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Here we go, our first playlist update of 2024! With three playlists on the go (Fresh Finds, Mellow Bops and Nothing but Groove), there's plenty of tunes to soundtrack your lives this January - and here's a few of our favourite additions to feast your ears upon!


Tom Collins - Casting Smiles (Fresh Finds)

'a 3 and a half minute bubble of indie-pop'

📍Flintshire, North Wales

Heading straight into our 'Fresh Finds' playlist, Tom Collins is back with his latest single 'Casting Smiles', bursting with energy and powerful vocals from the get go. The perfect soundtrack to the cold yet sunny feel-good weather, with an honest track that draws upon personal emotion to create a wave of shimmery guitars, tightly pocketed drums and a charming vocal delivery - all in a 3 and a half minute bubble of indie-pop. Hailing from Flintshire, Collins' sound is a timeless amalgamation of Catfish, Sam Fender and JAMIE WEBSTER, deeply rooted within the infectious post-choruses and raw production, and this familiarity weaves throughout the artist's discography as a whole. No stranger to a successful release, 'Casting Smiles' is set to follow in the footsteps of Collins' previous singles 'Soft Lad', 'Plaster' and 'Leaders', already surpassing 3,000 streams since it's release at the end of 2023. (Released on 15th December 2023).

Stefan West - Happily Ever After (Mellow Bops)

'a flourish of reflection and true romance'

📍Geelong, Australia

Delicate and poignant, Stefan West's latest single 'Happily Ever After' highlights the artist's crystal-cut vocals and introspective writing in a flourish of reflection and true romance. After a troubled journey, Stefan finds his answers in his music, 'Happily Ever After' being a hopeful realisation of love and life in a world of struggle. Blending pop, rock, folk and punk, the artist crafts a painting of warmth and comfort - the distorted guitar solos, subtle harmonies and intimate vocal production adding to the magic of looking forward to a future with someone special. Growing up in the sun-kissed city of Geelong, Australia, the artist is a huge advocate for sharing his music as far and wide as possible - and alongside it, opening up difficult conversations and personal struggle in order to recover. Being the second release of the upcoming album 'Cambridge', the artist dives deeper into his artistry and influence to further the sound of Stefan West, leaving us excited for more to come in the coming months. (Released on 15th December 2023).

Mia Van De Loo - open book EP (Mellow Bops)

'this 5-track masterpiece is a clear snippet into the ethereal world that is Mia's life'

📍Massachusetts, USA

Nestled within our Mellow Bops playlist lies Mia Van De Loo's latest EP, entitled 'open book', released on 8th December 2023. As the title states, this 5-track masterpiece is a clear snippet into the ethereal world that is Mia's life, drawing upon curiosities, heartbreak and realisation in order to paint a wistful painting of pastel swirls and glistening sunbeams. With a child-like approach, you're taken on an innocent journey of optimism and dream-chasing, with opening track 'fairytale' setting the scene of a rose-tinted world with it's whispering vocals and pulsing instrumentation. Digging deeper into the EP, 'match' offers a more mysterious sound, perfect for a circus-tent masquerade, whereas 'lullaby' provides us with safety with it's lilting ukulele and shimmery synths. As a debut EP, you grasp the whole image of Mia Van De Loo's sound, the record acting as an audible time capsule of memories and experiences coated in immaculate production and journalistic writing. (Released on 8th December 2023).

Dylan Sherry - Sometimes Always/Come On (Mellow Bops)

'a charming modern twist'

📍California, USA

California based artist Dylan Sherry collaborated with Siam Jem in December to create a double-sided cover single 'Sometimes Always/Come On', in appreciation to the original tracks from shoegaze band The Jesus and Mary Chain. Following on from the 1994 release from the band, Dylan and Michaela (Siam Jem) add a charming modern twist on the alt-rock classics from their idols, their yearning vocal delivery and raw arrangements staying true to the rough-around-the-edges mid-nineties feel. Paired with face-melting guitar solos and a chugging feel-good percussion, this fresh perspective would soundtrack a coming-of-age film perfectly, complete with smudged eyeliner, ripped jeans and sand-filled sneakers, whilst the homage to the original tracks aims to introduce a new generation of listeners to the extensive discography of The Jesus and Mary Chain backlog. After the artist's previous release with 'Healing', Dylan Sherry opens up his sonic world even more with these two covers, drawing on influence to give a respectful nod to the trailblazers who came before him, hoping to follow closely on in their footsteps. (Released on 1st December 2023).


As always, you can find our Local & Live Media Playlists below, and we encourage you to add your favourites into your own playlists to spread the tunes even further!

Review No. 35

by Meg Shaw, Local & Live Media

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