Songs: Ohia – Love & Work: The Lioness Sessions

Style: Lo-Fi Singer/Songwriter, Slowcore, Alt-Country

Vibe: Intimate, Depressive, Romantic, Nocturnal, Sombre, Tender, Haunting, Dark, Lethargic, Lonely, Longing, Love, Poetic, Raw

John Carter – Fields

Style: Avant-Garde Jazz, Country-Jazz, Jazz Theater

Vibe: Rural, Historical, Sombre, Resolute, Intertwined, Passionate, Storytelling, Determined, Resolute, Heartfelt, Complex, Theatric, Conceptual

Musical Qualities: Suite, Acoustic, Progressive, Collective Improvisation, Polyphonic, Dynamic, Technical

Catherine Ribeiro + Alpes – Ame debout

Style: Progressive Folk, Avant-Folk

Vibe: Brooding, Visceral, Witchy, Sombre, Forest, Intense, Driving, Passionate, Rebellious

Musical Qualities: Dynamic, Progressive, Experimental Vocals

Instrumentation: Organ, Electric Guitar, Percussion, Vocals

Hardin & Russell – Ring of Bone

Style: Country, Folk

Vibes: Melancholy, Desert, Western, Sombre, Lonely, Sad, Breezy, Peaceful, Dreamy

Musical Qualities: Acoustic, Vocal Harmonies, Lush

Instrumentation: Acoustic Guitar, Vocals, Harmonica, Dobro, Piano, Fiddle, Trombone, Saxophone, Sousaphone, Trumpet, Flute, Congas, Electric Bass

Portishead – Roseland NYC Live

Style: Trip-Hop

Vibe: Noir, Brooding, Sensual, Passionate, Melancholy, Angsty, Sombre, Mysterious, Cinematic, Anxious, Sad, Dark

Musical Qualities: Orchestral, Live, Lush, Dense, Rhythmic, Sampling

mewithoutYou – Brother, Sister

Style: Post-Hardcore, Art Rock, Folk-Influenced

Vibe: Spiritual, Poetic, Angsty, Introspective, Psychedelic, Energetic, Autumnal, Passionate, Sombre

Themes: Existential, Religious (Christian), Personal, Allegory, Symbolic, Philosophical

Musical Qualities: Spoken Word, Shouting, Groovy, Lush, Dense, Dynamic, Progressive

David Sylvian – Gone To Earth

Style: Ambient Pop, Progressive Pop (LP1), Ambient (LP2)

Vibe: Ethereal, Introspective, Sombre, Sentimental, Spiritual, Winter, Lush, Meditative, Longing, Soothing

Musical Qualities: Atmospheric, Progressive, Polyphonic, Polyrhythmic, Polished, Ballads

Günter Schickert – Überfällig

Style: Loner Psych, Kosmische, Tape Music, Berlin School, Inner Space Music

Vibe: Nocturnal, Introspective, Exploratory, Hypnotic, Brooding, Contemplative, Mysterious, Suspenseful, Sombre, Loner, Hallucinogenic, Paranoid, Aquatic, Haunting

Musical Qualities: Studio-as-an-Instrument, Pulse, Loops, Atmospheric, Echoey

Moor Mother – Black Encyclopedia of the Air

Style: Experimental Hip-Hop

Vibe: Futuristic, Mellow, Aquatic, Brooding, Cryptic, Haunting, Liberation, Philosophical, Poetic, Ritualistic, Spiritual, Sombre, Sci-Fi

Musical Qualities: Rap, Vocal Manipulations, Glitchy, Sampling, Digital, Spoken Word, Catchy, Suite, Percussive, Sound Collage

Circuit Des Yeux – -io

Style: Neoclassical Darkwave, Symphonic Rock, Singer-Songwriter

Moods/Vibe: Cathartic, Brooding, Sombre, Mystical, Epic, Ominous, Motorik, Spiritual, Cinematic, Powerful, Mourning, Funereal

Musical Qualities: Orchestral, Driving, Lush, Dense

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”.

Charlie Haden / Liberation Music Orchestra – Ballad of the Fallen

Style: Experimental Big Band, Avant-Garde Jazz, Flamenco

Vibe: Mournful, Communal, Political, Anthemic, Conceptual, Conscious, Liberation, Sombre, Traditional

Musical Qualities: Polyphonic, Suite, Acoustic, Complex, Dynamic, Thematic Improvisation, Instrumental, Orchestral, political, Technical

Swans – The Glowing Man

Style: Experimental Rock, Post Rock

Vibe: Cathartic, Visceral, Spiritual, Brooding, Shadowy, Apocalyptic, Ritualistic, Suspenseful, Climactic, Dark, Powerful, Heavy, Cryptic, Philosophical, Surreal, Epic, Hypnotic, Sombre, Meditative, Mysterious, Monolithic, Longing, Existential, Disorienting

Musical Qualities: Dynamic, Repetitive, Dense, Crescendo, Rhythmic, Droney

Susan Alcorn Quintet – Pedernal

Style: Avant-Chamber Jazz, Poly-Free Improvisation

Vibe: Abstract, Open, Suspenseful

Musical Attributes: Thematic Collective Improvisation, Instrumental

Instrumentation: Slide Guitar, Violin, Electric Guitar, Drums, Upright Bass

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

Land of Kush – Sand Enigma

Style: Avant-Garde Big Band, Arabic/Egyptian Folk, Psychedelic Jazz

Vibe: Intense, Sombre, Cathartic, Psychedelic, Complex, Ritualistic, Communal

Musical Qualities: Dense, Progressive, Dissonant, Acoustic, Percussive

Instrumentation: Santur, Upright Bass, Piano, Saxophones, Vocals, Percussion, Drums, Clarinet, Flute, Strings (Violin, Viola, Cello), Keyboards, Synthesizer, lap Steel Guitar, Electronics, Harp

Gil Scott-Heron – Pieces of a Man

Style: Soul Jazz, Singer/Songwriter, Jazz-Funk

Vibe: Conscious, Bittersweet, Political, Uplifting, Sunny, Warm, Urban, Sombre, Poetic, Contemplative, Observant, Passionate, Determined, Confident

Musical Qualities: Groovy, Lush, Spoken Word, Technical

Osamu Kitajima – Benzaiten

Style: Progressive Acid-Folk, Ritual-Folk, Psych-Rock



Moods: Sombre, Earthy, Ritualistic, Psychedelic, Brooding, Exploratory, Mysterious, Spiritual



Musical Attributes: Progressive, Acoustic, Percussive, Rhythmic, Complex, Dynamic



Natural Snow Buildings – The Snowbringer’s Cult

Amidst the icy winds of tribal drones and pagan folk rituals, there are moments of mystical serenity in the music of Natural Snow Buildings, like serendipitously finding warm shelter while lost in a punishing blizzard.

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

Mogwai – Mr. Beast

Style: Post-Rock, Shoegaze, Slowcore

Vibe: Cinematic, Moody, Contemplative, Focused, Fuzzy, Melancholy, Sombre, Cathartic

Musical Attributes: Dynamic, Melodic, Noisy, Repetitive, Slow, Atmospheric, Polyphonic

The Flaming Lips – The Terror

Released in 2013 on Bella Union UK Pressing Format: LPx2, Bonus 7″, Holographic Cover Studio album takes up sides A, … More

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.