The Labyrinth of Musical Culture


Ian and I traded some emails back and forth with our thoughts on where music stands today that we decided to post on our respective blogs. It’s a little bit of a long read, but we wanted to start sharing our discussion as we hope to continue it and to touch on a number of things as they relate to music and otherwise. Feel to join to tweet your thoughts or post on Facebook.

Ian: I’ll start with a question: do we let our beliefs inform our musical selections?

I like listening to country. Some will thumb their noses at the genre and I have to acknowledge the personal preferences of listening. However, to me, modern country is probably the commercial forefront of pop/rock. Yet, I’m afraid to self-associate.

Country is the music of NASCAR, ‘Merica, and the Stars and Bars. Even if it’s a lot more a descendant of Jackson Browne and The Eagles than a regional genre, I don’t want to self-associate with the general backwardness that it sometimes it evokes.

Lots of people like “everything but country.” Is that strictly a statement on preference? I’m inclined to think not. Plenty of those people like Mumford and Sons. Mumford and Sons aren’t doing anything too different from what Eric Church or others are doing. Liking Mumford and Sons and letting others know is a much “safer” thing though.

I’d argue that country music is one of the most salient cultural examples of self-segregation.

I think that we are in a period of cultural segregation. For the past 30 years or so, we seen a number of trends–political, technological, cultural–that have delivered, re-established, or reinforced segmentation. While we eager to point of the advantages of globalization and the knowledge age that the internet has provided (look no further than the Arab Spring), we too often overlook the isolation and insulation that has occurred during the same time.

Your thoughts?

Adrienne: I think you are definitely onto something. I find myself incredibly cautious to associate myself with the genre of country music as well. So cautious in fact that I will find essentially any other word I can, often stringing them in superfluous combinations, to describe the genre of music I’m listening to so long as that word that makes me shudder, country, is not in play.

Why am I so much more comfortable associating with music termed “folk,” “folk-rock,” or “Americana” but not “country?” Although it is not clear to me why, there is undoubtedly a certain safety in attaching oneself to folk music or music with folk roots when in fact, more often than not, the roots are more obviously based in a rich tradition of country music.

I believe that there are numerous factors playing into our cultural acceptance of “folk” as opposed to “country,” but one of my stronger hunches has to do with perceived political associations. To the casual listener and observer, folk brings forth associations of the 1960s and 70s, of Woodstock, of “free love,” and forward liberal thinking. These associations are all in stark contrast to those brought up when one thinks casually about country music. Rather, country music is associated with stereotypes of the conservative South, with whining rednecks, dusty highways, and quite frankly a general backwardness. Although both of these sets of associations are stereotypes, it perhaps makes sense why so many would have a gut feeling of hesitation, one they could not truly put their finger on because it is based on a pervasive stereotype as “gut feelings” so often are. However, this does not make the gut feeling of disassociation any less powerful. In fact, it might end up making it more powerful because those feelings, those intuitions that we have that we cannot rationally justify are often the ones that persist the longest as we do not know how to even begin to address them. Thus, we take the easier way out, simply brushing issues of contention under the rug.

And now, tying back to your intriguing connection to cultural self-segregation, I do there is something of a paradox in the ways we engage with the internet. That we now dramatically have access to a seemingly infinite amount of knowledge through the internet does not necessarily mean that we know how, or even bother, to take advantage of this information.

I believe there is a common error in reasoning that access implies knowledge. Access to information, to statistics, to facts should in theory make us more worldly, more aware citizens of the world; however this is simply not the case. We choose our own exposures, our own facts we which to pay attention to; thus, just as before, the internet has made us no more intelligent or open-minded. In fact, if anything, I believe that the internet has made us slightly less open-minded. We play off the deceptive notion that because we have more “access” to an expansive amount of information that somehow, fueled by the forces of confirmation bias, the beliefs we still hold are somehow even more valid, thus making us even more resolute in our narrow-minded beliefs and even less likely to see other perspectives.

I have painted a rather bleak picture of cultural self-segregation fueled largely by a vicious cycle of confirmation biases. Is it possible then to ever overcome it or are we confined forever by the walls that we build ourselves? Does the stigma on the genre of country affect current bands, both up-and-coming and established, in the ways that they craft their music and present themselves to the public?

Ian: I’m not sure I’m the best one to answer a question on affecting the way bands craft their music–my musical talents peaked at my 8th grade piano recital or at least are limited to the occasional dabbling with Ableton–but from the media side, yes, it is definitely affecting the way artists and bands present themselves.

I would estimate less than 1 in every 100 submissions is self-identifying as country. At 1146 miles, we receive significantly more hip hop and remix submissions. In all honesty, jazz submissions probably outpace country submissions as well. I would theoretically be more inclined to post a country song, but the last time I can recall a country song on the blog is when I named Eli Young Band’s cover of “Even If It Breaks Your Heart” as one of my favorite songs of 2012. Even then, I could give myself an out because it’s a Will Hoge song and alternative country doesn’t necessarily have the same stigma (let’s call it the Kristofferson effect).

I’m inclined to believe that the blogosphere is not seen as conducive or friendly to country music as media from Nashville’s perspective. Blogs tend to take a more liberal tack and country as an industry is much more conservative. I’m sure there’s a blogger that is a closet Ted Nugent fan and there are certainly Music Row liberals, but I would bet those are the minorities in both cases. With that in mind, it’s easy to see how blogs start to fall more frequently on the folk side of the folk/country divide that you mentioned. It seems to be a more natural fit for a blog to post about folk, no fretting necessary.

If you’re a musician that is putting in the time, effort, and money–basically doing it all from booking your gigs to doing your own outreach, aren’t you going to frame your music in the way that is going to get the most exposure? There are a million and one music blogs that are looking to share their favorite new music. If they are more inclined to share folk music, are you the female Mumford and Sons or the next Dixie Chicks? More than likely it will be like the former and thus, the semantics start to guide the presentation of music.

The division between folk and country is more than just a semantic difference though. I think you are exactly right that it is guided by the associations we make. We’re in a time, as you point out, limiting our exposure to sources that confirm our biases. In some senses, our generation has every right to be disillusioned just like the 60′s or the Lost Generation before them. The federal government can barely function. The Euro zone is teetering. Manufacturing–creating things of actual value–is gone and it’s not coming back. Folk’s anti-establishment heritage plays well in today’s environment.

Someone, and I unfortunately can’t remember who, called this the “quick buck” economy. Doing only what’s necessary to make as much as possible then moving on. I see this in pop music. Pushing out songs that appeal to the lowest common denominator and then repeating the process. Mainstream country does this. It is no less factory-produced than Rihanna’s latest song (see how easily Taylor Swift transitioned to pure pop). Folk still has that Dylan-esque aura about it. Country has long since lost the Hank Williams associations. That allows us to argue that folk still holds something that country doesn’t–that it still organic, natural, and authentic (even if Phillip Phillips’s label cadre attempts to destroy this).

I see the rise of Mumford and Sons, Of Monsters and Men, and The Lumineers as a pushback for authenticity. Less autotune and more instrumentalists. More foot tapping and less drum machine. Music that makes us feel. There’s something to be said about the genuine joy on Neyla Pekarek’s face when she is stomping along to “Ho Hey.” I can’t help but feel happy every time. It’s almost an unconscious resistance to the limits of the machine, the internet, and by extension, the internet age and our self-imposed insulation. It’s like music can be the Julia to our Winston.

I wonder if contemporary times are building those walls that you mentioned or trying to knock them? Are they doing both simultaneously?

Adrienne: I hope my answer doesn’t come across as a cop-out response. Nonetheless, I am inclined to say that I believe contemporary times are doing both the building and breaking of those walls simultaneously. I even like to go further and add that I believe that these undeniably contradictory processes are happening not only around but concurrently within many bands.

Take The Lumineers that you mentioned earlier as an example. I could not agree with you more that artists like Wesley, Jeremiah, and Neyla present a strong force of fresh air and authenticity to the music scene. Genuine, unadorned lyrics and foot stomping are universally contagious and, as The Lumineers’ sell-out concerts, Grammy nods, and chart-topping “Ho Hey” have demonstrated, even those who listen exclusively to the Top 40 will have what I feel is a visceral response to their music. However, there is one crucially important clause necessary to fulfill in order to have this effect on mainstream listeners: the music had to have been fed to them by some outside source.

And this is where I struggle, where I believe that the walls that I just moments ago described as being knocked down I feel now can also be described as simultaneously being built up, almost as quickly as they were torn down. Why did The Lumineers suddenly become so famous? The answer is simple. Two words: ho hey. I have no intention in the slightest of discrediting The Lumineers’ talent or authenticity; however, I can name many other bands that are doing exactly what The Lumineers are doing, producing the same kind of genuine, foot tapping, authentic music and yet they are still in obscurity. The real difference between these bands lies in the fact that The Lumineers’ music was fed to its listeners on a continuous three minute thirty second loop through radio, commercials, etc. in ways that most bands are not lucky enough to be.

So then, the lasting impact of mainstream listener exposure to bands akin to The Lumineers can still be viewed as a positive one, I still am not denying that. Metaphorical “walls” are being torn down, substituting authenticity for bricks instead of “quick buck” conformity. However, I am arguing that the process it took to get to this stage, namely that the music had to be fed to listeners, feels extremely cheap to me and reveals the ways in which modes of media still build confining walls.

Media giants promoted what was catchy, what would appeal to, like you said, the least common denominator and that was “Ho Hey.” If the way we consume media were to be truly revolutionized, I believe that “Ho Hey” would not have been the only track fed on loop to listeners. In fact, there would be no single track fed on loop, there would be no loop at all. Singles, although they promote exposure for a band, ultimately encourage a cheap and confining relationship between artist and listener, stemming to something much akin to the confirmation biases that I spoke of earlier. Listeners believe that they know an artist, love an artist, because they love their catchy single that has been played every hour on our local top 40 radio station and thus have little incentive to move beyond their satisfied contentment.

Perhaps the counter-argument could be that singles capture the average listener’s interest and prompt them to investigate the band and the other tracks of their album further and more deeply, and this may be the case in some situations. Nonetheless, as a whole I believe that they way the average listener is fed music by industry today prompts an attitude of passive digestion, of “wall building” self-segregation even when one adds a “new” band to their list.

I find this resulting passive attitude towards music especially problematic for many reasons, the least of which being its less obvious but incredibly damaging effects on listeners’ attitudes towards paying for music and artists’ rights. If listeners simply passively consume the music fed to them, how can we be surprised that listeners overwhelmingly fail to make the active assertion to support music through monetary avenues when mindless free streaming services and illegal download buttons are so readily available? This, however, leads into a tangent even further from the tangent I am already on. Thus, I’ll leave this issue of artists rights largely unfleshed for another day and discussion.

Now, my tangent upon tangent aside, I suppose the real question coming off of my Lumineers example that would need to be addressed to get back at the original question about how artists frame themselves would be, how did The Lumineers frame themselves, if at all?

Or, do artists after a certain point of notoriety not even get to have any say in framing themselves, or if they are framed at all, because bloggers/interviewers/etc. take the reins and do the confining, the framing, and facilitate the listeners’ self-segregation for them? I do not think it is productive to take a finger-pointing approach, some would argue no blame even need be attributed, however I do think that confronting and seeking to unravel these and related issues are a productive thing and crucial to understand.

One last thing, I thoroughly loved your 1984 reference. A lot.

Ian: Two terms really jumped out to me: satisfied contentment and passive digestion.

I think those two things are go hand-in-hand and are the core of the sheep-like mentality that you have more or less described, Adrienne. I’m not sure it’s limited to just music, as I tend to think that it reflects the social constructs of our society.

Regardless, it seems especially apparent with music. Lots of people like to know about the next big thing and musical culture is less stagnant than politics, economics, or even other aspects of pop culture like movies so there are more next big things. Yet, most people don’t take an active approach to satisfying the desire, to discover the new artist. It’s a situation where most people don’t feel any conviction to really escape it. They accept being force fed. Thus, the artists that the general public hears are the ones that are let through the gates of the walls we mentioned. The gatekeepers are still those with money and megaphones and legitimacy by fiat like the big 3 record labels. There is certainly tons of good music from those labels but even within their rosters (let alone independent labels), artists get overshadowed by the acts that are let through the gates.

Correct me if you think differently, but with art (and particularly in this case, music as art), I want to see the “best” be the most successful. “Best” is completely subjective, of course, but it’s hard to say those most successful now would be without the artificial manipulation of exposure by the gatekeepers. And that can rub a lot of people the wrong way. The system, self-insulating and limited, cheapens the artistic aspects of music. With that said, I don’t think many artists consciously choose to accept this or game the system.

Perhaps I am projecting myself a bit, but I think contradictory processes are at work in everything, in all of us. To use a slightly different animal analogy than sheep, a mockingbird sings a beautiful mating song to create another generation but at the same time, also alerts their predator to their location. I think artists balance artistic pursuits with their goals, which are often times to play music for a living. The way they operate is within the general constructs of society and the music industry. They don’t necessarily sacrifice their artistic integrity but they might be willing to change how they present themselves like we mentioned earlier.

I’d like to pivot here to how the music industry is changing because of the internet and back to the self-segregation we mentioned near the beginning. The internet is this great democratization and yet insulating thing. To go back to country discussion, I don’t follow any country blogs. I could be exposed to a bunch of great independent country artists, yet I don’t make any effort to do so. I approach it somewhat passively and I really only have myself to blame.

The internet seems to have aided in widening the breadth of exposure but narrowing the depth of exploration. For every person that hears “Ho Hey” and checks out the rest of The Lumineers catalogue, there is another that sings along to “Ho Hey” and then the next song on the top 40 station and doesn’t worry about it. I’m not saying that’s necessarily a “bad” or “wrong” thing, but it certainly devalues the artistic value and limits the paid downloads, the merchandise purchases, or going to concerts like you said. It’s the musical equivalent of bandwagon fans. I’m not sure there’s a way to provide greater appeal to fans that buy the hit song for $0.99 but couldn’t name a second song off of the EP or album.

Alas, it’s the way the industry has evolved for better or for worse. And it’s like we’re left to coax a song out of a mockingbird.

David Ramirez: Because it kills me to remember, and it kills me to forget

From the very moment David Ramirez opens his mouth, it is clear that  music is as much his medicine as it is his ailment.

David Ramirez crafts intensely destabilizing lyrics: raw and unadorned, his words pierce through the frivolous formalities of the conventional day-to-day that we have come to grow so accustomed to.  Well before even the end of the second verse, Ramirez leaves his listeners unsteady and exposed.. enveloped in emotions that we tell ourselves logically come from the mouth of the lone man on stage with the guitar but, logic aside, feel as if they have been transcribed word-for-word from the depths of our own musings.

I would have rambled on about all of this prior to experiencing David play live in Houston, insisting that you dedicate time to immersing yourself in Ramirez’s haunting Shoeboxes, Stick Around, and Argue with Heaven, which by the way was featured in the musical movie Between Notes much akin to the way Glen Hansard’s Falling Slowly was showcased in Once.  And finally, no such conversation would have been complete without insisting that, as with anything Ramirez-related, live recordings are in my mind infinitely more impactful. [ 3:44-4:00 of “The Bad Days” below says it all]

So then, how have I been affected, how has my perspective changed “post-experiencing David preform live?”  First, you may find the way I just phrased this experience strange as it has the ring of some sort of disease or condition like PTSD.  However, I think that this phrasing, although not calculated on my part, is nonetheless telling.

You will be hard-pressed to remain merely a passive listener to Ramirez’s live music for as you get closer and closer to the source, any source, the more powerless you are against it seeping deeper and deeper inside of you.  The experience of absorbing David’s music live then brought me as close as I could get to this source.

Yet, closer proximity to something does not necessarily guarantee greater understanding: rather, it very well may even have the exact opposite effect, obfuscating your perspective so that what looks like a towering pillar from one perspective is in reality is just an oddly-shapped, vaguely Ionic-reminscent grain of rice.

From whatever perspective you find yourself peering from, it seems clear that one thing remains constant: from the very moment  Ramirez opens his mouth, it is clear that music is as much his medicine as it is his ailment.  Even in the same breath as Ramirez sings in “Stick Around” about being “chained to that old open road,” you get the feeling that those same chains are the very things that he grasps for, that ground him.


night beds: somewhere we might find softer light

I toss around the words “haunting,” vulnerable,” and “raw” often when reflecting on music on this blog, perhaps too often.  I think this ends up being the case because I choose to write about music that strikes me, that I’m passionate about and these are the qualities that I end up being most drawn to.

I hope that this does not result in a “boy cried wolf” scenario though, as these adjectives are the exact ones that I am overwhelmed with as I have been listening to Night Bed’s recent debut Country Sleep.  Winston Yellen’s voice is as rough and ornately unadorned as it is expansive.

Vulnerability is at the core of this album, both lyrically and musically: lyrically vulnerable in the delicate fragility and frankness of Winston’s lyrics and musically so in the bare a capella moments throughout the album that captivate, yet at the same time make me feel uneasy, as if I were walking in on or listening into a conversation not meant for anyone else’s ears.  Yeller, however, takes these moment of vulnerability in stride, boldly beginning both the album and his live concerts with the yearning a capella track “Faithful Heights” and then fading into the arguably most catchy song off Country Sleep, “Ramona.”

Just when I was sure that I could not be anymore overcome with Night Beds, my experience last night seeing them perform live at Off Broadway taught me otherwise.   Midway through the set as Winston was thanking the handful of people huddled around the stage for coming, he slipped in the comment along the lines of “I’m sure you guys have something much more important to be doing tonight.”  I cannot speak for the entire audience, but I for one couldn’t disagree more.  Even one day later, I am still quivering a bit from the show.. yet I have no desire for this trance to wear off anytime soon.

Even If We Try:

even if we try, to make ourselves alright, to mend our severed lies.  well all the rivers rage, descend upon the stage. running melodies, I lift my voice to sing

Was I For You:

This song fades into a section of a song that isn’t on the album that I’m not familiar with, but am nonetheless mesmerized by, especially starting at 1:25, don’t miss the floating, delicate, intertwined harmonies:

but all you doubters and all you cowards, you and your heartache is not enough to know who you are and all you dreamers and unbelievers, you and your heartache, it’s not enough to know who you are, but all you dreamers and unbelievers, you and your heartache, it’s not enough to know who you are

22, lush and lonesome:

Fuel/Friends recorded their 22nd Chapel Session over New Years with Night Beds, one that should not be missed even in the company of other mesmerizing chapel session performances by the likes of The Head and the Heart, Tyler Lyle, The Lumineers, Typhoon, and Field Report, just to name a few.  Download Night Bed’s entire session for free here.  Be sure to prepare yourself for Winston’s haunting cover of Seattle singer-songwriter Damien Jurado’s “Everything Trying”

I’ll be sailing on your deep blue eyes

Be sure to also check out Heather over at Fuel/Friends’ wander and ruminate with Winston on everything from the vulnerability of his songwriting process, to the relationship between art and commerce, intensity, exposure, and catharsis.  Probably the most introspective and engaging interview, or better put conversation, I’ve read in a long time:

“Because when you’re so close to art, you’re always in trouble.”

And I’ve looked for days upon days upon nights, I’m sick of the taste of the failure to fight

Sometimes you hear a new song and become enamored more with the song than the band itself, possisively playing it exclusively on repeat until I come to be able to anticipate each strummed downstroke, each quiet clap of the tambourine layered in the background.  However, I cannot pinpoint just one such song from Great Spirit to be consumed by; rather, it is the entire EP that must be on continuous loop.

A folk-rock quintet from San Francisco, Before the Brave creates music that pulses: pulses with joy, pulses with despair and throbs with hunger, throbs with hope.

before the brave

The opening track “Holy River” is reminiscent of a hymn: a call, to gather, to awaken, to unite.  The track ignites in crisp a capella style, then picks up speed into a rhythmic, guitar-driven pace alternating between layered group harmonies and Jason Perry Steven’s lead vocals, rugged, warm, and wise.

“Hand Holding is Encouraged” follows, a humble yet incredibly majestic song, imploring:

So won’t you hold my hand, across the deserts, seas and foreign lands, that I might forever be to you a man, because I behold you face to face.

Taking the place as the third track in the heat of Great Spirit, “Systems of the Son” is impressive in that it manages to navigate through multiple distinct, arguably contradicting styles with ease, yet all the while maintains a strong sense cohesion throughout.  The frenzied, almost frantic feeling characterizing well over the first minute and a half of the song then transitions gracefully into a surprisingly more mellow but yet not at the cost of being aimless.

For the penultimate song of the EP, I started typing lyrics as I listened to include a portion in my post.  As I started typing and listening, listening and typing, I found myself unable to find a stopping point.  I kept telling myself, “just one line more,” yet each “one ” line more turned into another.

I do not think the disarming simplicity of “Brave Ruth’s” lyrics quite sunk in before I set out to write about this song; however, now I cannot escape its chill:

So break my bones and hold my tongue, shed my skin after all I have done.  And you wash my feet in the river so sweet, I’m a wrestling soul trying to find who to be.  And I’m looked for days upon days upon nights.  I’m sick of the taste of the failure to fight.

“Haven’t a Clue” closes the album.  In case you hadn’t been thoroughly impressed by the vocal talents of Jason and Beth by now, Before the Brave ensures that you will not leave this album anything less than mesmerized.  It is difficult for me to resist a delicate female harmony floating wistfully above the foundation of a rich male lead’s voice.  This song both fulfills and exceeds all of my expectations.  *for a hand-clapping, heart wailing, foot stomping time, 2:20 on cannot be missed

In return for your email address and zip code, Before the Brave is offering their EP Great Spirit for free. Download it now from Noisetrade, leave a tip if you like.  Stay connected with the quintet on Facebook and Twitter.

rambling tracks

I’m the first to admit my lack of self-restraint when it comes to music.

A few days ago I was tasked with making a playlist for a friend of all of the songs that I had stubbornly kept sending him via clumsy youtube links over text messages.

Despite my insistence that youtube videos capture raw, intimate live moments that mastered tracks found within the confines of traditional playlists are simply bereft of, I finally set aside my  defiance and put together this:


However, once I start going through my music library, what was once intended to be  fifteen or so song playlist that would express a mood or perspective or feeling quickly morphed into a ragtag collection of thirty songs, their only unifying quality being their ability to make my ears or heart melt upon listening, often both.


The branches have traded their leaves for white sleeves, all warm blooded creatures make ghosts as they breathe

I only have four minutes to make this post while it’s still Christmas .. so this post will be brief.

I love Christmas carols an unhealthy amount and play them on loop starting promptly the day after thanksgiving; however, sometimes a breath of fresh air from new christmas songs and with it new perspectives on the same emotions and sentiments that fuel traditional carols is just what you need.

Sleeping At Last’s “Snow” is just what I needed today .. I hope you find in this song’s lyrics or even just in the beautiful vulnerability of Ryan’s voice what you are looking this Christmas as well.

The branches have traded
Their leaves for white sleeves
All warm blooded creatures make ghosts as they breathe
Scarves are wrapped tightly like gifts under trees

Christmas lights tangle in knots annually
All families huddle closely
Betting warmth against the cold
All the bruises seem to surface
Like mud beneath the snow

So we sing carols softly
As sweet as we know
A prayer that our burdens will lift as we go
Like young love still waiting under mistletoe
We’ll welcome December with tireless hope

Let our bells keep on ringing
Making angels in the snow
And may the melody disarm us
When the cracks begin to show

But I cannot turn around, the angels hear me now, go where I’m bound

I first heard Wake Owl’s Gold well over six months ago.  I must have been in some sort of isolation room at the time because the song’s infectious lilt didn’t manage to fully take hold of me until now.  Now though, I can hardly take Gold off repeat.

Contrasting off more melancholy verses, the chorus then picks up in brilliant opposition, swelling into an almost anthem-like force.

Gold is about coming to terms with who you are and facing where you are going even if it’s not where you thought you wanted to be.  Yet, despite the uncertainty and stark self-reflection that the verses prompt, Gold simultaneously offers the promise of jubilant hope allowing you to “grab the heart of the world and turn into the light.”

I don’t feel like I’m falling, I’m up against the sky,
Let’s grab the heart of the world and turn into the light.

Wake Owl’s EP Wild Country is set to release in late January of 2013.  In the meantime, preorder it here and follow Wake Owl on facebook and twitter.

Another gem to leave you in the Wake Owl mood, Grow:

I never know what to think of what it shows to be loyal and grow old, strong we grow.
But you can go, just don’t forget this home we made and now I’ll dance alone, free on my own.

Ringing in my head, when you broke my chest

Haunting, hazy.

Elena Tonra, frontwoman of the London’s emerging folk duo Daughter, is a master of chillingly fragile tensions and contradictions.

Elena’s voice is incredibly delicate and vulnerable; yet, at the same time almost despite itself, maintains an air of strength, pure and piercing. From the amount of emotion that she effuses especially in live performance, it is clear that Elena’s lyrics are not too far from home.  As UK blog Outline Online sums Daughter’s style rather well: “dazzlingly emotive, fucked-up folk.”  

Ruminating on heartbreak, raw and expansive, Daughter is not a force to be missed.

Pick up her first EP His Young Heart on bandcamp and her newest release The Wild Youth on amazon, find her on facebook.

And now a Daughter sampling:


And if you’re still breathing, you’re the lucky ones
‘Cause most of us are heaving through corrupted lungs
Setting fire to our insides for fun
Collecting names of the lovers that went wrong
The lovers that went wrong


You could still be,
What you want to,
What you said you were,
When you met me.


Blow out all the candles, blow out all the candles
“You’re too old to be so shy,” he says to me so I stay the night
Just a young heart confusing my mind, but we’re both in silence
Wide-eyed, both in silence, like we’re in a crime scene


Oh Peter,
I can dream no more
I’ve been chasing all of yours
That I’ve forgotten what it was that I wanted
That I want

You spend most time trying to figure out why you can never figure out just what you’re trying to figure out

Brazilian singer-songwriter Tiago Iorc’s is new to me.  I have a feeling it will not be this way for much longer.

Tiago’s music captivating, fragile and honest.

It’s also extremely deceptive: his smooth, unassuming voice can so quickly lull you into letting your guard down that without you even realizing it you become vulnerable to the the gritty, complex lyrics attached to the melodies that had so recently soothed you.

Start your weekend off with “Story of Man”

you spend most time
trying to figure out why you can never figure out
just what you’re trying to figure out
spend more time living

but if you wait, it can save what you love and I know that it’s you


I have a hunch that Miner’s bedroom project single “Hey Love” is not merely a song.

Songs transmit sound waves, but this song, its chorus in particular, does more than just stream, it effuses pure joy.

A family effort, Justin Miner, wife Kate and brother Jeremy effortlessly blend warm harmonies and infectious banjo melodies to create an output that is incredibly authentic and quite frankly impossible to listen to just once.

I sometimes struggle to find songs to recommend to my less folk-enamored friends; however, sending this link to them is an absolute no-brainer.  It doesn’t take a soft spot for banjo to fall head over heels for Miner’s “Hey Love.”  Just listen to the transition between 3:03 – 3:06 and try to tell yourself that you didn’t just let out a sigh of relief the moment you heard Justin count 2,3,4 to rekindle the song you really weren’t quite ready to be over.

.. what I wouldn’t give to see Miner perform live.

Still can’t get enough of “Hey Love?”  Head over to to pick up your free download and then show Miner some love on facebook.

hold up your hands if you hear me
I’m coming honey
hold on, hold on
lift up the sun with your love
I’ve been laying low
so long, so long