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.
Alex and Us – Discover a new world
Formed during the pandemic and respective multiple lockdowns, Alex and us are Bruna Oliveira, Luís Afonso and Vasco Nunes, three Portuguese musicians, who since 2020 created a considerable set of songs. Due to the lockdowns, they worked on the project remotely, even managing roughly to rehearse remotely. Only after several months of progressing like this, did Vasco and Luís meet with Bruna in person and started working physically together. Their influences come from indie, alternative rock/pop and world music, but they don’t want to be limited by styles.
“Discover a new world” is Alex and Us‘ 6th release and a song written during a rehearsal: “Vasco was playing a piano part he had created long ago and Bruna immediately started writing down the lyrics for it. Luís added his guitar and it flowed naturally from there“. The track takes inspiration from the notion of a renewed look into one’s world and captures a beautiful mix of pop and folk vibe fitting the gorgeous familiar vocal tone with really good and well-tough vocal hooks and a contemporaneous instrumental where the guitar and the piano play almost equal parts.
Arliston – Mothering
Like three complementary threads being woven through an ornate tapestry, “Mothering” sees Arliston gently blend together delicate vocals, glistening guitars and textured piano taps to create a track that feels just as clean as it does complex.
Sophisticated and self-assured in both its lyrics and production — and written, produced and played by the band themselves — the new cut sees gentle instrumentation ebbing and flowing as silky vocals balance moments of vulnerability and introspection with quieter, more reserved assertions.
Vocalist Jack Ratcliffe adds: “This one grabbed us the moment we started writing it and hasn’t really let go since. There’s something about how it all fits together that is deeply satisfying. It was the first song we wrote after ‘The Ground Might Disappear’ and once we had the sound and feel of the first takedown we knew we had to build an EP around it.”
The new single also arrives with a beautiful, thought-provoking video courtesy of Director Bo Morgan and starring rising acting talents Nathen East, Jessica Boyd & Tallulah Boyd.
Braden Lam – Don’t Let Go
Branden Lam is a Canadian indie-folk artist who merges Folk with generous quantities of pop music. Inspired by pop-folk acts that gained a lot of notoriety like Vance Joy and Mt. Joy, he builds catchy tunes that still feel with that alternative urge. Vocally strong his very well-produced songs are set to make an impact soon.
“Don’t let go” is a track about dealing with things that now are only memories, things that are gone from our lives, and how that can mean struggling with what’s left in terms of void and the capacity to grab the good part of memories. The track that was co-written with Keeper E. makes us as listeners feel that both folk and pop are one, and provides a good upbeat escape to something that most of the time is hurting. It’s most of all a track about sharing the moments and making the best out of the happy ones. The very catchy chorus is the highlight but also the gorgeous build-ups and the heavily charged lyrics still are made felt light and a sort of positive melancholy.
“In the music video, I use a red 1979 Volvo car to represent the piece, or memory, of someone that we hold onto. There’s always something. It could be a song, a place, maybe a sweater that reminds you of that person and how they defined you or made you feel”.
Christian Wethered – Way Back (In the Summer)
Christian Wethered is a Dublin-based songwriter and poet. His debut album, ‘Mon Petit Jardin‘ was recently released and “Way Back (In The Summer)” is part of it. This is what he calls an upbeat folk song about summer love. The lyrics in the track are also quite evident of that charge. However, the greatest thing about it is how it sounds melancholic without sounding mellow, and the sonority feels simple but still very much addictive. Probably part of that comes from a very well-composed chorus that feels both modern and novel, which allied with the gorgeous acoustic guitar solos make the track kind of a folk caramel. Christian is a poet by nature, and the way he carries that to his songs is very much honest and noticeable, making it very hard to resist melting along with it.
Dez Rocksteady – You Don’t Need Much
Dez Rocksteady is a singer-songwriter from Leeds who writes, plays and sings what can be described as retro-feeling Folk tracks that still feel fresh and very (very!) easy to listen to because of the way he merges new pop tunes in a delicate and quirky way. He is also a superb creator of new songs, sometimes described as a pioneer of the new age of romance. With nothing short of 4 EP’s released in 2020, 7 new tracks in 2021, and an EP in 2022, this is his first single of this year.
Properly described as an earworm, his latest track entitled “You Don’t Need Much (To Do A Lot)” is a simple yet engaging and super catchy storytelling-like folk track that makes us feel good just by listening to it (and that’s proper the first and ultimate goal of music, isn’t it?). “crafted to resonate within the hearts of one and all” to it helps a lot of the acoustic guitar that alternates between a delicate setting and quirky melodies and riffs. The track is heavily based on his very friendly vocals that sometimes remind us of Counting Crow’s unique way of songwriting-singing. But most of all it’s a great track to play around, relax, heal or just be.
EMMI MAARIA – I Am The Whisper Of Blood
“Compelling and uncompromising” is probably what best describes the music made by Emmi Maaria. This singer-songwriter born in 1992 with Finnish roots and German education is based in London and is also a violinist that fully incorporates this instrument in both her songwriting process and sonority. With a very original sound that merges alternative sounds with classical elements, she makes music that is also very passionate and with lyrical depth.
Releasing her two first songs this year, “I Am The Whisper Of Blood” is the one that got us to her. The track starts with a gorgeous cultural play with the violins and folk-ish elements taking the listener to the North of Europe quite effortlessly. Soon the vocals get in and we do feel them as compelling, powerful and filled with personality. The way the track grows with vocal hooks is nothing short of a masterpiece while the violin constancy makes sure that we’re kept right in their roots and sound vibes for the whole duration of the track. There is also a gorgeous circular approach that we might only have noticed by the end, and that immediately made us go for multiple listens to experience the whole thing again.
The track was inspired by Edith Södergran’s poem “Vierge Moderne” (modern virgin) which took part in the conversation of women’s rights to study without any limitations based on their gender in 19th century Finland.
Hank Midnight – None Supreme
Hank Midnight is the avant-pop project of a multi-instrumentalist songwriter, producer, and recording artist, Henry Mittnacht. “Memory Box” (slated for release in late summer/early fall of 2022) is his first official full-length. He developed the album with Executive Producer, Johnny Esposito, and producer/arranger, Matthew Fishman. Its songs evoke a musical journey through memory and channel synaesthetic distances across the fourth dimension.
“None Supreme”, his latest release, is a genre-bending single (and the3rd single off his forthcoming LP). The track could originally be described as an indie pop, deconstructed disco anthem that by the way it features arpeggiating keys, funk guitar, & understated vocals over driving bass, punchy kick, & fire-cracking snare – actually feels folky too. “A late summer night’s dream for adventurers of mystical experiences & perceptual (re)awakenings“.
Arriving day & date with the song is another artfully produced music video shot and directed by French visual artist Chloé Mossessian, which takes place along a river in France and features dancer Vailea Contraires.
Katmaz – Too Soon
Katmaz is the solo project of multi-instrumentalist and producer, Matthew Kaz. During the bleak summer months of 2020, Katmaz left Brooklyn, and went walk-about/spiritual journey, in a van across the United States. He packed a condensed version of his home studio and recorded demos along the way. The experience culminated in the recording of his debut LP, “Tell Me How Great You Are.” The album was recorded with producer and childhood friend, Savings, in the California desert town of 29 Palms, just outside of Joshua Tree National Park.
Mixed by Darrell Thorp, Too Soon is the final single before Katmaz’s debut album release. It encapsulates the album with a very “Beatles-like” structure. The first chorus enters with an emotional cry “I know you are the one,”. The sound echoes as if Katmaz yelled it into a canyon, and is followed by a gentle slide guitar into the second verse. Acoustic guitars and a Rhodes add warmth, wrapping the listener in a blanket as the lyrics begin the journey and climaxing after the bridge into the final chorus, “I know you were the one, but you left too soon”.
lund – Paper Tiger
“I don’t know if you believe in this crap,” says singer/songwriter lund, who recently had her tarot read. “But I drew the Hermit card, representing exploration and personal growth. He’s shining a light: Come on out of the shadows!” After a decade in the music business on the management and booking sides, the classically trained singer has finally moved toward the light.
On August 5th, Asheville, NC-based lund released “Paper Tiger” the latest single from her forthcoming debut LP “Right This Time“, out on September 9th. “This tune is the opening track on the record and we love how it turned out,” lund explains. “We experimented with different keyboard sounds and added in some group claps which was fun. It’s a little grungy and has some grit, we purposely cranked the guitars” she adds. “The song is about being let down by a lover or a person that pretends to be everything to everyone (powerful/dangerous) but in the end is nothing to anyone. In this respect, it’s about the utter failure of the modern man towards women.“
Social Cig – Eventually
Born and brewed in Wisconsin, Social Cig is the independent music project of 23-year-old singer/songwriter, Parker Schultz. Residing in Milwaukee, Schultz entertains a DIY approach: writing, recording, and mixing within his Riverwest studio home. Inspired by lazy bike rides into coral sunsets and time-warping conversations over cigarettes, Social Cig creates his music to capture the emotions of growing up.
With already two albums out (in 2020 and 2021), “Eventually” is a 2022 release and the song that captured our attention on Social Cig‘s capacity to make an impact without being more than himself. Actually, something that the track also talks about in its own way. A song about being patient with life in transitional phases! Sweet and catchy, it’s undeniable how much DIY, honesty and feeling the track transmits. It also talks about being human, procrastinating but still getting through learning somehow.
Tamu Massif – Looking Over Houses
Three years after “Little Death Summer“, Tamu Massif is back with a brand new LP, “Late To My Funeral“, released last week (12th). The Bristol “veteran” newest record is full of quite pretty, folky tunes, laced with gorgeous instrumentation, cascading atmospheres and introspective lyrics – it’s worth checking out.
The closure of “Late To My Funeral“ is called “Looking Over Houses”. Tamu’s vocals in this sound like a singing swan, flying over us, dropping over to hug us every now and then, but always at the right time. It’s like sitting by the river and allowing yourself to be immersed in the atmosphere of the surrounding forest, the breeze carrying the sounds ever near you depending on their intensity. Simply put: it’s very, very gorgeous.
Tommy Ashby – Moonflowers (Best Friend)
Tommy Ashby is a Scottish musician and prolific writer with a distinct ability for capturing the innate beauty of everyday moments in his own euphony of ethereal sonics and hushed vocals.
His latest new single “Moonflowers (Best Friend)” uses a blossoming moonflower as a metaphor for joyous yet fleeting displays of childhood friendship. There is a distant banjo and some reversed guitars that imbue the song with a delightfully warm nostalgia akin to S.Carey or Bibio. There are also a lot of those Novo Amor auras in the track that really just make the listener float. The track echoes “my best friend” through multiple listens showcasing its catchy arguments, but it’s in the gorgeous melodies that build up to the chorus that we feel the golden moments of this folk-maker. Gorgeous track all over.
All these songs (and all previous songs featured in TIFU) are also featured on our folk playlist. Follow it on Spotify: