Category Archives: Folk

York High violinist tours with Ballroom Thieves and Maine Youth Rock Orchestra

A teen violinist from York will soon hit the road with a youth orchestra as part of a tour with the folk band The Ballroom Thieves.The Ballroom Thieves and Maine Youth Rock Orchestra, a group of about 25 students ages 12-18, are joining forces on a national tour, the first of its kind.“No national touring band has ever taken a youth orchestra out on tour, so this is a first for everyone. They have joined us for a couple songs, but we’ve never done a full set and a full tour, so it

Source: York High violinist tours with Ballroom Thieves and MYRO

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Filed under Classical, Folk, Folk Rock, Indie folk, Local music, My work with Edge Magazine, News

Florist’s “Holdly” leads to anticipation for “The Birds Outside Sang”

Brooklyn band Florist has quietly inched onto the watch list of several music sites.

Their October-released five-song EP “Holdly” stops you in your tracks with its sincere, open-book message and exposed vocals. Lo-fi vocals from sole songwriter Emily Sprague pull you in, such as this line from “Unholy Faces”: “We eat our souls and don’t bother to replace them,” and may speak to the anti-folk slant the indie-pop group espouses. The song “Vacation” uncorks a dreamy folk-pop haze of youth, its summertime infinities and uncertainties.

Sprague’s direct, plainspoken approach to the songwriting craft is dramatic all on its own. She knows how to say a lot more than she actually intones, which makes the rest of us able to bridge that human connection with Florist’s music.
It’s only a few months after “Holdly” and already the band is set to release their full-length album, “The Birds Outside Sang,” on Jan. 29.


The title track, the first single off the album, shows a clear maturity from “Holdly.” Sprague’s innocent vocals still show and now they’re set against a backdrop of ominous layers of synth and a steady beat sprinkled with lo-fi noise.

Then, over a steady high-pitched drone as Sprague begins to sing with her own words, the song divides in two.

“Do you and your friends want to come into the field and watch the fireworks shoot up into the air?” she asks drowsily. “Does the night sky terrify you and does the day sky mesmerize you and make you dream things better than the day?”


“The Birds Outside Sang,” is out Jan. 29 on Double Double Whammy.


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Filed under Anti-folk, Folk, Indie, Indie folk, New Music, Uncategorized

Heather Woods Broderick announces tour dates to support “Glider”

Singer/songwriter Heather Woods Broderick has announced several tour dates to support her new album “Glider,” out now on Western Vinyl. Broderick, also a member of Sharon Van Etten’s band, has planned to visit several locations she hasn’t been to before. If you haven’t heard “Glider” yet — it’s one of the strongest albums of 2015, and it’s been quietly flying under the radar for some time.

Listen to a stream of “Wyoming”:

“Mama Shelter”:

….. and “A Call For Distance”

Heather Woods Broderick Tour Dates:

Fri. Oct. 16 – Seattle, WA @ Abbey Arts ^

Tue. Oct. 27 – Portland, OR @ Mississippi Studios %

Wed. Oct. 28 – San Francisco, CA @ The Chapel #

Sun. Dec. 6 – Allston, MA @ Great Scott *

Mon. Dec. 7 – Providence, RI @ Aurora *

Wed. Dec. 9 – Louisville, KY @ Zanzabar *

Thu. Dec. 10 – Nashville, TN @ Stone Fox *

Fri. Dec. 11 – Dallas, TX @ Three Links *

Sat. Dec. 12 – Austin, TX @ The Mohawk *

Mon. Dec. 14 – New Orleans, LA @ 1638 Clio St. *

Tue. Dec. 15 – Atlanta, GA @ The Earl *

Wed. Dec. 16 – Chapel Hill, NC @ Local 506 *

Thu. Dec. 17 – Washington, DC @ DC9 *

Fri. Dec. 18 – Philadelphia, PA @ Tin Angel *

Sat. Dec. 19 – New York, NY @ Mercury Lounge *

^ = w/ Ora Cogan

% = w/ Pure Bathing Culture

# = w/ Alela Diane + Ryan Francesconi

* = w/ Jesse Marchant

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Filed under Folk, Indie, Tour Dates

Lou Barlow’s “Brace The Wave” is streaming at NPR Music

Lou Barlow‘s album “Brace The Wave,” his first in eight years, is streaming at NPR Music.

On the new album, Barlow has pieced together a mixed bag of folk songs that reminds listeners of his inner struggles and fears. Barlow’s lonesome, echo-filled vocals and organic guitar strumming incorporates prog-rocklou-barlow-lounging-by-jens-jurgensen-1987 and synth influences, as on “Moving.” Barlow can also easily drop about five stories with the toned-down “Pulse” or the buzz-laden “Boundaries.” Somehow it all fits. The sonic landscape he’s created is a natural move for Barlow, a founding member of Sebadoh, Dinosaur Jr. and The Folk Implosion.

On the stunning, acoustic “Lazy,” Barlow is resigned as uses stark, honest language to describe the pain of a love not returned. “Friendly neglect no longer protects my heart, filling a pocket with scar only weighs me down/Understanding is only demanding more/ What am I bending backwards for? Couldn’t you turn around?” Barlow pleads.

Listen to the rest of “Brace the Wave” at NPR Music. “Brace The Wave” is out Sept. 4 on Joyful Noise Recordings.

Barlow recorded the album in less than a week in Easthampton, Mass., one of the most off-the-map places you find yourself, and it’s perfect for Barlow’s easygoing and eclectic folk sound.

His tour kicks off Sept. 8 in Boston at Great Scott:

Lou Barlow Tour Dates:
9/8: Boston, MA @ Great Scott
9/9: Brooklyn, NY @ Rough Trade
9/10: Philadelphia, PA @ Johnny Brenda’s
9/11: Washington, DC @ DC9
9/22: San Francisco, CA @ Bottom of the Hill
9/23: San Luis Obispo, CA @ SLO Brewing Co.
9/24: San Diego, CA @ Casbah
9/25: Pioneertown, CA @ Desert Stars
9/26: Costa Mesa, CA @ Wayfarer (early show)

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Filed under Folk, Indie, Indie Rock, New Music

Twerps’ “Range Anxiety” keeps the peace

Twerps Range Anxiety

Twerps’ second full-length album, “Range Anxiety,” builds like a slow and steady charge, starting with the homespun, casual sound of “House Keys.”

Twerps’ style of sunny guitar pop lightly touches on 60s harmonies and Big Star sentimentalities, creating a sound that’s mellow but not easily forgotten.

The band takes that amicable sound one step further with the song “Back To You,” brightening up the common cohabitation of drums, guitar and percussion, and defining the Australian band’s Replacements/mid-era REM influences.

Everyone in Twerps (guitarist Martin Frawley; bassist and synth-man Rick Milovanovic; drummer and guitarist Alex Macfarlane; and guitarist and keyboardist Julia McFarlane) trade vocals, which makes for a true ensemble band.

Julia McFarlane lends her straightforward but husky punk vocals to “Stranger.” Later, on “Shoulders,” McFarlane takes another solitary crack at the lyrics, adding her delicate vocals to a heartfelt and meaningful guitar ballad.

“White As Snow” uses a quirky but pretty, jangly guitar melody that’s straight 60s Britpop. It’s also the most memorable on “Range Anxiety.”

The slightly perturbed lyrics on “Cheap Education” — “I’m seeing action, but no feeling…../are you with me, or without me/ I’m picking reason before believing“ segue into “Love At First Sight.”

That dreamer of a song signals a complete turnaround from the towering bitterness of “Cheap Education,” portraying a simple romantic melody and youthful rhymes.

Throughout “Range Anxiety,” there’s an easygoing sense of harmony, of the feeling that the album can pull you out of whatever doldrums you’re in and gently nudge you back up.

“Range Anxiety” is on Merge Records.

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Filed under Folk, Indie Rock

Hear Ryley Walker’s gauzy folk song “Sweet Satisfaction”

Ryley Walker: "Primrose Green" is out March 31 on Dead Oceans

Ryley Walker: “Primrose Green” is out March 31 on Dead Oceans

Ryley Walker has shared another song, “Sweet Satisfaction,” from his latest album, “Primrose Green,” out March 31 on Dead Oceans.

Walker’s “Sweet Satisfaction” elegantly strikes a pretty balance, walking between folk-pop and the edge of an electric buzz.

via Dead Oceans and Stereogum, Walker says:

“The songs are never “done” or anything, it always expands live. That’s my favorite part about playing music. I’m not much of a ‘sit down, here’s my three verses and a few choruses, song’s done.’ It comes from the jam. Having a song set in stone would drive me crazy.”

Ryley Walker talking with Stereogum

If that doesn’t give you a good intro to Walker’s music, you should also spend time listening to the title track of “Primrose Green,” a sort of 60s throwback solitary sound that’s highly lacking in music today.

Walker’s tour starts next week, playing with acts like Real Estate, Moon Duo, Steve Gunn, Hiss Golden Messenger, Kevin Morby and Heartless Bastards. Walker will also hit the festival circuit, performing at Pitchfork Music Festival, SXSW, NXNE, Levitation and more.

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Filed under Acid Folk, Folk, Jazz

Arthur Fowler’s struggles abound in “What’s Keeping Me Going”

Arthur Fowler: What's Keeping Me Going

Arthur Fowler: What’s Keeping Me Going

Singer-songwriter, Milwaukee native and Tokyo transplant Arthur Fowler has culled influences from Jimi Hendrix, Cat Stevens and Carlos Santana to create his own fusion of acid-folk on his debut, “What’s Keeping Me Going.”

Fowler uses other instruments such as harmonica, accordion and fiddle to express his lounge-jazz style and to incorporate flecks of flamenco and psychedelic folk. And sometimes what is revealed is a success.

On the title track, the sound of running water, birds and calm harmonies melt with acoustic finger work and gentle bongo drums to create a sweet and tender love song, while the Caribbean motion of “Love The Music” is delicately played and stays light on its feet — indicative of the overall melodic sway of “What’s Keeping Me Going.”

But his contemporary retelling of Jimi Hendrix’ “Room Full Of Mirrors,” while honest, leaves only the lyrics as a reminder of that cutting song, replacing anguish and lust with busy zydeco and jazz notes. On Neil Young’s “For the Turnstiles,” Fowler stays more faithful to that country-folk classic, but it’s far less memorable. Fowler’s preference for a slower tempo drags things down a bit too much.

The despair in the guitar notes of “Splash” are touching, but when he switches tracks and deadpans “I can’t live without your loving, I can’t live at all,” it clumsily misses the mark. The blues-tinged harmonica and obvious lyrics are misguided, though it’s clear Fowler is trying to express ambivalence and struggle.

Despite a few missteps, at least one shade of Fowler’s eclectic style on “What’s Keeping Me Going” should appeal to those seeking a new take on folk.

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Filed under Acid Folk, Folk, Jazz, Review

Joni Mitchell just made a ballet — of 53 of her remastered songs


Folk singer, songwriter and artist Joni Mitchell has curated a four-disc CD, “Love Has Many Faces: A Quartet, A Ballet, Waiting to Be Danced,” that will be out Nov. 17 on Rhino Records.
It’s a collection of 53 remastered songs recorded over 40 years — a four-act ballet that took Mitchell two years to complete, according to a BB Gun Press release. Mitchell originally planned to keep the release to one CD. “Love Has Many Faces” also includes 53 lyrical poems and six new paintings.
“I am a painter who writes songs. My songs are very visual. The words create scenes…What I have done here is to gather some of these scenes (like a documentary filmmaker) and by juxtaposition, edit them into a whole new work,” says Mitchell in the press release.

For more info visit

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Filed under Art, Ballet, Folk

Fall into the spectre of autumn with Comet Gain’s “Paperback Ghosts”


With Comet Gain’s seventh album, “Paperback Ghosts,” the British indie pop band stays true to its soaring folk and soul melodies with honest, straightforward lyrics.
The band’s instant resemblance to The Replacements, Velvet Underground and Big Star is striking, but Comet Gain easily pulls away from those distinctions while keeping its own fire alive.
The album was inspired by the changes of autumn through walks around North London woods. The album is also about ghosts, the band says; the gauzy, haunting spectres of past loves.
The easygoing “Long After Tonite’s Candles Are Blown” sets the tone for “Paperback Ghosts,” with David Charlie Feck praising the wonderful things in life, although he soon segues into the realization that “heaven is a lie.”
His youthful vocals are delicate and pleading but also show a vivid level of sadness. Lines like “My map of the universe is your haunted heart” is the band’s personal style of rock poetry.
By the time you hear “Wait ‘til December,” with its soft, country touch and frosty edge conveyed by Rachel Evans’ gentle vocals, you’re blissfully aware that time moves more slowly here.
The gorgeous melody of the homegrown and organic “Sad Love And Other Short Stories” plays with emotional heartstrings that add a gentle drama. “The Last Love Letter” nurtures a pretty duet and heartfelt harmonies, and “Behind the House She Lived In” hearkens memories of childhood and first love.
The upbeat “Breaking Open the Head Part 1” shows the band’s rebellious punk side, while “All the Avenue Girls” channels the “Fables of the Reconstruction” age of early REM.
With additional influences like the Byrds, the Dexys and French New Wave, Comet Gain deftly combines these softer touches with Riot Grrrl and lo-fi styles, lacing those emotions throughout the album and exposing the gray areas between love and hate.
Paperback Ghosts is out on Fortuna Pop! Records.

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Filed under Folk, Indie, New Music, Review

Bite-size tickets still available for Pickathon


Pickathon 2014

Pickathon 2014

Pickathon 2014 has just released single-day tickets for the festival, which, considering the fantastic lineup, should not be missed, even if you can only go for one day.
Pickathon is an independent music fest held in Happy Valley, Ore., (What better place to hold a music fest?), from Aug. 1-3.

Single-day tickets, at $95 each, are the perfect size for those who can’t commit to the whole weekend but who don’t want to miss out on Pickathon. Check out the schedule for Friday, Aug. 1, Saturday, Aug.2, and Sunday, Aug. 3, so you can make an informed decision on the best way to spend your hard-earned money.

New videos from last year’s Pickathon have surfaced: Aquarium Drunkard has Ty Segall on the Galaxy Barn stage; Bluegrass Situation premiered Dale Watson on the Woods stage and American Standard Time is showing Malcolm Holcombe on the Galaxy Barn stage.

To get weekend passes or single-day tickets check out:

The list of performers for Pickathon 2014 includes bands that will guarantee an excellent time, including The War on Drugs, Spanish Gold, Diarrhea Planet, Brownout and Nickel Creek.

My money’s on Diarrhea Planet and Brownout blowing the place away.

PICKATHON 2014 PERFORMERS: Nickel Creek, X, Blind Pilot, The War On Drugs, Warpaint, Jonathan Richman, Jolie Holland, Mac DeMarco, Unknown Mortal Orchestra, Shakey Graves, Operators, Gregory Alan Isakov, Valerie June, Foxygen, Destroyer, Courtney Barnett, People Under The Stairs, Parquet Courts, The Sadies, The Barr Brothers, EDJ, Angel Olsen, Woods, Those Darlins, Della Mae, Robbie Fulks, Spanish Gold, Marco Benevento, The Black Lillies, Mandolin Orange, Lonnie Holley, Mikal Cronin, Son Little, Possessed By Paul James, Ages and Ages, The Donkeys, Ural Thomas & The Pain, Cahalen Morrison & Country Hammer, Love As Laughter, Bobby Patterson, Willie Watson, Steve Gunn, Julianna Barwick, The Men, Houndstooth, Hiss Golden Messenger, Brownout, Brown Sabbath, Cardboard Songsters, Charlie Parr, Diarrhea Planet, Old Buck, Quilt, Crow Quill Night Owls, and Leroy Thomas & Zydeco Roadrunners

For more info visit



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Filed under Festivals, Folk, Indie, News, Rock