Browsing Tag

Alt Folk

Jack Cade – The Glitter Around Your Eyes: Achingly Affecting Americana

Bewilderland by Jack Cade and the Everyday Sinners

If you always turn to Cohen, Waits and Nick Cave for sonic solace, redirect your quest for sanctity toward Jack Cade’s folk-meets-alt-country LP, Bewilderland.

His gruff baritone notes against Helen Muggeridge’s glassy-with-soul harmonies create a heart-wrenchingly sentimental dynamic in the standout single, The Glitter Around Your Eyes. Like all of the most affecting love songs, the alchemic feat of Americana lyrically locks into the minute details of affection to elucidate how deep in the veins the affection runs.

Around the bluesy guitar bends, honkytonk piano keys that give the track a touch of the 70s and the roots-wrapped tones as a courtesy of the slide guitar, the two vocalists portray a hesitant yet fervent testament of passion which reaches the epitome of compelling. Slow dance to it, cry your heart out to it as you mourn lost loves, or make it a playlist staple; whatever you do, don’t pass up on this timelessly touching serenade from the UK-hailing conduit of candour.

The Glitter Around Your Eyes was officially released on January 26th; stream the single and Jack Cade’s seminal LP, Bewilderland, on Bandcamp.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

Grizzly Bird – Backpacker: A Soulful Sojourn Through the Indie-Folk Landscape

Grizzly Bird (AKA Hans Gnendinger) presents ‘Backpacker‘, an attentive commentary enveloped in a melodious indie folk journey. This single, nestled within the anticipated album ‘Creatures‘, stands out as a synthy, lyrically driven exploration of the backpacking subculture, infused with a wit and insight that is both refreshing and thought-provoking.

Gnendinger, a stalwart of the Berlin folk scene, brought his Bavarian roots and urban experiences to bear in this track. His storytelling, honed through years of songwriting and life’s vicissitudes shines through in the light-hearted track which delves into the essence of human nature and our quest for meaning, all while maintaining a lightness of touch that is characteristic of Grizzly Bird’s style.

The lyrical wit reminiscent of John Grant, combined with the tongue-in-cheek reverie akin to Alex Cameron, positions ‘Backpacker’ in a unique space within the indie genre. Gnendinger’s voice carries the narrative with an effortless grace through the Radiohead-esque soundscape which exhibits Gnendinger’s skill with the acoustic guitar and his ability to weave complex emotions into his compositions while the synthy backdrop adds a contemporary edge to the folk foundation

In essence, ‘Backpacker’ is a mirror held up to a generation that seeks meaning in the nomadic, Beatnik lifestyle. Grizzly Bird, through this track, offers a perspective that is both critical and empathetic, urging us to question the romanticism of backpacking while also acknowledging its allure.

The official music video for Backpacker will premiere on February 16th; stream it on YouTube.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

Sinéad Ann has released her spiritually spectral alt-indie-folk single, Four Walls

If any Irish folk artist has what it takes to surpass the fame of Glen Hansard in 2023, it is Sinéad Ann with her spectrally spiritual single, Four Walls, which haunts the middle ground between indie rock and alt-folk.

With vocals that command in the same celestially raw vein as Dolores O’Riordan and chamber strings aiding the depiction of the clash between our mortality and spirit, Four Walls makes no apology as it visualises the maleficence of our shadow selves.

Rather than painting the picture of incandescent innocence, Sinéad Ann elevated the murder-folk subgenre with her confession of nightmarish visions before taking her listeners to a place of enlightenment following the vanquishment of her demons. You couldn’t ask for a more scintillating narration of the triumph of good over evil. It definitively proves that nothing concerning the soul is ever black and white, crimson always has a part to play; it runs in our veins and has a role to play in redemption, whether that plays out in our shadow minds or in reality.

With more music in the baroque pipelines, any folk fans partial to expositions of the darker sides of the human condition will want to be part of the breakthrough artist’s ascent.

Stream Four Walls on Spotify now.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

The LA singer-songwriter Eric Baugh has made his acoustic folk-rock debut with his compulsion-questioning single, Silent Spring

Eric Baugh strummed the decades and all the contemporary distractions which came as a courtesy of them in his debut single, Silent Spring. The bluesy lead notes against the quiescent calm of the acoustic folk-rock chords beneath his beckoning vocal lines will strike all the right notes with fans of Cat Stevens and Paul Simon.

The LA-based singer-songwriter made as much of a case for the beauty in simplicity in his guitar work as his lyrics which bring to question the way we live as though there’s no alternative. Consumerism and greed were never part of the human psyche’s blueprint; as eloquently illustrated by Baugh, we’ve been conditioned into commercialist conformity, and it is never too late to start again.

It may take more than one stunning song fuelled with small-town iconography and bearing R.E.M. reminiscences to derail our descent into further despondency with the world around us, but Baugh’s contribution is sure to compel his listeners into questioning their compulsions.

Silent Spring reached all major platforms on September 15; stream it via this link.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

Rossa Murray & the blowin’ winds will warmly render your heartstrings raw with ‘Who Really Wants to Get Clean’

Rossa Murray & the blowin' winds

The hype around the Irish alt-folk/rock outfit, Rossa Murray & the blowin’ winds, may be louder than the melancholic quiescence in the title single from their latest EP, but the accolades are far from hyperbolic.

Who Really Wants to Get Clean is a cutting- with razor-sharp precision – exposition on society’s issues around addiction; so much pressure is put upon the people numbing themselves by any means necessary to change, while the societal issues that make it a necessity for so many get ambivalently swept under the rug.

I can’t even remember the last time a track hit me this hard. The evocative delivery, the desperation in the vignette, the agony that lingers in the tempo of the minor keys, the profoundness in the strings, it all synthesises into a tear-jerking performance that leaves you in a sombre state of contemplation.

Fans of Bill Ryder-Jones and Frightened Rabbit won’t be able to tear themselves away from the Rossa Murray & the blowin’ winds’ discography after Who Really Wants to Get Clean has warmly rendered their hearts raw.

The Who Really Wants to Get Clean – Part 2 EP will officially release on September 29th. Stream it on all major platforms via this link.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

Oliver James Brooks synthesised contemporary sickness with the fever of the 70s in ‘Technologically Stoned.

To hold a mirror to the dystopic sickness of the day, the critically acclaimed Toronto singer-songwriter, Oliver James Brooks, lyrically narrated our iPhone co-dependency issues in stark contrast to the 70s fever of psych-folk timbres with his alt-folk-rock single, Technologically Stoned.

Illuminating the reality of the evolution of technology which is spurring the regression of society while orchestrating a lava lamp warm soundscape that consoles through the dusky hues couldn’t have been an easy feat; the resolving raconteur succeeded nonetheless.

The accompanying music video, shot on super 8mm film along the Humber River Valley, also acts as a compelling visual exposition of how the chokehold of our phones is blinding us to the natural beauty that is everywhere we turn. If any single is going to convince you to get your dopamine fix in a more organic way, it is Technologically Stoned; the organic and raw production leads by efficacious example.

Technologically Stoned was officially released on September 22; it will also feature in the artist’s third studio LP, A Little Long While, which will be available to stream on all major platforms from November 24.

Watch the official music video for Technologically Stone on YouTube now.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

Joel Porter made a plea for providence in his alt-folk masterpiece, Godsend

The North Dakota alt-folk artist, composer and producer Joel Porter’s fascination with the human psyche knows even fewer bounds than the experimentalism in his harmonic landscapes.

Art brings meaning to life; in Porter’s work, which includes his recently released single, Godsend, life also brings meaning to art as the quiescent neo-classic melodies complement confessional emotional exploration. With his signature sense of intimate longing, Godsend is yet another testament to his talent and introspective eloquence. With a sound so sweet it stings, the melancholic cries for providence in Godsend are so profound they resonantly overwhelm the senses.

Combined with the aesthetic desolation in the black-and-white music video which visualises the monochromatic hues of a forsaken soul, Godsend is yet another masterpiece in Joel Porter’s repertoire.

Over the course of his career, he’s worked with renowned artists, showcased his music on a national level, accumulated over 7.5 million streams, and secured sync placements with the television series The 100 and in the Grey Skies: A War of the Worlds Story video game.

Something tells us the best is yet to come for Porter and his ability to construct bridges between the pensiveness of Elliott Smith and the intricate ambience of Nils Frahm.

The official music video for Godsend will premiere on September 28; watch it on YouTube.

For more info, visit Joel Porter’s official website.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

Spike Casino has unveiled his surreal sophomore folk-rock single, Lobsters and Guns

Surrealism is never far from the equation when the LA-hailing singer, poet, writer, producer, and general music shape-shifter Spike Casino turns his hand to a new sonic creation.

His sophomore single, Lobsters and Guns, unravels as a kaleidoscope of obscurity; if New Model Army shared a few tabs of acid with the Legendary Pink Dots, their always panoramic lyrical pictures would share the same quintessentially out-there air as this alt-folk rock harbingering serenade.

Once you’re immersed in the spiritedly cadenced single, the minimal connotations between lobsters and guns in the world outside of this track won’t dare to phase you. Instead, you’ll be enthralled by the depiction of a gangster-fuelled seaside town they should probably close down if this single is anything to go by.

Lobsters and Guns was officially released on September 1st; stream it on Spotify.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

Sahara CyberStars illuminated the airwaves with their alt-folk-rock score, Light Shines into a Space

After unveiling six LPs and six singles to date, the Dublin-forged, Australia-residing duo Sahara CyberStars, comprising the award-winning singer-songwriters Dave and Trish Long, exhibited how honed their synergistic sound has become in their latest single, Light Shines into a Space.

The duo may have gone down under, but their arcane Irish folk roots still linger at the epicentre of their theatrically inviting sound in Light Shines into a Space, which allows you to imagine how New Model Army’s post-punk musings would unravel with more ornate and orchestral instrumentals infused into their atmospheric stylings.

The deeply original score’s authenticity is only matched by the evocative pull of the release; from the first verse, you’ll be inseparably combined with the celestially scintillating experimentalism, which bends genres with the grace of an Olympian contortionist.

Light Shines into a Space is now available to stream on YouTube.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

Matt Mullins & The Bringdowns harbingered the ‘Beginning of the End’ in their expansively influenced single

Matt Mullins & The Bringdowns may be alt-country at their core, which their single, Beginning of the End, efficaciously signifies but written into the rich tapestry of a single are elements are folk, grunge, psych and new wave indie to create a genre-bending odyssey.

Their stylistic fluidity is one thing; the way they allow emotion to drive the momentum and paint a panoramic portrait of the human psyche and all that defiles and uplifts it is quite another. The Beginning of the End takes a raw and real anxiety for the people prolifically questioning the sustainability of our societies and enraptures the listener away from it all with the unshackling nature of the stellar songwriting.

Beyond the Slash-style soaring guitar solos, the Eddie Vedder-esque gruff vocal timbre, the gangly indie melodies that will appease any fans of the Psychedelic Furs, and the rugged folk elements which reminisce with the tones made iconic by the Levellers lies the true beauty of Matt Mullins & The Bringdowns. For your own sake, experience it for yourselves.

Beginning of the End, along with their latest album, Monarch Sessions, from which it was taken, is now available to stream on Spotify.

Review by Amelia Vandergast