Lyrical

Willie Nelson – Spirit

Style: Outlaw Country, Singer/Songwriter, Flamenco-Influenced

Vibe: Tender, Breakup, Reflective, Patient, Personal, Lonely, Longing, Peaceful, Romantic, Bittersweet, Heartfelt, Intimate, Melancholy, Mellow, Sentimental, Spiritual

Musical Qualities: Acoustic, Lush, Lyric-Driven, Chamber Arrangements

Swans – leaving meaning.

Style: Gothic Americana, Neo-Folk, Post-Rock

Moods: Brooding, Existential, Shadowy, Eerie, Sombre, Spiritual, Apocalyptic, Contemplative, Cryptic, Hypnotic, Focused, Nihilistic, Patient, Philosophical, Suspenseful

Musical Qualities: Slow, Lush, Vocal Harmonies, Repetitive, Lyrical, Droney, Rhythmic, Atmospheric

Joan Shelley – The Spur

Style: Singer/Songwriter, Chamber Folk

Moods: Reflective, Poetic, Intimate, Lonely, Loving, Wise, Compassionate, Tender, Soothing, Contemplative, Bittersweet, Rustic, Peaceful, Melancholy, Intricate, Pastoral

Musical Qualities: Acoustic, Lush, Vocal Harmonies, Soft, Melodic

Beth Orton – Weather Alive

Style: Singer/Songwriter, Chamber-Jazz, Ambient Pop

Moods: Reflective, Existential, Autumnal, Languid, Pensive, Soothing, Peaceful, Nature, Tender, Mellow, Contemplative

Musical Qualities: Lush, Slow, Polished, Atmospheric

Featuring Shahzad Ismaily, Tom Skinner, Alabaster dePlume, and more

Daughters – You Won’t Get What You Want

Style: Industrial Noise Rock, Mathcore-Influenced

Vibe: Misanthropic, Aggressive, Pessimistic, Ominous, Cathartic, Apocalyptic, Powerful, Dark, Nihilistic, Mechanical, Angsty, Dystopian

Musical Qualities: Dissonant, Heavy, Noisy, Dense, Lyrical

Eric Chenaux – Say Laura

Style: Experimental Singer/Songwriter, Warped Folk Ballads

Vibe: Gentle, Woozy, Romantic, Reflective, Intertwined, Poetic, Warm

Musical Qualities: Crooning Vocals, Improvised Experimental Guitar, Looping

Mickey Newbury – Better Days

Style: Country, Singer/Songwriter

Vibe: Bittersweet, Reflective, Breakup, Intimate, Introspective, Melancholy, Poetic, Sombre, Longing

Musical Qualities: Lyrical, Sparse, Acoustic, Slow

Bill Callahan – Woke on a Whaleheart

Style: Singer/Songwriter, Americana, Alt-Country

Vibe: Observational, Deadpan, Earthy, Reflective, Rustic, Confident, Warm, Storytelling, Contemplative, Loner

Qualities: Lush, Choral Vocals, Lyrical, Rhythmic, Simple

Danny Brown – XXX

Style: Hardcore Hip-Hop, Psychedelic Hip-Hop

Vibe: Hedonistic, Personal, Sexual, Vulgar, Manic, Playful, Introspective, Depressive, Nihilistic, Aggressive, Anxious, Dark, Stoned, Storytelling, Urban, Surreal, Disturbing, Existential, Sarcastic

Musical Qualities: Sampling, Lyrical

Fountainsun – Sweep the Temple

Style: Spiritual Folk, Outsider Folk

Vibe: Mystical, Pantheistic, Contemplative, Uplifting, Enchanting, Intimate, Heartfelt, Forest, Ritualistic, Meditative, Morning, Warm, Storytelling

Musical Qualities: Acoustic, Suite, Spoken Word, Melodic, Lyrical

Instrumentation: 12-String Banjo, Acoustic Guitar, Marimba, Vibraphone, Vocal Harmonies, Gong, Percussion, Shakuhachi,

Mickey Newbury – I Came to Hear the Music

Style: Singer/Songwriter, Progressive Country

Vibe: Introspective, Reflective, Heartfelt, Bittersweet, Longing, Lush, Warm, Soothing, Rustic, Tender, Sentimental, Spiritual, Contemplative, Intimate

Musical Qualities: Acoustic, Lyrical, Melodic, Orchestral, Polished, Background Vocals

Matt Sweeney & Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy – Superwolf

Style: Americana, Singer/Songwriter, Alt-Country, Slowcore

Vibe: Tender, Bittersweet, Stark, Cryptic, Storytelling, Melancholy, Lethargic, Poetic, Autumnal, Heartfelt, Mellow, Playful

Musical Qualities: Lyrical, Soft, Sparse

Sathima Bea Benjamin – Windsong

Personnel: Sathima Bea Benjamin – Vocals; Kenny Barron – Piano; Buster Williams – Upright Bass; Billy Higgins – Drums

Style: Vocal Jazz, Spiritual Jazz, Ballads, Traditional

Vibe: Healing, Flowing, Warm, Airy, Spiritual, Soothing, Sombre, Heartfelt, Elegant, Uplifting, Bittersweet, Intimate, Morning, Peaceful, Reflective, Rootsy, Sentimental,

Musical Qualities: Acoustic, Soft, Improvisation, Slow, Polished, Lyrical, Lush

Outkast – ATLiens

Style: Southern Rap, Psychedelic Hip-Hop, Neo-Soul

Vibe: Futuristic, Spacey, Philosophical, Surreal, Urban, Cerebral, Confident, Conscious, Storytelling, Determined, Conceptual

Musical Qualities: Technical, Progressive, Lyrical, Sampling, Group Vocals, Rhythmic

Destroyer – LABYRINTHITIS

Style: Sophisti-Pop, Synth Pop, New Wave, Art Rock

Vibe: Detached, Existential, Luxurious, Angsty, Deadpan, Poetic, Dance, Melancholy, Cryptic, Anxious

Musical Qualities: Catchy, Polished, Rhythmic, Lyrical

Magnolia Electric Co. – Josephine

While Magnolia Electric Co’s final record is still tinged with the weariness & melancholy that pervades all of Jason Molina’s previous work, Josephine also feels imbued with vital life force, bittersweet romance, and hopefulness that make it uplifting despite the odds.

Recommended if you dig dobro & lap steel, ditch-trilogy Neil young, and autumnal contemplation

Freddie Gibbs & Madlib – Piñata

Style: Gangsta Rap

Vibe: Cinematic, Crime, Confident, Aggressive, Storytelling, Urban, Groovy, Warm, Hedonistic, Summer, Vulgar, Introspective, Triumphant, Dusty

Musical Qualities: Sampling, Technical, Rhythmic, Lush

Leonard Cohen – New Skin for the Old Ceremony

Style: Singer/Songwriter, Chamber Folk

Vibe: Poetic, Bittersweet, Conversational, Sexual, Dry Humor, Brooding, Melancholy, Longing, Tender, Introspective, Breakup

Musical Qualities: Lush, Lyrical, Groovy, Dynamic

Instrumentation: Electric Bass, Piano, Acoustic Guitar, Backup Vocalists, Trombone, Jaw Harp, Woodwinds, Strings, Banjo, Mandolin, Trumpet, Drums, Percussion, Keyboards

Neko Case – Blacklisted

LP, Anti- Records, 2002 (2016, RE) Style: Gothic Americana, Alt-Country, Singer/Songwriter Vibe: Bittersweet, Rebellious, Haunting, Western, Passionate, Energetic, Longing, Anthemic, Breakup, Depressive, Heartfelt, Introspective, Twangy, Rustic, Sentimental

Hiss Golden Messenger – Terms of Surrender

Vibe: Contemplative, Tender, Soothing, Warm, Bittersweet, Rustic, Open, Pastoral, Light

Themes: Family, Existential, Spirituality, Love

Musical Qualities: Soft, Melodic, Vocal Harmonies, Atmospheric Production, Lyrical

Instrumentation: Vocals, Acoustic & Electric Guitars, Banjo, Piano, Organ, Harmonica, Mandolin Synthesizer, Electric Bass, Lap Steel Slide Guitar, Omnichord, Drums, Percussion

Neko Case – Furnace Room Lullaby

Style: Alt-Country, Americana, Singer/Songwriter

Vibe: Bittersweet, Warm, Angsty, Rustic, Heartfelt, Confident, Passionate, Twangy, Love, Breakup, Reflective, Sentimental, Lush, Rootsy

Instrumentation: Electric & Acoustic Guitar, Lap Steel & Pedal Steel Slide Guitars, Fiddle, Electric & Upright Basses, Drums, Vocal Harmonies, Banjo, Mandolin, Organ, Accordion

Collie Ryan – The Hour is Now

Style: Folk, Singer/Songwriter

Vibe: Mystical, Nature, Soothing, Mellow, Tender, Flowing, Forest, Peaceful, Morning, Earthy, Intimate

Musical Qualities: Acoustic, Sparse, Simple, Lyrical, Soft, Melodic, Solo

Hiss Golden Messenger – Poor Moon

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

Vibe: Warm, Introspective, Existential, Rustic, Mystical, Reflective, Uplifting, Christian

Musical Qualities: Lush, Melodic, Lyrical

Julius Lester – Departures

Style: Folk, Acoustic Blues, Singer/Songwriter

Vibe: Outsider, Rebellious, Melancholy, Storytelling, Intimate, Philosophical, Personal, Political

Musical Qualities: Acoustic, Sparse, Bluesy, Lyrical

Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds – Skeleton Tree

On this mournful offering, Cave’s poetic reflections on loss, longing, and loneliness slowly float down a river of gloomy synth drones, somber strings, and sparse piano. While not exactly uplifting, the album has a sense of peace and beauty that continues up through the repeating final refrain, “and it’s alright now”.

John Martyn – Inside Out

Style: Jazz-Folk, Singer-Songwriter, Psychedelic Folk-Rock

Vibe: Romantic, Warm, Cryptic, Reflective, Passionate, Heartfelt, Lethargic, Stoned, Sunny

Musical Qualities: Lyrical, Melodic, Improvisation

Jerry David Decicca – Understanding Land

Style: Americana, Singer/Songwriter, Folk

Vibe: Peaceful, Rustic, Deadpan, Mellow, Lethargic, Nature, Warm, Morning

Musical Qualities: Acoustic, Slow, Vocal Harmonies, Lush, Simple

Instrumentation: Acoustic Guitar, Piano, Lap Steel & Pedal Steel Guitars, Strings, Upright Bass, Vibraphone, Tabla, Bongos

Jackson C. Frank – Jackson C. Frank

Style: Loner Folk, Singer/Songwriter, Folk Blues

Vibe: Introspective, Mellow, Intimate, Longing, Autumnal, Raw, Loner, Simple, Poetic, Melancholy

Musical Qualities: Acoustic, Sparse, Lyrical

Sturgill Simpson – Cuttin Grass – Vol. 2 (Cowboy Arms Sessions)

Style: Progressive Bluegrass, Americana, Singer/Songwriter

Vibe: Energetic, Heartfelt, Rootsy, Communal, Passionate, Sunny, Warm

Musical Qualities: Acoustic, Lyrical, Fast, Technical

Instrumentation: Mandolin, Fiddle, Acoustic Guitar, Percussion, Banjo, Upright Bass

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, Introspective, Psychedelic, Intimate, Contemplative, Dreamy, Elegant, Mellow, Morning, Peaceful, Airy Musical Qualities: Vocal Harmonies, Acoustic, Sparse, Lush, Progressive, Lyrical, Melodic

Steve Gunn – Other /\ You

Style: Singer/Songwriter, Folk Rock

Vibe: Panoramic, Peaceful, Contemplative, Uplifting, Morning, Breezy, Warm, Open, Mellow

Musical Qualities: Lush, Polished, Melodic, Catchy, Lyrical

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

Gil Scott-Heron & Brian Jackson

Style: Jazz-Funk, Soul Jazz

Vibe: Conscious, Empathetic, Passionate, Groovy, Liberation, Political, Energetic, Warm, Bittersweet, Sunny

Musical Qualities: Percussive, Lush, Polished, Rhythmic, Lyrical, Improvised Sections

Swamp Dogg – Rat On!

Style: Country-Soul, Funk

Vibe: Anthemic, Bittersweet, Triumphant, Political, Satirical, Playful, Groovy, Sunny, Conscious, Heartfelt, Warm, Sentimental, Rebellious, Philosophical

Musical Qualities: Lush, Rhythmic, Polished, Melodic, Lyrical

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

Tom Rapp – Sunforest

Style: Folk-Pop, Singer/Songwriter, Chamber Folk, Progressive Folk

Vibe: Uplifting, Contemplative, Breezy, Bright, Sunny, Warm, Soft

Musical Attributes: Lush, Polished, Acoustic, Lyrical, Session Players

Bobby Brown – The Enlightening Beam of Axonda

Style: Experimental Songwriter, Spiritual Folk, Avant-Folk, Outsider Folk

Vibe: Spiritual, Adventure, Alienation, Cathartic, Cryptic, Eccentric, Existential, Loner, Poetic, Psychedelic, Storytelling, Tribal, Tropical, Warm

Musical Qualities: Homemade Instruments, Acoustic, One Man Band, Percussive, Spoken Word, Progressive

King Krule – The Ooz

Style: Art Rock, Singer/Songwriter, Trip-Hop, Neo-Psychedelia

Influences: Lounge, Jazz, Post-Punk

Vibe: Brooding, Angsty, Woozy, Lonely, Nocturnal, Alienation, Depressive, Eclectic, Rainy, Urban

Hiss Golden Messenger – Quietly Blowing It

Style: Country-Soul, Singer/Songwriter, Americana

Vibe: Uplifting, Bittersweet, Introspective, Political, Rural, Mellow, Warm

Musical Qualities: Lush, Groovy, Melodic, Anthemic, Polished, Lyrical

Hoyt Axton – My Griffin Is Gone

Style: Progressive Country, Singer/Songwriter, Americana

Vibe: Nature, Autumnal, Morning, Rustic, Pastoral, Sunny, Uplifting, Warm

Musical Attributes: Lush, Melodic, Lyrical, Orchestral

Califone – Roomsound

Style: New Weird Americana??Vibe: Bluesy, Contemplative, Earthy, Morning, Pastoral, Rootsy, Rustic, Psychedelic, Warm??Musical Attributes: Acoustic, Percussive, Rhythmic, Studio-as-an-Instrument, Electronics

Sam Amidon – The Following Mountain

Style: New Weird Americana, Post-Modern Appalachia, Jazz-Folk

Vibe: Autumnal, Earthy, Imaginative, Lush, Morning, Peaceful, Rootsy, Rustic, Warm, Contemplative

Musical Attributes: Acoustic, Melodic, Studio-as-an-Instrument, Improvisation, Progressive, Lyrical

Instrumentation: Fiddle, Drums, Banjo, Vocals, Percussion, Saxophone, Acoustic Guitar, Drum Machine, Percussion, Electric Bass, Organ Synthesizers, Flute

Collaborators: Leo Abrahams, Shahzad Ismaily, Sam Gendel,
Milford Graves, Chris Vatalaro, James Sultan

Circa Survive – On Letting Go

Style: Progressive Post-Hardcore??

Vibe: Angsty, Existential, Cryptic, Anxious, Surreal, Epic, Intense, Intricate

??Musical Attributes: Odd Time Signatures, Progressive, Technical, Polished

Hiss Golden Messenger – Haw

Style: Country-Soul, Americana, Singer/Songwriter

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

Cat Power – Moon Pix

Style: Slowcore-Country, Singer-Songwriter

Vibe: Brooding, Hypnotic, Conversational, Reflective, Intimate, Lethargic, Confident, Moody, Overcast

Musical Attributes: Slow, Repetitive, Focused

Jim O’Rourke – Simple Songs

Style: Singer/Songwriter, Chamber Pop, Progressive Pop

Vibe: Playful, Bittersweet, Satirical, Catchy

Musical Attributes: Lush, Progressive, Melodic, Lyrical, Polished

Deradoorian – Find the Sun

Style: Psych Rock, Kosmische-Influenced

Vibe: Introspective, Mystical, Spiritual, Confident, Conscious, Existential, Hypnotic, Motorik, Psychedelic, Uplifting

Tricky – Maxinquaye

Style: Trip-Hop, U.K. Hip-Hop
Vibe: Dark, Nocturnal, Sexual, Surreal, Eclectic, Introspective, Love
Musical Attributes: Sampling, Beats, Rhythmic, Studio-as-an-Instrument, Lyrical

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

Sixteen Horsepower – Folklore

Style: Gothic Country, Americana, Chamber Folk?Vibe: Rustic, Sombre, Murky, Rootsy, Ominous, Loner, Western, Melancholy, Moody, Dark?Musical Attributes: Acoustic Instrumentation (Banjo, Upright Bass, Cello, Acoustic Guitar, Accordion, Piano), Atmospheric, Droney, Slow, Lyrical?Lyrical Themes: Alienation, Religious, Christian, Storytelling

Lonnie Holley – Mith

Style: Experimental Singer-Songwriter, Soul Blues, Psychedelic Soul

Vibe: Imaginative, Bluesy, Cathartic, Conscious, Cosmic, Spiritual, Heartfelt, Passionate, Psychedelic, Rootsy, Bittersweet, Poetic

Lyrical Themes: Existential, Afro-Futurism, History, Racism, Reflective

Musical Attributes: Atmospheric, Lyrical, Improvisation, Raw, Studio-as-an-Instrument

Instrumentation: Vocals, Piano, Synthesizers, Keyboards, Saxophone, Trombone, Percussion

Young Jesus – S/T

Style: Indie Rock
Influences: Shoegaze, Post-Rock, Free Improvisation, Emo
Vibe: accessible, cathartic, contemplative, dynamic, lyrical, passionate, philosophical, poetic

Jim O’Rourke – Halfway to a Threeway

Style: Chamber Folk–Pop, Americana, Singer/Songwriter

Vibe: Warm, Lush, Deadpan, Uplifting, Soothing, Humorous, Soft

Musical Attributes: Lyrical, Melodic, Polished

Gil Scott-Heron & Brian Jackson – Bridges

Style: Soul, Jazz-Funk, Singer-Songwriter

Vibe: Conscious, Groovy, Lush, Lyrical, Passionate, Philosophical, Political, Sunny, Triumphant, Uplifting, Urban, Accessible, Bittersweet, Catchy, Confident

Mos Def – Black on Both Sides

Style: East Coast Hip-Hop, Boom Bap, Jazz Rap

Vibe: Conscious, Uplifting, Groovy, Confident, Urban

Lyrics/Themes: Philosophical, Political, Black Pride, Racism, Spiritual, Islam

Musical Attributes: Lyrical, Sampling, Beats, Turntables, Live Instrumentation (Rhodes, Electric Bass)

90 Day Men – To Everybody:

Style: Math Rock, Art Rock

Vibe: Angsty, Complex, Cryptic, Moody, Surreal, 

Musical Attributes: Odd Time Signatures, Dissonant, Lyrical

Stereolab – Cobra and Phases Group Play Voltage in the Milky Night

Style: Progressive Pop, Space Age Pop

Influences: Kosmische Musik, Bossa Nova, French Pop, Lounge

Vibe: Spacey, Lush, Retro-Futuristic, Catchy, Groovy, Motorik, Nocturnal, Uplifting

Musical Attributes: Melodic, Headphone Album, Odd Time Signatures, Studio-as-an-Instrument, Progressive, Lyrical

Lyrics: Philosophical, Political, Communist, Bi-Lingual (English and French)

Instrumentation: Synthesizers, Vibraphone, Drums, Electric Bass, Electric Guitar, Vocals, Brass, Strings, Keys (Organ, Clavinet, Harpsichord, Wurlitzer)

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

James Blake – The Colour in Anything

Released in 2016 on Polydor Records Format: LPx2 Style: Modern Soul, Future Garage, Art Pop Vibe: Sad, Heartfelt, Reflective, Lonely, Intimate, Futuristic Musical Attributes: Lyrical, Digital, Melodic, Beats, Ballads Themes: Breakup, Love, Personal  

Radiohead – Hail to the Thief

Released in 2003 on EMI Records Format: LPx2, 45rpm Style: Art Rock Vibe: Cryptic, Anxious, Angsty, Paranoid, Moody Musical Attributes: Complex, Eclectic, Dynamic, Dense, Lyrical Themes: Political, War, Death

St. Vincent – Marry Me

Released in 2007 on Beggar’s Banquet Records Format: LP Style: Chamber Pop, Art Pop Vibe: Warm, Playful, Romantic, Lush Musical Attributes: Melodic, Lyrical, Polished

Pearls Before Swine – Balaklava

Released in 1968 on ESP-Disk Format: LP Style: Chamber Folk, Psych Folk Vibe: Peaceful, Mellow, Psychedelic Themes: War, Nature, Love Instrumentation: Acoustic Guitar, Vocals, Strings, Flute, Banjo, Keyboards, Bass, French Horn

Bark Psychosis – Hex

Originally Released in 1994 on Circa Records 2017 Fire Records reissue Format: LPx2, 45 RPM