TIFU – Chapter II

Folkestone, England. Old Sea Brigade. May 2019.
From all indie genres, Folk seems to have a special place in our hearts. We can't help to get back to folk songs when we look for some calm and inspiration. When we want to hope for a nice dream. Or when we are feeling in the mood for some very well told stories. As an honour to those feelings, this series is entitled TIFU (Today I Folked Up). Only folk songs from new folk artists. To let you and ourselves go.

Roah Summit – Could’ve Been 

Reflecting on self-doubt is something we’ve been doing a lot lately. These times more physically distant from others, and everything that happened sort of has shaken up everyone’s reality. Mixing folk with indie-rock, Roah Summit’s first track in 3 years, Could’ve Been, sounds pure charm. Introspective but with a very strong sonority. Sometimes sounding like Bon Iver gone indie rock, others being so gentle and typically folk. Not afraid to mix things up, this is one of the best structured and distinct folk songs we’ve heard all year. Even the gorgeous variation at the 3rd minute re-invents the song to keep the listener hooked until the end. Oh, and the vocals are just too good – as they calm us, balance us, and support us with incredible strength. 

Old Sea Brigade & Luke Sital Singh – Call Me When You Land

Two of our personal favorites are Old Sea Brigade (most posted artist here on WtMM) and Luke Sital-Singh. For that reason when we first heard they were going to do an entire EP together, we were quite excited. And even though we haven’t been posting about all the beautiful tracks they have already released, they have been a breath of folk fresh air in our days. Call Me When You Land was the first track released by this collaboration, and one we can’t get enough. Their singer-songwriter flow sounds perfect together and we can’t quite recognize who is who in the track. That perfect blend works so well that it really doesn’t matter who is singing, with the vocals being the main engagement factor in the track, accompanied by a beautiful folk guitar and a very complete sonority. This is a track that will make you feel in peace with yourself and that makes the perfect soundtrack for a nice Summer journey. The EP comes out August 28th, and is one to not miss!

The video for the song was directed by Chris MUG5 Maguire & Nastassja Simone and produced by Riot.nyc, and its “elegant escapism and vivid aerial landscapes perfectly suit the song’s sentiments”. We completely agree.

Jonas David – SORRI

Several new artists struggle when finally producing a full album. That was definitely the case with Jonas David, and in Autumn 2019 he went to Sicily to defeat that giant. The result is an ambiance inspired album that mixes folk vibes with gorgeous melodies that linger both in our ears, air, and soul. Tracks that take its time to grow and to become beautiful living moments, but when they do we feel embraced and definitely not alone.

Reminding us of the more spaced and less paced Bon Iver songs, tracks like SORRI give Jonas David a generous place in the sun. There is clearly a mistic feeling all over the production, and we can feel that island-ambiance coming through all over the track. It’s like we have a room with a view, and on the other side, there is only an immeasurable sea where we can find our emotions laying back and waiting to be our friends.

Sugar & the Hi Lows – Moves

Solo artists Amy Stroup and Trent Dabbs make up Sugar & the Hi Lows together with Kacey Musgraves. With several releases around 5 and 6 years ago, they now feel they found the ideal context to be heard and released the album entitled Shangri La with 7 gorgeous tracks. The songs mix folk (of course) with soft electronic elements and indie-pop, and a lot of chilling vibes. Moves is one of the tracks included in the album and one that immediately reminds us of a blend of sonorities like Mac DeMarco and Unknown Mortal Orchestra. But with a folk twist to it.

The result is a beautiful inner contemplation experience, but also a sonority that feels how the listener wants to feel it. You can engage with it deeply in terms of lyrics, you can chill listening to the main instrumentals, or you can even try to sing it out loud due to its catchy chorus. In all a gorgeous blend of folk where the electric guitar does not go unnoticed!

Tiz McNamara – Damned

One thing we know, as a music magazine that listens to about 100 tracks a day, is that there are hidden secret gems everywhere. Our personal favorite Tiz McNamara is certainly one of those cases. With one track summarising 9M streams on Spotify, most of his recent tracks are still rare secret folk gems. Damned (his latest track) was released in May and is one of those “hidden” gems. One that was found by a curious music explorer who left the following comment on his youtube page ” Soo pretty 🙂 I listen to it while I’m working. It is so calming.” – encapsulating like that all of Tiz’s singer-songwriter skills. It is in fact calming.

Slow-building, and with a very soothing vocal register, Damned is what folk music is all about in terms of sentiment and story-telling. A song to let yourself go and one to listen by a little house over the sea. Even if that house is only in our head. Tiz always makes that house a reality in his beautiful new EP April Fool.

Time For T & Club Del Rio – Fire On The Mountain

Photo by Jaime Erice Toran

Tiago Saga lived one of the biggest wildfires in Algarve (south of Portugal) very close. He was one of the main personalities behind the promotion of ways of supporting populations and spreading help overall. The tragic irony of the episode made him write Fire On The Mountain, and all together with a sarcastic video-clip, to make a statement. He calls it “a tongue in cheek tune with a serious undertone for anyone willing to look” and spreads (once again) the word on the lack of awareness during this time of the year, where everything that seems to matter is how many tourists a country can have on their touristic beaches, while year after year, Portugal burns. “Maybe the most effort we can muster is to upload a video of a travesty to our social media pages, pat ourselves on the back for our services to activism and watch the likes roll in. Or maybe we can make a change and truly help”.

They invited Club del Rio to participate in the track and together created a very melodic folk track that feels both classic and modern and that we feel a lot of mixed feelings listening to. Just because the track is incredibly good, but the issues at hand and the message it transmits is of such urgency that we can’t linger too much on how such a beautiful listening experience the song is. It is, for sure, an eye-opener that should be listened to and seen by everybody living or spending their vacations in Portugal. Or by everyone that ignores nature, every time nature burns on our fault.

VANNA – Voices

We said it earlier, and we say it again. The amount of Israelian talent coming through the last year has been crazy overwhelming. VANNA’s new folk sonority is one more that makes us feel all the hype for this country’s ability to make new music. Voices is the third single from her debut EP entitled High Hopes to be released this year. Produced by an indie-electronic trio (Garden City Movement) and mastered by the one and only Matt Colton (James Blake, Muse, Coldplay), this is a very melodic track that mixes folk with electronic and pop, in a seamless manner.

The track is about the interpreter experience in overcoming psychologic addictions she references as voices in her head. And it is perhaps the calmness and security in the vocals that make it a winner for that cause. The beautiful instrumental riffs in the track carry its apparent lightness very high, but the magical thing about it is how a beautiful and feel-good track can portray in its lyrics a feeling that is so much of a struggle to a lot of people nowadays. Voices is a gorgeous metaphoric track that we should all hold on too. Especially when we feel overwhelmed with ourselves.

Dana Gavanski – At Last I Am Free

Serbian-Canadia musician Dana Gavanski is probably your new favorite folk voice. Apparently airy (or light) her songwriting is both ethereal and violent, incisive, and gorgeous, with a rare notion of melody and vocal reach. She is also super creative and the amount of 2020 releases from her side will let you mindblown. With a full album – Yesterday Is Gone – and a covers EP – Wind Songs – released already this year, she is overcoming isolation and the World context with incredible cathartic capacity.

At Last I Am Free is a cover from Chic, who was also later covered by Robert Wyatt 30 years ago, and that is now transformed into a modern vibe by Dana. And there is truly modern energy around Dana’s interpretation of it. Of course, the identification with the song meaning is so easily relatable to the feeling of being enclosed in our homes, that everything sounds more powerful and with meaning.  Most of it due to her incredible vocal capacity to sing melodies.

Seafarers – And Maybe I’m Scared

Photo by Aga Tomaszek

New folk is all about incorporating several genres seamlessly. Seafarers are a London-based group that incorporates contemporary jazz, Celtic, and folk into their sonority. And Maybe I’m Scared is their third single to date and easily one of the most beautiful songs we heard all year. The whole ambiance in the track, how it truly moves us and makes us feel part of it. The way the vocals reach beyond us, and sound bigger than life is one of the most inexplicable and beautiful things to find in music. The steady drum in the back is also essential to the track vibe, but it’s mainly the way Lauren Kinsella’s vocals are always the center but at the same time the most natural ingredient in the melody, what sounds the most magical to us.