Music, Personal

A playlist to soothe an anxious mind

Anyone who knows me well knows there’s two constants in my life; music and anxiety!

Mood and music can heavily influence each other; if I am feeling particularly low on self-confidence and don’t want to leave the house, Tove Lo and Dua Lipa can hype me up for a night out.  If I am feeling sad and just want to wallow it in for a while, Daughter and Billie Martin will be put on rotation. A bit of Two Door Cinema Club and Zak Abel will put me in the best mood in the morning.

As someone who suffers from anxiety, there are times when my head can feel fit to explode and the physical panic feels insurmountable. At these times, there are a number of songs that help to slow down both my breathing and my brain, and give me a sense of calm. I thought I’d share some of them with you today.


Weight of Your World – Roo Panes

Any Roo Panes song would be a good bet for soothing the mind, but this one is my personal favourite. Almost a lullaby in nature, Panes is attempting to soothe and reassure someone in this song, asking them to sleep, remember that tomorrow’s a new day, and that all will be alright. The chorus is an assurance that all they’ve to do is ask and he will be there to “take the weight of your world, from your shoulders, girl.” Maybe we can’t all call up Roo Panes, but it’s a profoundly beautiful way to reassure yourself that this will all pass, and in the meantime, there’s someone there to listen.

“Nothing can get you
You know I’ve got you
You’re in my arms”


Birdsong – George Ogilvie

If ‘Weight of Your World’ is a song reaching out to someone suffering, ‘Birdsong’ is the sufferer reaching out. Ogilvie is longing for a feeling of hope, something other than this “darkness” that covers his eyes. That feeling of hopelessness, of darkness, is sure to be familiar to anyone struggling with anxiety or depression, but the song is not without light. Ogilvie looks to the birds and promises to follow their song, “Til I find my way back home.”

“This feeling of hope
Is something I want to hold
So I’ll follow the birdsong
‘Til I find my way back home”


Secret For The Mad – Dodie

Youtuber and singer-songwriter Dodie Clark said she wrote this song for a friend and for anyone who might feel like she did (the artist has spoken openly about her struggle with depression and depersonalisation). “Your bad brain will tell you lies,” she said, “Listen to the part that tells you it will get better.” It is reassuring to hear someone on the other side tell you that what you are going through is surmountable, and you will not feel like this forever.

“There will be a day
When you can say you’re okay and mean it
I promise you, it’ll all make sense again
I promise you, it’ll all make sense again”


Cucurucu – Nick Mulvey

This song was adapted from a poem called Piano by D.H. Lawrence. The imagery painted in the opening verse is warm and nostalgic, a child being sung to by his mother. Oftentimes, anxiety can make us feel weak and childlike, there’s something comforting in hearing Mulvey sing out “I weep like a child for the past.” Ultimately, it’s a beautiful song that makes us indulge in our longing to be cared for and feel a little less alone.

“Softly, in the evening dusk, a woman is singing to me
She takes me back down the vista of my years, until I see
I see a child underneath the piano, in the boom of the tingling strings
Pressing the poised feet of his mother who smiles at him as she sings
Cucurucu, cucurucu…”


Tomorrow Will Be Kinder – The Secret Sisters

This simple but stunning song featured on the Hunger Games soundtrack a couple of years ago. The American duo sing here about a day full of sadness and pain, when you don’t know “where to start.” But, rest assured, they say, for tomorrow will be kinder, and it’s true, because you’ve seen it before. Another tune that will be kind to both your ears and your brain.

“Sorrow weighs my shoulders down
And trouble haunts my mind
But I know the present will not last
And tomorrow will be kinder.”


Up & Up – Coldplay

When you’ve had your fill of wallowing, Coldplay’s Up & Up is a good one to finish on. It’s comforting and uplifting, and I am lucky enough to say when I hear it now it reminds me of singing it in a crowd of thousands at Croke Park. It’s worth putting “Up & Up Coldplay Glastonbury” into Youtube and watching the band perform it live with the help of Chris Martin’s kids, and a crowd of thousands, who all sing together;

“We’re gonna get it, get it together
I know, we’re gonna get it, get it together and flow
We’re gonna get it, get it together and go
Up, and up, and up.”


You can listen to my anxiety playlist (with the above tracks and more) on Spotify.


This Week In New Music: Troye Sivan, The Neighbourhood & The Academic

It’s a good week for new music. Pop diva Camila Cabello released her debut album (you’ll be hearing it all over the airwaves for the next few months), Jade Bird gave us another belter with ‘Lottery’ and Luke Sital-Singh gave us the beautiful ‘Just A Song Before I Go’ EP. Here are some of my picks of the crop this week;

My My My! – Troye Sivan (Single)

Everyone’s favourite LGBTQ+ babe is back and fuck (excuse my french) it’s good. It’s fun and sexy and the hook is delicious. Speaking about the track Troye said it was a call to “throw all inhibition to the wind, be present in your body, love wholeheartedly, move the way you’ve always wanted to, and dance the way you feel – hopefully even to this song!”


To Imagine – The Neighbourhood (EP)

Nothing exceptional here, but still something I can see myself listening to a lot. On the first couple of listens, it isn’t as strong as their recent Hard EP, but Jesse Rutherford’s vocals are smooth as ever, there’s some nice synth stuff and bass in there, and it’s a nice, easy listening experience.


Tales From The Backseat – The Academic (Album)

I included these lads on my “3 Albums To Look Out For This Month” list for January, and the album did not disappoint. ‘Fake ID’ will have you laughing and nostalgic for underage nights on the town, you’ll be singing along and dancing around your room to ‘Bite My Tongue,’ and if you’ve been a fan of The Academic for a while you might even get a little emotional at the studio version of ‘Girlfriends.’ I can’t wait to hear all these tracks at Iveagh Gardens in summer, this is an album for sunny days, friends and a bag of cans 😉


Some more new music worth checking out this week;

Camila – Camila Cabello (Album)

Songs of Praise – Shame (Album)

Just A Song Before I Go – Luke Sital-Singh (EP)

Run With Me – Hudson Taylor (Single)

Ruins – First Aid Kit (Single)

Let Me Down – Jorja Smith ft Stormzy (Single)

Lottery – Jade Bird (Single)

K. – Rosie Carney (Single)

We’re Going Home – Vance Joy (Single)

Curious – Hayley Kiyoko (Single)


Check out my January playlist here.


3 Albums To Look Out For This Month

Tales From The Backseat – The Academic 


I’ve been a long-time supporter of these boys, so I am delighted their debut album will finally be released this day next week! Irish listeners will recognize ‘Bear Claws’ and ‘Permanent Vacation’ from the airwaves, fans will recognize ‘Why Can’t We Be Friends?’ and ‘Girlfriend’ from their live sets and there’s some new ones on the track-listing too – plenty to be excited about! Indie/rock/pop fans will find lots to love here.

If you like: The Coronas, Circa Waves, Coasts


Ruins – First Aid Kit 


Sweedish sisters Klara and Johanna Söderberg return with their fourth album on January 19th. The sisters have released ‘It’s A Shame’, ‘Postcard’ & ‘Fireworks’ ahead of the release and if those tracks are anything to go by, it’s going to be wonderful. Pure folky goodness.

If you like: Fleet Foxes, The Staves, Angus & Julia Stone


Camila – Camila Cabello 


Cuban-American singer Camila Cabello, formerly of Fifth Harmony fame, will be releasing her first solo album on January 12th. ‘Havana’ was easily one of my favourite tracks of 2017 (and former POTUS Obama’s too..), and I’ve been humming along to recent promotional single ‘Real Friends’ for the past few weeks too. Cabello’s live vocals are fantastic, as is her dancing and on-stage presence – 2018 could be her year.

If you like: Dua Lipa, Ariana Grande, Selena Gomez


Other album releases I’ll be checking out:

  • Blue Madonna – BØRNS
  • M A N I A – Fall Out Boy
  • Wrong Creatures – Black Rebel Motorcycle Club
  • Primal Earth – Kimbra
  • Between Two Shores – Glen Hansard

My Favourite Albums of 2017

It’s that time of year again, end of year lists. Keeping with tradition (well.. I did it last year), I am going to be counting down my favourite albums of the year. These albums aren’t the albums I believe to be the best of 2017, but the albums that touched me in some way, that I connected with, or listened to the most. If you don’t know some of the albums on the list, please give them a listen, and make sure to share your favourite albums with me too!

8) BLUE LIPS (lady wood phase II) – Tove Lo



Tove Lo’s third album BLUE LIPS (lady wood phase II) is the second half of the story the Swede was telling on Lady Wood. Chronicling the rise and fall of a relationship through the lens of sex, alcohol and drugs, it’s bold and brash and unapologetic. There’s no lack of sex in music today, especially when it comes to female pop stars, but when it comes to Tove Lo it would be hard for anyone to say it’s done for the male gaze. Oh and I’ll give you a second just to think about the album titles there now. Got it? Ok let’s continue.

The first half of the album (LIGHT BEAMS) is mostly fun and uptempo with highlights such as dance number ‘Disco Tits’ and ballsy banger ‘Bitches.’ Part II (PITCH BLACK) begins to chart a downward spiral with ‘Struggle’ (“Fuck, fuck, fuck some sense into me/ gold for loneliness, I will pay”), closing with ‘hey you got drugs?’ (“Just need a pick-me-up / only for tonight / don’t tell anyone I was with ya”). It’s a fantastic pop album with just enough grit to land it a spot here.

“Blue Lips feels like the end of a night, when everything that once sparkled under the disco ball is now revealed under brash and unforgiving lights as rock bottom.” (The Irish Times)


7) Dua Lipa – Dua Lipa



If you could create a female superstar in a lab, perfectly moulded for 2017, it would be Dua Lipa. The Kosovo-born, London-based singer-songwriter has skyrocketed to the top of the charts this year with a number of pop bangers and a host of “best newcomer” awards under her belt. Her brand of confident, sassy, empowered womanhood is resonating, best seen on the cheeky ‘Blow Your Mind (Mwah)’ and on ‘Hotter Than Hell’ where she muses “you probably still adore me” and promises to give you “the pleasure of heaven / and I’ll give it to you / hotter than hell.” 

Tracks like ‘IDGAF’ (‘Cause if you think I care about you now / Well, boy, I don’t give a fuck’) and ‘New Rules’ (“Don’t pick up the phone / You know he’s only calling ’cause he’s drunk and alone”) will aid in leaving fuckboys behind in the dust, while ‘Begging’ and ‘Last Dance’ are euphoric releases for some lusting after love. It could be just another pop record, but Lipa’s ability to sound relatable and genuine in her lyrics combined with sultry, seductive vocals gives her the goddess like edge you need to truly make your mark as a woman in pop today.

“She’s the real deal.” (NME)


6) OK – Otherkin



The only Irish album to feature on my list (I am definitely doing something wrong..), is Otherkin’s debut. The Irish rockers had teased us with the massive ‘Ay Ay’ previously, and OK lives up to expectations. Shake up a coke bottle before popping the lid and you’ve something akin to the listening experience of this record. If you’re a fan of indie-rock but are looking for something a bit grittier to get your teeth stuck into, this album is for you.

Screeching guitars, smashing drums and commanding vocals make for 39 minutes of hyped-up energetic chaos. ‘Feel It’ is an absolute earworm, ‘Yeah, I Know’ is pulsating and ‘So So’ is a grungy closer. There’s a nice bit of social commentary to be found amidst the rock’n’roll, on ‘Ay Ay,’ they take a stab at the music industry while on ‘React’ they ask “are you going to resist?” in reference to the shift to right-wing politics in recent times.

“Who is Dublin’s next great band?” Is there a band out there that possesses the same energy and thoughtful songwriting of U2’s youthful days […] in Otherkin, the Fair City has found its heir apparent.” (Revue)


 5) What Do You Think About the Car? – Declan McKenna



Declan McKenna is still a teenager and already being heralded as the voice of a generation. Perhaps that’s a bit ott, but with brilliant hooks, interesting lyrics and an obvious love for experimentation, it seems inevitable this young man is certain to be a star. From start to finish, there’s no filler songs to be found on What Do You Think About the Car?

‘Humongous’ has a marvelous hook and the kind of chorus you could yell out at Glasto, ‘Make Me Your Queen’ is a relationship song McKenna style (the subtext being the patriarchal society we live in, in which a ‘queen’ is lesser to a king) and’Why Do You Feel Down?’ is one of my favourite tracks of the year. Politically charged songs like ‘Brazil’ and ‘Isombard’ are examples of the grit beneath the glitter. Concluding the album is the lyric ‘trust in me’ on ‘Listen To Your Friends’ – that we do Declan, that we do.

“On an album full of brash, fun indie-rock songs, McKenna wants to remind us that he is standing for something here. Forget about Brazil being the pinnacle of his success; he’s only just getting started. ” (noripcord)


 4) The Search for Everything – John Mayer



John Mayer’s seventh album has had both critics and fans alike stating that Mayer is “back in his groove.” Personally, I have genuinely loved every record he’s put out, from the show-off Continum to the country/folk of Born & Raised and everything in-between. On The Search for Everything, Mayer takes it back to his earlier days whilst maintaining some tracks that have that country-blues sound of his most recent releases. Those earlier days means we’re dealing with a bit of cockiness (the album opens with “the prettiest girl in the room, she wants me”) but overall, the lyrics reveal a much more mature Mayer than previously seen.

‘In The Blood’ is the highlight for me, where the now forty-year-old reflects on nature versus nurture and asks “what about this feeling that I’m never good enough? Will it wash out in the water, or is it always in the blood?” ‘Never On The Day You Leave’ is another show of growth, a pining ballad without the usual snark or cringe. There’s also fun, groovy numbers like ‘Still Feel Like Your Man,’ and ‘Helpless’ which see the return of some classic Mayer riffs. To be honest, John Mayer could release an album where he sings the alphabet amidst some guitar riffs and I’d probably be happy out, but this album is pretty good if you ask me.

“The Search for Everything succeeds because he’s not donning a new costume: instead, he’s settling into a groove he can claim as his own, and it feels like he’s at home.” (AllMusic)


 3) The Loved Ones – Flyte


2017-01-23 10.52.59

One of my favourite albums of this year, and one I can see myself returning to many times in the future, has to be Flyte’s debut. The London four-piece made up of  William Taylor (lead vocals), Jon Supran (drums), Nick Hill (bass) and Sam Berridge (keys), are doing something that feels both fresh and familiar. Comparisons to The Beatles and Simon & Garfunkel among others is obvious and inevitable, but this does the band a disservice.

Flyte are no copy cats. The Loved Ones is a nostalgic release from the present day, but hidden beneath delicious, effortless harmonies, are darker themes and beautiful, astute  songwriting that gives the Hackney boys an edge. Suicide is contemplated on ‘Sliding Doors,’ domestic abuse on ‘Cathy Come Home’ and mental illness on ‘Spiral.’ The blend of vocals is blissful, one of the highlights their stunning cover of Alvvays ‘Archie, Marry Me,’ which transforms a pop song into an acapella delight.

“There are quieter, less immediate moments on ‘The Loved Ones’, but never filler. This is the kind of album that’ll offer up a new favourite track with every single listen. “(Clash)


 2) For A Moment, I Was Lost – Amber Run



After a turbulent 2016, Nottingham natives Amber Run returned this year with their silver lining – their sophomore album. After being dropped by their record label RCA and losing their drummer Felix Archer, the record was composed during a time when it was unclear whether there would still be an Amber Run in 2017. In spite of all this, or maybe because of it, this record combines all the best elements of their debut record 5am and builds on them to create Amber Run’s masterpiece.

At times they’re mellow and muted (Haze, Machine), at others they’re energetic and powerful (No Answers, Perfect), but there’s not a moment where they aren’t good.  Lyrically, the record is much stronger than it’s predecessor with lines like “I’ll be the shadow that you see at night / That shred of doubt in the back of your mind” (No Answers) and “We started as a fever / we turned into an ache that never goes” (Wastelands). On For A Moment, I Was Lost haunting harmonies and vulnerable vocal moments combine with crashing drums, smashing keys and glorious guitar riffs to create something that is all-encompassing, atmospheric, and never fails to deliver a sonical release nearing perfection.

“Amber Run hit the nail on the head with this album; they show originality in all of the places they lacked before, they took all of the emotions that were swirling around them and channeled them into one beautifully crafted record, and above all they persevered when they thought they couldn’t.” (Atwood Magazine)


 1) Melodrama – Lorde



There’s few that will leave out Lorde when compiling lists of the best albums of 2017. The New Zealander’s second album is a masterfully crafted piece of art. In the Spotify era, the art of the album has been all but left behind. On Melodrama, Lorde picks up a paintbrush on opening track ‘Green Light’ and doesn’t leave it down until closer ‘Perfect Places,’ mixing colour and texture, shadow and light, to create one cohesive sonical story.

“God, I wonder why we bother,” Lorde sings out on ‘Sober II (Melodrama)’, “all the glamour and the trauma and the fucking melodrama,” summing up an album that speaks to the haze of the highs and heartbreaks of early adulthood, just as likely to soundtrack your nights drinking too much and dancing without inhibitions in crowded places, as the ones spent in depressive episodes in dark rooms alone.

“At once immediate and layered, massive and minute, thoughtful and instinctual, Melodrama fully solidifies Lorde as the leading voice of pop and an artist, thinker, and capturer of reality beyond comparison.” (Consequence of Sound)


Other albums I adored this year;

  • reputation – Taylor Swift
  • Wake Up Now – Nick Mulvey
  • Harry Styles – Harry Styles
  • More Life – Drake
  • hopeless fountain kingdom – Halsey
  • Something’s Changing – Lucy Rose
  • Only When We’re Naked – Zak Abel
  • Heiress – Novo Amor & Ed Tullett
  • A Blaze of Feather – A Blaze of Feather
  • midnight – Lewis Watson

This Week In New Music: Liam Gallagher, Gabrielle Aplin & Zak Abel

This week in new music sees the release of Liam Gallagher’s debut solo record (crazy right?!), a new EP from British songstress/fairy Gabrielle Aplin and the debut album from newcomer Zak Abel.

As You Were – Liam Gallagher (Album)

Liam Gallagher is a bit of a character ay? As expected, his promo for this album has been something to behold, with mentions of his brother (‘that cunt’) and cursing and blinding about having to make his own cup of tea  just some of the golden moments that have been doing the rounds on twitter. His rockstar attitude that suggests he sees himself as rock n roll’s saviour means this solo offering has a lot to live up to – whether it delivers or not is something music critics have been analyzing this week. General consensus seems to be, not quite no.. but all the same it’s a decent listen.


Avalon – Gabrielle Aplin (EP)

With every new release, Aplin’s style evolves. The Avalon EP is no different, embracing more synth and production than ever before. I have to admit I prefer her folkier roots on English Rain and the electric rocky feel of Light Up The Dark. In saying that, the Avalon EP is already growing on me. So far we’ve heard stripped backs versions of both Waking Up Slow and Stay, and I am excited to hear all the tracks songs in their raw form without the extra production. For me, Aplin truly shines when it’s just her and her guitar.



Only When We’re Naked – Zak Abel (Album)

This weeks, “artist you don’t know” recommendation is Zak Abel. The 21-year-old Brit has collaborated with DJ’s, electronic pop duos and the like, but finally we get to hear something that is completely his own. Only When We’re Naked is full of energy and good vibes, just like his live performances. Definitely someone to keep an eye on – you’ll be hearing him everywhere shortly!


Some more new music worth checking out this week;

Raised Under Grey Skies – JP Cooper (Album)

Spitting Image (Acoustic Demos) – The Strypes (EP)

Too Much Patience  – Little Hours (EP)

Fade – Lewis Capaldi (Single)

On My Mind (Acoustic) – Jorja Smith ft Preditah (Single)

The Tube – Ailbhe Reddy (Single)

Pray – Sam Smith (Single)

How Long – Charlie Puth (Single)

Escape My Mind – Grace WavderWaal (Single)

Out Of My Hands – Wyvern Lingo (Single)


Check out my October playlist here


This Week In New Music: Otherkin, Miley Cyrus & Banks

The craziness of second year of university means it’s been a month since I’ve gotten a chance to write about the latest music releases. Despite being up to my eyeballs this weekend, I just had to do a quick update with all the bangin’ new music releases yesterday. Enjoy!


Ok – Otherkin (Album)


“Lets go,” lead singer Luke Reilly seems to say with a smirk – its seventeen seconds in to the opening track and Otherkin have already got you – and they keep you till the very end. If you haven’t heard of Dublin rockers Otherkin yet, their debut release is a brilliant place to start.  The screeching guitars and smashing drums hype up the energy to fever pitch on every singe track. ‘Feel It’ is an absolute earworm, ‘Yeah, I Know’ is pulsating and So So is a grungy  closer.  There’s some grit to these lads too, “Turn in a hit or you’re down as a throwaway [….] Become some meat for the radio” O’Reilly screams on ‘Ay Ay’. Are we looking at a bunch of Irish lads who are going to add some dirty social commentary to their arsenal? I don’t know but I am excited. If you’re looking for a gig to let you scream into the abyss and mosh in the midst of a sweaty crowd, catch them in the Button Factory (Dublin) or the Roisín Dubh (Galway) in December.

Younger Now – Miley Cyrus (Album)


Younger Now is not so much a reinvention as a return to her roots for Miley Cyrus. On her sixth studio album, Cyrus is doing what she does best – country. Sure, she had some great pop songs and no one has ever faulted her for her vocal abilities, but that country twang just comes so easily to the Tennessee native. So far, ‘Thinkin’ and ‘Inspired’ are my favourite tracks on the album, but I’ve a feeling I could easily fall in love with every single one of the eleven tracks. Younger Now is a refreshing release and Cyrus’ best yet.

Underdog – Banks (Single)


So Banks just randomly dropped a tune on Thursday? It’s a deviation in to more pop-y territory for the the Goddess singer-songwriter and is very fun (she literally barks in it). Yet, somehow it’s still sassy and sultry – that’s Banks for you.

Some more new music worth checking out this week;

  • It’s A Shame – First Aid Kit (Single)
  • My Side – Tom Speight (Single)
  • Greedy Soul – Liam Gallagher (Single)
  • That Girl – salute feat. Gabrielle Aplin
  • When Does It Get Easier – Dave Thomas Junior (Single)
  • Subterranean Homesick Blues – The Lumineers (Single)
  • Three Oh Nine – Fenne Lily (Single)
  • Tell Me You Love Me – Demi Lovato (Album)
  • Visions Of A Life – Wolf Alice (Album)

Check out my Spotify playlist for September here.


Review: Lewis Watson at The Stormy Teacup

Hidden away in the heart of Limerick city, there’s a little artisan coffee shop by the name of The Stormy Teacup.

Once known for its hot chocolate menu and cozy interior, it’s starting to build a name for itself as an up and coming music venue.

On Thursday night, a couple of music enthusiasts were treated to a performance in this tiny, intimate space by Oxford singer-songwriter Lewis Watson.

Watson has been around for many years, first growing a following on youtube and taking a do-it-yourself approach to releasing his music, before going on to release his debut album ‘This Morning’ with big label name Warner Music.

Three years later brought the release of ‘Midnight’ and a week ago, ‘Midnight (acoustic)’.

It is the ‘Midnight (acoustic) intimate band tour’ that Watson brought to Limerick on Thursday last.

Despite the small crowd and the lack of hard spirits being served, the energy in the room was lively and giddy.

Old favourites ‘bones’ and ‘sink or swim’ proved particularly popular while newer hits such as ‘maybe we’re home’ and ‘little light’ were just as enjoyable without the heavy drums and electric guitars.

Another touching moment was ‘run,’ a song Watson explained was very ‘real’ to him that details the heartbreak and loneliness after a break-up.

The crowd sang along to the majority of tunes with Watson and his sole bandmate Adam Double often ceasing to sing to allow the crowd take the spotlight for 30 seconds or so.

The highlight of the night was a stunning version of ‘halo,’ where Watson & Double ditched the mics, came down in to the crowd and sang in the midst of strangers that for one song only, didn’t dare breathe a single lyric.

After the gig, the banter continued between security, fans and Lewis himself, who was happy to take pictures with, and thank everyone for coming along.

If there’s one thing to be said about Lewis Watson it’s that he seems to be the same down-to-earth, soccer loving lad he was back in 2012 and if he remains so, there’s no doubt he’ll always find a couple of fans wherever he goes – even in ‘the middle of nowhere.’