Illustration by @chris_riddell (IG) for @winterfalle latest
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.

Bonfire Tide – The Old Boys

Formed in the early days of 2020, Bonfire Tide began crafting songs around a premise of emotional fragility and dense, textured arrangements. The resultant music is often grandiose in sound but subtle in its storytelling, reminiscent of artists such as Bon IverThe National and Arcade Fire.

The Old Boys” is a folk-infused track that portrays the complexities of a relationship built on unfaithfulness. The song opens with urgent acoustic guitars and layered double vocals, setting the melancholic tone for the rest of the piece. As the song progresses, strings and twinkling guitars are added to the mix, along with the band’s signature rich harmonies, providing a sense of familiarity to listeners. At the heart of the lyrics lies honesty, but as the narrator reveals the truth, it becomes apparent that honesty can be deceptive for others involved. The song leaves the audience in a state of uncertainty, with no clear resolution offered to the tribulations faced by the couple. The tension builds until the rhythm section crashes in, bringing the track to a propulsive finish.

Constant Follower x Scott William Urquart – Waves Crash Here

Constant Follower, a highly-regarded band from Stirling led by Stephen McAll, has teamed up with renowned folk guitarist Scott William Urquhart to create a new collaborative album called “Even Days Dissolve“. The album is set to be released on April 14th, 2023 and comes as a follow-up to Constant Follower‘s critically acclaimed debut album, “Neither Is, Nor Ever Was“, which was released in 2021 and received a nomination for the 2022 Scottish Album of the Year Award. “Even Days Dissolve” promises to be a captivating and meditative collection of songs, highlighting the musical connection between two exceptional Scottish songwriters and musicians.

The lead track of the album, “Waves Crash Here“, is a stunning and captivating opening song that features Scott William Urquhart‘s beautiful folk sound palette embellished with Constant Follower‘s expansive synth lines, as well as sweeping and moody electric guitar. Stephen McAll, discussing the video for “Waves Crash Here“, explains that he believes stop motion has a unique ability to feel more real than reality. He likens it to music, where even the most basic elements, when executed correctly, can have a profound emotional impact. George Farrow-Hawkins’ film for “Waves Crash Here” captures this quality, according to McAll, and delivers a moving and powerful visual experience.

Hildur Höglind feat. Johan Finnerman – Young and Reckless

Young and Reckless” is a song that beautifully captures the essence of folk originality by the two artists we released it. We focus on Hildur Höglind though and her introspective lyrics and soaring vocals are complemented by a dreamy production that transports the listener to a world of love, longing, and belonging. Adding to the magic is the trumpet solo by Jan Allan, one of Sweden’s living legends. The track stands out for its emotive quality and is sure to tug at the heartstrings of anyone who listens to it.

Hildur Höglind is a talented musician and songwriter hailing from Blekinge, Sweden. Her songwriting is inspired by ideas, death, and art, and she possesses a vocal range and ability to channel emotions that is matched by few. Her work has been recognized with grants from STIM, the Blekinge culture grant, and The Royal Swedish Academy of Music. In 2019, her song “Steal Her Away” was nominated for the Independent Music Awards (IMA) category Love Songs. Hildur is currently participating in the national TV program Songland, competing against other songwriters and pitching her work to Titiyo. Her upcoming album, set to release in the summer of 2023, promises to be a hit.

JJ Byars – I’m All Ears

JJ Byars creates a captivating blend of indie electric folk-pop that encompasses a wide range of emotions, from gritty and energetic to sensitive and introspective. Through his music, he explores themes of love, loss, restlessness, and nostalgia, often infusing his work with a touch of humour. Hailing from California, he began releasing solo material in 2015, building on years of experience touring as a founding member and saxophonist for the band Sister Sparrow and the Dirty Birds. He also produces material under the name/band Hungry Hands, which has enjoyed success with the single “Highline.” The track was recently featured in Tony Hawk Pro Skater and has been placed in several other TV shows, showcasing JJ Byars‘ talent for crafting music that resonates with audiences across various mediums.

I’m All Ears” is the 2nd single from his upcoming full album release, “Ten Foot Breakers” released in the past March 31st. A track that so perfectly illustrates how Folk can get motioned into a pop repetition without losing the sense of subtleness and sensibility. Finding in that repetition its greatest asset, there is something magical about the way JJ Byars conquers our ears, taking his time, changing small things with small steps until we look back and see how far we’ve come into the track and the amount of motion that we are already listening to. Probably you will only notice when the track ends. But that time you won’t mind. You will just play it again to sense it all again.

Jon McLeod – Lily’s Game

Based in Brighton, Jon McLeod is a singer/songwriter who combines indie, folk, and blues, putting his own personal twist on these genres to create an alternative sound. His distinctive acoustic style features a calmly compelling vocal delivery and unique guitar playing. Previously performing under the name The Focussed Distraction, Jon has released four singles and an EP titled “Dream… You’re Awake.

Lily’s Game” is just the beginning of a series of releases set for 2023, by Jon McLeod, featuring songs that observe, reflect, and respond to the current social climate. All tracks are recorded at home, emphasizing Lo-Fi and DIY aesthetics, and avoiding excessive studio production.

The inspiration for this approach came from rediscovering old demo tapes recorded on C90 and Maxell cassettes from years ago. The process of analogue recording, free from computer screens and software plugins, “was truly enjoyable and allowed for a laser focus on the song itself. Although it may seem nostalgic and sentimental, I hope you can embrace this concept and appreciate the raw and authentic sound of these recordings“.

Jude Brothers – practicing silence / looking for water!

Jude Brothers‘ new single “practicing silence / looking for water!” from their upcoming LP “render tender / blunder sunder” deals with the conflicting emotions of loss. The solo harp and vocal composition combines whimsy with melancholy and explores finding clarity and acceptance after the end of a long romantic relationship, while also instinctually searching for what might have been lost in hopes of fixing what’s broken.

Jude Brothers, a singer-songwriter moulded by New Mexico and forged in Arkansas, is known for their whimsical and tender-hearted folksy sound. Their unique writing style showcases a blend of passion and playfulness, calculation and relaxation, and approachability and quirkiness. Their lyrics capture the existential dread and thrilling experiences of love and life, conveyed through raw and vulnerable vocals that shape-shift over a range of string instruments.

Lydia Luce – Face and Figure

Pic by Taylor Bogner

Lydia Luce, a gifted musician, singer-songwriter, and multi-instrumentalist originally from Nashville, had a strict musical upbringing. Her mother was a professional conductor who didn’t give Lydia much of a choice when it came to learning the violin at a young age. Despite excelling in various philharmonics from the age of six, Lydia knew that a career in classical music wasn’t for her. However, she has since found her way back to orchestral music in a different way. Lydia now leads Lockeland Strings, a community arts organization that showcases local artists accompanied by string quartet arrangements, and she also performs new contemporary classical pieces composed by local artists. It’s a remarkable achievement that showcases Lydia’s musical prowess and her commitment to the community.

The multi-talented musician, songwriter, and vocalist hailing from Nashville, has recently signed with Nettwerk to unveil what she knows how to do best in music, her deep and melodic folk composition. She has unveiled her latest single, “Face and Figure,” which features a whimsical and vivid musical landscape that serves as the backdrop to a poignant message of genuine self-love and acceptance. Lydia explains that the song is a personal reminder for her to avoid self-criticism and to recognize that her value extends beyond her physical appearance, age, identity, job, or size. In her view, she is a soulful being who bears witness to life’s beauty.

Lowswimmer x Novo Amor – Can’t Be By Myself

Over the last ten years, Ed Tullett has played a significant role as a songwriter, producer, and collaborator on numerous records, working on five different projects, including Novo Amor and Hailaker. With his debut solo project, Lowswimmer, Tullett offers listeners a glimpse into a world that he has crafted with his own distinct vision. “Red-Eye Effect“, the debut album from Lowswimmer, showcases Tullett’s signature orchestral sound, but also presents a unique intimacy that is new to his music. The album’s collection of songs is focused on both introspection and forward-looking hope, creating a balance between the past and the future.

The track “Can’t Be By Myself” features pianos clicking along with a sense of searching, as Ed Tullett’s falsetto voice expresses a fear of being alone and an awareness that he needs the support of others to grow into the person he aspires to be. Tullett is joined on the track by two members of his community, Ella Williams of Squirrel Flower and Ali Lacey of Novo Amor, who provide additional vocals. The three singers push the song to the brink of an instrumental shift, with trumpets entering ecstatically while the rest of the instrumentation conveys a sense of mourning. These two sensations are held in tandem and opposition, creating a dynamic and evocative listening experience.

Samana – Seven Years

During a year-long journey across the natural wilderness and distant cities of Eastern Europe, Rebecca Rose and Franklin Mockett realised Samana in the heart of a mountainous forest. Lending their instincts solely to the road and the embodiment of freedom, their first creations were written in the vast isolation of nature and performed on the streets of the towns and villages they passed through. As multi-disciplinary artists, Samana weaves together their distinct poetry, music, striking photography, and fine art into one unique project. The process the pair adopts in the creation of their work is one of strong ritualistic devotion, and they craft every element of creation themselves. This is produced in their analogue recording studio, ‘The Road Records,’ and darkroom in the remote regions of Wales. Their music creates a seraphic atmosphere that oscillates between melancholic ballads and spiritual experiences, evoking ancient beliefs, revolution, fallen civilizations, and intense deliberations of love, loss, and death.

Seven Years“, their latest, is a reverie that represents a metaphysical dawn. The soft expansion of instrumentation kindles the light that dispels the stars and parts the darkness with the first illumination of an emerging day. It pallets the music with transcendental hues of deep longing, encapsulating contemplation, introspection, and reflection. The song is a sinewy link between a beginning and end, coalescing infinite darkness and an emerging light. “Seven Years” softly transmits the dialogue between the self and a landscape of memories stored in distant places. The song is an immersive experience that takes the listener on a journey of self-discovery, where one can reflect on the past and contemplate the future. The unique instrumentation creates a soothing ambience that evokes a sense of calm and peacefulness. As the song progresses, the listener is taken on a journey that feels both ethereal and grounded, evoking a deep emotional response.

Sleepy Pearls – Dreamweaver

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The Sleepy Pearls is a music project spearheaded by Violette Larsen and Brendan Michie, drawing inspiration from the rich musical heritage of coastal California during the 1950s and 1960s. Their musical style is an ode to the legendary musicians and singers of the Fifties and Sixties who created music that has stood the test of time. They aim to capture the essence of this era while adding their unique touch to create a sound that is uniquely theirs.

Dreamweaver” is a poignant song that holds a special place in their hearts as it was among the first pieces they wrote together. As their third single, it showcases the duo’s evolution as artists and the depth of their musical prowess. The track is crafted with intricate fingerstyle guitar and haunting vocal melodies, and this is a track that we feel transports listeners to a melancholic realm of sound.

Thrillhouse – Something About This Place

Thrillhouse (previously introduced here), an Alternative Indie band from Brighton, is making waves with their genre-bending sound that has garnered praise from KEXP, John Kennedy, and BBC Introducing. Drawing inspiration from the music they love, Thrillhouse blends sincerity, wry humour, driving beats, and ecstatic hooks to push the boundaries of contemporary indie music and modern Folk.

2023 is set to be a busy year for this largely undiscovered yet precious gem of an Indie band, having just finished recording their upcoming album. The album’s second single, “Something About This Place“, explores the nostalgia of youth and coming to terms with growing up against the backdrop of the forgotten seaside town of Bognor Regis. Weaving a personal tale of transitioning into adulthood, the song builds towards a powerful and emotional climax full of twists and turns.

Winterfalle – Snowdrops

Winterfalle, the moniker of Jersey-based musician Sam Falle, writes contemporary tales of love, grief, and estrangement. Chris Riddell is an acclaimed illustrator and political cartoonist who has designed memorable images for a wide range of artists including Phoebe Bridgers and Neil Gaiman, and has recently delved into poetry. The two artists first met at the Home Farm Festival, where Winterfalle was performing and Chris was live-illustrating, leading to the creation of their collaborative project.

The band and the author collaborate on the newest “Snowdrops” which sets Riddell’s poignant poem about the human impact of the war in Ukraine to music, with all aspects of the release driving donations to The David Notts Foundation, which trains surgeons in Ukraine. The song was recorded at 123 Studios in Peckham, London with producer Brett Shaw, and the main promotion push began on March 17th with the release of the music video directed by Todd MacDonald, featuring footage from Ukrainian artist and refugee Varta Arutiunian’s rail journeys in Ukraine. Arutiunian’s experiences of escaping the country and returning earlier this year inspired the video’s creation.

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