With just over a month to go until the release of highly anticipated EP ‘Good People. Bad Habits.’ Dan Bettridge has gifted us with another slice of what we can expect, in the form of latest single Sign.
Following a hiatus from releasing music since 2019. The dawn of 2021 saw the appearance of initial ‘Good People. Bad Habits.’ offering, Habitat. The electro style composition was unheard of from Dan Bettridge before now. Yet, layering synths against a cool percussion provided a fresh vibrance, and the ability to add a new genre, into an already impressive repertoire. Alongside EP co-producer Minas, Dan Bettridge is embracing a bold experimental style, and we like it.
Sign affirms what had been pre-empted from gorgeously emotive April release Love Ain’t For Everyone. Heavy in sentiment and flooded with memories. Dan Bettridge evokes a softer, more sultry sound, that certainly knows how to get pulses racing.
Placing vocals at the forefront, the emphasis is lyrical, captivated by moody blue vocals. Stirring our senses and brooding nostalgia. With co-lyricists Hannah Graceand Martin Luke Brown at his side, it was clear that Sign was destined to swim with emotional depth.
Having awakened a new era within his music. Dan Bettridge stands unapologetic and unafraid. Brave and bold. Words can barely emphasise the evolution we have witnessed from this musician.
Whether it is a period of growth, or a period of reflection. Old stirring emotions or a contemporary change. What remains, is that Dan Bettridge has the ability to tap into our most inner emotions. Capturing fleeting moments of his life in sheer beauty through the medium of music.
We await ‘Good People. Bad Habits.’ with bated breath.
Stream ‘Sign’ on all platforms now via Channel Analog Records
Rona Mac is a musical enigma nestled in the heart of Pembrokeshire, West Wales. Wind swept by the sea, and mysteriously combed by the countryside. Debut album Sheelah was nothing shy of mesmerising. Aching with earnest acoustics, laced against licks of fierce, raw lyrical honesty. Rona Mac set our souls alight with an untamed DIY approach, that resulted in the most confessional, heartfelt body of work.
Often so bold as to go where no lyricist has gone before, Rona Mac’s charm exudes from her unwavering realness. Writing, performing, mixing and mastering initial indie-folk tracks alone. Rona relished in clattering makeshift instruments together to create song. Curating her debut in the cosy corner of a caravan. Carefully extracting each passing thought, each pang of a memory, each pestering desire to scream out how she truly felt. To capture songs that played out like snapshots of her life, in the hope of awakening and inspiring others.
Returning in 2021 with latest single ‘Weapon’. Rona Mac is out to make her mark on the music industry, and make an impact she certainly does. Breaking boundaries, Rona soars with a newfound untamed sound, as ‘Weapon’ quickly engulfs each and every one of its listeners. Brooding over the bark of a heavy bass guitar, before bursting into the addictive fizz of an indie-pop anthem. Gone are the pots and pans as makeshift drums, and welcomed are the grazes from electric guitar strings. This meaner, moodier style adds an unexpected but gorgeous grit. Allowing Rona Mac to delve even deeper into her intoxicating lyrical honesty.
Expansive and undeniably different, ‘Weapon’ is musically miles away from debut DIY album Sheelah. Yet this intriguing switch of styles shows clear progression for Rona Mac, and will leave listeners desperately needing to hear more.
A standout symbol for queer identity, a blazing feminist icon, bundled up in dog-eared folk tenderness. Rona Mac is the glorious hippie muse we all yearn to be, and will certainly yearn to listen to.
Stream ‘Weapon’ on all platforms now via Rose Parade Recording Co.
As Spring bursts into bloom, our favourite queen of hearts Rebecca Hurn returns with her stunning single, Panic. Due for release on 30th April, but available to pre-save now. The single is a follow-up to the gorgeously festive Something About Christmas and October’s mesmerising Love Like This. Written among the bustling romantic boulevards of New York City, almost 2 years to the date. Asides from an intimate live performance at Bleecker Street’s The Bitter End, Hurn has kept this latest surprise single close to her chest until now.
Deeply personal, Panic is a poignant pop track that explores the highs and the lows that we can go through at the beginning of a new relationship. Hand in hand, Hurn sweeps us away with majestic song writing, cradled by the caress of sweetened vocal chords. Striking the balance just right, between story-telling and song. Instruments are perfectly paired, as gentle acoustics glide across verses, and the chorus breaks with building percussion. Bold enough to make a memorable impact, just as a quickened heartbeat would when caught in the moment.
A singer songwriter drawing largely upon her own experiences for inspiration. Rebecca Hurn divulges music as a memoir. Heartbreakingly honest, leaving no emotion unexplored, or a word left unsaid. Panic is poignant yet perfect, as it captures those inner monologues that we often shy away from expressing ourselves.
Following the intimate debut performance of Panic in New York, Rebecca Hurn described the tracks meaning herself:
“I have this thing where I think…. when I’m like – I start seeing somebody – Oh my God I know how this is going to end and it’s never nice – so I think when it’s good ….I’m like Oh God when is this going to go wrong! So that is what this is kind of about.”
This keen ability to match unhindered lyrics, with a soft and almost delicate soundscape, allows Hurn to truly tap into theemotions of her listeners. There is an air of wonder and magic to her music, with its twinkling acoustic strums and patters of percussion. Yet also that firm grounding from its emotive meaning, and a compellingly raw human aspect that yearns from the aching truth in her vocals. Creating music that makes us feel alive, by making us feel.
Produced and recorded by Cardiff-based Lee Jon House, Panic is a beautiful single from a mesmerising musician. It is with excitement that we wait to behold what the rest of 2021 has in-store for Rebecca Hurn.
With an appearance at The Isle of Wight Festivalset for September. To our delight, it won’t be long until Rebecca Hurn will be enchanting audiences once again.
Mr Bewlay is an eccentric musician, determined to re-define everything that we know about music. From the bright and bubbly Her Name is Juniper to the sombre piano ballads of Fake Yourself. Bewlay is shaking off genres and shaking up our eardrums. Yearning that we explore as many new sounds and styles as possible. Proudly breaking away from any constraints of the mainstream, Bewlay paves his own beautiful path, and it’s a road that we certainly want to join him on.
Latest track Dan “The Don” Wilson introduces itself with a thumping 80s synth line. Pair this with marvellously kooky lyrics about central character “The Don”, and Bewlay strikes gold yet again. From music that is mind-warpingly mesmerising, to a story unusually fascinating. Bewlay makes no apologies for allowing all forms of their creativity to flow free.
On the topic of his latest release, Mr Bewlay discusses:
“Dan “The Don” Wilson is really a deep look into opposites. I teamed up with my old friend Dai Griffiths [producer] again and together we built up this song from fragments and incomplete ideas. At one point we didn’t know where it was heading and let the song guide itself, it was very exciting! I really wanted to convey the stark difference between the commercial instrumentation and the surreal lyrics and I wanted that to be the underlying theme of the track, that of beauty and ugliness.”
Not merely content with releasing music that is any way “normal”, Bewlay shines as a charade character himself. With an ingenious, read between the lines style of song-writing. On this latest track, Bewlay pens lyrics that purposefully don’t make sense.
Off the wall and intentionally strange. Dan “The Don” Wilson unfolds into music that we are not meant to understand. Ingulfed instead by thoughts of “Triple Decker Bacon Supremes” we allow ourselves to be transported into this artist’s colourful world. A place where the ordinary surely becomes extraordinary, Bewlay provides a musical thrill ride full of twists and turns. As a listener, you never know what to expect next, and that is what makes Mr Bewlay so bewilderingly brilliant to behold.
Produced by Dai Griffiths, Dan “The Don” Wilson is the 2nd instalment in Mr Bewlay’s ‘Synthwave Trilogy’. This independent release has incorporated multi-media assets from likeminded independent artists. Including bespoke pieces from Veronika Purplesfinx, Stephanie Gunnz, Emily Irvin and Rose Ashley. The cover art for the single was digitally created by the Irish artist Cor McGowan and fulfils the theme of contrast with the uncanny-valley burger, dripping with meat, grease and cheese.
Stream ‘Dan “The Don” Wilson’ on all platforms now
An EP from Welsh indie-quintet Campfire Social has been highly anticipated for some time now. Following the stirring buzz that swarmed from singles released throughout 2020 and early 2021. Latest EP release ‘Everything Changed’ encapsulates the excitement and intoxicating energy that has exuded from their music.
Taking a big bite out of 90s emo-pop, with a heady injection of 00s indie vibrance. Campfire Social create a sound that reverberates delight across audiences. Tapping into different moods and genres, each song on their brand-new EP showcases its own unique style.
Opening with EP-entitled track Everything Changed, we are catapulted into the melodic atmosphere that Campfire Social create so well. Dual vocal harmonies from lead Tom and co-vocalist Carrie pair gorgeously together, delivering blissful indie goodness to the core.
Lacing guitar-laden melodies against thought-provoking lyrics. It’s Not Goodbye (To Those We Left Behind) has all the charm of indie-pop, with pockets of punk nostalgia. Musically breezy and upbeat, but lyrically emotive and stirring. These two elements curate together so pleasantly, you could be forgiven for dancing over the tracks tear-jerking, deeper meaning.
Stand out favourite, Awake in the Wake of a Wave, builds beautifully. Truly reminiscent of a rolling oceans tide. Delicate and light at first, with minimal instruments and soft-toned vocals. Lyrics focus on the uncertainty and dread that can swallow us when we feel trapped in situations. As the tempo of the track picks up, and the lyrics switch to the hope of finding happiness in new circumstances. The mid-section bursts into life. Combining a variety of instruments, to erupt in euphoric music, that is such a joy to listen to.
To cool the tempo down, Campfire Social proceed with the hazy, dreamlike Speak Louder. Washing over us with the softest, most comforting hints of acoustics. Although do not be fooled, this isn’t a track mistaken for being “entirely acoustic”. Giving us just a subtle taste of the bands ability to explore more ambient soundscapes. It does bring a smile to your face to discover that pop of ingenious flair Campfire Social possess, when you hear an instrument such as a banjo, join the mix.
Although not to disappoint fans of those purely poignant, spine-tingling blues. On the Subject of Death is the EPs most heartbreaking listen. Providing a few minutes to pause and reflect, over what is otherwise a playful and experimental sound. Instruments are stripped-back, vocals soar at the forefront. The track provides clarity and calm, giving us just a moment to capture ourselves before Campfire Social close their EP. Final track Wherever Your Rest Your Head is an ode to American pop-punk, proving to be the perfect musical equivalent of a polaroid snapshot. Embodying jangled guitars and sharp defined vocals, the song sparks memories of first loves and the giddiness of youth.
An emotional rollercoaster ride from start to finish. ‘Everything Changed’ really does shine, celebrating music and all it stands for. Brimming with nostalgic throwbacks, a vibrant medley of sound and inspiring lyrics. Campfire Social have captured our thoughts, feelings and emotions through the medium of song. Tuning into those momentous highs and crushing lows, with each jangled guitar strum or vocal note latching onto our inner-monologue in harmonious symmetry.
Stream ‘Everything Changed’ on all platforms now via Mai 68 Records
Expanding on their impressive indie sound. Latest single ‘Early Dreamer’ sees Cardiff-based Twin Stranger introduce a refreshing twist on the genre, with a reflective and brooding, yet melodic breakaway track. As waves of psychedelic rock and power pop burst through, creating music that is both vibrant and immersive.
Opening lyrics battle the ever-tempting pull between saint and sinner, with lead Alex McConnachie enthralling us in the story of ‘Early Dreamer’. Interwoven among cool crisp guitars, and percussion hooks that latch onto its ever so catchy chorus. The single feels hypnotic and transportive, whilst lyrically able to explore the daily grind that everyday life can entail.
‘Early Dreamer’ really puts a spotlight on the fascinating capabilities that Twin Stranger have, to delve into such open and meaningful lyrics. Whilst maintaining a music style so uplifting, it scorches us with rays of hypothetical sunshine. This glorious contrast is often unseen at such an early stage in a band’s career, giving listeners an intriguing unique perspective, fuelling the momentum of what Twin Stranger are all about.
Placing emphasis on strong artistic collaboration from start to finish. McConnachie describes how Twin Stranger passionately craft every aspect of their music to perfection, including its artwork:
“The artwork for each release and visual aspect of things is very important, Joe comes up with a concept usually in the form of a little drawing or painting. It really feels like we’re building up to something.”
Building up to something, they certainly are. With ‘Early Dreamer’ affirming Twin Stranger as the up-and-coming band that you will certainly want to keep your eyes and ears on throughout 2021.
Hopes of an EP release are surely on the horizon, as this latest single continues on paving the road to success for Twin Stranger. Arriving off the back of a string of sublime singles, that firmly cemented their foundations in 2020. Anthemic debut ‘Tears of Joy’ was closely followed by summertime scorcher ‘Crushed’, preceded by the cathartic ‘White’ mid-year. All of which received high praise locally, and even gained the four-piece oversees exposure from US radio stations KROQ and SiriusFM. It is beyond inspiring that what initially began as a bedroom project for McConnachie, has grown to become so much more.
Twin Stranger are Alex McConnachie (Vocals), Joe Tobin (Synth/Guitar), Eric Karvik (Drums) and Josh Newington (Bass).
Stream ‘Early Dreamer’ on all platforms now via Rose Parade Record Co.
After a hiatus from releasing music, Swansea favourites Trampolene return with rousing spoken-word track ‘Come Join Me In Life’.
Fronted by Jack Jones, Trampolene are certainly not a band to shy away from. Boasting music that is unapologetically loud, outspoken, and bold. This 3-piece have garnered a reputation for packed-out, reckless, and brilliant live shows.
Quickly becoming infamous for their ability to combine raucous indie rock music and spoken word poetry, capable of intoxicating any chaos-hungry audience. Future crowd pleaser ‘Come Join Me In Life’ elevates Trampolene even further, as it delights with a no holds barred, gorgeously untamed approach. Definitely one that Jones will have fans reeling back to him at every upcoming Trampolene gig.
Stirring, and at times intentionally and purposefully unsettling. The singer-songwriter addresses us as though we are a boisterous crowd pouring down a flooded street. Jones at the forefront, demanding justice for each and every one of our lives.
A modern-day wordsmith, delivering poignantly punchy points and fiercely frank truths. ‘Come Join Me In Life’ is poetry that invades your mind and overtakes your voice. Etching itself upon your memory, with an eerily divine presence. “I belong in this poem and I belong in this pen. I belong in your head every now and then.” Through gloriously unrefined and powerful words, Jones has made clear impact, as the phrase “working-class hero” surely springs to mind. Aiming to empower and encourage, walking the line between rebellion and redemption, with glorious reckless abandon.
Heightening emotions, challenging thought processes, and demanding us to firmly grasp what we want out of life with both hands. ‘Come Join Me In Life’ fuels political fires and breaks from convention, as the track roars in solidarity with recent cultural and historical movements. Jones taking centre stage as that pillar so desperately needed, to prop up every single underrepresented voice. Giving much needed encouragement and support at a time where we must stand united to survive.
‘Come Join Me In Life’ is out now via Strap Originals
A fresh face in South Wales’ indie music scene, singer-songwriter Alcie Bela is mystifying. Perfectly pairing dark witted lyrics, to a delicate acoustic folk sound. The musician is currently recording her upcoming EP at a studio deep within the heart of Welsh woodland. Ensuring the seeds of her kindled earthy spirit are sown. As debut single ‘Don’t Leave Me Hanging’ arrived in August of 2020. We gazed in awe, upon music that was refreshingly different. Without doubt leaving many of us eager to hear more.
Vocals sharp to the tongue, Alcie Bela is able to pierce through any softened music backdrop. Usually comprising a flurry of acoustic strums and the patter of drums. Allowing us to envisage Bela as the burning flames themselves, rather than those who gather around the campfire. A musician that draws influence from the powerfully soft Aldous Harding, Daughter and Sia, entwined with poetic notions from Tom Waits and Leonard Cohen. Bela swiftly meanders between melancholy musings and a gorgeously rousing rage. Exuding a sound so rich and vibrant, yet fascinatingly thought-provoking.
Latest single ‘Forest’ strengthens Bela further again. First to be released from her forthcoming EP, the track delves into a soundscape even more expansive than her previous debut ‘Can’t Leave Me Hanging’. We feel the singer take on an up-tempo, almost cool country approach to her style. Shaking off any past preconceptions of “soft” and presenting a confident musician, firmly comfortable in her own footsteps. Bela struts through her sophomore single, as waves of empowerment and fierce feminism shine from her music. While bold and unconstrained lyrics call for something more meaningful, than a string of bad one-night stands.
We ponder whether Alcie Bela looks inward for her bitter-sweet vocal vengeance, or if her words are instead outspoken projections towards society at large? One thing is for certain, this fiery and captivating musician is surely expected to set the music scene alight. As fractious yet gentle folk music fuels the fires of her enigmatic creativity.
Horizons are set to embark on their Independent Venue Week Tour of Wales. Between the 25th-31st of January prepare to be enthralled by exciting sets from the incredible new Horizons prodigies, as well as performances by many other Welsh bands, including special appearances from HoldingAbsence and Junior. As sessions from the artists are streamed online, there is a focus on not just marvellous music talent, but also a spotlight on various venues across Wales.
The Horizons tour will celebrate and champion Independent Venues, in need of as much love and support as we can muster, following the unprecedentedly tough backlash of COVID-19. Although we won’t be attending these glorious Welsh venues in person for now, we can certainly be present in spirit, with Horizons streaming sets at 12pm each day for viewers to enjoy at home.
Immerse yourself in the best new musical talent Wales has to offer, right from the heart of our beloved independent venues. From mountain top Neuadd Ogwen in Bethesda, to the west coast’s Queen’s Hall in Narberth. We journey to the modern Galeri in Caernarfon, and flow into inner city hubs Sin City in Swansea and Le Pub in Newport. Across the upcoming days, Horizons Independent Venue Week Tour of Wales will explore some of our most cherished venues. Celebrating and showcasing their crucial role, fostering the next generation of Welsh music talent.
Bethan Elfyn, Project Manager of Horizons for BBC Wales said:
“We’ve been watching helplessly as Covid-19 has kept venues and theatres from opening, keeping communities that need each other apart, keeping us from watching, supporting and growing talent in Wales, and keeping us from the benefits of wellbeing and personal growth that music brings to life.”
“Independent Venue Week is a chance to celebrate everything about our map of venues around Wales, the maverick producers and promoters behind the venues, and the talent that would normally fill the empty buildings with life. The tour is a celebration of what we have, what we miss, and a nod to the future when we can get back to the community that we’ve missed.”
The line-up of musicians to perform, include hip hop artist Mace the Great, r&b singer Faith, rock band Those Damn Crows, urban siblings Leila McKenzie and K(e)nz, country vocalist Jodie Marie, alternative singer-songwriter and producer Rona Mac, low fi enigma Ennio The Little Brother, Gwilym frontman Ifan Pritchard, blues rock pair Alffa, female duo Body Water, and electro pop artist Malan.
In what will be a rather special but poignant week for music, Horizons are taking the opportunity to bring us closer together. Sharing sets from artists, your stories and our memories of music at its very greatest, as emerging talent has thrived through independent venues. Show your love for your favourite venues by streaming and sharing throughout the week, with Horizons.
Despite the unprecedented challenges that 2020 has brought upon music, I have been incredibly inspired by the continued efforts of musicians and the entire industry. Those who have dedicated so much of themselves to creating. Doing all that they can to bring joy, in the darkest of times.
To celebrate their unwavering determination, I am so pleased to share with you, a list of 5 of my favourite EPs from this year.
Rosehip Teahouse ‘Chillin in the Void’
Wrapped in serenity and sweetness, Rosehip Teahouse’s first EP of 2020 quite literally transports its listeners away to another realm. From the softest twinkles of synths, to dreamy lullaby vocals from lead singer Faye Rogers. ‘Chillin in the Void’ is a completely mesmerising offering from the Cardiff-quintet. In tune with both music and emotion, Rosehip Teahouse infuse gentle instruments against tender lyrics. Enabling them to create a blend of indie-pop, that is poignant, but oh so pleasant. Yet, if one EP wasn’t enough, swiftly following ‘Chillin in the Void’ was latest EP ‘Fine’, another gorgeous slice of music goodness from Rosehip Teahouse.
Bursting with all of the brilliant enthusiasm and flamboyance that we have grown to expect from Cardiff’s Buzzzard Buzzard Buzzard.‘The Non-Stop EP’ is home to seventies power struts and a cool retro vibe. Certainly a delight to discover during a rather desolate year. Buzzard Buzzard Buzzard have a keen sense of embracing music from the past, but ensure they bring it bang up to date, with their own unique twist. Dancing with modern-day politics and an unabashed jest. We groove from the fun Double Denim Hop to the satirical quips of Hollywood Actors. With ‘The Non Stop EP’ catapulting this rising band headfirst into the spotlight.
Hauntingly beautiful, Manchester musician Lindsay Munroe entrances through debut EP ‘Our Heaviness’. Set against the backdrop of a rigid religious past, Munroe bestows her anguish in gorgeous confession. Pairing eerily muted vocals with a beguiling soundscape, ‘Our Heaviness’ is an EP bearing tracks that latch onto their listeners, and resonate within our very core. With Munroe evoking such a bold honesty, her music is profoundly moving, particularly the track Split. There is a captivating literary-feel present throughout her songwriting, that implores us to pry deeper into her inner-psyche. Proving that Munroe is not only a wonderful musician, but a fascinating muse.
London-based Talk Show have been acquiring a stirring buzz around their music for some time now. From a reputation for fearsomely frantic live shows, to brooding new single releases. 2020 saw the band present their highly anticipated EP ‘These People’. Boasting brash anger and unwavering lyricism, ‘These People’ is in full grasp of its gritty sound. Frontman Harrison Swann, an intoxicating enigma, standing centre stage among a band who channel all of their energy into these fast-paced, unforgettable anthems – look no further than Petrol Head, if you need clarification. Dominating a sinister charm, Talk Show rouse an indescribable impulse, dragging listeners kicking and screaming toward their addictively fierce new breed of punk.
Bittersweet and bold, Phoebe Green portrays the delirious intimacies of a corroding relationship on latest EP ‘I Can’t Cry For You’. Taking the listener on a hypnotic thrill ride, Green rebounds from the hard-driven indie of Golden Girl, to the distorted psychedelia in Grit. Unhinging senses and pushing the boundaries of every comfort zone, on her lyrically bruising but brilliant EP. Awakening a new persona, Green glows with flame-orange hair and a witty humour. As ‘I Can’t Cry For You’ bares a musician not afraid to toy with our inner-most thoughts and feelings.
2020 has seen Phoebe Green literally “Reinvent” herself. From a striking new single in July, to her current EP release. The Manchester based singer-songwriter has awoken a new persona, and she is certainly not one to be messed with. Possessing flame orange hair, and a dark witty humour, Green is flourishing. All while raining a glorious revenge down on whoever wronged her. As her latest EP ‘I Can’t Cry For You’ stands bold, beautiful and brilliant. Green is turning heads, and it is clear to hear why.
Each track on the EP delivers an unwavering frank lyricism. Echoing a similar approach from her 2016 album ‘02:00am’, yet Green appears scorned on this latest release, and there is no denying the reflection of that within her music. ‘I Can’t Cry For You’ is a phenomenal depiction of a decaying relationship, captivating the listener throughout. On opening track Reinvent, Green adopts a dark and brooding vocal approach. Bittersweet as it meanders through a turbulent scenario, exploring the self-identity struggles that arise when this finally ends. Instruments are kept low and biting, adding to the moody ambience that builds throughout. We feel this intensity deepen further on Grit. With Green’s vocals descending to an almost delirious, hazy lull. The entire atmosphere becomes unnerving, conveying the deranged feelings that can often accompany a narcissistic relationship.
Switching the tempo back up on Golden Girl, Green’s familiar light-hearted vocals return. An upbeat, but direct track. Golden Girl snipes at its subject, as though Green is directly addressing a disgruntled ex-lover. With a fierce femme approach, Green asserts herself beautifully. Standing out as an ‘I Can’t Cry For You’ anthem for getting over someone. Closing the EP is final track A World I Forgot, another hypnotic psychedelic indulgence from the indie musician. Matching the vibrant orange and green splatters that adorn the EP’s cover art. Green sways between hardened indie power-pop and swirling psychedelia, instantaneously. Highlighting the emotional and psychological challenges, that can be inflicted by a chaotic lifestyle and undeserving lovers.
Whether it is through a satirical swirl of synth, or the clout of a full band. Green’s vocals shine, wherever she lends her voice. With an ever-growing confidence, ‘I Can’t Cry For You’ has seen Phoebe Green soar.
We wait with bated breath, to marvel at the heights a sophomore album will soon take her.
Stream ‘I Can’t Cry For You’ on all platforms now via Chess Club Records
Stepping out of the flamboyance and fun of previous release ‘Her Name Is Juniper’. For new double-A side ‘Fake Yourself’, Mr Bewlay takes on the far more somber role of an eccentric lone pianist, and the results are nothing short of sublime.
Stirring vocals and soft piano keys entrance, with Bewlay knowing just how to enchant our minds. The title-track explores self-identity and the pressures society can inflict. Bathed in an ebony and ivory soundscape, gorgeously quirky vocals are layered on top. Without the use of synths, the single allows us to hear those vocals in their entirety. As lyrics deepen in intensity so do they, and the peacock-feather display of pitch and range, is truly spectacular.
Treading into a softer sound, the single’s accompanying track ‘Lovelife’ tenderly touches upon rejection, heartbreak, and all of the emotions that manifest in-between. It is unflinchingly truthful, and cloaked again, in beautiful piano music. Showcasing Mr Bewlay’s talents as not only a keen vocalist, but a fine pianist. A fact that is prominent even more so, on bonus instrumental track ‘Stentorian’.
Described by Mr Bewlay as “retrospective and inwards looking”, ‘Fake Yourself’ is a brave expose from a confident individual, who admitted a slight nervousness in releasing such raw and unhindered music. Upon listening, we yearn that those nerves melt away, as ‘Fake Yourself’ is a mesmerising peek into the mind and talent of a fascinating musician.
Cradling tender emotion in the palm of their hands, is a skill that Cardiff indie-pop band Rosehip Teahouse have completely perfected. Boasting a back catalogue of gorgeously cathartic music. Latest EP ‘Fine’ merges old and new tracks, entwining memories, thoughts and feelings into just shy of a blissful 15 minutes.
Swooning vocals from lead singer Faye Rogers glide ever so delicately across a soundscape of lightly placed instruments. Twinkling keyboards shimmer among a subtle pop of synths. While guitars nip, and drums dance, adding just enough grandeur to collate that “full band” sound. Rosehip Teahouse carefully ensure their blend of instruments is not overpowering, but instead provide a sound that is wholesome and pleasant to the palate.
It is a delight to rediscover gems such as ‘No Gloom’ and ‘Summer Sleep’ from very early demo recordings, alongside new singles ‘I Meant What I Said’, ‘A Million Times’ and ‘I’m Not Whole’. We hear a progression in songwriting style as Rosehip Teahouse have grown, yet cherish the emotions forever present within their music. Embodying such poignant pleasure, from their very conception as a band.
Of Rosehip Teahouse’s latest EP, Faye expresses; “The fine EP is a collection of moments that span from 2016 to now. They cover love, losing love, fighting an eating disorder that wanted to take me over completely, my unregulated emotions, dreams (both literal and metaphorical) finding some sort of meaning amongst it all and coming out the other side, slightly stronger as a result of it. A lot of the songs are re-arrangements of the very earliest Rosehip demos and it’s been really cathartic and really special to let them free with the help of the rest of the band. I hope people can relate to the songs, give them a home for a bit and feel at least a little supported in the struggles we all have staying grounded in this overwhelming world.”
‘Fine’ is without doubt, another firm favourite, more than capable of capturing hearts and bottling heartbreak. Exquisite in its fragile delivery of unwavering lyrics, Rosehip Teahouse share a true depiction of our innermost self-doubts and worries. Swathed within the most beautiful music.
Stream ‘Fine’ on all platforms now via Big Indie Records
This year has seenHorizons’ most diverse selection to date, with a record number of female and black musicians awarded funding. Putting a spotlight on the exciting growth of MOBO (music of black origin) throughout Wales.
Musicians from a range of genres have received funding to aid their career development.
If you’re unfamiliar with Horizons and the work they do. Horizons are a Welsh music collective, formed from a partnership between BBC Cymru Wales and the Arts Council of Wales. Focused on supporting Welsh musicians, producers and record labels. Horizons have an active presence on social media, and are advocates for Welsh talent. Investing, supporting, and providing a platform for music in our country to grow.
The Horizons Launchpad established in 2014, has so far helped to support more than 200 Welsh artists, in over 60 towns. Providing £210,000 worth of funding, to pay for the for likes of studio time, music equipment, promotion of releases and a multitude of projects, for the musicians selected each year.
During an extremely tough year for music as a whole. Horizons Launchpad have awarded £40,000 in total, between a mix of musicians, taking the crucial next steps in their careers. Welsh record labels High Grade Grooves (Caernarfon), Recordiau Jingcal (Cardiff) and Something Out of Nothing (Cardiff) also received funding, as Horizons deepened its support of grassroots, who foster and provide a platform for emerging talent.
Deciding which lucky applicants are chosen to receive funding, is a panel of 25 experts from across the Welsh music industry. Made up of musicians, DJs, industry representatives, radio presenters, PR, bloggers, and many more!
This year, I was given the incredible opportunity to be a part of the Horizons Launchpad Panel
Being on the launchpad panel for 2020 has been such a rewarding experience. It was amazing to see a number of applicants that were so passionate about developing their music careers. Showcasing such an innovative flair, while remaining considerate of the implications of COVID-19.
I was moved by musicians who took the DIY approach in hand, and yearned to create something otherworldly. Whether it was recognising the importance of social media self-promotion, or thinking about utilising the skills of Welsh freelancers to help with their creations. Music from all genres are bursting out of Wales, and it is clear to hear the love for music, that every single person who applied has!
The most treasured part of the process for me, was seeing the sheer determination that everyone applying possessed. It’s no secret that 2020 has brought unprecedented challenges to music, but the passion and creativity of so many of YOU, is just completely inspiring.
I want to say a huge congratulations to every artist or label awarded funding, and also a massive well done to everyone who had taken the time to apply to the Horizons Launchpad. You’ve all done yourselves, and Welsh music, extremely proud!
Horizons will be celebrating this years Launchpad Results with a multi-platform virtual festival, highlighting the new artists!
Frosty nights, cosy firesides, mulled wine, and mistletoe. December is here, Christmas is fast approaching, and serenading us this festive season is the gorgeous new single ‘Something About Christmas’ from Welsh singer-songwriter Rebecca Hurn.
‘Something About Christmas’ is mesmerising in its entire composure. From tender emotive pangs, to cosy Christmas references.
With vocals as soft and soothing as a choral choir, Hurn has crafted an exceptionally stunning Christmas song. Lacing lovelorn lyrics, amongst delicate instruments. ‘Something About Christmas’ is mesmerising in its entire composure. From tender emotive pangs, to cosy Christmas references. Hurn pairs the comforting warmth of the festivities, to the bitterly cold sting of missing a loved one, ever so beautifully.
Hurn yet again proves to be a captivatingly relatable muse, and the perfect soulmate for any lost romantic.
Allowing us a peek into her own personal diary, as the countdown to Christmas draws only nearer. Hurn shares her innermost thoughts through music and opens her heart to the listener. As ‘Something About Christmas’ swells with emotions that swirl like the twinkle of fairy lights. To follow on from the release of previous single ‘Love Like This’, Hurn yet again proves to be a captivatingly relatable muse, and the perfect soulmate for any lost romantic.
Similar in sound and style, to rival vocal competitors such as Maisie Peters and Taylor Swift. Rebecca Hurn carefully cradles fragile feelings, and enchants with the glow of all that the festive season brings. Seeking influence from favourite films, and timeless Christmas tracks. Hurn gracefully portrays her very own meaning of yuletide, by telling her story through song and transfixing each and every listener upon her journey.
Reminiscent, breath-takingly beautiful, and filled to the brim with nostalgic Christmas notions. ‘Something About Christmas’ is sincerely sublime. Surely a song that we will yearn to listen to, even as Winter comes to an end. There is such charm in its intriguing honesty, a beautiful bond formed by Hurn’s personable delivery, and a majestic magic in the building music, that glides in tempo as though falling snowflakes adorning a winter night’s sky.
‘Something About Christmas’ is a gorgeous musical gift from Rebecca Hurn, that we can truly fall in love with this, and every December, that follows.
Stream ‘Something About Christmas’ on all platforms or purchase here!
Well, it’s December 1st and Christmas is on its way. For me though, this date marks something rather special on my calendar. Today celebrates 1 year since I started ‘Becky and the Bands’, and what a year it has been!
What was just an idea in my head and a burst of enthusiasm, has grown to become something I could never have imagined. Beginning writing with nothing other than an incredible love of music, putting my thoughts out there was very scary! Yet I received such an overwhelming amount of love and support from you all, and every day since, I remain in complete awe at how much positivity and warmth you continue to show me. I cannot put into words how sincerely grateful I am. ‘Becky and the Bands’ has provided not only amazing opportunities, but also wonderful friendships, experiences and a complete adoration for the music industry.
We are all aware that 2020 has brought unprecedented challenges on the world, but there is no denying that it has hit music so earth-shatteringly hard. However, despite all of the chaos brought upon us. We continue to support, nurture, and provide for one another. Showing bold bravery in the face of uncertainty, and an unbreakable bond — That has brought us all even closer together, despite being so far apart.
Music lives within each and every one of us. It is our passion, and our comfort. It keeps us busy, and calms us down. It is our livelihood, and our lifeline. Music may not be playing as loud as we would love it to be heard right now, but if you listen close enough, then you’ll realise that WE are music. We play the instruments, plug in the speakers. Our voices, our words and our passion are what keep us going right now
Writing has been a tremendous help to me over the past year. Discovering and celebrating brilliant new music, getting to know so many lovely musicians, working with the most incredible companies, publications and individuals. Music has opened my heart to an entirely new outlook on life. However what it has shown me the most, is how hardworking, dedicated and inspiring music, and everyone who is a part of it, really is.
A huge THANK YOU to you all!
Your support this year has meant the world to me, and I’m so grateful for you!
Happy 1st Birthday
Becky and the Bands
I wanted to celebrate the amazing musicians I have written about this year!
With just over a month to go until the release of highly anticipated EP ‘Good People. Bad Habits.’ Dan Bettridge has gifted us with another slice of what we can expect, in the form of latest single Sign. Following a hiatus from releasing music since 2019. The dawn of 2021 saw the appearance of initial ‘Good People. Bad…Continue reading »
Rona Mac is a musical enigma nestled in the heart of Pembrokeshire, West Wales. Wind swept by the sea, and mysteriously combed by the countryside. Debut album Sheelah was nothing shy of mesmerising. Aching with earnest acoustics, laced against licks of fierce, raw lyrical honesty. Rona Mac set our souls alight with an untamed DIY approach, that resulted…Continue reading »
As Spring bursts into bloom, our favourite queen of hearts Rebecca Hurn returns with her stunning single, Panic. Due for release on 30th April, but available to pre-save now. The single is a follow-up to the gorgeously festive Something About Christmas and October’s mesmerising Love Like This. Written among the bustling romantic boulevards of New York City, almost 2 years to the…Continue reading »
Mr Bewlay is an eccentric musician, determined to re-define everything that we know about music. From the bright and bubbly Her Name is Juniper to the sombre piano ballads of Fake Yourself. Bewlay is shaking off genres and shaking up our eardrums. Yearning that we explore as many new sounds and styles as possible. Proudly…Continue reading »
An EP from Welsh indie-quintet Campfire Social has been highly anticipated for some time now. Following the stirring buzz that swarmed from singles released throughout 2020 and early 2021. Latest EP release ‘Everything Changed’ encapsulates the excitement and intoxicating energy that has exuded from their music. Taking a big bite out of 90s emo-pop, with a heady…Continue reading »
Expanding on their impressive indie sound. Latest single ‘Early Dreamer’ sees Cardiff-based Twin Stranger introduce a refreshing twist on the genre, with a reflective and brooding, yet melodic breakaway track. As waves of psychedelic rock and power pop burst through, creating music that is both vibrant and immersive. Opening lyrics battle the ever-tempting pull between…Continue reading »
After a hiatus from releasing music, Swansea favourites Trampolene return with rousing spoken-word track ‘Come Join Me In Life’. Fronted by Jack Jones, Trampolene are certainly not a band to shy away from. Boasting music that is unapologetically loud, outspoken, and bold. This 3-piece have garnered a reputation for packed-out, reckless, and brilliant live shows. …Continue reading »
A fresh face in South Wales’ indie music scene, singer-songwriter Alcie Bela is mystifying. Perfectly pairing dark witted lyrics, to a delicate acoustic folk sound. The musician is currently recording her upcoming EP at a studio deep within the heart of Welsh woodland. Ensuring the seeds of her kindled earthy spirit are sown. As debut single ‘Don’t…Continue reading »
Horizons are set to embark on their Independent Venue Week Tour of Wales. Between the 25th-31st of January prepare to be enthralled by exciting sets from the incredible new Horizons prodigies, as well as performances by many other Welsh bands, including special appearances from Holding Absence and Junior. As sessions from the artists are streamed…Continue reading »
Despite the unprecedented challenges that 2020 has brought upon music, I have been incredibly inspired by the continued efforts of musicians and the entire industry. Those who have dedicated so much of themselves to creating. Doing all that they can to bring joy, in the darkest of times. To celebrate their unwavering determination, I am…Continue reading »
2020 has seen Phoebe Green literally “Reinvent” herself. From a striking new single in July, to her current EP release. The Manchester based singer-songwriter has awoken a new persona, and she is certainly not one to be messed with. Possessing flame orange hair, and a dark witty humour, Green is flourishing. All while raining a glorious revenge…Continue reading »
Stepping out of the flamboyance and fun of previous release ‘Her Name Is Juniper’. For new double-A side ‘Fake Yourself’, Mr Bewlay takes on the far more somber role of an eccentric lone pianist, and the results are nothing short of sublime. Stirring vocals and soft piano keys entrance, with Bewlay knowing just how to…Continue reading »
Cradling tender emotion in the palm of their hands, is a skill that Cardiff indie-pop band Rosehip Teahouse have completely perfected. Boasting a back catalogue of gorgeously cathartic music. Latest EP ‘Fine’ merges old and new tracks, entwining memories, thoughts and feelings into just shy of a blissful 15 minutes. Swooning vocals from lead singer…Continue reading »
Horizons Cymru have announced the Welsh musicians and record labels, awarded funding from the Horizons Launchpad 2020. The 33 chosen Welsh artists/record labels awarded funding: Aleighcia Scot Eadyth Faith Foxxglove Hako Hemes High Grade Grooves HVNTER Ifan Pritchard K(E)NZ Kingkhan Leila Mckenzie Los Blancos Mace the Great Madi Magugu Malan Jones Mass Accord Mawpit Minas…Continue reading »
Frosty nights, cosy firesides, mulled wine, and mistletoe. December is here, Christmas is fast approaching, and serenading us this festive season is the gorgeous new single ‘Something About Christmas’ from Welsh singer-songwriter Rebecca Hurn. ‘Something About Christmas’ is mesmerising in its entire composure. From tender emotive pangs, to cosy Christmas references. With vocals as soft…Continue reading »
Bold and charismatic, an intoxicating charm blazes from the flamboyant powerhouse and emerging talent, that is Mr Bewlay. If personality alone is not enough to draw you in, and I dare anyone not to swoon under the spell of this captivating young musician. Latest single ‘Her Name is Juniper’ is the psychedelic spark that will…Continue reading »
With a passion for supporting emerging musicians. The exciting South Wales based initiative Forté Project, have launched their new application process. Giving six lucky individuals, the chance to join their prestigious talent development project. Previously only available to young musicians from South Wales. Following support from the PRS Foundation and the Arts Council of Wales. The Forté Project…Continue reading »
Punk rock is infamous for its love of rebellion. Rule-breaking, non-conformity and an unwavering bold stance in both style and substance. It is a genre that regularly depicts a state of turmoil, and hits back at society with a vengeance. As global politics and the state of the world at large, are currently tipping the…Continue reading »
Meet the Cheshire band, providing all the bite of a classic rock sound, with an intriguing modern twist. The Moondogz tether gritty instrument playing to moody vocal blues, and latest album ‘What’s Done Is Done’ will spark the curiosity of any classic rock fan, and grab the attention of all who dare to listen. No…Continue reading »
With a voice so soothing and tranquil, we find ourselves transported by the breathtaking beauty exuding from Welsh singer-songwriter Rebecca Hurn. Latest single ‘Love Like This’ pairs long, sweeping vocal pitches with an elegant cradle of instruments. Kept strikingly tender, through a subtle and soft musical composure. It is delicate yet daring, hereby its lyrical…Continue reading »
Bold and charismatic, an intoxicating charm blazes from the flamboyant powerhouse and emerging talent, that is Mr Bewlay. If personality alone is not enough to draw you in, and I dare anyone not to swoon under the spell of this captivating young musician. Latest single ‘Her Name is Juniper’ is the psychedelic spark that will ensure you fall head over heels for this intriguing “mista”.
Owning an eccentric Bowie-esque swagger, Mr Bewlay demands our attention from the very get-go and ‘Her Name is Juniper’ soars with effortless precision. Turning a sharp tongue to lyrics that drip in bubbly lovelorn lust, and pairing them with a melodic soundscape of synths. Showcased is a true showman, impeccably switched on to what sounds good and harnessing the electrifying capabilities of shooting to stardom, with both a driving talent and compelling alter-ego.
Oozing all of the makings of a musical muse, Mr Bewlay is mysterious, wickedly brilliant and devilishly fun. An enchanting character that dominates both their sound and style, ‘Her Name is Juniper’ is the catalyst that will surely send them to the stratosphere.
Having produced a single so strikingly catchy, Mr Bewlay can boast their intent of enchanting any and every listener they ensnare. There is no denying that ‘Her Name is Juniper’ will snake around your mind and invade your brain, nestling itself delightfully into your memory, until its firmly lodged at the top of every playlist and listened to on repeat. It is a chaotically fantastic funhouse, for all of our senses.
For fans of Adam Ant, Mr Bewlay is a musician that exudes such a delectable confidence. Something so inherently appealing is paraded by their utterly compelling uniqueness. A trait that makes them stand out and shine bright, above all others.
There is an overwhelming urge to shout loudly, that Mr Bewlay will soon become the next big thing we will all be talking about, listening to, and loving. Whether it is a result of the magically mesmerising ‘Her Name is Juniper’, or their vibrantly playful personality leading the charge. I for one, cannot wait to watch them skyrocket.
With a passion for supporting emerging musicians. The exciting South Wales based initiative Forté Project, have launched their new application process. Giving six lucky individuals, the chance to join their prestigious talent development project.
Previously only available to young musicians from South Wales. Following support from the PRS Foundation and the Arts Council of Wales. The Forté Project will now embark on an application process, spanning the length and breadth of Wales. Uncovering new voices that are currently under-represented in the music scene, and positively impacting upon the journeys of those successfully selected.
Supporting six acts between the ages of 16-25, in their early music careers. The 6-month programme the Forté Project have tailored, will offer professional industry support. Providing bespoke artistic and personal development, through a series of online industry masterclasses, 1-2-1 mentoring, business guidance, and professional well-being support.
Applications to join the Forté Project open Monday 9th November and close Sunday 29th November.
Punk rock is infamous for its love of rebellion. Rule-breaking, non-conformity and an unwavering bold stance in both style and substance. It is a genre that regularly depicts a state of turmoil, and hits back at society with a vengeance. As global politics and the state of the world at large, are currently tipping the scales. There is no denying that punk is the musical outlet we need at the moment.
Eager to shake up society and our music scene, are the fiery Pseudo Cool. Possessing all of the grit and grunge you could desire; this band have a sound that is edgy and untamed. Led by siblings Cathy Bastian (lead vocals, bass) and Lloyd Bastian (backing vocals, guitar), family ties run deep throughout their music. Lead guitarist Dylan Howells, and drummer Shay Bevan complete the lineup.
Bursting out of the South Wales town of Maesteg, Pseudo Cool blazed onto our radar just this year. As 2020 has seen them release not one, but three new singles. All of which have received heavy praise, including backing from BBC Radio Wales and Horizons Cymru, as well as a string of music blogs, publications and podcasts. With tongue-in-cheek lyrical jabs and jangled guitars, Pseudo Cool inject humour into their music. Yet add just enough of that raw punk-bitterness, to sharpen our taste buds.
First single ‘Modern Man’ released in July, gave us a first glimpse of what to expect from Pseudo Cool. Debuting their edgy punk sound to the world, the band certainly kicked off in style. With unapologetic lyrics poking fun at modern 21st century masculinity. ‘Modern Man’ is a satirical quip, that delves into the strives and struggles of your everyday relationship. Delivered in a rhythmic blend of riffs, instruments glide along with Cathy Bastian’s muted almost spoken vocals, which interject that brooding tone we adore. Reminiscent of female punk fiends such as Siouxsie and Debbie Harry.
Progressing only further with sophomore single ‘Wrong’, at the end of September. Pseudo Cool rose the tempo of their music higher, breaking previous vocal and instrument boundaries they had set for themselves. As their muted brooding sound, gave way to a punk-rock charm; Bastian flexed her pitches and flaunted her vocal flair on this track, and it is truly a delectable transformation to behold. Proving her to be a multi-tonal, and very capable vocalist. Seeking influence from the likes of Lily Allen, with the grit of popular Dublin newcomers Fontaines D.C.
Exploring every branch of punk is certainly on this band’s agenda, as they prove their worth yet again on latest track ‘I’d Like To Watch’. Released just this month [October], with a sound so ominous and dark, it sizzles from a sinister twist. Abolishing the punk-rock prowess of the predeceasing ‘Wrong’. Pseudo Cool have built a bass-driven track, that is entirely different to the previous two guitar dominated singles. Raw, grungy and heavy, ‘I’d Like To Watch’ reflects the muted brooding of ‘Modern Man’. Although any satirical comedy that was present, is now long gone. Replaced instead with a sensual, simmering atmosphere. Unnerving, yet so deliriously exciting.
Pseudo Cool break the rules, refuse to conform, and stand bold in both their style and substance. Modern rebels of the music scene, their sound embodies the true spirit of punk, and they are a dose of EXACTLY what we need to hear right now. Set to release more singles before the year is out, it appears that the chaos of 2020 has delivered us a band so chaotically brilliant.
Listen to Pseudo Cool on all platforms now!
All tracks were Produced and Mixed by Cody Reynolds-Shaw of Trenova Sound
Meet the Cheshire band, providing all the bite of a classic rock sound, with an intriguing modern twist. The Moondogz tether gritty instrument playing to moody vocal blues, and latest album ‘What’s Done Is Done’ will spark the curiosity of any classic rock fan, and grab the attention of all who dare to listen.
No strangers to the music scene. The Moondogz pack a punch with their 80s influence, and it is clear to hear the adoration they possess for that classic rock style. As a wealth of musical experience has culminated to craft their latest album. The vast amount of hard work and dedication put into it, has clearly paid off. Through progression of their distinct sound, you can feel your skin prickle from the sheer enthusiasm of their energetic guitar playing. Drums clash in time with your heartbeat, and that growl in the vocals of lead singer Anthony Machin, will nestle into your mind for a long time to come.
From the very get go, The Moondogz set the pace of what we can expect to hear from ‘What’s Done Is Done’. As opening track ‘Better Man’ blares out. Rampant guitar playing and a throbbing bass line create music just demanding to be played loud. Whilst lyrics are equally as bold, home to all the brashness of unapologetic rock n’ roll. Although, there is no denying that raucous riffs are what really drive this album forward. Shining in all their furious glory, on tracks such as ‘Leave The Light On’, ‘Summer Rain’ and ‘Running Down a Dream’. These ear-bleedingly heavy focal points, are what make the album such a strong contender for future rock greatness.
Unflinching, loud and choked full of crazed guitars. ‘What’s Done Is Done’ barely catches its breath, from the start to the very finish. It’s one hell of a rollercoaster ride, promising thrills, and certainly delivering them. As The Moondogz plough through grungy rock ballad after ballad. There is a familiarity in their classic rock comforts, yet such braveness in their injection of this beloved sound, straight into 2020. We see a rock n’roll style lace among modern eccentricities, and are introduced to a band that have successfully fused an effortlessly elegant debut rock album.
Stream ‘What’s Done Is Done’ on all platforms now!