On November 26th, Idaho indie singer-songwriter Castle KYD brought accountability in trend with his artfully expressive single, The Mess You Left Behind. In the Waitsy intro, there is little but solemn vocal notes and the quiescent murmurs from the acoustic guitar; as the track builds up to the pre-chorus, that’s when the sharp hook digs in and pulls you deeper into the intrinsically melodic work.
The Mess You Left Behind truly is the pinnacle of contemporary indie-folk pop. His innocently sweet scorned vocals, the celestial accordance in the choruses and lyrics that prove the extent of his determination to transfuse raw emotion into art makes Castle KYD one of the most gifted artists of his generation.
We didn’t need the self-taught artist’s bio to tell us that his music is an amalgamation of desire for connection, a means to cope and a way to turn banality into something meaningful. You can hear it in every ounce of passion poured into this evocatively bruising seminal release.
Here is what Castle Kyd had to say about his latest release:
“Mess You Left Behind was written on a sleepless night, thinking about someone I lived with and had to leave because it was so toxic. In 15 minutes, every feeling, anger and blame poured out of me and formed a poem which became a song in those minutes. After months, I still miss and crave them despite their emotional abuse; I blame myself for craving that, the person who instilled a lot of hurt in me. After struggling to get over it, I’ve become paradoxical; I am the mess this person left behind.”
The Mess You Left Behind is now available to stream via Spotify.
Award-winning singer-songwriter, LT (Leanne Tennant), has poured her spellbinding talent into yet another evocatively ensnaring single, How Would it Feel; by all accounts, it’s the ultimate melancholic pop track. Expect a similar sonic palette to the likes of Beach House, Deerhunter and Slowdive through the shoegazey angular guitars and hazy reverb paired with uplifting elements of folk.
LT delivered familiarity and alchemic distinction in the same package; her soulfully provoking, tender indie vocals command the soundscape in the same hypnotic way as London Grammar, Daughter and the XX. The reminiscences are great for reference, but to truly appreciate her exceptional songwriting skills, you’ll need to experience the soul of How Would It Feel first-hand.
How Would it Feel was officially released on September 13; you can check it out for yourselves via her website or SoundCloud.
If Bowie picked up some folky Midwest charm, his Ziggy Stardust days would have run in the same vein as John Greska’s eccentrically psychotropic single, The Big Hill, which explores the pace at which the sands of time slips by.
With the playfully polyphonic synths and keys paired with John Greska’s quaint yet charismatic vocal timbre, this indie-folk-synthpop-single couldn’t be more endearing. Rather than leaving you in an existentialist catatonic state as you ponder just how fleeting your existence is, The Big Hill leaves you with the same ardour for life as exhibited in the reminder that the days will slip by you if you let them.
The Big Hill will officially release on July 19th; you can check it for yourselves by heading over to SoundCloud.
The atmospheric air in Fair Verona’s latest single, Egomaniac, comes with a tinge of archaicism yet the ethereally melodic soundscape finds itself in tune with the contemporary moody indie-pop sound.
The alternative duo comprises Mickey Vaughan (lead vocals, piano and guitar) and Maxwell Mandell (drums and production). Their profound collaborative chemistry resides in the way the instrumentals, vocals, and production share the same alchemically morose, haunting feel. Egomaniac is mellow and cutting all in equal measure. Fans of Sophe Luxe, Angel Olsen, and Phoebe Bridgers will want to make room on their radars for the Charlottesville, Virginia-residing duo with their vintagely modern sound.
The explicit version and the radio-friendly version of Egomaniac are both available to stream and purchase via Bandcamp.
Indie singer-songwriter Sahana Naresh has released her ukulele-led folk-pop exploration of the duality of motherhood, ‘Milky Hands’. Sonically, it is worlds apart from Amanda Palmer’s candid album, ‘There Will Be No Intermission’, but it still carries the same scantily found honest expression around parenting.
Milky Hands is a coalescence of Sahana’s love of soulful indie and classic Hindustani vocals, which means you get the bitter-sweet tenderness of a Neutral Milk Hotel single, along with the rich vocal melodies that stretch outside of Western boundaries.
If you’re a fan of rich accordant tones accompanying raw emotion, don’t hesitate hitting play.
How to describe Lee Smythe; well, if there’s a word somewhere specifically for that anachronistic blend of quirky indie vibe perfection and total mainstream pop hit, then that would be a starting point to jump off.
‘It’s Me’, the follow-up to recent EP ‘King Of Cups’, is exactly that – something indescribably great that doesn’t quite fit into any pigeonhole you might have set aside for it. In the same vein as artists like the Urban Voodoo Machine, The Great Malarky, or the Jim Jones Revue, Smythe seems to straddle stylistic boundaries without ever really even noticing they’re there – part old-time London pub sing-along, part indie-pop cool, part alt-jazz musicality.
There’s touches of Daniel Powter, Jamie Cullum, and Harry Connick Jr. in here, but all with a mainstream pop take, and some cute-as-hell little vocal asides-to-camera; it’s just catchy as hell cool-as-fuck indie-pop awesomeness, and it’s absolutely grin-inducing.
Folk singer-songwriter Barry Locke’s latest single, ‘One of These Days’ carries plenty of hallmarks of the quintessential acoustic folk-pop ballad while the distinction lies in his vulnerable vocals and the lifts in the sonic Americana pop-rock crescendos that make the track an evocatively powerful ride from start to finish.
One of These Days perfectly captures the instability that can often follow periods of self-reflection, the times when you look back, and you can’t recall the footsteps that led you to where you are, but you are still yearning from the life you evolved from.
The upbeat track leaves melancholy by the wayside and thrives on the determination to carry on, even if you don’t know where that energy is coming from. It’s a stunning release, sobering and uplifting in equal measure.
One of These Days officially released on May 20th; you can check it out on SoundCloud.
NYC’s singer-songwriter Clara Miller brought the same poise as seen in her performances with the New York City Ballet to her indie piano pop ballad, Oath.
Under her freshly adopted moniker Clankin, she is set to enamour pop, indie and folk fans alike. With the haunting reminiscences to the likes of Angel Olsen alongside her palpable mainstream potential, Clanklin offers a rarely found combination of accessibility and authenticity. She allows you to feel right at home within her magnetic sound while feeling the chills that only manifest through brand-new sensory experience. Oath delivers just that.
Oath is the title single for Clanklin’s forthcoming EP. With her tender vocals running through lyrics that document the abuse she suffered at the hands of her father paralleled with her historical introspection, you can’t help but become compassionately transfixed. If any 2021 release is worthy of a standing ovation, it’s Oath.
You can check out Clankin via her official website.
For his latest release, East London-based solo artist Yves Steady curated his demos from the past four years and invited listeners on a journey of intimate aural exploration; the best introduction to his artfully psychedelic sound is Chamomile King. The semi-orchestral soundscape resonates like a garagey, drowsy take on Charlatans while feeding in the same stylish, evocative despondence of Dinosaur Jr.
The sweet and steady chords in the choral feat of new wave indie couldn’t possibly hold more catharsis when they are up against the vocals that sit perfectly in the mix without bleeding or dominating the track that will be a hit with indie, psych, art rock, and folk fans alike.
Chamomile King is now available to stream and purchase via Bandcamp.
After finding himself comfortable on the iTunes Singer-Songwriter charts, gracing over 400 stages across Germany and Canada and opening for the likes of the Arkells and Ryan Sheridan, Berlin-based folk-pop artist Adam Wendler is set to garner plenty more critical acclaim with his latest single, ‘Motions’.
Wendler’s previous singles, such as Thin Ice and Empty Space, proved his proficiency when it comes to producing earworms but Motions is practically an explosion of colour that will awaken even the most bleary-eyed ennui-laden souls from their still-life slumber.
With enlivening reminders that life won’t wait and that you must persevere despite adversity instead of rage quitting on life, Motions is a timely folk-pop playlist staple. Instead of assimilating his influences, such as Vance Joy and Dermot Kennedy, their style is eclipsed alongside his signature sonic sound. Discerning folk-pop fans would struggle to find a more luminary artist in 2021. If anyone has what it takes to reach the same heights as Mumford & Sons and the Lumineers, it is Adam Wendler.
Motions was written by Adam Wendler; recorded by Adam Wendler & Jack Bowden (Tors) in Berlin & the UK; produced, mixed & mastered by Jack Bowden.
You can go through the Motions yourselves by heading over to Spotify.