I’ve been slowly made aware of a collection of artists who have been quietly plugging away on some fantastic indie folk. I’m not sure when or where this movement started, and I guess it’s not surprising that in the internet age they are geographically spread out yet (more-or-less) aesthetically cohesive — and they all seem to know one another. Some of the bigger names are Phil Elverum’s The Microphones and Kyle Field’s Little Wings, but there are plenty of fantastic and lesser-known musicians in this movement.
Although a good deal of them work well within the “indie folk” sonic framework they often have wonderfully idiosyncratic voices and incredible songwriting talents. If you have a minute I highly recommend you check these guys out.
I’m going to try to get on the ball with this whole blogging thing and give you some more band-oriented posts but I’d like to start off what will (hopefully) be a series of related posts just providing some links and tracks to explore.
At Night [myspace]
Aaron Schmidt, the one man behind At Night, is by far my favorite musician. His lyrics have a penetrating and serious quality that I can’t pin down. His musical aesthetic has also taken some interesting turns, transforming from more-or-less traditional indie folk (on Sing out to the Sun) into a thick sonic deluge of fuzzed out melodies not unlike a lot of Neutral Milk Hotel’s work (on Man Up Moon and his upcoming album). While I am really into everything he does, Sing out to the Sun is by far my favorite album.
Track: At Night – Hand Me Down
I am far less acquainted with Vollmar (and the rest of these artists) than I am with At Night, but what I have heard so far from Vollmar are simple, well written lyrics and melodies. The track I am providing has been on repeat for the past few days.
Track: Vollmar – Who Have You Never Spoken With (Spilled Upon The Ground)
A Drum and an Open Window [myspace]
A Drum and an Open Window’s music is wonderfully lighthearted. I’ve only heard two songs from them but both of them appeal to my life-often-appears-to-be-depressing-but-it’s-wonderful-if-you-appreciate-your-friends moods. So, yeah, that’s that.
Track: A Drum and an Open Window – Psalm 27 Or 38
Again, I’m woefully unqualified to write about this artist — I’ve only heard a single track. I just heard it yesterday and his voice blew me away. I love musicians with significant vocal idiosyncrasies and Redbear certainly fits the bill. Without a doubt I’m going to be exploring Redbear’s catalogue and as I discover more about him I’ll try to make some posts, but, for now, I highly recommend downloading this track.
Track: Redbear – Life On A Map
…and I guess I’ll stop pretending that I know what I’m talking about for these last two musicians, just check out these excellent tracks and their respective Myspace pages.
[photo courtesy of Jeffrey Swanson, he takes fantastic photographs — check him out too while you’re at it.]