Five Gotta-Have Folk Bands on Bandcamp
Kyler Daron – Ellie EP
-From the opening strings through the first sound of Kyler’s sensitive baritone vocals, it’s evident that this is a talented singer songwriter. Daron’s work is highlighted perfectly by female backing vocals (uncredited on bandcamp). This album is exactly the kind folk music that I find intoxicating. It’s not footstomping and hand clapping for fame’s sake; rather, it’s the kind of introspective folk that stays true to the roots of the genre while adding a dash of alt rock in song structure and instrumentation. Good stuff for fans of bands like Dashboard Confessional.
The Last Revel – Self Titled
-By rights we probably could have called The Last Revel an Americana outfit, but they are truly a “gotta have” band, so I wanted them on this list. The strings are incredible and the vocals are well done. What I like most about The Last Revel is that they’re just so genuine. It’s not every day I hear a band that sounds like they’d play whether anyone was listening or not, but The Last Revel have that tenacity and sincerity to their sound. The guitar, banjo, and bass all work together expertly. The songwriting is crisp, providing just enough traditional flavor to be true to good music while mixing tempos and ambient sounds enough to make it all their own. This is seriously a great band for fans of Americana and string-filled folk.
The Zuni Mountain Boys – Loneliness, Love, and Leave
-Every once in a blue moon I hear a songwriter who has those chops that lets you know the muses are still active; the Zuni Mountain Boys certainly tap into their album’s claim of loneliness, love, and leav(ing). The opener “New Mexico” is about the most heartfelt ballad I’ve heard all year. Of course the last track “It’s Still New York City” is pretty phenomenal, too. It’s hard to describe what makes the acoustic duo so incredibly good. It must just be that they write songs that matter, tell stories that hurt and heal, and more than anything they just seem to be people that express themselves with music. We’re better for it.
Bearheart – Glass Half Full
-If you’re still not doing well with the fact that the last Mumford and Sons album went electric, this is the band for you. Bearheart has a great “jangly folk” sound, complete with that happy strum acoustic sound, driving rhythm, and of course a colorfully aggressive banjo. It’s poppy folk done right and is sure to make a lot of fans. Serious gang vocals – epically so on “I will rise.” I legitimately have no idea why these guys aren’t a total household name. They could be on par with Mumford – they’re that good.
Heartbreak Orchestra – Sing It Like You Mean It
-From the outset of this album you will hear a very clear, unmistakable reference to the folk rock of the 1960s. The band themselves have the feeling of being more mature than the recent folk revival. Heartbreak Orchestra bring a seasoned, experienced sound that reflects voices who have been singing together for a while. The eponymous track references Neil Young, which seems fitting. Sometimes a little more country, other times more rock, they are a kind alt country that is certain to find a few fans among readers of this site. It’s comfortable and familiar music with highlights coming in the form of the acoustic guitar work and the vocal harmonies.