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: 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.’




This Week In New Music: Thomas Rhett, Jessie Ware & Paloma Faith

Life Changes – Thomas Rhett (Single)


One thing I love about country music is that you can listen to one song and feel like you know the musician’s whole life story! This song is a prime example. On Life Changes, the lead single from the album of the same name, Thomas Rhett sings about how life has changed over the last couple of years for the country star. It’s catchy and warm and a lovely addition to your September playlist.


Selfish Love – Jessie Ware (Single)

2017-01-23 10.52.59

The latest track from Jessie Ware’s forthcoming third album is just dreamy – written and produced by a dream team too (Ryan Tedder, Cashmere Cat..). Ware’s voice is smooth as silk and if this single is anything to go by, the newest record from the British songstress will not disappoint.


Crybaby – Paloma Faith (Single)


Another English darling has returned this week – Paloma Faith! And it’s an earworm, you’ll be singing “Go on and cry, baby, crybaby, ’cause you don’t have to keep it inside” all day. It’ll be no surprise to any one who’s a fan of Faith that she’s very outspoken on political & social issues, so it’s not a shocker that this song has an interesting message behind it. According to the lady herself, the song is questioning “whether  global conflicts would cease to exist if men could successfully deal with their feelings.” Damn.

Check out my Spotify playlist for September here.

Music, Opinions

New Irish artists for your Spotify playlist

Taking a departure from my “This Week In New Music” blog post this week. One, because I haven’t really been enjoying any new releases this week (ouch..) and two, because I’ve got some new Irish artists popping up on my monthly playlists recently and I thought it would be nice to share their names.

First up is Tim Chadwick. I only discovered Tim last week and since then I’ve had his Early Days EP playing on a loop. Never Wanted You is a smashing tune with a great music video to go along with it while Belong was the beautiful tune behind that heartbreaking/heartwarming Aer Lingus ad last Christmas. I can’t wait to hear more from this lad!


Next up is Catherine McGrath. This Northern Irish girl has got me seriously nostalgic for early Taylor Swift. It’s that easy-going, sweet pop-country that made everyone fall in love with curly-haired sixteen year old Swift, and while there’s plenty of it out there, it’s a bit more unusual to find it on this side of the pond. Cinderella is my personal favourite from the two EP’s.


Proving that the town really is a gem for music, Sion Hill is another Mullingar man to keep an eye on. He’s been signed by a German label and is releasing his debut album at the end of this month – I am expecting it to make an appearance on “This Week In New Music” that week! He’s also got great style and is very easy on the eyes, what’s not to love?


Finally, Ailbhe Reddy. I’ve been singing “I am just fucking paralyzed” (Fingertips) all day. Distrust is a dark indie track while Relent is poignant and powerful. I’ve no doubt the Dublin singer-songwriter has much, much more to show us.


Let me know if you liked this post and would like to see more recommendations of home-grown talent in the future!

Check out my Spotify playlist for August here

Music, Opinions

This Week In New Music: Declan McKenna, Foster The People & Nothing But Thieves

What Do You Think About The Car? – Declan McKenna (Album)


Two weeks ago Declan McKenna featured on my “This Week In New Music” feature with his single Humongous, and I’ve been eagerly awaiting his debut album ever since. Luckily, I only had two weeks to wait, and it didn’t disappoint! McKenna has everything you could look for in a new artist, he’s a young artist at the start of his career with interesting lyrics and brilliant hooks. Politically charged songs like Brazil, Isombard & The Kids Don’t Want To Come Home are examples of how McKenna is much more than his catchy choruses and eye make-up, there’s grit beneath the glitter. If you’re lucky enough to have tickets to Electric Picnic make sure he’s on your timetable for the weekend.

Sacred Heart Club – Foster The People (Album)


Aside from ‘Pumped Up Kicks,’ a lot of people won’t be familiar with the music of Foster The People. This is a real shame because Pumped Up Kicks is a watered down version of the trio. On the debut album in which the massive single featured, it was accompanied by infectious tracks like Don’t Stop (Colour On The Walls) & Houdini. On their sophomore album Supermodel the energy was kicked up another notch with Are You What You Want To Be, Coming Of Age & Best Friend. With their third release Sacred Heart Clubs, the energy is still there but it’s definitely more muted.  They’ve swapped screaming summer indie-pop bangers for a more cool & collected, groovy vibe… I guess. There’s plenty of songs I love on SHC (Sit Next To Me, SHC, I Love My Friends, Lotus Eater) but it’s sad to see the band leave behind their roots because they were so good at what they were doing, while being just distinct enough from their peers to be special. Unfortunately, there’s nothing particularly special about this record, hopefully they return to what they do best on their next.

Sorry – Nothing But Thieves (Single)


After two years, the British band Nothing But Thieves have returned with “Sorry,” the first single from sophomore album Broken Machine. The bridge has a distinctive The Killers sound (the synth instrumental is a bit too much Smile Like You Mean It if we’re honest here) and is followed by the repetition of “I’ve waited for this, I am ready for it” which pretty much sums up how I am feeling about their forthcoming album.

Music, Opinions

This Week in New Music: Lucy Rose, Jade Bird & Declan McKenna

Something’s Changing – Lucy Rose (Album)


I’ve done a full review of this album which you can read here. It’s a simply beautiful record which reflects her growth as both a person and a musician in the last few years, much of which she credits to her independently organised tour in Latin America last year. Left with no manager, no booking agent and no label, Lucy Rose took the reins for Something’s Changing and created her best work to date.

Something American – Jade Bird (EP)


This is the one of the best finds I’ve come across this week. Jade Bird is a young lady with a powerful voice and a brilliant collection of songs to go with it on her first ep “Something American.” ‘Cathedral’ is a smasher. I can’t wait to see where this girl is going.

Humongous – Declan McKenna (Single)


Another new find for me this week was Declan McKenna, and wow am I glad I did.  This track has a marvelous hook and the kind of chorus you could yell out at a gig or a festival. After one listen to Humongous I hastily listened to the rest of the tracks on his Spotify, which are all fantastic too. Once I got passed how great his voice & the sound was, I started listening to the lyrics.. the content of the lyrics are something particularly unusual from a 18-year-old singer-songwriter. He’s written about the likes of FIFA scandals, the issue with religion and youth involvement in politics. I haven’t been this excited about an artist in a long time, I’ll be counting down the days till his debut album “What Do You Think About the Car?” is released on July 21st!