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PopMatters Picks Playlist features the electropop of Bamboo Smoke, LIA ICES' stunning dream folk, Polish producer SOUNDQ, the indie pop of Pylon Heights, a timely message from Exit Kid, and Natalie McCool's latest alt-pop banger.
Bright Eyes may not technically be emo, but they are transcendently expressive, beatifically melancholic. Down in the Weeds is just the statement of grounding that we need as a respite from the churning chaos around us.
Alright Alright's "Don't Worry" is a gentle, prayerful tune that depicts the heart of their upcoming album, Crucible.
Berlin's Wolf & Moon are an indie folk duo with a dream pop streak. "Eyes Closed" highlights this aspect as the act create a deep sense of atmosphere and mood with the most minimal of tools.
The Grahams' sweet-sounding "Don't Give Your Heart Away" is rooted in struggle, inspired by the couples' complicated journey leading up to their daughter's birth.
For their latest EP, The Third Gleam, the Avett Brothers leave everything behind but their songs and a couple of acoustic guitars, a bass, and a banjo.
Indie-folk brothers Fransancisco dedicate their take on Kate Bush's "This Woman's Work" to all mothers who have lost a child.
Influenced by the Tibetan Book of the Dead, Blitzen Trapper's new album Holy Smokes, Future Jokes plumbs the comedic horror of the human condition.
Even though Sufjan Stevens' The Ascension is sometimes too formulaic or trivial to linger, it's still a very good, enjoyable effort.
With Thread, Sally Anne Morgan shows that traditional folk music is not to be smothered in revivalist praise. It's simply there as a seed with which to plant new gardens.
The Cradle's Paco Cathcart has curated a thoughtfully multifarious album. Laughing in My Sleep is an impressive collection of 21 tracks, each unapologetic in their rejection of expectations.
Singer-songwriter Alexander Wren's "The Earth Is Flat" is a less a flat-earther's anthem and more a wry examination of heartache.
Folk-pop's Big Little Lions create a powerful anthem with "Distant Air", a song full of sophisticated pop hooks, smart dynamics, and killer choruses.
Inspired by the death of a loved one, Brooklyn singer-songwriter Ian Wayne's Risking Illness combines somber reflection with beautifully crafted tunes.
Ade Mai is a rising folk-pop singer originally from Finland but now based in Bournemouth, and his new single "I Love You More" is an instantaneous earworm.
Small town Texas indie-folk group Lomelda took over a year and three tries to record Hannah. They needed to get it right. They did.
Montreal's Yves Jarvis blends folk with minimalist electronics and Afropop textures on his new single, "Semula".
Albuquerque indie-folk artist, BYLAND shares "Passed Me By", a song as sweeping and expansive as the New Mexico landscape she calls home.
Elephant Revival's Daniel Rodriguez's solo debut marks a hopeful renewal for the folk artist following a time of great personal loss.
Mt. Wolf specialize in a mesmerizing form of atmospheric indie-folk that blends delicate electronic elements with gossamer vocals. Hear their latest single "Anna Maria".
Folk singer-songwriter Jakob Leventhal and Sarah Jarosz collaborate on the delicate folk-pop single "Greenwich Village Ghosts".
Singer-songwriter and award-winning flatpicking guitarist Molly Tuttle found a creative way to shake the pandemic by recording …but i'd rather be with you, covering a wide range of artists she loves.
Americana's Molly Tuttle taught herself how to use Pro Tools to record and engineer ten much loved songs while stuck at home alone for …but I'd rather be with you.
Indie folk's Annie Dressner joins forces with Matthew Caws of Nada Surf to deliver the nostalgically-layered "Midnight Bus".
Born in isolation not so much by outside mandate as by natural inspiration, H.C. McEntire's Eno Axis is a masterwork of deep, spiritual escapism.
On his first studio album under the Microphones moniker since 2003, Phil Elverum shows he has been recording the same song since he was a teenager in the mid-1990s. Microphones in 2020 might be his apex as a songwriter.
The ten songs on Eight Gates from the late Jason Molina are fascinating, despite – or perhaps because of – their raw, unfinished feel.
Unleashing the power of love with a new single and music video premiere, Natalie Schlabs is hoping to spread the word while letting her striking voice be heard ahead of Don't Look Too Close, the full-length album she will release in October.
Former Teeth & Tongue singer-songwriter Jess Cornelius' Distance is an enrapturing collection of punchy garage-rock, delicate folk, and arty synthpop anthems which examine liminal spaces between us.
On Taylor Swift's Folklore, the omnipresent, world-conquering princess of self-mythology embraces a brooding post-pop texture that strikes a balance between lusty exuberance and indie-folky introspection.