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.
BLÁNID – Fool’s Gold
The music BLÁNID creates is quite hard to describe. The Irish singer-songwriter surprises everyone with her magical and classical voice and wows us again while mixing these almost theatrical melodies with some mystical indie instrumental elements. BLÁNID expects a great year that begins with releasing her debut single Fool’s Gold, a mature song about a love that is not loved back, and which gives us chills every single second, whether it’s because of her angelic and unique voice or the brilliant and shiny chords’ arrangement. Better leave you with the song.
CASILIAN – If We Could
“If we could rewind the past” opens the brand new single of the Norwich trio CASILIAN who’s releasing their second track this year (being the first one a cover of Runnin’ (Lose It All)). The eclectic trio waves their folk-ish music through rock&roll riffs, electronic spacious beats, and country-ish harmonies which are absolutely stunning. The result is a powerful, uplifting, and layered song. If We Could seems to have no boundaries and that is actually one of CASILIAN’s characteristics when they merge so many influences and genres. It could end up sounding a huge mess, but the right doses of talent and creativity give them some kind of Midas’ touch, and If We Could is one of those golden pieces. This is a song about break-ups and the ability to grow from there. But now, more than ever, the first verse can have a new connotation: what if we could rewind the past? “But when it’s all over (…) Will I ever be the same?”.
C. James feat. Misty Boyce – Inside Out
Inside Out is a track describe as an alt-pop meets indie-Americana track. Those Americana vibes are also easily Folk sounding for us, and hence its inclusion in this selection. The obvious desert-sounding landscapes in the track are tenderized by a gorgeous vocal duet between C. James and Misty Boyce, and while he broadcasts those folkish vibes, the contrast with the more pop approach of the female vocals work like charm. Being quite short, Inside Out is also easily replayable, or should we say mandatorily replayable? Every time we listen to it we get those feels of needing to feel it once more. The way the vocals are going perfectly together, and how it can even bring some 80s sonority to the table (might be the synth-like elements in the back) provide us with a constant ambiance of lyrics and melodies. These are proper whispered vocals that rapidly feel contemplative and the next song they make us wanna dance. We get the Springsteen influences, but we also never heard anything quite like this. And we don’t need to say how rare and refreshing that is.
Deer Fellow – Let It Breathe
There are two things we know will always surprise us: Austin, TX and its creative people, and open mic nights. If you put these two things together, acts like Deer Fellow may become real. Matt Salois and Alyssa Kelly met at an open mic session and quickly collaborate, joining Matt’s guitar to Alyssa’s piano and violin and gorgeous voice. As they say, Deer Fellow’s sonorities “pulls you in right away, stirring romance and broken hearts.”. Let it Breathe is the last track of a 4-piece debut EP called Words Unsaid, released a month ago, and it’s an ode to those memories we all have of things we did wrong and still linger in our minds. The way Kelly sings it is almost violent and brutal due to her soft and fragile timbre ironically singing about pain and suffering. The duo puts flowers and beauty even in the words that were left unsaid.
Starting smoothly and engaging, like a typical Bon Iver and S.Carey song, Wavepool is a mind-full of a track. Undeniably beautiful, both musically and lyrically, there are loud and clear folk-pop sonorities for any living being on heart that is capable of identifying with his/her soul contemplation. And others’ too: “If you be the canyon; I’ll be the landing, I won’t ask more. If you’ll be the canyon, crass from camping, coursing dust, looming us“. The lyrics are heartfelt and coming from the inside, and the track melodies are both spacey and coming from the inner feelings. And, if we do our best not to fall into unworthy comparisons we can still say it does not fall short of one of the first Bon Iver tracks. Hailaker (hay-ull-ache-err)’s is an “open-ended project” whose members are Jemima Coulter and Ed Tullet, with Ali Lacey (also from Novo Amor) also contributing. In this track, they are joined by S. Carey (4000 miles apart), and the result is a true folk-stopper.
Jack Symes – I Need to Be Alone
“I need to be alone, cancel the birthday party. I need the night to bathe in all the angst I’m feeling”. Just like that, with brutal honesty and exposing himself for all of us to listen, is Jack Symes in his latest track I Need To Be Alone. We relate to it probably in more ways than we were supposed to (?). If there is one thing that the Pandemic bring was, for some of us the act of being alone, and for others the act of never being alone. The video takes on that point showcasing a couple being together for every single thing they do at home. Until one of them eventually goes dancing on the top of the building. Those who live together know that the need of being alone is something that exists, but once we get a hold of newfound isolation we do miss the one that is always there for us. But still, we need to grow, and sometimes we need to be alone to be confronted by our own fears. That’s how we see this marvelous and eery track that so perfectly showcases Jack Syme’s storytelling. He himself says “There’s more tension and release in story-telling than there is in just the description of feelings”. The act of listening to this track is that sort of act: release and recognition. Being alone is, most of the time, an act of personal growth. And when a song speaks so loudly inside, it’s evident how good it is. I’m personally (José) obsessed with how good this track is. And how it can talk to me in so many ways. If you feel like we do, there is a full album available here.
JIGI – Toronto
“In 2015 I went over the ocean to work in Toronto for a year cause I had to make money to record my debut album“. This is how JIGI describes his latest track Toronto. Hard to describe in terms of musical genre, this is a brilliant folk showcase that feels like a chameleon. The track mixes pop and bits of both cultural (Indian?) and classical elements, and never really lets us, as listeners, sing-along while we don’t listen to it more than a couple of times. It’s both challenging and unique, but also highly rewarding, and we get the feeling we’ve never quite heard something like this before. The track focuses on the feelings of longing for someone you once loved and on the act of taking a journey in order for one to find himself. In reality, JIGI’s experience was a harsher one, eventually finding himself homeless in the streets of Toronto, finding a job, and working for surviving until he found a way to get back home, and to someone he truly loved. The track feels lighter than the story behind it, but the guitar elements were composed in the midst of it all, providing a further brutal charge to what the song represents and feels like. Toronto is the 4th single coming out from his debut album “IM OK“, and a novelty highlight for us.
Mira Lu Kovacs – Want You
By now, Mira Lu Kovacs is very well known by a lot of people “out there”. Her distinct vocal capacity and the way she builds her tracks as a mesmerizing and addictive singer-songwriter are leaving no one indifferent. Want You is the lead single from her new album What Else Can Break. A track that talks about what she calls a “stupid game we play sometimes when we feel like as soon as we stop wanting someone, things start to happen and that is just a toxic dynamic“. Built on top of a gorgeous guitar-riff and wonderous rhetorical feeling vocals, the track balances almost classical vocal elements with fast-paced hooks where the simplicity of “hoo hoo woo” vocal elements leaves us easily singing along. Circular like, the track that wants to show feelings does it in a very empowering way. She calls it “radical softness as a tool of rebellion”, and we definitely feel where she is coming from. Want You is easily hypnotical and feels both mentally and fiscally powerful.
Nathan Ball – Blindside
Coming from Cornwall to the world, Nathan Ball is already one of the most acclaimed artists growing day by day. Nathan has numerous singles released since 2015 which helped him reach a solid and huge fanbase and unbelievable numbers on streaming platforms. Now it seems to be “the year” for Nathan Ball, releasing Blindside the artist presents the first single off his debut album which will be out late this year. This is much more than a folk song, Blindside is a very dynamic song that mixes Nathan’s soothing voice with his surprising falsetto, and a profound piano marking the tempo and anticipating a build-up that culminates in a chorus that will stick in your head for the next days. Actually, the pace Ball gave to this song is something we can’t get rid of, we got wicked.
Ryanhood– Under The Leaves
Released on April 2nd, Ryanhood’s newest single “encourages us to prioritize cultivating deep roots for a deeper life“, especially in these current times. Under The Leaves was inspired by a Wendell Berry poem, the “Manifesto: The Mad Farmer Liberation Front”, which touches on how people might become freer—free from patriarchy, racism, and so on—without becoming deracinated. The song itself starts off with a gorgeous acoustic guitar-based melody, with the vocals fully embracing the variations together with the instrumentals. Very folk-like, lyrically honest, and with a distinct feel-good about the inner subject, it never really takes the listener for granted. The variations are slight but clever, and there is an almost indie-classic vibe to it that makes the track always feel like it is on the verge of a beautiful explosion. There are strings, there are beautiful compositions, this is beautiful folk.
All these songs (and all previous songs featured in TIFU) are also featured on our folk playlist. Follow it on Spotify: