If I told you that the clue is in the name with Hooligan Ghosts and that’s all you need to know this would be a bit of a short review and it would in no way do any justice to how absurdly beautiful Hooligan Ghosts sound is. Their latest single ‘Last Winter, Pt.1’ could be described as haunting, but that almost seems a little cliché to apply to their melodically prodigal soundscapes which carry a palpable chill as they progress through their reverb soaked instrumentals. There’s an almost cinematic aura to their latest single which is a good indication that the production quality is beyond what you would expect from an independently produced record. The Dayton, Ohio based artist has quite literally redefined the ambient genre by infusing elements of experimental folk. Whilst the lyrics are fairly indecipherable, I’d say that ultimately this just makes the track all that more captivating as you attempt to soak up the stylised aural alchemy in its entirety.
If you feel inclined to drink in some beautiful doom-impounding sounds (you totally should) you can head on over to BandCamp where you can stream and download Hooligan Ghosts single from their latest album ‘The Spectral Mother’.
Jim Audet’s single Sex & Money from his latest EP the Lookout is one of the most agonisingly sonorous depictions of modern day disparity that I’ve ever heard. The Montreal based Indie Folk Rock artist created a blindingly conceptual EP that doesn’t just serve as a platform for him to lay down his instrumental, lyrical and vocal talent. No, with his soundscapes he created a grounding offering of conscious shifting melodies that wrapped around his lyrics which were a straight up attack on our cultures obsession with sex, money and violence in the media. The passion which he poured into each of his tracks is palpable beyond words, yet it was Sex & Money that truly took my breath away around the pensive piano keying and chaotic Indie Rock ensemble of sound. As someone who is already fairly anachronistic the resonance I found within Sex & Money made me want to escape our vapid culture more than ever.
You can stream and download Jim Audet’s latest track Sex & Money from his latest EP the Lookout which was released on June 1st, 2018 on BandCamp now.
Usually, I’ll listen to music from husband and wife duos with gritted teeth, yet, there’s just something about Drakeford as I found out by immersing in the audio pleasure of checking out their latest single Stronger Than One. Their synergetic Folk Country soundscape is as compelling as it gets. Whilst Drakeford pulls most of the vocal focus in their latest single, the resonance created by Lucy-Jayne’s backing vocals creates an ethereally creeping harmony which really amplifies the sentimentality of the lyrics. Because let’s face it, most of the time, husband and wife duos create tracks that are just a little bit smug. Drakeford went in a completely different direction by using lyricism designed to empower pretty much anyone and everyone and God damn, I love them for it.
Taking inspiration from artists such as Jon Foreman, Jason Mraz and Gungor, the matrimonial duo created a timeless sound which sits perfectly in the contemporary Acoustic Folk Pop arena.
Stronger Than One is just one of the standout singles you can expect to hear from Drakeford’s upcoming release ‘The Venture’ which will be available to download & stream across all major platforms from June 8th, 2018.
Keep up to date with the stunning pair’s latest releases by giving them a follow on Facebook.
Some may have conceived the intricately complex acoustic guitar intro as showing off, but God damn. If I had that much command over a fretboard I’d be screaming about it from rooftops. Chris Baluyut’s latest single Different Day’s is an acoustically ethereal offering of Folk, one which I won’t be forgetting about in a hurry, or that you hear every day. Given the limited chord progressions available on an acoustic guitar it’s pretty difficult for acoustic artists to summon prodigal sounds from their instruments, yet the New York based artist proved that it isn’t impossible. His Post-Punk background is almost palpable through his acoustic melodies through which he creates, then there’s his vocals. His succinctly uplifting vocals bleed pure organic, romantic expression allowing the track to fully resonate through you.
If you’re a fan of bands such as Paper Hawk & Jacko Hooper & other Folk guitar geniuses you can check out Chris Baluyut’s latest single Different Days on Spotify now. As first single’s go, Chris has knocked it out of the park. Make sure to give him a follow; Chris will be releasing his debut EP in Summer 2018.
If you gave M83 a more Folky Twist you’d concoct a similar prodigal sound to the up & coming London based duo All Faces. Their latest release Sumer in London from their second EP may have just redefined Jangle Folk Pop with their stunning soundscapes, yet potentially what is the most ethereal factor when it comes to Summer in London is the beautiful conceptual lyricism that went behind the track, not too dissimilar to bands such as the Fratelli’s, the Lumineers and the Vaccines. All Faces captured the perfect vibe to depict all the heat of a Summer in London. In fact, I will probably lose all faith in the music industry if I don’t hear All Faces new single blaring on Radio 2 throughout the summer. Ben & Daphne share a beautiful vocal synergy that leave you hooked by the lyrical punchlines over the popping up-vibe instrumentals. Daphne has a soulfully fractured, sweet sensibility as she resonates with Ben’s polished Pop vocals to create a sound which is nothing but distinctive.
You can check out All Faces second single from their self-titled EP Summer in London which was released May 2018 on SoundCloud now.
If I described Songs by Ruth’s new release as sobering that almost sounds like the biggest understatement. Encapsulating her raw, grounding aural energy in words is almost impossible. Usually, I’ll normally find discontentment in the lack of brevity within acoustic Folk lyrics, whilst they usually flirt with overly (sickening) romantic notions Ruth took a stab at creating an angelically acoustic composition that battles the real issues head on. For a singer to actually look outside of herself for sentiment to sing about isn’t something you hear every day, and it’s as refreshing as rain after a heatwave. Ruth’s lyrical strength is just as resounding as her soaring, sultry vocal style which allows you to hang on to each and every word pensively projected into the microphone. There isn’t a single flaw to be found in the track which has been polished and produced to perfection in an almost Pop Folk styling.
You can check out Ruth’s latest offering of catharsis with her track The Brave which was released in April 2018 on SoundCloud.
Even before you listen to Lacey Black’s latest single Junk Town, the aptly chosen track name speaks volumes. It sets you up for the evocative smorgasbord of emotion that you’re about to become witness to. The jangle of the upbeat acoustic guitar rises above the dampened pounding of the drums, sporadically beating in the background to keep you grounded throughout the track until the instrumentals really kick in when the track gets to the chorus and your treated to the soar of the electric guitar. Lacey Black is anything but your average Folk Singer Songwriter. Her chillingly passionate vocal style is the perfect instrument to exude the pensive, desperate vocals, mid-way through the track you can expect to hear one of the most awe-inspiring guitar riffs ever contained within a Folk Rock track. With Junk Town, Lacey redefined the soundscape with an infusion of classically styled Rock with some roots deep Americana.
You can check out Lacey Black’s latest single Junk Town on SoundCloud now which was released as part of Lacey’s third studio album ‘All These Years’.
Sitting somewhere between the relative conformity of Simon and Garfunkel and the increasingly meandering and distant haze of Nick Drake, The Island is the perfect blend of minimalism and structure. There is just enough of a musical safety net in place, one built from the most minimal of musical vibes created by gently chiming guitars, which ensures that the gossamer vocal threads don’t drift away on the breeze. It is an approach which Damien Rice used to put himself on the map and whilst, on paper at least, it seems like a simple approach, there are few other artists of recent times, except perhaps Bon Iver, who navigate such calm waters whilst creating so few ripples.
The song, a times, feels as weightless in its musicality as it is heavy in its nostalgic sentiment, just the sound of a man with his guitar and his memories yet somehow sitting in the space between musical expression and private rumination. For all its simplicity it is a powerful song, built up only occasionally by gentle beats and additional instrumentation as it makes its way to its conclusion and as is usual, less is definitely more. Much more.
One thing that many bands and artists seem to get a bit wrong is the relationship between the vocals and the instrumentation. In the studio they are happy to pour over the layers and textures that make up their song adding one sound after another, banking up instruments, double tracking, panning and generally making the song sound as big as possible. And then right at the end they will sit a single vocal line on the top. They seem to be missing a trick.
Thankfully Patrick Ames is smarter than most, he realises that the vocals are just as versatile an instrument as any other and Oh Penelope proves this beyond doubt. Over plaintive piano lines and a wonderfully spacious ballad structure he weaves a glorious web of vocals, twin leads, sumptuous harmonies, complementary and contrasting ranges and ethereal washes. The result is nothing short of a workshop on just how much you can do with the voice, something other artists would do well to take note of.
I don’t believe I’ve ever heard anything as succinctly pacifying as Virginia; the latest single by the Los Angeles based trio Hello Stranger. Their infusion of Grunge and Folk made for one of the most ethereally resonant soundscapes I’ve ever heard. My grungy sensibilities and penchant for snarled and growled vocals around muddy instrumental reverb were put aside when I first heard the soaring sounds of Hello Stranger. To say their latest single Virginia was uplifting is quite the understatement. The soaring melodies and synergetic harmonies sit so tightly within each other, you’re brought to a higher plateau than you could ever reach listening to Nirvana. Yes, it’s a bold statement, but I’m sticking to it. The jangle pop guitars over romantically evocative lyrics are in no means a new thing, yet Hello Stranger somehow manage to create an organically raw energy with their sound. Under the lucid complexity of the chord progressions and Hello Stranger’s poignantly talented vocalist sits the constantly rolling, earthing drum rolls constantly drawing you further into the synergy of Hello Stranger.
I’d highly recommend Hello Stranger’s sound to any fans of the Levellers, Soundgarden, Frank Turner and Bellowhead. You can stream and download Virginia from their latest album Long Division on Bandcamp now.