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indie folk pop

Music

Adam Wendler shows us what the pinnacle of modern folk-pop is with ‘Thin Ice’

Modern folk-pop artist Adam Wendler made their debut in 2017 with their album ‘Never Go Unknown’. With the acclaim which followed, they ensured that they never would.

Their first 2021 release, ‘Thin Ice’, is their finest work to date and the perfect introduction to their timelessly evocative approach to songwriting. The melodiously vibrant anthem could easily keep a mainstage festival crowd arrested and animated.

Tenderness, vulnerability and gratified sincerity project through resounding vocals as they run through the lyrics which give a taste of how sweet it is to fall in love with someone who leaves you mesmerised.

The artist brought plenty of gravitas to the conversation around inferiority. Ultimately, the upbeat folk-laden feat of pop proves that adoration doesn’t need to turn into a passive-aggressive inferiority complex.

The Zoom-born single was created in November in collaboration with Tors; a UK-based, X Ambassadors Management-signed powerhouse who complimented his catchy lyrics. With Dessner-style walls of sonic guitar to bring the track to the close, Thin Ice leaves you keen to grab another ticket for one of Adam Wendler’s emotional rollercoasters. Rest assured, there will be plenty more to come from the Berlin-based Canadian artist in 2021 and beyond.

Since arriving in Berlin, Adam Wendler has shared stages with Post Animal, the Arkells, Ryan Sheridan and Matt Mays and seen his singles rank in the singer-songwriter iTunes charts. Something tells us he’s not quite finished on his ascent to the top.

Thin Ice is now available to stream via Spotify.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

Music

Emotion runs deep in Leonie Prater’s alt-indie-folk-pop single ‘The River’

24-year-old Dorset-based singer-songwriter, Leonie Prater’s latest single ‘The River’ provides a taste of what is to come through her first LP release, ‘Metamorphosis’; her deeply confessional approach to indie folk-tinged pop astutely resonates with the contemporary mood of melancholic reflection.

But unlike your own despairing thoughts, Leonie Prater delivers a reminder of how visceral emotions can be when our lives aren’t constrained by necessary draconian means. Rather than leaving you feeling like you want to crawl the walls, the choral tones and Leonie Prater’s consoling vocal timbre make it infinitely easier to find peace in a time when sanctity is scarce.

Stylistically, if you could imagine what an aural lovechild of The Levellers and Warpaint would sound like, you’ll get an idea of what is in store if you hit play. Which you definitely should – for your sanity’s sake.

The River is now available to stream via Spotify.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

Music

Kyriakos Gabriel Varnava is set to release their artfully intimate indie ballad ‘Tonight’

Kyriakos Gabriel Varnava

‘Tonight’ is the latest single from Cyprus-based singer-songwriter, Kyriakos Gabriel Varnava, if you’ve felt like you’ve been left in isolation with disappointment and broken promises recently, you’re sure to find resonance in the artfully intimate indie single.

Tonight may have been their first ballad, but it exhibits an uninhibited songwriting style which doesn’t fail to draw you into the relatability of their music. It becomes so much more than just listening to one man’s account of suffering, through the lack of vocal and lyrical restraint, you experience a call for connection which allowing this single to run through answers.

Wistful emotion resounds within the glassy distorted classical guitar progressions, art-rock keys and Kyriakos Gabriel Varnava’s vocals which transition from low reverberant quiescence to arresting highs in turn with the progressive instrumentals.

Producer, Ant Tarrant, left a nuanced bedroom-indie feel to the soundscape, inviting you into the same room where the inspiration for Tonight struck. Tonight captures the loneliness of AM hours where all you have for company are empty promises. Any fans of Kaz Hawkins, RY X, Anathema and Radiohead will want Kyriakos Gabriel Varnava’s name on their radar – especially with the promise of a forthcoming debut EP.

Tonight will be available to stream on Spotify from March 6th, 2021.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

Music

Alcohol and Cigarettes – Chris Miller wants us to talk

Chris Miller

When your first solo single (2019’s ‘Not Crazy’) goes on to make you only the third artist to win a Radium Award and is the most popular track of the year on Atomic Magazine’s stream space, you must be doing something pretty right. Now, following two further singles, Chris Miller returns with what may be his most beautiful, emotional track yet.

Raw, honest, and open, like the conversations it refers to, ‘Alcohol and Cigarettes’ is all about those difficult but necessary conversations with friends or family, when you’re struggling; about opening up to those that care for us, letting go and accepting vulnerability in return for succour and support. It’s exquisite, a mixture of Chris Stapleton’s ‘Whiskey and You’ and Justin Townes Earle, Miller’s heartfelt confessional vocal initially sitting atop sparse, perfect piano before the track builds slowly to its acoustic-guitar-drums-and-piano denouement. It’s stunning, a genuinely outstanding and powerful single which truly should earn Miller even greater plaudits in 2021.

Check out ‘Alcohol and Cigarettes’ on YouTube, or head over to Chris Miller’s website and Facebook.

Review by Alex Holmes

Music

Slow Capital take us ‘Underground’ with this beautifully alluring acoustic story.

Slow Capital is Andrew Dailey, a filmmaker from Kansas City, MO, who is currently based out of Brooklyn, NY; a precursor to a six-track EP planned for early 2021, Slow Capital’s second single ‘Underground’ is a beautifully mature fingerpicked acoustic guitar track, mellow and delicate, alluring in its simplicity, and carried along by Dailey’s poetic, storytelling lyrical content and up-front vocal delivery.

At just over three minutes long, ‘Underground’ is a perfect piece of alt-folk, confessional, poetic, a narrative tale to music with a harmonious, melodic guitar line and a gentle, tender vocal. You can hear ‘Underground’ on Spotify, and follow Slow Capital on Instagram.

Review by Alex Holmes

Music

Tobias Ben Jacob – a beautiful, haunting take on rootlessness, struggle, and hope inspired by a simple ‘Bird Made Out Of Clay’.

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.

Review by Alex Holmes

Music

Michael Golden gives us a glimpse into his psyche with captivating new single ‘The Rhine’

Bloomington, Indiana resident Michael Golden began his songwriting career at the age of 16; now, after twenty years of honing his craft, he drops his debut album ‘Some Kind Of Holiday’, a self-produced 12 tracks of classic, folk-rock inspired eclecticism in the singer-songwriter tradition of the 1970’s.

Raw and heartfelt, autobiographical in the Leonard Cohen way, new single ‘The Rhine’ is a vaguely psychedelic, folksy little three minutes of earnest, sincere whimsy; it’s profound, pretty, like a trip back into the world of Cat Stevens and Donovan, naked and laid bare and altogether truthful. Golden has assembled a stunning collection of musicians across ‘Some Kind Of Holiday’, with swelling cello, organ, and guitars all underpinning his deep, rich vocal.

‘Some Kind Of Holiday’ is out now; view the video for ‘The Rhine’ on YouTube, and follow Michael Golden on Facebook or via his website.

Review by Alex Holmes

Music

Metasonics delivers an Indie Folk Pop shot to the heart with ‘I Love You’

Metasonics set out to change the landscape of the Pop genre in the 21st century, through their debut self-titled album, which was released in 2019, it’s safe to say that they have the perfect aural arsenal to wage the war on the superficial Pop genre.

I’ve probably heard more love songs than I’ve had hot dinners, but rarely, do they leave me as amorously sated as the standout track ‘I Love You’ from the Scottish artist. There’s a profoundness in the simplicity of the candid lyrics which centre around a direct, unfiltered proclamation of love which hits harder with every repetition.

With elements of Indie Folk ringing in the polished production, Metasonics will undoubtedly be of appeal to any fans of Frightened Rabbit, Neutral Milk Hotel, and Twilight Sad.

You can check out Metasonics’ debut album for yourselves by heading over to Spotify.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

Music

Timothy Jaromir keeps us dancing in the ‘Afterglow’.

For ‘Afterglow’, Timothy Jaromir has revisited the stunning collaboration of Americana-Folk project Goldschatz with his Canadian-born wife Rykka to gorgeous effect.

A perfect, beautiful mix of folk, blues, Americana, and mildly jazzy indie-pop, ‘Afterglow’ stomps along on a bouncy, reverb-washed drum-beat and bassline before kicking-in in full on the dreamily catchy chorus.

Rykka’s sublime vocal intertwines around Jaromir’s lead, swirling keyboards, and guitar, the whole thing wrapping itself around you like a comfort-giving blanket, warming and soothing whilst lifting your heart and dragging a smile to even the most lockdown-sick of faces. This is total, exquisite feel-good folk-pop that simply cannot fail to delight, enliven, and revitalise even the most world-weary of souls.

Hear ‘Afterglow’ on Timothy Jaromir’s Facebook page, or follow on Twitter and Instagram.

Review by Alex Holmes

Music

Wyler Wolf delivers celestial accordance with their Indie Folk debut ‘Heaviest Hand’

Indigenous Kahnawake artist Wyler Wolf has made a rapturously resolving debut with their Alt-Indie Folk single “Heaviest Hand” which unravels like a rhythmically-enticing lullaby.

With a celestially accordant air behind the production and the sheer amount of compassion from Wyler Wolf’s vocals, don’t be surprised if you need to fight back tears once you hit play. The resounding hum of Wyler Wolf’s vocals against the absorbing depth of sonically-enticing soundscape offers a seriously wounding evocative potency. But with the mindfully restorative nature of Heaviest Hand, you can consider it part of a healing process.

The chances of hearing the same meditative solace if you turned on the radio today are about the same as winning the lottery. Which, ironically is exactly how I feel for stumbling across this stunning beyond all definition single.

Heaviest Hand is available to stream via Spotify.

Review by Amelia Vandergast