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.
‘Clay’ is the latest poetic folk-rock single released by singer-songwriter Apres Pompeii. What starts as a conceptually intimate and bleary soundscape seamlessly builds into a sonically choral indie hit with sweet psychedelic kicks in the percussion and plenty of colour in the artfully crafted melodies.
After a sonic crescendo of angular indie guitars, the Pittsburgh-based artist brings the tempo back down to conclude the single on a note that will enamour any fan of Violet Femmes, Frightened Rabbit or Manchester Orchestra. If you are always on the lookout for the Elliott Smith of our generation, hit play.
If you paid attention to the UK rock scene in the 90s, you might already be acquainted with Airbus who are set to release their psychedelically sweet third studio album, You, via Spira Records.
The album unleashes singles penned and recorded back in the 1990s; the band lifted the audio from master tapes using a 24-track 2-inch tape machine to keep the warm analogue glow of the original recordings. Short of hopping in a TARDIS and pushing your way to the front of the crowd when Mazzy Star performed at the Shoreline Amphitheatre, you’d be hard-pressed to find a better way to transport yourself back to the 90s.
If you can imagine what an aural cocktail of The Zombies, Elliott Smith and the Beatles would sound like, you’ll get an idea of the dreamy, colourful accordance that is weaved in the standout single ‘I’. Reminiscences aside, the band’s masterfully melodic presence on the airwaves once more is a breath of fresh kaleidoscopic air. The lead track carries that dreamy feel of wholesome wild abandon that most have forgotten how to offer in the 21st century.
Airbus’ upcoming album is due for release in September 2021. You can check out the band on Spotify, Facebook and YouTube.
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.
Resting Bones is the celestially transfixing latest single from US singer-songwriter Madeleine Bradford. At the age of 17-years-old, her music already boasts narratively-meta lyrics, arresting vocal harmonies and a spiritual edge that compels you to lean even deeper into the single to abstract the emotion and introspection. Even the silence that follows the outro is resounding.
If anyone has what it takes to become the next Phoebe Bridgers while establishing themselves with a distinctive style, it is Madeleine Bradford. The mellifluous guitars in Resting Bones possess the same level of alchemy that you will find in Elliot Smith’s most intricate releases as faint orchestral swells add striking crescendos to the deeply provoking single.
Resting Bones is now available to stream via Spotify.
San Francisco’s rising singer-songwriter Roderick Jaynes is set to release his most versatile single to date, The Bridge. With a grungy interlude that will make any fans of Dinosaur Jr prick up their ears, The Bridge is an indie chamber folk-pop track that keeps on giving.
As the progressive single picks up momentum and discord, the nuancedly psychedelic soundscape shunts you further down the rabbit hole as the descending piano keys and apathy-ringing chord progressions transgress into a form of aural gravity.
Any fans of Elliott Smith, Nick Drake Radiohead or Phoebe Bridgers won’t want to miss out on this evocatively haunting, stylistically artful release.
The Bridge is due for release on May 28th; you’ll be able to check it out for yourselves by heading over to SoundCloud.
Snir Yamin might just be the best male singer-songwriter you’ve never heard of; his previous singles, ‘Down The Line’ and ‘Twenty Three’, both made it to number one on the iTunes Top 200 Alternative Tracks chart, but new single ‘Taking’ is simply stunning, a painfully wistful melancholic nostalgia to Yamin’s guitars and plaintive vocals.
It’s a great track, evocative and emotive, gentle yet powerful all at once, some intricate, melodic guitar picking underneath the poignancy. It’s reminiscent, a little, of The Calling, but also classic singer-songwriters like Elliot Smith and guitar-led artists like Snow Patrol and John Mayer, there’s also classic songwriting with elements of older influences such as the Stones, Dylan, or the Police in the mix too.
Montreal-hailing experimental folk artist Baneful Town has been making waves with their wistfully lo-fi style since making their debut in 2019. Their signature sound may be instrumentally sparse, but it’s evocatively charged with a transfixingly nostalgic sense of loss and love.
Based on their latest single ‘Change Your Mind’, Baneful Town may become just as renowned for their bittersweet symphonies as the Verve.
Any fans of the tenderness of Elliott Smith and the dreamy mercurial tendencies of Bonny Light Horsemen will want to get acquainted with this quiescently compelling single. With their debut album due for release, Baneful Town are definitely one to watch.
Change Your Mind is available to stream via Spotify.
With solitude as a muse, Christian Wannerwall delves deeper into the human psyche than most artists when orchestrating his consolingly empathetic takes on indie alt-folk. Within the Gothenburg-based singer-songwriter’s lyricism, you’ll pull out meditative wisdom which allows you to connect to a less contrived and artificial reality than the one we’re sold on a daily basis.
Within the melodic complexity of his artfully textured indie folk single ‘Be Free’, a cathartic simplicity resounds. As Christian Wannerwall’s evocatively piercing vocals, which share the same poignant sting as the likes of Elliott Smith and Thom Yorke, meet the neo-classic piano-led melodies, you’ll succumb to the notion that freedom is a state of mind and find that the weight of existential dread has already lifted.
Be Free is now available to stream via Spotify. For your sanity’s sake, hit play.
Folk-Pop singer-songwriter Blonde Lion released their latest single “Ordinary Day” on August 5th. Elliott Smith may not be with us anymore, but Blonde Lion’s melancholic style is just as efficacious at drawing pensive emotions from you and offering aural resolve.
Obviously, I didn’t make it to the end of Ordinary Day with dry eyes. The delicateness of the atmospheric and intricate acoustic instrumentals was one thing, the resonance in the lyrics was quite another. Ordinary Days was inspired by the days where you wake up and struggle to find anything which offers any meaning. The jaded ennui was all too relatable and it’s safe to say that after the global lockdown, plenty more people will see themselves in this sublime soundscape which serves as the perfect introduction to Blonde Lion’s compelling style.
You can check out Blonde Lion’s latest release by heading over to SoundCloud now.