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Best Folk Music Blog & Promotion

Resonating Reflections: Timothy Jaromir Echoed the Complexity of the Human Condition Through the Organically Intricate Single, ‘Rebound’

Swiss singer-songwriter, Timothy Jaromir, became the Paul Simon of his generation in the intimacy of his latest single, Rebound. The organic euphony of the intricately organic instrumental arrangement, tinged with sporadically nuanced modern aesthetics, speaks volumes of his command over orchestrating progressions which resound with as much heartfelt candour as the poetry in his lyrics.

Speaking on the complexities that construct the human condition, Rebound forces you to reflect on how everyone you meet is a walking embodiment of the light and dark of their histories before you contemplate the sanctity of finding a love that will fuel you in perpetuity.

After releasing two solo albums, four EPs and several singles in his decade-spanning career, Timothy Jamir has had plenty of time to hone his craft; judging by how deep Rebound nestles into the soul, it’s safe to assume that he hasn’t wasted a day.

His forthcoming Nick Drake-inspired EP, Man Atlas, promises to deliver his most introspective and powerful work to date by leaning into the subconscious rather than pandering to the superficiality that premeditates the success of many of this era’s most laudable artists. 2024 undoubtedly has the scope to be a career-defining year for Jaromir.

Rebound was officially released on April 26th; stream the single on Spotify.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

Bad Friends With Black Cats Let the Cat out of the Bag in an Exclusive A&R Factory Interview

Ahead of their eagerly anticipated EP, I WANT TO MOVE, Bad Friends With Black Cats shared insights into their evolving sound. From acoustic beginnings to a dynamic full-band experience, the group delves into how they’ve layered darker, more vulnerable lyrics with robust energy, underpinned by acoustic rhythms. The lead single, “OKAY, BYE,” encapsulates key personal milestones, setting the tone for the EP’s raw, candid vibe inspired by influencers like PUP and The Front Bottoms. This conversation invites listeners to peer deeper into the essence of their music, promising an intimate connection forged through shared struggles and high-energy anthems.

Bad Friends With Black Cats, thanks for the opportunity to sit down with you ahead of the release of your EP, I WANT TO MOVE. Can you walk us through the journey of your sound evolution leading up to this EP? What elements did you experiment with or push to the forefront this time around?

Well up until this EP, everything released had only been acoustic demos. So the biggest step we took was definitely incorporating the full band sound while still maintaining an acoustic rhythm guitar driving it. Marcelo couldn’t have written better drums to the tracks and was able to always push the energy and keep attention on the song. The lyrics continue to get darker and more vulnerable while keeping a sense of relatability, leaning on heavy influences from bands like PUP and The Front Bottoms.

What’s the story behind the lead single of the EP? How does it encapsulate the essence of the entire project?

“OKAY, BYE” is a song about meeting my partner, Melissa, in Ottawa back in 2017. It describes several aspects of our lives over the first 2 years of our relationship. It touches on my state before meeting her, my anxieties of living in a new city, and the struggle of finding a place to live. It is literally about the stage of my life where I found the music that would go on to influence this entire project (The Front Bottoms, Modern Baseball, PUP) and for that reason I think it’s the perfect introduction to the new era of Bad Friends With Black Cats.

What lies behind your motivation to deliver raw and candid music?

It’s what I’ve always connected with and listened to personally. I’ve always gravitated to the lyrics and meaning of a song and really loved when it was vulnerable and authentic. Bands like PUP, who deliver such high energy and emotion despite yelling about everything they hate, have always hit home for me and have been my preference; it only makes sense that would bleed over into my writing and what I want to make.

Which artists are the most influential on your sound, and where else do you pull inspiration from?

The biggest influences on our sound are bands like PUP, The Front Bottoms, Jeff Rosenstock and Modern Baseball. However, I have gone through so many phases of my life listening to different styles, and I believe they all play their own part on influencing our music. (Green Day, MCR, Avenged Sevenfold, Mumford and Sons, Aesop Rock)

Growing up, Blink 182 was also a huge influence on both Marcelo and I. You can really hear Travis Barkers influence on the drumming as well as the idea of not taking ourselves to seriously with the lyrics.

How do you hope the EP will resonate with your audience or shift listener perceptions about your music?

I really just hope listeners find the struggles in daily life relatable and worth yelling with us about. I think we touch on a variety of very relatable insecurities while delivering high-energy tunes that people can enjoy.

How do personal experiences and emotions feed into your songwriting and music production?

Paul: That’s really the driving force of our music. Our music starts and ends with the struggles we face every day. It’s the reason I pick up the guitar and start writing. Personal experiences and emotions are what sparks creativity, at least for my personally.

We’d love to know the story behind your endearingly unique artist name, and a little bit of the band’s history and inner workings.  

I originally started this band with a high school friend, Connor Ratayczak. After going 5+ years of barely communicating and being flakey, we reunited to try and start a band. We each had black cats and thought the idea of being “bad friends” had a ring to it. I think it really fits the “goofy punk” band name style and fits the brand very. My black cat, Shady, is also my best friend (concerning, I know) and having her incorporated somehow makes me happy. I got Shady at the beginning of the toughest phase of my life, so she’s been through it all too!

Looking beyond this EP, how do you see your music evolving in the future?

It’s hard to say. Obviously we’ll strive to improve our sound and quality and take another step forward in the next recording venture. But in terms of style and inspiration, I don’t think we know. We have a ton of songs we’re sitting on that fit this style that we’re so excited to start recording, but it’s hard to predict what we’ll write next. I’ll continue to listen to amazing artists that inspire me to create.

Listen to Bad Friends With Black Cats on Spotify.

Follow the band on Facebook and Instagram.

Interview by Amelia Vandergast

Settle into an ancient empire with Aklash’s cabalistic black metal single, Babylon

Few true black metal fans will need an introduction to Aklash after their 14-year European reign, yet their expansively styled baroque single, Babylon, prised from their LP, Reincarnation, carries cabalistic cross-over appeal through folk metal finesses and progged-up grooves that ensure that this juggernaut of a single brings plenty more than brutality.

The evocation of tribally kinetic rhythms within the frenetically cultivated progressions fused with the larger-than-material-reality vocal performance puts Aklash on the same convivial level as Nekrogoblikon and Turisas. Instead of merely witnessing the intensity, the immensity of the release uses your soul as a crawlspace, ensuring that passive appreciation is implausible as you attempt to keep pace with the accelerated instrumentals.

If Babylon sets the standard for the rest of the Reincarnation LP, which signifies a rebirth of the band that has thrown black metal traditionalism to the wayside to fully lean into the virtuosity of each member, it’s safe to assume that Aklash won’t just be touring with black metal royalty in the future, they’ll have the most gilded seat at the throne.

Stream the official music video for Babylon which premiered on May 2nd on YouTube.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

A New Jerusalem: Judas Goat & The Bellwether’s Arcane Anthem Against the Climate Crisis

There Is Always a Dawn by Judas Goat & the Bellwether

There Is Always a Dawn” by Judas Goat & The Bellwether pours the ardour of the Neoclassical Romantic Era into a vessel of arcane folk-rock. In a similar vein as William Blake’s evocative poem, Jerusalem, which became an influential precipice for the duo to lyrically jump off, the duo’s aura reverberates around morality while keeping a finely tuned balance of rationality and emotion in the evocatively conjured performance which is a call to arms against the impending threat of ecological collapse, with religious iconography replacing the more direct climate-conscious conversations.

The power of the metaphor came into full force in this fiery protest of how we’ve put the noose around the neck of the environment all in the name of progress that will ultimately become our downfall. The duo, Sara Vian and Pete Vincent, crafted the ultimate clarion call to arms, wrapped in the trappings of folk reverence and light-handed production which corrodes none of the arcane performance. You can’t help but lose yourself in the existential introspection, which exemplifies why the duo have won accolades in The Climates Songwriting Competition.

There Is Always a Dawn hit Bandcamp on April 22 ahead of its release across all major platforms on May 8th.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

Mia Laren navigates passion and fatal dysfunction in her Latin Dance Pop track, My Heart

Since 2019, the Baltimore-born, Cali-based singer-songwriter, dancer and producer, Mia Laren, has rhythmically and emotionally moved her international fanbase; her latest Latin Dance Pop track, My Heart (can’t live or live or without you), captures Laren at her most infectious, intimate and powerful.

After an intro which nods to Gaga’s Alejandro, Laren opens her single up to a sensually electrifying, moodily hypnotic groove which constructs an exotically rich platform for her arcane harmonies to ascend from. The monocultural mould disintegrates around her infusion of folky Eastern mysticism and Latin guitars in the electro-pop mix which explores the tormenting nature of your heart beating for someone that will ultimately be the death of you if you keep clinging to the dysfunction in the name of passion.

It’s a rare feat to discover a release that is organically rooted in the heritage of Latin and folk yet transcends contemporary pop trends with a stylish flair that embodies couture pop, yet, five years after learning how to produce music on her laptop, Mia Laren achieved it with plenty of sincerity and authenticity to spare.

My Heart was officially released on April 24; stream the official music video on YouTube now.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

Meg Scane broke free from the shackles of throwaway culture in her folk pop single, Bottoms Up

Meg Scane’s latest single, Bottoms Up, is a striking testament to her unique ability to intertwine confessional candour with melodic ingenuity, ensuring that the rawness of heartache is as palatable as it is poignant. Wrapped in the artful echoes of chamber pop and infused with the intimacy of folk elements, Scane’s sound bears a thematic intensity reminiscent of Florence and the Machine, yet it thrives on a more personal scale.

This track breaks free from the shackles of today’s throwaway culture, challenging the transient nature of contemporary hits and relationships with its enduring message about the sweetness of lasting love. The fervent declaration that deep, abiding affections still hold a revered place in both music and life couldn’t be more convincing.

Scane’s journey from her debut album, Blind Trial, at just sixteen to her performances from The Midlands to Puglia, Italy, paints her as a dedicated artist fuelled by passion—a passion that also sustains her through the arduous hours spent mucking out horses to fund her studio time. Between her determination and her talent, she has everything it takes to become one of the most seminal indie pop artists of her generation.

Better Sides of You was officially released on March 8th; stream the single on Spotify now.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

Move Over Amanda Palmer, Naomi Castellano is the New Girl Anachronism in Her Debut, Hide and Seek

Naomi Castellano’s debut single ‘Hide and Seek‘ reveals an artist who has been seemingly playing hide and seek with her own vast talents. Her debut resonates with the essence of Tom Waits, Stevie Nicks, Kate Bush, The Last Dinner Party, and Mitski, showcasing a high-fidelity cultivation of these influences that will leave listeners in awe. Castellano’s music, entrenched in a genre-fluid nostalgic reverence, promises to captivate this generation’s penchant for artful expressionism.

Her quirky anachronistic tendencies lend ‘Hide and Seek’ a timeless depth, where nothing feels antiquated—from the smoky jazz grooves that billow between the robust pillars of chamber pop swells, to her Joni Mitchell-esque vocal range comfortably sitting in the alto, and not to forget the baroque flourishes that tint her artistic sensibilities.

With a background in classical music and a love for jazz, indie, alternative, and folk-pop, Castellano’s songwriting echoes the influences of Ani DiFranco, Fiona Apple, Norah Jones, and Sia. Utilising strings and keys, she created hypnotic transportation into a daydream, making ‘Hide and Seek’ not just a song, but a sublime sonic journey.

Naomi Castellano is undeniably holding the future of alternative music in her deft hands, and with such a compelling start, it’s clear she has exactly what it takes to stand at the vanguard of a new era of musical innovation.

Hide and Seek was officially released on April 17th, stream the single on Spotify.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

Simon Ewing serenaded through the eras in his acoustic indie folk triumph LULLABY

Simon Ewing’s latest single, LULLABY, artfully blends a spectrum of musical epochs with a mastery of guitar play that fans of folk and beyond will find irresistibly compelling. The track is a confluence of lo-fi charm and intricate guitar work that nods to The Maccabees’ Toothpaste Kisses while embedding a distinctly Americana vibe interlaced with blues’ soulful essence.

LULLABY won’t sing you to sleep; instead, it vibrates with life, signifying the Bristol-based troubadour’s knack for weaving narratives that affirm the sensibility of the soul. The song’s architectural simplicity in structure belies a complex, layered emotional resonance that hooks the listener from the first chord.

Ewing’s ability to synthesise swathes of genres into a seamless, flowing piece shows not just versatility but a deep reverence for the roots of each genre. Each note reflects a rhythmic exploration that feels both classic and innovative, making LULLABY a testament to Ewing’s ability to transcend traditional storytelling through music.

If Elliott Smith’s songs had veered away from melancholy towards this vein of succinct sweetness, they might have touched the same bright corners of the soul that Ewing reaches with this track.

Stream LULLABY on SoundCloud and YouTube.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

Ellie Irwin explored the agony of unmet expectations in her timeless folk single, Pill That Won’t Go Down

Pill That Won’t Go Down” by Ellie Irwin is a heart-wrenching exposition of coming to terms with a breakup where it was impossible to meet expectations. The single explores the intersections between contemporary folk and the styles of Joni Mitchell and James Taylor while winding in elements of alt-country through the acoustic guitar strings.

This track doesn’t just strike a chord; it is enough to reshape your idea of contemporary relationships, where we’re as disposable as everything else in our throwaway economy, where novelty trumps loyalty, regardless of the memories you throw away, the scars you carve into souls, and the distrust you leave in the minds of people you allowed into your world only to show them the door out of it.

Ellie Irwin’s vocal performance efficaciously encapsulates the aura of melancholy without the emotions overbearing the delicately balanced performance that will stay with you long after the final lyrical reprise of ‘the pill that won’t go down’. For anyone who has been there before, Ellie offers not just solace but a cathartic release, her music acting as a mirror to the soul’s more sombre realities.

For fans of innovative, thought-provoking folk, Ellie Irwin offers a profound exploration of heartache and the human condition. Her music serves as a critical commentary on the disposable nature of modern relationships, delivered through a blend of singer-songwriter finesse that echoes the timeless classics, yet with a twist of rawness and originality.

Pill That Won’t Go Down was officially released on April 12th; stream the single on Spotify and Apple Music.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

Nick Cody and the Heartache – Covering These Tracks Vol II: An Americana Tribute to the Art of Song Interpretation

Nick Cody and the Heartache’s latest album, “Covering These Tracks Vol II,” is a masterful reinterpretation of eight beloved singles through an Americana folk rock lens. This Leeds-based artist, along with his band has created a collection that resonates with warmth and soul.

The album features a diverse range of covers, including Bruce Springsteen’s “Atlantic City,” Nick Cave’s “Nobody’s Baby Now,” and Ray Wylie Hubbard’s “Name Droppin’.” Each track is meticulously reworked, maintaining the original’s spirit while infusing it with a unique folk-rock essence. The result is a cohesive collection that showcases the band’s ability to blend different musical styles seamlessly.

What sets this album apart is the way Nick Cody and his band have deconstructed these classics, stripping them down to their core before rebuilding them with his band’s distinctive sound. The quivering violin strings, the acoustic guitar’s steady timbres, and the spells of vocal alchemy, especially Towse’s crystalline harmonies, create an enchanting experience.

“Covering These Tracks Vol II” is more than a cover album, it is a tribute to the art of song interpretation. This album is a testament to their musical prowess and a gift to fans of Americana folk. It’s a journey through familiar melodies, reborn and revitalised, proving that great music can always find new life in the hands of talented artists.

Stream Covering These Tracks Vol II on SoundCloud from April 19th.

Review by Amelia Vandergast