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Alt Folk

Music

Jen Myzel Has Released Her Spiritually Reflective Alt Country Pop Single “Be Longing”

https://jenmyzel.bandcamp.com/track/be-longing

With the poetic lyrics and the beguiling ease of the melodies, it’s impossible not to find yourself in a contemplative state while listening to Jen Myzel’s latest Alt Folk Country Pop single “Be Longing”.

With lyrical lines which feel like an introspective sucker punch and serenely stripped-back instrumentals, “Be Longing” is the perfect track to add to your ruminative playlists.

While there are many artists out there making a lot of noise without much to say, you’ll be able to find Jen Myzel’s distinctive sound on the other side of the coin. The Californian artist is perceptibly gifted when it comes to orchestrating uplifting and empowering soundscapes. Not by utilising abrasively ‘happy’ tones, but meditatively easing you into a better mind space with compellingly conscious lyrical wisdom.

You can check out Jen Myzel’s quiescently striking single for yourselves by heading over to Bandcamp.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

Music

Peregrino – Fire Away: Warmly Hypnotic Alt Indie Folk Rock  

Up and coming Alt Folk Rock artist Peregrino released their debut album “Feels Like Leaving” in 2019. If you missed it, you also missed a record which could simultaneously appease Soft Rock, Folk and Psych Blues fans alike.

If you dissect the standout single “Fire Away”, you’ll find a sticky-sweet melange of warm and cathartic tones which seem to evolve with each progression. The momentum may build, but the tranquillity of Fire Away is perpetual.

Fire Away kicks off with a mesmerizingly winding melody which ensures that you’re suitably captivated before Peregrino’s vocals creep in with plenty of vocal resonance. While Peregrino may share vocal reminiscences with the likes of Elliot Smith, the soundscape is a dynamic feat of ingenuity which you’d be hard-pressed to find anywhere else.

You can check out Fire Away along with the rest of Peregrino’s album for yourselves by heading over to Spotify.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

Music

Cee has released her stunningly orchestrated debut EP “As I Keep On Dreaming”

Swiss Singer-Songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Cee has recently released her debut EP “As I Keep on Dreaming”. With the instantaneous unveiling of her ability to explore sound at the same time as human complexity in the title track, we were hooked from the first verse.

As I Keep On Dreaming is an aptly-titled dreamy melodic work of Alt Folk with cinematic semi-orchestral layers which allow Cee to take her sound to an ethereal level.

Whether you’re enamoured by her distinctive guitar playing, the celestial feel behind the production, or her expressively quaint vocals, you’re sure to find as much indulgent appeal in As I Keep On Dreaming as we did.

You can check out Cee’s latest single As I Keep On Dreaming for yourselves by heading over to Spotify.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

Music

Mock Deer – Your Open Heart: Transfixingly Crushing, Cinematically Resonant Alt Indie Folk

“Your Open Heart” is one of the captivating singles found on the latest release “The Art of Loneliness” from London-based Alt Indie Folk artist Mock Deer.

Forget lyrical or instrumental hooks, the prelude offers an instantaneous sharp emotional hook which will great any fan of American Alt Folk with a familiar lacerating sting. With each progression, you’re drawn further into the striking resonance which pools around the creeping ethereal reverb and gently melancholic pensive notes.

Mock Deer is exactly the kind of artist you can hit play on for the first time and form an “I immediately need to buy all of their records” obsession – especially if you are a Paul Simon or REM fan. Despite the raw existential emotion projected into Your Open Heart, there’s the faintest hint of romantic optimism amongst the perfectly weighted commentary on 21st-century alienation and fear. It is transfixing, crushing, uplifting and transcendent all in equal measure.

You can check out Your Open Heart for yourselves via SoundCloud. Or you can grab a vinyl or CD copy via Rough Trade.

Keep up to date with the latest releases from Mock Deer via Facebook.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

Music

Belle Shea – Smoke and Mirrors: Unpredictably Progressive Alt Folk Pop

Alt Folk Pop Singer-Songwriter Belle Shea released her most transfixing single to date with “Smoke & Mirrors”.

The unpredictable progressions allow Smoke and Mirrors to evolve from an ethereally moody feat of Pop into a Neo-Soul Jazz-soaked soundscape with sporadic increments of Indie Rock thrown in for good measure.

Belle Shea’s vocals also prove to be just as dynamic as the instrumental arrangement in Smoke and Mirrors. From arrestive delicacy to resounding tensile warmth, you’ll be treated to it all if you hit play on the simply stunning single which fades out after a striking semi-orchestral infusion.

Yet, the essence of the track truly lies in what Belle Shea delivers lyrically – the lyrics in Smoke and Mirrors are practically metaphysical poetry.

You can check out Smoke & Mirrors for yourselves by heading over to SoundCloud now.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

Music

LIVE REVIEW: Amigo the Devil, The Deaf Institute, Manchester, 04/02/2020

There will never be anything as beautiful as someone who has seen the dark bringing the light with their music. And that’s exactly what happened when Amigo the Devil graced Manchester with his amicably macabre approach to Folk.

Within the realms of Dark Folk, you’ll find plenty of dark and twisted lyricism. But Amigo the Devil (Danny Kiranos) goes beyond that. He digs up the storytelling roots of the genre and exposes the complexity of 21st-century sentience with the addition of humour which will touch even the staunchest of existentialists.

I hadn’t quite anticipated how emotional a live set would be. Yes, you can practically hear each drop as his soul pours out through his lyrics on his records. But seeing the stinging conviction behind each word amplified their veracious meaning in a way I could never have anticipated. Yet, every time I was moved to tears, I was forcibly shifted back to laughter with his quick humility-soaked wit.

The words “crowd participation” usually send shivers down my spine. Yet, with Amigo the Devil, it’s almost a knee-jerk reaction to get caught up in the experience and become part of it in solidarity with his candidly expressive bravery.

Given that there’s a fairly eclectic array of instrumentals on their recorded material, I was slightly dubious how he could recreate that live armed with just an acoustic or banjo. But his inventive request for the audience to help out with foot stamping and clapping percussion was infinitely more immersive than any backing band could have been. He’d instilled unity in the room quite early on in the set by reminding us that death is one of the only commonalities which we’re certain to share, that will probably only sound depressing if you’ve never been to an Amigo the Devil Show.

It’s all too evident why a cult-like fanbase surrounds him. I think I’ve been indoctrinated, and I couldn’t be happier. If you get a chance to see him live, take it.

Artist Links:

Spotify, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

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Music

Castlemill – Born Free: Cinematically Orchestral World Music

“Born Free” is the latest single to be released by the eccentrically experimental up and coming World music artist Castlemill.

You’ll find the usual organically textured woody percussion in Born Free, but within the arrangement, there are also inventively placed orchestral layers which you wouldn’t usually find in World Music. Yet, Castlemill has found a way to weave in a nuanced cinematic flair which makes the soundscape all too easy to sink into.

It’s uplifting, it’s innovative, and it’s given us more reason to get excited by the artist’s ability to orchestrate music which feels like an epic adventure whilst simultaneously feeding you catharsis.

You can check out Born Free for yourselves by heading over to SoundCloud now.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

Music

Bluebyrd – Not the Only Show in this Town: Chorally Atmospheric Folk Pop

Bluebyrd

There was little chance that we’d forget the mellifluous tones of up and coming Folk artist Bluebyrd after hearing their debut album “Uneven Ground” in 2018 and their politically-cathartic single “Song for the Duped” in 2019.

With their first single to be released in 2020 “Not the Only Show in this Town” there’s plenty of serene resonance to soak up.

It may or not surprise you to learn that as a music journalist, I brush up against some caustically salty egos. Not the Only Show in this Time is a pedestal-removing chorally atmospheric reminder that self-projected superiority is more than a little ridiculous.

With the ethereal organ layers weaved into the Alt Folk Pop mix, there was a slight touch of Momus in the track. But ultimately, Bluebyrd’s sound is very much their own. And that’s just one of the reasons why the UK-based artist is incredibly easy to warm to.

You’ll have to wait a little longer before you can check out ‘Not The Only Show In This Town’ which is due for release on all platforms on February 14th. In the meantime, you can head on over to SoundCloud to check out their earlier releases.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

Music

Gary The Bard – The Bard’s Waltz for the Queen: Archaically Immersive Alt Psych Folk

“The Bard’s Waltz for the Queen” is the gloriously archaic latest single to be released from the unapologetically eccentric Folk singer-songwriter Gary The Bard.

With stylistic elements which would enamour fans of the Beatles and Bowie alike, there’s plenty of sweet colourfully melodic accessibility within the epic tentatively paced 14-minute track. Yet, their nostalgically romantic Bard-style lyricism will allow you to melt into a narrative which offers resonance amongst the grandeur and royalist ardour. If you’re looking to aurally escape the 21st century, you’ll strike gold with Gary The Bard.

Their endearingly authentic approach to songwriting may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but what good music ever is?

You can check out The Bard’s Waltz for the Queen for yourselves by heading over to SoundCloud now.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

Music

Madhara – Colours of the Wind: A Debut of Experimentally Soulful Jazz-Infused Alt-Folk

Up and coming artist Madhara has recently made their 2020 debut with the progressively organic soulfully magnetic single “Colours of the Wind”.

Kicking off with a prelude which wouldn’t be out of place on a Thurston Moore album, Colours of the Wind quickly evolves into an ethereally comforting offer of Jazz-infused Alt-Folk. The momentum may ebb and flow. Yet your attention will never falter away from the expressive ingenuity found in their daringly bold and colourful soundscape.

With everything from sweeping piano glissandos to funk-deep bass lines to striking semi-orchestral swells, you won’t encounter many tracks from up and coming artists exhibiting such an eclectic array of experimentalism. Yet, Colours of the Wind pulled together with complete concordance. Meaning that the single was able to exude an absorbing Neo-Soul vibe which demands repeat attention.

You can check out Colours of the Wind for Yourselves by heading over to Spotify now.

To make sure that you don’t miss out on Madhara’s upcoming releases, keep up to date via Facebook.

Review by Amelia Vandergast