Browsing Tag

Indie Folk

Weather the storm with Chris Chism’s indie Americana folk exposition of introspection, When It Rains Down on School Street

Chris Chism’s single ‘When It Rains Down on School Street’ is a folk offering steeped in Americana and visceral emotion, reminiscent of a melancholic gaze through a rain-glazed window. This consolingly evocative release spills into the soul, embodying the essence of introspective folk music.

The gentle, finger-picked guitars in the track carry an alt-country flair, intricately woven and effortlessly carrying Chism’s vocal notes. His voice, a shot to the heart, resonates in the celestially timbered vein of Jack Johnson, Ben Harper, and Ray LaMontagne. It’s this combination of delicate guitar work and soul-stirring vocals that elevates the single to the epitome of pensive solace.

‘When It Rains Down on School Street’ aches for both literal and metaphorical brighter days; Chism’s ability to capture this longing, coupled with a sense of cynicism that often accompanies life’s storms, makes the track a poignant reflection of the human condition.

Raised on a diet of bluegrass and classic country, Chism’s roots are evident in his music. His journey from metal and punk to the folk and country scenes has culminated in a sound that will see him go far. Now a fixture in North Carolina’s folk scene, his music reflects the stories and struggles of working-class people, infused with raw honesty and deep personal connections.

When It Rains Down on School Street was officially released on March 25; stream the single on YouTube.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

Lynden. – Change: A Melodic Indie Folk Pop Embrace of Vulnerability and Hope

Evoking resonance by versing on our tendency to chase distraction to outrun negative pervasive thoughts and feelings of loneliness, Lynden.’s latest single, Change, melodically thrives on an emotive confluence of indie, pop, and folk and renders your heartstrings raw through the candour.

The deep emotional themes which traverse the trappings of anxiety and depression go beyond touching on the darkness that finds a way of leaving a shadow over all of our lives. Lynden. used the opportunity to advocate for the vulnerability of honesty and to extend hope to people who need to hear that world views are malleable. In short, If this world is just illusion, choose one that fulfils you.

Starting with simple acoustic guitar chords and evolving into an intimately all-encompassing production which echoes the appeal of Violent Femmes and The Maccabees’ more melancholic work, the Burnley-based singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist orchestrated a soundscape which sonically visualises the tenderness of the lyrical narrative, while injecting enough rhythmic zeal to give Change an all-too efficacious uplifting energy.

After receiving critical acclaim and over 24k streams for his last single, You, Lynden. is leaving his affectingly intimate mark on the indie landscape; we can’t think of a more worthy breakthrough artist in 2024.

Change was officially released on March 15. Stream the single on all major platforms via this link.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

Bristol’s Most Strident Troubador, Alex Comaish, Augmented the Ultimate Indie-Folk Anthem with ‘Brother’

Alex Comaish’s latest single ‘Brother‘ is a poignant narrative wrapped in an augmented fusionist production that splices jangly indie pop with warm echoes of Americana, transmits the essence of college radio rock, and throws back to the 90s Britpop era while following in Billy Bragg’s footsteps. The crisp and unpretentious production allows the song’s emotional core and Comaish’s raw talent to shine through and illuminate the airwaves with affectionate fervour.

This Bristol-based troubadour brings a fresh sincerity to the genre as he elucidates that brotherly bonds may not always tie you to the perfect person, but those connections are worth their weight in gold. His strident vocal performance is an energetically affecting testament to the unspoken love and unbreakable ties between siblings.

The vignette behind the song is as compelling as the track itself. Comaish’s lyrics, penned in the throes of adventure, are imbued with genuine gratitude and affection that’s often left unsaid in the hustle of daily life.

As the first of a series of releases planned for the year, ‘Brother’ sets a high bar. It’s a track that not only showcases Comaish’s songwriting prowess but also his ability to connect with his audience on a deeply personal level.

Brother was officially released on March 1st; stream the single on Spotify.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

Jack Cade – The Glitter Around Your Eyes: Achingly Affecting Americana

Bewilderland by Jack Cade and the Everyday Sinners

If you always turn to Cohen, Waits and Nick Cave for sonic solace, redirect your quest for sanctity toward Jack Cade’s folk-meets-alt-country LP, Bewilderland.

His gruff baritone notes against Helen Muggeridge’s glassy-with-soul harmonies create a heart-wrenchingly sentimental dynamic in the standout single, The Glitter Around Your Eyes. Like all of the most affecting love songs, the alchemic feat of Americana lyrically locks into the minute details of affection to elucidate how deep in the veins the affection runs.

Around the bluesy guitar bends, honkytonk piano keys that give the track a touch of the 70s and the roots-wrapped tones as a courtesy of the slide guitar, the two vocalists portray a hesitant yet fervent testament of passion which reaches the epitome of compelling. Slow dance to it, cry your heart out to it as you mourn lost loves, or make it a playlist staple; whatever you do, don’t pass up on this timelessly touching serenade from the UK-hailing conduit of candour.

The Glitter Around Your Eyes was officially released on January 26th; stream the single and Jack Cade’s seminal LP, Bewilderland, on Bandcamp.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

In Tune with Matt Camillo: An A&R Factory Exclusive Interview

Dive into the musical mind of Matt Camillo, where the echoes of Americana Folk-Rock blend with bitter-sweet indie melancholy. From the romantic balladry of his latest single ‘Stop to Look Around’ to his explorations across Funk, Jazz, and Post-Punk, Camillo’s narrative is as diverse as it is profound.

Discover the inspirations behind his debut EP, his evolution from a MIDI-tinkering teenager to a multifaceted musician, and his aspirations to impact the music world.

Matt Camillo, welcome to A&R Factory! We’d love to know a little more about your latest single, Stop to Look Around, what’s the story behind the single, and what do you hope listeners will take from it? 

“It was the last song I wrote for my debut EP. It was written very quickly with the intention of writing a romantic ballad, but it turned into this Americana Folk-Rock thing or something Jewel could have written, though I got told several times that it sounds like Oasis for some reason.

This song is basically about doing the best with what you’ve got here and now, but once it’s out in the world it’s not up to me anymore to attach a meaning. The listeners can literally do whatever they want with it.”

Is Stop to Look Around reflective of who you are as an artist or are there more multi-faceted sides that will become exposed in your future releases?  

“I wouldn’t use it to describe who I am musically, but I feel like it’s a good representation of my Folk-y side. The songs I’m working on right now span from Funk to Jazz to Post-Punk even though I’m still working hard to make these different styles match together when it comes to an EP or Album.”

When did you get into music, and how has your relationship with music changed since the creative spark first ignited your desire to create? 

 “I started at 13 years old just writing instrumentals with MIDI in my bedroom. Then the guitar and the piano entered the scene, and eventually I found my voice (literally!). It’s always a discovery, this music thing. Every time I feel like I’m comfortable with a certain style or approach then I tend to move to new territory, but I always feel I’m still proving something to that kid in the bedroom.”

With such a wide range of influences, was it hard to create your own sonic signature? 

“Doesn’t matter how hard I try to find that sound, I’ll never catch it. I’m more focused on what’s naturally gonna come out of my failed attempts. And that should be good enough, I guess.”

What was the first and last single that had a profound impact on you? 

“The first Coldplay record (and the first one I ever owned) changed my life and helped me to bring out that same bittersweetness I’ve always felt as a kid. More recently I fell in love with ‘Live At Montreux, 1976’ by Nina Simone. She represents everything that an artist should be. Farless, honest and passionate. But she managed to be even more than that. So, I’d say ‘Trouble’ by Coldplay and ‘I Wish I Knew How It Would Feel To Be Free’ by Nina Simone.”

Where will your artistic journey take you next?  

“Right now I’m doing early attempts at my first album. Just experimenting and combining different worlds together until I feel something is moving. I’m taking my time. I’m giving way more space to the electric guitar, arrangements and production. Also messing around with my lower vocal range. It’s gonna be way different from what I already released, to say it short.”

If you could make one positive change with your music, what would it be? 

“I just want my music to help people connect more with reality and with who they really are or at least to offer them a new point of view.  Real music is so much more powerful than any other medium and that’s why the state of this industry is in such conditions.  Maybe I wanna prove that it can still free us or maybe I just wanna have my own fun. Music won’t stop tho.”

Stream Matt Camillo’s latest single, Stop to Look Around, on Spotify.

Interview by Amelia Vandergast

Grizzly Bird – Backpacker: A Soulful Sojourn Through the Indie-Folk Landscape

Grizzly Bird (AKA Hans Gnendinger) presents ‘Backpacker‘, an attentive commentary enveloped in a melodious indie folk journey. This single, nestled within the anticipated album ‘Creatures‘, stands out as a synthy, lyrically driven exploration of the backpacking subculture, infused with a wit and insight that is both refreshing and thought-provoking.

Gnendinger, a stalwart of the Berlin folk scene, brought his Bavarian roots and urban experiences to bear in this track. His storytelling, honed through years of songwriting and life’s vicissitudes shines through in the light-hearted track which delves into the essence of human nature and our quest for meaning, all while maintaining a lightness of touch that is characteristic of Grizzly Bird’s style.

The lyrical wit reminiscent of John Grant, combined with the tongue-in-cheek reverie akin to Alex Cameron, positions ‘Backpacker’ in a unique space within the indie genre. Gnendinger’s voice carries the narrative with an effortless grace through the Radiohead-esque soundscape which exhibits Gnendinger’s skill with the acoustic guitar and his ability to weave complex emotions into his compositions while the synthy backdrop adds a contemporary edge to the folk foundation

In essence, ‘Backpacker’ is a mirror held up to a generation that seeks meaning in the nomadic, Beatnik lifestyle. Grizzly Bird, through this track, offers a perspective that is both critical and empathetic, urging us to question the romanticism of backpacking while also acknowledging its allure.

The official music video for Backpacker will premiere on February 16th; stream it on YouTube.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

Lounna orchestrated the sound of spring into her indie-folk Americana release, Peak Season


Lounna orchestrated the sound of spring into her latest indie-folk reverie, Peak Season; a single that resonates with the soul’s longing for renewal and connection.

The Pittsburgh-based multi-instrumentalist, drawing inspiration from the likes of Bear’s Den and First Aid Kit, infused her latest single, taken from her Garden for Winter LP, with a unique blend of indie, folk, Americana and naturalism, and signalled her departure from her more whimsical approach to songwriting from her debut. By delving into more profound themes of mental health, resilience, and hope. The single is a harmonious amalgamation of lyrical depth and orchestral richness, with crystalline vocal harmonies commanding the ensemble with an effortless grace.

The track opens with a melodic embrace that gently uplifts the listener, symbolising the shedding of winter’s weariness. Lounna’s voice, soothing yet potent, weaves through the instrumentation with a narrative that echoes candour and resounds through universal relatability.

The orchestral backdrop, carefully crafted with Slate’s collaborator Daniel Blake, adds a panoramic dimension to the song, allowing each instrument to converse and complement the vocals, rather than overpower them. Peak Season allows you to stand at the shores of your own introspection while washing over you as a cathartic release from the clutches of life’s darker moments. It’s a sublime feat of originality and expression, that has left us with bated breath to see what’s to come from Lounna.

Stream Peak Season from February 16th on Bandcamp.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

Winter whispered through Sang Lian Uk’s folk-punk single, When Snowflakes Fall

In the heart of winter’s embrace, Sang Lian Uk penned ‘When Snowflakes Fall‘, a lo-fi folk-punk anthem that resonates with the soulful depth of a winter’s tale. This single, reminiscent of the raw, unfiltered essence found in the works of Neutral Milk Hotel, is a poignant reflection on the season’s stark beauty and the introspective journey it invites.

When Snowflakes Fall is a narrative woven from the threads of his life, a stream of consciousness that captures the essence of winter’s dual nature – its bitter cold and its mesmerising beauty. The song’s structure mirrors the ebb and flow of thought, with each verse building on the last, culminating in a cathartic release of pent-up emotions.

Sang Lian Uk, who began his musical journey in the echoes of gospel songs and church choirs, has evolved into a raconteur of candour, moving far away from his childhood immersion in music, guided by the distinctiveness within his voice, he’s come into his expressive own.

When Snowflakes Fall hit the airwaves on January 25; stream the single on SoundCloud.  

Review by Amelia Vandergast

Henry Charles reached the epitome of vulnerable intimacy with his debut, Just One More Time

Henry Charles’ debut single, Just One More Time, is a marker of his ability to construct emotional connections with his audience. Soulful, intimate, and a testament to his patience and vulnerability as a songwriter, Just One More Time is a promising start to what is sure to be an illustrious career.

With a folk timbre reminiscent of Jacko Hooper, the sting of Tom Odell, and the profoundness of Bill Ryder-Jones, Charles carved out his own niche in the British singer-songwriter landscape. From the first strike of the minor piano keys, Just One More Time envelops you in its world. The ripples of reverb set the stage for Charles’ light yet evocative harmonies. Each progression in the song is a revelation, a bittersweet exploration of torment and longing.

The gentle orchestral strings with moody, turbulent electronic synthetics create a stunning auditory contrast. This juxtaposition mirrors the emotional turmoil at the heart of the song – a yearning for connection in a world that often feels vacuous and cold.

The refrain ‘just one more time’ echoes throughout the track, a quiescent plea for reconnection to something visceral and sanctifying. It’s a testament to Charles’ ability to tap into a tender pool of expression, making every note and lyric resonate with the listener’s own experiences of loss and desire.

Just One More Time was officially released on January 31st; stream the single on Spotify.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

Never look at apocalyptic fiction the same again after losing yourself in McKay’s indie-folk earworm,  Last Man Alive

Staying true to folk roots while not getting entrenched in its antiquities, the Nashville indie folk quartet McKay made the genre relevant for this generation with their larger-than-life rendition of their latest single, Last Man Alive.

If you have ever immersed yourself in apocalyptic sci-fi media and wondered if you would have the determination to endeavour or simply submit to the same fate that removed the majority of the planet, you’ll hear familiar thoughts and questions echoed back at you. But McKay goes even further by touching on all of the ways that we make sense of space and time as society keeps on buzzing away. It’s impossible not to become caught up in a state of contemplation as you listen to the harmonica blow over the raw folk chords and Hudson Haining’s pontificating vocals, which bring you right into the introspective world the promising outfit constructed.

With the evocative pull of Deathcab for Cutie fused with the sonics of Neutral Milk Hotel, McKay’s sound is original as it is intimately affecting.

Last Man Alive will be available to stream on all major platforms from January 28; stream it on SoundCloud first.

Review by Amelia Vandergast