Browsing Tag

Alt Folk

Skittish shows us the future of thorny folk-rock with their eighth release, House on Fire.

Skittish

LA-based alt-rock outfit, Skittish, shunted folk-rock further into the future than it has ever been with their 8th release, House on Fire. If you can imagine what it would sound like if Hozier did thorny post-rock synthpop, you can get an idea of just how alchemic the fiery release is.

With the female vocals projecting a sense of innocence into the progressively unpredictable instrumentals and the male vocals injecting plenty of raconteur energy into the sporadically symphonic track, even if you listened to House on Fire 100 times, you’d still be picking new fractures of ingenuity from the unforgettably refreshing track.

House on Fire is due for official release on November 19th. You can check it out for yourselves by heading over to SoundCloud.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

Only the soulless won’t be spellbound with Mark Lewis Heavenor’s artfully lamenting folk single, Young Boy.

Scottish songwriter, composer and guitarist, Mark Lewis Heavenor has released his most poignant work to date with his morosely gruff art-folk single, Young Boy. While the soundscape paints a quaint sepia-toned ramshackle town in your mind, the music video juxtaposes it by using a soul-sucking British ghost town as a location to place two dancers as they find inspiration despite the lamentable landscape.

Like many artists, Heavenor pulls plenty of inspiration from Tom Waits to create his own artfully rich sound but in every progression, you hear Heavenor push past assimilation into the realm of authentic creation.

The weight of the heavy yet bright vocals crawls under your ribs as you listen to the art-folk instrumentals quiver, rattle and angularly blossom from the fretboard. With the gentleness of Elliott Smith, the lyrical conviction of Kurt Cobain in his more melodious work and the cinematic pull of his Flamenco/Americana Folk guitars, you’d have to be soulless not to be spellbound.

The official video for Young Boy premiered on October 20th; it is a stunner; go check it out on YouTube.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

 

Folk meets Britpop in River Knight’s latest single, She Came Round, featuring Ralph Walling.

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.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

Award-winning alt-folk artist Colin Clyne has released his latest single, ‘Within Hindsight’

Colin Clyne

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.

You can check out Colin Clyne via his website, Facebook and Instagram.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

Claudia’s Graces drop haunting, brittle ‘Crystals’

Claudia's Graces

Claudia’s Graces is the solo experimental pop music project of Claudia Hinsdale, a 22 year-old singer, songwriter, and producer from Ohio. With a degree in Technology in Music and Related Arts from Ohio’s prestigious Oberlin Conservatory (ranked fifth in the world in Holloywood Reporter’s Top 25 Music Schools). That should give you an idea of the sort of quality we’re looking at here; our collective expectations were high, then, and we’re very pleased to report that ‘Crystals’ certainly doesn’t disappoint.

Light, shimmery, ephemeral, lying somewhere between folk and outright avant-garde, ‘Crystals’ is that rare beast; a track that’s hard to pigeon-hole or to draw easy comparisons for. Hinsdale’s free-form, stream of consciousness lyrics sit over layered, effected strings, keys, and unusual percussion, her vocal delivery sing-song and high register, almost choral at times, early music-like at others, folky and gentle yet with a definite commercial quality too. There’s vague allusions to Amanda Palmer, Tori Amos, or Emilie Autumn, but it’s much more than that – almost spoken word performance art set to a haunting, brittle backdrop, sparkling, glasslike, and…well, yes. Like crystals.

You can check out Claudia’s Graces here and on Instagram.

Review by Alex Holmes

Cinematic Stoner Rock Meets Folk in Mal Hombre’s Latest Single, ‘When It Rains’

Mal Hombre

Any fans of Mazzy Star will want to tune into Mal Hombre’s latest single, When It Rains, featuring vocals from Coco SaFir. The soft blues slides and bends in the intro give way to a creeping soundscape that will allow you to imagine what the soundtrack would sound like if Tarantino and Lynch Co-Produced a film.

Coco SaFir’s vocals perfectly complement Mal Hombre’s fragile yet resoundingly cinematic instrumental style as it flows through a myriad of stylistic twists and turns. With the soft saxophones as the track gears up for a psychedelic outro, you won’t need to smoke to get high with this 70s-inspired stoner rock track that also introduces elements of folk, jazz and synthpop.

When It Rains is one of those tragically rare singles that compels you to crank up the volume until you can’t quite tell if you’re absorbing the single or it is absorbing you. It’s quite literally a breathtaking single that we couldn’t speak more highly of.

You can check out Mal Hombre via his website or Facebook.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

Andy Blecher has released his multidecade-spanning folk single, ‘One’.

Indie pop-rock artist Andy Blecher has worn his Gordon Lightfoot influence on his tonal sleeve in his latest single, One. The single spans across genres and decades to bring you a timelessly enamouring soundscape filled with raw affable emotion.

The lo-fi yet chorally charming folk single pays lyrical old to the storytelling style of folk from the ’30s and 40s while instrumentally, the single will psychedelically send you back to the 70s with the kaleidoscopic melodies and nuances of surf-pop carried in the acoustic guitar progressions.

Reminiscences may be plentiful in One, but Andy Blecher didn’t fail to establish himself as an authentic radio-ready artist.

One is now available to stream via SoundCloud.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

Kveda verse Pagan poetry in their latest Nordic folk single, ‘Thorkell Streep’

Kveda is a folk music project that digs far past the roots of contemporary music right into the arcane core of Viking folklore. Their pagan sound may be niche, but their latest release, ‘Thorkell Streep’, is steadily racking up the streams since the release on April 4th.

Their latest release proves that Kveda has exactly what it takes to reach the same heights as acts such as Heilung who have given music fans a taste for soundscapes that speak to you on a tribal level.

With lyrics taken from relic poems and manuscripts and their diverse instrumental arrangements that includes historic instruments  such as bouzoukis, mandolins, nyckelharpas, violas and lyres, Thorkell Streep would struggle to be more authentic. The release that comes with hauntingly mystic chants is as enlivening as it is hypnotizing, hit play and immerse yourself in the meditatively powerful release.

Thorkell Streep is now available to stream via YouTube.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

Strap yourselves in for the sonically celestial ride Suris will take you on with their psych-folk album, ‘Bonehouse’.

UK-based husband and wife duo Suris released their third album, Bonehouse, on April 29th. After a six-year gap in releases, anyone previously acquainted with their arcane sound will want to adjust their expectations accordingly for the evolution in their expression. During lockdown, Suris have taken their sound to an artfully transcendent level; strap yourselves in for the smooth celestial ride.

The album starts with ‘Argus’, a spacey ambient feat of psych-folk that carries reminiscence to Bowie through the argonaut-inspired instrumentals and Kate Bush through Lindsey’s vocals which switch from evocative vibrato to chorally ethereal and back again. It perfectly sets the tone for the record that never allows you to get comfortable.

Instead, with their soulfully pretence-less writing and production style, Suris meld elements of jazz, folk, progressive rock, psych-pop and avant-garde pop in compelling arrangements that breathe with the new age freedom of a Fleetwood Mac record, yet, there is always something striking, and indulgently unsettling waiting for you in the next progression.

With the more atmospheric singles such as, ‘Wanted’, and ‘Eclipse’, the self-recorded and produced record feels so spiritual that it almost becomes metaphysical. Bonehouse is an incredible testament from Suris. If you appreciate true aural pioneers, you’ll want them on your radar.

Bonehouse is available to stream from April 29th, 2021. You can check it out for yourselves on SoundCloud.

Keep up to date with new releases from Suris via Facebook and Instagram.

House of Weirdos want to take us all to ‘Happy Hour’

As the world, slowly, emerges from lockdown and enforced abstinence (uh-huh), the possibility of an ice cold beer actually in a bar or pub becomes tantalising close; with new single ‘Happy Hour’, the House of Weirdos – a collective of lifelong friends with a bunch of common likes from Pink Floyd to Abbot and Costello – take us on a mythical drinking session of mildly jazzy folk-pop and danceable silliness. The addition of Mary Knapp on accordion and multilingual backing vocals adds a certain additional Bavarian charm to the track, but this is fun, enjoyable lockdown music created by a bunch of musicians who are clearly just enjoying what they do, and that comes across – clearly – in the music.

Go check out Happy Hour now on YouTube, and follow House of Weirdos on Facebook. Quickly, before the pubs open.

Review by Alex Holmes