Indie folk-rock artist, Jonas and I, are right on the contemporary curve with their latest single, Love, released via Humu Records. The deeply atmospheric track is cinematic enough that it wouldn’t be out of place in a Hollywood Blockbuster, yet Love wasn’t written with commercial potential solely in mind.
Refreshingly, Jonas and I didn’t fall into the trap of becoming yet another Mumford and Sons assimilator. They went further back to the roots of folk to create a richly narrative radio-ready single that easily distinguishes itself from the rest.
With the tenderness of Tom Odell in the vocals with visceral robustness that gives the lyrics far more meaning, it’s hard not to get absorbed with the rich sonic textures.
Love was released on August 27th, you can check it out via SoundCloud.
North Carolina-dwelling indie-folk-pop trio Migrant Birds craft their accordant singles to ensure that folk stays contemporary. Their standout single, Feel it All, rekindles the magic of old-school folk while allowing you to get lost in the lush modern production.
In Feel it All, orchestral strings quiver below light acoustic guitars while the sublimely layered harmonies drift above. Any fans of Noah and the Whale, Mumford and Sons and Friendly Fires will want to save a spot on their playlists for Migrant Birds and their escapism-aiding soundscapes.
Classically trained Austin, Texas-born singer-songwriter Kelsey Hughen has released her latest cinematic Celtic folk single, House on a Hilltop; the semi-orchestral single captures Hughen’s genre-fluid at its most arcane.
The celestial timbre of the instrumentals sets a fantastical tone, as the lyrics yearn for an escape from the struggle of conformity with the one person that you can strip back the façade with unashamedly. House on a Hilltop is easily one of the sincerest love songs to hit the airwaves this year. The way it captures the security of love that frees us is just beyond beautiful.
House on Hilltop is now available to stream via Spotify.
Up and coming UK-based singer-songwriter Tew is set to release his seminal single, Vessel; the stormy yet simultaneously delicate semi-orchestral single offers a profoundly captivating atmosphere, amplified by the cutting timbre of Tew’s vocals.
It is one of those increasingly rare singles that is artful as it is sonically enticing; the alchemic experimentalism retracted none of the emotional potential. Instead, Tew used it to reflect those feelings that you can never really find the words for, those moments of absolute chaos that make it feel like the ground exists at the mercy of your perception.
Vessel is due for release on July 21st. You can check it out for yourselves on all major platforms via this link.
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.
Tobias Ben Jacob is one half of the alt-folk duo Jacob and Drinkwater, and a former member of the acclaimed but sadly now-defunct Devonshire acoustic four-piece The Roots Union; with that kind of pedigree, any solo affair was always going to be a strong contender, and 2017’s ‘A Polyphonic Life’ was certainly a stormer of an album, including two songs which went on to feature in Martha Pinson and Martin Scorcese’s indie movie ‘Tomorrow’.
‘Refuge’, Jacob’s new album, is an entirely different affair, a vibrant collection of electronica-tinged narrative folk-tinged songs inspired by people at the heart of the global refugee crisis. ‘A Bird Made Out Of Clay’ is the first track (and lead single) is a beautiful, poignant take on how a single, random act of kindness can bring hope and charm to life even in what seems, at first, to be the bleakest and darkest of places, Jacob’s lifting, lilting voice carrying the track over a sparse arrangement of synth swells and sampled human choral voices. It’s melancholy yet hopeful, the gentle guitar line filling the space between Jacob’s story-telling vocal, the tale – like the rest of the album – created and jotted down in lay-bys and car-parks during Jacob’s six-day-week job as a delivery driver.
Inspired partly by Zekria Farzad, an Afghan refugee and former journalist who set up the Wave For Hope For The Future School at the Moria Refugee Camp in Lesbos, and partly by the Ai Weiwei film ‘Human Flow’, which documents the crisis, ‘Refuge’ is a hugely important piece of work, a delicate, fascinating musical accomplishment with a deeply meaningful message for us all; ‘A Bird Made Out Of Clay’ is the perfect, sublime first single and introduction to Jacob’s oeuvre.
‘A Bird Made Out Of Clay’ – and the rest of the ‘Refuge’ album – is available on Soundcloud now. Follow Tobias Ben Jacob here, or on Instagram.
More Than Skies is the project of New York singer-songwriter Adam James. With two EP’s and a self-released double-album since its inception in 2006, James now drops his new album, ‘Tomorrow Won’t Bother’, leading off with this, the title track.
Perhaps best described as mildly psychedelic-sounding angsty folk-rock, ‘Tomorrow Won’t Bother’ has a distinctly Beatles-y vibe to it, all beautiful wavering strings, strummed acoustic guitar, and a hugely classy piano-led intro, all held together by James’ effortless vocal. There’s a pizzicato element to the strings adding some percussive drive to the middle section, a charmingly ‘Leslie Cabinet’ dopplering tremolo effect to James’ voice, and that delicious piano intro and outro, all adding serious class to an already beautifully crafted and performed track. ‘Tomorrow Won’t Bother’ is the perfect taster.
Hear ‘Tomorrow Won’t Bother’ on Spotify; check out More Than Skies on Facebook.
Slip into the soul contained in US singer-songwriter Michael Golden’s debut album Some Kind of Holiday, it’s a candidly compelling narration of the artist’s experience navigating life, you’ll find plenty of familiar moments staring back at you.
The perfect introduction to their melodically haunting style is irrefutably “Mr. Ecstasy”. Any fans of Leonard Cohen and Tom Waits are going to get stung by the melancholy. Just like dropping a pill, there are blissfully radiant highs and soul-scraping lows. Yet, Mr. Ecstasy is able to offer far more than narcotics could.
The tender nostalgic comfort contained in Mr. Ecstasy is worth its weight in gold. Michael Golden has palpably succeeded in recreating the 70s sound with a modern digital folk edge.
You can check out Mr. Ecstasy for yourselves by heading over to YouTube now.
“Home” is just one of the tenderly intimate Folk Pop singles on the latest EP “Alur” from Sacramento-born, LA-based singer-songwriter Maroney.
The semi-orchestral, mellifluously magnetic single may draw you in gently, but before you know it, the accordant tones will be creeping beneath your skin and the lyrics will seriously test your capacity for compassion as you listen to the romantically resolving lyrics float around the stunning orchestration which could have only come from an artist with an affinity for Gospel, Bluegrass and Folk.
How celestial Home is, is no coincidence. The female vocals perfect the amorously evocative soundscape as they find reactive chemistry against Maroney’s soothing vocal timbre.
You can check out Home for yourselves by heading over to Spotify now.
With each new release from Alt Folk artist Syne, there’s a new chance to explore complexities in a soundscape while simultaneously exploring the complexities in your own mind.
Meditative music may not be made for radio but it does serve the fundamental purpose of transfixing you in a quiescent moment which requires you to simply exist. Syne’s latest single Plato’s Cave featuring L-FRESH The LION is practically a shortcut to a higher plateau.
The extended instrumental prelude will ensure that you’re suitably zen before the softly resonant vocals kick in. At this point, the track doesn’t feel like it will be throwing many aural curveballs your way. But there was no anticipating the Rap verses from L-FRESH The LION.
I don’t think I’ll ever forget hearing such relentless Rap verses over such feverously pensive piano progressions. Yet, that was just one of the seamlessly progressive unexpected twists which Plato’s Cave had to offer.
You can check out the official animated video to Plato’s Cave which premiered on March 11th, 2020 via YouTube.