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.
Beck Pete – Pen 2 Paper
“Pen 2 Paper is about the final moment, where you realize that your partner that you love dearly has possibly never truly chose you through the entirety of your relationship. You have two choices – you could facilitate denial because it feels better at this moment, and start the process of moving on, feel the most avoided emotion of rejection and let your heartbreak”. Just like that, Beck Pete‘s honesty about their latest track disarms us. And if the subject that it sings about it is serious and a way of exposing yourself to inner feelings, the track sonority is both powerful and heartfelt. Supported from the first instance by what are some of the strongest female vocals we found in recent Folk, and secondly by gently building up with a deep guitar sweep and vocal hooks after vocal hooks. Like a darker Feist, this is ultimately a dark song, or a song about dark feelings, but also a track that emanates hope and strength. But above all a pure product of Folk greatness.
Dekker – Small Wins
Well, this is another Dekker track (see here and here). And when we say another we don’t mean in any way to reduce its importance. By now, we already know, that every single time we receive a new song by Dekker that we are expecting to feel engaged and positively haunted by it. And Small Wins, his latest track, is no different. The first track he launches after his extraordinary debut album (“Slow Reveal: Chapter One“) has a gentle tone that finds in Folk calmness the perfect soundtrack for what it celebrates lyrically. We should all celebrate the small wins because that’s what life is mostly all about. The track’s sonority lets a bit of soft-rock melancholy in, and always feels as light as we want it to be but also very easy to engage and even to dance or hum along. The drums in the back give it an extra edge, as it also does the vocal variations he so cleverly hooks into the track. And the mixing by Zach Hanson (Bon Iver, Sylvan Esso) does the rest in a perfect audio experience from what is one of our new favorite acts.
Isaac Jack – Applesauce
Applesauce is Isaak Jack’s latest track and another one he recorded from his bedroom. The first thing to pop out is the song recording quality. In what works as an homage to applesauce and also as a metaphor, this genuine folk track recalls us of acts like Kaleo without growing to an overwhelming instrumental sonority that hides the delicate and genuine vocal composition and lyrical explanation. As a listener, we feel we are sitting right next to Isaak while he free-flows the track based on a poem, a poem of daily life that says no more than all his feelings as a way of a natural catharsis. And there is a natural sentiment that this is also a track that is sung in a moment and the next time will already be different, and in that way the recording feels like a unique song. A moment that happened in the midst of creativity and honesty, and that was recorded for us to dive into us as many times as we want. And that sounds precious. Every single time we listen to it.
The track is the second single from his debut EP entitled “The Salt That Stays” and encompasses the feeling that two lovers feel when “they’re both mentally and physically trapped from telling one another their desires”. It is also a track inspired by a short story written by Isaak that we now fully reproduce below (we hope you enjoy this):
You’re at party. You see a girl or boy. You get along. You like each other. You like like each other. Everyone else goes to sleep. Only you two are awake. You now have a choice. Do you, A) go and sleep in the arranged bed that you have designated upon arrival of the party, or do you B) sleep with the girl or boy that you like. Option A is cemented. That assigned bed is your territory and you spent many hours protecting your sleep haven, fending off overly drunk people, desperate to steal the bed that you claimed. However, you really like this person, so Option B is more preferable. But Option B is taboo. Despite both of you wanting to sleep together neither of you will say the words that will make the idea a reality. No one dares breathe the words ‘you can sleep in my bed’. Because well…. what if the other person dosent want to? What if i’m getting the wrong end of the stick? What if they think of me as only as a good friend? Endless possibilities circle around in your head, devouring the glimpse of hope you had with this person. The silence of Option B is frightening. To go with Option B, one must be either superbly drunk or have the balls the size of King Kong. The fear of rejection is just too great. So with this in mind, you’ve chosen Option A and have proceeded to go up stares and sleep in a different bed to the boy or girl that you so desperately like. During that solitary hour that you are trying to get to sleep, you in-visage yourself going with Option B, in your mind painting a picture that replicates every love scene in every movie that you’ve ever seen. ‘Applesauce’ is that moment in time where you’re alone with your thoughts. Your mind spiralling. Just wishing that you had gone with Option B.
J Flint – Til Flowers Bloom
There are tracks that grab us by the heart from the first moment. With Folk, that is a recurrent feeling. Acts like Jose Gonzalez and Ben Howard tend to do that every single time. Well, it seems J Flint (Justin Flint) is capable of achieving the same thing. His debut track entitled Til Flowers Bloom captivates us from the first moment and grabs us right until the end. There are even a lot of similarities with what Jose Gonzalez does: the “salty” acoustic guitar, the tender-deep vocals narrating the track, and the gentle but gorgeous variations that only great storytellers have the sensibility to write into the sonority. Marked by dramatic events, Justin’s songwriting is both deep and nurtured, and fees honest and made to touch the heart. Healing and naturally calming, this is also a serious track about being able to connect and to wait for what is worth the wait. The track was co-written with Alex Siegel (featured here) in a small cabin in the woods and feels like what the sea breeze would feel at the end of a brutal year,when we first put our feet on the beach sand. That’s the best we can do to describe it.
Junaco – Dazed
Mixing folk with electronics, here are Junaco. We could also say they mix the dream world with the everyday mundane. The sonority behind the project grows from the perspective that music can lift us up and make us feel like we can be someone else, elsewhere. Supported by the distinctly beautiful vocals of Shahana Jaffer and the folk-Americana guitar-vibes and all-around compositions of Joy LaRosa, Dazed is their latest track and feels both familiar and dreamy, perfectly letting their sonority be explained by itself. They are also fully appreciators of all kinds of arts, integrating full installations of art with their music and promising fully engaging experiences with in-motion artwork over their Instagram this Summer.
Dazed builds up from Folk roots and draws as much as the integration of electronic elements. With what sounds like natural and simple electronic touches but mostly guitar-and-synth-based elements their drops feel always familiar and a natural feel good. The track talks about enjoying the simple things and about taking all in with grace. In sum, not making a fuzz about life things, and about building new life things with our hands and heads. As they say they “feel at home” listening to their own songs, we couldn’t agree more. This is in itself a “simple thing” that dazes us entirely and in a very welcoming way. Lifting us up. Making us appreciate life more. And that’s all we need nowadays really.
Mia Porter – daisies
daisies is one of those tracks that will convince you in an overwhelming way. With more tracks released every single day, a lot of tracks sound like other tracks, and as everything gets overwhelming, there is a need of being capable to surprise the listener beyond any doubt. Well, daisies does that by starting softly, supported by the gorgeous vocals of Mia Porter. And continues to do it by gradually surprising us with the introduction of powerful elements. First, the drums, then and when we are getting into the first chorus, the acoustic-electric guitar, and after, with the introduction of what feel like Asian rhythms feeling like a mix of folk with an exotic rock. The whole song builds up from start to end, and when it ends, we get that feeling it could still run for another 5 minutes and we would still be hooked into it. Masterful songwriting and production in what is the opener for her debut EP. The track talks about purpose, life’s transience, and living a meaningful life, and the poetic video that accompanies it fits perfectly with those ideas.
Mo Klé – Be My Judge
There are tracks where Americana, Folk, and Rock come together so greatly that we feel like they were always the same genre. In Mo Klé’s latest track entitled Be My Judge, these three are so well put together that we know they are one. The track is what they call “A punch against self-doubts” that sings (and dances) about the feeling of doing whatever you want to do, and feeling whatever you want to feel, without giving too much about what it looks like and what people will think about it. The video clip portrays perfectly that (and our) feeling when listening to it. This guy (Charly Büchi) is dancing like no one’s watching is everything we need to understand that having complexes about what music makes us feel is probably the most overrated thing in this world. The drums, the vocals, and the guitar are there to make us understand that everything is what it is, and if we want to dance about it, we should, in the way it feels more natural to us.
monmoi – fingertips
Sometimes the strongest track is the one that is more gentle and natural. monmoi is known for easy-paced folk that he mixes with elements of soft rock and bedroom and lo-fi pop. fingertips, his latest release, is a track about a boy deciding on whether to call a girl after a night out and one that speaks directly from and to the heart. The track is a re-release from a previous project he had (entitle as Lauder) but completely changed into what he calls a calm upbeat flow with different guitar playing styles and more instrumentation. In it, we feel a gentle Folk breeze that feels almost like a fresh set of sheets. It’s a track where we feel we can lay down and close our eyes and let ourselves go, and that takes about an instant to catch us just right.
fingertips gets close to the end with a section of horns as the story unfolds. We can listen to it fully engaged by the lyrics or just as a gentle breeze. But when the first happens the end culminates in a sort of suspense. Just like in those movies we tend to watch so many times.
Old Sea Brigade – Salt
From the first time, we heard Old Sea Brigade that we have fallen in love with his sonority. That The National like sonority that is much more Folk than Rock, but without having to be fully neither, this is not only love-at-first-listen but also one that keeps on giving. With an extraordinary capacity to make songs, Old Sea Brigade releasde another track 13 days ago. Entitled Salt, is part of his Motivational Speaking, a new twelve-song collection that is all about emotions that we all felt a bit too much in the last year like isolation, loss, anxiety, and confusion. But Salt is along with the other songs of this LP, a beautiful song of hope, and about seeking the better side of life, making the most of what we have. This is a track that feels quite constant the entire time, but that without having a lot of variations manages to keep us hooked into it, just like a strong feeling we can hold on to and get back to any time we feel a bit weaker. Sounding gorgeous as ever, of course, this mister does not know how to make a bad song. (we’ve now written an incredible 5 times about Old Sea Brigade, and that alone can attest to everything we just wrote about).
Tabea – End of the World
Tabea is a Folk singer-songwriter from Portugal whose folk tracks are naturally vibed and very Folk rooted. Instrumentally with not much more than an acoustic guitar, her songs deliver on an angelic but deep voice that feels like a tender and relaxed voice in our conscience. End of the World is her latest track, and part of her 3-song-EP entitled “Better Daze“. Fully recorded during the quarantine at home, the track talks about feeling completely at peace with the world while outside the present unfolds in a scary way. In terms of sonority, we can feel that calmness that is most of the time indicative of happiness and being good with ourselves, and in that way the song lets the listener feel the same. If we could call any song a do-good song, this is definitely one. A balsamic Folk track that immediately connects, even if you listen to it only in the background.
Westrin & Mowry – I Don’t Have Answers
Perhaps one of the folk tracks we’ve been listening to more is Westrin & Mowry’s latest track I Don’t Have Answers. Transcending folk into an indie rock sonority this is a track that hooks the listener from the start due to a very catchy chorus-based melody that feels through the entire track. There is a constant build-up that is generously extended into a clear explosion around the 2-minute mark. It brings us back to the geniality of acts like the tracks brought by Alt-J in their very first album, but that still finds its space for its originality and epic instrumentalization and vocal reach. And when the electric guitar lingers along with the power vocals and even there evolves into a distinct and (again) powerful ending, we can’t help but gasp. This is a track to show to everyone you know who says they don’t like Folk. Yep.
All these songs (and all previous songs featured in TIFU) are also featured on our folk playlist. Follow it on Spotify: