A little while ago I bought a new notebook to encourage a new music project I wanted to do. Something to do with looking in to certain historical or monumental moments in music that I had previously ignored. It wasn’t long however before I decided that I just simply could not be bothered. Said notebook is still dedicated to writing projects and ideas, although not so organised as intended, but that’s okay!
Recently I picked up said book and found some brief notes on a random selection of artists. I have a handful of people I turn to for new music recommendations, and it seems on one occasion, (perhaps because I was given a whole bunch of artists at once) I actually took the time to make notes as I listened, cute huh? It would be even cuter if I could actually make out my scribbling, but hey, guess I was just majorly into it. That being said apart from one or two of the artists, I never went back after that evening, so without further ado, here I go to revisit those recommendations.
Initial notes: lo-fi… Best Coast… soft punk (maybe folk-punk feel?). “Recite Remorse.”
So it seems like a took an immediate shine to their single ‘Recite Remorse’, but, not necessarily enough to take further notes on it. I guess we know where this is going. On second listen I think this is where my initial note about Best Coast comparisons came in. I had also noted that it was ‘Best Coast meets Beach House’ before seemingly changing my mind, but now the note for this track makes sense. The vocals are very Beth Cosentino, but the music could easily belong on a Beach House track just the same. There is a sense of DIY punk to the sound, softened with a little touch of folk. I’m not sure that it is exactly my go to music, but 100% enjoyable all the same. I can imagine myself going to a show and falling head over heels for Waxahatchee, so if they ever play locally then maybe I’ll give it a shot.
Lauren Ruth Ward
Initial notes: ‘rock’n’roll’ – facebook bio, trippy edge; Valhalla – “how did she do it, they all will ask”. Dreamy haze, classic sound with a modern energy. ‘I Touch Myself’ – super country. ‘Pullstring’ – saad vibes immediately :(, ur puppet ur princess
Okay, so a few more notes on this one then. Definitely took more notice of the tracks as well, sure maybe that’s down to words such as ‘I Touch Myself’ standing out in a world where a woman’s sexual activity is still very much a taboo subject. I mean, I guess that’s why I wrote it down, especially if I considered it to be super country; not something I immediately connect to. When I revisited the track, it is very much more a love song about someone, rather than a narrative on women’s sexuality, but kudos to her for just laying it out there. In all honesty it’s just making me excited for Marika Hackman’s new album as all the publicity I have seen for it lately uses a lot of papaya imagery alongside quotes like “I think we need more wank anthems, especially for women”. Go on girl. Anyway, back to Lauren, sorry babe.
It’s definitely true that there is a country vibe to her songs, so like I said, not an instant win for me. It’s not that I dislike country, it’s just not my fave. However, ‘Valhalla’ is a track that I have definitely listened to a few more times since the first listen. It was one that immediately made its way over to my 2019 playlist, I think it just has that little edge that separates it from the rest, maybe not so trippy as I first said, but more that it is just way more multifaceted, coming in all rocky, but then fading out to a dreamy haze before closing with a fun energy and those lyrics that caught my attention straight away.
Now let’s talk about the ‘saad vibes’ on ‘Pullstring’. Ward takes the tempo down with this one, definitely more folk than country, but not in an old timey way, it is very much a modernised sound of this genre. I’m never a huge fan of just shoehorning someone into a genre as I believe that artists have the scope to change their sound, sometimes dramatically, and labelling them with a genre from the get go can do a lot of damage, opening them up to criticism of not sticking to their sound, or selling out etc. That being said, I do like to use genre terms for describing how a specific song might sound. Either way, what really stands out with Ward is the different emotions you can feel with each track. These are just three stand alone tracks that I checked out, and one made me feel the buzz of love, another filled me with sadness, while Valhalla just fully intrigued me. I think she may well be one for everyone to enjoy.
Initial notes: Gengahr/Bombay vocal vibes, easy rhymes. Bass line groove. Catchy Rhythm. Dreamy indie overlay. A trick of the light. Folk. Dark – fool(?). Gloomy tones veiled in dreamy melody.
Well I mean. On paper Villagers sound RIGHT up my street. Gengahr and Bombay Bicycle Club vocals? Yes please! I wouldn’t say that they are identical, but my mind went there on first listen and the second listen definitely did not disagree. It’s a sort of easy Sunday morning feel, but not without sparks of something more exciting glimmering throughout. Single ‘A Trick of the Light’ is 100% a shining example of this; a general chilled out feel, yet still with so much power.
I think that while enjoyable, Villagers aren’t about to be a new favourite of mine, but will definitely make an appearance on one or two of my playlists I’m sure.
Initial notes: x marks the spot – Ghostpoet – moody, otherworldly. Ville Morose – haunting.
Okay, so not a huge amount of notation there Sam. Not necessarily a bad thing though. Let’s start with that first note. ‘X Marks The Spot’ was the first track that features on Shah’s Spotify, profile and I immediately recognised Ghostpoet’s deep vocals, which peaked my interest straight away. Definitely still agree with it being a ‘moody’ number. There is a certain darkness to the sound, but with a sensationally smooth guitar to ride along the bass line.
‘Ville Morose’ on the other hand opens with haunting piano and french vocals. It reminds me of when I got really into Juniore. Damn, I really just want to listen to them now. I can see there is a lot of these bands reminding me of others that I already love, but I guess that’s why they were recommended in the first place. Listening to Juniore makes me feel so boujie and MY GOD, did I get so excited about one of their songs featuring on Good Girls. What a show that is huh? Oh and Rio, ugghhhh I have never been so attracted to a villain, nor been so happy to see a lady finally get her some, even if it is cheating. Sorry, distracted again. Whether or not I fully got invested into these artists, revisiting these songs is so far proving to be very enjoyable and I am definitely going to have to continue to make notes of new recommendations to come.
Albin Lee Meldau
Initial notes: chill “neo-sould/indie/pop”, boujie vibes, paolo vibes
Okay, so not an immediate head over heels for me, but enjoyable nonetheless; perfect for certain circumstances. Perhaps a general chilled out playlist. Ooooh, yes, it makes me want to make a new playlist. I never feel 100% happy with how they turn out though. I think I need to find the perfect balance of something made by me for others to enjoy. You know, not necessarily all my absolute favourites, but heavily inspired and immediately recognisable as my taste. Sounds like a new theme for another week…
Back to Meldau himself, his voice croons delightfully over blissful melodies, making me long for a weekend away, drinking wine in the summer evening light.
Now for someone I did go on to listen to more of…
Folick was by far my favourite of all these recommendations. So much so that half of my initial notes are in fact illegible, but we’ll have a stab at figuring them out I guess…
Initial notes: such sweet vocals omg, emotion stricken *various lyrics scribbled down*, Talking With Strangers – Oh god you will cry”, ughhh, folk indie rock
Right. So let’s take time to go over some of those notes. I am immediately drawn to the “oh god, you will cry” comment under ‘Talking With Strangers’. Yes. I did in fact cry when first listening to this song. Which of course, being the glutton for punishment that I am, made me want to listen to it over and over again. It’s a bit like reading a good book that makes you feel everything so much that it hurts, and you have to put it down for a second just to process it all. Still, it’s not long until you’re diving back in for more satisfyingly cruel creativity. Actually, looking more closely at my notes I remember thinking that ‘Thingamajig’ was about to break me, only to be told that in fact ‘Talking With Strangers’ was the best, and indeed the one to bring those tears out.
Another favourite note of mine is ‘ughhh’. This is how I know I really enjoyed something. There were just no words. Most of my other notes for Folick are various lyrics that I can barely even make out without listening to the songs over again, but regardless of what they are, I know immediately that there was something special about this listening party. I’m not always quick to pick up on lyrics, but the fact that on this occasion I got so stuck in that I was writing them down tells me that I was well into everything Folick was doing. A lot of the time it’s all about how the sounds blend together to make me feel and the expression in vocals; that’s what really sends shivers down my spine, but sometimes these are so strongly presented that it’s just so hard not to take in the lyrics. Another example of this is Foxing’s ‘Lich Prince’. Everything about that, even the whole Nearer My God album to be honest, still amazes me. That’s exactly how I feel about Folick. I remember coming across a KEXP performance from her a few weeks later and being utterly blown away by her live rendition of ‘Deadbody’. What a goddess.
Upon reflection, I feel like Miya Folick, Lauren Ruth Ward and Waxahatchee are the ones I am most likely to actively revisit again in the near future. If you have any artists to recommend then please do, and who knows, maybe they will feature on a future post!