[TIFU] CHAPTER VIII

Photo by @alexbayly (IG), 2020
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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.

Alcie Bela – Forest

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Photo by Nicole Machado

“I returned to my roots to record this bright country-pop track in a studio deep within the French forest”. Can you imagine yourself there when listening to Alcie Bela’s latest Forest? The track sounds energetic from the first moment and a lot of it has to do with her incredible vocal reach and power. Accompanied by a gentle bassline and some guitar slides that infuse the track with a clear folk spectacle. Ranging from what Feist is typically known for, but also incorporating some of the elements we love in Florence Welch, the track delivers a much more Country-sounding sonority. Forest is a beautiful track that feels intense every single time we play it.

Alex Bayly – Skipping Stones

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We were already missing these good Londoner’s folk and we’re quite excited with Alex Bayly’s delivery. Skipping Stones is like a fresh breeze to us, exploring simplicity but bringing enough complexity to the whole scene. Bayly’s falsetto carries such emotion and combined with his simple guitar it delivers absolute peace of mind. However, he sings about his thoughts on doubts, regret, and anger, making it easy to relate with the likes of early Bon Iver or Whitney.
The artist doesn’t sound like “just another singer-songwriter” as he puts his music in such a place where it can only grow, watering it with profound and complex arrangements and flawless lyrics. Since 2017 he’s been releasing singles and EP’s showing already great maturity and knowledge, in 2019 he debuted his first LP Ley Lines being Skipping Stones EP the successor. We just want more and more.

Almost Sex – Rest Up

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Probably the most exemplifying Folk song, or the better-sounding representation of the Folk genre we feature here, is the duo Almost Sex (funny enough they typically deliver on post-punk and indie pop). In their latest track, Rest Up, we feel immediately hooked with the acoustic guitar, and once the first vocals come in, we can’t get out of it anymore. The rasp and cleverly distant vocal tone is both warm and raw, human and relatable. And sounds just too good, with the whistling perfectly filling the spaces hand-in-hand with the guitar.
Rest Up is part of a set of songs (EP) written and produced by the duo in an old building in Warren’s hometown. With nothing but a few drums and guitars, they sound genuine and air-filling inspiring, and kings of taking advantage of a good high ceiling with their sonority. In all, we can certainly feel a sense of warmth and closeness, with a song that is the definition of coziness.

Aman Sheriff & Lucas McCone – Pick Me Up Tonight

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Photo by Andrew D Mello

Once I had an idol. He used to play melancholic but ultra-human songs that sounded like folk but with electrifying elements. The problem with idols is that they eventually disappoint us. And that happened to me. And from that point on, there is a space in folk that no one could fill until now. Well, Aman Sheriff’s latest track with Lucas McCone entitled Pick Me Up Tonight (also the name has similarities with whom I was talking about), is a true contender to fill that void.
Singing about being on “that doubtful moment we’ve all been through in our relationships”, the track is a slow-burning one, with strong lyrics but an even stronger feeling. The guitar helps to build up the momentum, with the voice always sounding sharp, tender but still rasp, and we love the combination. The chorus is catchy as hell and makes us feel like hell is a nice place to be at. On top of everything the song structure makes it end when we are still eager for more, which leads us into consecutive listenings without any effort.

Grit Harbour – Lonely Feeling

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We all need to feel the feels. Especially the darkest ones. We need to feel them until we don’t feel them anymore. Lonely Feeling, Grit Harbour’s latest single is intense and feels like a proper catharsis to a strong feeling that can be overwhelming. “I know it now, I know that lonely feeling, I can’t believe what you were dealing, I turned down“. There are vibes of several American references, there is a strong guitar in the back, but the most overwhelming element is the amount if intensity in the vocal elements. We can really feel this, we can easily identify with it, and when it ends, we are still singing it into the distance. And we don’t feel alone anymore.

Jesse Brady – Transformations

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The first bass chords don’t prepare us for what’s about to happen in Jesse Brady’s debut track, Transformations. In a dodie / Orla Gartland way, the playful instrumentals complement perfectly the idea of life being one big grow-up lesson from less to more mature versions of ourselves, metaphorically from childhood to adulthood. Always the same person, only with new tools under our belts – wiser. And you usually get wiser exactly “when you’re not looking”; when you trust the journey you are partaking in this life. I loved to hear such thoughts and reflections written into this upbeat, fresh, and easy-to-tap-your-feet-to song and I can’t wait to see what’s next from Jesse.

Kelly McFarling – North Decatur

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Photo by Emily Sevin

Kelly McFarling is one new listening pleasure of mine (José). With the release of Delicate about one month ago, she “infected” us with a melodic folk that brings the focus of the sonority to the strong vocals and to a more pop feeling. Her tracks sound both natural and necessary for the genre. With North Decatur, she sounds more close to the roots of Folk, with a gentle intro providing a natural layer for her angelic but also human vocals. The track is infused with a melancholic feel that turns into memory glitter while she builds up the melody. The banjos are not obvious in the track until they turn obvious (again as a product of a natural evolution of the melody) and everything together makes it very hard to escape or ignore. I feel good listening to this. I feel light. I feel like music is the most important thing in my breathing. North Decatur is on the right side of breathing and makes it possible to inhale consciousness with tranquility.

Macca Taylor – How It Goes

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“22-year-old songwriter, making music from my loft”. The story of Macca Taylor can be summarized like that, but can’t be reduced to that. Having released his first track in 2018, it was in the year 2020 that he started releasing music regularly with the last two tracks reaching more listeners and giving him the first strokes of proper recognition. We haven’t listened to those prior to when we got to know Macca: with the release of his latest track How It Goes. Once you listen to it you will feel the same.
This is a track that finds Folk in its better identifying genre, and that is evident in the leading guitar elements and in the pace of the track. However, soon the other instrumental elements come in, it turns into something else. Sometimes intentionally simple, others superbly melodic, the most evident element is the amount of care, honesty, and power Macca puts in singing it. The way the track re-invents itself even helps pushing it further – getting to sound like R.E.M. in some of its wonderings. And while the lyrics talk about being confused we couldn’t identify with it more. Our days are confusing, our work is confusing, and our head is confused. But this gives us a proper breathing space.

Renny Jackson – River Roots

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River Roots is Renny Jackson’s first single from his new album Seasons of My Hand. This sunny track is all about the thrill and sense of connection that comes from live music, including the sights, smells, and all the experiences that Renny misses especially now during the (hopefully last stretch of the) pandemic. Renny expresses his love for flamenco and Latin music, which we can hear incorporated in the fast upbeat of River Roots. This guitar-driven track ends up being such a beautiful and energetic hybrid between folk, funk, and world music – that kind of music that requires no words to describe, only ears to listen and feet to dance. Get moving, people:

Specific Coast – Home

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Singer-songwriter Specific Coast once sent a voice memo sent to his long-distance girlfriend. One thing led to another and now that voice memo is called Home and it happens to be his latest single. A single full of love, saudade, and that homey feeling only some people have.
This short and sweet love message is 2 minutes long. Starts off with a soft guitar leading the way to the upbeat percussion that makes the track pick up pace and emotion. Halfway through you get a piano and the vibes get immaculate. Home is the proof it doesn’t take much to make quality music – a simple composition, a big heart, and someone to serenade to.

Scalawag – You On My Mind

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Here’s the sweetest song of the weekend (or can we say of the month?). Being composed someday in 2015, Scalawag waited 5 years for the inspiration to come. And we think it worth the wait. You On My Mind is a tender ballad about the first stage of a new relationship, the moments when your lover gets stuck in your mind. it came out as an improvise to make his partner smile but ended up making us all smile.
Teo Saefkow a.k.a. Scalawag showed himself in 2019 with his debut self-titled album, followed by two singles being You On My Mind the last one. It’s quite unexpected how this became so smooth and quiet. The previous single, Touch, is funky, dynamic, and highly danceable it’s almost insane. Scalawag shows now the other side of his musicality and chameleon-vibe which turns out to be a very pleasant surprise.

Wild Cat Strike – Swamp

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With a video released already some months ago, there are tracks that deserve a second life. Swamp, is clearly one of those songs and is one in a bunch that Wild Cat Strike decided to re-produce and re-launch with a more stripped sonority. Swamp is a clear example of how a song can gain a second life, and still sound like a brand new track. Swamp (this version) and Swamp (the older version) are not even the same song. Really! If you listen to both you probably won’t notice at first. You’d definitely not notice if we didn’t tell you before.
Taking the most out of the lockdown (like proper legends), this is the first of many tracks that will be included in their forthcoming EP entitled Blood Orange Sessions. A track that feels genuine and like folk roots would sound like. And a track that feeds itself from a very natural and organic acoustic vibe, where the guitar elements and the soft instrumentals (violin, kalimba, and synth) complement the embarged and melancholic vocals perfectly.

All these songs (and all previous songs feature in TIFU) are also featured on our folk playlist. Follow it on Spotify: