ carries the simple yet potent message that we should take heart in having been fortunate enough to have those experiences in the first place. The endearing and innocent lyricism, paired with the effervescent riffs and skittering drums, makes this love letter to youth the perfect summer anthem for anyone still young at heart.