The melodically unorthodox outfit, Birds Over Arkansas, ended their five-year radio silence with the release of their highly anticipated emotionally charged slice of Americana, Sunflower, which reinforces the ‘good things come to those who wait’ idiom with Adamantium strength.
With the sweet choral vocals harmonising against the practically effervescent acoustic melodies as they weave through intricate rhythms, Sunflower is practically a gateway to another dimension. You’d be hard-pressed to find more escapism in a soundscape from any other up and coming outfit. It carries the sweetly sonorous appeal of Elliott Smith paired with a matchless cinematic roots-deep folk twang. We can only hope that Birds Over Arkansas has more aural salvation in the pipeline.
Foundry Town Survivors are bringing in the future of indie-folk by going back to the storytelling roots of the genre and incorporating the production nuances from succeeding eras.Their seminal single, Foundry Town, taken from their new 2021 EP, is a world-weary vignette of the small hometowns that may as well be composed of quicksand for the way they bring you down. And yes, I’m aware that sounds a little cliché, but it’s a sentiment plenty can relate to; even if you grew up in a major metropolitan area, you’ll know how it feels by the time the outro in Foundry Town rolls around.
The yearning for something more, something greater rings through in the gruff Cohen-Esque vocals as the versatile strings pull you through bitter-sweet crescendos and swells of optimism that shimmer in the easy acoustic progressions.
Their new EP is due for release on November 5th. It will be available to stream and download on all major platforms. Check out Foundy Town Survivors on their official website.
There are far too many things in this world that will tear away at the more affable side of mankind, but The Far North made compassion worth having with the release of their 2020 acoustic folk album, Songs for Gentle Souls.
The standout single, Branches, is a blues-folk serenade that all too efficaciously pulls you into the shimmering accordance of the minimalist soundscape that the 70s style folk-rock vocals soulfully resound within.
While you’d be forgiven for thinking that this sound manifested in Mississippi, The Far North is the solo project of singer-songwriter and guitarist Lee Wylding, hailing from Chester, England. His ethos as an artist is rooted in the roots of folk; his commitment to ensuring every lyric resonates shines through in Branches. We can’t wait to hear more from The Far North.
The Far North’s debut album is available to stream in full on Spotify.
With years of songwriting behind him, LeoJJChill has given us a taste of what we can expect from his future releases. Anyone who found them ensnared by Nick Cave’s new material created in collaboration with Warren Ellis will quickly become ensnared by the ease of the melodies and the command of the vocals above the gentle acoustic guitar progressions.
His songwriting that takes you right back to the roots of folk is simple, but it isn’t without soul or authentic artistic licence, and that is exactly what leaves you absorbed by LeoJJChill’s less-than-archetypal approach to lo-fi folk. We eagerly await his official indie-folk debut.
Americana meets UK Britpop in River Night’s alt-folk single, She Came Round, featuring Ralph Walling. While instrumentally, the semi-orchestral folky instrumentals run in the same vein as Dylan’s did in the 70s, there’s a touch of Oasis and the Stone Roses to the vocals that contrast with the accordant tones of the acoustic guitar progressions.
She Came Round is just one of the authentically original singles from the Southampton-based duo’s lockdown-born album, Grow, which released on June 25th. With plenty of tour dates in their diary, 2021 could very well be the year of River Knight.
She Came Round is now available to stream via SoundCloud.
Award-winning Scottish alt-folk singer-songwriter Colin Clyne’s latest single, Within Hindsight, takes you back to the time when ballads were tender and minimal instrumentation carried alchemically profound magnetism.
The tones in Within Hindsight are enough to evoke synaesthesia as you drink in the sepia colours weaved into the acoustic guitar progression and soft neo-classic-style meanderings of the piano. The gravelly whisky-soaked vocals hit the high notes with soaring ease, allowing Clyne to exhibit both his arresting vocal range and emotional range. They say that there are 34,000 possible human emotions, Within Hindsight resonates as capable of evoking most of them.
After spending ten years in California collecting accolades, including being a two-time winner of ‘The Best Acoustic Act’ at San Diego Music Awards, and featuring on a list of the best singer-songwriters curated by NBC that listed him alongside Tom Waits, it is safe to say that he made quite the impression. There is no reason why he can’t celebrate the same success on this side of the pond.
Within Hindsight is due for official release on June 25th.
After opening for acts such as Helmet and Tom Morello in her band Rooftop Revolutionaries, Elanor Goldfield has launched her solo debut EP, ‘No Solo,’ which consists of three original songs and two spoken-word pieces. It’s a far cry from her political hard rock sound in Rooftop Revolutionaries, but the queer creative radical, journalist and filmmaker’s versatile sound still comes with a bruising impact.
The single, ‘Pyre’, is the perfect introduction to her visceral songwriting style. The enthralling slice of Americana lays its foundation in swampy bluegrass roots, while the easy acoustic guitar chords bring a light accordant air of singer-songwriter country folk. While tackling themes of damnation, the radical track unapologetically forces into consciousness the destruction that collectively surrounds us while speaking to your soul with a recognition that only exceptional songwriters can achieve.
With lyrics such as, “What do you live for if they’re dying to kill for a dime?”, if you don’t feel something listening to Pyre, you may want to check you’ve still got a pulse.
If you find space on your playlists for Bonny Light Horseman, Angel Olsen or Sharen Van Etten on your playlists, you’ll definitely want to make room for Goldfield’s debut EP.
Elanor Goldfield’s debut EP is now available to stream via Spotify.
Folk singer-songwriter Barry Locke’s latest single, ‘One of These Days’ carries plenty of hallmarks of the quintessential acoustic folk-pop ballad while the distinction lies in his vulnerable vocals and the lifts in the sonic Americana pop-rock crescendos that make the track an evocatively powerful ride from start to finish.
One of These Days perfectly captures the instability that can often follow periods of self-reflection, the times when you look back, and you can’t recall the footsteps that led you to where you are, but you are still yearning from the life you evolved from.
The upbeat track leaves melancholy by the wayside and thrives on the determination to carry on, even if you don’t know where that energy is coming from. It’s a stunning release, sobering and uplifting in equal measure.
One of These Days officially released on May 20th; you can check it out on SoundCloud.
Taken from their fifth album ‘What Matters’, Marshall Artz’ new single ‘Coming Home’ is a mildly folky, Louisiana-tinged acoustic-led duet, fast-paced and upbeat with some bluegrass vibes in places around the banjo-roll lead breaks and slide guitar pieces, all wrapped around the uber-tight fingerstyle rhythm work of Kevin Artz. There’s a folk-rock, Americana feel to the track, reminiscent of 70’s trio America, Bread, or Harry Chapin, with maybe an element of the Doobie Brothers thrown in in the way both players interact organically around the track to create something that sounds fuller than ‘just’ two guitars and vocals.
It’s an excellent track, pacey and tight; lyrically, the title’s pretty much on the money – a long time away, nothing but ‘FaceTime on my iPhone’ to connect with, and ‘today is the day that I’m coming home’. Gentle, fun, and uplifting, ‘Coming Home’ is a great introduction to Marshall Artz new album.
With chord progressions that flow as easily as Courtney Barnett’s and the Beatles’, from the first note, you’re suckered right into Lindsay Brazell’s latest bluesy folk-pop single, ‘Midnight Gospel’.
The choruses practically act as transcendental experiences as you get caught up within Brazell’s chorally arcane vocals that give you the same vibe as Stevie Nicks as they work with the popping melodies that remain contemporary until the solo where the roots of bluegrass pull through.
With her sound exuding as much distinction as Amigo the Devil and the 2020 supergroup Bonny Light Horseman, combined with the impression that she lights up every room she walks in, it comes as no surprise that the singer-songwriter has been dubbed one to watch by The Nashville Songwriters Association International. We wholeheartedly agree.
Midnight Gospel is now available to stream via Spotify.