Posts Tagged ‘Folk’


By: Caitlin Hoffman
For BiggerThanBeyonce.Com

I’m oggling at what happens when folk meets electronica and that genius gets re-mixed.

Jason Garriotte started with no more than an acoustic guitar and self-sewn lyrical content like many folk artists before him. It’s what he did with that ammunition that makes him so intriguing. From those minimalist roots he conjured up Chords of Truth, taking the wholesome tones of acoustic folk and partnering it up with dizzying distortion.

Chords of Truth: Remixed is two discs crammed with trancey goodness. Jason collaborated with FOURTEEN different producers for this project. That’s a lot of cooks, but surprisingly the broth comes out unspoiled. Seven original songs were blended, bulldozed and re-stitched to merit twenty-six varying musical approaches. The result is a staggering if not eye-opening journey into the heart of the creative process.

Jason speaks of the transformation found in the re-mixes: “It is truly amazing how a different perspective on even a song can change almost every aspect of the experience.”

Folktronica is born. Who said every musical frontier was mapped?


By: Natalie Yarden
For BiggerThanBeyonce.Com

Very few vocals are literally heartwarming, but Israeli-born Asaf Avidan’s voice truly is. Every time I hear him sing, I immediately smile. A lot of people say that his voice is the male equivalent to Janis Joplin’s legendary pipes.

So far, Asaf Avidan has released four albums and has one on the way. Despite being based in Israel, Avidan sings only in English, because according to himself, he sounds better in English than he does in Hebrew.

The album that first got him noticed was The Reckoning, in which he collaborated with (now previous) bandmates called “The Mojos”. The album is a blend of folk, blues and rock, and was a success back in Israel, gaining Asaf some international respect. The group later went on to release the albums Poor Boy/Lucky Man (which included their hit song Small Change Girl) and Through the Gale, both just as successful as their debut. As the years went by, Asaf Avidan and the Mojos gained more and more international success and respect.

Avidan sings with such soul and power, which is very rare nowadays. His self-written lyrics are about love, heartbreak, life and death. He is great both recorded and live, so much so that it’s often hard to tell the difference.

Asaf is now set to release his solo album, Different Pulses, in 2013.


By: Natalie Yarden
For BiggerThanBeyonce.Com

I love the feeling that you get when all of a sudden you rediscover something that you used to love. That just happened to me a few weeks ago when I was browsing YouTube, and I somehow found myself listening to The Avett Brothers all over again. The first time I heard the band was a few years ago, with their song Will You Return (taken from their album Emotionalism). That song alone was enough for me to fall in love with their music! I used to play it over and over again, until one day I finally got fed up with it.

Fast forward to a few years later, and I rediscover them all over again! Specifically, when I recently saw that they just came out with a new album entitled The Carpenter. Naturally, I had to get the album to see what I was missing out on, and of course, I was not disappointed! The album has both sad songs that are perfect for listening to in a bus on a dark grey rainy day, and happy bed-jumping songs!

This band is so diverse, and yet they still maintain to be original. Every song they create is unique, the vocals are great, and so are the instruments.

Plus, they’re brothers!


By: Natalie Yarden
For BiggerThanBeyonce.Com

There’s a new thing that I like to do, where I make myself discover new music every few weeks. It’s a great way to listen to music you would have probably never known existed. I do this with the help of Rolling Stone and NME. My theory is that the best musicians are the undiscovered ones.

This week I discovered Patterson Hood.

I usually don’t listen to country music, but when it’s this amazing I just can’t help myself! It’s not your typical country music; it has more of an edge to it. Nevertheless, I love it!

Hailing from Alabama, Patterson began writing songs in the 3rd grade, later playing guitar in a local band by the age of 14. He was formerly in the band Drive-By Truckers, before pursuing a career as a solo artist.

His lyrics and melody are what makes his songs utterly unique. His songs have a country base with a pinch of indie and good old fashioned rock. His lyrics are sometimes hard to digest, talking about his past and small stories about people in the South.

He has released three solo albums:
Killers and Stars (2004)
Murdering Oscar (And Other Love Songs) (2009)
-And most recently; Heat Lightning Rumbles in the Distance (2012)

My favorite song of his is Back of a Bible, which appears on his sophomore release. This song literally gave me the shivers when I first heard it.


By: Rob Brayl
For BiggerThanBeyonce.Com

Welcome to a new era of country-infused pop music.

Meet Poema (sisters Shealeen and Elle Puckett), New Mexico natives who cite Patsy Cline, Nickel Creek, John Mayer, and Loretta Lynn as influences.

In listening to their music, it’s apparent that these soulful songbirds have a soft spot for folk and music rooted in whiskey.

Says Shealeen: “It’s the story-telling. It draws you in. We write like that and connect with those types of songs.”

Poema’s full-length debut, Remembering You, is set to be released on September 11th via Tooth & Nail Records.

Listen to the track, Clean Getaway, below.


By: Rob Brayl
For BiggerThanBeyonce.Com

Imagine chopping up parts of Fleetwood Mac, Mumford & Sons, and Adele, and throwing it all into a blender with bluegrass twang. That’s the pseudo formula for Durham, North Carolina six-piece band, Delta Rae.

This band is one ginormous family. Literally. Made up of siblings Ian Holljes, Eric Holljes, Brittany Holljes and their buddies Elizabeth Hopkins, Mike McKee, and Grant Emerson. The band was created when Ian and Eric graduated college and asked Brittany to jump on board with their idea of forming a music group. Soon after, they brought in Elizabeth Hopkins, as well as Mike and Grant, who joined in 2010. And the rest, as they say, is history.

The band has recently released their killer debut album, the noteworthy Carry The Fire, which has received praise from Rolling Stone and Billboard.

Honestly, this band has completely blown me away.

Case in point? Press play.


By: Rob Brayl
For BiggerThanBeyonce.Com

After a brief hiatus, Scottish singer/songwriter Amy Macdonald has released her third studio album entitled Life In A Beautiful Light.

Says Amy: “It was lovely to have a year off. There was no pressure. Whenever an idea popped in to my head, I would get out my guitar and press play on my Mac Book. I wrote ‘A Curious Thing’ while touring the ‘This Is The Life’. There was no time off because my debut started selling across Europe – first the Netherlands, then Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Spain. It was incredible, but I felt under pressure to rush out a second album. This time, it was a much more natural process.”

Watch the music video for lead single Slow It Down below.

Love her friggin’ voice!


By: Rob Brayl
For BiggerThanBeyonce.Com

Getting backed by the amazing folk-pop duo The Civil Wars, Taylor Swift’s Safe & Sound takes a departure from her more mainstream roots into a beautiful grey area. The stunning song is the featured track from the Hunger Games soundtrack, which according to iTunes will drop on March 20th, three days before the movie opens across the country.

Personally, I think this is Swift’s best work by a landslide…

In addition to Safe & Sound, Kid Cudi’s The Ruler & the Killer, and Arcade Fire’s Abraham’s Daughter, new songs from Miranda Lambert, Once star Glen Hansard, and the Decemberists are also included on the disc.

The Hunger Games Track Listing:

1. Taylor Swift (Feat. The Civil Wars), Safe & Sound
2. Taylor Swift, Eyes Wide Open
3. Arcade Fire, Abraham’s Daughter
4. Kid Cudi, The Ruler & The Killer
5. Miranda Lambert (Feat. Pistol Annies), Run Daddy Run
6. The Civil Wars, Kingdom Come
7. The Decemberists, One Engine
8. Glen Hansard, Take the Heartland
9. The Low Anthem, Lover Is Childlike
10. Punch Brothers, Dark Days
11. Secret Sisters, Tomorrow Will Be Kinder
12. Birdy, Just a Game
13. Ella Mae Bowen, Oh Come & Sing
14. Jayme Dee, Rules
15. Carolina Chocolate Drops, Reaping Day
16. Neko Case, Give Me Something I’ll Remember

Sounds pretty amazing actually!

Interview snippet + the premiere of the stunningly beautiful ballad below.

Oh yeah! To see this song performed LIVE, click HERE. Just do it, dammit!

Get More: Music News


By: Rob Brayl
For BiggerThanBeyonce.Com

ROB BRAYL: I first want to say that I love your music! For those who may be new to your work, tell us, who are The Milk Carton Kids?

JOEY RYAN of THE MILK CARTON KIDS: Thank you. Beyond what can be culled from Wikipedia, I’d say we’re an impossibly quiet duo that is the result of two tremulous flounderers steadying in their collision with one another.

RB: NPR recently described the song ‘There By Your Side’ as a “gorgeous contemporary folk ballad.” And although I agree wholeheartedly, I think that label is fitting for your entire catalogue. Was it your intention to create music to move right through people?

MCK: Our intention was to distill the musical expressions of ideas from our lives and imaginations and observations into their simplest forms without, of course, losing the intricacy and complexity that makes them worth listening to.

RB: Would you ever cover a Beyonce song? Not that I think you should, but I’ve seen a lot of artists of different elements take on mainstream singles and it surprisingly works — like when Florence + The Machine, who recently covered Drake in the UK earlier this year.

MCK: So far we’ve steered clear of any covers at all, contemporary or traditional. It’s a bit of a paradox I suppose, but the tradition of songwriters from which we take our cue compels us, at least in the beginning, to stick to our own songs even as that same tradition could provide fertile ground to harvest material. Regarding any homage to our more well-known contemporaries, especially in a cross-genre effort like a potential Beyonce cover, I’d only be concerned that our attempt could become more commercially self-serving than artistically driven. As entertaining as it can be to see a painfully quiet acoustic duo perform a version of a gigantic pop hit, our motivation has to be to offer a unique perspective more than it is to participate in the zeitgeist.

RB: Why do I find it hard to believe that you guys are from Los Angeles? There’s just something so non-Metropolitan about your music. Maybe it’s the beauty of it all.

MCK: Los Angeles isn’t much of a metropolis in many ways (often to the chagrin of the residents) although I think the geography of the area inspires a sense of possibility and openness uncommon to other cities. We both, for example, were raised in the foothills above the city, looking down on it rather than surrounded. That perspective is a common one, especially for those born in Los Angeles, who I find often surprise people into comments like, “you don’t seem like you’re from LA.” The commonly stereotyped Los Angeles is more the result of the many who moved here from distant homes for a very specific purpose.

RB: Last album purchased.

MCK: Sarah Jarosz – ‘Follow Me Down’

RB: Biggest influences.

MCK: Satisfaction, Love, Contentedness, God, Coming-of-Age, and especially the lack of all these.

RB: Guilty pleasures.

MCK: Guilt is a valuable evolutionary emotion vis-a-vis pleasure. We should heed it.

RB: I know you’re all about live shows and you guys are bloody brilliant. Four words: Please. come. to. Brooklyn!

MCK: Are you sure you’re not in Manchester? (We will be at Joe’s Pub in NYC March 3!)

RB: So you’re all about giving your music away…(Most recently with the amazing album ‘Prologue’) — Why?

MCK: The recordings are in service of the live show, not the other way around. Every decision we’ve ever made as a band can be explained in that way.


You can also download the stunningly beautiful ‘Prologue’ album by The Milk Carton Kids, for FREE(!), HERE.


By: Rob Brayl
For BiggerThanBeyonce.Com

This is seriously beautiful.

That is all.

Suck it, Taylor Swift haters!

[Related Post: The Civil Wars Cover ‘Disarm’ By The Smashing Pumpkins]


By: Maria Ciezak
For BiggerThanBeyonce.Com

Nothing else enhances my week quite like discovering free singles on iTunes. This week, it’s Swedish duo First Aid Kit, and their single Emmylou (off of their record Lion’s Roar). I am totally intrigued with this number. The single pays tribute to some of the girls’ favorite country musicians, including: Emmylou Harris, Gram Parsons, June Carter and Johnny Cash.

Two sisters with a robust love for folk, indie, country, and most of all, kick ass harmony. I recollect hearing of these girls when they did a stunning cover of The Fleet Foxes, resulting in a huge internet fan base. Maybe it’s me, but this tune puts me in a state of widespread calmness. Check it out.


By: Rob Brayl
For BiggerThanBeyonce.Com

One of the most striking moments in the new film Martha Marcy May Marlene is when twisted cult leader Patrick, played by the brilliant John Hawkes, performs the song you’re about to hear. I remember sitting in the theatre in total trance mode, seduced by the magic this song creates meshed with Hawkes chapped vocals.


Do yourself a favor and see this movie. One of the best films of the year in my opinion. The story, cinematography, acting; all brilliant.

And to everyone posting about J.Lo’s performance from the AMAs last night: THIS is what REAL music sounds like. No props, audio backing or shirtless male props required.

Song (live version) + trailer below.


By: Rob Brayl
For BiggerThanBeyonce.Com

Seriously, Jay-Z? SMDH!

“Jay-Z, as talented as he is, has the political sensibility of a hood rat and is a scrotum. To attempt to profit off of the first important social moment of 50 years with an overpriced piece of cotton is an insult to the fight for economic civil rights known as #occupywallstreet.”

-GRIM / Occupy Wall Street Leader

[On Jay-Z profiting from Rocawear’s OWS t-shirts, in which the rapper donated zero percent of the proceeds to the cause]

BTW, the video below is jawesome.


By: Maria Ciezak
For BiggerThanBeyonce.Com

Getting to know a fresh, ferocious artist; Alessi’s Ark.

MARIA CIEZAK: Thank you for taking the time to chat with me! You have been singing for quite some time. How has life changed for you since the release of ‘Time Travel’?

ALESSI’S ARK: It has been really nice to play a mixture of these newer songs from the album at the shows and to share the music in new areas. I was on tour with John Grant in Europe when the album was released over here in the UK and it was my very first time visiting a lot of the cities we travelled through. It was a double treat, being able to visit at all and to be able to share the new songs. I also really, really recommend having a listen to John Grant if you haven’t already.

MC: Do you write your music yourself? And where do you get your song inspiration from?

AA: Yes, I do write my own music. Sometimes I go through spells of not feeling very inspired when the feeling is there, inspiration can flow and be found just about anywhere; in overheard conversations, through the movements of leaves, conversations and stories shared with family and friends, dreams, past experiences and the imagination itself.

MC: What do you enjoy more, recording in the studio or taking your music live on the road?

AA: Both are special experiences in their own way. While recording you can be more in control of the environment and can really make a studio feel like a handmade den, which makes playing very comfortable. It is equally lovely to see other places and be able to meet others through playing the songs in their neck of the woods.

MC: ‘Kind of Man’ and ‘The Fever’ are two of my favorite tracks. Are there any songs you enjoy performing the most?

AA: On this upcoming tour I’ll be playing solo but when playing with the Ark we have fun playing ‘Must have grown’ as it has bloomed a new ending that ebbs and flows nightly.

MC: We are so excited to see you tour here in America. A high profile support slot with Laura Marling. What kind of trouble do two talented young ladies get up to out on the road?

AA: Nothing too disgraceful!

MC: Who would you perform your dream duet with?

AA: I think Jim James’ voice is beautiful.

MC: For those people just getting to know you, what are some words of inspiration you can leave behind?

AA: Trust your stomach and follow your heart.


By: Caitlin Hoffman
For BiggerThanBeyonce.Com

Martha Wainwright is my go-to gal for playful sensuality and bracing bilingual performances. Her transition from tragic to titillating is seamless. Her diction, even moreso. Every word she sings (whether in English or French) slips in your ear and stays there.

In 2009 she compiled a tribute to Edith Piaf, a notable French singer in the Canadian community. This was a far cry from the edge produced in other albums, straying away from expletive titles and leaning into pastel pallets.

Usually, I am not into covers. I prefer bona-fide beats and genuine verse. But somehow she makes the tribute stuff work. She does Edith justice, and more than once the album brought tears to my eyes. (Why are words always more tragic when sung in French?)

Best way to find out what she’s all about is by dipping into her original work. Then once you know her well, wade your way into her recent endeavours. No matter which way you go, you’re going to find beauty, and a whole lot of feeling.

My favourite song of hers is a bleeding heart on a record. Bloody Mother F*cking A**hole is painfully honest, a perfect pick for the badly wounded, a lullaby for the misfit. My second favourite is her take on Une Enfant, a tune that stills the heart.

Take your pick and open up to art.