Browsing Tag

Folk Rock

Western Skies delivered lyrical virtues to live by in their kaleidoscope of 60s and 70s rock nostalgia, Always Another Song.

Western Skies’ latest single, Always Another Song masterfully revives the golden era of rock, blending 60s and 70s energy with a modern flair while proving no sonic cocktail is more potent than arcanely uplifting vocal harmonies and raw rock riffs. The Journey-esque chord progressions instantly pull you into the soul of the release before Western Skies show their genre-fluid stripes through their fusion of classic rock, funk and cosmically orchestral instrumentation.

Lyrically, ‘Always Another Song’ offers a refreshing optimism, countering today’s often pessimistic narratives. Phrases like “it doesn’t always have to be as hard as we make it out to be” and “it doesn’t always have to be absolutely everything or nothing” resonate with balance and positivity.

Make the lyrics your mantra while making the band’s debut LP, Awake In Dream, a playlist staple, and you’ll bolster your resilience in an era that is infinitely harder on the psyche than in the 60s and 70s where Western Skies find their folk and rock roots.

It’s an essential listen for classic rock enthusiasts and those seeking music with soul and depth alike. Join them for the ride; you won’t regret it.

Always Another Song is now available to stream on YouTube.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

Mikey Wayne – Coming Home: A Cuttingly Flawless Folk Confession

Mikey Wayne’s latest single, Coming Home, stands out as a remarkable addition to the folk genre, exuding a sincerity that captivates from the first chord. This single, a confluence of Nashville country and Wayne’s Southern Californian and Alabaman influences, offers an intimate glimpse into the soul of its creator.

The song’s strength lies in its raw honesty and the profound way Wayne owns his imperfections. He eloquently expresses the nuances of a relationship’s push and pull, encapsulating the struggle and beauty of growth within a partnership. Lyrics such as “If you’ll have me baby, I’m coming home” cuts like a knife of resonance while the gentle tenacity in the acoustic guitar strings amplifies the precision of the incision by echoing the universal yearning for acceptance and love. He may not have spoken for us all word for word, but we can all find a piece of ourselves within the single.

The official music video for Coming Home, which was recorded in Echo Mountain Studios, premiered on YouTube on January 26th.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

Casino Moon boiled the human experience down to birth, sex, and death in their indie folk-rock revelation, Fearless

Casino Moon, the South London-based Americana folk-rock ensemble, has distilled the essence of the human experience into their latest single, ‘Fearless’, which unravels as a journey through life’s most primal elements – birth, sex, and death – wrapped in a melody that’s as infectious as it is profound.

‘Fearless’ grips you with its upbeat folk instrumental arrangement, setting the stage for a musical expedition that’s both exhilarating and introspective. The chorus bursts forth with a fearless tenacity, its lively rhythm a stark contrast to the more contemplative alt-indie verses that invite you to delve deeper into the song’s candid narrative.

Casino Moon’s cultivated sound, recognised by icons like Tom Robinson and Robert Smith, shines through in ‘Fearless’. The band’s talent for transforming untold stories into addictive sounds is evident in every chord, lyric and harmony. The vocals seamlessly switch up in energy, mirroring the dynamism of the instrumentals. From the resonant vibrato in the lower registers to the fervour and zeal in the soul-augmented choruses, the vocal performance is a masterclass in raw, unadulterated emotion.

Consider ‘Fearless’ a blueprint for living life with unbridled passion; the crescendos and echoes of evocative wisdom fuel the listener with invincibility. As Casino Moon continues to garner acclaim, with standout performances at festivals and alongside notable artists, ‘Fearless’ stands as a testament to their burgeoning legacy.

Stream Fearless as part of Casino Moon’s Woody Bay EP on Spotify now.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

Alison Wahl & Brian Berggoetz reinvented the festive soundscape with “Christmas is the Right Time for Us”

Despite Christmas music often treading the well-worn path of jingle bells and festive clichés, Alison Wahl and Brian Berggoetz brought a refreshing gust of Americana folk rock into the Yuletide soundscape with their latest single, Christmas is the Right Time for Us.

Brian Berggoetz, a self-taught guitarist and a songwriter with a flair for reinventing classics, infuses his unique style into this holiday offering. His experience, ranging from performing at SXSW Festival to sharing stages with notable artists, shines through in the song’s intricate guitar work. The absence of traditional motifs and melancholy of aural nostalgia in favour of Americana folk elements is a bold choice, which infuses the song with an uplifting and authentic feel.

Alison Wahl’s vocal harmonies intertwine perfectly with Brian’s, creating a tapestry of sound that is both warm and inviting. The standout lyric, “When love is just enough, Christmas is the right time for us”, encapsulates the essence of the song – a celebration of love and togetherness that transcends materialism. This lyric, in its simplicity, captures the heart of the holiday spirit, reminding listeners that affection and emotional connection are priceless gifts.

The production of the song is a delicate balance of subtlety and strength, allowing the dual harmonies to take centre stage in a track that doesn’t just aim to be another Christmas hit but strives to leave a lasting impression on its listeners.

Christmas is the Right Time for Us was officially released on December 11; stream it on Spotify.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

River Knight extended empathy for politically derived malady in their orchestral folk-rock score, Green and Gold

River Knight’s latest single, Green and Gold, is a socialist orchestral folk-rock masterpiece; with a reprise of “the system is broken and there’s no way back” as a lyrical opening, there’s no deliberation before immersing you into the infectiously empowering assault on late-stage capitalism.

The modern iteration of everyman’s blues keeps an upbeat tempo as the everyday atrocities unravel over the zeal in the instrumental arrangement to create an emotionally well-rounded score that unifies the disenfranchised while vindicating the anger that is breeding within the social tapestry.

With an ear for a compelling melody, an empathy for politically derived malady, and the technical prowess to construct a soul-sating earworm you’ll be humming for days, the UK duo who banded together in 2017 after Darren Knight’s wife passed away have become as essential as the Manic Street Preachers were in the 90s.

Green and Gold was officially released on November 24; stream it on Spotify.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

Ross Flora grappled with the melancholy of unfulfilled potential in ‘As the Crow Flies’

Ross Flora

Ross Flora’s EP, As the Crow Flies, is a poignant and reflective journey through the heart of country folk. Hailing from the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia, Flora’s upbringing in a milieu rich with R&B and Bluegrass influences is palpably reflected in the acoustically adorned, stripped-back title single. His gruff, resonant timbres weave through the wistful yearning harmonies, creating a tapestry of sound that resonates deeply with anyone who has ever grappled with the melancholy of unfulfilled potential.

The lyrical tempo of As the Crow Flies is akin to a melodied spoken word sermon, imbued with regretful poetry. Flora’s background as an English major shines through in his lyrical craftsmanship, as he skilfully interweaves themes reminiscent of literary greats like Dickinson, Thoreau, and Whitman. The result is a narrative that is both deeply personal and universally relatable; Someone hand him a Grammy for the line “I’d be half the man I’d ought to be less than half the time”.

Ross Flora’s journey from the family farm to Nashville, performing over 4,000 shows and collaborating with acts like “Johnny T” Band and “Smoke n’ Guns,” has clearly honed his ability to capture the essence of southern rock and outlaw country. If you want to hear a heart poured out in melody, hit play on As the Crow Flies.

Stream the As the Crow Flies EP, which debuted on October 27 on Spotify.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

Cenzontle’s fusionist sound is sweeter than ‘Nectar’ in their latest seminal Latin folk release.

After enchanting audiences under the GlowStone Leaf Orchestra banner and producing 13 albums that weave a tapestry of profound narratives and complex harmonies, the delectably talented Berlin-based artist, Jorge Hernandez, who has been honing his rhythmic and raconteurial crafts for over a decade stepped into a new ensemble when he assembled the three-piece Cenzontle with Lucie Nana and Kim Kong in 2019.

Monikers don’t come much more apt than Cenzontle, which translates to “400 voices”; it is a nod to the Mexican heritage of Hernandez and the multi-layered essence of his work, which breaks the monocultural mould while proving music is a universal language.

The eponymous LP, which hit the airwaves earlier this year is an opportunity for immersion in a captivating fusion of traditional Latin American Folk and electrifying Rock, delivered with a digital twist. Whether you delve into the vibrant recording or witness the emotional and innovative depth via the live performance of the standout single, ‘Nectar’, you’re sure to be stirred by the spiritually transcendent experience which solidifies Cenzontle’s position at the forefront of genre-bending music exploration.

Stream the Cenzontle LP on Spotify.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

Gain a lesson in virtue with Cagri Raydemir’s Absence of Patience

Taken from the four-track EP, Absence, which extolls the virtues of patience, candour, courtesy and tolerance, the opening single, Absence of Patience, featuring Julian Hesse on trumpet, is some of the Munich-based singer-songwriter and producer, Cagri Raydemir’s finest work to date.

After teasing a post-punk atmosphere in the intro, exotic folk nuances begin to weave their way into the progressively avant-garde production before Cagri Raydemir’s vocals become a magnetic centrepiece in the sonic pool of beguile. Imagine Serj Tankian turning his talents to folkish prog rock, and you will get an idea of the organic alchemy caged within this exemplary feat of artistry.

12 LPs and 7 EPs down, it is safe to say the qualified recording engineer and artist has honed his sound and his ability to bring lyrical concepts which explore the human condition to life within his soundscapes. We can’t wait to hear what he conjures next.

The Absence EP was officially released on October 16th; stream it on Spotify.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

Sadness plays the blues in the latest folk composition by Italian virtuoso, Stefano Manotti

A cosmically arcane air breezes right through the latest folk single from the Italian singer, songwriter, composer and guitarist Stefano Manotti. He may be only a few years on from the release of his Soulgem Records-distributed debut single, but he is already making major waves in the industry by climbing the charts and supporting internationally acclaimed artists.

The amorous melancholy that lingers in his vocal lines as they drift above the folky instrumental arrangement in Endless Road, which paints a panoramic picture of estrangement and wantonness for connection, invites you into an intimately electrifying and orchestrally ornate world. Sonically visualising the middle ground between Bowie & Tom Waits while orchestrating an exemplary manifestation of Italian folk, Manotti’s sound couldn’t be more refined in this odyssey of folk blues.

Endless Road is now available to stream on Spotify.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

Rossa Murray & the blowin’ winds will warmly render your heartstrings raw with ‘Who Really Wants to Get Clean’

Rossa Murray & the blowin' winds

The hype around the Irish alt-folk/rock outfit, Rossa Murray & the blowin’ winds, may be louder than the melancholic quiescence in the title single from their latest EP, but the accolades are far from hyperbolic.

Who Really Wants to Get Clean is a cutting- with razor-sharp precision – exposition on society’s issues around addiction; so much pressure is put upon the people numbing themselves by any means necessary to change, while the societal issues that make it a necessity for so many get ambivalently swept under the rug.

I can’t even remember the last time a track hit me this hard. The evocative delivery, the desperation in the vignette, the agony that lingers in the tempo of the minor keys, the profoundness in the strings, it all synthesises into a tear-jerking performance that leaves you in a sombre state of contemplation.

Fans of Bill Ryder-Jones and Frightened Rabbit won’t be able to tear themselves away from the Rossa Murray & the blowin’ winds’ discography after Who Really Wants to Get Clean has warmly rendered their hearts raw.

The Who Really Wants to Get Clean – Part 2 EP will officially release on September 29th. Stream it on all major platforms via this link.

Review by Amelia Vandergast