Style: Modern Soul, Art Pop
Vibe: Reflective, Lush, Mellow, Confident, Groovy, Introspective, Summer, Warm
Musical Attributes: Melodic, Soft, Suite, Vignettes, Polished, Studio-as-an-Instrument, Beats
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
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
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
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.
Style: Emo, Indie Rock, Post-Hardcore
Vibe: Introspective, Angsty, Dark, Depressive, Introspective, Passionate, Poetic, Sombre
Themes: Personal, Self-Loathing, Regret, Death, Alienation
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.
Style: British Folk, Country-Influenced
Vibe: Contemplative, Earthy, Introspective, Melancholy, Rootsy, Rural, Storytelling
Musical Attributes: Acoustic, Vocal Harmonies, Lyrical, Melodic, Simple, Sparse
Style: Singer/Songwriter, Jazz-Folk, Experimental Rock
Vibe: Cathartic, Transcendent, Existential, Funereal, Introspective, Intense
Featuring: Ryley Walker, Ka Baird, Cooper Crain, Joshua Abrams
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Released in 1997 on Go! Beat Records Format: LPx2 Style: Trip-Hop Vibe: Noir, Nocturnal, Sad, Dark, Witchy, Sinister, Depressive, Angsty, Anxious, Sombre, … More
Originally released on CD in 1996 on Young God Records First vinyl pressing (2018) Format: LPx4
Originally released in 1997 Plain Records reissue (2010) Format LPx2
Released in 1969 on Enterprise Records Format: LP
Released in 2017 on Atlantic Records Format: LPx2
Released in 2019 on RCA Records Format: LP
Released in 2010 on Modular Records Format: LPx2
Released in 2008 on Mercury Records Format: LPx2, 45rpm
Released in 2012 on P.W. Elverum & Sun, Ltd. Format: LP, clear vinyl
Released in 1973 on Harvest Records
Released in 2019 on Fat Possum Records Format: LP
Released in 2005 on Drag City Format: LP
Released in 1976 on Asylum Records Format: LP
Originally released in 1998 on Up Records 2019 Numero Group Reissue Format: LP
Released in 2010 on Asthmatic Kitty Records Format: LPx2 Artwork by Prophet Royal Robertson
Released in 1997 on Drag City Records Format: LP
Released in 2015 on Sub Pop Records Format: LPx2 Deluxe edition Overview Josh Tillman is an open book; while his … More
Released in 2015 on Thrill Jockey Records Format: LP, gold vinyl
Released in 2099 on Kranky/4AD Format: LP
Released in 2017 on 4AD Records Format: LPx2, Blue Vinyl
Released in 2002 on Saddle Creek Records Format: LPx2
Released in 2004 on 4AD Records Format: LP
Released in 1999 on Drag City Records Format: LP
Released in 2008 on Sub Pop Records Produces by Phil Ek Format: LP + 12″ EP
Released in 2000 on Matador Records Format: LPx2
Released in 2008 on Kranky Records Recorded Spring/Summer 2007 Format: LPx2, includes Another Bedroom EP on D-side
Released in 2001 on One Little Indian Format: LPx2
Released in 1998 on Matador Records Reissue Format: LP
Compared to the immediate songwriting and lush textures of Helplessness Blues, the progressive folk-rock opus Crack Up feels like an impenetrable wilderness on first listen with its dense, tangled arrangements and complex compositions.
Originally released in 1969 on Mercury Records 2011 Drag City Pressing Format: LP
“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.
Released in 1964 on Columbia Records Recorded in 1963 Format: LP
Originally released in 2005 on P.W. Elverum & Sun 2015 Pressing, re-mixed and re-designed Format: LP, white vinyl
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.
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”.
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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.
Originally released in 1967 on Elektra 2012 Rhino Pressing, cut from original analogue masters Format: LP
Released in 1967 on Columbia Records Format: LP
Released in 1970 on Harvest Records 2014 Pressing Format: LP
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.
Originally released in 1991 on Polydor 2011 pressing on Ba Da Bing Records Format: LP
1967 Originally Released in 1965 on Takoma Records 1967 Reissue Format: LP
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.
Released in 1969 on Elektra Records Format: LP
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.
Released in 2018 on P.W. Elverum & Sun Records Format: LP
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.
Subgenres: Slowcore, Country, Folk
Vibe: Depressive, Intimate, Lonely, Sad, Introspective, Raw, Loner
Musical Attributes: Lo-fi, Sparse, Raw, Simple
Released in 1974 on Virgin Records Original U.S. Pressing, Promo Copy
Originally released in 2002 on Secretly Canadian 2014 deluxe reissue Format: LPx2 (full album on first LP and demos on … More
Released in 2011 on Sub Pop Records Produced by Phil Ek and Fleet Foxes Format: LPx2 Includes large foldout poster
Originally released in 1989 on Fiction Records 2010 pressing, Digitally Remastered by Robert Smith Format: LPx2
Released in 1988 on Parlophone Records 2012 Pressing
Information: Originally released in 1971 This deluxe pressing was released in 2013 on Klimt Records Format: LPx2 (second LP contains … More
Album Information: Released in 2003 on Saddle Creek Format: LPx7, box set Includes 5 Bright Eyes releases between 1997 and … More
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’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.
Makes me feel like I’m sitting alone at a party, gazing across a dark, smoky room; an outsider looking in. Chill beats, hushed atmospheres, melancholy melodies.
Released in 2013 on Drag City Records Format: LP Overview In an interview around the release of Dream River, Bill Callahan … More
Album Information: Released in 1996 on Matador Records
Album Information: Released in 2017 on RCA Records
Album Information: Released in 2017 on Blue Chopsticks Records (Imprint of Drag City Records) Eli Keszler – Drums, Percussion (Tracks … More
Album Information: Released in 2011 on Partisan Records Produced by Emil Amos Jeff Stuart Saltzman recorded tracks B1, B3, B5 … More
Album Information: Released in 2002 on Nonesuch Records Produced by Wilco Mixed by Jim O’Rourke Recorded at the Loft, Chicago … More
Album Information: Released on Palace Records in 1999
Blue Afternoon continues the flowing jazz-folk of Tim’s previous release (Happy Sad) while starting to detour into the avant-garde atmospheres that would manifest more fully on his next two albums, Lorca and Starsailor. The songs and lyrics refuse to be boxed into one category as “joyful” or “lonely” or “sad” and instead reflect the intangible multi-dimensionality of feeling.
On his Warp Records debut, the eccentric rapper crafts an album of shadowy hip-hop that expresses a unique creative vision. His bipolar, extremely personal lyrics fluctuate from paranoid agoraphobia and self-deprecating reflection to uninhibited hedonism and braggadocios swagger, sometimes in the course of a couple lines. Highly recommended for fans of Busdriver, Aesop Rock and other psychedelic hip-hop artists
Psychedelic, cosmic country with a raw emotional core.
A cohesive, intimate collection of chamber pop songs, ornate with colorful arrangements, lush production, and some bluesy guitar licks.
I highly recommend this album to any nocturnal recluses looking for a shadowy singer-songwriter to listen to during their next existential crisis. Emil’s experimental blend of hi- and lo-fi recording methods and tasteful use of psychedelic atmospheres allow his strong songwriting to take precedent, while simultaneously offering plenty of new textures to discover with each subsequent listen. Diverse range of influences include Indian classical, psychedelic rock, drone, folk, dub…the list goes on.