Neil Young – On the Beach

Style: Singer/Songwriter, Ditch Americana, Country Rock, Folk Rock

Moods: Loner, Introspective, Melancholy, Alienation, Bittersweet, Apocalyptic, Depressive, Lonely, Sombre, Rebellious

Meg Baird – Don’t Weight Down the Light

Style: Psychedelic Folk, Singer/Songwriter

Vibe: Flowing, Dreamy, Nocturnal, Mellow, Soothing, Introspective, Haunting, Pastoral, Airy, Ethereal, Intimate Bittersweet, Melancholy, Contemplative, Loner, Peaceful, Soft

Musical Qualities: Vocal Harmonies, Acoustic, Lush, Melodic, Sparse, Reverb

Roy Harper – Valentine

Released in 1974 Chrysalis Pressing (US, 1978) Format: LP Style: Psychedelic Chamber Folk, Singer/Songwriter, Progressive Folk Vibe: Romantic, Floating, Heartfelt, … More

David Crosby – If Only I Could Remember My Name…

Style: Folk Rock, Singer/Songwriter, Cosmic Americana

Vibe: Dreamy, Hippy, Longing, Bittersweet, Airy, Autumnal, Warm, Loose, Peaceful, Ethereal, Introspective, Psychedelic, Hypnotic, Mellow, Meandering, Stoned, Communal

Musical Qualities: Vocal Harmonies, Heavy Reverb, Jams

Ryley Walker – Course in Fable

Style: Progressive Songwriter, Jazz-Rock, Prog-Folk, Post-Rock

Vibe: Spring, Introspective, Warm, Intertwoven, Bright, Colorful, Carefree, Reflective, Personal

Musical Qualities: Lush, Progressive, Odd Time Signatures, Intricate, Dynamic, Polished, Improvisation, Lyrical, Riffs, Orchestral Arrangements

Vic Chesnutt – At the Cut

Style: Singer/Songwriter, Southern Gothic, Chamber Punk, Slowcore, Folk Rock

Vibe: Depressive, Angsty, Triumphant, Moody, Introspective, Somber, Passionate, Sad, Cathartic

Musical Attributes: Dynamic, Raw

Instrumentation: Acoustic Guitar, Electric Guitars, Upright Bass, Violin, Drums

King Krule – Man Alive!

Style: Art-Rock, Progressive Songwriter, Trip-Hop, Post-Punk

Vibe: Brooding, Woozy, Grimey, Nocturnal, Angsty, Introspective, Surreal, Shadowy

Loma – Loma

Style: Art Pop, Ambient Pop

Influences: Chamber-Folk, Trip-Hop, Slowcore, Post-Rock

Vibe: Existential, Introspective, Brooding, Gossamer, Dreamy, Melancholy, Reflective, Moody, Eclectic

Musical Qualities: Lush, Atmospheric, Studio-as-an-Instrument, Lyrical

Bonnie Prince Billy – Ask Forgiveness

Bonnie covers Björk, Mickey Newbury, Danzig, R. Kelly and others with help from Espers’ Meg Baird & Greg Weeks

Style: Folk, Slowcore, Singer/Songwriter

Vibe: Introspective, Morning, Melancholy, Existential, Bittersweet

Musical Qualities: Covers, Vocal Harmonies, Sparse, Soft, Acoustic

Wendy Eisenberg – Auto

Style: Progressive-Pop, Avant-Songwriter, Jazz-Rock, Math-Pop

Vibe: Whispery, Angular, Intimate, Heartfelt, Cerebral, Reflective, Love / Breakup, Restrained, Introspective, Contemplative, Anxious, Loner

Musical Qualities: Odd Time Signatures, Jazz-Influenced, Technical, Dynamic, Lyrical

Robert Wyatt – Shleep

Style: Surreal Pop, Imaginative Singer/Songwriter, Prog-Pop, Canterbury Scene

Vibe: Dreamy, Ethereal, Airy, Floating, Surreal, Eclectic, Introspective, Complex, Mellow, Imaginative, Atmospheric

Musical Attributes: Progressive, Melodic, Studio-as-an-Instrument, Active listening, Jazz-Influenced

Hiss Golden Messenger – Haw

Style: Country-Soul, Americana, Singer/Songwriter


Vibe: Passionate, Rootsy, Rural, Spiritual, Triumphant, Uplifting, Warm, Contemplative, Introspective

Musical Attributes: Lush, Lyrical

Lyrical Themes: Existential, Christian

Mount Eerie – Sauna

Style: Experimental Singer/Songwriter, Avant-Folk, Drone

Vibe: Winter, Existential, Imaginative, Introspective, Contemplative, Epic, Philosophical, Poetic, Ethereal, Loner, Meditative, Eclectic

Musical Attributes: Atmospheric, Droney, Lo-Fi, Lyrical, Progressive

Holy Sons – Raw & Disfigured

Style: Loner Folk, Psych Rock, Singer/Songwriter

Vibe: Introspective, Loner, Dark, Nocturnal, Psychedelic

Lyrical Themes: Philosophical, Existential, Death, Personal

Musical Attributes: Lush, Melodic, Lyrical

Loma – Don’t Shy Away

Style: Art Pop, Trip-Hop, Ambient Pop

Vibe: Existential, Brooding, Cathartic, Exploratory, Futuristic, Heartfelt, Introspective, Sentimental

Musical Attributes: Atmospheric, Loops, Polished, Lush, Progressive, Headphone Album, Lyrical

Nicolas Jaar – Cenizas

Released in 2020 on Other People Records

Artist: Nicolas Jaar

Format: LPx2


Style: Progressive Electronic, Ambient Pop, Sound Sculpture

Vibe: Introspective, Mysterious, Nocturnal, Shadowy, Abstract, Dark, Hypnotic, Meditative

Musical Attributes: Electro-Acoustic, Progressive, Digital, Studio-as-an-Instrument

David Bowie – Black Star

Style: Art Rock, Jazz-Rock
Vibe: Introspective, Moody, Passionate, Sentimental, Sombre, Conceptual
Musical Attributes: Lyrical, Complex, Studio-as-an-Instrument, Rhythmic, Progressive
Lyrical Themes: Death, Existential, Personal, Reflective

Ilyas Ahmed – I Am All Your Own

Style: Loner Folk, Singer Songwriter, Psych Folk

Vibe: Lethargic, Loner, Peaceful, Soothing, Airy, Mellow, Contemplative, Dreamy, Droney, Hypnotic, Intimate, Introspective

Musical Attributes: Acoustic, Droney, Slow, Sparse, Soft

The Microphones – The Glow Pt. 2

Style: Lo-Fi, Experimental Singer/Songwriter, Loner Folk
Vibe: Heartfelt, Imaginative, Introspective, Nature, Intimate, Loner, Bittersweet, Depressive, Psychedelic, Raw, Lonely
Lyrical Themes: Existential, Alienation, Breakup, Philosophical, Poetic, Personal, Death
Musical Attributes: Acoustic, Noisy, Studio-as-an-Instrument, Analogue Recording, lo-fi, Distorted

Jamila Woods – Heavn

Style: Soul, Art Pop

Vibe: Confident, Heartfelt, Introspective, Colorful, Triumphant, Uplifting, Urban, Loner

Lyrical Themes: Conscious, Poetic, Political, Personal, Black Pride, Love, Feminist

Musical Attributes: Groovy, Lush, Headphone Album, Polished, Catchy, Technical

Alex G – Beach Music

Listening to Alex G, one might imagine a young alien sitting alone in his martian bedroom baring his angsty, teenage confessions to his 4-track tape recorder. Yet, at the core of his music, underneath layers of psychedelic guitars, weird pitch-shifted vocals, and occasional lo-fi hiss, lies some genius pop songs that feel simultaneously adolescent and mature.

Recommended for fans of lo-fi experimentation and bedroom pop. Alex seems to pull influences from all over and channel them through his own unique personality and penchant for odd, psychedelic production. Recalls Elliot Smith’s loner acoustic songwriting and drum machines pulled from 80′s pop songs; there’s even a fucked up jazz piano ballad thrown into the mix.

Human Behavior – Kedumim

Religious allegory, profane thoughts, and lustful confessions intertwine on Human Behavior’s third LP; Kedimum is a brooding suite of psychological chamber folk that introspects into a conflicted mind, struggling to reconcile matters of indoctrinated faith, natural human desires, and internalized guilt. Primary songwriter Andres Parada is joined by a sympathetic cast of vocalists to create a vivid sonic drama complete with choral vocals and spoken word passages to complement his haunting narrations. The intricate and shadowy arrangements blend distorted electronic beats with a wide array of acoustic instrumentation, including banjo, clarinet, accordian, acoustic guitar, violin, ehru, and cello.

Mike and Lal Waterson – Bright Phoebus

Style: British Folk, Country-Influenced
Vibe: Contemplative, Earthy, Introspective, Melancholy, Rootsy, Rural, Storytelling
Musical Attributes: Acoustic, Vocal Harmonies, Lyrical, Melodic, Simple, Sparse

Magnolia Electric Co. – What Comes After the Blues

“Human hearts and pain should never be separate, then they wouldn’t tear themselves apart both trying to fit”. The first album under the Magnolia Electric Co. name touches on the loneliness and depression of much of Jason Molina’s work, but it also contains a fair amount of the hope, light, and perseverance one needs in times of struggle. The musicians here were recorded live in a room by the great Steve Albini, featuring slide guitar, fiddle, and beautiful vocal harmonies from Molina’s band members. With its mix of melancholy Americana, country-tinged rock, and stripped back folk, What Comes After the Blues feels like a continuation of Neil Young’s great ditch trilogy.

Bibio – Ribbons

On his latest, producer/composer/multi-instrumentalist Bibio blends serene folk pop, lush instrumentation, pastoral guitar instrumentals, nature field recordings, Walt Whitman-esque lyrics and beat-oriented grooves into the perfectly crafted springtime album. Ribbons feels like daydreaming in a garden or out in the woods under a tree or by a trickling stream.

Avey Tare – Eucalyptus

Eucalyptus is a beautiful, enveloping excursion of aquatic psych-folk characterized by flowing, hallucinogenic instrumentation, atmospheric production, nature field recordings, and ghostly background vocals from one of my favorite singers, Angel Deradoorian. Avey Tare’s introspective and intimate lyrics mix psychedelic revelations, reminiscing, surreal imagery, and nature/water themes, often leading to profound realizations of a very personal sense of spirituality. The lush orchestrations are arranged by the amazing and unique violist Eyvind Kang, which include woodwinds, horns, strings, and pedal steel slide guitar from Susan Alcorn.

For fans of Animal Collective’s “Campfire Songs” and the slow portions of “Feels”.

Click for full review

Ryley Walker – Golden Sings that have been Sung (Deep Cuts Edition)

Ryley Walker’s virtuosic fingerpicking and intricate folk-rock songwriting vibe heavily with a backing band of Chicagoan jazz musicians, including upright bass, drums, Rhodes and electric guitar. The first LP of this release is a studio album of jazzy folk rock songs for fans of Van Morrison’s Astral Weeks or Tim Buckley’s Happy Sad, while the Bonus Lp of this “Deep Cuts edition” is a 40 min live improvisation on one of the album cuts that probably beats anything on the studio LP. It’s rad to be able hear both the concise, song-centric studio side and the loose jammy side of this exciting artist in the same release.

David Grubbs – The Thicket

On experimental musician/author/professor David Grubb’s first album as singer-songwriter, he synthesizes technical bluegrass banjo and fingerstyle acoustic guitar playing with imaginative arrangements, abrupt stylistic shifts, philosophical questioning lyrics, improvisation, drones, and an eclectic cast of musicians, including drummer John McEntire (Tortoise, The Sea and Cake), bassist Josh Abrams (Natural Information Society), and drone violinist Tony Conrad.

Holy Sons – In the Garden

After 20+ years of using his introspective songwriting as a playground for psychedelic lo-fi experimentation, underdog hero Emil Amos hands the production reins to John Angello (Sonic Youth, Dinosaur Jr.) for his most polished album yet, capturing the best aspects of 70’s rock classics without ever feeling cliché. The hi-fi analogue production brings a newfound clarity and depth that allows Amos’ songwriting and instrumental performances to bloom; the choruses are anthemic, the atmospheres are darkly psychedelic, and his lyrics are just as philosophical and contemplative as ever.

Young Jesus – The Whole Thing is Just There

The Whole Thing is Just There is another beautiful and life-affirming release from Young Jesus, the second with the current L.A. iteration of the band. Their inter-band chemistry seems stronger than ever, with telepathic improvisations, symbiotic catharses, and a mutual love for each other that is easily felt from a listener’s perspective. The lyrics deal with self-exploration and one’s relationship with the world around them, finding solace in spirituality, existentialism, literature, and the ethos of free jazz. Stylistically the music seems rooted in late-90’s indie rock and emo, with seamless but adventurous detours into post-rock, noisy post-hardcore, and free improvisation. Excited to see where these guys go next.

Deradoorian – The Expanding Flower Planet

Recommended for those who know that “psychedelic” is not a sound, but a spirit of creativity and exploration within the mind. Those who know Deradoorian for her work with Dirty Projectors will appreciate the complex arrangements and production, albeit in a much more mysterious context. Fans of Bjork, Black Moth Super Rainbow, Flaming Lips, Portishead, or Can will also find a lot to love.

Kendrick Lamar – To Pimp a Butterfly

Kendrick travels through the history of African-American music and into the future, taking inspiration from P-Funk, G-Funk, jazz, trap and everything in between. His lyrics display an acute awareness of someone battling with the weight of fame, institutional racism, and his own depression. This album is simultaneously personal and universal, and nothing short of revolutionary.

Julie Byrne – Not Even Happiness

Julie Byrne’s gentle new-age folk is so light and airy it’s easy to miss its depth, but repeated listening shows that it’s strength lies in its weightlessness. Her soothing voice and delicate fingerpicking are enveloped in warm string arrangements, all tied together by soft reverb and pristine production that makes for an inviting, peaceful listen every time.