Browsing Tag

Americana Folk

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

 

Karyn Ann delivers arcane soul in style in her folk single, ‘Wasting Time’

The Portland-based soulstress, Karyn Ann, released her debut album in 2015; after her sophomore album released in 2018, she started to garner critical acclaim and international airplay for her effortlessly powerful vocals and the emotional depth of her lyricism.

Her latest single, Wasting Time, gracefully captures the collective anxiety around watching the sands of time slip while failing to keep hold of anything that brings intrinsic meaning. After we’ve all endured 18 months of lockdown to some degree, Wasting Time is the perfect playlist staple for anyone seeking a little compassion.

The Americana singer-songwriter’s ability to weave a narrative through emotion, poetry and arrestingly minimal melodies is almost unparalleled. We’re fairly certain that this won’t be the last time that Karyn Ann leaves us mesmerised by her almost arcane sense of soul.

Wasting Time is available to stream on SoundCloud.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

Ricky Hoffman sings the Black Cat Blues in his latest alt indie-folk single.

Debut Demo by Ricky Hoffman

Fans of Neutral Milk Hotel, the Microphones, Elliott Smith and Sufjan Stevens will want to hear Wisconsin singer-songwriter Ricky Hoffman play the ‘Black Cat Blues’.

The expressively ardent Midwest folk single wouldn’t be out of place amongst other iconic cat-inspired tracks; it carries the same endearing panache as Stray Cats’ Stray Cat Strut, Squeeze’s Cool for Cats, and, of course, Love Cats by The Cure. Through the snappy percussion, accordant rings of the acoustic guitar, and the woody bends of the bass, Hoffman created the perfect platform for his unpolished and organic blues-folk vocals that will stay with you long after Black Cat Blues has faded to a close.

Black Cat Blues is now available to stream via Bandcamp.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

Eleanor Goldfield has made her solo debut with the radical Americana EP, ‘No Solo’.

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.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

 

Delicate, Beautiful, and Haunting – The Real Shade are ‘Waiting For Good News’

The Real Shade

Gorgeously simple-but-evocative strummed acoustic guitar and Tim Vesely’s beautiful, cultured vocal carries the first half of ‘Waiting For Good News’, the new single from Toronto-based The Real Shade, before delicate organ, drum, and backing vocals join us around the mid-point; ‘Waiting For Good News’ is a perfect, tear-jerking-in-a-good-way, poignant and heartfelt yet hopeful and uplifting, it’s an absolutely stunning mix of lo-fi, old-school Americana, folk, and simple, expressive pop. Think Jayhawks, Counting Crows, or the mellower parts of Buffalo Tom, with a little of Paul Westerberg and Justin Townes Earle thrown in for good measure.

Taken from the forthcoming album ‘String Of Lights’, and a collaboration between ‘usual’ The Real Shade singer-songwriter Jane Gowan (Spygirl, Neins Circa) and producer and musician Vesely (Rheostatics), ‘Waiting For Good News’ is inspired both by the feelings a lot of us have right now, as we emerge slowly, blinking and nervously sniffing the air, from lockdown, and the novel ‘All My Puny Sorrows’ (Miriam Toews). It’s an absolutely beautiful, reflective single, perfectly composed and stunningly performed, gorgeous in its simplicity and 1,000,000 times more powerful because of it.

‘Waiting For Good News’ is released on May 14th 2021; you can find more information from The Real Shade’s website.

Review by Alex Holmes

Jack & Cherry delivered a dark folk rockabilly revival with their sophomore single ‘Moonchild’

Jack & Cherry

Berlin-based duo, Jack & Cherry, have released a hypnotic rockabilly revival with ‘Moonchild’; the first single to be released from their debut EP, ‘Roadkill Lullabies’.

Instrumentally, shimmering echoes follow the meandering guitar stretches that pay ode to the styles of Dire Straits. Lyrically, Moonchild will throw Chris Rea and Stevie Nicks reminiscences your way.

There may be plenty of dark imagery within the lyricism, but ultimately, Moonchild is a song that urges you towards self-acceptance. After we’ve all had so much spare time to spend with our anxiety and insecurity, plenty of people will find resonance through the lyrics which reflect the strength of your shadow side but remind you that you’re stronger still.

Any fans of Tiger Army, Hillbilly Moon Explosion and April March will definitely want to make room on their radar for Jack & Cherry. Their debut EP is due for release in late 2021.

Moonchild was released on March 26th, you can check it out for yourselves by heading over to SoundCloud.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

Canadian folk singer-songwriter, Mike Latimer has made an unforgettable debut with ‘Your Memory’

Canadian folk singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist, Mike Latimer has released the first single from their forthcoming album ‘Coastal Life’; ironically, ‘Your Memory’ is an unforgettable release.

The timeless single suckers you in through folk Americana familiarity, once you’re immersed, you’ll start to embrace the candidness of Mike Latimer’s adoringly sweet lyricism which wraps itself around the ghost of a lost lover. With the radiant tones and the affection in the vocals, the air of wistfulness doesn’t stand a chance when it comes to dominating this escapism-aiding release. Instead, Your Memory delivers a powerful lesson in the power of perception.

Your Memory is available to stream via Spotify.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

Erick Beau – I Found Love in You: Hauntingly Intimate Alt-Folk Americana

Erick Beau

After racking up over a million streams with their single, ‘Waiting for You’, Erick Beau set his own bar fairly high, but their latest romantic-to-the-point-of-transcendence single ‘I Found Love in You’ easily rises above it.

The roots-deep country ballad is influenced by an eclectic array of timeless artists, from Bach to the Beatles, Keith Urban to Cat Stevens, but the soul it contains allows those hauntingly intimate alt-folk tones to resonate with innovative evocative appeal.

With the singer-songwriter’s ability to create a cinematically vivid experience with ardently gratified lyrics and emotion-capturing finger-picked guitar notes within the semi-orchestral soundscape, we wouldn’t be surprised to see his name in the OST credits for Hollywood blockbusters in the near future.

I Found Love in You is now available to stream by SoundCloud.

For more ways to listen, and more info on the trailblazing artist, head over to their website.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

 

 

P.B Ruck – Some Love: Sonorously Sentimental Americana Folk

Under the influence of Cohen, Waits and Dylan, Southampton-hailing artist, P.B Ruck, released their sonorously powerful latest single ‘Some Love’; the sense of romanticism is just as old school as the sepia-stained tones in the meditative Americana folk soundscape.

Through spatial effect and lyrical sparsity, Some Love is just as much about your introspection and amorous nostalgia as it is about the artist’s. With a touch of modernity on the production, folk roots are firmly implanted in the mix, but it blossoms through the tender vocals which resonate with a nuanced touch of celestially choral mesmerism.

Some Love was released on December 28th, it is available to stream via YouTube.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

Vincent Sonder lights up our day with ‘Camel Lights’

In his day job, Vincent Sonder – the alter-ego of celebrated filmmaker Joe Connor – has worked with bands as diverse as The Rolling Stones, Sam Smith, Coldplay, Paul Weller, The Maccabees, and Placebo (among others), and that shoulder-rubbing pedigree has obviously stood him in good stead when it comes to his own creative flow. Recorded in 2017 but only now available across streaming services, ‘Vincent Sonder’ the album is a gorgeous, glorious affair, and ‘Camel Lights’ is a perfect introduction.

Beautiful, exquisite piano accompanies Sonder’s mellow storytelling vocal, the lyrical flow creating a perfect mood of contemplation and reverie, dreamlike and meditative, with a narrative feel that tells the story of ‘the memory of a man that I can’t find’. It’s bewitching, evocative, and anecdotal, made all the more memorable by the interplay with the second, female vocal intertwined between Sonder’s lead and those plaintive minor piano chords; you listen, and you can practically see cigarette smoke drifting from a discarded ashtray, monochrome, in the rain. It’s beautiful.

Follow Vincent Sonder on Instagram; hear ‘Camel Lights’, and the rest of the album, on Spotify.

Review by Alex Holmes