"Straight from a backcountry sunrise in Bruce Peninsula..." from @cassienoblemusic(IG)
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.

Cassie Noble – Diagnosis

Cassie Noble, with her Indie Folk Pop essence, crafts songs rich in emotion and drenched in candour, evoking the serenity of a lone fire in an expansive wilderness. Following her stint with The Do Good Badlies, her 2019 solo debut marked a shift to more intimate performances, fostering deeper connections with her audience. Her vocal prowess has graced collaborations with several artists, notably Darryl James’s solo venture, Close Kicks.

Recorded amidst the haunting echoes of her late father’s empty home, Cassie Noble‘s upcoming album is a poignant exploration of grief in its myriad forms. Melding darkness with light, the tracks encapsulate the myriad emotions nestled within love and gratitude. Her second single, “Diagnosis” articulates the chilling isolation of having one’s pain and experiences dismissed. The line, “Mother told me that’s just the way it is” highlights a resigned acceptance, but it’s quickly countered by an underlying determination and urgency for acknowledgement and understanding. A great folk effort that finds a sweet spot in the combination with dream pop elements and most of all highlights her powerful voice.

David Vertesi – Who Am I Now?

For over a decade and a half, David Vertesi has been a prominent figure in Canada’s vibrant indie-rock scene. Whether showcasing his talents with renowned bands like Hey Ocean!, Shad, Dear Rouge, Hannah Georgas, or Said the Whale, or producing for artists such as Haley Blais, Noble Son, Ashleigh Ball, and Riun Garner, Vertesi introduces a distinct blend of sensuous brooding tones. This intrinsic capability adds intricate sonic dimensions to songs, amplifying their depth. His solo ventures put these theatrical nuances at the forefront, revealing his aptitude for weaving rich technological soundscapes as proficiently as he extracts raw emotion from simple instrumental arrangements. Yet, it’s his distinctive baritone voice that truly sets the tone, narrating stories filled with tumult, reflection, mortality, and ennui, presenting Vertesi not just as a participant, but as the leading voice of his musical narrative.

Discussing his latest vibrant and impactful track “Who Am I Now?”, Vertesi shares the introspection that birthed it, a sentiment stemming from the profound self-reassessment many underwent since the onset of the pandemic in 2020. “With my band [Hey Ocean!] of 15+ years taking an uncertain break, I found myself amid this self-redemption. Yet, observing those around me, it became evident that many were on similar journeys – be it job transitions, relocating, or relationship endings” he elucidates. Whether grappling with grief or celebrating newfound freedoms, it appeared that a collective introspection was underway, with many reflecting upon the same profound questions. For David, it results in a beautiful track like this.

Em Spel – My Oldest Friend

Em Spel stands as the creative endeavor of Emma Hospelhorn, a gifted songwriter and multi-instrumentalist hailing from Chicago. Her inaugural album, titled “The Carillon Towers“, received widespread acclaim upon its 2022 release. Notably, Hospelhorn lends her flautist talents to the avant-classical ensemble Ensemble Dal Niente. Her musical repertoire spans across various instruments, such as flutes, bass guitar, and keyboards, contributing to the sounds of artists like V.V. Lightbody, Mute Duo, and other eclectic creators spanning folk, drone, garage rock, post-punk, and classical genres. Through her solo venture, she masterfully weaves together these diverse influences, infusing them with narrative-rich lyrics to craft a collection of uniquely captivating folk pieces.

On August 4th, Em Spel unveiled “My Oldest Friend“, an evocative avant-folk narrative, under the banner of Carillonia Records. The track introduces itself with Em Spel‘s voice, delicately entwined with the strum of an acoustic guitar and gradually evolving drones, beckoning listeners to enter a tunnel – a gentle invitation to an otherworldly experience.
As the song unfolds, the story’s protagonist encounters their titular oldest friend, triggering a transformative shift in ambiance. The shadows give way to light as intricate harmonies and sinuous flutes weave around Hospelhorn’s mellifluous vocals, much like vines enveloping the scene. The narrative takes on a dynamic momentum as a driving drumbeat emerges, accompanied by the plea, “Can you save this man? He doesn’t seem to know“. This rhythmic force propels the composition to its culmination, a resounding crescendo that leaves an indelible impact.

Good Strangers – Egyptian Summer

Irish indie ensemble Good Strangers are formed by childhood friends Niamh and Conor after being inspired by Berlin’s songwriter scene. Their debut single “Egyptian Summer” comes from the anticipated EP “Adult Teenage Novels” to be released this year. Embracing the spirit of community, their name reflects the bonds formed during their travels and festivals. Their music, enriched by members Kev, Des, and Luke, delves into the trials of transitioning from youth to adulthood, touching on love, loss, and identity, all while evoking a nostalgic yearning for the 90s.

After a significant breakup, Quinn, the lead singer, penned “Egyptian Summer” drawing inspiration from past memories, particularly a summer in Egypt, where he sought clues of the relationship’s impending end. Through an emotive indie duet, Good Strangers evoke the delicate balance of cherishing love while recognizing the need for liberation and new beginnings. The track, embodying themes of love, loss, identity, and self-awareness, eloquently mirrors nature’s vastness with the depth of human emotion. Recorded in 2023 at the picturesque Black Mountain Studios in Dundalk, Ireland, the song benefited from the expertise of renowned producer Alex Borwick, known for his work with artists like Sam Fender and James Vincent McMorrow.

Harrison Storm – In Good Time

Harrison Storm is making significant strides in the music world. After his recent UK and EU tour and supporting Roo Panes, tracks like “This Love” have gained acclaim from MTV Upload, Spotify’s New Music Friday, and more. Boasting over 363 million streams on Spotify and appearances with artists like SYML and Snow Patrol, Harrison’s music has also been featured in TV hits like “This Is Us” and Netflix’s “Locke & Key”, with “Feeling You” reaching #3 on Shazam’s global singer-songwriter chart.

In his latest, he offers listeners a deeply introspective journey into the heart and soul with his track “In Good Time“. This track, awash with nostalgia, captures the essence of forgiving the past and bravely embracing the future. Having grown up amidst the pressures of toxic masculinity, Storm found solace in the music of icons like City and Colour, Angus Stone, and Jeff Buckley, who not only kept him company during lonely times but also inspired him to embark on his own musical journey. As he delved into older demos, particularly the gold-certified “Sense of Home”, a flood of emotions led to the creation of “In Good Time“. This new song serves as a brilliant reflection on the passage of time and the transformations in Storm’s life. It’s as if Harrison is conversing with his younger self, acknowledging the dreams and aspirations from when he penned “Sense of Home”, and recognizing how far he has come.

McKay – Bad Liar

Based in Nashville, TN, McKay is an indie band renowned for crafting raw and striking music that exudes authenticity and personal emotion. They have recently announced the upcoming release of their single titled “Bad Liar” a captivating track featured on their forthcoming full-length album set to debut this fall. McKay’s signature sound effortlessly blends alternative rock with folk and Americana influences, enchanting listeners with its romantic and introspective lyrics. The band comprises talented members, including Hudson Haining as the songwriter, lead vocalist, and guitarist harmonizing the track with a soulful harmonica, while James Eichman takes charge of harmony vocals and lead guitar. The rhythm section comprises Zachery Shirley on bass and Peter Dark on drums, completing the ensemble with a seamless and harmonious energy.

Bad Liar” is a profound testament to McKay’s exceptional artistry and songwriting skills, drawing comparisons to esteemed artists like AA Bondy, Wilco, Calexico, and Elliott Smith. The track’s acoustic-driven arrangement, featuring guitar, harmonica, and Haining’s mesmerizing lead vocals, creates a touching and emotionally resonant atmosphere that captivates listeners. With soul-stirring lyrics delving into the profound quests for truth and freedom, the song explores the complexities of unfulfilled promises and plans, reflecting the embarrassment that comes with lying to ourselves about our aspirations. McKay’s music embraces a back-to-basic feel, showcasing their penchant for minimalism and honest songwriting. By infusing their alternative rock foundation with folk-inspired nuances, they craft an uplifting and introspective sonic experience, forging genuine connections with those who appreciate thought-provoking lyrics and evocative melodies.

MOONRiiVR – Bachelor Nation

Toronto’s fresh face in the music scene, MOONRIIVR, boasts of seasoned industry members including Gavin Gardiner from the Juno-nominated The Wooden Sky, James Robertson who played lead guitar for Lindi Ortega and Dwayne Gretzky, bassist Ben Whitely known for his collaboration with The Weather Station and Basia Bulat, and percussionist Lyle Molzan who’s worked with the likes of Kathleen Edwards and Corb Lund.

Their debut album “Vol. 1” has the timeless feel of a record that could have been crafted anytime over the past six decades. It immerses listeners into an enigmatic realm where time and reflection blur. Interestingly, their latest single, “Bachelor Nation” draws inspiration from the reality TV series, The Bachelor. Initially sceptical, Gardiner found himself intrigued during Matt James’s season and ended up penning a song that delves into the unrealistic portrayal of love, both in the show and in the wider world, highlighting the inevitable challenges and recoveries that real love demands. A great track that mixes what feels like traditional folk with bits of country and something else hard to explain but that feels perfect for a storytelling texture.

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