[TIFU] CHAPTER XIV

Artwork from Grimson (IG).
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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.

Arliston – Mountaineer

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Swear It Won’t Take Too Loooooooooong“. We’ve never really believe a Folk track can break our soul bones on a single entrance until it does. Few can. Bon Iver did that for multiple years. Arliston are a London-based band who describe themselves as “sad sad song specialists“, who are doing too. And for the ones who don’t believe it you just have to press play on “Mountaineer” below. The track sounds with obvious comparisons with Bon-Iver roots but also sounds distinct in the way it easily confuses the listener in a good way, with some of the track’s instrumentals sounding like a soundscape and several sounds coming from elements of nature themselves perfectly incorporated into the flow. The track easily departs from Folk to a more pop vibe (art pop too) and to a gorgeous alt-rock escape. There are subtle banjo-like elements, there are incredibly touching vocal inuendos. And there is a deep deep vibe that reminds us also of Novo Amor with an equal capacity of touching the listener’s heart. Probably among the best new Folk sonorities we heard all year.

Fort Gorgeous – Sleeping Bulls

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photo by @margo_brhaas

Sleeping Bulls” is a track that impersonates “a portrait of someone who built the American dream for themselves, but who has never let themselves ask if it’s what they wanted“. It’s a track about anxiety and fulfilling expectations and what is supposed for the human to achieve and work for. It is also a marvellous track that easily transposes the frontier between Folk, rock, dream pop and a bit of post-rock. Surprising in the way it’s ever-growing and never ceases to evolve, it works like a dreamy trip for every listener, and a complex trip for every thinker. The guitar always sounds on the edge of coolness, the drums are constant and subtle, and the vocals are what moves us the most, never staying in the same place, but sounding ever inspiring and haunting beauty.

Grand Alpaca – Wolves / Little Lies

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Hauling from the Norwegian music scene since 2019 when he released his first single “Julia“, Grand Alpaca is already known for his distinctive vocal tone and the way it makes tracks sound natural to the listener. Growing around the notion of a Nordicana music genre (Nordic Americana) he creates a mix of folk, rock, country and pop sonorities. In his most recent release entitled “Wolves / Little Lies” we feel once again the warm depth of his natural vocals as we also do feel mellowed by the gorgeous electric guitar that cuts in hooks. Release as an advance single from his debut album released this year and entitled “Staying Quiet Is An Easy Young Thing To Do“, the track feels like a traditional singer-songwriter track where we can feel the storytelling vibe among everything else. There is also a beautiful aura in the air and no sense of urgency or precipitation in the way the track evolves, which gives us, as listeners, the appropriate time to breathe and take everything in at our own pace. Definitely defying modern music with his own cadence and flow, this is one for multiple listens and to increase our inner sense of peace and we are very thankful for it.

Grimson – I Was a Moth

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I was a mailbox, swallowing post-cards, sending my regards, to Hollywood stars“. “I Was a Moth” is a track that was written and composed by Grimson in his teenage years and now sounds reimagined at age 23. Composed of a six-part string arrangement and focusing on a narrator that proclaims a story, this is still an abstraction from reality and a story that will involve differently with every listener. Based on a folk acoustic vibe that feels almost classical and very simplistic from the production point of view, it is in the raw sonority that it shines the most for us.

It tells the story of a big change that came and went, leaving a sharp divide between the past and the future, and the melancholy associated with looking backwards to a simpler, more confident time. But still, the iterations that the protagonist has experienced are all quite dour in of themselves, which begs the question, why is the protagonist looking backwards with such nostalgia if he was so unhappy?

Hayes Peebles – Fall, TN

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Hayes Peebles is an alt-country and indie-folk maker from Nashville, by way of Brooklyn. He has been described by Rolling Stone Country as “cerebral lyrics à la Conor Oberst, with no-frills, twangy arrangements that call to mind troubadours like Steve Earle and Townes Van Zandt… recent releases show the young songwriter to be a distinct new voice in Americana songwriting, one who’s clearly studied up on his idols before him”. From the mix of Country with Folk, his sound grows from a natural sonority and a beautiful storytelling vibe that feels both ethereal and almost spoken word-ish. His influences from indie-rock are noticeable at times too, but in “Fall, TN” we mostly fall in love with the whole desert-to-sunset vibe and the way this slow-burns easily.

jo next door – New Friends

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jo next door is the musical alter ego of Jo Strogatz, and “New Friends” is her debut track. She is not new to music after resonating and reaching millions of people on Youtube under the name Canen. jo next door is her new alias for making new music that moves her and by the sound of it that certainly moves us. Ranging from folk to indie-pop and soft-rock, at every beat, every melody, the track feels natural. Starts of with an almost exclusive acoustic vibe that serves as the basis for the integration of her incredibly fulfilling vocals, and only after a while the track grows beyond that simplicity and we thank god for that. Singing about experiencing new vibes and new sensations when beginning college during pandemic times, “New Friends” always feel like jo is singing to us from her bedroom while her emotions are all over there and she is getting straight to us about it. She sings about disappointment but also about finding that lifeline, that thing we are looking for. She dwells on the past, she sings about it with a lush voice, and she always sounds tender, deep and safe. The track incorporates also a piano and a rhythmic guitar you will only notice after multiple listens but that in fact sounds responsible for holding the calm for so long. In a proper silky balance. We found this super promising and super relevant.

Rob Quo – Chasing the Moon

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“Chasing Moon” is one of the five cuts of the newest EP by contemporary singer-songwriter Rob Quo, “Now I See the Birds“. And it is a beauty of a track. Rob’s voice and guitar strumming steal the show of emotion, but it’s the accompaniment made by the double-bass and beautiful horn sections that elevates this track from a normal-sounding folk tune to a great folk tune.

The ambience is not just gorgeous. It feels like a small trip that is somehow filled with nostalgia and love, but also with a bit of angst. The Portuguese word “Saudade” – to year something or someone – comes to my mind when describing “Chasing Moon”. Once you find out what inspired the tune – the opposing views on life and the universe that come from a conversation between Rob and his father – it all makes sense to make us yearn for previous conversations from the past, happy or not. That’s the power of the folk of Rob Quo.

Rodes – I’m Not Gonna Get What I Want Tonight

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I’m Not Gonna Get What I Want Tonight” is the third and final single to be released ahead of Rodes’ debut full-length album, “All Of My Friends“. Filled with heavy feelings and made of genuine honesty there is a beautiful combination of raw elements that flash folk and contemplate indie rock, and there is an incredible depth in the vocals. The track that is ever-growing from start to end, features not much more than a guitar that explodes around the 1-minute mark and some distinctive drums that follow the same vibe. But the epicentre of the song is always the vocals that alternate between a story-telling vibe that feels dark and melancholic and explosive hooks that sound modern and clean. The track was “written late one nigh” and talks about “the fog that can take hold of us when sadness mixes with tiredness in the wee hours of the night“. It is produced by one of the greats – Alex Bingham (Hiss Golden Messenger) and should always check the live video released along with the track here.

Roos Meijer – Worthy

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Roos Meijer is a name we first heard of the great “Made for Loving You“, back in 2020. Back then we should have written all the beautiful words about her but for some reason, we forgot. Owning up to our mistakes like grown adults, we do say it now. Back then, her angelic vocals sounded honest-front and capable of touching the coldest human being on earth. The intensity of a whisper turned vocal turned whisper was already out of this world and able of touching us with peace that would easily propagate to our entire body. That spirit is kept throughout time, turning obvious that it’s how she goes about music the whole way.

In her newest track “Worthy” there is still very much of that vocal-broadcasted-peace that existed one year ago. There is a natural folk root that is embodied with pop elements and a tender voice that is now more velvet-like and deep. The track marks the release of her debut album “Why Don’t We Give It A Try“. Both are inspired by changemakers she personally interviewed: people who dedicate themselves to a societal issue. “‘Worthy‘ was written in response to a conversation I had with a woman who devotes herself to making women independent, in countries where that is not yet self-evident. She said the best part of her job is watching these women blossom when they realize that they are worthy of themselves, without having to depend on anyone else. Worthy was written from this idea. All the voices at the end of the song represent the voices of women around the world who realize their worth.”.

TJ North – Methuselah

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Methuselah” is the very first single from the very new artist that is Tj North. The track is released ahead of a debut album entitled “Birches” and certainly left us with the notion of eagerness. Sounding scarcely like Bon Iver (just listen to the falsettos and the way they are disposed on top of remaining track elements) but also with bits that remind the melancholy in acts like Radiohead, it is firmly Folk with bits of Alt-Rock. We can clearly listen to the banjo elements (which incredible also sound melancholic) and we can feel the power from start to end. Sometimes more aggressive, others more contemplative, there is always an inner strength that you truly feel through the song that is all about TJ North way of singing and composing. Described as perhaps one of the calmest tracks in what the album will be, “Methuselah” is actually a love poem that talks about the tales of our origins and works perfectly as a metaphor for a present situation “Since God planted Methuselah and Lucy stood upright // Back when serpents talked in rhyme long before our time“. There is a lot to push for multiple listens and there is a lot from this that feel coming from a gutted effort and a lot of dedication to feel things and transporting them to an electric track. We love it.

Zoe Konez– The Long Way Round

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Zoe Konez lives in London, UK, in a home that is part house, part studio. Her music oscillates between indie folk and acoustic pop, with warm, layered vocals, and comforting, hopeful lyrics. “The Long Way Round” is the 4th in a series of ‘mini’ songs she’s written inspired by ideas from her fans over the past year and a half. “I’m not alone when you’re around” – a heartwarming self-produced song starting with gentle acoustic guitar, building to a crescendo with a crowd singing along. An ode to missing live music – the togetherness that comes with experiencing live music in person, for both artist and audience, and remembering touring around Europe, which she’s been missing “It’s been a long long year”.

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