Tag: folk

After spending years leading Boston-based art rock collective The Solars, whose 2017 EP Retitled Remastered landed on DigBoston‘s Best Massachusetts Albums of 2017, Miles Hewitt returned to Harvard College to finish his award-winning collection of poems The Candle is Forever Learning to Sing.

Following his graduation in 2018, Hewitt relocated to Western Massachusetts’ Pioneer Valley, settling in a small hill town, just down the road from a friend’s recording studio — and a few miles from where he spent the first year of his life. It was amidst the cycling greens, browns and blues of the Pioneer Valley, where Hewitt began writing the songs that would become Hewtti’s ambitious and wide-ranging solo debut Heartfall. Drawing from British and American folk music, 70s songwriter rock, psychedelia, krautrock and electronic music, Heartfall‘s is reportedly an album for album-lovers. And while the material is formally spare, few of the album’s arrangements have recognizable verse/chorus structures, instead holding patterns that melt away only when fully exhausted. “As I became interested in a less anthropocentric mentality, I wondered if this could be expressed through formally organic songs, built from looping phrases or motifs and evolving at the level of the line,” Hewitt explains.
The effect of these slow changes — a kind of temporal dilation that can make it easy to forget just how long you’ve been listening to a given song — invites a state of consciousness more familiar in drone and ambient music than most rock ‘n’ roll. 

After relocating to Brooklyn in 2019, Hewitt began recruiting a variety of serious session players including members of the backing bands for Devendra Banhart, Kevin Moby and Aldous Harding, including Jared Samuel (organ), David Christian (drums), Shahzad Ismaily (piano) and Jack McLoughlin (guitar) and a cast of others, who all contributed to the Hewitt-produced recording sessions.

Heartfall‘s latest single, the vibey “The Ark” begins with the sound of rushing water, before quickly morphing into a tempest of jazz fusion drumming, glistening Rhodes, sinuous bass, atmospheric electronics. The song’s second section is a dreamy bit of guitar-driven Pink Floyd meets Radiohead-like psychedelia that slows down to a laconic fade out. The song ends with a folksy piano-driven coda. Although the song doesn’t hew to a familiar or recognizable chorus, verse, bridge structure, it’s all held together by the deft and seemingly effortless rhythm section and Hewitt’s tender vocals. Thematically, the song details the search for the Biblical — and mythical — vessel that can deliver humanity from certain doom.

Heartfall is slated for an August 26, 2022 release.

Hewitt will be embarking on a tour to support his full-length debut. Check out the tour dates below.

TOUR DATES

    Aug 03 – Khyber Pass Pub – Philadelphia, PA
    Aug 04 – Garden Grove Brewing Company – Richmond, VA
    Aug 05 – Down Yonder Farm – Hillsborough, NC
    Aug 06 – Story Parlor – Asheville, NC
    Aug 09 – 5 Spot – Nashville, TN
    Aug 10 – Northside Tavern – Cincinnati, OH
    Aug 11 – Rear End Gastropub – Pittsburgh, PA
    Aug 12 – The Avalon Lounge – Catskill, NY
    Aug 13 – Lilypad – Cambridge, MA
    Aug 14 – Sun Tiki Studios – Portland, ME

Emily Elbert is an acclaimed and highly-regarded singer/songwriter and guitarist, who has spent much of the past few years focusing on co-writes, studio work and touring with Gwen Stefani, Esperanza Spalding, Leon Bridges, Sara Bareilles, Jacob Collier, Jenny Lewis, and a lengthy list of others.

The Elbert and Alex Krispin co-produced Woven Together is slated for an August 19, 2022 release. Marking the first batch of original music from Elbert since 2018’s We Who Believe in Freedom, the album features additional instrumentation from bassist Solomon Dorsey, who has played with Lucius, KT Tunstall and Jose James; drummer Abe Rounds, who has played with Meshell Ndegeocello, Andrew Bird, Blake Mills and Seal; and Hailey Niswagner, who has played with Clairo and Kali Uchis on woodwinds.

Woven Together sees Elbert and her collaborators meshing psych soul and folk over ideas of transcendentalism with the album’s material touching on themes of community, self-inquiry, vulnerability and gratitude with the album bringing the listener to the turbulence-free journey from self to universe. “Making it felt process-oriented and exploratory, without any sense of capitalistic pressure – music for the sake of making something loving and true.” Elbert says.

“One thing that feels central to the whole project (and my being) is the idea that any act can be an act of prayer, pleasure or play,” Elbert adds “It felt that way making this whole album, really – rooted in the Earth, but reaching for the stars.” 

Woven Together‘s second and latest single “For Free” is a strutting bit of soul-meets-folk featuring an arrangement of sinuous bass lines, glistening bursts of Rhodes, Dylan Day’s swampy and funky guitar lines paired with Elbert’s effortlessly soulful vocals and her unerring knack for an infectious, euphoric hook. Seemingly indebted to Muscle Shoals and Bill Withers, the song is rooted in craftsmanship

 “It’s about experiencing joy in simple, innate pleasures; but also a dig at the systems that try to convince us that we’re more ‘consumer’ than spirit or animal,” Elbert explains.

New Video: Canadian Poet and Singer/Songwriter Jenny Berkel Shares Meditative and Gorgeous “Kaleidoscope”

Jenny Berkel is a Canadaian poet, singer/songwriter and guitarist. The past couple of years have been busy for Berkel: her debut chapbook Grease Dogs was published last June through Baseline Press. She also wrote and released her sophomore album, last year’s Pale Moon Kid.

Berkel’s third album These Are The Sounds Left from Leaving is slated for a May 13, 2022 release through Outside Music. These Are The Sounds Left from Leaving will reportedly showcase the perspective of a unique storyteller whose work is centered around relatable introspection: Each song on the album is set in the micro-world of a keen feeling observer, trying to parse a mindful moment in a mad, mad, mad world in which it feels impossible to gleam truth — a post-Trump, heavily gaslit world where perceptions of reality are hopelessly distorted.

“I wrote the album in a tiny apartment, at a time when everything felt big and overwhelming,” Berkel says in press notes. She was living in a brownstone walk-up full of radiant light and the omnipresent sound of a leaky bathtub faucet. It was a sudden move at the time — a spontaneous departure from touring, bustling city life, being many things to many people — that landed the Canadian poet and singer/songwriter in a space of self-imposed stillness.

“The songs themselves are a study of proximity, bringing big fears into small spaces,” the Canadian artist explains in press notes. “They’re intimate examinations of a world that often overwhelms.”

These Are The Sounds Left from Leaving was recorded live off the floor at The Sugar Shack and was co-produced by Dan Edmons, Ryan Boldt and Berkel. The album features guest spots from critically acclaimed folk duo Kacy & Clayton, and string arrangements by Colin Nealis. “I wanted the songs to feel like living creations that capture a living moment,” Berkel says. “I wanted that theme of big fears in small spaces to be heard and felt as a coexistence of intimacy and menacing permeability.”

“Kaleidoscope,” the album’s first single is a lush and meditative song featuring an arrangement of soaring strings, glistening acoustic guitar, gently padded drumming, twinkling piano and Berkel’s gorgeous and expressive vocal singing lyrics with a novelist’s attention to detail — both physical and psychological. And as a result, the song feels dizzyingly intimate yet cinematic.

Thematically, the song is a poetic consideration of the importance of care and precision in language, both in the broader political landscape and in intimate emotional ways. From the heart-wrench confusion of interpersonal manipulation, the song and its narrator extrapolate a collectively felt disorientation at the kaleidoscopic swirling of disinformation, misinformation and lies.

Directed by Meg Hubley, the accompanying video stars Jenny Berkel and Mads Higgins is a cinematic fever dream that features Berkel in a tiny bedroom set up, alternating between watching herself on TV, opening a luggage crate, from which a clown-like doppleganger — starred by Higgins — pops out. Higgins’ character manipulates Berkel in various ways throughout the video.

New Audio: DG Solaris and Jeremy Tuplin Share Gorgeous and Contemplative New Single

London-based singer/songwriter and guitarist Danny Green started his professional career as the frontman of acclaimed British folk pop act Laish. As a member of Laish, Green wrote and recorded four critically applauded albums, which were released through French indie label Tailors and supported with extensive touring across the UK, the European Union and the States.

Back in 2019, Green went through a series of major life changes: That March, he met Leanna “LG” Green — and by the end of the year, they got married. For their honeymoon, the Greens decided to spend six months traveling across South America with a simple recording setup that they carried with them in a backpack. During that trip, the couple won dup and recording a series of demos that would eventually become the earliest DG Solaris songs. “In between swimming with sea-lions, exploring sacred plant medicines and climbing mountains, we had been searching for beautiful spaces to set up our backpack studio,” the Greens explained in press notes. “All of our recordings feature the sounds of birds, cicadas and crickets.”

Returning home to London after their honeymoon, Danny and Leanna recruited Tom Chadd, Matt Canty and Matt Hardy to help flesh out the material they demoed during their honeymoon. The end result was 2020’s full-length debut Spirit Glow, which drew from and meshed elements of 70s psych pop, synth pop, krautrock and prog rock in a unique and playful fashion — with the album’s material written as a textural journey through emotional realms. “We wanted to explore the idea of two voices, two spirits, two creative minds and see where this dynamic could take us,” DG Solaris’ Leanna Green says in press notes. Danny Green adds, “It has been an incredibly inspiring trip. We came back with over forty songs and it has been a challenge to chose our favourites for this first album.”

Green has spent the past year or so, collaborating with Somerset, UK-born, London-based singer/songwriter  Jeremy Tuplin.

With the release of his full-length debut 2017’s I Dreamt I Was an Astronaut Tuplin’s sound and approach gradually evolved with the Somerset-born, London-based singer/songwriter incorporating indie rock and psych music into what he has semi-ironically dubbed “space folk.” 2019’s Pink Mirror was released to critical acclaim with the album receiving praise from The Line of Best Fit, Loud & Quiet Magazine, BBC Radio 6 and Rumore Magazine. As a result of Pink Mirror‘s success, Tuplin received funding from PRS’ Open Fund to record 2020’s Violet Waves

The pair’s collaboration can trace their origins through some unusual circumstances: Although Green and Tuplin have been writing and recording albums over the course of the past decade, they’ve only been vaguely aware of each other’s existence. One night in Peru, following an intense shamanic ceremony, Green had a vivid dream that he and Tuplin were floating high above the ocean. The next morning, Green contacted Tuplin to share his strange, astral encounter. And as as a result, the pair began a correspondence, which lead to their first EP together, Crashing In The Waves.

The EP was released late last week, but if you had been frequenting this site over the course of the past year, you might recall that I’ve written about three of the EP’s previously released singles:

  • Ocean/Are You Weird Enough?,” a haunting The Church and Nick Drake-like song that Green explains thematically explores both the oneness and weirdness of people within a collective whole.
  • In The Name of Love,” a meditative song centered around some gorgeous harmonizing and an atmospheric arrangement that thematically tackles chaos theory, the nature of the cosmos and our tendency to distort the truth — in the name of love. But the song also has a delicately wry and ironic sense of humor, pointing out that everything in the cosmos may ultimately be up to chance.
  • Idle” is a bittersweet yet mischievous song that’s one part aching and earnest love song, one part ironic meditation on being an artist, one-part mournful meditation on the passing of time.

The EP’s fourth and latest single, title track “Crashing In The Waves” continues a run of meditative songs centered around haunting and atmospheric arrangements featuring twinkling keys, shimmering synths and strummed guitar paired with their sonorous harmonizing. Interestingly, much like “Ocean/Are You Weird Enough?,” “Crashing In The Waves” is inspired by the tumultuous nature of water, with the song capturing the complicated and conflicting emotions of a breakup — and what it means to both parties involved.

Lyric Video: Mathieu Saïkaly’s Intimate and Gorgeous “If it’s all a choice”

Mathieu Saïkaly is a French electronic music producer and artist, who started his career in earnest when he turned 17: Saïkaly started a YouTube channel that initially featured recordings of the French producer and artist doing covers — but gradually he began releasing original material. Much like countless other young artists across the world, Saikaly started developing and honing his own style, discovering what resonated with him. Writing and singing lyrics in English and French, Saïkaly searched for ways to make his knowledge of both languages work together on a project, which he improved upon each year. 

When Saïkaly turned 20, he started to go out beyond the confines of his bedroom. He didn’t quite know where or how to start a music career but his friends told him he should sign up for Nouvelle Star. He wound up winning the 2014 season — singing an Elliott Smith song in the final. He was signed to a major label and released his full-length debut, 2015’s A Million Particles, which featured the viral hit “From Glass To Ice,” a song that amassed over four million streams on Spotify.

When he turned 24, the French producer and artist decided to go the independent route: He created his own label, which released his sophomore album, 2019’s Quatre Murs Blanc, an intimate and impressionistic album that focused on emotions first and the story second. The album featured album track”Mama Oh I Swear,” which amassed 400,000 Spotify streams.

Earlier this year, I wrote about “Plus jamais te revoir,” a trippy and mind-bending track centered around tweeter and woofer rocking beats, shimmering and wobbling synth arpeggios and Saïkaly’s achingly tender vocals. The end result was a song that felt like a vivid fever dream. His latest single “If it’s all a choice” further cements his reputation for being a restless experimentalist, who constantly alters his sounds and approach.

In the case of “If it’s all a choice,” Saïkaly has crafted an intimate song centered around a sparse yet gorgeous arrangement featuring the French artist’s expressive vocals accompanied by strummed, acoustic guitar. Thematically, the song deals explores the role of free will and that of fate in all of our doings — particularly when it involves affairs of the heart. And perhaps more than any other song in his catalog, “If it’s all a choice” seems the most informed by deeply personal, lived-in experience.

“I keep exploring. I changed my way of producing. My two albums were recorded in studio, I observed a lot the sound engineers, I learned a lot,” Saïkaly says in press notes. “Today, I feel able to translate my music, to make things sound the way I want. And that unlocks other ways of creating. Alone, you don’t have a time limit, unlike in the studio.”

New Video: DG Solaris and Jeremy Tuplin Team Up on the Gorgeous and Meditative “Idle”

London-based singer/songwriter and guitarist Danny Green may be best known for being the frontman of acclaimed British folk pop act Laish. With Laish, Green wrote and recorded four critically applauded albums released through French indie label Tailres, which he and his bandmates supported with extensive touring across the UK, the European Union and the States. 

In 2019 Green went through a number of major life changes: That March, he met Leanna “LG” Green — and by December they got married. For their honeymoon, Leanna and Danny Green decided to spend six months across South America with a simple recording setup that they carried with them in a backpack. During their trip, the couple wound up writing and recording demos that would become the earliest material of their recording project together DG Solaris.  “In between swimming with sea-lions, exploring sacred plant medicines and climbing mountains, we had been searching for beautiful spaces to set up our backpack studio,” the Greens explained in press notes. “All of our recordings feature the sounds of birds, cicadas and crickets.”

Returning home to London after their honeymoon, Danny and Leanna recruited Tom Chadd, Matt Canty and Matt Hardy to help flesh out the material they demoed during their honeymoon. The end result was the act’s full-length debut, last year’s Spirit Glow, which drew from and meshed elements of 70s psych pop, synth pop, krautrock and prog rock in a unique and playful fashion — with the album’s material written as a textural journey through emotional realms. “We wanted to explore the idea of two voices, two spirits, two creative minds and see where this dynamic could take us,” DG Solaris’ Leanna Green says in press notes. Danny Green adds, “It has been an incredibly inspiring trip. We came back with over forty songs and it has been a challenge to chose our favourites for this first album.”

Recently Green has been collaborating with Somerset, UK-born, London-based singer/songwriter  Jeremy Tuplin. With the release of his full-length debut 2017’s I Dreamt I Was an Astronaut Tuplin’s sound and approach gradually evolved with the Somerset-born, London-based singer/songwriter incorporating indie rock and psych music into what he has semi-ironically dubbed “space folk.” 2019’s Pink Mirror was released to critical acclaim with the album being lauded by The Line of Best fit, Loud & Quiet Magazine, BBC Radio 6 and Rumore Magazine. As a result of Pink Mirror‘s success, Tuplin received funding from PRS’ Open Fund to record last year’s Violet Waves

So far Green and Tuplin have collaborated on two singles together:

Ocean/Are You Weird Enough?” which, came about from some unusual circumstances: Although Green and Tuplin have been writing and recording albums during the past decade, they’ve only been vaguely aware of each other’s existence. One night in Peru, following an intense shamanic ceremony, Green had a vivid dream that he and Tuplin were floating high above the ocean. The next morning, Green contacted Tuplin to share his strange astral encounter — and the pair began a correspondence.

Written and recorded during the middle of a pandemic — which created its own challenges — “Ocean/Are You Weird Enough?” is centered around a sparse yet haunting arrangement of acoustic guitar, atmospheric synths, shuffling drums serving as a gentle and ethereal bed for a gorgeous melody — and some equally gorgeous harmonies. And while sounding a bit like a cross between The Church and Nick Drake, the song as Green explains thematically explores the oneness and weirdness of people within a collective whole. 

In The Name of Love” which continued a run of meditative material centered around atmospheric synths, strummed acoustic guitar serving as a sumptuous bed for the pair’s mellifluous vocals and equally gorgeous harmonizing. Much like its predecessor, “In The Name of Love” brings The Church’s “Under the Milky Way” but while also nodding at Nick Drake. Thematically, the song tackles chaos theory, the nature of the cosmos and our tendency to distort the truth in the name of love. But underneath the seriousness of the song, there’s a a delicately wry sense of humor over the fact that everything in the cosmos may ultimately be up to chance.

The pair’s third single together “Idle” is a bittersweet yet mischievous song that’s one part aching and earnest love song, one part ironic meditation on being an artist, one-part mournful meditation on the passing of time centered around shimmering acoustic guitar, atmospheric synths and the pair’s mellifluous vocals.”Idle came to us in early 2020. A natural process that came from two artists who were almost strangers to each other, meeting in a room, trying to write a song together for the first time. Little did we know that this moment would launch a year-long collaboration,” Green and Tuplin explain.

The video by Jeremey Tuplin stars his cat Kimchi, being — well, a cat. And it’s just adorable. We need more of this, please!