Browsing Tag

Folk Rock

Joe Astley sings the everyman blues in his world-class single, Suburbia

Joe Astley

Drawing parallels between Bitter Sweet Symphony, sans the bitterness, Joe Astley’s orchestral feat of folkish rock, Suburbia, taken from his forthcoming debut album, is for anyone who has ever felt the gravity of their hometown dragging them down more insidiously than anywhere else.

The opening lyric, “this city’s got it in for me, there’s a thousand other places that I wish to be”, delivered through harmonic lines that soak the record with sepia-tinged lament as they resound over the rugged acoustic guitar chords, orchestral strings and soaring electric guitar notes as they wind old school Americana into the release starts the single on a sombre note.

The profoundly uplifting release seamlessly progresses into a defiantly strident score through the refusal to fade away into the misery that soaks the streets of working-class towns and cities across the UK. The Wigan-based professional singer-songwriter and instrumentalist sonically attested to the bleakness scribed in Orwell’s The Road to Wigan Pier while simultaneously pulling beauty from the destitution that his accoladed career is pulling him from.

As some artists bemoan the current climate of the music industry, Joe Astley is thriving as definitive proof that with the right balance of tenacious songwriting, insurmountable talent and effortless charisma that immerses you into the emotional states he orchestrates, success is still in the sightline.

Between his residency at the Cavern Club, SKY TV streaming the live run-through of Suburbia, his debut EP on the shelves in HMV, and all his singles charting in the iTunes top ten, it’s impossible not to feel giddy when anticipating his next move.

The launch of his debut album, Twenty-First Century Times, on January 20th, 2023 will undoubtedly open up even more roads for Astley as he takes his boy-next-door resonance wherever he goes.

Purchase Suburbia on Apple Music or add it to your Spotify playlists.

Follow Joe Astley on Facebook & Instagram.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

Frontier Station’s latest folk-rock single is ‘Mediocre’ in title alone

Frontier Station

Frontier Station wove a masterfully enticing tapestry with the close-knit boy-girl harmonies in their latest single, Mediocre, taken from their upcoming debut album, The Birds, The Stars & The Chimney Sweeps, which is due for release on January 20th.

The London-based folk-rock six-piece married Americana rock swagger with the roots of Irish folk and modernised the soundscape with The National-Esque production on the cascading guitars – to awe-inspiring effect.

With Frontier Station, there is the promise that every song tells a tale; with Mediocre, they put a swoonsome romantic epic into melodic motion as they set a scene in a mining town in Thatcher’s England. That name may make everyone with a semblance of empathy cringe, but her cursed capitalist legacy doesn’t stand a chance against the soul impassionedly poured into Mediocre.

Mediocre will officially release on October 28th. Check it out on Spotify.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

Life goes on in JRtheBand’s resilience-driven folk-rock anthem, Lit Boy

In a bid to pour modernism into the rock arena, the Phoenix, AZ-hailing multi-instrumentalist and singer-songwriter, JRtheBand, has launched his latest folk-rock anthem, Lit Boy, and decidedly succeeded.

The complex guitar work entwines the warm timbre of swampy acoustic guitar strings with the sonic overdrive of electric guitar riffs, while the vocals match the powerful instrumental arrangement. Fans of The Levellers will easily get caught up in the rugged anthemics of this narratively powerful release which draws you right into the visceral centre of the expression, which stridently proclaims resilience in a time that premeditates weakness. If you ever needed affirmation that life goes on after tribulation, it is neatly packaged in this vibrant celebration of fortitude.

As JRtheBand will be releasing a song every three months going forward, we highly recommend saving space on your radar.

Lit Boy is now available to stream on Spotify.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

Nick Cody & The Heartache tackled profound uncertainty with their latest single, Maybe, featuring Towse.

Uncertainty seems to be around every corner as of late; one of the only consolations is the latest single, ‘Maybe’, from Nick Cody & The Heartache featuring Towse.

The melodiously mournful single is the third one to be released from the forthcoming album, all is fine ‘til the world goes pop, due for release on September 30th via Green Eyed Records. Instead of sugar-coating future possibilities, the aptly glib lyrics pose possibilities of suffering in silence or hiding in the dark, giving up thinking or ceasing to put up a fight.

As the poignantly melancholic keys coalesce around the warm and gentle guitar chords, grief-stricken alchemy breathes between Nick Cody’s crooned folk pessimism and Towse’s haunted vocal timbre which carries an ethereal chill not all too dissimilar to Angel Olsen’s. They’re a match made in aural heaven. As for this timely single, consider it essential for your alt-folk-rock playlists.

The official music video for Maybe premiered on August 25th. Check it out on YouTube.

Review by Amelia Vandergast



Set yourself free with The Paul Clark Project’s sophomore Americana Folk LP, Sown from the Same Seed

Some say time is the greatest healer, but that empty idiom falls short of the mindful catharsis extended by artists, such as The Paul Clark Project.

The singer-songwriter’s sophomore album, Sown from the Same Seed, uses a timelessly transformative blend of folk, rock and Americana to remind us that even though there are billions of us spread across the globe, we all have the same unifying origin and intrinsic needs.

In a time where irrational tribalism splinters our society, artists and thinkers need to step up to the plate and act as the glue to bind us into peace, love and acceptance. No one could accuse Paul Clark of not pulling his mindfully resolving weight. The opening single, Consciousness, opens a can of candour, forcing into recollection our twisted reality where we shackle ourselves with anger and limitation.

Beyond the humbling textures and tones is an unreckonable intelligence; spurred by Clark’s experience as a clinical social worker and mental health advocate. For your sanity’s sake, take notes.

Sown from the Same Seed is now available to stream and purchase on all major platforms via this link.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

Ruby Sue told her coming of age story in her bitter-sweet triumph of a debut LP, the Need

With the sweetness of Taylor Swift, the soul of Brandi Carlile, and the bite of Courtney Love, the 19-year-old Minneapolis singer-songwriter Ruby Sue released her coming-of-age debut album, The Need.

Although pitch-perfection and instrumental distinction are a constant through the 12 singles, special attention should be paid to I Remember September, which mellifluously exhibits just how fleeting youth is, and how inclined we are to cling to it through fear of the future. I can only imagine how terrifying the transition into adulthood is in this era, but everyone going through it now has a confidant in this soul-stirring debut LP.

With lyrics such as, “who will I be when I’m not young and free?” Ruby Sue proves that despite her age, she’s got more self-awareness than most lyricists. Get her on your radar.

I Remember September is now available to stream on Spotify.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

Forget the ‘new normal’ embrace Firebug’s nostalgia-rich rock single, Change

Given that nothing is a given except the unrelenting presence of change, Firebug’s latest rock single on the very subject of it is perhaps one of the most universally resonant tracks you can drift into.

The Joshua Tree-hailing artist left enough ambiguity within the lyrics to let you implant your own meaning and laments of the ever-influx facets of existence that can turn nostalgia into mourning and grief. Yet, through Juliette Tworsey’s haunting-in-spite-of-stridence vocals and the dusty blues-rock guitars, Firebug was in complete control of your emotional impulses as you listen to the plaintively painted in sepia single.

Every time we hear Firebug, we’re even more assured that they are amongst the few artists worth following in the time we’ve found ourselves within. In gorgeously subversive fashion, Change shows us how naive we were to ever anticipate ‘the new normal’.

Listen to Firebug’s latest album, No Return, for yourselves on Spotify.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

Ryan Hamilton leaves us Free Fallin’ in his Tom Petty cover

Covering iconic singles that have followed us through the eras and become part of the soundtracks to our lives is always a risky move but The Fort Worth, Texas singer-songwriter, Ryan Hamilton’s boldness paid off when he breathed new life into the already upliftingly breezy single, Free Fallin’.

Tom Petty’s original was largely faultless. Yet, as Hamilton has already been branded as the Tom Petty of this generation, hitting play quickly allows interest to evolve into indulging a revitalised classic, which was recorded during a recent trip to London at Abbey Road Studios.

Before establishing himself as a Grammy-worthy singer-songwriter with his original material Hamilton toured across North America and Canada with his former bands, received international airplay and impressed Classic Rock and Kerrang. And perhaps most impressively, he’s written and recorded with the legendary Ginger Wildheart.

We have no doubt the future of his career will be just as luminary. Watch this space.

Check out Ryan Hamilton’s cover of Free Fallin’ via Spotify.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

Sanchez. delivered an off-kilter folk-rock confessional masterpiece with his latest single, Feeling


Following his debut 2022 album, Burgundy, which was produced by the legendary Pete Maher, the already iconic singer-songwriter Sanchez., is here with his latest single, Feeling. With that title, the artist set the evocative bar high; he heart-wrenchingly transcended it with his folk-rock-inspired confessional.

In the cavernous intro that consists of little more than rugged folk-rock pulls of acoustic strings, names like Cohen, Waits and Dylan spring to mind. Yet, Feeling steadily grooves into its own distinct and artful gravitas as the soundscape is enriched by ascending melodies, raw and off-kilter choral sonic power and blisteringly luminous organ notes. It’s Richard Hawley meets Pixies. It is also the aural evolution that melancholic outliers have been waiting for.

Feeling is due for official release on March 2nd; dive into it yourselves by heading over to Spotify.

Connect with Sanchez. via Facebook and Instagram.

Review by Amelia Vandergast


Dive into Stan Silver and the Brave Puppies’ fervently azure folk-rock single, Cool Water

I never anticipated encountering a band that appease my visceral-emotion-seeking soul quite as well as Tiger Army, Koffin Kats or the Brains. The Hamburg hailing Americana folk-rock outfit Stan Silver and the Brave Puppies surpassed all expectations with their latest single, Cool Water.

There’s plenty of reminiscence to Nick 13’s style in the gristly and shimmering Gretschy tones and in the chorus harmonies around the fervent verse vocals that effortlessly paint a landscape that you want to get lost in. Yet, Stan Silver and the Brave Puppies set themselves apart with the rock licks against the psychobilly-style chugging basslines, and the folky picturesque lyrical escapism.

Cool Water is the first song released from the incredibly promising outfit’s forthcoming album. We couldn’t be more stoked for it.

Cool Water is now available to stream on YouTube and Reverb Nation.

Review by Amelia Vandergast